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Ahad, 18 Mac 2012

The Spirit of Lubok Kawah/Semangat Lubok Kawah

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The Spirit of Lubok Kawah/Semangat Lubok Kawah


Kunjungan semula ke Felda Lubok Merbau

Posted: 18 Mar 2012 06:55 AM PDT

Jam 2.30 petang 14hb Mac 2012, saya kembali berkunjung ke Felda Lubok Merbau.  Sesuatu yang ingin saya lihat adalah pintu gate yang terletak di kawasan sempadan Felda Lubok Merbau itu.  Pada tahun 1985, apabila saya sampai di pintu gate itu, kereta saya telah ditahan dan tidak dibenarkan masuk.  Pegawai Felda yang menjaga di pintu gate itu berulang kali menyatakan bahawa beliau menerima arahan dari pihak atasan tidak membenarkan saya masuk ke Felda Lubok Merbau.

Saya semacam dihalau dengan kasarnya.  Dan pintu gate itu ditutup rapat.  Saya terpaksa berpusing ke belakang, dan saya merancang untuk tidak mengalah dan saya akan masuk juga ke Felda Lubok Merbau dengan apa cara sekalipun.

Beberapa jauh dari Felda Lubok Merbau itu saya terlihat Bendera PAS terpacak dihalaman sesebuah rumah.  Saya berhenti di rumah itu dan dapat bertemu dengan tuan rumahnya.  Dia adalah seorang ahli PAS, lantas saya memohon kerjasamanya untuk meminjamkan kepada saya seluar-baju kerjanya dan seliparnya serta topi kerjanya.

Setelah saya memakai pakaian itu, saya memohon untuk meminjangkan kepada saya motosikalnya.  Tidak ada sebab dia tidak beri setelah dia mendengar cerita dari saya dan saya juga meninggalkan kereta sayta di rumahnya.

Dengan menyamar sebagai seorang petani, saya menaiki motosikal pinjaman itu menghampiri semula pintu gate Felda Lubok Merbau.

Langsung saya tidak ditanyakan dengan apa-apa, pintu gate dibuka dan saya masuk ke Felda Lubok Merbau, dan saya merayau-rayau mencari rumah Sdr Ibrahim, seorang anggota PAS.  Saya bertemu rumahnya dan memperkenalkan diri saya.

Saya menukarkan semula pakaian pinjaman itu dengan pakaian saya yang saya bawa didalam beg plastik.

Saya berbincang dengan Ibrahim bahawa saya berhajat untuk mengadakan ceramah di Felda Lubok Merbau malam itu.  Pada mulanya Ibrahim menyatakan bahawa sukar nak diadakan ceramah kerana di Felda Lubok Merbau itu tidak ada ahli PAS, dan kalau diadakan juga tidak ada sesiapa pun yang akan hadir.

Tetapi diatas desakan saya, Ibrahim bersetuju mengadakan ceramah kelompok di dalam rumahnya.  Dia pinta izin keluar seketika dan apabila dia kembali ke rumah tersebut dia membawa seorang anak muda; anak muda itu adalah seorang kakitangan Felda yang bersimpati dengan perjuangan PAS.

Setelah berbincang dengan anak muda itu, dia keluar dan hampir 2 jam selepas itu dia kembali semula ke rumah Ibrahim.  Dia menyatakan bahawa dia sudah membuat lebih kurang 300 surat jemputan dan dia sudah edarkan kepada peneroka-peneroka.

Pada malam itu kami adakan ceramah kelompok di rumah Ibrahim.  Hampir 30 orang menghadiri ceramah itu, dan tidak ada penceramah lain selain dari diri saya seorang.  Tak sampai 30 minit saya berceramah mengenai isu-isu di rancangan Felda, tiba-tiba rumah Ibrahim sudah dihujani dengan kayu, batu dan tanah keras.  Saya terpaksalah berhentikan ceramah saya itu untuk mengelakkan serangan lebih ganas keatas rumah Ibrahim.

Walau bagaimanapun, hampir kesemua yang hadir pada malam itu mengisi borang keahlian PAS, termasuk seorang Bendahari UMNO Cawangan.

Tidak lama selepas itu berlaku kematian kepada Wakil Rakyat BN kawasan Padang Terap; PAS menyertai PRK itu dan saya ditugaskan oleh Ustaz Fadhil Nor supaya mengetuai Markas PAS di Felda Lubok Merbau.

Kami mendirikan Markas PAS di rumah Sdr Azraie, dan puluhan petugas-petugas ditempatkan di rumah Azraie.

Pengalaman berkempen di Lubok Merbau terlalu amat pahit yang pernah saya lalui.  Semua poster-poster PAS hanya dapat bertahan selama 5 minit sahaja sebelum dikoyakkan oleh petugas-petugas UMNO yang betul-betul ganas.

Petugas-petugas UMNO menunggu kami menaikkan poster PAS, dan apabila kami selesai, mereka akan bertanya kami, "Dah siap?" dan apabila kami jawab siap, mereka terus mengoyakkan poster-poster kami dihadapan kami dan terus membakar poster-poster itu.

