Saturday, October 31, 2009

Islam Hadhari – What happened?

Ahmad, Ah Chong and Raju were at their favourite coffee shop where the following conversation took place.

Ah Chong: I like this new government policy la…. 1Malaysia. Good to remind us that we are all one Malaysians.

Ahmad: pelik isn’t it? We are all Malaysians and after more than 50 years, we have to be reminded again that we are one Malaysians!

Raju: Ya bro. Last 2 years so much tension in the country! Got religious issues la, got racial issues la, got so many demonstrations, ketuanan Melayu, ketuanan Rakyat, man type of ketuanan la…

Ahmad : Again pelik isn’t it? Got so much tension that time when the policy was Islam Hadhari. How come?

Ah Chong : yaa hor? Woi what happened to Islam hadhari? Wa..last time, everybody talk about Islam hadhari, got restaurant named Islam hadhari, got klinik named Islam Hadhari, got so many seminars and conference on Islam Hadhari…everything on government television also must say on Islam Hadhari….

Raju: yes la friends….it was a government policy which means all the cabinet members must have agreed to it. What happened to all the penyokong-penyokong Islam hadhari in the cabinet today?

Ahmad: Ala..bukan nya orang politik saja braders. Many orang agama also singing praises about Islam hadhari. If you go to the book shop today…you can still find books on Islam hadhari written by so-called ulamaks from Middle eastern Universities. But today all them so silent….just a matter of hardly 11 months!

Ah Chong, scratching his head: Hmm..politician I can understand la..they have no fixed principle one…can dance to the wind..but orang agama …how come they can change their mind?

Ahmad : Ah chong…you will be surprised la. Many orang agama sembah duit and pangkat and not Tuhan la. They can be easily bought with titles and money.

Raju: Friends, can you imagine….how much money was spent in the name of Islam hadhari…so…all that rakyat’s money wasted la?

Ahmad: sure la. All the money gone down the drain – our money. Politicians coin up slogans to konon nya mark their presence. Lagi pun, in our country, Islam is politicized. So Malay based party like UMNO and PAS will have to out-Islam each other la. Otherwise why you think Arabic sounding words sells like hot cakes in politics? You never realize ah…before every speech, each Malay politician will recite some long Arabic statements even though the audience tak faham?

Raju: Ahmad, not nice la you are a Malay and talk like that.

Ahmad: No la Raju. I am a Muslim. Of course I feel sad when my religion is being prostituted by hypocritical politicians. I fear Allah will punish them severely and our country for taking Allah’s name in vain.

A Chong: How come the cabinet members got no shame? They can just twist their tongue when one policy change to another? Today they support Islam hadhari, then tomorrow, throw it out! Haiya! Ini macam also got one.

Ahmad: nak hidup brothers! Last last, Rakyat is the in the one that is diperbodohkan and their money wasted. But the trouble is, when it comes to Islam, many of the Muslims do not want to find out about the religion themselves. Mereka ni terlalu bergantung pada orang politik dan orang agama. Malas nak baca dan memahami Quran dengan sendiri. So, kena tipu la.

Raju: Ya la braders….in our country so difficult to find people with the real perjuangan spirit. And those in politics for sure go no perjuangan spirit. Semua nak nama, pangkat dan harta only.

Ah Chong: Raju, you sound very pessimistic la. I know a few politician friends who are ok.

Ahmad: All I know is, if we want our country to prosper, be safe and available to the future generation, we the Rakyat must always watch every move of the politicians. Never trust them with our and our childrens' future. We, the People, must be the boss.

Peace !

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nik Aziz, Hadi and Najib: Malay and Muslim Unity?

Nik Aziz calls for EGM to determine whether Hadi, Hasan Ali and Nasharuddin Mat Isa should still be part of the leadership of PAS?

