Author Archive

26 January 2014

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

SPECIAL ADDRESS TO MALAYSIANS
26 JANUARY 2014

Let’s work towards a national consensus

1. It has been just over four months since we last celebrated Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day. Just celebrating them as a festivity doesn’t mean much if we miss the bigger picture.

2. I cannot overemphasise the importance of this bigger picture.

3. That is why I am taking this opportunity to address not just all of you present here this afternoon but to all Malaysians at home and abroad today.

4. By all Malaysians I mean exactly that – regardless of race, religion, cultural group or mother tongue; regardless of whether you are from the Peninsula or from Sabah and Sarawak; and regardless of your political affiliation.

5. It does not matter whether you are with Pakatan Rakyat or with Barisan Nasional, or that you are with neither party, nor that you are independent or even totally apolitical, I want to reach out to all with this message.

6. It is a message conceived in love for the nation and not in hate against anyone. It is a message raised on the altar of hope, not on the ruins of despair. And it is a message for all of us including myself to take home and share with our family, our neighbours and our friends so that we may move forward.

7. At the outset, I mentioned celebrating Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day and what it entails for it to be truly meaningful. First and foremost, it is a celebration of the fundamental liberties enshrined in our Federal Constitution, a document of statehood agreed to by our founding fathers attendant upon our gaining independence.

8. This constitution is not just a piece of paper. It is a sovereign document brought into existence as a result of the social compact of our leaders representing the diverse communities in this blessed country of ours.

9. It guarantees our right to life and liberty, to freedom of speech, assembly and association. It prescribes equality of all citizens before the law and guarantees freedom of religion.

10. These provisions form the sub-stratum of our Malaysian identity, an identity made up of a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural society. These principles must be respected by all communities, whether they comprise the majority or they constitute minorities. They must be honoured by the politicians in word and deed whether they are in power or whether they are in the opposition. Similarly, all civil society groups, NGOs, and all the organs of state must abide by these constitutional safeguards.

11. The Malaysian identity as a nation of peoples can only be as good as the cohesiveness of this very plural society of ours. Take this unity and sense of togetherness away and we will take away our identity as Malaysians.

12. So, indeed, after 56 years of independence one would expect that this cohesiveness is not only in existence but should be growing stronger by the day. Unfortunately though, there has been particularly in the last few months, a series of circumstances and developments that collectively are fast eroding the cohesiveness that is so crucial to our identity.

13. In fact, these developments appear to be reaching a crescendo that threatens to tear the very fabric of our unity apart. Of course, we have not reached the tipping point yet but as they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

14. And we cannot be vigilant enough here. That is because what we are seeing today are all kinds of attempts by certain quarters to take this nation to the brink.

15. In fact, we have not seen this building up of tension since the events leading up to our national tragedy of May 13th 1969. The voices of hate and animosity, the voices of prejudice and suspicion, and the voices of wreck and ruin are attempting to drown out the harmony, cooperation and understanding that we have managed to build on the ruins of this tragedy.

16. I call on you, my fellow Malaysians to rise up and let your voices be heard. Let your voice of mutual respect and goodwill, your voice of understanding and trust, and your voice of unity and integration prevail over these voices of hatred, rancour, hostility and destruction.

17. We must turn the corner from the path of increasing polarization to the path of greater integration. We must stop the race-baiting, put an end to this disease of incitement to religious intolerance and hatred and join our hands in unity and togetherness.

18. Leaders from both sides of the political divide must put aside all partisan concerns and show real leadership in easing the tension and work towards ameliorating the situation.

19. Indeed, the time has come for all of us to reach a national consensus on these crucial issues that impact the sub-stratum of our identity as a nation.

20. In line with the spirit of the constitution, all parties must cease questioning the paramount position of Islam as the religion of the Federation.

21. In reaffirming the position of Islam and recognizing that Muslims make up the majority of the population, we must reject the notion that Islam is under threat. We must reject the notion that there is some sinister conspiracy to replace Islam as the religion of the Federation with some other religion.

22. We must at the same time give due recognition to the same constitutional safeguards on all the other religions in the land. We are a nation of communities comprising a plurality of faiths. In this regard, Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and practitioners of ethnic religions must be accorded their constitutional freedom to practise their religion in the manner of their choosing.

23. In working towards this consensus, let us remain focussed on the other things that really matter to us as a nation going forward.

24. Let us work together to tackle the issues of governance, transparency and accountability. Whether it is at the Federal or state levels, let us resolve to stamp out the cancer of corruption which still plagues us.

25. The problem of rising prices recognises no partisan boundaries. So, let us channel our energies to enhancing the welfare of the rakyat and formulating practical solutions to lighten their burden.

26. Instead of fighting figments of our imagination, let us help our police fight crime and make our homes, our schools, our shopping complexes safer.

27. It is morally incumbent on us, particularly those of us who have been elected by the people to represent them, to go beyond partisan lines and come to a national consensus on how to move the nation forward.

28. Duty towards the nation, even greater than duty to party, impels us to take up the challenge. We must strengthen our resolve and summon all our moral courage to see this through.

Thank you.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

31 December 2013

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

The results for the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) that were presented in early December showed that of the 10 countries that topped the performance, not one of them is a Muslim country. As a matter of fact, of the final results tabled, not one Muslim country was placed in the top 40.

Half a million pupils in 65 countries and local administrations were tested in the three core areas of mathematics, science and reading. Shanghai scored the best result with 613, followed by Singapore and Japan.

With the exception of Turkey which took the 43rd spot scoring the highest among the Muslim countries followed by UAE, of the rest of the Muslim countries that took part such as Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Qatar, Jordan, Tunisia and Indonesia, suffice to say that they were placed within the bottom 50 and 60 jostling with Columbia, Peru and Albania for the award of worst performer!

Before anyone jumps the gun by blaming this OECD study as essentially biased and Eurocentric, let us be reminded the top three performers are Asian. It is indeed noteworthy that the results for 2012, 2010, and the 2009 Assessment showed that Shanghai students scored the highest in all categories.

According to the OECD, this study considers Shanghai a pioneer of educational reform, having transformed their approach to education. Instead of focusing merely on the elite, it appears they have adopted a more inclusive system. In other words, the democratization of access to quality education is a key factor.