Terkadangnya, apabila kami mahu menampalkan poster, petugas-petugas UMNO akan datang menghampiri kami, dan mencabar kami untuk bertumbuk.  Mereka datang dengan bilangan yang ramai berbanding kami yang hanya dalam jumlah yang kecil.

Bahkan semasa kami menampal poster, petugas-petugas UMNO datang dengan motosikal secara lajunya dan jika kami tidak mengelak pasti kami dilanggar mereka.

Demikianlah setiap hari semasa kami menjalankan kempen di Felda Lubok Merbau itu sehinggalah kepada suatu hari Dato Najib Tun Razak mengadakan ceramah di Balai Raya yang tidak jauh dari Markas PAS, dan beberapa orang kami bertugas menjaga poster-poster, kemudian kami terdengar jeritan bahawa petugas-petugas kami dipukul.

Dari Markas kami bergegas ke tempat kejadian, dan beberapa orang petugas-petugas PAS sudah tergolek dengan darah mengalir ke tubuh badan mereka.

Kami bawa kesemua yang cedera itu ke Markas PAS dan menghantar mereka ke Hospital, dan salah seorang dari yang cedera Ust Othman Talib telah meninggal dunia sebelum sempat dihantar ke Hospital.

Pada 14hb Mac 2012 saya pergi ke rumah Azraie, rumah Ibrahim dan rumah Pak Su.  Kami berpeluk-pelukan, mengeluarkan air mata mengenangkan peristiwa berdarah di Felda Lubok Merbau.

Saya mengeluarkan dua buah buku iaitu Peritiwa Bergambar Berdarah Felda Lubok Merbau dan Peristiwa Berdarah Felda Lubok Merbau.

Kedua-dua buah buku itu diharamkan oleh Kerajaan dan tidak lama kemudian saya ditahan dibawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA).

Apabila saya menjejak kaki semula ke Felda Lubok Merbau, banyaklah perkara yang saya ingin tanyakan kepada sahabat-sahabat yang masih ada.  Sebahagian dari rakan-rakan saya itu sudah meninggal dunia, termasuklah abang kepada Sdr Azraie,  beliau juga mendapat luka yang agak parah di mukanya.

Bersama-sama dengan pimpinan PKR Padang Terap yang diketuai oleh Sdr Zamri serta wanita PKR Pusat yang diketuai oleh Sdri Romlah dan rombongan saya terdiri daripada Rebin Birham, Man Kadir (Pak Jabit) dan Kak Hendon, kami melawat rumah ke rumah menyampaikan risalah-risalah; dan kami juga berkunjung ke kawasan kedai dan minum bersama-sama dengan anak-anak muda yang berkumpul dengan ramainya di kawasan kedai itu.

Pada malamnya kami mengadakan ceramah di rumah AJK PKR Cabang Padang Terap di rumah Sdr Mustafa.

Cukup berbeza dengan keadaan 1985 dulu, ceramah itu dihadiri oleh begitu ramai peneroka-peneroka dan anak-anak muda.  Sepanjang ceramah itu tidak ada gangguan serius berlaku walaupun ada juga limparan mercun dari jarak jauh dilakukan.


Menurut kata petugas-petugas PAS dan PKR di Lubok Merbau, kejadian-kejadian berat seperti berlaku pada tahun 1985 itu sudah tidak berlaku lagi.  Lagi pun, Pembangkang sudah mengumpulkan kekuatan di kawasan Felda itu, dan melihat kepada sokongan di kawasan DUN yang ditandingi oleh PKR itu, harapan adalah cerah bagi kawasan DUN itu ditawan oleh PKR.  Kawasan Parlimen Padang Terap adalah dibawah PAS.

R Sivarasa - Ahli Parlimen Subang

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R Sivarasa - Ahli Parlimen Subang


SRJK (T) - RRI

Posted: 18 Mar 2012 09:20 PM PDT

16th Mac, 2012

Sebaik sahaja kedengaran berita kerosakan yang dialami oleh Sekolah Tamil RRIM akibat ribut kuat pada akhir bulan Februari , 2012 yang lalu , beberapa usaha telah diambil untuk membantu membaikpulih sekolah ini dengan segera. ADUN Dr. Nasir Hashim dengan Ahli Parlimen YB Sivarasa telah melawati sekolah tersebut untuk mengenalpasti keadaannya . Kebanyakkan struktur bumbungnya telah rosak dan perlu diperbaiki diketiga -tiga blok bangunan sekolah satu tingkat ini .
Semasa ribut tersebut juga air hujan telah membanjiri kebanyakkan bilik darjah dan juga perpustakaannya . Bantuan segera dari Kerajaan Negeri Selangor telah dipohon dan suatu perjumpaan telah diadakan dengan Exco YB Dr. Xavier Jayakumar pada 6hb.Mac, 2012 . Setelah menerangkan masalah dan kerosakan yang dihadapi kepada Exco , beliau dengan serta merta mengumumkan bantuan RM 50,000 kepada sekolah ini .


Tambahannya pula apabila masalah keuzuran bangunan sekolah ini tersiar dalam berita email Pejabat ADUN Kota Damansara , maka beberapa pihak korporat juga telah menghulurkan bantuan untuk membantu para pelajar sekolah Tamil .

