Archive for category Islam

Rached Ghannouchi Q&A: Thoughts on democratic Islam

David Hearst – Peter Oborne
Middle East Eye
13 June 2016

MEE talks to Rached Ghannouchi after he presided over the separation of Ennahda’s religious and political activities

MEE: Ennahda has just taken a historic decision to separate itself from the mosque and to define itself purely as a political project. How do you define what you have done? Is it separation or specialisation?

RG: Its a continuation, not a rupture. Last week in the congress we adopted the idea of a civil party so that we can distinguish between what is sacred in Islam and what can be freely interpreted. The political field is not sacred nor immutable. It’s civic, human. It’s free for ijtihad or independent human reasoning. More than 90 percent of Islamic texts are open to interpretation and to nuance. We consider few texts as fixed or immutable. Many Muslims confuse the two kinds of texts and consider all texts as sacred and untouchable and only capable of bearing one meaning. The Islamic text concerning politics is open to interpretation, and this is the field in which we now act. We consider ourselves observant Muslims. We believe in Islam, that Islam came to Earth to liberate mankind, and to define the free person. Read the rest of this entry »

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Will Muslims lose their freedom of religion without hudud?

BY SYED JAYMAL ZAHIID
Malay Mail Online
June 19, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Assertions that Malaysian Muslims will be denied their constitutional right to practise Islam without hudud have no basis either in law or the religion, two scholars have said.

Hudud proponents, notably from PAS, seeking to sway Muslims to their side have long argued that the harsh Islamic criminal code is a divine law but Muslim intellectual Dr Chandra Muzzafar said it is not an integral component of the Quran.

“I do not think that if a society does not have certain forms of punishments, penalties for certain offences, it cannot be regarded as the criterion for determining whether the person is able to practise his or her faith,” the president of the International Movement for Justice told Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.

“The essence of faith in Islam is tawhid, which is the oneness of God and if you can live according to that principle in terms of the conduct of your life, I think you are living as a Muslim. Tawhid doesn’t include this notion of certain forms of punishments,” he added.

Tawhid in Arabic means believing in the oneness of God. It is the most crucial aspect of the aqidah (belief), which in turn defines a Muslim.

Tawhid is professed in the shahadah, which is the first of the five pillars of the Islamic faith. The other four are: performing prayers; helping the poor by giving alms; fasting in the month of Ramadan; and performing the Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca, depending on affordability.

As long as Muslims can observe the five pillars — and Muslims in Malaysia have been able to without interference — they are considered to be practising the religious lifestyle required of them in the Quran, Chandra said.

“As long as you are able to live an honest life, you’re upright, you are fair to other human beings, you can pray, you can fast, you can pay the zakat and perform the haj, I suppose you are able to live as a Muslim,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Three reasons why Dr. Rani Osman should withdraw as a candidate in Sungai Besar by-election to ensure that the AMANAH candidate Azhar Shukur can give a big blow to Najib and UMNO/BN to save Malaysia

At the Pakatan Harapan Majlis Iftar Perdana at Sungai Panjang earlier in the evening, the Selangor Mentri Besar and PKR Deputy President, Azmin Ali, declared his support for the AMANAH candidate, Azhar Shukor for the Sungai Besar parliamentary by-election on Saturday.

Azmin offered well wishes to the PAS candidate for the Sungai Besar by-election Dr. Rani Osman, who is also PAS Selangor Assemblyman for Meru, who was also present at the Iftar Perdana, expressing the hope that Rani “forges ahead with the determination that despotism must be dismantled”.

When the Sungai Besar by-election first became the subject of public discussion, the by-election was regarded as a contest between UMNO/BN and PAS, and Amanah/Pakatan Harapan was not in the reckoning.

We have past the half-way mark in the by-election campaign, and it is now very clear that the Sungai Besar contest is in fact between UMNO/BN and Amanah/Pakatan Harapan candidates, as PAS does not stand any chance of winning the seat.

In fact, I had publicly estimated that the PAS candidate would lose by some 10,000 votes in the by-election as compared to the PAS vote in the 2013 General Election result, a prediction no PAS leader dared to publicly challenge or refute.