The call for mating between PAS and UMNO has resurfaced again. This call seemed to have irked PAS’s spiritual leader, Nik Aziz so much that he has called for an EGM to settle the matter once and for all. Obviously, he is not happy with the idea of the mating between the two Malay parties and he is also unhappy with Hadi Awang’s leadership of PAS. Nik Aziz writes on his blog:

“Maka pelik apa, kita panggil mesyuarat parti yang tergempar misalnya; mungkin dipanggil muktamar khaslah. Kalau nak kirakan, kitalah yang sepatut buat dulu. Demi “tajdid” kita perlu buat Mesyuarat Agong Luarbiasa ini. Bila Mesyuarat Agong tak mahu tukar Presiden, misalnya maka tidak mengapalah. Kita pakat-pakat belalah. Begitu juga dengan isu-isu disekitar Hassan Ali atau Mustafa Ali yang tak habis-habis dengan nak bekerjasama PAS dengan Umno ke arah kerajaan Perpaduan atau UG. Tenggelam-tenggelam, timbul, kemudian dihidupkan. Kemudian dimatikan pula bila nampak orang marah. Apa ni?”

His views are very clear. He is not happy with the pro-UMNO group in PAS. In fact his writings even hint that if the EGM still endorses Hadi Awang, he may leave PAS –“Kita pakat-pakat bela la”. Those open to the idea of PAS-UMNO Unity talks with the view of “forming a unity government or some working relationship seem to base their call on the noble sounding premise of “Malay and Muslim unity”. Admittedly, this is a very nice label that will touch the sentiments of both Malays and Muslims, especially the ordinary Malay Muslims of this country.

Najib too has commented on the unity government move but was clear to say that the nature of the cooperation has yet to be identified:

“He said that another group of leaders, who was willing to find ways to enhance unity among the ummah, was more inclined towards cooperating with Umno.

"What types of cooperation is not defined but they don't want to see disunity," he said”.

Obviously, any right thinking Muslim or non-Muslim, be they Malaysians or non-Malaysians do not want to see any disunity. People generally are not anarchists. Malaysians generally want to be united so that we can go about peacefully with the arduous task of living.

So what than really distinguishes this form of unity than the larger unity among Malaysians? The quick and simplistic answer which the politicians and the self anointed “Malay and Muslim champions” will give is probably this: “unity of the ummah” or “perpaduan umat”. Now, what is this? What do the politicians mean when they say this?

After all, we must always remember that we are not dealing with true blooded reformers but mere politicians where circumstances have catapulted them to positions of political power.

Unity of the Ummah?

Allow me at the very outset to state that I personally do not for a second believe that the politicians from all sides of the divide truly care about nor have they thought about what “unity of the ummah” really is. I believe (and I stand be corrected) that what they really mean is elitist Malay political unity. Effectively and in realpolitik terms what this means is the strengthening of Malay elitist political dominance in the country, which has nothing really to do with neither the ordinary Malays nor Muslims.

I can support this view simply by pointing out that to date, none of the parties have ever spoken on any Islamic issues or any reforms (tajdid) of “Islamic thinking” in the country when they speak of the so-called “cooperation between two Malay Muslim parties”. The moment you invoke Islam as a basis of unity, you must start from the premise of the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet. And this what Allah says in the Quran:

“And hold fast, all together, to the rope of God, and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God's favour on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make His Signs clear to you: That you may be guide”d. (Quran: 3.103)

Firstly, Muslims are required to hold onto the “rope of God”. Has both sides of the divide spent some time thinking what this “rope of God” is? Have the leaders, in their respective parties, in true honesty and with thinking knowledge implemented this concept of “rope of God” in its true sense? One thing must be clear, the rope of God does not refer to mere expedient political solidarity. It may include political “unity” but the buck certainly does not stop there. If it did, then, what about the greater number of Muslims who are apolitical? For example, there are greater number of Muslims who are not politically inclined but perform deeds that may fall into the category mentioned in surah 3 verse 104 – the numerous individuals and NGOs who peacefully contribute to the best of their ability?