Below is the table for the 2012 results:

Programme for International Student Assessment (2012)
Maths Sciences Reading
1 Shanghai, China 613 1 Shanghai, China 580 1 Shanghai, China 570
2 Singapore 573 2 Hong Kong, China 555 2 Hong Kong, China 545
3 Hong Kong, China 561 3 Singapore 551 3 Singapore 542
4 Taiwan 560 4 Japan 547 4 Japan 538
5 South Korea 554 5 Finland 545 5 South Korea 536
6 Macau, China 538 6 Estonia 541 6 Finland 524
7 Japan 536 7 South Korea 538 7 Taiwan 523
8 Liechtenstein 535 8 Vietnam 528 8 Canada 523
9 Switzerland 531 9 Poland 526 9 Ireland 523
10 Netherlands 523 10 Liechtenstein 525 10 Poland 518
11 Estonia 521 11 Canada 525 11 Liechtenstein 516
12 Finland 519 12 Germany 524 12 Estonia 516
13 Canada 518 13 Taiwan 523 13 Australia 512
14 Poland 518 14 Netherlands 522 14 New Zealand 512
15 Belgium 515 15 Ireland 522 15 Netherlands 511
16 Germany 514 16 Macau, China 521 16 Macau, China 509
17 Vietnam 511 17 Australia 521 17 Switzerland 509
18 Austria 506 18 New Zealand 516 18 Belgium 509
19 Australia 504 19 Switzerland 515 19 Germany 508
20 Ireland 501 20 Slovenia 514 20 Vietnam 508
21 Slovenia 501 21 United Kingdom 514 21 France 505
22 Denmark 500 22 Czech Republic 508 22 Norway 504
23 New Zealand 500 23 Austria 506 23 United Kingdom 499
24 Czech Republic 499 24 Belgium 505 24 United States 498
25 France 495 25 Latvia 502 25 Denmark 496
26 United Kingdom 494 26 France 499 26 Czech Republic 493
27 Iceland 493 27 Denmark 498 27 Austria 490
28 Latvia 491 28 United States 497 28 Italy 490
29 Luxembourg 490 29 Spain 496 29 Latvia 489
30 Norway 489 30 Lithuania 496 30 Luxembourg 488
31 Portugal 487 31 Norway 495 31 Portugal 488
32 Italy 485 32 Italy 494 32 Spain 488
33 Spain 484 33 Hungary 494 33 Hungary 488
34 Russia 482 34 Luxembourg 491 34 Israel 486
35 Slovakia 482 35 Croatia 491 35 Croatia 485
36 United States 481 36 Portugal 489 36 Iceland 483
37 Lithuania 479 37 Russia 486 37 Sweden 483
38 Sweden 478 38 Sweden 485 38 Slovenia 481
39 Hungary 477 39 Iceland 478 39 Lithuania 477
40 Croatia 471 40 Slovakia 471 40 Greece 477
41 Israel 466 41 Israel 470 41 Russia 475
42 Greece 453 42 Greece 467 42 Turkey 475
43 Serbia 449 43 Turkey 463 43 Slovakia 463
44 Turkey 448 44 UAE 448 44 Cyprus 449
45 Romania 445 45 Bulgaria 446 45 Serbia 446
46 Cyprus 440 46 Serbia 445 46 UAE 442
47 Bulgaria 439 47 Chile 445 47 Thailand 441
48 UAE 434 48 Thailand 444 48 Chile 441
49 Kazakhstan 432 49 Romania 439 49 Costa Rica 441
50 Thailand 427 50 Cyprus 438 50 Romania 438
51 Chile 423 51 Costa Rica 429 51 Bulgaria 436
52 Malaysia 421 52 Kazakhstan 425 52 Mexico 424
53 Mexico 413 53 Malaysia 420 53 Montenegro 422
54 Montenegro 410 54 Uruguay 416 54 Uruguay 411
55 Uruguay 409 55 Mexico 415 55 Brazil 410
56 Costa Rica 407 56 Montenegro 410 56 Tunisia 404
57 Albania 394 57 Jordan 409 57 Colombia 403
58 Brazil 391 58 Argentina 406 58 Jordan 399
59 Argentina 388 59 Brazil 405 59 Malaysia 398
60 Tunisia 388 60 Colombia 399 60 Argentina 396
61 Jordan 386 61 Tunisia 398 61 Indonesia 396
62 Colombia 376 62 Albania 397 62 Albania 394
63 Qatar 376 63 Qatar 384 63 Kazakhstan 393
64 Indonesia 375 64 Indonesia 382 64 Qatar 388
65 Peru 368 65 Peru 373 65 Peru 384
                 

 

Take-home lessons

If we take ourselves off the intellectual pedestal, let us ask what lessons we can take home from this study, apart from other indicators in different studies.

Firstly, there is no basis for the conventional argument that because Muslim students have to attend extra classes for religious studies over and above the routine academic lessons in the schools, they have less time to study and prepare for exams and hence perform not as well as non-Muslim students. In Malaysia, for example, Chinese students who also attend extra classes for Chinese-based subjects over and above the national-type syllabus do just as well in both.

Pedagogy and quality of teaching

Finland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland were among the best of the European nations. Studies have shown that students from Finland produced very good results in various subjects when compared to students from the United States and other countries. This was attributed mainly to the fact that in Finland, the very best graduates were recruited to become teachers.

Also important is the question of content and curriculum, including pedagogy. The quality of teachers is a matter of concern. The teaching profession needs to be given greater priority by the state.  A proper incentive scheme must be introduced and to restore the profession to its earlier recognition. As it stands, apart from infrastructure constraints, Muslim countries suffer from a shortage of good teachers. But the issues should be more than that just a question of material resources.

Spending on education

The conventional belief that greater spending on education would yield better performance was also shown to be not always true. Thus, the analysis of the 2003 results showed that Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Japan and South Korea, which had spent less on education than the United States actually did better. While this should not be taken as an excuse to spend less on education, allocation of such funds for Muslim countries must be beefed up with the rider that the resources are to be spent effectively.

Governance

The issue of governance remains a serious problem in Muslim countries. For example, cases of misappropriation of funds allocated for poorer students continue to be a source of embarrassment. Poor governance also breeds corruption which then leads to wastages and leakages. Where financial resources get mis-channelled or misused, schools suffer and students become victims.

Bad governance in the running of schools also impacts on the quality of teaching when for example school authorities haphazardly transfer teachers to other areas without considering the effect on both the teaching and the teachers themselves.

Confucian ethic

Yet another lesson is probably the obvious one considering that the top three performances are connected one way or the other to the Confucian model of learning. Surely, Muslim countries should be able to draw some lessons from this phenomenon. Muslim intellectuals worth their salt must get off their high horse and study the Confucian model, adapt it according to Muslim requirements, if need be, and start preaching a culture of diligence in the pursuit of knowledge. The defensive response about reminding people of Islam’s glorious history of learning and advancements in science serves no purpose if all it does is encourage us to rest on past laurels.

Conclusion

While it is known that Muslim countries are facing a crisis in higher education, this study is significant in showing that even in the formative mid-secondary school stage, we are seeing a crisis of alarming proportions. The fact of the matter is that Muslim countries are occupying the bottom rungs in higher education and advancement in science and technology. The PISA results are therefore a precursor to worse things to come.