The best way to “dismantle” the “despotism in Putrajaya” is to ensure that UMNO/BN is defeated in the Sungai Besar by-election, and the best way to ensure such an outcome is for Rani to withdraw from the Sungai Besar by-election to ensure a “one-to-one” contest in the by-election on Saturday.

There are three reasons why Rani should withdraw as a candidate in the three-cornered contest in the Sungai Besar by-election to ensure that the AMANAH candidate Azhar Shukur can give a big blow to Najib Razak and UMNO/BN to save Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »

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SUPP President Sim Kui Hian failed big time although he is treated like a “conquering hero” to save MCA, Gerakan and even UMNO in the two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar

SUPP President, Senator Sim Kui Hian failed big time although he is treated like a “conquering hero” to save MCA, Gerakan and even UMNO in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar parliamentary by-elections on Saturday.

This is the first time in 43-year Barisan Nasional history that the SUPP President is regarded like a “saviour” to MCA and Gerakan which had fallen on “bad times”, as the SUPP President had always been regarded by the MCA and Gerakan as a “little brother” and never as a “saviour” in BN history.

But Sim did not act like a “saviour” for MCA and Gerakan, or he should have spoken up for the MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan President, Datuk Mah Siew Keong who are afraid of losing their Ministerial posts by making it clear to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that the Ministerial motion in Parliament on May 26 to “fast-track” Hadi’s hudud bill is a fundamental breach of 43-year Barisan Nasional policy and consensus that hudud violates the Malaysian Constitution and not suitable for a multi-religious Malaysia where Muslims comprise 62% and non-Muslims 38% of the population.

Sim should have spoken up in support of the proposal that the Prime Minister and all the leaders of the 14 Barisan Nasional component parties should make a joint declaration three days before polling day, i.e. by 15th June 2016, to reaffirm the Constitutional principle and the 43-year Barisan Nasional consensus to reject Hadi’s hudud bill, as well as to state in no uncertain terms that the Ministerial motion by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was a great mistake as it violated the Constitution and the Barisan Nasional consensus and to ask for her resignation from the Cabinet.

Sim should have warned that if the fundamental principles of the Malaysian Constitution, the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and the 43-year Barisan Nasional consensus are allowed to be violated with impunity, it could lead to the disintegration of the Malaysian Federation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ismail Sabri, a book can wait, but let’s have one example a day until polling day – or five examples that I had been anti-Malay and anti-Islam in my 50 years in politics

Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday accepted my challenge to cite an example in my 50 years in politics to prove that I am anti-Malay and anti-Islam, and said that he can compile a whole book on the anti-Malay and anti-Islam speeches that I had made.

But he did not cite a single instance to back up his allegation.

Let me tell Ismail – a book can wait, but let’s have one example a day until polling day for the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections on June 18 or five examples that I had been anti-Malay and anti-Islam in my 50 years in politics.

He should have given one example yesterday. As he did not, he owes me one example. I await his one example a day until Friday i.e. five examples in all, which is not too much to ask, since he is talking about a book, presumably at least 100 examples!

I have been tickled to no end reading the fulmination of another UMNO Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who said that Tun Dr. Mahathir was just the DAP’s latest “warhorse”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Focus on reforms, not political hudud

— G25 Malaysia
Malay Mail Online
June 13, 2016

JUNE 13 — It is incredible that we have politicians and Islamic activists suggesting that only Muslims who are experts in religion have a right to discuss and comment on the shariah and hudud.

They should know it is normal in a democracy for citizens to take an interest in public affairs and to express their views freely.

As the recent tabling of the “hudud bill” is about amending an act of parliament and more importantly amending the constitution also, the public concern goes beyond religion and the Muslims.

This is a matter about the very foundation of our federation of 13 states and it is therefore an issue of grave concern to all races, including our citizens in Sabah and Sarawak.

The surprise manner in which the bill was allowed to be tabled has also alarmed the public that such an important matter was handled so frivolously.

