Artikel

1 February 2015

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Program Ceramah dan Solat Hajat

1. Negeri Sembilan
Tarikh: 1 Feb 2015
Masa: 9 malam
Lokasi: PASTI AL-FALAH, Taman Desa, Rhu, Sikamat, Seremban
Penceramah: Mat Sabu, YB Tian Chua, DS Anwar, YB Xavier, YB Izzah dll.

2. Kedah
Tarikh: 2 Feb 2015
Masa: 9 malam
Lokasi: Padang Awam Taman Kucai, Lunas
Penceramah: YB Tian Chua, DS Anwar, Dato Saifuddin, Surendran, YB Dato Mahfuz Omar dll.

3. Terengganu
Tarikh: 3 Feb 2015
Masa: 9 malam
Lokasi: Perkarangan Pejabat KEADILAN, Taman Jakar, Chukai
Penceramah: YB Rafizi, YB Tian Chua, DS Anwar, YB Nik Nazmi dll.

4. Selangor (Solat Hajat, Tazkirah)
Tarikh: 4 Feb 2015
Masa: 7 malam
Lokasi: Masjid Abu Bakar Ali Bashah, Apt Kenanga, Taman Bunga Raya, Bukit Beruntung
Penceramah: YB Azmin, DS Anwar dll.

5. Perak
Tarikh: 4 Feb 2015
Masa: 9 malam
Lokasi: Dataran Berop, Tanjung Malim
Penceramah: YB Azmin, DS Anwar, YB Izzah, YB Shamsul Iskandar dll.

6. Pulau Pinang
Tarikh: 7 Feb 2015
Masa: 5 petang
Lokasi: Bayan Baru
Penceramah: YB Sim, DS Anwar dll.

7. Pulau Pinang (Solat hajat, Tazkirah)
Tarikh: 7 Feb 2015
Masa: 7 malam
Lokasi: Masjid Jamek Seberang Jaya
Penceramah: DS Anwar

8. Pulau Pinang
Tarikh: 7 Feb 2015
Masa: 9 malam
Lokasi: Tapak Pasar Awam Sama Gagah, Permatang Pauh
Penceramah: YB Wan Azizah, YB Azmin, YB Rafizi, DS Anwar dll.

9. Johor
Tarikh: 8 Feb 2015
Masa: 8 malam
Lokasi: Bilik Gerakan Utama Pakatan Rakyat Muar, Pt Tarom, Jalan Temenggong Ahmad
Penceramah: YB Tian Chua, YB Izzah, YB Rafizi, DS Anwar dll.

10. Melaka
Tarikh: 8 Feb 2015
Masa: 9 malam
Lokasi: Perkarangan Pejabat MPN Melaka, Jalan BPM1, Taman Bukit Piatu Mutiara, Bukit Piatu, Melaka
Penceramah: YB Tian Chua, YB Izzah, YB Rafizi, DS Anwar dll.

Sila hubungi Sdr Saifullah 013 300 5461 untuk sebarang pertanyaan.

PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR

1 February 2015

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

Inaugural address by Anwar Ibrahim, MP and Chair, World Forum for Muslim Democrats at the Opening of the Biennial International Conference on Islam on 1st February 2015, in Ampang, Selangor.

Introduction

We gather here today in circumstances of turmoil and political unrest in the Muslim world as yet unprecedented in our modern history.

Whether it is in the Middle East, the Indian sub-Continent, or in Europe, hardly a week goes by without some negative breaking news of innocent people being kidnapped, beheaded, shot at or blown up by perpetrators who are ostensibly Muslims. Not since 9/11 have the repercussions of these vile attacks been so far-reaching and pervasive.

When the Twin Towers were attacked in 2001, I wrote an op-ed piece for Time magazine a week later but being still in prison, it took another two weeks for me to get it out. I had prefaced it with the Qur’anic reminder in surah al-Maidah ayah 8: “Let not your hatred of others cause you to act unjustly against them.” I then said:

“Never in Islam’s history have the actions of so few of its followers caused the religion and its community of believers to be such an abomination in the eyes of others. Millions of Muslims who fled to North America and Europe to escape poverty and persecution at home have become the objects of hatred and are now profiled as potential terrorists. The nascent democratic movements in Muslim countries will regress for a few decades as ruling autocrats use their participation in the global war against terrorism to terrorize their critics and dissenters.”

Today, religious groups in the name of jihad are trying to outdo each other in their demonstration of faith – who can kill more, be more violent and be as uncompromising as possible? Who are the champions in striking fear among those who do not subscribe to their beliefs?

In this perverse race for supremacy in brutality, ISIS has been at the forefront, issuing ultimatums for ransom to be paid for the release of foreign captives and beheading them with clock-work precision when the ransom is not paid. To add to the depravity, they also carry out mass summary executions by firing squad and shamelessly broadcast these atrocities to the world.

For fear of losing out to ISIS and other terror groups in notoriety as bloodthirsty and ruthless killers, the Taliban on December 16 last year struck their as yet ‘most cruellest cut’ in depraved violence by attacking a school in Pakistan and massacring 140 children.

Just two days before that, Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped at least 185 women and children, and slaughtered 32 people in a raid in Nigeria where, incidentally, twelve of its thirty-six states have introduced hudud punishments. The gunmen attacked a village, destroying half of it, shooting down men before herding women and children together.

But even all this seems to pale before the atrocity committed by ISIS militants in late October when they herded over 600 Shia, Christian and Yazidi men into the desert and executed them at point blank range.
They were forced to count themselves as they lined up before their executioners who, while proclaiming ‘God is great’, opened fire on them with machine guns.

Stabbing Islam in the back

Then of course there were the horrific murders that were carried out at the offices of Charlie Hepdo in Paris on 7th January followed by the brutal killing of four Jewish hostages.

There was widespread condemnation of the Paris killings from people and quarters regardless of religion or creed. Once again, the savage acts of a few in the name of Islam had tainted the rest of the Muslim communities.

In this senseless and brutal killing, the perpetrators have stabbed Islam in the back. It is indeed the height of audacity for these murderers to say they are avenging the Prophet and protecting the sanctity of the religion.

By what authority do they justify killing people for insulting Islam or the Prophet?

Islam has survived for almost 1500 years without these self-righteous self-proclaimed defenders of the faith. It can certainly go on for another thousand years and more without them. The Prophet was sent unto mankind as a blessing and guidance, not a preacher of terrorism.

“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” Al-anbiyaa: 107

We know that during his early mission, all kinds of insult, led by Musaylima, were hurled at the Prophet and his Companions urged him to fight back. The Prophet merely said: ‘Let him be. He is just a liar. Ignore him.’

When the enemies of Islam stepped up their ridicule and persecution, the Companions again asked the Prophet to curse them. At this, the Prophet replied, “I have not been sent to lay a curse upon men but to be a blessing to them.”

When the Prophet went to Ta’if, he attempted to call the community there to Islam. In response, they set the street urchins to hound, harass and then stone him. When he was utterly exhausted and bleeding from head to foot, did he curse his tormentors or seek help for revenge? On the contrary, as all Muslims know or should know, what issued from the Prophet’s lips was and remains indeed one of the most moving and beautiful du’a in Islam:

“O Allah, To Thee I complain of my weakness, my lack of resources and my lowliness before men.
“O most Merciful! Thou art the Lord of the weak and Thou art my Lord. To whom wilt Thou entrust me? To one who will misuse me? Or to an enemy to whom Thou hast given power over me? If Thou art not angry with me then I care not what happens to me. Thy favour is all that counts for me.
“I take refuge in the light of Thy countenance, by which all darkness is illuminated. And the things of this world and next are rightly ordered. I wish to please Thee until Thou art pleased. There is no power and no might save in Thee.”

So, where is the textual authority to establish that Muslims should avenge the Prophet by embarking on a killing spree?

The Prophet’s heart was always filled with love and compassion for human kind regardless of creed or colour. The hearts of these self-appointed avengers are filled with hatred and hostility.

The Prophet taught us tolerance and understanding. These avengers preach intolerance and animosity. The Qur’an tells us to reach out and get to know one another. These killers sow discord and division.

