In The Spirit of Eid ul Fitra

By M. Bakri Musa

I applaud Prime Minister Najib Razak for releasing five more prisoners held under the unjust and abominable Internal Security Act (ISA). That he did it in the last Ashra (ten days) of Ramadan, and within days of Hari Raya, captures best the true spirit of Ramadan and the generosity of Eid ul Fitra.

Najib’s generous gesture illustrates another important point. Leaders do not need to resort to catchy slogans or grandiose gestures in order to demonstrate the greatness of our faith. His releasing the prisoners (this latest group of five, plus the earlier 13 set free on his assuming office and the 16 a few weeks later) did more to enhance the image of Islam than all the pontifications of his predecessor and self-styled Imam of Islam Hadhari, Abdullah Badawi. Abdullah’s frequent recitations of the ideals of Islam notwithstanding, he did not release a single prisoner during his tenure.

The only sour note to this latest action was the idiotic (what else is new?) comment by Home Minister Hishammuddin. He threatened “to fill Kamunting to the brim” if that was what it would take to protect the nation’s security. Despite his long years in government he has learned nothing; he still has the same perverted priorities.

Hishammuddin and others of his persuasion must be reminded over and over, for they are prone to forget, that the greatest threat to our nation’s security, and indeed our well being, remains our corrupt and ineffective institutions, including and especially the police and the anti-corruption commission. Both agencies are under Hishammuddin’s direct purview.

Two of the five just released had been detained for nearly eight years. That is a very long time to be deprived of one’s freedom, and to be away from one’s loved ones. It is well to remember that one of the purposes of Ramadan is to remind Muslims to feel for the pains of hunger of those less fortunate. In this regard, the wife of one of the men released, Mat Sah, had dutifully blogged (Merah Hitam: the sufferings she and her son Suhaib endured during the nearly eight years that the family was without a husband and a father.

I suggest that Hishammuddin and others who favor the ISA read her blog. If their conscience is not at all pricked by the running accounts of this young mother, then I suggest that they read Kassim Ahmad’s The Second University: Detention Under the ISA, and Syed Hussin Ali’s Two Faces: Detention without Trial.

If Hishammuddin is still not persuaded as to the evilness of the ISA, then I respectfully suggest that he is not entitled to be the beholder of the title “Yang Berhormat,” let alone be a minister in charge of such an important portfolio.

For every individual the government sends to Kamunting without affording him or her due process means a failure of our security apparatus and other institutions. Had our institutions, especially our intelligence gathering and law enforcement agencies been effective, we should have been able to secure enough evidence to charge and convict them.

We are told that there are nine more still detained under the ISA. Until they too are released, or charged in open court, their detention will remain a blemish on the nation’s record. Nor should we remain quiet as to their plight, for the authorities are only too eager to read our silence as tacit approval.

We should not rest or take comfort until Kamunting is emptied and the ISA repealed.

One of those still detained is a fugitive from Singapore, Mas Selamat. Hishammuddin should entertain an extradition application from that republic. If nothing else that would give us an opportunity to evaluate the conviction of Mas Selamat down there.

If Hishammuddin feels strongly that the current detainees are a threat to Malaysia’s security then he should share the evidence he has with us and be prepared to charge them in court. Like his many predecessors, Hishammuddin has not demonstrated any credibility for us to believe merely his utterances.

Those citizens were deprived of their basic dignity and human rights by the decision of one man: the Home Minister. There is no provision for a judicial or other review of his pronouncement. His word is supreme. In our faith, only Allah has that power.

That is an awesome responsibility to put on any human being. Only the reckless and conscienceless would shoulder that responsibility lightly and thus would make flippant comments as wanting “to fill Kamunting to the brim.”

In the words of the Sudanese reformist Mahmoud Mohamad Taha (1909-85), “No person is perfect enough to be entrusted with the liberty and dignity of others.” Hence we need an effective system of checks and balances to minimize the risk of miscarriage of justice.