The whole episode smells of a plot to take Malaysia on the road to an Islamic state. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pluralism remains critical to Malaysia

Opinion
Straits Times
JUN 10, 2016

Those fearing a creeping Islamisation of Malaysia reacted sharply when the government, led by the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), allowed Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) to table a Bill on hudud – the controversial Islamic criminal code. The debate over its widespread application, if legislated, has divided Malaysia’s multi-religious landscape.

That PAS should push for hudud is hardly surprising. The party’s insistence on Malaysia becoming an Islamic state governed by syariah law, including hudud, has constituted its core political mission for decades. What is noteworthy about the hudud Bill being on the parliamentary agenda is the signal of a possible convergence of interests between Umno and PAS – two Malay-based parties whose erstwhile electoral rivalry expanded space for multi-religious politics. Nominally, the Bill seeks to only enhance the present powers of syariah courts. The larger purpose behind it is the Islamisation of the country through the induction of hudud into the body politic. Read the rest of this entry »

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Challenge to UMNO Ministers to cite just one case that I had been anti-Malay or anti-Islam in my 50 years in politics or they should stop their politics of lies and hatred and focus on how to unite and build an united, great, just and prosperous Malaysia

The statement by the UMNO Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob in Sungai Besar is typical of the lies and politics of hatred spouted by UMNO leaders, even in this holy month of Ramadan.

Ismail accused former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir of working with a group who wants to reject Malay special rights and Islam, and said that if Mahahtir is “with Lim Guan Eng and Lim Kit Siang that speak for itself”.

I challenge UMNO Ministers to cite just one case that I had been anti-Malay or anti-Islam in my 50 years in politics or they should stop their politics of lies and hatred and focus on how to unite Malaysians of diverse races and religions in the country to build a great, just and prosperous Malaysia.

I can cite a list of the racist speeches by Ismail and other UMNO leaders, including Ismail’s infamous call to Malays last year to boycott Chinese businesses, but can they cite just one instance of my being anti-Malay or anti-Islam in my 50 years in Malaysian politics?

I do not think there is another political leader who had suffered more sustained and greater demonisation in the past 50 years than myself, as I had been accused of all sorts of dastardly and evil deeds especially through the Barisan Nasional-owned and controlled mainstream media.

I have been accused of being anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-Malay Rulers, anti-Chinese-educated Chinese, anti-English-educated Chinese, anti-Indian, an agent of Russian KGB, agent of American CIA, agent of British M16, agent of Australian Intelligence Services, and a host of unimaginable allegations.

I had been accused of causing the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur, of having led illegal processions through the streets of Kuala Lumpur hurling anti-Malay slogans and provocations and even urinating in the house of the then Selangor Mentri Besar, Datuk Harun Idris, in Kampong Baru in Kuala Lumpur, as was portrayed in the film “Tanda Putera”!

But I was never in Kuala Lumpur during the May 13, 1969 days as I had flown to Kota Kinabalu early on the morning of May 13, 1969 to help in the belated election campaigning in Sabah and Sarawak and I learnt about the tragic events of the May 13, 1969 riots in Kuala Lumpur when I was whispered the shocking news while speaking at a massive public rally at the Sabah capital. Read the rest of this entry »

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If the 14 BN component parties cannot issue a joint statement by June 15 to admit that Azalina’s Ministerial motion to fast-track Hadi’s Hudud bill was a great mistake and violation of BN principle and consensus, MCA and Gerakan should end their electoral fraud and withdraw the by-election slogan of “Vote BN to stop Hudud”

In the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangar parliamentary by-elections, MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders are going around with the slogan: “Vote BN to stop Hudud”.

This is the greatest electoral fraud in the nation’s history after what happened in Parliament on May 26, where the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said moved the Ministerial motion to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill motion.

Who did Azalina represent when she moved the Ministerial motion in Parliament? Herself, UMNO or the Barisan Nasional government?

MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers and leaders claim that Azalina moved the Ministerial motion in Parliament without MCA, Gerakan or MIC consent and that they never knew that Azalina was going to move the Ministerial motion.

Now Azalina has publicly said that she had not moved the Ministerial motion on her own initiative, but on the directive of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.