Further, God says the following:

“Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity”. (Quran: 3.104)

Be not like those who are divided amongst themselves and fall into disputations after receiving Clear Signs: For them is a dreadful penalty,- (Quran: 3.105)

The entire of the Quran does not describe differences of views, methods or opinions as disunity. It is the forceful imposition of views and oppression against those with differing views that is strongly condemned as “mischief makers”.

It is very superficial if UMNO was to regard itself as complying with Quran 3:104 simply because it was part of the government that had built many mosques and had aired various TV programs on “Islam”. Likewise, it is misleading of PAS to claim that it has complied with the same verse by giving endless ceramahs, insisting on the hijab for the women, banning alcohol in Shah Alam, etc.

Blind faith in the politicians? Taksub?

Both parties should ask this question: when was the last time they had ever requested for a tajdid of the syariah laws in this country to verify whether it is consistent with the times? More importantly, when did we ever undertake an exercise to determine whether the syariah laws in this country are consistent with the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet? Do the politicians think that the ordinary Muslims do not have a duty to Allah to know this? Or, do the politicians from both sides of the divide expect the citizens to blindly accept (taksub) the politicians’ word that every single law passed with the tag “syaria” must necessarily be consistent with the Quran and the Sunnah?

If PAS and UMNO is genuinely serious about “unity in the name of Islam”, should they then not be equally responsibly mindful of the following verse that affects the ordinary Muslim citizen:

And behold! you come to us bare and alone as We created you for the first time: you have left behind you all (the favours) which We bestowed on you: We see not with you your intercessors whom you thought to be partners in your affairs: so now all relations between you have been cut off, and your (pet) fancies have left you in the lurch!" (Quran: 6:94)

My reading of the above verse tells me that it is incumbent on any responsible Muslim government to explain to the Muslim citizens the basis of any laws passed in the name of God. If “ordinary laws”, are debated heavily in Parliament, why do we not hear of any syariah laws being debated more carefully? Is not the duty to God more onerous?

The Firaun Mindset v Quranic Mindset

The fact is this: our country has yet to see a true reformer of Islamic thought. What we have are graduates who have specialized in “Islamic curricula” who keep repeating what they have learnt in their respective universities from their respective university lectures. They also adhere to an unwritten code of ethics which is common to all disciplines - do not challenge accepted academic thinking. It is a politically correct type of behaviour that is encouraged. This is primarily because of the entrenchment of mainstream thought solidly supported by mainstream institutions. Any alternative thoughts and views are immediately put down and it becomes personally dangerous for any true reformer.

Politicians of the like we have in our midst today are not reformers, especially in matters of faith. True reformers are never inhibited by norms or mainstream thinking. This is because it could very well be that the current patterns of thinking need reform! This requires long term effort. However, politicians often opt for short term measures that span from one election to the next and will not touch on matters that are not politically expedient. Hence, thinking and writing on Islam which may differ from the mainstream is not given prominence.

Do both UMNO and PAS have a Firaun mindset” as follows?

“Said Pharaoh: "Believe you in Him before I give you permission? Surely this is a trick which you have planned in the city to drive out its people: but soon shall you know (the consequences)”. (Quran: 7.123)

"Be sure I will cut off your hands and your feet on apposite sides, and I will cause you all to die on the cross." (Quran: 7.124)

As it is clear from the above verse, matters of faith in Egypt then must be cleared by the Pharaoh or his priests first. It must have his approval and permission. To deviate from Pharaoh’s religion is met with severe punishment since it is a State crime. The exercise of “religious duties and faith” during Pharaoh’s time is through total compulsion with the aid of State apparatus. There is no exercise of mercy, discussions, or differing views. What do you see happening in this country?

We must remember that all the syaria laws and the religious institutions in place today occurred during the Barisan Nasional’s rule. This will give Muslims an idea of BN’s role in “Islamic development” in the country. Further, since PAS has never questioned the syaria law as implemented in this country, they must be taken to acknowledge BN’s role.