Of 9/11 back then, I had denounced it thus:
“The attacks must be condemned, and the condemnation must be without reservation. The foremost religious authorities are outraged and have issued statements denouncing the monstrous murders. All efforts to punish the perpetrators must be supported.”

Likewise, the response to the killings in Paris must also be unequivocal condemnation. It is cold blooded massacre, plain and simple. There’s nothing to justify or rationalise. It is also not the time for moralizing over U.S., French or European foreign policy.

As stated earlier, these acts of barbarism are tragically not new. We would recall the reaction of Muslims to the Danish cartoons. Innocent lives were lost and buildings were set on fire as angry mobs in various parts of the Muslim world went on a rampage to demonstrate their anger. Was that following the example of the Prophet?

Freedom of expression and double standards

Nevertheless, much as we must defend our fundamental liberties, the fact is that there is no such thing as absolute freedom of expression, not even in Europe and certainly not in France. When the comic book on the life of the Prophet was first published in France two years ago, I had deplored it as sacrilege against Islam. Indeed, I had called for calm and rationality in response even as we should denounce the cartoons as vile and contemptible.

To my mind, the Danish cartoons, Charlie Hebdo caricatures and the rest of the tasteless and insensitive publications ridiculing Islam and the Prophet are mere manifestations of Islamophobia in all its varied guises. They appear to betray a deep-seated Freudian prejudice or animosity harking back to the Crusades.

This is most disappointing considering the strong tradition of scholarship and interest on Islam in Europe that has yielded scholars such as William Muir, Richard Burton, Reynold Nicholson, Max Muller, Theodor Noldeke, Ignaz Goldziher, Ernest Renan, Louis Massignon and Henri Pirenne, to name but a few.
Inspired by Hafez (1325-89), Goethe (1749-1832) wrote West-östlicher Divan (West-Eastern Diwan). It symbolizes, not a clash, but interaction between the West and the East, between Greek and Persian civilizations and between Christendom and the Muslim world.

Goethe’s Diwan in turn inspired other works by European writers. In 1924, Iqbal (1877-1938) himself was moved to publish Payam-e-Mashriq (The Message of the East) underscoring the role of religion and spirituality in civilisation.

As we moved into the 21st century, instead of great works of literature celebrating intellectual convivencia between the Muslim world and the West, we are instead inundated with trashy and worthless writings and cartoons clearly aimed at provoking Muslims and causing unrest.

A clear line must therefore be drawn between freedom of expression and hate crimes.
So, while I condemn the Paris killings, I cannot subscribe to the chant of “je suis Charlie” because I do not support the portrayal of the image of the Prophet, let alone caricaturing him in any way. Likewise, I do not support blasphemy against Christians, Jews or any other religion. Neither do I support the freedom to incite hatred against anyone or community on account of religion, ethnicity or culture.

The publication of the Charlie Hepdo cartoons was highly offensive to many Muslims. The French government did nothing to hold to account the people responsible for that act of profanity. Now, in the aftermath of the Paris massacre, just a few days later the magazine republished the offensive cartoons and this was officially sanctioned by the French authorities. These are blatant acts of provocation and must be condemned.

The issue here is: should there be freedom to commit blasphemy and incite communal hatred? It is true that crimes such as incitement to racial discrimination or hatred will always be challenged as a violation of the right to freedom of expression. But if someone makes a speech clearly liable to arouse feelings of distrust, rejection or even hatred towards a particular group of people of a particular ethnic background, it is incitement to racial hatred. His freedom of expression must then become secondary to the right to dignity and freedom from harassment or vilification on account of ethnic or religious differences.

Holocaust denial

In 2007, the European Union approved legislation that would make denying the Holocaust punishable by jail sentences. This was said to be a minimalist compromise because of the need to reconcile the protection of freedom of speech with protection of their citizens from racism and hate crimes.

This EU law mandates prison terms of as much as three years for “intentional conduct” that incites violence or hatred against a person’s “race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.” The same punishment would apply to those who incite violence by “denying or grossly trivializing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”

Even before that, “Holocaust denial” laws were already in place in Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland and several other European countries: It is a crime publicly to dispute the official version of Holocaust history. So, this is a classic example of even established European democracies watering down freedom of expression. But no one, at least no Western media, has ever framed this issue as a clash between Judaism and freedom of expression.

I personally have no problem with that. ‘Holocaust history’ is something very sensitive to the Jewish community. To deny that indeed is to hurt the feelings of the Jewish community – and also to deny that they were victims of genocide. It may or may not incite violence in doing so. We don’t condone violence but we appreciate that the Jewish community is entitled to feel hurt by such denials.

Of course, those who subscribe to absolute freedom will not agree. We can debate this and there is no need to kill anyone.

But the question is why is it perfectly legitimate to hurt the sensitivities of Muslims by depicting their Prophet or caricaturing him?

Why the double standards?

If France is to remain true to its “je suis Charlie” credo which is the metaphor for absolute freedom of expression then they should repeal the “Holocaust denial” law too or other related laws. Or else, they should stop parading on their moral high horse in the name of absolute freedom of expression.

However, the constraint on freedom of expression in these matters must work both ways. For example, in the case of Malaysia, if action is taken against anyone for blaspheming Islam or ridiculing Muslims on account of their religion, then the authorities must also act even-handedly in cases of blasphemy or insult to other religions and faiths. This is not a hypothetical issue. In Malaysia, we have seen how certain prominent Muslim leaders openly insult Hindus or Christians and get away with it. Why the double standards again?

As even the great libertarian Hayek has said, liberty and responsibility are inseparable. A free society will not function unless its members accept the consequences of their action. Freedom also implies the freedom to speak the truth and not to spread falsehood or corrupt public morals.

Yet, in saying that not only Muslims but any right minded and decent individual may be offended by these kinds of publications, Muslims must learn temperance and tolerance in the tradition of the Prophet. Remember the Prophet’s du’a at Taif and stay true to the Prophet’s memory. Emulate his magnanimity in the face of ridicule and scorn from the enemies.

Between je suis and j’accuse

There is also the tendency to pin anti-Semitism in Europe to Islamic militants as was clearly the case in the Paris attacks where both the Israeli and French governments were quick to label them as anti-Semitic attacks.

Some perspective is needed here. We may recall that the French government has had a history of anti-Semitism. While the mantra is now “je suis Charlie”, at one time more than a century ago, it was “J’accuse”. That was the title of the open letter that Émile Zola published on the front page of a leading Parisian newspaper.

Expressed in highly emotional language, Zola charged the nation’s military top brass with conspiracy and anti-Semitism in dealing with the infamous Alfred Dreyfus affair.

Instead of bringing the culprits to book, the authorities lost no time in arresting Zola, charging him with criminal libel, and having him tried as a common criminal. The show trial was so well managed that an angry bloodthirsty Parisian mob gathered outside the court house clamouring for Zola’s head.

Anatole France, another eminent man of letters, came to his defence and valiantly testified to Zola’s “admirable good faith and absolute integrity.” But this was of no consequence as Zola was hastily convicted and sentenced to jail. However, thanks to his quick thinking and survival instincts, Zola chose freedom instead and dashed off to England. By his reckoning, there was a total failure of justice and it would be foolish for him to submit to an utterly corrupt and unjust system.

Today, France has swung to the other end of the pendulum in making itself among the most vocal in condemning anti-Semitism, apart from the “Holocaust denial” law.I have no quarrel with that. But placing anti-Semitism in juxtaposition with Islam or Islamist activities perpetuates a false dichotomy. It is misguided as well as misleading and only breeds further Islamophobia.

Islamophobia and the ‘clash-of-civilisations’ narrative

Should the Charlie Hebdo attack lead to a resurgence of the clash-of-civilisations narrative?
For the reasons as aforementioned, it should not. Why should it? If it does, then it is testimony to the success of the military jihadists’ doctrine of terror. Terrorism wins if we succumb to fear. It wants to sow discord, distrust and suspicion. Jihadist terrorists rejoice at the rising tide of Islamophobia for it sustains and justifies their hatred and killing. Islamophobia may deal a double whammy – it pushes moderate Muslims to a corner and moderate non-Muslims further to the right. The clash of civilizations would then become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There are portents of that possibility as evidenced by the rising cases of the German far-right extremists attacking foreigners, particularly Muslims. As of last year, there has been a significant nationwide increase in xenophobic offences.

