Tuesday, January 3, 2023

What people expect in this brand new year - 2023.

It may be a new year may but I believe the hopes and expectations of the Rakyat remain the same in principle. 

Firstly, we all want to be able to live a life of dignity and have equal opportunities. Dignity is something essential to all human beings. It means being worthy of respect and honour. The opposite of this clearly means being treated as worthless or being disrespected. A true leader would do his/her utmost to ensure that the citizens have the opportunity to lead dignified lives. Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood”. 

A person’s self-worth and dignity can be lifted or destroyed by government policies and the laws of the land. A child who grows up being discrimination or ostracized from mainstream society simply because of the accident of his/her birth may become unhappy adult who feels oppressed. Only a leader with compassion, good conscience and who truly “fears” God can understand this. Therefore, a compassionate government should ensure that policies and processes exist that provide ample opportunities for those with talent to thrive. Policies should also exist to ensure the less fortunate among us, whether socially or economically, can lift themselves by way of positive assistance. 

Cruel discrimination in the name of race, religion or social status should never be allowed to be part of society, especially in a society that has a majority Muslim population like Malaysia. This is because any policy which is race based is clearly against the teachings of Islam. 

Furthermore, under the heading of “human dignity” are also economic and employment opportunities, positive working conditions, and equitable distribution of resources. I think it is time the government focuses again on small and medium enterprises, and cottage industries. There has been so much focus on mega projects that do not seem to benefit the common rakyat. Development in the country has also been too Klang valley-centric while the rest of Malaysia does not benefit. A proper policy would be able to create employment opportunities outside the Klang valley so that more balanced development can take place in Malaysia. 

Secondly, the government and political leaders should properly understand the provisions of fundamental liberties enshrined in Part II of the Federal Constitution – articles 5 to 13. Citizens themselves should familiarize themselves with these important provisions. You can only protect your rights if you know you have them. 

The Government should ensure that whatever policies that are passed strengthen these fundamental rights and not whittle them away. Parliamentarians should be engaging intelligently in debates and committed in ensuring that whatever bills that the Government passes does not contravene these Constitutional provisions. The Rakyat would be pleased to benefit from positive contributions from the minds of the parliamentarians rather than annoying sounds from their mouths. 

Thirdly, I hope that this Government is serious about and courageous in fostering true national unity. It is very sad that after more than 60 years of being independent we still allow blatantly divisive speeches, statements and politics to flourish in this country. 

I am not only referring to unity between the Malays and the non-Malays but between every Malaysian. And the Government ought to be wary of efforts to divide the Malays themselves for political reasons. They should also be vigilant of the rise of religious extremism which seems to be creeping quietly into Malaysia, posing serious security threats. 

Hence, it is my hope that this government addresses the issue of national unity substantially and designs long term policies that can unite Malaysians in striving for a common Malaysian Dream. Obviously, this effort must begin in the formative periods of Malaysian children. 

Fourthly, there needs to be serious efforts made to halt or reduce corrupt practices in all of our institutions and in all spheres of society. Corruption is not only cruel in the sense that scarce resources are diverted to feed the greedy rather that help the rakyat, but it also increases the costs of living. The negative effects of corruption are well known and I would not want to repeat it here. However, I have to emphasize that if there is real political will and efforts made, corruption can be significantly reduced. 

The Government should establish a task force or a committee with powers to come up with a way to tackle corruption in all institutions in the country. It is no doubt a major task but one that needs to be urgently undertaken. The corruption agency can audit lifestyles of even past political leaders to take back wealth that has been stolen through corrupt practices. If there is will, there is a way. The laws are certainly there.

Lastly, there needs to be continued respect for and upholding of the rule of law. Rule of law is a vast area that includes equality before the law, equal access to the law and so on. Essentially, adherence to the rule of law is the ordinary citizen’s last line of defence against oppression by the privileged or the powerful. Hence, our parliamentarians must ensure that any law approved is just. 

It is also important to ensure that whenever discretionary powers are given, as may be necessary, there are effective checks and balances. This is because, discretionary powers may also result in corruption, abuse and oppression. 

With this, I wish the readers: Happy new Year ! 

Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Rishi Sunak Prime Minister of United Kingdom.

Rishi Sunak, the 42-year-old former finance minister becomes the first Prime Minister of UNited Kingdom of Indian origin. 