Did the MCA, Gerakan and MIC Ministers and leaders confront Najib and Zahid and demand a satisfactory explanation from the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister why Azalina violated Barisan Nasional consensus and discipline to move a Ministerial motion in Parliament on May 26 to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill when this violated the Barisan Nasional policy, principle and consensus since its formation in 1973 that hudud is not suitable for a multi-racial and multi-religious nation like Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »

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The DNA of the present MCA leadership is not only different from the DNA of DAP leadership, but have mutated and degenerated as compared to the DNA of the early MCA leadership

The MCA President, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai made a very immature and uninformed statement in Jerlun in the Kuala Kangsar by-election campaign when he said that PAS and AMANAH “share the same DNA”, and asked the voters not be duped by DAP once again.

Liow said that liberal factions do not exist within AMANAH or PAS, claiming that “there are only two factions in PAS and AMANAH – extreme or more extreme”.

It is sad that we have national leaders in government in a plural society who do not understand the struggle that is ongoing, not only in Malaysia but world-wide, between an open, broad-minded and inclusive understanding of Islamic politics and a closed, narrow-minded and exclusive exposition of Islamic politics.

In Tunisia, the Ennahda or Renaissance Party, a moderate Islamist political party which is the largest in the Tunisian Parliament, just held a historic national congress under its President Rached Ghannouchi pioneering the development of Islamic politics by separating its religious activities from political ones. Ghannouchi described Ennahda as a “political, democratic and civil party” although its point of reference remain rooted in the values of ancient and modern Islam.

It is worth noting that Tunisia, whose population is 99.8 per cent Muslims, does not have hudud.

One of the leaders of Ennahda, Said Ferjani, in a dialogue with DAP leaders during his visit to Malaysia last August, said ensuring peace and freedom of religion should be the priority in politics, especially among Islamists, even more than implementing hudud.

He refuted assertions that the Islamic penal code should be a prerequisite of faith, relating that even Prophet Muhammad did not implement hudud during his time as a state ruler.

What do we have in Malaysia? A revival of the hudud debate following the success of the Najib-Hadi plot in Parliament on May 26 to distract national attention from Malaysia’s first twin global financial scandals – the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal and the RM4.2 billion “donation” scandal of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rise of Malaysia’s ‘racist’ strain of Islam

By Lim Teck Ghee
9 Jun 2016, AM 10:05 (Updated 9 Jun 2016, AM 10:08)

COMMENT A recent article comparing the treatment accorded by the government and the larger Islamic community to two recent Muslim visitors notes that the question as to why preacher Zakir Naik and scholar Abdullahi An-Na’im and their messages are resounding differently with the Malay Muslim community is a crucial one for Malaysians to ask.

The contrast in the themes articulated by these two visitors in their lectures and public engagements cannot be more different.

That of the scholar is a vision of a more humanistic and intellectually more rational and defensible Islam. The other by the preacher stems from a conservative and extremist position. Based on advocacy of Islam as a superior religion, Zakir offers simplistic but popular – with the Muslim masses – opinions on topics such as dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders (LGBT) people and other non-Islamic minorities, apostasy, the treatment of other faiths in Islamic states, the evils of secularism, etc.

Similar questions have been asked by others as to why Islam in this country has taken a hard line position and turned its back on its traditionally moderate roots and associated Hindu-Buddhist values and mores. Read the rest of this entry »

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“Barisan Nasional consensus on consensus” on Hadi’s hudud bill – What is this strange animal?

There is now a new creature in the world – the “Barisan Nasional consensus on consensus” on Hadi’s hudud bill.

This new creature of “Barisan Nasional consensus on consensus” was born out of the betrayal of long-cherished principles and political positions adopted by Barisan Nasional leaders and component parties for over four decades, and its first appearance was announced to the world by the MCA President and Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai in Sungai Besar last night.

Liow told the press in his Sungai Besar by-election campaign trail in Sekinchan that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had given “positive” signals over the Barisan Nasional row in the past two weeks over Hadi’s hudud bill which was fast-tracked to leap over all official government business on the last day of Parliament on May 26 by way of a Ministerial motion which was moved by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Liow told the press that he had met the Prime Minister over Hadi’s hudud bill and conveyed the MCA’s view that the Barisan Nasional spirit and consensus must be respected and the Prime Minister had given “a positive response”.