At the same time, there has been a spike in anti-Islam ‘Monday marches’ under the PEGIDA banner. What can we expect from a movement that says “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident” if not more intense Islamophobia?

There has also been a sudden rise in hate crimes against Muslims in France after the Paris killings.
It is therefore not only wrong but harmful to frame the Charlie Hepdo killings as a clash between Islam and freedom of speech, and hence the chanting of “je suis Charlie”. Such a narrative can only add to Islamophobia.

Islam and Muslims are not in this battle. Terrorists and murderers are. And they will continue to kill and maim not just to do battle against freedom of speech but against generally what the free world, including Muslims, want.

Islamic statehood

While it would be pointless to make sense of these acts of indescribable brutality, it may be instructive to review the underlying basis for excessiveness in religious observances.

This may be attributed to a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of istiqamah, a doctrine of piety grounded in Surah Fussilat: 30:

“Indeed, those who have said, ‘Our Lord is Allah’ and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], ‘Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.’”

The term refers to persistence, taking a firm position, remaining steadfast in one’s religious beliefs, views and practices. But it should be pointed out that while istiqamah is enjoined, extremism is forbidden, as in surah Hud: 112:

“So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah ], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.”

Indeed, transgressing the limits means taking things to the extreme and that is not permitted. Whilst we cannot deny that jihad is textually ordained, it would be misconceived to equate it only with war and violence. Islam stands for peace founded on equity and justice. While Muslims are told to fight tyranny and oppression, force may only be used as a last resort. As well pointed out by Esposito:
The two broad meanings of jihad, nonviolent and violent, are contrasted in a well-known prophetic tradition. It is said that when Muhammad returned from battle he told his followers, “We return from the lesser jihad to the greater jihad.” The greater jihad is the more difficult and more important struggle against one’s ego, selfishness, greed, and evil.

Yes, but as following the jihad al asghrar (the lesser jihad) and the jihad al akbar (the greater jihad) is the jihad al kabir or “great jihad” as mentioned in the Surah al Furqan 25:52,

“So do not obey the disbelievers, and strive against them with the Qur’an a great striving.”

This is the intellectual jihad, which is the universal principle that requires respect for knowledge, including freedom of thought, publication, and assembly. This jihad is a permanent effort. It is the responsibility of concerned citizens and those in leadership positions to bring the wisdom of Islam to bear on all issues of conscience.

Even though there is no real textual authority, Jihadi terrorist groups generally and particularly in the case of ISIS fall back on a simplistic but highly appealing interpretation of Islam to provide a moral imperative for martyrdom: fight in the way of Allah to establish an Islamic state ruled under shari’ah law with hudud and die as martyrs.

There is a certain romantic allure for this borne by history if we recall the abolition of the institution of the caliphate under Mustafa Kemal and the bitterness and resentment it caused to those who had felt that this indeed was the final severance of the link with Islam’s glorious past.

Whilst mainstream and moderate Muslims may find the idea laughable, for extremist groups like ISIS and to a slightly lesser extent, al-Qaida, the restoration of a caliphate and dying as martyrs in the process may well be a paramount goal.

This may well be a ploy by the powers that be in the organisation who personally may have more worldly rewards in mind, but to the highly impressionable and idealistic Muslim youth across Europe and other parts of the Muslim world, this could be their clarion call.

Nevertheless, it needs reminding that the state set up by the Prophet Muhammad in Medina after 622AD was not a Caliphate but a community with a constitutional Charter comprising Muslims, Jews, Christians or pagans whose fundamental liberties were protected including the right of all citizens to be free and equal.

This foundational doctrine of Islamic statehood is just lost on these jihadists and their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with the self-proclaimed title of “Caliph Ibrahim”, arrogating to himself the highest authority in the Muslim world.

They pervert the concept of jihad and among the first acts they do is to force non-Muslims to convert and appropriate women and young girls as war booty.

In their fanatical drive to expand their state, they force into marriage young women and even children or worse, rape them, apart from the other acts of brutality as recounted earlier.

Unfortunately, we see that certain leaders of the Muslim community have chosen to remain coy in their responses to the spread of ISIS as well as to the murder and mayhem committed. They don the cloak of religiosity, pay lip service to upholding the sovereignty of the faith and exploit the ignorance of the masses.

Allah does not forbid you to be kind, uphold ties, return favours and be fair towards non-Muslims. Placed in the present context of ISIS and the manner in which they treat non-Muslims, we can see the gross violation of these zealots who are killing in the name of Islam.

However, the answer to the rise of fundamentalist jihadism is not just more bombs and fire power but more efforts at removing the fundamental reasons for their misguided notions of jihad as well as the factors that tend to disenchantment and alienation.

Military power, indeed, is essential on the battle front in terms of gaining geographical and territorial advantage but without winning the ideological war, jihadist terrorists will continue to sprout like mushrooms.

Justice and Moderation

In surah al-Baqarah:143, Allah enjoins:

“And thus we have made you a just community that you will be witnesses over the people and the Messenger will be a witness over you.”

Moderation and justice feature in all aspects of Islam.

Islam maintains moderation in faith and enjoins respect for other religions. The true Muslim believes in all the Prophets, Messengers, and in all Allah’s revealed Books.

Hence, controversy over use of ‘Allah’ and Malay translation of the Bible can be resolved once this fundamental principle is understood. The traditional conservative members of the Malay-Muslim community must therefore be actively engaged.

In Malaysia, groups like Perkasa and Isma should also be engaged on account of their truncated views of Islam and their apparent inability to separate religion from ethnicity.

Islam is moderate in the acts of worship it enjoins for it neither commands one to abandon it nor to dedicate oneself totally to it.

Islam strikes a balance between extremes of what are forbidden and extremes of what are permitted. The halal-haram controversy must be dealt with by using a moderate approach without the need for name-calling and hostile posturing.

In the pursuit of knowledge, moderation must be maintained by striking a balance between reason and Revelation. The human intellect (aql) is essential for material progress but without divine guidance, man’s propensity to go astray could take him to excesses.

As between reason and revelation, the raison d’êtrelies in jihad al kabir as mentioned earlier.

Maqasid al-Shari’ah

“Islam rahmatan lil ‘alamin” will remain just a catch phrase if the umma fails to rise up to the challenges of the globalized world. Jihad in the true sense must begin with the principle that all pursuits are to be actualised by striving for what is beneficial for mankind and preventing what is harmful.

Indiscriminate bandying of terms like ‘Shari’ah’ and ‘hudud’ serves no purpose other than offering a truncated view of Islam and perhaps enabling certain quarters to garner brownie points among the less informed.

To my mind, the generic prescription for the umma to face the challenges of the globalized world lies in the maqasid al-Shari’ah.

It is a manifestation of the miracle of the Qur’an that the more we subject it to our rational intellect, the more meaning it unfolds. This is quite apart from what we know as kashf or ilham, that is, infused knowledge or inspiration which is direct knowledge from Allah, accompanied by sakina (tranquility). In respect of the maqasid al-Shari’ah, it is jihad al-kabir that must prod us to go beyond mere labels. This warrants a sincere and earnest effort to strive intellectually in order to do justice to the true purport of revelation. Surah al Furqan:32

“He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding.”

In this regard, applying the maqasid al-Shari’ah in the economic sphere, the best prescription not just for the Muslim world but for the world at large must be nothing less than the establishment of a humane economy. The central doctrine of balance must be observed in order to achieve equilibrium free market capitalism and social justice.

In quibbling over whether or not hudud is mandatory or that the Shari’ah should be the law of the land, there is the unfortunate neglect of the main issues: socio-economic hardship with rising costs of living and growing unemployment, widening wealth gap, housing and health care problems, and of course rampant corruption and power abuse.

In governance, transparency and accountability cannot be compromised while corruption is shunned.
Again, the maqasid enjoins that the preservation of peace and security requires appropriate laws but this must be balanced by the Qur’anic imperative on justice and the rule of law.