Failure to take immediate remedial action may lead to a deeper crisis. In this regard, we call on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to take the lead in addressing this problem.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

27th December, 2013

12 December 2013

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

Keynote address by Anwar Ibrahim at the Symposium on “Reform of Higher Education in Muslim Societies,” organized by the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) on December 9-10, 2013 at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC.

Introduction

The crisis in higher education in Muslim societies is manifested in myriad ways not the least of which are impacting socioeconomic development. Among the root causes of the crisis are those related to choice, content, quality and financial resources and issues of governance.

It is said that Islamic education has not progressed much from its traditional form with its emphasis on Qur’anic and Hadith studies and while other societies have transformed their systems, Muslim countries are still grappling with the challenges of integrating within modern education.

Another major concern is the accessibility of education to the people. The need to democratize access to education has been canvassed for some time but this has remained a long-standing problem in Muslim countries.

It is obvious that the traditional system, without more, is unable to meet the needs of contemporary Muslim societies what with the additional pressures of globalization and the increasing need for education to produce problem-solving capacities. I believe all these issues are being discoursed in our two-day symposium and as such I shall confine my address today to the conceptual issues pertaining to the ummah and the intellectual crisis.

The economics of education

To begin with, there is a general perception in the discourse among many Muslim scholars that Western education and philosophy is secular and bereft of an ethical and moral dimension. To my mind, this is unfounded.

In John Locke’s An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, it is clear that the driving concern is morality which for him, “is the one area apart from mathematics wherein human reasoning can attain a level of rational certitude.”[1]

In The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which debunks the notion of him being the free market fundamentalist, Adam Smith asserts:

How selfish soever man may be supposed, there are evidently some principles in his nature, which interest him in the fortunes of others, and render their happiness necessary to him, though he derives nothing from it, except the pleasure of seeing it.

Expounding his moral philosophy, Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is of the view that Adam Smith has two fundamental propositions on the functioning of the economic system in general, and of the market in particular. The first principle, being epistemological, is that human beings are not guided only by self-gain or even prudence. The second is one of practical reason: That there are good ethical and practical grounds for encouraging motives other than self-interest.

According to Professor Sen, Smith argues that while “prudence” was “of all virtues that which is most helpful to the individual”, “humanity, justice, generosity, and public spirit, are the qualities most useful to others”.

The point is that these are principles about which “unfortunately, a big part of modern economics gets both of them wrong in interpreting Smith.” Making him out as an advocate of pure capitalism, with complete reliance on the market mechanism guided by pure profit motive, is altogether misconceived.[2]

So, it appears that the misperceptions are not only pervasive among Muslim scholars but even among Western scholars in this regard, Smith – the icon of ‘capitalism’ – has been seriously misread.

Coming back to our original concern, I believe these ‘moral sentiments’ are not at loggerheads with Islamic precepts. After all, the guiding principle in political economy as summed up by al-Marhum Ismail al-F?r?q? is that economic action is the expression of Islam’s spirituality: The economy of the ummah and its good health are of the essence of Islam just as Islam’s spirituality is inexistent without just economic action.[3]

According to al-F?r?q?, if charity is to serve as a tool of religion whose purpose is the well-being of mankind, then it must have for its object goods of economic value. Religion, therefore, seeks to subject Man’s economic behaviour to the norms of morality. Islam, the religion of world-affirmation par excellence, seeks to order human life so as to make it actualize the pattern intended for it by its Creator. Hence the Islamic dictum: Inna al din al mu’amalah (Religion is indeed man’s treatment of his fellows).[4]

In looking at the economics of education, while the profit motive may be a legitimate factor, it cannot be driven purely by self-gain. On the contrary in line with the Islamic dictum on charity as expounded by al-F?r?q?, where the purpose of religion is the well-being of mankind, the promotion of education must be conducted as a virtue at par with such other virtues as “humanity, justice, generosity, and public spirit.”

Going back to first principles

It is important to remind ourselves that Muslim societies will not be able to progress by merely resting on the laurels of its time honoured labels. It is doubtful indeed that anything productive can emerge from the exercise of finding fault with the Western systems. The crisis in higher education – and for that matter, crisis in education at all levels – is most acute in Muslim countries, not in the West.

In fact, in the West, much less is said about the need for moral rectitude and ethical behaviour in education, yet the universities are at the forefront in producing the most sought after graduates, and in research and development. In saying this, I am not suggesting that moral rectitude and ethical behaviour in education are irrelevant but that this has to be seen in deed and action, not in proclamation of intentions.

In analysing the causes of the decline of the ummah be it in the field of education or any other field of significance, we should do away with the defensive mind-set that seems to have exemplified Muslim writers. Though Islamophobia is indeed a real problem, it is nevertheless not a cause or a factor that may be legitimately linked to the decline.

In this regard, going back to first principles is a better recourse. The Qur’an reminds us:

“Similar situations [as yours] have passed on before you, so proceed throughout the earth and observe how was the end of those who denied.” (Ali Imran: 137)

It is clear that much can be learned from the lessons of history. Malik Bennabi’s central thesis is indeed relevant concerning the need for original ideas and that a vibrant progressive society may emerge only if it can break free from the tradition of intellectual retardation.[5]

Bennabi tells us that a society’s wealth is not measured by material possessions but by ideas and that it is only from creative ideas alone that great strides in civilization were made.[6]

In the area of scientific and technological advancement, it bears recalling that Bennabi was already advocating the importance of the inculcation of skills and competencies in all fields as well as vocational and technical training for the ummah. And this is absolutely essential for the ummah to move ahead with the times.[7]

Education, rationality and ijtihad

Education must proceed on the basis of rationality and with that ijtihad. I am using this term in the sense as explained by Al-F?r?q?, where he has said:

As a methodical principle, rationalism is constitutive of the essence of Islamic civilization. … Rationalism does not mean the priority of reason over revelation but the rejection of any ultimate contradiction between them.[8]

Al-F?r?q? presented Islam as the religion par excellence of reason, science, and progress with a strong emphasis on action and the work ethic. Any suggestion that the advocacy of rationality in the articulation of educational policies and principles is grounded in secular thinking is therefore without foundation.[9]

For the advancement of the ummah, Al-F?r?q? advocates the fundamental processes of tajdid and islah in order to renew and reform the educational system.

To move ahead with the changing times is not tantamount to abandoning first principles or a rejection of tradition. Professor Naquib al-Attas, always mindful of the need to reassert the primacy of Islam as an intellectual tradition, persuasively argues that real modern education cannot be separated from the categories of knowledge fundamental to the Islamic tradition whereas contemporary modern knowledge should be freed from its secular-bound interpretations.[10]

To al-Attas, the major cause of not just of the crisis of Muslim education but the general retrogression of the ummah is the failure to inculcate ta?dib, which is the cultivation of the inner dimensions of the self, centering on the spirit of knowledge and education.