Tradition has it that once while Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., was leading a prayer, there was some confusion over the verse he had recited. After the prayer he turned to his companion Umar and inquired, “Where you present with us [during the prayer]?” When Umar replied in the affirmative, the prophet then asked him, “Why then did you not correct me?”

Muslims rightly regard Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., as the embodiment of the perfect human being. Our leaders and ministers are far from that. Thus we must not be fearful of or even hesitate in correcting our leaders when we think they have gone astray. The sooner we do this the less likely they would lead us further down the wrong path.

It is also incumbent upon leaders to straighten those under them who have strayed or demonstrate a tendency to do so. In releasing this latest batch of ISA detainees, Najib Razak demonstrated best the spirit of generosity and forgiveness that is the essence of Ramadan and Eid ul Fitra. He should not hesitate to correct the waywardness of those under him, beginning with his cousin and Home Minister Hishammuddin.

  1. #1 by Joshua on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 1:07 pm

    As long as ISA is available , the illegal leaders would use it and abuse it as well.

    ISA has gone through a cycle of worries and distress for the nation when true justice is a sham.

    Even a Pakistan mayor call for the repeal of the Blasphemy law which had been a headache for the minority caused by the majority.

    So ISA as a security piece is just an excuse for silencing most whistle blowers.

    We need Isa or Jesus to be with us to overcome any difficulties.

    pw: pressing nancial

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 1:14 pm

    When Hisap.moo.dim heard that Noordin Tip was killed
    He lamented, sayang saja, we can rehabilitate him
    Actually, Hisap himself should be locked up in Kamunting to be rehabilitated
    To fully understand the original 1Malaysia concept
    Don’t throw away the keys yet

  3. #3 by monsterball on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 3:19 pm

    It is very unfair for Bakri Musa to compare Najib and Abdullah Badawi based on the so call generous heart of Najib…and Badawai is not.
    Both are corrupted and stinks.
    However Abdullah did focus on getting rid of corruptions….which is what we are seeing today. Najib followed through the same ‘Act” to get back more votes.
    Regardless the was during Abdullah premiership…corrupted ikan bilis were put on trial….a side show to satisfy simple minded Malaysians….where majority knows it is a side show…to catch small takers and not one minister..past and present were investigated seriously….to get rid of corruptions.
    Najib may released 5 prisoners..but he got much more arrested for no reasons.
    Yes…that 5 released is also side show by get votes.
    There is no constant sincere feelings from both PMs…but if you want to compare them…it is Abdullah Badawai..that is more sincere than Najib.
    There is no doubt in my mind…Bakri Musa hero worship Mahathir.
    The art to write agree to disagree and expose who he really will support…is quite clear….and he loves race and religion politics too.

  4. #4 by boh-liao on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 3:52 pm

    Can Malaysia emulate Taiwan?
    No immunity to ex-ministers
    Ex-president Chen Shui-bian was sentenced to life in prison in September 2009 after being found guilty on charges of money laundering, bribery and embezzlement of government funds
    Does NR have the bola to go after our corrupt ex- n current ministers?
    A sure way to fill Kamunting to the brim
    A sure way to make his cousin Hdim super happy

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 4:13 pm

    “I applaud Prime Minister Najib Razak”
    Betul kah?
    The guy described by Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun, on 14 Sep 09:
    “he is so tainted by murder, corruption, and arms deals scandals”
    Ini lah international imej PM kita

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 5:46 pm

    When Kerismuddin pontificates as the pope of Home Security, he spreads more fear, anxiety and distrust. What a dope for a pope!

  7. #7 by Joshua on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 7:07 pm

    Why the illegal PM had breakfast with the Agung this morning?

    Is it about the snap GE after Parliament sitting in Oct2009?

    pw: $105,138,000 rondout

  8. #8 by ekompute on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 7:16 pm

    “The only sour note to this latest action was the idiotic (what else is new?) comment by Home Minister Hishammuddin. He threatened “to fill Kamunting to the brim” if that was what it would take to protect the nation’s security.”