Disconnect with modernity and shallow understanding of Shari’ah

Much of the underlying problem in the discourse about establishing an Islamic state, implementing the criminal punishment of hudud, and the need for Islam to be practiced according to its black letter tradition can be traced to a shallow understanding of the Shari’ah and the failure to consider the maqasid.
For example, in Southeast Asia where there is much clamour by certain groups for the imposition of hudud, much of the discourse on the subject of hudud is simplistic as there is generally neither a serious attempt made to understand a modern theory of criminal justice within the maqasid nor paying sufficient attention to the approaches used by the Prophet SAW.

Views by well-known ulema such as Shaikh Yusuf al-Qhardawi and Shaikh Taha Jabir al-Alwani on the position and priority of hudud are condemned as being apologetic.

In his treatise “Hudud in Present Day Discourse” Sheikh al-Qhardawi gives the basic guidelines on the method of implementation of hudud so as to narrow the gap of diversity and avert further discord and conflict.

Sheikh al-Qardhawi asserts that before the Prophet implemented hudud, the prerequisite was to ensure that the Muslim community must be fully prepared for it by having reached the level of advancement in aspects of faith, religious laws, morals, ethics and values.

He maintains that other laws pertaining to Islam should be implemented first before the implementation of hudud which is not ‘top priority’ especially while other crucial matters pertaining to the umma remain unresolved.

Citing the jurisprudence of Sheikh Abdul Wahhab al-Khallaf, (1998, Ilmu Usul al-Fiqh (The Science of Islamic Jurisprudence), Mansurah: Darul Kalimah, pp.34-35), al-Qardhawi says there are three main categories of the Shari’ah, namely, laws pertaining to faith, (aqidah), laws relating to morality, (akhlak) and laws governing practical affairs (amali).

Within this latter category of practical affairs (amali) there are two sub-divisions, namely, laws pertaining to rituals of worship (ibadat) and laws pertaining to transactions (muamalat).

Under this latter category of transactions, there are another seven sub-divisions of the law, namely, Family Law, Civil Law, Criminal Law comprising hudud, qisas and takzir, Legislation, Constitutional Law, International law, and law pertaining to the economy.

This categorisation clearly shows that hudud law is but one constituent of the vast corpus of the Shari’ah and not, as some parties would suggest, the be-all and end-all of Islamic law. On the contrary, as stated by al-Qardhawi, hudud law occupies the bottom rung in the overall scheme of the implementation of the Shari’ah.

Qardhawi’s view is also shared by Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah al-Khatib, prominent leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and author of Risalah al-Ta’lim, Sharh Usul al-’Isyreen and other important works of Islamic jurisprudence. He has dismissed the claim that the implementation of hudud law is top priority.
In the words of al-Khatib, “hudud in Islam…comes at the end of the process of the Shari’ah because Islam places greater value on the human hand (rather than amputating it because of stealing), honour, property, and the overall quality of life.”

Qardhawi also asserts that Islam is not out to subject people to hudud punishment, as evident in the practice of the Prophet, who made it a point to avoid imposing it, even on those who had approached him with confessions of having transgressed the law.

Jurisprudence of priorities (Fiqh aulawiyat)

It remains to be said that this discourse is not about placing hudud in a less than favourable light but rather that al-Qardhawi’s view is part and parcel of his jurisprudence of priorities (fiqh aulawiyat) where the maqasid al-shari’ah warrant that matters of importance for the community should be ordered according to priorities.

Consequently, the implementation of hudud, being lower in the hierarchy of priorities, cannot supersede the attainment of the higher objectives of the Shari’ah. The principle of balance is therefore crucial to this as ordained in Surah al-Rahman (verses 7-9):

“And the Firmament has He raised high, and He has set up the Balance (of Justice)
In order that ye may not transgress (due) balance
So establish weight with justice and fall not short in the balance”.

In taking this position, al-Qardhawi is also supported among others by Taha Jabir al Awani, Hasan Al Turabi and Rashid al-Ghanusi, all luminaries in Islamic scholarship and jurisprudence.

Jihad al kabir and the intellectual tradition

There is nothing wrong with ritualistic observance according to literalist interpretation in matters of dress, eating, food and socialising but a proper approach must take into account Islam’s far richer and more comprehensive moral tradition, one that gave rise to morally conscious intellectuals.

Jihad al kabir therefore warrants that rather than merely mouthing easy prescriptions we should clearly demonstrate our stand on injustice, the abuse of power, and society’s moral duty to uplift the social condition of the weak and oppressed.

The maqasid will also enjoin government by democratic process and the development of civil society and an intellectual culture in which issues can be vigorously debated where there is ample room for diversity of opinion on issues confronting society.

Diversity of views and inclusive engagement

According to one of the most influential public thinkers of our time, Nobel laureate Professor Amartya Sen, “the central issues in a broader understanding of democracy are political participation, dialogue and public interaction.”

The failure to allow for ‘government by discussion’ can be seen for example in the deprivation of a free and independent press. Without this, the advancement of public reasoning is constrained and is forced to find its voice through other channels. The benefits of a free and independent media have been well expounded by leading writers and empirically we know what that is all about.

Muslim leaders and a new discourse

Nevertheless, for much of the Muslim world, the problem of tyranny and corruption of power remains like a malignant cancer with no clear signs of abatement.

Whatever bright prospects that were held out from the Arab Spring have quickly dissipated into the dark and gloomy portents of despair. Egypt, which witnessed the short-lived democracy that gave much hope to the rest of the Middle East, is now under the stranglehold of a dictator said to be even more tyrannical than Mubarak. Yemen and Libya are back in turmoil while Syria’s Bashir al-Asad continues to massacre his own people with impunity.

Meanwhile, the plight of the Palestinians is all but forgotten. It is time for a reminder to the world that the notorious atrocities perpetrated against the Palestinians since 1948 are not about to disappear any time soon. The renewed massacre of thousands of civilians including women and children in July last year in Gaza cannot be anything but state organized terrorism although much of the West would never deign to refer to it as such.

Today, the Muslim world continues to bear the negative manifestations of a civilization in decay. Even in countries not ravaged by war and that are supposedly ‘democratic’, real freedom and democracy remain elusive. Repressive and archaic laws inherited from the colonial masters continue to prevail in addition to new legislation that stifle freedom and tend to lead to injustice.
With the exception of a few, there is no free and independent press. As a result, the people’s voice can only be heard through an alternative media, one which thrives in spite of the constraints imposed by the authorities by using a plethora of laws enforced with the full might of the organs of state power.

Muslim democrats and the umma

Against this backdrop, the World Forum for Muslim Democrats was recently established whose primary role is to provide a common platform for leaders, intellectuals and professionals in the Muslim world to set a new narrative on freedom, democracy and justice.

There will be zero tolerance for the propagation of extremism, fanaticism or the so-called jihadism of the likes of ISIS, al-Shabab or Boko Haram.

We must make it clear that such actions can never be jihad. This is corruption of Islam of the most vulgar and savage kind. They claim they are doing this for Islam and the umma but what they really seek is worldly gain and political power.

In truth, Allah has a perfect description of this subterfuge and hypocrisy:

And when it is said to them, “Do not cause corruption on the earth,” they say, “We are but reformers.”
Al-Baqara: 11

Many attempts have been made to engage these extreme groups but it appears all calls for moderation and consultation have fallen on deaf ears:

It is as if they are as what Allah has stated:

“Deaf, dumb and blind – so they will not return [to the right path]”

Al-Baqarah:18

To my mind, a new approach has to be articulated on jihad whose true imperative is not to drive wars and conquer new lands but to set the example for inclusive engagement and to drive home the message that differences of views are healthy. The crisis of the umma today is not one of differences of views but of bigotry and intolerance and thus inability to accept the diversity of opinions in a wide spectrum of matters.

In this regard, we must raise the bar in the engagement and go beyond mere tolerance of differing views. While remaining steadfast in our religious convictions, we must do our utmost to foster healthy and vibrant discourses and hold fast to the conviction that allows for freedom of conscience, opinion and expression.

Conclusion

Islam is a blessing and mercy to the entire universe. But Muslims have to make it happen. Muslim leaders can and must set the example for inclusive engagement and to drive home the message that differences of views are healthy.