To my mind, and in this regard, it might constitute a contrarian view, rather than viewing it as a clash of views, I see a convergence of approaches between al-F?r?q? and al-Attas. If I may use the analogy of the Baytu l-?ar?m, there are various entrances to the holiest of holy sites in Islam but by which ever entrance used, the ultimate destination remains the Ka’aba. In both their approaches, we can discern a unified concern for the revivification of Islamic knowledge and thought.

That concern was not entirely new. From the time of Muhammad ‘Abduh, the call for change was couched in the language of modernity. Even back then there was the suspicion of ‘Abduh attempting to introduce secularism through the back door of ijtih?d but we know that such allegations are misconceived. On the contrary, what ‘Abduh did was to subject the moral and epistemological premises of secular modernity to scrutiny and he came to the conclusion that Islam’s modernity was both non-Western and non-secular.[11]

Allama Iqbal reminded us of the inadequacy of fiqh for the requirements of his time and called for ijtih?d. In doing so, he rightly cautioned that in the area of legislation for the State, ijtih?d should be undertaken as a collective enterprise and not individuals going on their own ways.[12]

Nevertheless, it would be timely to reconsider the constraints on the adoption of the ijtihad, including those advocated by Iqbal, removing them and allowing the doctrine to apply beyond legal matters into the realm of everyday life.

In this regard, we are in complete agreement with Sheikh Taha’s call for the revival of knowledge based on divine revelation against blind imitation of supposedly modern curricula in all areas of education where the dissemination of knowledge appears to be deliberately divorced from Islam’s core values.[13]

One must not forget that taqlid can also refer to blind imitation of the West and falling prey, even subconsciously, to the influence of the biases latent in the language of discourse. Hence, the need to propound alternative views and articulate a greater degree of independent thinking.[14]

The caveat against blind adoption of liberal views was sounded by Fazlur Rahman: “Universal values are the crux of the being of a society: the debate about the relativity of moral values in a society is born of a liberalism that in the process of liberalisation has become so perverted as to destroy those very moral values that it set out to liberate from the constraints of dogma.”[15]

A tentative prescription in the tradition of IIIT

In formulating a new prescription for Muslims one can do no better than to echo the calls made in the tradition of the International Institute of Islamic Thought on the Islamization of knowledge as pioneered by al-Marhum Ismail al-F?r?q?. I use the word ‘echo’ deliberately with the rider that a fresh interpretation is called for in order to do justice to the purport of this approach. This fresh interpretation is in tandem with the commitment to the core values of Islam.

In my humble view, this is necessary because in failing to do justice to these fundamental principles, certain scholars and ulema have confounded the plain message of the Qur’an and the Sunnah. They call for the adoption of the Shari’ah without a deeper understanding of the maqasid, giving preference to scholastic views and speculative opinions, many of which rely on unauthentic hadith and a skewered understanding of hudud law.[16] Indeed, this is clearly contrary to the clear message of the Qur’an:

“This [Qur’an] is a clear statement to [all] the people and a guidance and instruction for those conscious of Allah.” (Ali Imran: 138)

Though we would expect it to be taken for granted, yet it is imperative to remind ourselves that the Qur??n is more than just a moral code. Indeed it is a universal guide for the community. If we take the definition of education as a social extension of culture and culture as a definitive or core ingredient of civilization, then this approach of the Islamization of knowledge will lead to a truly holistic adoption of Islam’s core values. This indeed will be the best answer to the question what is the Islamic weltanschauung:

“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” (Ali Imran: 110)

Secondly, to my mind, there is some substance in the observation that in the current approach to the Islamization of knowledge endeavour, there is a preponderance of focus on the social sciences while the crisis of the ummah in practical terms can be traced to it being technologically and scientifically lagging behind the non-Muslim communities.[17]

The project should therefore be broadened to attract more scholars and participants from the physical sciences and in time this will add a more balanced critical mass to the intellectual force. After all, the Bayt al-Hikmah of the Golden Age of Islam gave birth to not just philosophers but eminent scientists. In fact, the bifurcation between the two was not the norm as the holistic pursuit of knowledge saw the genesis of “philosopher-scientists” competent in a wide spectrum of intellectual disciplines.[18] At the core of this focus, I believe, is the divine injunction on the use of the intellectual faculty.

Thus, the Qur’an enjoins the use of reason to ascertain the truth as provided by the senses, and truth grounded on revelation:

“And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth – all from Him. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.” (al-Jathiyah:13)

Finally, we must consider it a jihad to free ourselves from a new shroud of ignorance that has been cast upon the ummah. Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali reminds us that “ignorance combined with bigotry and caprice are a great misfortune.” The antidote to this is the pursuit of knowledge which will widen our horizons and strengthen our resolve and will-power for individuals as well as communities.[19]

Thank you.


[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy –  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/locke-moral/ An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in P.H. Nidditch (ed.), An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, based on the fourth edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975.

[2] http://www.newstatesman.com/ideas/2010/04/smith-market-essay-sentiments

[3] Ismail Raji al Faruqi, Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life, 2nd ed., Herndon: IIIT, 1992, p. 157

[4] Ibid. at p.170

[5] Badrane Benlahcene, The Socio-Intellectual Foundations of Malek Bennabi’s Approach To Civilisation, IIIT, 2011

[6] Malik Bennabi, Mushkilat al Afkar fil Alam al Islami, trans. M Ali, Cairo: Maktabat Amar, 1971, 56

[7] Abdulaziz Berghout, The Concept of Culture and Cultural Transformation: Views of Malik Bennabi, Intellectual Discourse, 2001 Vol. 9, No 1, pp. 78-79

[8] Ismail R. al Faruqi and Lois Lamya al Faruqi, Cultural Atlas of Islam, Macmillan Publishing Company: New York, 1986, pp.78-79

[9] Islam and Knowledge: Al Faruqi’s Concept Of Religion In Islamic Thought, ed. Imtiyaz Yusuf, I.B. Tauris in association with IIIT and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington 2012

[10] Prolegomena to the Metaphysics of Islam: An Exposition of the Fundamental Elements of the Worldview of Islam, Kuala Lumpur: International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization, 1995

[11] Tradition and Modernity – Christian and Muslim Perspectives, ed. David Marshall, Georgetown University Press, 2013, Chapter on “Muhammad ‘Abduh – A Sufi-inspired Modernist?” by Vincent J. Cornell p.108

[12] Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Kitab Bhavan, 2000

[13] Taha J. al-Alwani, Islamic Thought: An Approach To Reform

[14] Epistemological Bias in the Physical & Social Sciences, Edited by A. M. Elmessiri, IIIT

[15] Liberal Islam – A Sourcebook, ed. Charles Kruzman, Oxford University Press, 1998, Ch. 31 on Fazlur Rahman’s Islam and Modernity p.317