The Gerakan President, Datuk Mah Siew Keong, confirmed Liow’s statement, saying that a Cabinet meeting today resolved that the Barisan Nasional leadership will discuss and reach a “consensus” on Hadi’s hudud bill.

Mah revealed that in the meeting with Najib and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi over Hadi’s hudud bill, it was agreed that there will be a discussion among Barisan Nasional leadership and a consensus decision will be made in accordance with BN spirit. Read the rest of this entry »

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Hudud merry­go­round again distracts an ailing nation

By Dzulkefly Ahmad
5 Jun 2016, 8:14 am
Malaysiakini

Sadly, our beloved Malaysia is now…

… a nation plagued with crippling perennial problems of gross endemic corruption, hefty embezzlement, wastage and widening income inequality….

… a nation virtually torn apart because of a deepening racial divide and religious intolerance due to bigotry…

… a nation whose critical institutions are chronically subverted by the powers-that-be, thus losing its cardinal role as check and balance on the separation of powers for effective governance …

And yet, despite all these gross failures of nation building, hudud, is once again taking centrestage in Malaysian politics. But why? Why was the Private Member’s Bill from Marang MP Abdul Hadi Awang allowed to be tabled?

To stand down all other government matters in the order paper, only to be told that the PAS president Hadi wanted the debate on the ‘motion/bill’ deferred, is simply nonsensical.

Any thinking Malaysian would realise that granting leave to amend the Syariah Court Act of 355 (Criminal Jurisdiction) and conveniently deferring the debate to a later session, smacks of mala fide. It’s a sinister political manoeuvring at best, and downright despicable at worst.

Unproductive never-ending debate
Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Chinese Chambers of Commerce, Chinese Assembly Halls, Chinese Guilds and Association to ask MCA and Gerakan to requisition emergency meeting of BN Supreme Council meeting before June 18 to resolve controversy over Hadi’s hudud bill instead of falling into MCA/Gerakan trap of postponing resolution until end of the year

MCA and Gerakan have been calling on Chinese Chambers of Commerce, Chinese Assembly Halls, Chinese Guilds and Associations to oppose Hadi’s hudud bill in Parliament at the end of the year.

This is a very subtle and sophisticated trap which Chinese Chambers of Commerce, Chinese Assembly Halls, Chinese Guilds and Associations should be vigilant and not fall into, as it would allow MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders to have the best of both worlds – “to have the cake and eat it”!

I call on Chinese Chambers of Commerce, Chinese Assembly Halls, Chinese Guilds and Association in Malaysia to ask MCA and Gerakan Ministers and leaders to requisition an emergency meeting of BN Supreme Council meeting before the two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar on June 18 to resolve the controversy over Hadi’s hudud bill instead of falling into MCA/Gerakan trap of postponing resolution until end of the year.

The threats by MCA and Gerakan Ministers that they will resign from Cabinet if Hadi’s hudud bill is passed in Parliament at the end of the year is now empty and meaningless as the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has revealed that it was the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Zahid Hamidi who gave her the order to move the Ministerial motion in Parliament on May 26 to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill.

The persons the MCA and Gerakan Ministers should confront are Najib and Zahid and no more Azalina. Read the rest of this entry »

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Now I understand why Liow and Mah dare not accept my advice that they requisition an emergency meeting of BN Supreme Council to reaffirm BN policy opposing Hadi’s hudud bill

Now I understand why the MCA President Liow Tiong Lai and the Gerakan President Mah Siew Keong dare not accept my advice, made freely and publicly over a half dozen times since May 26, that MCA and Gerakan should requisition an emergency meeting of Barisan Nasional Supreme Council to resolve once-and-for-all the Barisan Nasional spat caused by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Said Othman for her Ministerial motion in Parliament on May 26 to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill.