Justice and moderation should always prevail over injustice and extremism in all its varied guises. The atrocities committed by the extremist groups and terrorists constitute the corruption of Islam of the most vulgar and savage kind.

Islam Rahmatan lil “Alamin must entail that all pursuits are to be actualised by striving for what is beneficial for mankind and preventing what is harmful.

In this new narrative, we must maintain within our moral compass the progressive notions of human rights, freedom of conscience and justice.

These principles will entail the moral duty to protect women and children, the old and the infirm, the rights of minorities. They will drive efforts to establish social justice – to uplift the living standards of the ordinary people, eradicate poverty and democratise access to education at all levels.

Ultimately, these principles will be the bedrock for true democratic governance where transparency and accountability will be virtually written in stone.

That is the true meaning of Islam Rahmatan lil ‘Alamin.

Thank you.

29 January 2015

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Inter-Parliamentary Union expresses deep concern on outcome of Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal

Press Statement by Gooi Hsiao Leung dated 29.1.2015

PKR welcomes the decision by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) to send an international observer to the Federal Court on the 10th of February for the outcome of Anwar’s final appeal against the sodomy II conviction.

IPU’s decision was made at a meeting by it’s Committee of Human Rights on Parliamentarians held just two days ago after reviewing Anwar Ibrahim’s case.

The IPU after reviewing the facts, had noted that the sodomy charges has “been widely criticized as a bid to derail his (Anwar’s) political career” and raised the following serious concerns :

1. The rushed manner in which the final hearings were conducted and organized before the Court of Appeal, the apparent ease with which the main arguments presented by the defence, in particular concerning the integrity of the DNA samples, were dismissed, and the fact that the same law, although never or rarely invoked in Malaysia, has been invoked twice against Anwar Ibrahim.

2. That N. Surendran, Anwar’s lawyer, had been wrongly subjected to threats of being prosecuted for sedition in relation to the legitimate exercise of his role as legal counsel for Anwar, putting unfair pressure on his ability to effectively represent his client without fear of reprisals.

The IPU Committee in its meeting also concluded that in the light of Mr. Anwar Ibrahim’s case history (sodomy I and II) and the issues in play, including the fact that, if upheld, the current conviction would eliminate him from the life of parliament for more than a decade, thus depriving the opposition of its main leader, it is critical for the IPU to closely follow the final stage in the proceedings against Mr. Anwar Ibrahim before the Federal Court.

PKR greatly appreciates the deep concerns shown by the IPU on the outcome of Anwar’s case, especially on the future of the opposition in this country in the event Anwar’s conviction is upheld, and IPU’s decision to send an international observer to closely monitor Anwar’s case.


Gooi Hsiao Leung

Member of Parliament, Alor Setar

PKR International Bureau Chief


“Inter-Parliamentary Union” melahirkan rasa kebimbangan serius terhadap keputusan rayuan Anwar Ibrahim.

Kenyataan Akhbar Gooi Hsiao Leung bertarikh 29.1.2015

PKR mengalu-alukan keputusan oleh “Inter-Parliamentary Union” (IPU) untuk menghantar pemerhati antarabangsa ke Mahkamah Persekutuan pada 10 Februari untuk keputusan rayuan terakhir Anwar terhadap sabitan liwat II.

Keputusan IPU dibuat dalam satu mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Hak Asasi Manusia Ahli-Ahli Parlimen hanya dua hari lepas selepas mengkaji kes Anwar Ibrahim.

IPU selepas mengkaji fakta-fakta, telah mencatitkan notaan bahawa tuduhan liwat ini “telah luas dikritik sebagai satu usaha untuk menjejaskan kerjaya politik” Anwar, dan membangkitkan kebimbangan serius seperti berikutnya:

1. Cara yang bergegas di mana pendengaran akhir dilaksanakan di hadapan Mahkamah Rayuan, dimana hujahan utama pihak pembelaan dengan mudahnya, khususnya terhadap integriti sampel DNA, ditolak, dan hakikat bahawa undang-undang liwat yang sama, walaupun tidak pernah atau jarang digunakan di Malaysia, telah digunakan dua kali terhadap Anwar Ibrahim.

2. Bahawa N. Surendran, peguam Anwar, telah secara salah diancam akan didakwa menghasut berhubung dengan perlaksanaan tanggungjawabnya, dalam peranan beliau sebagai peguam Anwar, dan ini telah meletakkan tekanan yang tidak adil atas keupayaannya untuk mewakili anak guamnya dengan efektif tanpa takut terhadap apa-apa tindakan balas.

Jawatankuasa IPU dalam mesyuaratnya juga membuat kesimpulan bahawa berdasarkan sejarah kes Anwar Ibrahim (kes liwat I dan II) dan isu-isu dalam permainan, termasuk fakta bahawa, jika sabitan beliau ditegakkan, sabitannya akan menghapuskan peranan beliau di parlimen lebih daripada satu dekad, dan ini akan menafikan pembangkang pemimpin utamanya – jadi adalah amat penting bagi IPU untuk rapat mengikuti peringkat akhir dalam prosiding terhadap Anwar di hadapan Mahkamah Persekutuan.

PKR amat menghargai kebimbangan yang ditunjukkan oleh IPU kepada keputusan kes Anwar, terutamanya kepada pada masa depan pembangkang di negara ini sekiranya sabitan Anwar ditegakkan, dan juga keputusan IPU untuk menghantar pemerhati antarabangsa untuk memantau dengan teliti kes Anwar.


Gooi Hsiao Leung

Ahli Parlimen, Alor Setar

Ketua Biro Antarabangsa PKR

29 January 2015

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Calls for action on human rights abuses of MPs worldwide

Geneva, 28 January 2015 – A four-day meeting of IPU’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has ended in Geneva with a series of decisions on cases across the world.

In Sri Lanka, the Committee is hopeful that the new government will take all the necessary steps to bring to trial those responsible for the murder of MPs Joseph Pararajasingham and Nadarajah Raviraj in 2005 and 2006 respectively. Allegations that the Sri Lankan army and paramilitaries may have had a role in the murders needed examining. The Committee also called on the Sri Lankan authorities to work closely with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights investigation team and act on recommendations made.

The Committee, which reviewed the situation of 301 MPs from 40 countries, expressed deep concern over developments in Malaysia where a lawyer for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is facing sedition charges. With a final verdict in the second sodomy trial of Ibrahim expected next month, IPU will send a trial observer to the hearings. The Organization had already expressed concern at the rushed process of Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal hearings last year.

The decisions on Malaysia and Sri Lanka were among the 20 taken by the Committee, and involved 88 MPs in 15 countries.

The Committee also called for greater protection for Afghan woman MP and human rights advocate Fawzia Koofi who survived an assassination attempt in 2010. She has been the target of additional death threats since. The perpetrators remain at large and the Committee remains concerned that unless justice prevails, Koofi and other MPs’ ability to carry out their parliamentary mandate is being seriously undermined.

On a case involving 14 Venezuelan MPs, many of whom had their parliamentary immunity stripped or were facing a range of allegedly politically motivated charges, the Committee has recommended that a mission to the Latin American country be carried out to help make progress on its resolution.

There was concern too that the suspension of Israeli Knesset member Haneen Zoabi’s right to make statements in the parliament and other parliamentary privileges after she had exercised her right to freedom of speech, had not been quashed by the Israeli High Court. With new parliamentary elections due in March, and recalling a previous attempt to disqualify Zoabi from standing for election, the IPU Committee will be following developments closely.

During the meeting, a new case was admitted, involving the former Speaker of the Niger Parliament Amadou Hama, on allegations that he was complicit in his wife’s alleged purchase of babies and then claiming them as their own children. IPU expects to send an observer to the trial proceedings to ascertain fair process in the case.

Cases concerning 22 MPs, including that of Icelandic MP and former Wikileaks volunteer, Birgitta Jonsdottir, were closed. In this instance, however, concerns remain on the repercussions of a Twitter court order on Jonsdottir’s right to freedom and privacy and on the challenges to human rights protection in the face of fast-moving technological developments.

A new Committee president was also elected for one year. British MP Ann Clwyd takes over from Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.

The Committee deals with human rights violations and abuses of MPs such as death, torture, threats, arbitrary arrest and detention, lack of fair trial, violation of freedom of expression or the unlawful suspension or loss of their parliamentary mandate.