[16] Mohammad Omar Farooq, Toward Our Reformation: From Legalism to Value-Oriented Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, IIIT, 2011

[17] Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, “Islamization of Knowledge: A Critical Overview”, Islamic Studies Vol. 30, No. 3 (Autumn 1991), pp. 387-400

[18] Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. “The Teaching of Philosophy.” In Philosophy, Literature, and Fine Arts, edited by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, pp. 3–21. Islamic Education Series. Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, 1982

[19] Shaykh  Muhammad al-Ghazali, A Thematic Commentary on the Qur’an, trans. Ashur A. Shamis, rev. Zaynab Alawiye, IIIT, 2000, pp. 516-517

30 August 2013

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

Sekali lagi menjelang 31 Ogos, kita akan meraikan Hari Merdeka, hari yang cukup gemilang dan bermakna untuk seluruh rakyat Malaysia. Kini adalah masanya untuk kita menghimbau kembali pencapaian dan kegagalan kita dan memandang ke depan untuk hari-hari dan bulan-bulan yang mendatang. Kini adalah masanya untuk bermuhasabah dan bertanya apakah sebenarnya erti Merdeka dan apa yang boleh kita pelajari dari masa silam dan harapan di masa depan.

‘Merdeka’ memiliki makna yang lebih dalam berbanding perkataan ‘Kebebasan’. Ia bukan sekadar persoalan dibebaskan dari cengkaman penjajahan atau penindasan asing jika ianya kemudian digantikan dengan penindas di tanah air sendiri yang barangkali lebih rakus dan tamak. Merdeka bermaksud bebas dari sebarang bentuk kezaliman dan penindasan dalam apa jua bentuk dan negara dipacu ke arah baru menuju keadilan, kebebasan, demokrasi dan kemuliaan insan.

Di atas cabaran ini, ramai yang bersetuju bahawa kita masih jauh untuk mencapainya. Setelah lebih dari setengah abad, kita masih lagi bertanya samada prinsip-prinsip asas di dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan masih dijunjung dan samada kebebasan dan hak-hak yang termaktub di dalamnya masih utuh dan dihormati. Justeru, apa kebaikan Merdeka seandainya asas perlembagaan dicabuli dengan sewenang-wenangnya?

Tatkala kita seharusnya meraikan perpaduan sebagai sebuah negara pelbagai kaum dan pelbagai agama yang telah menjangkau 56 tahun usia kemerdekaan, kita sebaliknya kini melihat polarisasi masyarakat yang dahsyat dan perpecahan dalam hal-hal berkaitan agama. Tanggungjawab dan peranan pemimpin politik sewajarnya menjernihkan keadaan ini namun apa yang berlaku adalah sebaliknya. Terdapat segelintir daripada mereka yang mengeruhkan lagi keadaan dengan mengeksploitasi hal-hal agama dan isu-isu sensitif untuk kepentingan mereka sendiri. Kini wujud perkembangan yang membimbangkan bila mana terdapat parti-parti politik yang mengupah kumpulan-kumpulan ‘hak istimewa’ dan media untuk meneruskan agenda mereka memecahbelah dan menyemai perbezaan di kalangan rakyat.

Kesannya, setelah 56 tahun mencapai Merdeka, berlaku lebih banyak provokasi perkauman, hasutan yang menjurus kepada kebencian terhadap agama dan secara umumnya semakin banyak ucapan dan penulisan berbaur hasutan yang disiarkan oleh media cetak. Apa yang malang adalah ia bukan sekadar kelemahan kepimpinan dalam menjernihkan keadaan, tetapi tampak seolah-olah kerajaan sedang menggalakkan fenomena ini supaya menjadi lebih parah.

Sebagai contoh, ketika pelbagai tuntutan dan bantahan dinyatakan dari kalangan rakyat prihatin dan pertubuhan-pertubuhan bukan kerajaan, kerajaan sebaliknya membenarkan juga penayangan di seluruh negara sebuah filem yang hanya akan menyajikan mesej berbaur perkauman walaupun nilai keseniannya masih boleh dipersoalkan. Di sebalik kebanggaan tentang negara, terdapat sensitiviti yang lebih besar yakni perkauman dan perasaan khalayak. Suara-suara melampau berbaur kebencian dan yang bersifat tidak toleran sedang menenggelamkan suara-suara kesederhanaan dan keterbukaan.

Peningkatan mendadak kes tembakan dan jenayah berat, rompakan dan jenayah ragut adalah hal yang membimbangkan. Manakala kita mendukung usaha pihak polis dalam memerangi dan mencegah jenayah, adalah penting juga untuk mereka melakukannya dengan menuruti proses yang sewajarnya. Semua pihak perlu bekerjasama mencari jalan penyelesaian namun demikian penggunaan undang-undang yang lebih berat bukanlah jawapannya. Perkara tersebut perlu diteliti dengan lebih menyeluruh.

Menyentuh isu tatakelola, ketelusan dan kebertanggungjawaban, rasuah kekal menjadi barah yang merisaukan kita. Merujuk kepada perkara ini, Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) mesti melaksanakan tugas mereka tanpa rasa takut dan memihak namun kita mendesak Peguam Negara supaya tidak menghalang pendakwaan yang melibatkan amalan rasuah di kalangan pimpinan atasan.

Negara kita tidak kebal daripada ribut ekononi yang melanda di sekeliling kita. Kita lebih perlu berhati-hati daripada berada di dalam keadaan tidak bersiap sedia. Kita boleh menerapkan tata kelola, hemah dan kebertanggungjawaban dalam pengurusan kewangan awam dan ekonomi kita. Kerajaan bersalah terhadap kecurangan ekonomi – menyatakan fakta yang separa benar dan memberikan statistik tidak sempurna untuk mengaburi perbelanjaan melampau yang tidak mampu lagi ditanggung oleh negara.

Penilaian Agensi Penarafan Kewangan Antarabangsa (FITCH) yang mendedahkan kemerosotan prospek ekonomi negara sewajarnya mempercepatkan kerajaan untuk bertindak lebih terbuka dalam mendepani cabaran sebenar ekonomi. Sebaliknya, kerajaan memperlekeh penilaian tersebut dan menyifatkannya sebagai kerja “penganalisa muda yang tidak mendengar pandangan kerajaan”. FITCH bukanlah satu-satunya firma penganalisa yang menyatakan kebimbangan terhadap prospek pertumbuhan ekonomi dan kesannya kepada kejutan luaran.