    I told you before. This guy is there only because of his father. He wants to be in the forefront but he has no brains to do something meaningful to society, so he resorts to antics instead… monkey antics, that is.

  9. #9 by Onlooker Politics on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 7:18 pm

    “Why the illegal PM had breakfast with the Agung this morning?” (Joshua)

    Don’t be too suspicious. It is common for the PM to go “mengadap” the Agong on Hari Raya and have breakfast with His Majesty.

    The Sultan of Johor also often extends his invitation to the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore and Ministers of Singapore for a Hari Raya celebration at Istana Bukit Serene. It is just a common official diplomacy and festive celebrity of the Royal Palace!

  10. #10 by yhsiew on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 8:12 pm

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  11. #11 by k1980 on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 8:52 pm

  12. #12 by Taxidriver on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 10:53 pm

    Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Malaysian muslims.

    Certainly we are happy Najib released another 5 ISA detainees. Unfortunate we know the kind of man Najib is. He is cunning and never sincere like his mentor, Mah Ha Tee. If PR is not a threat to position today, Najib could be the most arrogant and cruel PM in Malaysian history.

    Most of my friends who are of different races want a change of government. BN has been given 52 years to prove itself but failed miserably. Let them take the opposition bench for three terms to see what they can contribute to our nation.

  13. #13 by cemerlang on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 11:08 pm

    Who is the lesser evil ? Top or Peng ? Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf Zahir Dan Batin.

  14. #14 by Taxidriver on Sunday, 20 September 2009 - 11:13 pm

    Honey-coated words and releasing ISA detainees who should not be detained in the first place will not do any good to Najib. More important thing is for him to be seen doing the right things to resolve every problem that may arise. For a start, he must remove the Home Minister and call up Utusan Melayu editor to give him a stern warning for writing provocative race articles.

    Mr.PM, will you do this to win back our trust in you?

  15. #15 by Taxidriver on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 12:35 am

    Hissmoodin “did not have the chance to rehabilitate Mat Top”. He now has the chance to rehabilitate Mas Selamat. Hissmoodin will release him after 2 years in Kemuting…..hahaha

  16. #16 by LG on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 12:35 am

    I can distinctly comment that Hishammuddin’s mentality of national security is very biased and questionable. Anything (esp the Opposition group) that is seen as threat to BN/UMNO is consider as a threat to national security. Many times we find his words and actions do not correspond with each other.

    HIs recent comment concerning the top terrorist (Noordin Mohd Top who was the mastermind of a number of bombings in Indonesia that killed quite a number of innocent people) that was killed in Indonesia was “he does not condone his (terrorist) actions but he felt sad because his (terrorist) life is taken away”. He also said that such notorious “terrorist can be rehabilitated”??? In my heart, such saying is like “I don’t condone the actions of Adolf Hitler but I am sad when Hitler died because one life is taken away”.

    Contrary what the PM S’pore said is more sober and logically i.e. “taking the life of such terrorist makes the region a more safer place”.

    Hishammuddin also said that he will take actions on those (including medias) who incite racial and religous hatred. Look what action he has taken on Utusan Malaysia??? And what is his first reaction, actions and words spoken on those who incite the infamous cow-head protest.

    He is not fit to be the Home Minister or any ministerial post. In fact looking from his many past words and actions, he is a racist and an extremist. Shouldn’t he put behind bars.

  17. #17 by Taxidriver on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 12:57 am

    ” He is not fit to be the Home Minister or any ministerial post, In fact looking from his many past words and actions, he is a racists and an extremist. Shouldn’t he be put behind bars”-LG

    Taxidriver sokong. But first charge him in court to give him a chance to defend himself. This man can be rehabilitated in Kemunting together with Mas Selamat.

