Archive for October 22nd, 2011

Aziz Bari – a critical test case

Prof Aziz Bari has become a critical test case whether Malaysia is moving towards greater democrartisation, academic excellence and enhanced International oompetitiveness or the reverse.

The suspension of Aziz by IIUM could not have come at a worse time for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s National Transformation Programme whether government, economic or political.

It has firstly thrown into doubt Najib’s political will, commitment and stamina whether the Prime Minister and his administration are prepared to see through the wide-ranging government, economic, educational and political reforms without which Malaysia stands no chance of escaping from two decades of middle-income trap, overtaken by one country after another most notably Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea.

Malaysia cannot expect to achieve the goal of a high-income developed nation unless and until we can produce world-class universities, not just in the eyes of Ministers but acknowledged internationally. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA and hudud: Final part

By Stanley Koh
October 22, 2011 | Free Malaysia Today

At a 2006 forum to discuss problems that non-Muslims face as Malaysian officialdom continues to assert the predominance of Islam in the country, a prominent scholar acknowledged – “with “sadness”, he said – that there was great confusion about the religion, especially among Muslims themselves.

Syed Ali Tawfik al-Attas, director-general of the Institute of Islamic Understanding (Ikim), said that Muslim administrators and Islamic activists generally had a poor understanding of the Islamic view of “knowledge” even as they examined the religion with a fine-tooth comb.

“That is the problem with the Muslim world,” he declared.

He explained that in Islamic scholarship, knowledge is generally separated into three types: interpretation of the meaning of what is perceived, revealed knowledge, and derived knowledge that is beneficial. This effectively means that non-beneficial knowledge is not construed as knowledge.

He stressed the importance of having the correct understanding of such terminologies as “freedom”, “democracy” and “Islamisation” and the equal importance of recognising that they were open to different conceptualisations. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA and hudud: Part 3

By Stanley Koh
October 21, 2011 | Free Malaysia Today

Few will disagree that politicians are often trapped in history and history in them. MCA politicians should take heed. Unfortunately, when they throw stones at their rivals, they often forget that they live in a house of glass.

When in 1993 the Kelantan government proposed the law allowing hudud punishments, the two Umno representatives in the state assembly supported it. The law, formally called the Syariah Criminal Code (11) Enactment 1993, was passed in November of that year.

There was no public outcry and the MCA leadership did not threaten to leave Barisan Nasional. The only justification for the silence was that the then prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had already objected to the passing of the bill.

Fast forward to the present. MCA President Dr Chua Soi Lek recently said he would pull his party out of BN if its political master, Umno, ever decided to impose hudud. Is he in fact trying to rehash the anti-hudud position that his party took during the campaign for the 1999 general election? The results showed that the ruse worked. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia’s battle royale

Mariam Mokhtar | Oct 17, 2011

The cultural identity of modern Malaysia is like an artist’s palette, a colourful blend of people from different backgrounds, origins, traditions, culture and faiths. There is no denying that our rulers helped shaped the country’s social and historical development. They symbolise unity, pride and national identity.

But our royalty cannot escape living in a goldfish bowl.

If our public institutions are subject to modernisation, evaluation and reform, why can’t we discuss this particular institution – the royal institution?

Why are we perceived as enemies of the state just because we point out the obvious but unspoken facts? Why do intellectually challenged flunkies, who refuse to be dragged into the 21st century, prevent intelligent discourse about the Malay rulers?

Stopping healthy interaction will strain relationships between the rakyat and the monarchy. Hence, this discussion is long overdue.

The royalty cannot dispense with the scrutiny of a rakyat that exacts high standards from them. The royalty must learn to cope in a modern world where the feudal system, class distinctions and other forms of discrimination are outdated. Read the rest of this entry »