Terdahulu, Institut Penyelidikan Ekonomi Malaysia (MIER) telah menolak unjuran pertumbuhan 2013 daripada 5.6% sebelumnya kepada 4.8%. Bank Negara pula baru-baru ini telah mengurangkan ramalan pertumbuhan 2013 daripada 5-6% sebelumnya kepada 4.5-5%. Ini selari dengan ramalan terkini Bank Dunia untuk tahun 2013 iaitu daripada 5.6% sebelumnya kepada 5.1%. Selain daripada ancaman berganda defisit fiskal yang tinggi secara berterusan dan peningkatan hutang kerajaan secara langsung dan tidak langsung, lebihan akaun semasa kita berada pada tahap paling rendah sejak 1997. Oleh kerana kita terlalu bergantung pada nilai dan komoditi eksport yang rendah di pasaran global, kejatuhan berterusan dalam ekonomi global mewujudkan ketidaktentuan terhadap pertumbuhan kita.

Pengurangan defisit fiskal memerlukan komitmen sepenuhnya dalam membasmi rasuah daripada perolehan dan projek-projek kerajaan. Penjimatan 10% dalam perolehan dan projek-projek dengan mudah dapat diterjemahkan kepada perolehan RM20 bilion setahun (berdasarkan perolehan dan perbelanjaan tahunan projek RM200 bilion di bawah kawalan kerajaan Persekutuan).

Pengurangan hutang kerajaan dan pemotongan defisit fiskal hanya boleh dimulakan menerusi perolehan hasil kerajaan yang lebih tinggi yang diraih melalui pertumbuhan yang lebih tinggi. Malangnya pertumbuhan Malaysia akan terencat di skala 4-5% untuk seketika melainkan reformasi struktur secara menyeluruh terhadap ekonomi dilaksanakan sebaiknya dengan segera.

Di ambang ulangtahun kemerdekaan yang ke-56 ini, reformasi ekonomi bukan lagi berkisar kepada pertandingan dasar dan retorik politik. Ianya berkait dengan kepentingan negara yang seharusnya menembusi politik kepartian dan ideologi kerana kita tidak mampu untuk mundur ke belakang sedangkan negara-negara jiran kita maju ke depan.

Persoalan kepimpinan adalah amat penting dalam memacu negara ke hadapan dengan memperkukuhkan asas ekonomi dan menjadikan kita lebih berdaya saing. Malah lebih penting lagi, pemimpin-pemimpin kita mesti dilihat serius menjaga kesejahteraan negara dan memacu hala tuju yang betul. Untuk memastikan perkembangan tidak sihat tidak berlaku di bawah kepimpinannya, seseorang pemimpin itu mesti menunjukkan ketegasan dan iltizam moral yang tinggi.

Meski pun kami membantah sekeras-kerasnya tentang kesahihan keputusan pilihanraya yang lepas, kami bersedia untuk mengetepikan perbezaan kami demi negara kesejahteraan dan masa depan. Dalam hal ini, kami percaya bahawa adalah penting bagi Perdana Menteri untuk segera mengadakan rundingan meja bulat antara kerajaan BN dan Pakatan Rakyat bagi membincangkan isu-isu yang dibangkitkan dan merumuskan satu penyelesaian yang menyeluruh.

Meraikan Merdeka semestinya dengan mengiktiraf kebaikan yang telah dilakukan dan tidak mengulangi kesilapan masa lalu. Iltizam untuk melakukan apa yang baik untuk negara perlu menjadi agenda utama kita semua.

Semangat Merdeka bukan sahaja toleransi atau kompromi. Ianya adalah mengenai pemahaman yang lebih besar, menerima perbezaan kita dan meningkatkan persamaan kita serta menggerakkan negara ke hadapan untuk menghadapi cabaran yang mendatang.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

30 August 2013

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Once again as 31st August beckons, we will celebrate Merdeka Day, an auspicious and memorable occasion for all Malaysians. It is time to take stock of our achievements and shortcomings and look forward to the days and months ahead. It is a time for soul-searching where we look into ourselves and ask what Merdeka really means and what we can learn from the past and hope the future holds.

‘Merdeka’ means much more than what the word ‘Independence’ may convey. It is not just a matter of being liberated from the yoke of colonial rule or foreign oppression if it is only to be replaced by the rule of home grown oppressors who may be even more ruthless and self-serving. Merdeka is about being freed from tyranny and oppression in all its guises and setting the nation on a new path to justice, freedom, democracy and human dignity.

Set against this test, many would agree we are still far from there. After more than half a century, we are still left asking whether the fundamental principles in our Federal Constitution are still in place and whether the liberties and rights enshrined therein remain intact and are still honoured. Indeed, what good is Merdeka if these fundamental constitutional safeguards are violated with impunity?

At a time when we should be celebrating our cohesiveness as a multiracial multi-religious nation that has attained 56 years of independence, we are instead witnessing greater polarisation of the communities and increasing divisiveness on religious matters. Rather than alleviating the situation, certain politicians are making it worse by exploiting religious and sensitive issues for their own interests. There is a disconcerting trend of political parties hiring supposed ‘special interest’ groups and the media to further their agenda of causing division and dissention among the people.

Consequently, after 56 years of Merdeka, there is more race baiting, incitement to religious intolerance and hatred and generally an increase in seditious speeches and articles published by the print media. The tragedy in this is that not only is there a lack of leadership in ameliorating the situation but it appears that the government is encouraging this phenomenon to worsen.

For example, in spite of appeals and protests from concerned citizens and NGOs, the government has sanctioned the nation-wide screening of a movie that will only serve to incite communal animosity even as its artistic value remains questionable. Instead of greater sense of nation-consciousness, there is greater sense of race and communal consciousness. The voices of extremism, of hate and of intolerance are drowning the voices of moderation and inclusiveness.

The sharp increase in shooting cases and other violent crimes, robberies and snatch thefts is a matter of grave concern. While we must support the police in the efforts to curb and prevent crime, it is also incumbent on them to follow due process. All parties must collectively work out a solution to the problem but merely getting more punitive laws is not the answer. The matter must be looked at comprehensively.

On the issues of governance, transparency and accountability corruption remains a matter which still plagues us. In this regard, the MACC must perform its tasks without fear or favour but we would urge the Attorney General not to obstruct the prosecution of those involved in corruption in high office.

We are not insulated from the economic storms brewing around us. We should rather err on the side of caution than to be caught off guard. We can institute good governance, prudence and accountability in the management of our public finances and economy. The government is guilty of economic dishonesty – telling half-truths and giving incomplete statistics to camouflage the excessive spending that the country can no longer afford.

Fitch’s downgrading of the country’s economic prospect should have prompted the government to come clean on the real economic challenges. Instead it has dismissed it as the work of “young analysts who don’t listen to government’s opinion”. Fitch is not the only reputable firm of analysts which had expressed concerns over the growth prospect of our economy and its vulnerability to external shocks.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) had earlier cut 2013’s growth projection to 4.8% from 5.6% previously. Bank Negara recently cut its 2013 growth forecast to 4.5-5% from 5-6% previously. This is in line with World Bank’s latest forecast for 2013 at 5.1% from 5.6% previously. Apart from the double menace of persistently high fiscal deficit and mounting direct and indirect government debts, our current account surplus is at the lowest level since 1997. Because we rely heavily on low value and commodity exports to the global markets, a continuing drag in the global economy casts uncertainties over our growth.