  18. #18 by monsterball on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 1:52 am

    KerisMooDin….can be rehabilitated?
    Are you nuts?
    This guy have no brain…just master the art of low class acting and due to his famous father…got into politics…disgracing his father and grandfather.
    For one like that…you want to change him back to be good and normal?

    Tell me what has he done as Min of Education and now Home Minister?…..NOTHING!!
    UMNO have no one to choose as Ministers but duds and ducks…….quack quack quack…no brain……all of them.

  19. #19 by Joshua on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 4:09 am

    Is this really
    In The Spirit of Eid ul Fitra, that 5 detainees were released?

    More like it is the focus on Bagan Pinang on 3rd/11th Oct as winning and losing has an impact on the snap GE 13 soon.

    Be eNd’s dream is on the platform of betel nuts or Bagan Pinang? Red/coloured teeth would show soon as exposed by 18 pages of rahsia on PKfZ?

    After GE 13, Kamunting would be filled up to go robbing spree making the nation drier if Ali baba and 40 mad men get their ways…

    pw: Munk stein

  20. #20 by boh-liao on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 9:08 am

    A big annual supposedly joyous event like this
    unfortunately is also rush hour n jalan mati time, despite the op
    Make one’s will n say a long good bye to loved ones
    before one goes on a long distance drive
    Who knows if one becomes part of the statistics
    This is also the free makan time
    Time to see some ugly hungry eaters in action
    Hopping from one open house to another
    Well, NR n RM so happy lots of ppl visited them, so much loved

  21. #21 by Ken G on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 11:34 am

    Friends, the surest indicator of the next G.E. is Samy Vellu stepping down. Samy has already discussed his succession plan with Najib (So much for declaring that Umno has no influence on MIC leadership). I don’t think Najib will allow Samy to stay until the next G.E. or even within 6 months of it. So election is imminent in 6 months of Samy going into retirement to enjoy his ill-gotten wealth.

    If Samy balks? There are many ways to skin a cat. Sending the MACC Gestapos after him is one.

  22. #22 by katdog on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 11:35 am

    Hishamuddin expressed sorrow at the death of a terrorist bomber. I guess he is sad as Indonesia’s growth can no longer be sabotaged by Malaysian ‘exported’ terrorists. It would be no surprise to me if the unrest in Southern Thailand is linked to Malaysian extremists as well.

    Malaysia, truly a pariah nation. Many thanks to all those UMNO-MCA-MIC-Gerakan apologists who helped Malaysia reach its position today.

  23. #23 by monsterball on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 12:27 pm

    Just keep following up actions and speeches made by Najib and Hisham and you can get tons of proofs…how hypocritical UMNO is.
    Najib is smarter and more cunning.
    Hisham is a deadwood…very low IQ…useless.
    But both are low class actors….keep trying to fool Malaysians

  24. #24 by ekompute on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 2:03 pm

    monsterball :Hisham is… very low IQ…useless.

    Agree, agree. His remarks “to fill Kamunting to the brink” proves it.

    As we all know, ISA is against the principles of natural justice and absolutely undemocratic. It was supposed to be used only under EXCEPTIONAL circumstances but such circumstances hardly exist today, now that communism is out. Religious terrorism is still there but whose religion is that? Malaysia should have no fear because that happens to be their very own official religion.

    The monkey doesn’t even realize where ISA stands against the total picture and treats it like mainstream “justice system”. If he is a doctor, he will treat every patient with morphine. This guy is not even qualified to be a deputy minister without portfolio. He is there only because of his dad.

    There was a time, long long ago, when I thought that ministers are there because they are very intelligent people. Now I am beginning to think that even the 5-foot way guy hawking illegal VCDs can also qualify to be a Malaysian minister.

  25. #25 by Taxidriver on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 3:29 pm

    Mah Ha Tee stayed in power 22 years because he gave all posts to members with low IQ. He succeeded very well , hence we have the present ‘half-baked national leaders. Brilliant Malays do not have a future in Mah Ha Tee’s UMNO Baru. So they migrated to negara-negara Europah and many took up citizenship in a tiny island state called the Little Red Dot.

