Archive for April 7th, 2007

Abdullah’s “all-out war against crime” – for real or just empty rhetoric?

Abdullah all-out war against crime-for real or just empty rhetoric

The printed media yesterday carried screaming front-page headlines on the latest call of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi: viz: “FIGHT AGAINST CRIME: PRIME MINISTER DECLARES… ALL-OUT WAR” (New Straits Times), “Wage war on crime” (Star) and “ABDULLAH wants… All-out war on crime, terror” (The Sun).

Speaking at a special assembly at the Police Training Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Abdullah called on the police to battle crime and terrorism at all cost, in the same way their predecessors had successfully fought the communist threat in the past.

He said: “There will be no compromise in wiping out criminals and terrorists.

“We must battle them as aggressively as the police personnel who served in the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) during the communist era had fought to keep the peace and harmony of the country. There was no compromise by these policemen.”

As Abdullah’s call for an “all-out war against crime” came more than eight years after he was first appointed the Minister responsible for Police and more than three years as Prime Minister — the common response not only of ordinary Malaysians and MPs, but also the Police and Cabinet Ministers must be whether this is for real or just empty rhetoric?

Abdullah was first appointed Home Minister on 9th January 1999 by the then Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, who relinquished the Home Affairs portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle forced by national and international furore over Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s “black-eye” outrage, paving the way for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry which identified the then Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Rahim Noor as the perpetrator of the foul attack on Anwar in the Bukit Aman police lockup less than a month after being sacked as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

When he became Prime Minister on Oct. 31, 2003, Abdullah pledged that one of his top priorities would be to reduce crime to restore to Malaysians their fundamental right to be free from crime and the fear of crime, whether in the streets, public places or the privacy of their homes? Today, Malaysians feel even more unsafe from crime than when he became Prime Minister. Read the rest of this entry »


My Invitation to the Oxford Roundtable

My Invitation to the Oxford Roundtable

My invitation to The Oxford Roundtable
Azly Rahman

I received an invitation to be a member/participant of a roundtable on cultural diversity held at Britain’s oldest institution of higher education, Oxford University. I was nominated to be part of the group of selected 40 individuals from the American higher education system who will be discussing issues of race, ethnicity, poverty and religious intolerance in this hundreds of-years-old institution that has produced important Western scientists, philosophers, inventors and religious leaders.

I wish to thank that person/institution that nominated me. Through a series of notes I wish to share my thought on what I learned from the experience. I will also share visual data of what I will manage to capture. Here are some thoughts I will be bringing to the institution that symbolizes the intellectual epicenter of the British Empire.

Culture and transformation

I will be presenting thoughts on the idea of cultural change as it is impacted by globalisation and the rapidisation of technology. “Culture” has become an important debate in an age wherein boundaries continue to shift and peoples began to claim their rights as citizens of the country they are in, and the meaning of democracy is beginning to be understood. Culture, to me is not merely about the house we inhabit or merely the tools we use, but a combination of both and more than this, it is about the way we enrich the sense of humanism we embody.

I am reminded by what the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset said, “Man does not have nature… what he has is history.” This seems to be a notion of humanity worth exploring if our belief about human evolution takes into consideration how human beings take what is available from nature and transform the resources into tools and institutions, and then turn institutions into tools that will transform human beings into classes of people who have the power to turn less powerful others into machines or automatons who have lost their soul to the spirit of the machine. Read the rest of this entry »