This is a hurrah for UK in crossing cultural borders, hopefully humanity's steps moving towards being human beings instead of being boxed into artificial man made constructs.

I wish Sunak the best in managing UK and hopefully, his foreign policy is humane. 

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Should I blog again?

 I recall, when I first started blogging, I did so because that gave me an opportunity to unload much of my thoughts on diverse subjects. It was sort of like a self therapy.  

I could write on topics which I thought were important or current.  I wrote passionately and honestly. The good thing about your own blog is that you can decide what you want to write and how you want to write it. 

There are no editors editing your thoughts or ideas.

For  a while I was lucky to be given an opportunity to write for newspapers and other news portals.It has its advantage because of its reach. The disadvantage is that you may not have the complete freedom, understandably, to write what you wish, how you wish.  In other words, when you write for others, you may be constrained by their policies and worse, their mindset or mental limitations, which can be frustrating. 

I want to write as objectively as possible on topics that I think need to addressed. Or simply to express my thoughts on something at that particular moment in my life.

Now I am wondering......should I go back to blogging my thoughts?

Whats your views?



Saturday, June 11, 2022

Smart, visionary leaders committed to mindset change the way forward in Malaysian politics

Smart, visionary leaders committed to mindset change the way forward in Malaysian politics

It is good to note that there are diverse views and debates as to how the Malaysian political scene can bring about a “new Malaysia”.

Former Malaysian diplomat, Dennis Ignatius, had called for older politicians to step aside and make way for younger leaders.

On the other hand, academician Prof Dr Tajuddin Rasdi is of the opinion that “New Malaysia can only come about through the painful birth process of a transition between old and young leaders, as well as Muslim versus Malaysian, leadership”.

Reading Tajuddin’s opinion in a Malaysian daily, he seems to suggest that political changes in the country cannot be achieved if “Malay sensitives” are not addressed.

He gave various examples, which apparently had not gone down well with the Malays – such as the Rome Statute issue – and had brought about the downfall of Pakatan Harapan (PH).

I would opine that the main reason PH fell was because of poor leadership, due to the weak structure within PH itself.

If PH had strong and cohesive leadership, dealing with issues like the Rome Statute and others, would have been a cakewalk.

Tajuddin seems to argue that only someone with “Malay and Muslim credentials” can “change” Malaysia and the Malays.

Under the current political circumstances, only a Malay Muslim can rise to the highest position in this country. That’s a given.

However, when you talk about creating a “new Malaysia”, there are several important factors to consider – other than a Malay Muslim leader.

Firstly, what kind of new Malaysia do you have in mind? Something that is “more Malay and more Islamic”? Whatever that means.

The notion of what kind of “Malay-ness” and what kind of Islam you want to create in the country is important.

This, therefore, will depend on the second factor – the quality of the leader itself.

If the leader is a political animal, we cannot expect substantial changes in society because he may end up being a populist, and a chameleon.

He may not have the moral courage, intellectual strength, and the political will to bring about radical changes needed to move the country forward and improve the people’s general wellbeing in the long run.

A Malay Muslim leader, who is going to forever pander to the so called “Malay Muslim sensitivities” for political expediency, will not bring about a much awaited “new Malaysia”.

Thirdly, we need a Malay Muslim leader with a true vision (and not one who copies someone else’s) which he believes is good for the country.

So, you need someone with brains, not just the academically qualified.

Of course, you will have advisors around you, but you must have the ability to look at things from different perspectives, possess macro-level thinking, even be prophetic, to a certain extent.

For this to happen, one must be a thinker, and as multi-knowledgeable as possible, and humble enough to learn as he/she leads.

I am fully aware and accept that pragmatically, the majority of the polity is Malay Muslim, and hence, you can manipulate them for power’s sake.

However, I am more concerned with the true wellbeing of the nation (the majority included).

Hence, to create a new Malaysia, the majority of the polity needs to be educated.

We have to go for mindset change and recognise leaders who will embark on that change.

We have to recognise the Malay Muslim leaders who want to free the Malay Muslims and other citizens from the shackles of political trickery shrouded in ethnicity and religion.

These are the much-needed characteristics of a Malaysian leader who will make Malaysia great, and its citizens grateful and proud.

Originally appeared in TwentyTwo13