    Mah Ha Tee wants UMNOputras to be always dependant on him. He viewed Anwar Ibrahim as “too independent” and had to rid him from the party.

  26. #26 by LG on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 6:50 pm

    We fully agreed that Hishammuddin and even our DPM Muhyiddin have a very low IQ. Their EQ are no better i.e. low. We wonder how did the present PM (and the former PMs) appoint such pariah ministers.

    No wonder we are very far lacking behind our small neighbour Singapore (a very tiny island with practically no natural resources) in terms of social-economic development, financial management, science & technology, medical, education, telecommunication, political & racial stability, national security, (even life expectancy Singapore is higher), etc.

    However, about 40 years ago, Malaysia was on par (may be higher) than Singapore in many fields. However today especially since the inception of NEP in 1971, Malaysia begin to fall behind Singapore year by year. What had happened? BN/UMNO Government has gone more and more corrupted???

    According to IMF for 2008, Singapore is ranked 4th highest in the world in term of GDP (PPP) per capita USD 51,142 while Malaysia is ranked 60th with GDP per capita USD 14, 072.

    According to Business Times 15 Sept 2009, Singapore has the world’s highest density of millionaires (household having asset of at least USD 1 million) at 8.5% of the population, according to a Boston Consulting Group study . Switzerland was second, at 6.6 per cent, followed by Kuwait, at 5.1 per cent. Standing at fourth place was United Arab Emirates, at 4.5 per cent, and then the United States, at 3.5 per cent.

    How about % of household millionaires in Malaysia? Very, very small? Why? Mainly PMs (past & present including their families) and a small group of their cronies controlled more than 95% of the wealth of all millionaires.

    Conclusion all these parish ministers in Malaysia should be sacked. Their performance – very poor.

  27. #27 by ekompute on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 7:15 pm

    Some one who thinks of the future of the country will find and groom a very capable successor when he steps down. Mahathir chose Abdullah Badawi, period.

  28. #28 by lee wee tak_ on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 10:59 pm

    releasing a few ISA detainees is nothing more than releasing pigeons at Olympics Opening only difference is a lot more emotion is involved.

    ISA is, I believe, a detrimental tool as it encourage lazy police work. If a person is wrong, gather evidence and prosecute. Not just detain him, lock him up and that’s it.

    Gross miscarriage of justice and all that. In the end, the detainees become pigeons in a political goodwill match

  29. #29 by boh-liao on Monday, 21 September 2009 - 11:35 pm

    Actually Malaysia too has many millionaires and billionaires
    Super-rich Umnoputras, BNputras and their cronies
    But they are shy and keep silent
    Many have their wealth under nominee accounts or in overseas accounts
    Their names may not in the list of super-rich Asians
    But don’t let that fool all of us
    Just look at the palaces that they live in and the properties they have overseas
    Just look at the money politics that they engage in
    Just look at their lifestyle
    Kaya raya beyond many millionaires down south

  30. #30 by ekompute on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - 12:14 am

    lee wee tak_ :
    releasing a few ISA detainees is nothing more than releasing pigeons at Olympics Opening only difference is a lot more emotion is involved.
    ISA is, I believe, a detrimental tool as it encourage lazy police work. If a person is wrong, gather evidence and prosecute. Not just detain him, lock him up and that’s it.

    Problem is these people who are detained under ISA cannot be charged in court because they did not do anything that is against the law of the country. How can you face anyone by saying that other political parties are a threat to the survival of your party? So what to do?

    Easy… just use ISA. Malaysia is one of the very few countries that practise ISA… even African countries don’t do that. Pork is haram in Islam… so also is ISA which is inconsistent with Islamic jurisprudence… and I believe that Malaysian politicians will fill Neraka to the brim.