PAS’s “Islamic State” v UMNO’s Islamic Malaysia

PAS has been speaking of its aim to establish an Islamic state in the country. Logically, this means that according to PAS, Malaysia is not an Islamic state. If we cut though the rhetoric, we will see that PAS’s idea of an Islamic State appears to be one where the State implements “hudud laws”. PAS sees Islam as a set of legal criminal rulings. It is as simple as that. However, matters may become complicated when we wish to consider what PAS considers as “hudud laws”. Speculations arise because to date PAS has yet to outline its idea of Islamic State!

The sad fact is that many ordinary Muslims do not wish to get into this debate on the excuse that they are “not well versed”. It never seemed to dawn on them that if they do not enter the debate, laws could very well be imposed on them under the tag of “syaria” but deviating from the Quran and Sunnah. This has happened in many so-called “Islamic countries”.

Coming back to PAS, since its inception for more than 50 years, one has to ask what example of “Islam” has it promoted? If we look at Kelantan which has been under PAS rule (Islamic rule?) for decades, can we say that it is a shining example of what “Islamic rule” is all about? How many other countries have come to Kelantan to learn and adopt its model of “Islamic administration”? Surely, if it is truly “Islamic”, it should be a shining example?

Rightly or wrongly, the perception that some Muslims have of PAS is this: it thinks its interpretation of Islam is the divine interpretation. But then again, this has become a common trait among modern day “ulamaks” as opposed to the learned, humble, classical ulemas of the “golden age of Islam”. Matters have become worse when religion is now being abused in the name of politics.

UMNO, on the other hand has declared this country to be an Islamic country. WE must recall that this announcement was first made by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Since then we had two other prime ministers who may not understand where Dr Mahathir was coming from. Hence, looking from purely an UMNO perspective, we need to ask: Do the UMNO members generally believe that Malaysia is an Islamic country? I think if we look at the frequency or the level of discourses held within UMNO on Islam, this question may be easily answered.

I hope I have raised several issues (there are many more) that need to be addressed to understand the nature of the so-called unity government between PAS and UMNO.

Is PAS and UMNO moving towards the direction of a “united ummah” because they are moved by the Quran and the Sunnah and wish to spread “the justice and mercy of Islam” to all Malaysians? Or is this just another political mechanism wrapped in “Islamic” language to promote elitist Malay political solidarity and control?

If the effort is genuine resulting from the awareness of Allah’s injunctions in the Quran, as a Muslim I welcome this move. If this is just a ploy to use religion purely for political ends, may God have mercy on the players involved. Leaders who had used God’s name in vain had been removed from power with humiliation.

"Such as took their religion to be mere amusement and play, and were deceived by the life of the world." That day shall We forget them as they forgot the meeting of this day of theirs, and as they were wont to reject Our signs”. (Quran: 7.51)

“For We had certainly sent unto them a Book, based on knowledge, which We explained in detail,- a guide and a mercy to all who believe”. (Quran: 7:52)

Peace. (as usual, I stand to be corrected, of course).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat & Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek Unite = United MCA.

“Datuk Seri Ong Tee keat and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek set aside differences for the sake of party” reports TheStar Online.

The amicable resolution of disputes between Datuk Seri Ong Tee keat and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek is most welcome as it has a national impact via MCA. Since this morning, I have received calls and at least 12 smses saying that the peaceful closing of ranks was good. Two of the calls were from my friends in the Chinese clan societies.

Outside of MCA, OTK, as he is popularly known, is seen as a people’s leader. He is seen as forthright, transparent, principled and courageous – taking up challenges which many politicians will rather avoid. His quest in pushing ahead with the PKFZ issue is respected by most thinking citizens. In the heights of the problem between Dr Cua and OTK, Dr Chua reportedly said the following:

“The way I look at it, PKFZ is a problem that needs to get resolved but Tee Keat is projecting himself as a hero. A lot of people are involved in the problem, and since it is a transport issue, MCA ministers are also involved. But that does not mean the party is involved”.

The point is, PKFZ is potentially “hot” and dangerous for any MCA politician to handle and yet OTK proceeded with it because he is serious in reforming the way MCA works.