Liow and Mah’s reluctance had been all the more astounding as such a Barisan Nasional Supreme Council emergency meeting would be able to reaffirm the Barisan Nasional policy opposing Hadi’s hudud bill as it was the unanimous consensus of all the Barisan Nasional leaders on this issue in March 2015 which was reiterated in the Cabinet meeting of May 20, 2016.

Clearly, Liow and the other two MCA Ministers have not learnt from the lesson of MCA’s 2013 General Election debacle which reduced MCA from the second biggest Barisan Nasional party to a puny “7/11 party” (as compared to winning 28 MPs and 68 SAs in 1999 GE) – because MCA Ministers and leaders make fierce and ferocious statements and even threats all over the coutnry but behave like mice in Cabinet and Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meetings.

Hadi’s hudud bill is a classic case study of the cowardice, hypocrisy and opportunism of MCA Ministers and leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Assembly Hall and Federation of Chinese Guilds and Associations to put pressure on MCA Ministers to explain why they dare not requisition an emergency BN Supreme Council meeting to end “once and for all” the problem caused by Azalina’s Ministerial motion in Parliament to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill?

The response of the MCA leadership to my challenge whether MCA had learnt from the lesson of its 201 3 General Election debacle which reduced MCA from the second biggest Barisan Nasional party to a puny “7/11 party” (as compared to winning 28 MPs and 68 SAs in 1999 GE) is so predictable and characteristic that it could have been guessed in advance:

“All three MCA Ministers run for cover from the challenge, avoiding any response as the facts used are undeniable and incontrovertible – that at most only some 30 per cent of MCA’s million-strong card-carrying members voted for the MCA candidates in the 13th general election on May 5, 2013, as even the ordinary MCA members have lost confidence in the sincerity and trustworthiness of MCA Ministers and leaders. The task of responding to the challenge that the MCA leadership should requisition an emergency Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting to resolve one-and-for-all the problem caused by Azalina’s Ministerial motion in Parliament to fast-track Hadi’s hudud bill left to low-level MCA officials, who could make ferocious and even extreme statements which MCA Ministers and leaders can claim ignorance.”

This is exactly what happened in the past 24 hours – thunderous silence from the three MCA Ministers but ferocious and even irrelevant outbursts by some inferior MCA underlings, which can be completely ignored as even MCA Ministers dare not endorse them. Read the rest of this entry »

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MCA has not learnt the lesson of the 2013GE debacle which reduced it from second biggest BN party to a puny 7/11 party – MCA Ministers saying one thing outside but doing the very opposite inside Cabinet!

It is very clear that the MCA leadership has not learnt the lesson of its 2013 General Election electoral debacle which reduced the MCA from the second biggest Barisan Nasional party to a puny “7/11 party” – MCA Ministers saying one thing outside but doing the very opposite inside the Cabinet.

Just go back to the 1999 General Election – when MCA won 29 Parliamentary seats which is more than the total number of 28 Barisan Nasional parliamentary seats from Sarawak and the 2013 General Election where MCA won a miserable seven parliamentary seats, edged out as the second largest BN party with MPs by PBB which had 14 MPs and only one seat more than PRS which won six Parliamentary seats!

In 1999 GE, MCA had more MPs than all Sarawak BN parties combined, but in the 2013 GE, Sarawak BN MPs is more than three-and-a-half times that of MCA, with Sarawak BN MPs number 25 compared to MCA’s 7.

MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai recently revealed that MCA had over a million members, when maverick columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah announced that he was quitting as a MCA life member.

This would mean that only some 30 per cent MCA members had voted for MCA candidates in the 2013 GE. The total number of votes polled by MCA parliamentary candidates in the 2013 GE came to 867,851. Assuming that some two-thirds of these votes are UMNO votes, this would mean that MCA had only 280,000 to 300,000 MCA members voting for MCA candidates – which is 30 per cent or even less of the total MCA membership. Read the rest of this entry »

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Islamic law bill splits Malaysian cabinet

Jeevan Vasagar in Singapore
Financial Times
June 2, 2016

Ethnic Chinese ministers have threatened to quit the Malaysian government if a bill giving Islamic courts powers to impose tougher penalties is passed into law.