Sumbangan barangan bumbung dan 'hardware' bernilai RM 30,000 disediakan oleh sebuah syarikat pembekal hardware . Selain daripada itu sebuah lagi syarikat kontraktor swasta memberikan bantuan RM 10,000 dengan tenaga pekerjanya untuk menyiapkan kerja tersebut dengan secepat mungkin .
Kini kerja -kerja pembaikpulihan bumbung sedang giat dijalankan agar ianya dapat digunakan apabila sekolah bermula pada minggu hadapan .

Pada masa yang sama ADUN juga megambil kesempatan ini untuk memberikan bantuan kewangan kepada seramai 34 keluarga pekerja RRIM yang mengalami kerugian akibat ribut yang sama melanda kawasan ini . Beberapa rumah kehilangan bumbung dan kerosakan harta benda . Sebanyak 34 keluarga ini menerima RM 200 seorang dari Dr.Nasir Hashim ADUN Kota Damansara .

 

Jom Shopping - 17hb Mac 2012

Posted: 18 Mar 2012 08:29 PM PDT





YB Sivarasa sempat bersama Warga Mas dari kawasan DUN Bukit Lanjan untuk program JOM Shopping di GIANT, Kota Damansara.
Di bawah program Merakyatkan Ekonomi Selangor, warga mas yang berdaftar akan dijemput pergi membeli belah di pasaraya tertentu dan diberikan baucer bernilai RM100.


Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim


Najib Chickens Out on 2nd Invitation to Debate With Anwar, Using RPK as Excuse

Posted: 18 Mar 2012 05:37 PM PDT

Malaysia Chronicle

As expected, Prime Minister Najib Razak has once again chickened out on a televised public debate with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, this time disguising his perceived cowardice and flip-flop by using fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Earlier this month, Najib had tried to give the impression that he was reconsidering the debate offer, prompting Anwar’s PKR party to send a second invitation to his office. But until now, there has been no reply although Najib had written on his blog that he was willing to hold “civilized” discourse on meaningful topics.

Najib’s sudden ‘change of heart’ had followed criticism that his Umno party contained the most gutless leaders who did not dare put their money where their mouth were, and even BN compatriot MCA was better than it. MCA president Chua Soi Lek had at least dared to take on arch rival DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in what was tagged as “The Great Chinese Debate” last month.

“Manipulated shenanigan” to allow Najib to vindicate himself

Najib’s latest U-turn is bound to strengthen the people’s worst impression of his limpid leadership, especially amongst the the young professionals, many of whom are voters and want to see what Anwar and Najib each have to offer. A recent public survey too pointed out that more than 70% of this group wanted an Anwar-Najib debate.

“The whole of Malaysia can wait until the cows come home but Najib would never dare to take on Anwar. Najib has no vision, no ideas to offer – only public relations and gimmicks like RPK,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.

In a recent posting, RPK had called Anwar a ‘chicken’ for allegedly muscling him out of a TV program where the Opposition Leader was due to appear with WikiLeaks founder Juilan Assange. The pro-Umno RPK also said Anwar had no right to challenge Najib to a debate – better that Anwar debated him instead.

The Umno media immediately seized on these remarks, paving the way for Najib to attack Anwar for “inconsistency”. Critics, however, said the entire episode was a “manipulated shenanigan” and signaled Najib’s curtain call on Anwar’s debate invitation.

Pressure mounting for a reply

Indeed, it has been 2 weeks since PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution issued the second invitation and pressure is mounting on the PM to reply, especially with the 13th general election looming and the people keen to see what the two sides – government and opposition – could respectively offer.

But Najib would only latch onto the RPK remarks to justify and vindicate himself for ‘chickening’ out once again.

“It appears that he (Anwar) is not willing (to debate with Raja Petra),” Bernama reported Najib as saying. “Sooner or later, the people will question him over his inconsistency. We must be consistent. When we say we practise democracy and we are open, while deploring the government for not being democratic and open. But actually, if we look at their actions like barring some newspapers from attending their press conferences… Is this consistent with what they are preaching all this while?”

No surprisingly then that Najib came in for ridicule as RPK did for hypocrisy. Najib had taken over from former premier Abdullah Badawi in 2009. His administration is regarded as the worst ever, pockmarked by corruption, record number of flip-flops and unprecedented racism and racial bigotry.

“It is certainly not consistent for someone like Najib to accuse another person of inconsistency when he has made the most ever flip-flops of the 6 prime ministers we have ever had, including Mahathir Mohamad who ruled for 22 years,” said Jui Meng.

Kesatuan Pekerja MAS Bertindak Membawa Isu MAS-AA ke Parlimen

Posted: 18 Mar 2012 05:02 PM PDT

The Malaysian Insider

Kesatuan dan pertubuhan yang mewakili pekerja Penerbangan Malaysia (MAS) bercadang membawa usul melupuskan perjanjian usahasama antara MAS dengan Air Asia ke Parlimen ekoran perjumpaan dengan Perdana Menteri bulan lepas.

Tindakan tersebut akan mengetengahkan kepentingan politik yang tertera dalam perjanjian antara bekas pesaing, AirAsia dan MAS, di mana kesatuan mendakwa majoriti ahli kesatuan kini beralih kesetiaan kepada pihak pembangkang kerana ketidakpuas hatian terhadap perjanjian usahasama yang dimeterai.