There are already rumours that possibly his quest against PKFZ is possibly one of the reasons why there were “sinister moves” to oust him from MCA, the EGM notwithstanding. Such a rumour does not hold well for MCA because as Dr Chua was reported to have rightly pointed out, there is no use being members of a party if they lose the election. This is a practical political approach.

Again to quote Dr Chua, “politics is the art of making the possible, impossible and making the impossible, possible” or something to that effect. Dr Chua, being a seasoned politician knows exactly what he is saying.

Putting aside, Dr Chua’s unfortunate past event which he has admitted and apologized in public, he had garnered enough support from MCA delegates to demonstrate that he is relevant and needed by the party. Dr Chua, for many years has been seen as a grass root leader who works hard and has capability. This entire MCA “crisis will surely show the political influence that Dr Chua still wields in the party. His willingness therefore to reconcile is definitely gentlemanly and n the interest of the party.

I do not have much to say about the MCA central committee members who dramatically renegade on their support to OTK at the height of the crisis. This matter correctly should be left to the judgement of the MCA members and their delegates.

If OTK and Dr Chua really work together for the betterment of MCA, it is likely that MCA may emerge as the strongest component of BN as UMNO still has quite a bit of work to do internally as well as on its public perception of patronage, cronyism and umnoputraism.

As I have written before, I see OTK as a leader with a truly multi racial outlook while safeguarding the interests of the Chinese community. This will be consistent with the current UMNO leadership who are also moving towards that direction publicly. Further, this resolution of the crisis will earn the respect of the other component parties. OTK too must weigh his public pledge to resign against the larger demands of the general public who would like him to continue serving as the MCA president. The political climate does not allow for egos. OTK should do the right thing and remain as president to reform the MCA for the betterment of Malaysian political climate. Dr Chua, with his huge grass root following should be properly utilized too.

Peace !

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia???

An initiative called "Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia" (SABM) was officially launched recently by some concerned citizens. Had a long chat with Haris Ibrahim, one of the core founders of this initiative. Sounded good and relevant to the country. Sounded like a Malaysian project by Raperas. Here is the SABM charter that I lifted off their website. Read it for yourselves - and be the judge and make up your minds.

"Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Charter


Recognising that our beloved Malaysia is:

* A sovereign and independent member of the global community of nations;

* A polity founded on the principles of a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy;

* A multi-ethnic, multi-faith and multi-cultural society formed on the basis of a shared choice of membership;

* A country built and nurtured by the immeasurable efforts and invaluable contributions of all her people, past and present;

* A nation where her people are inextricably bound by a shared history, heritage, a common interest and destiny;

* A land blessed with rich natural and human resources.

And fully subscribing to the immutable and universal principle that we are all of a single human race and born equal;


We, Anak Bangsa Malaysia, hereby declare that we are first and foremost Malaysians and Malaysia is our Home. We aspire to be the conscience of the nation and therefore pledge to:

1. Nurture the spirit of ‘Unity is Strength’ as enunciated in our Merdeka and Malaysia Day proclamations;

2. Honour and Uphold the Federal Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land;

3. Defend the constitutional provisions of fundamental liberties and equal rights for all citizens;

4. Respect our fellow citizens irrespective of ethnicity, faith, colour, class or gender;

5. Oppose all forms of prejudice, discrimination, oppression, persecution and injustice;

6. Cherish our multi-cultural heritage and celebrate our rich diversity; and

7. Respect and safeguard our natural and built environment;


We, Anak Bangsa Malaysia, herewith undertake to:

1. Engender a National Mindset to think and act first and foremost as Malaysians;

2. Engage the Hearts and Minds of our people to rise above the social constructs and divisive forces of ethnicity, faith, colour, class or gender;

3. Promote the humanitarian Values of inclusiveness, equality and justice for all;

4. Advance the principles of Good Governance, namely, stewardship, integrity, accountability and transparency;

5. Educate our people to be responsible and caring Global Citizens contributing to peace, prosperity and sustainable development.