Find details on these and all other decisions taken by the Committee at this session here http://www.ipu.org/pdf/hrcomres146.pdf

26 January 2015

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26 JANUARI 2015
KENYATAAN MEDIA
UNTUK EDARAN SEGERA

Tarikh Penghakiman 10 Februari

Saya menerima maklumat yang menyatakan Mahkamah Persekutuan telah menetapkan 10 Februari hadapan sebagai tarikh penghakiman bagi rayuan kes saya di peringkat Mahkamah Persekutuan di Istana Kehakiman Putrajaya.

Berdasarkan penghujahan pasukan guaman, saya yakin akan dibebaskan berdasarkan perincian fakta dan undang-undang kukuh yang telah dibentangkan di hadapan panel Mahkamah Persekutuan.

Fitnah tidak wajar dijadikan alat dalam tinju politik dan diberi ruang untuk memporak-perandakan negara.

Saya panjatkan doa pada Allah Yang Maha Esa agar keadilan dapat ditegakkan dan saya dibebaskan.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

23 January 2015

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KENYATAAN MEDIA

Takziah Atas Kemangkatan Raja Abdullah

Saya merakamkan ucapan takziah atas kemangkatan Raja Abdullah Abdulaziz semalam. Didoakan moga ruh Baginda dicucuri rahmat Allah swt.

Pada masa yang sama ucapan tahniah diucapkan kepada Putera Mahkota Arab Saudi, Raja Salman Abdulaziz atas pertabalan baginda selaku Raja Arab Saudi yang baharu. Semoga era kepimpinan beliau dapat memandu Arab Saudi dan Timur Tengah amnya ke satu tahap terbaik.

Bersama-sama kita mendoakan kesejahteraan semua.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

23 January 2015

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Huffington Post

Dear 25,000 Anti-Islam Dresden Protesters and Pegida,

I hear you marched in your thousands against my religion. Last week, and last month. You marched against immigrants, foreigners, and anyone a shade darker. I will not draw comparisons to Nazi Germany. I will not call you bigots, I will not insult you, and I will not label you. But we do have a problem.

You marched with banners claiming your city is overcrowded with Muslims. Yet 0.1% of Dresden are Muslim. You marched claiming immigrants are cramming your schools and leaving your children to travel miles for an education. Yet 2.5% of Dresden are foreign-born.

You claim that Germany is being invaded by Muslims. Yet only 5% of Germans are Muslim.

You march “against the Islamization of the West”. Yet within a century containing two World Wars, the decolonisation process, countless civil conflicts, foreign intervention, globalisation, and further displacement, Muslims remain a fringe minority in Europe. Less than 6%. A pretty lousy colonisation process, no?

You marched against refugees and asylum seekers, claiming Germany is their target for welfare and social security. Yet according to UNHCR, there are 51.2million refugees worldwide. Germany caters for less than 0.01% of them. Is that too much to ask? Is such a humanitarian obligation too large for the Refugee Convention 1951 your government ratified? Or is it actually punitive, for example, in comparison to Lebanon where every fourth person is a Syrian refugee?

Protesters, you are not alone. In my country, Britain, we have our own anti-immigration party. Ukip won their first seat in Clacton with nothing but anti-migrant rhetoric. Yet only 4.3% of Clacton are foreign-born. In a Parliamentary-based system, where each constituency elects a representative to voice their views, there is nothing Ukip can do for the people of Clacton.

Do you see a pattern? Perhaps I should explain. Your kind tend to establish themselves where their “problem” does not actually exist. Is this therefore an issue of negative perception? Fear of the unfamiliar? Intolerance in ignorance? Scapegoating an underclass? Media misinformation?

I will elaborate. London has a 36.2% foreign-born population. Relatively, that is fifteen times the population of foreigners in Dresden. A far greater diversity. Ukip poll the lowest in London compared to the rest of the country- in every demographic, foreign or not. London is a metropolis of brown, black, and white working side by side. We thrive. I saw an atheist today. Guess what? I did not try to convert him nor behead him for blasphemy; I helped him off the bus. He was 74 years old.

Does that make sense?

Your only insight into Islam is a box in your living room. Confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance infest the information you expose yourself to. Information which dehumanises and polarises anyone unlike you.

You enjoy the far-right media portrayal of Islam. It makes you feel good. Superior. Better. The barbaric Muslims, we are. We disrespect women, and we impose our beliefs on to others.

Yet did you know that Turkey, Indonesia, and Bangladesh, all Muslim majority states have had more elected female heads of state than almost every other Western country? Did you know that the Quran explicitly says “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256), and our Prophet clarified “whomever hurts a non-Muslim will not smell a whiff of paradise”?

Did you know that your twisted misrepresentation of my religion helps the terrorists? Did you know that you and the terrorists agree on what seems to form an integral part of your identity: that Islam is violent? Did you know that you even use the same methodology to proclaim this; taking a verse out of context and evading any intellectual discourse?

What are Muslims to you, anyway? Arabs? Less than 20% of us are Arab. Indian or Pakistani? Again, less than 20%. Turkish? Less than 5%. Nothing else? That is more than half of us you cannot identify.

You assume our identity by our race. Is it not disheartening to you that such a narrow world view is legitimately held by so many? Does it not display a perspective so constrained to the contents of immediate life and prejudice? Is that not likely to lead to ignorant assumptions and offence in face of what is unbeknownst?

What becomes of the German Muslim, I wonder? Is he spared because he is white? Or is he declared a traitor and shunned? Is it difficult to choose between racism and neglecting a fellow countryman? Choose neither. Choose education. Tolerance. Kindness.

Detach from the vicious cycle of far-right media (who are unfamiliar with foreigners) feeding the far-right populace (who are unfamiliar with foreigners) what they should think about foreigners.

I ask you, have you ever met a Muslim? “Met” is not a synonym for shouting abuse at or stabbing to death in or outside their home. No, have you ever sat with a Muslim? Talked to a Muslim? Worked with a Muslim?

You should. At an airport perhaps, where we are 42 times more likely to be searched, and thus declared safe for human interaction.

Sincerely,
A Real-Life Muslim (not the ones on TV)

23 January 2015

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TODAY

Malaysia’s pace of democratisation has improved only marginally over the years and it remained a “flawed democracy” last year, the same category it occupied in 2008, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) latest findings showed.

The country placed 65th out of 167 nations and federal territories reviewed in the EIU’s Democracy Index 2014, putting it 10 spots ahead of Singapore, but far behind other South-east Asian peers such as Indonesia, which is 49th, and the Philippines in the 53rd spot.

Last year, Malaysia was categorised as a flawed democracy from its aggregate grade of 6.49 out of 10, according to scores tabulated from expert assessments and public surveys.

Flawed democracies are countries that respect basic civil liberties and generally hold free and fair elections, though they may be marred by problems such as infringements on media freedom, said the EIU.

Apart from possible irregularities in elections, a flawed democracy also suffers from other significant weaknesses such as problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation, the EIU said.

Civil society movements in Malaysia have previously alleged that clandestine gerrymandering, the abuse of government machinery, strict media controls and vote-rigging in elections have allowed the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to stay in power for more than five decades.

Despite the allegations, BN lost five states to the opposition as well as its customary parliamentary supermajority in a 2008 general election that was later described as a “political tsunami”. Allegations of unfair polls arose more strongly after the following general election in 2013, when BN lost the popular vote but remained firmly in power and whittled down the number of opposition-held states to only three.

The EIU findings put Singapore in 75th place last year, under the flawed democracy category, with a score of 6.03. That was an improvement from its “hybrid regime” ranking in 2008, when it came in 82nd place with a score of 5.89.

In its report, the EIU highlighted the notable trend of a growing level of engagement in politics in Asia, including more prominent protests in countries “ranging from supposedly apathetic Singapore through to more active democracies, such as India and Taiwan”. “In Singapore, this shift has been enough to lift the country from the status of hybrid regime to flawed democracy,” the report added.

In response, a Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said: “This index is based on a rigid, ideological position that ignores the fact that democratic governments around the world take different forms, depending on their particular history and national conditions. Singapore is a fully democratic state that pragmatically pursues policies to maximise the social and economic outcomes for our citizens.”