Setiausaha Umum Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja MAS Semenanjung Malaysia (MASEU) Abdul Malek Ariff telah memberitahu The Malaysian Insider mereka akan menghantar memorandum sama yang telah diserahkan kepada Datuk Seri Najib Razak menentang pakatan MAS-AA kepada ahli Parlimen Barisan Nasional dan Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

"Langkah seterusnya adalah untuk bertemu YB-YB di Parlimen," beliau berkata.

Abdul mendedahkan bahawa Najib, semasa perjumpaan selama sejam dengan kesatuan, telah menyatakan beliau bersimpati dengan keluhan ahli kesatuan, namun perdana menteri belum lagi memberikan kata pemutus.

Pemimpin kesatuan itu turut mendakwa berikutan perjumpaan itu, perdana menteri telah membuat panggilan kepada pengerusi MAS, pengarah besar dan pegawai Khazanah Nasional Berhad tentang aduan bersama yang dibuat pekerja. Telah difahamkan bahawa pengarah besar Khazanah Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar telah berjumpa dengan Najib tentang aduan pekerja itu.

Abdul berkata MASEU bercadang untuk mendesak wakil-wakil politik untuk menghentikan kerjasama MAS-AA kerana "tidak adil" kepada MAS, dan turut menambah bahawa perjanjian itu telah menerima tindakbalas negatif daripada ahli kesatuan.

"Apabila Cawangan Khas (SB) memanggil saya bertanyakan bagaimana pekerja MAS akan mengundi kelak, saya kata dulu 50:50 tapi kini 90 peratus akan memilih pembangkang, " katanya. "Bila bercakap dengan para pekerja, mereka semua mengeluh tentang kerajaan."

MASEU, organisasi yang berpusat di Semanjung, mempunyai lebih 7,000 pekerja namun Abdul berkata tujuh lagi kesatuan dan pertubuhan mewakili pekerja MAS, pengurus dan juruterbang termasuk daripada Sabah dan Sarawak juga diwakili dalam memorandum, membawa kepada jumlah 13,000 hingga 14,000 pekerja.

Abdul berkata isu utama bagi ahli kesatuan adalah mereka "tidak percayakan" AirAsia.

"Perundingan pekerja sudah parah apabila kepercayaan sudah tidak wujud," beliau berkata.

Antara rungutan yang diketengahkan MASEU termasuk cadangan memotong gaji dan faedah pekerja sehingga 30 peratus dan kemasukan bekas pekerja AirAsia mengambil alih jawatan penting MAS.

The Malaysian Insider melaporkan pada 9 Mac bahawa Putrajaya akan mengkaji semula kerjasama berusia lapan bulan antara MAS dengan AirAsia setelah ia gagal menunjukkan sebarang kemajuan mahupun menaikkan semangat pekerja seramai 20,000 orang di penerbangan yang mencatat kerugian RM2.52 billion dalam 2011.

Kerajaan turut mempertimbangkan menswastakan MAS dengan mengarah pengurus asset negera Khazanah untuk membeli balik 20.5 peratus kepentingan saham yang diberi kepada Tune Air Sdn Bhd, pemilik majoriti Air Asia, yang ditukarkan dengan kepentingan 10 peratus dalam AirAsia.

Khazanah dan Tune Air telah bersetuju kepada pertukaran saham itu Ogos lepas, setelah empat percubaan memeterai perjanjian antara MAS dan AirAsia gagal.

Bank CIMB milik Khazanah menjadi penasihat dalam perjanjian itu, yang dilihat sebagai percubaan terakhir menyelamatkan MAS walaupun telah berlakunya program bantuan dalam 2001 yang dirancangkan badan perunding BinaFikir Sdn Bhd.

MAS mencatatkan kerugian tahunan paling besar pernah dialami, RM2.52 billion, bulan lepas, menyebabkan CEO MAS Ahmad Jauhari Yahya berkata penerbangan itu menghadapi "krisis".

Penerbangan itu berkata kerugian disebabkan kenaikan harga minyak, yang naik daripada US$95 setong pada 2010 ke US$133 setong dalam 2011.

Kerugian diluar jangkaan itu juga disebabkan peruntukan "one-off" seperti penghantaran semula kapal terbang, kemerosotan nilai kapal pengangkut dan stok lapuk.

MAS bercadang untuk memuktamadkan dan mengumumkan rancangan mendapatkan dana dan mengukuhkan lembaran imbangan.

Rancangan itu penting kerana penerbangan itu berhasrat mendapatkan 23 buah kapal terbang baru yang akan membawa kos kira-kira 6 billion.

Transcript of Rachid Ghannouchi’s speech at CSID-Tunisia on 2 March 2012 on “Secularism and Relation between Religion and the State from the Perspective of the en-Nahdah Party”.

Posted: 18 Mar 2012 04:59 PM PDT

In the name of God, prayers and peace be upon His Messenger, his household, companions, and supporters.

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters may God’s peace and blessings be upon you.

I thank the Centre for the Study of Islam and Democracy for giving me the opportunity this evening to speak to this distinguished elite of Tunisian men and women and those coming from abroad. I am not here to teach you anything, since the subject we are here to discuss has no set instructions to be delivered but rather only points of view to be deepened and efforts to reach a common ground that would enable our elite to reach a consensus or at least a quasi-consensus.