  31. #31 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - 12:22 am

    Anyone who does not know Hisap.moo.dim and his racist stand
    Might think of him as a compassionate gentleman
    He said he was sad to hear about the death of terrorist Noor­din Top
    “I am sad that we did not get to rehabilitate him. I am sad because a life is a life.”
    He said the gomen would help Noordin’s family bring the body back
    Wow, wow, wow
    So sad to lose a Malaysian, though a proven terrorist who killed many innocent ppl in cold blood
    And so much financial assistance to bring the body back to M’sia
    All this from a guy who raised his keris more than once and yelled for the blood of nonMalay Malaysians

    Did he show compassion n support to Chin Peng who wants to return to M’sia
    He said allowing Chin Peng to return would only deeply hurt the people’s feelings, especialy the children and grandchildren of warriors who fought against the communist insurgency.

    Did he make any effort to prevent brain drain, since he is so concerned abt losing ppl?
    Rather, he n Umnoputras love to yell “pendatang balik kampung”

    This is the kind of minister we have

  32. #32 by Onlooker Politics on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - 1:33 am

    “This is the kind of minister we have.” (boh-liao referring to Hishamuddin)

    What else can the pendatang or penumpang say about him now? Don’t you know that those pendatang-pendatang or penumpang-penumpang who live in Kahang and Paloh of Johor helped to vote him into the Parliament because they are still harping on the false hope of getting some agricultural lands from him?

    When the Chinese Primary School in Muar was short-changed by the building contractor, he who was the then Educational Minister claimed that he knew nothing about this incident! However, those MCA top politicians such as Chua Soi Lek and Wee Ka Siong knew very well that the contractor was indeed Hisham’s crony. He pretended that he did not know many things. And those MCA top men also pretended that they did not know anything about this racist keris waver’s greedily stretching his arms digging into the pockets of the Chinese Community in Muar and Batu Pahat areas through the Chinese School Renovation Projects a few years ago!

    Indeed, MCA is the greatest culprit in corruption practice because the toleration and indulgence of MCA top leaders help to provide nursery bed for the Umnoputras to breed the ill will and criminal intent of committing corruption in the government projects!

  33. #33 by Onlooker Politics on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - 1:52 am

    The Home Minister gave instruction to the Police to conduct thorough investigation into the bully and assault case reported by the grandson of the late Tuanku Jaafar of Negeri Sembilan. I guess his instruction may imply that the tainted image of the offender who is from Johore Royal Family has to be helped done with some doctor-spinning. I don’t think he has the guts like Tun Dr. Mahathir had in order to bravely challenge the Royal Family of Johore since Johore is his home base. Anyway, Tun Dr. Mahathir is not a Johorean. Can Hisham name anyone among all the Johoreans who dares to confront directly against the Royal Family of Johore and is still able to live in Johore till todate?

  34. #34 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - 3:09 am

    He just action.
    He has a big mouth with a monkey brain..and no balls.
    He is such a hypocrite.

  35. #35 by monsterball on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - 3:16 am

    A thick skin lair too.
    He represents the finest of UMNO ministers today.
    Next is DPM…..and the most disgraceful to Chinese…is Koh Tsu Koon.
    What a great ball catcher he is…. stretching out both hands…….ready to catch UMNO balls…day and night.
    This is the devil reincarnated…blue eye man.

  36. #36 by ekompute on Tuesday, 22 September 2009 - 9:38 am

    I Have A Dream.

    I dreamt last night that Anwar became the Prime Minister and began the A-N-W-A-R Prophecy. The second letter, N, is Nurul Izzah Anwar, the first female Prime Minister of Malaysia, LOL. Sweet dreams, keep dreaming!

  37. #37 by Joshua on Wednesday, 23 September 2009 - 5:50 am

    ANWAR would be the shortest prophecy if it is ever to be one as War is inevitable.

    Right now war of all sorts in emotion in Msia is ongoing…in assembly halls, in courts, in the streets, in homes, in political parties, etc etc…

    what a mood we are in terrible times…

    pw: tumbril 851/2

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