We are committed to actualising the spirit and substance of Anak Bangsa Malaysia – "One People, One Nation". Towards this end, we are determined to take this message to the PEOPLE.

25th April 2009".

Bagan Pinang - PAS rejected?

Of course there are a host of many reasons why PAS lost. Of course too that the group that lost may suddenly not think so well of the voters implying that they condone corrupt leaders. Some others from the camp that lost even go to the extent of accusing that the Malaysian voters like corrupt leaders. Whether that is so or not, I am sure cannot be judged by from one by-election. But the point is this - when they were winning, they acclaimed "people power". See? Politicians love double talk because what is important to them is only - to win elections. Not you or me - the People.

At least YB Lim Kit Siang was the only one it seems to suggest that Pakatan Rakyat should do some introspection.

But what I had intended to write was something else - Malays in Bagan Pinang rejected PAS. MALAYS. MUSLIMS. So, it appears that the Malay Muslim voters are not convinced of PAS's "Islamic" brand. They have said no to "pemerintahan ulama" ala PAS.

This in one sense is a good sign because it may mean that the "brand" of "Islam" cannot be easily commercialized or politicized by business and political opportunists. Malay Muslims are becoming more discerning when anyone who appears like pseudo Arab wants their attention in the name of Islam.

PAS even went alone in this by-election without PKR and DAP.In PAS language, "a purely Islamic campaign" without PKR and DAP! Itu pun kalah. So, it is clear that...tak lah wajib undi PAS! Melayu Bagan Pinang tak takut ke tak masuk syurga? Kan UMNO tu agama suku, politik suku? Seharusnya jadi macam pucuk pimpinan PAS, politik suku, thagut suku. (sahabat-sahabat saya dalam PAS, saya tidak maksudkan saudara-saudari. Kita tetap bersaudara sebagai saudara Islam dan umat manusia, Insha Allah).

Frankly, if I am in Bagan Pinang, I will reject PAS because I am a Muslim and I fear Allah swt. Kalau DAP...hmmm...boleh lah fikir-fikir sikit. Kalau PKR? Selagi ada ... tak payah lah! At least, in my view they do not distort Islam and YB Lim Guan Eng is working hard instead of showing off how religious he is.

I seriously think that we should pass laws that prohibit political parties from using religion as part of their name. Imagine, with PAS losing - Parti ISLAM seMalaysia - implies that Malay Muslims have rejected an Islamic party. Tak masuk akal langsung dan memberi gambaran yang salah terhadap Islam serta pengundi Melayu Muslim di Bagan Pinang.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Deepavali !!!

I wish all the HIndu visitors:


Saturday, October 10, 2009


The MCA Egm today came with with shocker. Datuk Seri Ong Tee Kiat was indeed very brave to go ahead with the resolutions, including the one that allowed the delegates to pass a vote of no confidence against him.

Indeed, by a margin f 14 votes, they voted no confidence in his leadership. This must come as a shocker to many, including me. I am sad as I know the man personally and I think he has done very well in his leadership. He is a multi-racial leader and very proactive in his actions. With this vote, it is left to see whether he will continue to lead the MCA as according to the party constitution, only two-thirds votes can remove the party President.

Chua Soi Lek is also not voted back in to the post.

The question is: who is this new "Third Force" in MCA and can it help consolidate Barisan Nasional?

Whatever the results, I salute your brother OTK for your willingness to walk your talk! Now, that is leadership!


Monday, October 5, 2009

YB Manoharan’s surprise Birthday Bash.

YB Mano, the State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah, was surprised to see many of his friends there. It showed on his face – and he certainly seemed touched. I have known Mano for many years as a cheerful, soft spoken, helpful and generally quiet guy (hence my surprise when he went into politics!). When his wife kindly invited me to the birthday dinner, I gladly accepted. It has been a habit every year for me to call his kids or the reverse to wish each other happy birthday because we share the same date! So when Mano was in detention under ISA, his kids were uppermost in my mind.