Our topic is quite problematic in the sense that it deals with the Islam’s relationship to secularism. Is this relationship one of conflict and disaccord or one of harmony and overlap? Related to this question are issues such as Islam’s relationship to governance, the relation between Islam and Law, which are all contentious matters.

It seems that when we speak of secularism and Islam, as if we are talking about evident and clear concepts. However, a non-negligible amount of ambiguity and multiplicity of understandings surround these concepts, in that we are not talking about ‘a’ secularism but rather a multitude of secularisms as is the case with Islam, by virtue of what is proposed in the arena, we are faced with various understandings of what it means.

Although secularism seems as if it was a philosophy and the fruit of philosophical reflections and meditations which came to fight idealist and religious outlooks, it is not so. Secularism appeared, evolved, and crystallized in the West as procedural solutions, and not as a philosophy or theory of existence, to problems that had been posed in the European context. Most of these problems emerged following the Protestant split in the West, which tore apart the consensus that had been dominant in the Catholic Church, and imposed the religious wars in the 16th and 17th century. It was thus that Secularism and/or secularization began.

This leads us to ask the following question: are we in need of secularism in its procedural aspect? Perhaps the most important idea in the ensemble of these procedures is the idea of the state’s neutrality i.e. towards religions and its abstention from interfering with people’s consciences. Whereas, the state’s scope or jurisdiction is limited to the ‘Public Domain’, religion’s scope extends to the ‘Private’. In the United States religious interference in the public domain is evident, despite the differentiation that exists there remains a significant religious influence. Their leaders’ speeches are laden with religious content and references, and religion is debated in all electoral campaigns where it manifests itself in issues such as prayer in schools and abortion. This in reality is due to the fact that America was founded by evangelical pilgrims fleeing with their religion from the Catholic Church’s persecution in Europe. It is for this reason that the U.S. is looked at as the Promised Land, the land of dreams mentioned in the Torah and Gospels.

As the Franco-American thinker Tocqueville once remarked that the Church is the most powerful party in the United States. This is by virtue of the huge influence that it enjoys, though this is not the case in Europe. Whereas the number of those who can lead prayer in the US exceeds 50%, in Europe it does not reach 5%.

In the European context, also, there are differences in the state’s relationship with religion between the French heritage and Anglo-Saxon one, whereby in the UK the Queen combines the temporal and the religious powers. The complete separation is the one that is associated with the French experience, which resulted from the clashes that took place in French history between the revolutionaries’ state and the Catholic Church. Even in Europe, therefore, we are not dealing with one experience in secularism, perhaps for our purposes, since our elite is influenced by the particular French perspective (particular even for Europeans) where religion is totally excluded from the public sphere and the state considers itself as the sole guardian of national identity. This exclusion of the religious and its symbols from the public domain is what lead France to be the only country that refused the covering of heads for Muslim women, while we don’t see such a crisis in any other European country over the issue of headscarves. This is exclusively due to the particular nature of the relationship between state and religion in France which was the result of a particular historical experience.

We in turn are not faced with one understanding; perhaps the most important procedure invented by the secular worldview on this level is the state’s neutrality. In other words, the state is the guarantor of all freedoms be them religious, political or otherwise. And the state should not interfere in favor of this or that party. We pose the following question now: Is Islam in need of such a procedure? i.e. the state’s neutrality towards the various religions.

Islam, since its inception, has always combined religion with politics, religion and state. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was the founder of the religion as well as the state. The first pledge of allegiance made by the group of Madina who came to Mecca was a religious pledge to believe in Allah and his Messenger. But the second pledge was to protect the Muslims, even by sword, should al-Madina be attacked. Al-Madina, and this expression is of the utmost importance, used to be called Yathrib before becoming Al-Madina (The City) which implies that Islam is not merely a religion but also carries a civilizational meaning. It is a transferring of people from Bedouin life to urban/civilizational life. This is why ‘Bedouinization’ was considered a great sin once urbanization had been achieved. No wonder then that wherever Islam went it established cities and our country hosts the oldest city built by Arabs in North Africa. Therefore, The City founded by the Prophet (pbuh) is a clear indication that Islam is a religion of civilization, whereby it shifted those warring tribes from a Bedouin level to a civilized one and united them around a state.

The Prophet (pbuh) was a an imam in the religious sense as he lead prayers in mosques, and at the same time a political imam that arbitrated people’s disputes, lead armies, and signed various accords and treaties. Of relevance to us is the fact that upon his arrival to Medina he established a mosque and put in place a constitution that was called Al-Sahifah. You have precedents here Mustapha! [In reference to Mr Mustapha Ben Ja'afar, President of the Constituent Assembly, who was present in the audience]. This Sahifah, which is one of the oldest constitutions in the world, contained a bundle of covenants regulating the relations between Meccan immigrants and their hosts (these were considered as one nation) and the Jewish tribes of Madina (also considered a nation). Al-Sahifa considered these two religious nations as comprising one political nation and entity that is distinct from others. The most important concept offered by such scholars as Muhammad Salim Al ‘Awwa and Muhammad ‘Umar is the distinction between the religious and the political as corresponding to the separation between state and religion.