Cutting fiscal deficit requires a total commitment to eradicate corruption from government procurements and projects. A 10% saving in procurement and projects easily translates to RM20 billion a year (based on a procurement and project annual expenditure of RM200 billion within the control of the federal government).

The reduction of government debt and cutting of fiscal deficit can only begin earnestly with higher government revenue that comes with higher growth. Unfortunately Malaysia’s growth will be stuck around the 4-5% region for a while unless all structural reforms to the economy are rolled out honestly and immediately.

On the eve of our 56th Merdeka, economic reforms are no longer a matter of policy contestation or political rhetoric. It is a national imperative that should transcend partisan and ideological boundaries because we cannot afford to slide back while our neighbours progress unabatedly.

The question of leadership is of paramount importance in steering the nation forward by strengthening our economic fundamentals and making us more competitive. Even more importantly, our leaders must be seen to be in control of the well-being of the nation and the direction it is going. To check the unhealthy trends developing under his watch, he must display firm resolve and moral courage.

Notwithstanding our strong protests about the validity of the outcome of the last elections, we are prepared to put aside our differences for the sake of the nation’s well-being and future. In this regard, we believe that it is imperative for the Prime Minister to convene without the slightest delay a round-table meeting between the BN government and Pakatan Rakyat in order to deliberate on the issues raised and formulate a comprehensive solution.

Celebrating Merdeka must be about recognising the good that has been done and not repeating the mistakes of the past. The resolve to do what is good for the nation must be our main concern. The Merdeka spirit is not just about tolerance or compromise. It is about greater understanding, embracing our differences and enhancing our similarities as well as propelling the nation forward to face the challenges ahead.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

28 May 2013

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2 May 2013

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MAY 2, 2013

This morning, I will be disclosing information and findings regarding the sudden surge in the arrival of dubious individuals on chartered flights since April 25th. These are foreign nationals as well as Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak who have been flown in to Peninsula Malaysia.

We have also received information that there has been a sudden surge in the arrivals of foreign workers from Thailand, Cambodia, Pakistan and Myanmar through Bukti Kayu Hitam as well those from Indonesia through Port Kelang and other coastal entry points.

The timing of this surge in arrivals and its sheer size raises naturally raises the question of whether they have been transported here surreptitiously to vote in favour of Barisan Nasional.

We also received information that these flights were made at the instruction of the Prime Minister’s Department and made through a letter signed by a minister. The facts that we have established so far are:

The number of these flights, as many as 16 per day from East Malaysia primarily departing from Kuching and Kota Kinabalu as well as Sandakan, Miri and Sibu, with some flights using jumbo jets. The number of charter flights per day is more than even the number of charter flights during the Haj season.

Based on our calculations, as many as 4,500 people are being transported via the in-bound flights into KLIA each day. This has been taking place each day with the exception of May 1st, since April 25th.

This means at least 40,500 dubious individuals have and are still entering via this method of chartered flights via KLIA. This does not include foreign nationals who are being moved through land routes and seaports or other airport facilities such as LCCT.

The points of arrival of these flights have been KLIA Sepang as well as Bayan Lepas and Senai. We also have information that military aircraft (C130 Hercules) are being used to bring in these phantom voters to land in smaller airports such as Batu Berendam and Ipoh.

We have credible documentary evidence that these groups of foreign nationals are being transported from the airports to various sequestration points within Selangor/Kuala Lumpur and the other affected states using transport provided by various government agencies as well as charted bus operators;

We believe that the Election Commission in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office, and the involvement of a number of other agencies are involved in this operation. We now demand answers to the following questions from the relevant parties:

  1. Can the Inspector General of Police and the Chief of the Armed Forces assure us that the Royal Malaysian Police and Malaysian Armed Forces are neutral professionals and are not involved in a plot to keep Barisan Nasional in power? Can both of them confirm that their intelligence personnel are not involved in orchestrating the movement of these dubious people?
  2. Can the Chief of Armed Forces explain if the various Territorial Army (Askar Wataniah) camps have been used as accommodation centers for these dubious individuals?
  3. Can the Director General of Immigration explain the role of the various depots in Lenggeng, Sepang and Semenyih in providing accommodation these foreign phantom voters?
  4. Can the Director General of the National Registration Department explain whether foreign workers in the Sepang Formula 1 Circuit and KLIA have been given Malaysian identity cards?

We warn the Election Commission and its cahoots that there are many patriotic Malaysians in the various security agencies, airlines and airport employees who are angry and upset that the sovereignty of the country is being compromised. These patriots are monitoring and documenting all the suspicious movements groups of individuals. We have video recordings, photographic evidence and documents to support our claims. We also have the flight schedule of these chartered flights.

We want to warn the current Barisoan Nasional caretaker government not to deny Malaysians their democratic rights to vote freely and fairly. They should also not exploit powerless and marginalized foreign nationals or Malaysians for their goal of staying in power.

I also call upon Malaysians to document all evidence of the inflow of these imported voters. Take photos or videos of their movements. For those have in any way been involved in this operation, please forward to us the evidences that you have. We must protect the sovereignty of the rakyat.

Finally, we urge every single voter who loves Malaysia to come out to take control of our destiny by voting and not let the BN steal our election by using these dubious voters. If Pakatan Rakyat, Insyallah, is given the mandate by the rakyat, we will declare 6th May 2013 a national holiday to allow Malaysia to return home after the voting exercise.

We must overwhelm these imported voters with our high turnout to ensure our dignity and sovereignty. Let us exorcise this country from the demons of BN and the Election Commission.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

29 April 2013

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Malaysiakini

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has urged the police to professionally resolve all investigations into recent cases of political violence as soon as possible.

“Police must act speedily to find those who are really responsible and inform the people,” Anwar told reporters in Petaling Jaya today.

This, he said, is to counter BN propaganda attacks in the mainstream media accusing Pakatan supporters as being behind all the violence.

“This is a matter which must be handled professionally by police,@ he added.

29 April 2013

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Harakah

Pusat Kajian Demokrasi dan Pilihan Raya Universiti Malaya (Umcedel) mempertahankan keabsahan hasil kajian mereka yang terbaru berkaitan pilihan pengundi menjelang Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU13).

Ianya ekoran ada pihak yang mempertikai hasil kajian tersebut khususnya dari kalangan penganalisis politik dan termasuk juga dari pimpimpin Umno BN.