The index considers hybrid regimes as countries with substantial election irregularities that often prevent them from being free and fair. They also tend to see government pressure on opposition parties and candidates and “serious weaknesses” in political culture and civil society, among other factors.

The EIU said the index, a snapshot on the state of democracy worldwide, was based on ratings for 60 indicators grouped into five categories: Electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture.

Based on scores within the five categories, rankings are then assigned according to four types of regimes: Full democracies (8 to 10), flawed democracies (6 to 7.9), hybrid regimes (4 to 5.9), and authoritarian regimes (below 4).

Malaysia and Singapore share their category with 51 other countries. Twenty-four nations were categorised as full democracies, 39 as hybrid regimes and 52 as authoritarian regimes.

22 January 2015

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Saya ingin menyatakan sokongan terbuka ke atas kenyataan terbaharu Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) melalui Presiden S.M. Mohamed Idris bersabit gesaan membekukan penukaran gunatanah hutan kepada perladangan.

Beberapa perkembangan mutakhir termasuklah bencana banjir yang melanda khususnya kawasan Pantai Timur dan beberapa kawasan lain Semenanjung Malaysia dan tanah runtuh di Cameron Highland merupakan natijah daripada penukaran gunatanah hutan yang didorong inisiatif penerokaan hutan simpan kekal. Ini jelas sekali memberi kesan jangka panjang kepada keseimbangan ekosistem dan biodiversiti.

Isu pembalakan haram yang berlaku baik di Semenanjung mahupun Sabah dan Sarawak bukan sesuatu yang baru dibangkitkan sehari dua ini. Isu ini menjangkau puluhan tahun dan pastinya memberi dampak negatif ke atas perolehan hasil hutan. Puluhan malah ratusan juta ringgit hilang begitu sahaja saban tahun dek pembalakan haram yang tidak dibendung dengan serius.

Perincian dan butiran fakta yang dikemukakan oleh SAM menunjukkan rakyat wajar merasa bimbang. Trend melalui konsep agro-perhutanan tidak wajar dijadikan justifikasi untuk menghalalkan penerokaan hutan serta penukaran guna tanah melibatkan hutan simpan kekal secara sewenang-wenang. Justeru wajar sekali kenyataan SAM ini dijawab dengan jelas dan tuntas oleh badan berwajib khususnya Kementerian Sumber Asli & Alam Sekitar melalui Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia serta Kementerian Perusahaan Perladangan & Komoditi melalui Lembaga Perindustrian Kayu Malaysia (MTIB).

Adalah wajar sekiranya Majlis Tanah Negara kembali menyemak Dasar Perhutanan Negara yang digubal pada tahun 1977 agar ia diperkemas sesuai dengan kondisi masa kini yang terdedah kepada ancaman pembalakan serta penerokaan haram, dan juga mempertimbangkan seseriusnya gesaan SAM untuk membekukan sebarang bentuk penukaran gunatanah hutan kepada perladangan. Elemen penguatkuasaan harus dimantapkan supaya bersifat lebih efektif dalam menangani masalah ini.

Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) juga digesa bertindak tegas untuk membanteras kegiatan korupsi di sebalik pembalakan haram yang berlaku. Dalam pada kita mendorong pembangunan dilaksana dan menggiatkan hasil perladangan, kita sama sekali tidak wajar berkompromi dengan pemugaran tanah sehingga mengakibatkan keseimbangan ekosistem terjejas.

ANWAR IBRAHIM
22 Januari 2015

21 January 2015

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PROGRAM LAWATAN DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM KE PERAK

24 Januari 2015 (Sabtu)

3.00 ptg :
Dailog b’sama Anak Muda @ Dewan Pej Keadilan Cabang Ipoh. Timur, Jln Pasir Puteh, Ipoh.

5.30ptg ;
Pertemuan Tertutup MPN Perak @ Wisma Keadilan, Ipoh.

7.15 mlm -
Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib @ Surau Muhamaddiyah, Jalan Tiong, Kg Dato’ Ahmad Ahmad Said, Manjoi, Ipoh.

8.00 – 11.00 mlm ;
Jamuan Makan Malam Cabang Lumut @ Dewan Chung Wah, Kg Koh, Sitiawan

PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM

18 January 2015

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18 JANUARY 2015
PRESS STATEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Falling oil prices and plunging ringgit: Government must step up to the plate

On December 12 last year, I told the people to brace for tougher times ahead because we

were facing a double whammy with declining international crude oil prices coupled with a

depreciation of the Ringgit at levels unseen since the Asian Financial crisis of 1997.

The prices of Brent crude oil have continued to drop. To date, it has plunged by 53% from

last year, that is, from an average of USD 108 per barrel in January 2014 to an average of

USD 51 for January 2015.

Our Ringgit is currently the weakest Asian currency, leaving aside the Yen. It has depreciated

to 3.55 Ringgit per USD from 3.32 Ringgit a year ago. Since October 2014, the ringgit has

lost almost 8.3%.

It is true that other Asian currencies have also fallen against the USD but our drop is almost

double that of the closest laggards such as the Taiwanese dollar and the Singapore dollar at

4.59% and 4.50% against the USD respectively.

Crude palm oil prices have also weakened by approximately 10% to RM 2300 per tonne.

Impact on our revenue

Income from oil and gas makes up 30% of our total government revenue. The 2015 Federal

Budget that was tabled on October 10 last year was based on an oil price range of USD 100

to 105 per barrel.

Even before the plunge to the current levels, Petronas had warned that if crude prices

averaged at USD 70 to 75, its overall contribution to government revenue would fall short of

8%. This means a shortfall of RM 19.4bn of the estimated revenue of RM 242bn against the

2015 budget projection.

Now that the oil prices have dropped by nearly half, what will be the actual impact on our

revenue?

Granted there will be savings in fuel subsidies but, as Maybank Research in its latest

publication says, a revenue shortfall of RM 8.4bn will already outweigh the subsidy saving

and result in a fiscal deficit of 4% of GDP instead of the 3% target for 2015.

According to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, crude prices may continue to hover

between the USD 40 and 50 range in 2015. What this means is that the impact on government

revenue and deficit will be even greater. Some analysts are warning of deficit levels reaching

as high as 5%. This would be further accentuated if the ringgit continues to weaken and CPO

prices continue to fall.

In terms of equity investment, according to CLSA (Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia),

Malaysia is the worst performing Asian market in 2014. While the stock exchanges in

Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore still managed to chart positive growth, our Bursa suffered

significant declines.

Apart from the factors already stated earlier, there is also the issue of foreign capital

outflows, exiting both Ringgit bonds (owning 45% of total MGS) and equity. With

weakening carry trade attraction and fiscal uncertainties these have driven the Ringgit to

historical lows and pushed MGS yields up and raised financing cost (debt to GDP at 55%).

What the government must do now

First and foremost, corruption and leakages must be tackled. We have already shown in the

Pakatan Rakyat 2015 shadow budget that a conservative saving of only 15% in government

spending leakages could save almost RM20bn or an equivalent of 1.6% of the projected

GDP.

Secondly, we must put a stop to the culture of wastage and opulent and spendthrift ways

cloaked under shady procurement processes and opaque privatisation awards. The

government must stop sweeping bad debts under the off-balance sheet carpet.

There are no alternatives to good governance other than being transparent and truthful with

information relating to the country’s finances. In this regard, we are already saddled with the

scandalous 1MDB. The people will not tolerate yet another one.

Thirdly, a bi-partisan ‘National Crisis Committee’ should be set up without further delay

comprising government and opposition MPs, economists, market experts and other

specialists.

Inter alia, the committee should be tasked with the responsibility of monitoring commodity

prices on a daily basis and given the authority to execute any necessary measures to mitigate

any negative impacts once a consensus is obtained.

Fourthly, the government should be prepared to introduce austerity measures in the event that

oil prices go lower and remain there. This will mean cut-backs on mega projects while

continuing to spend on critical areas such as healthcare, education and the humanitarian

assistance for flood victims.

It should be noted that other oil dependent countries such as Norway (with very good

governance) are already on ‘alert mode’ running scenarios on the long-term effects of low oil

prices.