The distinction between that which is political and that which is religious is clear in the Sahifah in that Muslims are a religious nation (ummah) and the Jews another, but the combination of the two plus other polytheists made up a nation in the political sense. This distinction can be witnessed in the Prophet’s dealings even if the boundaries were not always clear. Whereas the religious is the sphere of observance and obligation, the political is the sphere of reason and Ijtihad. At times when the ambiguity confused the companions, they would ask the Prophet (pbuh) whether this is divine revelation (wahy) or a mere opinion. In the case of the former they would obey, and when it is the latter they may differ and offer alternatives. On more than one occasion did the companions differ with the Prophet (pbuh) in his capacity as the head of state, and Sheikh Tahar Ben Ashour has dealt in detail with the topic of what he called ‘Prophetic Statuses’.

One day the Prophet (pbuh) passed by a group in Medina cross-pollinating palm trees and said: ‘I do not see the benefit of doing so.’ The Medinan people thought that that was divine revelation and stopped treating their trees which made their harvest of that year of a lesser quality. They asked him why he ordered them to do so, and he replied: you are best placed to know what is beneficial for you in your worldly affaires. Therefore, it is not the duty of religion to teach us agricultural, industrial or even governing techniques, because reason is qualified to reach these truths through the accumulation of experiences. The role of religion, however, is to answer the big question for us, those relating to our existence, origins, destiny, and the purpose for which we were created, and to provide us with a system of values and principles that would guide our thinking, behaviour, and the regulations of the state to which we aspire.

So, Islam since its inception and throughout its history has not known this separation between state and religion in the sense of excluding religion from public life. And Muslims, to this day, have been influenced by Islam and inspired by its teachings and guidance in their civic life, with the distinction remaining clear. This distinction between the religious and the political is also clear in the thought of Islamic scholars/jurists. They have distinguished between the system of transactions/dealings (Mu’amalat) and that of worship (‘Ibadat). Whereas the latter is the domain of constancy and observance i.e. reason cannot reach the truth, the former is the domain of searching for the general interest, for Islam came to realize people’s interests as confirmed by such great jurists as Al-Shatibi and Ibn ‘Ashour. These scholars have agreed that the highest objective of all divine messages is to establish justice and realize people’s interests, and this is done through the use of reason in light of the guidelines, objectives, values, and principles provided by religion. Thus, there is a domain of transactions/dealings which is constantly evolving and represents the sphere of variables, and there is the domain of creed, values, and virtues which represents the sphere of constants.

Throughout Islamic history, the state has always been influenced by Islam in one way or another in its practices, and its laws were legislated for in light of the Islamic values as understood at that particular time and place. Despite this, states remained Islamic not in the sense that their laws and procedures were divinely revealed, but that they were human endeavours open to challenge and criticism. States have also practiced a degree of neutrality, and when they tried to interfere and impose one understanding on Muslims, as happened in the Abbasids state, it sparked revolution. It is mentioned that al-Mansour had become concerned with the multitude of religious views and interpretations emanating from the same religion and feared their divisive effect on the state. So he sent for Imam Malik and asked him to amalgamate all these in one to unify people’s outlooks. Imam Malik produced his famous book al-Muwatta’, with which al-Mansour was greatly pleased and wanted it to become a law that binds all Muslims. This horrified Imam Malik and asked for it not to be made so, because the Prophet’s companions have travelled to different lands and took with them much knowledge, so allow people to choose what they see fit. This is why we see that one school of thought is dominant in the Maghreb, while another is so in the Levant, and yet another in Egypt…etc

It is due to the absence of a church in Islam that what remains is the freedom of thought and interpretation. This will naturally lead to a diversity in interpretation, and there is no harm in that except when we need to legislate, at which time we are in need of a mechanism, and the best mechanism that mankind has come up with is the electoral and democratic one which produces representatives of the nation and makes these interpretations a collective as opposed to an individual effort. Again, in the absence of a church representing the sacred on earth and a spokesperson of the Qur’an, the nation is the only manifestation of divine will through its interactions and not any particular scholar, party, or state.

When al-Ma’moun (Abbassid Caliph) wanted to impose one interpretation of the Quran and one particular understanding of Islamic creed (that of the Mu’tazili school), Imam Ahmed Ibn Hanbal revolted and refused the state’s attempt to dominate religion. This lead to him being persecuted and tortured, but in the end he managed to turn public opinion against the state and force al-Ma’moun to cede.

While the problematique in the west revolved around ways of liberating the state from religion and lead to destructive wars, in our context the problem is one of liberating religion from the state and preventing it from dominating religion, and keeping the latter in the societal realm, open to all Muslims to read the Qur’an and understand it in the manner that they deem appropriate, and that there is no harm in the plurality that is combined with tolerance. But should Muslims be in need of laws, the democratic mechanism is the best embodiment of the Shura (consultation) value in Islam.

It is of the utmost importance that our heritage is devoid of a church. Maybe only our Shi’ah brothers hold the belief in a religious institution, but in the Sunni world there is no such a thing save for a council of scholars which are usually in disagreement and hold different views. For this reason, we are in need of scholars and intellectuals to debate and study our issues in a climate of freedom and accept that the legislative institution is the ultimate authority by virtue of being elected.