Critics of Najib Razak, the prime minister, say the bill is an attempt to distract attention from the 1MDB state investment fund scandal ahead of by-elections this month and a general election that must be held by 2018.

The bill, proposed by the Islamist opposition but fast-tracked last week by a government minister, will be debated in parliament in October. It comes at a time of concern over rising intolerance in Southeast Asia, a region once regarded as a model of religious coexistence. Read the rest of this entry »

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48-hour ultimatum to Liew and Mah to requisition for emergency BN Supreme Council meeting to resolve week-long spat over Azalina’s Ministerial motion in Parliament to fast-track Hadi’s bill or Malaysians have to conclude that the MCA and Gerakan Presidents were privy to Najib-Hadi plot

I am giving the MCA President Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong a 48-hour ultimatum to requisition for an emergency Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting to resolve the week-long spat caused by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Said Othman for her Ministerial motion in Parliament last Thursday to fast-track the Hadi’s Hudud Bill or Malaysians have to conclude that both the MCA and Gerakan Presidents were privy to the Najib-Hadi plot.

There can be no other reason for Liow or Mak not to requisition for an emergency BN Supreme Council meeting to resolve the BN spat over Azalina’s Ministerial motion, when Azalina had acted in violation of the consensus reached by all Barisan Nasional leaders on the same issue in March 2015 as well as the reaffirmation by Cabinet at its meeting on 20th May 2015 of a fundamental Barisan Nasional stand, whether through formal or informal discussion by Cabinet Ministers.

Furthermore, a BN Supreme Council meeting emergency meeting to reaffirm the Barisan Nasional stand not only of the BN leaders in March 15 last year, but of all UMNO Prime Ministers in Malaysia since Merdeka on the secular basis of the Malaysian Constitution, would have ended the BN spat on the Hadi bill without creating any artificial national crisis in polarizing Malaysians into Muslims and non-Muslims and distract the country from the real national issues in the country – whether Malaysia’s social and economic crisis over the nation’s first global financial crisis like the RM55 billion 1MDB and Najib’s RM4.2 billion “donation” twin mega crisis, losing economic competitiveness, fall in educational excellence in our educational institutions or growing economic inequality and injustices in the country.

If the agenda is not to resolve the Barisan Nasional spat over Azalina’s Ministerial motion but to allow the artificial national crisis over Hadi’s hudud bill to fester and ferment in particular during the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections, seeking in the process to make hudud the main issue in the two by-elections, then I can understand Liow and Mak’s refusal to requisition an emergency meeting of Barisan Nasional Supreme Council to end the controversy. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Myth of The Islamic State

by Bakri Musa
2nd June 2016

Emory University’s Professor Abdullahi An-Naim was recently in Malaysia and commented on the current hudud controversy triggered by PAS leader Abdul Hadi’s private member’s bill in Parliament. I re-post my earlier book review of An-Naim’s “The Myth of the Islamic State” that appeared in October 19, 2008:

The Myth of The Islamic State

Book Review: Islam And The Secular State: Negotiating The Future of Shari’a, by Abdullahi Ahmed An-Naim
Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA
324 pp, Indexed, US $35.00, 2008.

Every so often I would read a book that would profoundly affect me. I have yet however, to get two such books written by the same author, that is, until now.

In 1990 I came across a paperback, Toward an Islamic Reformation: Civil Liberties, Human Rights, and International Law, by Abdullahi A. An-Naim. I do not remember what prompted me to browse through let alone buy the book. Its cover design was nondescript, and neither its author nor publisher (University of Syracuse Press) was exactly well known. But bought the book I did, after scanning only a few pages.

Despite being only 255 pages, it took me awhile to finish it. I have read it over many times since. It is not that An-Naim’s prose is dense (far from it!) rather that the ideas he expounds are breathtakingly refreshing. They also appeal to my intellectual understanding of my faith.

That book resurrected my faith in Islam. Brought up under the traditional teachings of my village Imam, I had difficulty reconciling that with the worldview inculcated in me through my Western liberal education. The certitudes that had comforted me as a youngster were becoming increasingly less so as an adult. Read the rest of this entry »

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