He was asked to say a few words. He thanked everyone present and recounted his experience in Kamunting detention camp. He said he was grateful to be able to celebrate his birthday with family and friends - as every citizen should be able to.

Mano cutting the birthday cake, flanked by his wife Puspha, daughter, Shivaranjini (12)and sons, Hariharan (12) and Ganendra (10). They looked very happy that night to have their father with them on his birthday.

There was a surprise announcement - the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu had dropped by to attend Mano's birthday party! Wow!

His mother and one of his sons, Hariharan.

Mano, may you and your family be always blessed. And may you serve the Nation well.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

ISA : Necessary Preventive Powers that any self-respecting Government should have.

This article was written by someone as a response to Tun Dr Mahathir's article on ISA on Che Det's blog.

ISA : Necessary Preventive Powers that any self-respecting Government should have.

by Ceylonese Lawyer

The nations that tout themselves with the most advanced of civilizations and who claim to have achieved the greatest degree of civility seem to be unable to let go of what they would regard as - the ultimate weapon- the nuclear bomb. The cold war is over. There is no enemy with missiles pointed at their civilian centers. Yet not a single leader in Western Europe or North America is prepared to say - that the time has come to destroy these weapons which may harm persons who have not been found guilty on a beyond reasonable doubt standard.

Perhaps they feel that the security of their people necessitates the retention of such an array of weaponry, despite the fact that its need has diminished and that its dangers have grown.

In our context, the danger of this nation being undermined by acts of instigation is real. These acts can, when viewed singularly be regarded as innocent enough- standing on a cow's head so what. But a combination of these acts coupled with the actions and reactions that follow will have as their probable consequence the fanning of racial and religious sensitivities. The momentum that such a spiral could gather would be so great and the results would be so horrifying that one can in hindsight even wonder how did something seemingly so innocent have caused such harm, pain and destruction. Who would have thought that a single assassination would plunge the world into World War I, who would have thought that a group of angry young men would force their way into government and pave the way to World War II as Nazis and facists, who would have thought that one of the two nations formed by a religous community - Pakistan would be plunged into an ever deepening darkness, who would have thought that the innocent socialist philosophies of a simple man would lead a nation to the killing fields.

Likewise if we reflect on May 13th or any other such event, it is difficult to pin point a cause, which is so definitive in character and purpose that it may be regarded as a crime. Yet the presence of such a combination of harmful ingredients necessitates action by any self-respecting government. ISA gives the government that power. This is not a power that can be relegated to a Court. A Court can act when there are criminal charges that may be proven on a prima facie basis and then on a beyond reasonable doubt standard. But when a nation is confronted with a latent threat, the power and the responsibility falls to its democratically elected government to exercise the ultimate power -ISA. That government then stands accountable to Parliament. But as a Government duly elected it has a solemn to prevent the untold harm that may otherwise unfold. As a democratic nation the government will be judged by its actions its honesty and its ability to hold its own in the court of public opinion.

As fate would have it, when the power of ISA is exercised and the threat is extinguished people can with hindsight contend cynically that the power was abused or that the harm was contrived and was never real. This is the burden of duty that a government will have to shoulder. We have to face the fact that when faced with a latent threat to security, the only way to prove to the world that the threat exists is to allow it to fester, to grow and to manifest itself. But can we chance that. What may seem to be an innocent enough caricature, sarcasm of rulers and religion can have untold consequences.

As a citizen, I am mindful of the peace that we enjoy and which we cherish and I would like my government to have at its disposal an instrument that will enable it to intervene and halt a threat to the peace. I would want my government to be able to do so without having to convince some judge that the threat is real. I voted for my government not the judiciary. When faced with such a threat it is my government I turn to. Look around us - can we not see how hard it is to build a peace and how easy it is to tear it asunder. There a nations in this world today that are not even the shadow of their former selves, there are nations who have become ungovernable and we now have a new jargon - "failed states". I suppose at that point there would be evidence beyond reasonable doubt that instigation had been a foot.

I don't know about the others - but I don't want my government to wait until then to realize that something is wrong.