There is a debate that is currently ongoing in our country between secular currents which may be described as extremist and Islamist ones which may be described in like manner. One would like to impose their understanding of Islam from above using state tools and apparatuses and the other aspires to strip the state, educational curricula, and national culture of all Islamic influences. At a time when the whole world, including the Islamic world, is witnessing a religious awakening, and having seen the role played by the Catholic Church in the development of Eastern Europe, starting with the efforts of Pope John Paul II, and also the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in the success of Putin’s presidential campaign. At such a junction in time, it is unreasonable to object to religious influence on the state’s cultural and educational policies. In fact, we do not need do impose Islam because it is the people’s religion and not the elite’s, and Islam has not endured for so long because of states’ influence but rather due to the large acceptance it enjoys among its adherents, in fact the state has often been a burden on religion.

As I said, many of those who belong to the Islamist current and others fear the religion’s emancipation from the state to be left as a societal matter. Why does the state train Imams? Why does it control mosques?

The issue of the state’s neutrality involves a great deal of risk and adventure. If what is meant by the separation between religion and state is that the state is a human product and religion a divine revelation as the distinction was made clear in the context of the early Muslims between the realm of revelation (wahy) and what was the realm of the political, then it is ok. But if what is mean is the separation in the French sense or in accordance with the Marxist experience then we may engage in a dangerous adventure that may harm both religion and state. The total stripping of the state from religion would turn the state into a mafia, and the world economic system into an exercise in plundering, and politics into deception and hypocrisy. And this is exactly what happened in the Western experience, despite there being some positive aspects. International politics became the preserve of a few financial brokers owning the biggest share of capital and by extension the media, through which they ultimately control politicians.

In this context, people are deeply in need of religion and its spiritual and moral guidance which would enable them to distinguish between right and wrong (halal and haram). And in the absence of a Church that monopolises the definition of what is halal and haram, this task is left to be debated by the elite of thinkers, the people and the media.

Should religion be entirely emancipated from the state and politics, this would also carry some risks whereby things would get out of control and social harmony would be endangered. The way to do it, therefore, is to find a balance that would guarantee people’s freedom and rights, because religion is here to do exactly that. To achieve this balance, we need to go back to the issue of distinguishing between religion and politics and adjust the parameters of what is constant in religion and that which is variable. We need our legislators to be well acquainted, educated and versed in religious values, so that when they are legislating they do not require the tutelage of religious scholars and authorities, and the same goes for politicians. There is no value to any religious observance that is motivated through coercion. It is of no use to turn those who are disobedient to God into hypocrites through the state’s coercive tools. People are created free and while it is possible to have control over their external aspects, it is impossible to do so over their inner selves and convictions.

This is exactly why we saw two models in dealing with issue of the headscarf/veil, the first is a veil that is dictated and imposed by the state and the second is a veil forbidden by it. Once I was in a Muslim country’s (in reference to Saudi Arabia?) airport where all women were covered, but as soon as the plane took off the veils flew away with it. This is a clear failure of that country’s educational system, which was unable to guarantee people’s religiosity except through coercive tools. In Ben Ali’s Tunisia, women were forbidden from wearing the veil and express themselves in whatever appearance they saw fit, also through the state’s coercive means. This was also a failure.

The primary orbit for religion is not the state’s apparatuses, but rather personal/individual convictions. The state’s duty, however, is to provide services to people before anything else, to create job opportunities, and to provide good health and education not to control people’s hearts and minds. For this reason, I have opposed the coercion of people in all its forms and manifestation and have dealt with such controversial topics such as al-Riddah (apostasy) and have defended the freedom of people to either adhere to or defect from a religious creed, based on the Qur’anic verse that says: ‘there is no compulsion in religion’.

There is no meaning in forcing people to become Muslims, the Muslim nation has in no need for hypocrites who manifest belief and conceal disbelief. Freedom is the primary value through which a person adheres to Islam, so he who announces his shahadatayn (‘I declare that there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his final Messenger’) does so on the basis of free choice underpinned by awareness and conviction. In this manner, the state is Islamic insofar that it assures its actions are in accordance with Islam’s values without being subjected to the tutelage of any religious institution for there is no such a thing in Islam. Rather there is a people and a nation who are the decision makers through their institutions.

When the Meccan people objected to Muhammad’s religion, he asked them not to interfere with his preaching activities and to allow him the freedom to communicate his message to the people. Had the Meccans accorded the Prophet (pbuh) the freedom of expression, he would not have immigrated and left his homeland. But because his message was so powerful, they could not offer an alternative to counteract it. This is why Muslims consider Islam’s proof to be so powerful that there is no need to coerce people, and when the voice of Islam proclaims ‘Produce your proof if ye are truthful’ this challenge is being proposed at the heart of the political and intellectual conflict.

Thus, the greater part of the debate taking place nowadays in our country is a misunderstanding of such concept as secularism and Islam. We demonstrated that secularism is not an atheist philosophy but merely a set of procedural arrangements designed to safeguard the freedom of belief and thought as Abd al-Wahhab al-Masiri distinguished, in his writings, between partial and total secularisms. An example of the latter would be the Jacobin model in French history. In their war on priesthood, the Jacobins’ raised the following slogan: “strangle the last king with the entrails of the last priest.” This is a French specificity and not the absolute definition of secularism. There is also an ambiguity regarding Islam, for there are those who believe that Islam can only be victorious by confiscating people’s freedom and imposing prayers, fasting, and the veil through force. This would be far from being a success, for Allah Almighty had considered hypocrisy to be the greatest crime, and the hellfire to be the eternal abode of Hypocrites.

