Archive for June 21st, 2016

The June by-elections and the politics of losing

Bridget Welsh
21st June 2018

COMMENT The by-election results for Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar are in. Umno held onto their seats, and increased its majorities.

Given the tragedy surrounding the polls stemming from the helicopter accident in Sarawak last month, the fact that by-elections disproportionately favour those with access to resources, and the reality that these contests were three-cornered fights with a divided opposition, these results are not unexpected.

The important implications of these by-elections lies less in the winning, but in the losing – as the shifts in campaigning, voting and political alignments reveal that old dreams are gone. Malaysian electoral politics is shifting, and all indications are that the direction is not toward a stronger, more vibrant polity that offers meaningful choices to the electorate. Read the rest of this entry »


Will Muslims lose their freedom of religion without hudud?

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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If Hadi is right, it must be Allah’s will that 65-year-old PAS is defeated by nine-month-old AMANAH and crushed in Sungai Besar by-election securing one per cent of Chinese votes when it received 75% Chinese voter support in 2013GE

This must be the first time that the UMNO President has beaten PAS President in claiming divine intervention for an electoral victory.

On Saturday night, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he had turned to God for answers if he was on the right path or whether he had really strayed, and Barisan Nasional’s “thumping victories in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections was God’s answer to his prayers”.
Najib said:

“I don’t reply with harsh words. I only want to work. I prayed to Allah, if I am right, then show it.

“(Then) God gave us victory beyond our expectations.”

It will not be long before there will be claims that Najib’s RM55 billion 1MDB and RM2.5 billion “donation” twin global scandals have received God’s blessings as well.

In the two by-elections, the student has outshone the teacher, as the “adviser” took two full days to recover from PAS’ stinging defeats in the two by-elections and to urge PAS supporters not to despair as it is in Allah’s powers to dictate victory for all who uphold Islam.

If the PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang is right, it must be Allah’s will that the 65-year-old PAS is defeated by nine-month-old AMANAH and crushed in Sungai Besar by-election, securing one per cent of Chinese votes when it received 75% Chinese voter support in 2013GE. Read the rest of this entry »

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Let Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections be the last battles for the politics of race and the opening salvoes for the battle for the new politics of good governance, democracy and nation-building

The two Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-election results on Saturday have given rise to ecstasy and euphoria on the one hand and gloom and doom on the other.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib was so elated by the twin by-election results that he even proudly embraced Tun Mahathir’s description of him in Jerlun two days earlier and proclaimed that “Idi Amin of Malaysia is more popular” than Malaysia’s former longest-serving Prime Minister.

UMNO/Barisan Nasional leaders celebrated the “return” of the Chinese voters to Barisan Nasional and there is talk of an earlier 14th General Elections next year although it was scheduled for 2018.

UMNO/BN virtually proclaimed a new political dawn with the mythical “skyrocketing” majorities in two by-elections – 9,191 votes in Kuala Kangsar and 6,969 votes in Sungai Besar.

But as the former Batu Kawan Umno vice chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan has rightly pointed out, BN’s majority was not that big once all the votes for the opposition were taken into account.

If the Amanah and PAS votes are combined, BN’s majority is reduced to 2,086 in Kuala Kangsar or 8.73% of the total votes cast and 2,289 in Sungai Besi or 7.31 per cent. Read the rest of this entry »