Dalam satu kenyataan semalam, pihaknya berkata kajian akademik tersebut dibuat dengan mematuhi standard dan tidak bias kepada mana-mana pihak yang berkepentingan.

“Kajian yang kami jalankan mematuhi standard akademik dan dibiayai oleh universiti yang mempertahankan nilai intergriti, telus dan tidak memihak kepada mana-mana individu ataupun parti politik,” kenyataan mereka dipetik.

Pada 25 April lalu, Umcedel telah mengadakan sidang akhbar mendedahkan hasil kajian terbaru mereka berhubung pilihan pengundi menjelang PRU13.

Kajian terhadap 1,407 responden pelbagai kaum yang merupakan pengundi berdaftar itu dijalankan pada 3 April hingga 20 April lalu.

Antara lain kajian itu mendapati, 43 peratus responden berpendapat Anwar lebih layak menjadi perdana menteri berbanding Najib 39 peratus.

Selain itu, kajian tersebut juga mendapati rata-rata pengundi bersetuju bahawa manifesto Pakatan Rakyat lebih memenuhi harapan rakyat berbanding manifesto BN.

“Pandangan dan komen separuh masak yang tidak mempunyai nilai akademik tanpa melihat dengan lanjut kajian tersebut amat dikesali,” kata Umcedel lagi.

Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak ketika mengulas kajian itu semalam bagaimanapun menyifatkanya sebagai karut.

Najib berkata beliau tidak setuju dengan kajian tersebut yang menunjukkan beliau berada empat mata di belakang penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim untuk menjadi perdana menteri.

Berikut adalah kenyataan penuh Umcedel:

NOTA ini merujuk kepada pandangan beberapa orang penganalisis politik berkaitan dengan hasil kaji selidik yang telah dijalankan oleh Umcedel berkaitan pilihan pengundi menjelang pilihan raya umum ke-13 yang disiarkan dalam www.sinarharian.com.my pada 27 April 2013 (semalam).

Hasil kaji selidik ini telah dihebahkan semasa persidangan akhbar pada 25 April 2013 di Universiti Malaya yang telah dihadiri oleh pemberita dari dalam dan luar negara termasuk beberapa orang diplomat antarabangsa. Kesempatan juga telah diberikan kepada wartawan dan diplomat untuk mengemukakan persoalan dan meneliti lebih lanjut kajian yang kami jalankan.

Beberapa penjelasan kepada kajian tersebut:

1. Berlaku kekeliruan berkaitan istilah populasi dan sampel. Populasi merujuk kepada keseluruhan komponen sama ada jumlah penduduk negara atau jumlah pengundi.

Sementara sampel adalah sebahagian komponen yang akan mewakili keseluruhan populasi. Standard dan prosedur statistik yang menjadi amalan kajian di peringkat tempatan dan antarabangsa adalah mendapatkan sampel. Contoh yang paling mudah, doktor tidak perlu mendapatkan sebahagian besar atau kesemua darah pesakit untuk mengetahui penyakit, namun hanya cukup dengan setitik darah sahaja.

2. Pemilihan responden seramai 1,407 adalah mewakili keseluruhan komponen pengundi berdasarkan pecahan etnik, jantina, struktur umur, lokasi tempat tinggal, status pekerjaaan dan pendidikan.

Sampel yang dipilih adalah responden yang telah mendaftar sebagai pengundi dan pernah mengundi dalam pilihan raya. Jumlah sampel tersebut adalah standard sampel yang digunakan oleh badan penyelidik antarabangsa seperti MORI, YouGov dan Gallup.

Malah beberapa badan penyelidik akademik serantau seperti Election Study Center di National Chengchi Universiti di Taiwan, Lembaga Survey dan Lingkungan Survey di Indonesia juga mengggunakan jumlah sampel yang hampir sama. Metodologi yang digunakan dalam kajian adalah secara bersemuka menggunakan soalan yang berstruktur.

3. Umcedel adalah badan penyelidikan akademik yang bernaung di bawah Kluster Kemanusiaan dan Sains Sosial Universiti Malaya yang dianggotai oleh ahli akademik tempatan dan antarabangsa. Kepakaran ahli Umcedel termasuk dalam bidang statistik, sains politik, politik antarabangsa, sistem maklumat geografi, sejarah dan geografi pilihan raya.

Kajian yang kami jalankan mematuhi standard akademik dan dibiayai oleh universiti yang mempertahankan nilai intergriti, telus dan tidak memihak kepada mana-mana individu ataupun parti politik.

4. Masyarakat juga tentunya menantikan kajian daripada penganalisis-penganalisis politik yang terlibat secara langsung di lapangan untuk mendapatkan gambaran sebenar yang berlaku di peringkat akar umbi dan bukannya bergantung kepada pemerhatian politik melalui media semata-semata.

5. Pihak yang berminat boleh melayari laman sesawang www.umcedel.um.edu.my untuk mendapatkan butiran lanjut kajian tersebut dan beberapa kajian yang telah kami jalankan. Pihak kami juga bersedia berdiskusi dengan mana-mana individu dan pertubuhan yang mahu meneliti lebih lanjut kajian kami. Pandangan dan komen separuh masak yang tidak mempunyai nilai akademik tanpa melihat dengan lanjut kajian tersebut amat dikesali.

29 April 2013

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29 April 2013

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29 April 2013

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Huffingtonpost.com
Azeem Ibrahim

Malaysia has in reality been a one party state for over 55 years with the ruling UMNO party winning a string of elections without much opposition. However, with the stellar rise of Anwar Ibrahim, the ruling party is facing its most tightly contested election in its history. In the final days of campaigning in an election which many pollsters now believe the government will lose, it seems to be pulling a number of desperate stunts.

Firstly is the amount of money the prime minister’s office is spending on advertising. Industry experts have identified over 50 million USD in advertising buys by the prime minister’s office alone. Sources say that the amount of money being spent on advertisements exceeds one million, a virtual buy out of all ad space on Microsoft networks (which include Skype and Bing) for the last 10 days of the campaign. On Facebook the PMO’s office, again according to sources, is spending upwards of $200,000.

Last week various websites in Malaysia reported servers being blocked. The popular and independent online news portal Malaysiakini reported that its IP address was being blocked within the country in activities that could only be explained by the deliberate obstruction by local ISPs. The website for AnwarIbrahim.com which reported a ten-fold increase in traffic on Wednesday was subsequently hacked. The Digital Task Force running the website sent out an email indicating the severity of the attack, which was launched immediately after it reported a dramatic increase in online activity and support for Anwar Ibrahim.

During Malaysian elections it is nothing new for opposition sites to be targeted with DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. It appears this year is no different. With a virtual monopoly on the mainstream media, one wonders why the government feels the need to disrupt other forms of communication.

Dr. Azeem Ibrahim is the Executive Chairman of The Scotland Institute and a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding.

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