The fact that our revolution has succeeded in toppling a dictator, we ought to accept the principle of citizenship, and that this country does not belong to one party or another but rather to all of its citizens regardless of their religion, sex, or any other consideration. Islam has bestowed on them the right to be citizens enjoying equal rights, and to believe in whatever they desire within the framework of mutual respect, and observance of the law which is legislated for by their representatives in parliament.

This is my understanding of things, and my view with regards to Islam’s relation to secularism. I hope that I have touched on the main issues, and I thank you profusely for your attention.

Transcripted and translated by: Brahim Rouabah/CSID

Penjualan Maju Expressway: Geran Bernilai RM976.7j Perlu Dipulangkan Kepada Rakyat

Posted: 17 Mar 2012 10:57 PM PDT

Malaysia Chronicle

Saya mengikuti dengan rapat penjualan konsesi Lebuhraya Kuala Lumpur-Putrajaya oleh Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd kepada EP Manufacturing Berhad dalam urusniaga yang dilaporkan bernilai RM1.7 bilion.

Ini menimbulkan keraguan serta merta memandangkan pembinaan lebuhraya tersebut menggunakan dana awam yang besar melalui geran kerajaan bernilai RM976.7 juta. Kos keseluruhan lebuhraya tersebut dianggarkan bernilai RM1.32 bilion dan sebahagian besarnya dibiayai oleh rakyat melalui geran RM976.7 juta yang diberikan kerajaan kepada Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd. Selain geran tersebut, saya menganggarkan suntikan dana yang dibuat oleh Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd hanyalah sekitar RM60 juta (iaitu 4.5% dari kos keseluruhan) kerana ia turut meminjam RM370 juta dari institusi kewangan.

Oleh yang demikian, penjualan berjumlah RM1.7 bilion ini akan memberi durian runtuh kepada Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd sekiranya geran oleh kerajaan berjumlah RM976.6 juta tidak dikembalikan. Jika ini berlaku, selepas membayar hutang institusi kewangan berjumlah RM370 juta, bermakna Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd bakal membuat keuntungan berjumlah sekitar RM1.33 bilion sedangkan modal pelaburannya dianggarkan RM60 juta sahaja.

Kembali dana rakyat

Saya mendesak Perdana Menteri selaku Menteri Kewangan mengesahkan sama ada Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd akan mengembalikan dana rakyat sejumlah RM976.7 juta itu, kerana jika tidak ia menimbulkan lebih banyak persoalan yang akan terus menaikkan kemarahan rakyat?

Jika keuntungan RM1.33 bilion itu disimpan oleh Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd, apakah perjanjian di antara Perdana Menteri dengan pemilik Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd yang diketahui umum penyokong kuat UMNO? Adakah wujud persefahaman agar keuntungan atas angin yang merampas dana rakyat itu akan disalurkan kembali kepada UMNO sebagai dana pilihanraya?

Sejak akhir-akhir ini, keghairahan Perdana Menteri meluluskan urusniaga melibatkan kroni UMNO/Barisan Nasional bernilai berbilion ringgit menguatkan syak wasangka rakyat bahawa harga yang tinggi yang dikenakan kroni merugikan rakyat. Tambahan pula, urusniaga dalam serba kerahsiaan dan tiadanya ketelusan boleh menguatkan lagi wasangka rakyat itu.

Penjualan konsesi lebuhraya ini adalah urusniaga yang kedua dalam masa sebulan yang membelakangkan kepentingan rakyat, selepas pembelian aset dan perniagaan Ananda Krishnan oleh dana 1MDB yang dikawal sepenuhnya Perdana Menteri berjumlah RM8 bilion, walaupun 1MDB tidak pernah ada sebarang pengalaman di dalam industri penjanaan tenaga.

Jumlah dana rakyat yang terlibat sebanyak RM976.6 juta itu adalah empat kali ganda lebih tinggi dari dana yang membabitkan NFC. Perdana Menteri mungkin berfikiran beliau boleh mendiamkan diri mengenai NFC, tetapi sudah tentu jumlah dana rakyat sebesar RM976.6 juta ini memerlukan jawapan dari beliau memandangkan urusniaga tersebut tidak boleh berlaku tanpa kelulusan beliau sendiri sebagai Menteri Kewangan.

MOHD RAFIZI RAMLI
Pengarah Strategi KEADILAN

Wee Choo Keong

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The “sit-in” protest in the office of MAS Italy

Posted: 18 Mar 2012 07:48 AM PDT

Updates at 1:40 am 19-3-2012: Yours truly has been informed by reliable sources that the recruit of the Rashdan’s “new airlines”, MAS Sdn Bhd, has begun in earnest. Most probably this must have been “recommended” by his preferred Mat Salleh consultant, PlaneConsult, which is also the consultant for AirAsia and AirAsia X Sdn Bhd.  If [...]

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