It is true that the movement of international commodity prices is beyond our control. But

surely we have control over how we spend our money and manage our overall finances.

This is where the government is failing and continues to fail in spite of our repeated calls to

do a reality check and put in place remedial measures. What have they been doing all this

while? Is this the kind of attitude to show case our drive for transformation?

Flood crisis and lessons drawn

It is the same attitude that had resulted in the devastation caused by the recent floods.

Flooding is an annual phenomenon going on for centuries but no serious mitigation measures

were done by the government.

In this regard, we must commend the NGOs who came in droves to help out. Comprising all

the races and religious groups this show of support and readiness to help the victims is

unprecedented and underscores the paramount importance for the Federal government to

work with Pakatan state governments and the NGOs.

Message to the rakyat

Tougher times lie ahead as government spending could be reduced and growth slows down.

The rakyat needs to remain frugal and not take on additional unnecessary debts.

As inflation continues to rise while wages remain stagnant, the rakyat will face greater

economic hardship and income inequality will continue to widen.

Meanwhile, we want the government to come clean on the economic outlook for the nation.

The people await the Tuesday announcement and expect serious and earnest efforts put in for

the restructuring of the 2015 budget.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

18 January 2015

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

18 JANUARI 2015
KENYATAAN MEDIA
UNTUK EDARAN SEGERA

Penurunan Harga Minyak dan Junaman Ringgit: Kerajaan Perlu Bertindak Segera

Pada 12 Disember tahun lalu, saya telah memaklumkan kepada rakyat Malaysia untuk

bersedia menghadapi waktu-waktu sukar kerana kita sedang berhadapan dengan hentakan

berganda melalui penurunan harga minyak mentah antarabangsa di samping penyusutan nilai

Ringgit Malaysia ke tahap terendah semenjak krisis kewangan Asia pada tahun 1997.

Harga minyak mentah Brent terus menurun. Sehingga kini, ia telah menyusut sebanyak 53

peratus dari tahun lepas, yakni daripada purata 108 Dollar Amerika Syarikat setong pada

Januari 2014 kepada 51 Dollar Amerika Syarikat secara purata bagi bulan Januari 2015.

Nilai Ringgit kini merupakan matawang Asia yang paling lemah, mengkesampingkan nilai

Yen. Ia telah menyusut kepada RM3.55 untuk setiap 1 Dollar Amerika Syarikat daripada

RM3.32 setahun yang lalu. Sejak Oktober 2014, ringgit telah menyusut hampir 8.3 peratus.

Benar, bahawa matawang Asia yang lain turut menyusut dan terkesan ke atas Dollar Amerika

Syarikat, tetapi matawang kita jatuh hampir dua kali ganda jika dibanding Dollar Taiwan dan

Dollar Singapura pada 4.59 peratus dan 4.50 peratus masing-masing berbanding Dollar

Amerika Syarikat.

Harga minyak sawit mentah juga melemah pada anggaran 10 peratus kepada RM 2300 satu

tan.

Dampak Pada Hasil Negara

Pendapatan daripada minyak dan gas membentuk 30 peratus daripada keseluruhan

pendapatan kerajaan. Belanjawan Persekutuan 2015 yang telah dibentangkan pada 10

Oktober tahun lepas adalah berasaskan kepada julat harga minyak mentah antara 100 ke 105

Dollar Amerika Syarikat setong.

Malah sebelum penyusutan ke tahap semasa, Petronas telah memberi amaran sekiranya harga

minyak mentah pada anggaran purata 70 ke 75 Dollar Amerika Syarikat, keseluruhan

sumbangan kepada pendapatan kerajaan akan menyusut sebanyak 8 peratus. Ini bermakna

pengurangan sebanyak RM 19.4 billion daripada anggaran pendapatan sebanyak RM 242

billion ke atas unjuran belanjawan 2015.

Kini, dalam pada harga minyak menurun hampir separuh, apakah dampak sebenar ke atas

pendapatan negara?

Meskipun dimaklumi bahawa akan berlaku penjimatan subsidi minyak, namun sebagaimana

yang dilapor oleh Maybank Research di dalam penerbitan terbaharu mereka, penyusutan

pendapatan sebanyak RM 8.4 billion akan melangkaui penjimatan subsidi dan mengakibatkan

defisit fiskal sebanyak 4 peratus daripada Keluaran Dalam Negara Kasar (KDNK) dan

bukannya seperti yang sasaran 3 peratus untuk tahun 2015.

Menurut Goldman Sachs dan Morgan Stanley, harga minyak mentah bakal terus terapung di

antara 40 ke 50 Dollar Amerika Syarikat pada tahun 2015. Ini membawa maksud kesan ke

atas pendapatan kerajaan dan defisit akan menjadi lebih parah. Beberapa penganalisis

memberi peringatan mengenai tahap defisit yang mampu mencecah setinggi 5 peratus. Ini

akan berlanjutan sekiranya nilai Ringgit Malaysia terus menyusut dan harga minyak sawit

mentah terus jatuh.

Dari segi pelaburan ekuiti, menurut CLSA (Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia), Malaysia

mencatatkan prestasi pasaran saham terburuk Asia pada tahun 2014. Meskipun bursa saham

Indonesia, Thailand dan Singapura masih berjaya mencatatkan pertumbuhan positif, bursa

saham negara mencatatkan penurunan yang signifikan.

Selain daripada faktor-faktor yang dinyatakan terdahulu, terdapat juga isu berkaitan aliran

keluar modal asing daripada kedua-dua pasaran bon Ringgit (45 peratus daripada keseluruhan

MGS (sekuriti kerajaan Malaysia)) dan ekuiti. Tarikan pasaran yang lemah serta

ketidaktentuan fiskal akan mendorong Ringgit menyusut ke tahap terendah dalam sejarah

serta menolak kadar pulangan MGS dan menaikkan kos pembiayaan (nisbah hutang kepada

KDNK pada 55 peratus).

Apa Yang Harus Kerajaan Lakukan Sekarang?

Pertama sekali, korupsi dan ketirisan perlu ditangani. Kami melalui Pakatan Rakyat telah

membentangkan dalam Belanjawan Bayangan Pakatan Rakyat 2015 bahawa penjimatan

konservatif hanya pada kadar 15 peratus dalam ketirisan perbelanjaan kerajaan mampu

menjimatkan hampir RM 20 billion atau bersamaan 1.6 peratus daripada unjuran KDNK.

Kedua, kita harus menghentikan budaya pembaziran serta cara hidup mewah dan boros yang

diselimuti melalui proses perolehan yang samar dan amalan penswastaan yang legap.

Kerajaan perlu berhenti menyorok setiap hutang lapuk di bawah hamparan luar kunci kira-

kira.

Tiada satu sebarang alternatif kepada tatakelola yang baik selain daripada maklumat yang

benar dan telus berhubung kewangan negara. Dalam hal ini, kita sudah sedia terkesan

dibebani skandal 1MDB. Rakyat sudah muak dan tidak mampu bertolak ansur lagi.

Ketiga, Jawatankuasa Krisis Nasional yang bersifat rentas parti politik perlu ditubuhkan pada

kadar segera melibatkan Ahli-ahli Parlimen Kerajaan dan Pembangkang, para ekonomis,

pakar-pakar pasaran serta pakar dalam bidang-bidang berkaitan.

Jawatankuasa ini, antara lain hendaklah ditugaskan dengan peranan dan tanggungjawab untuk

memantau harga komoditi setiap hari dan diberikan kuasa untuk melaksanakan segala

langkah bersesuaian untuk mengurangkan dampak negatif selepas sebarang konsensus

dicapai.

Keempat, kerajaan perlu bersedia untuk memperkenalkan langkah-langkah penjimatan

sekiranya harga minyak menyusut ke tahap lebih rendah dan kekal statik. Ini bermaksud

keperluan memangkas projek-projek mega, tetapi meneruskan perbelanjaan dalam bidang-

bidang kritikal seperti kesihatan, pendidikan, dan bantuan kemanusiaan untuk mangsa banjir.

Perlu diingatkan bahawa negara-negara yang bergantung kepada hasil mahsul minyak seperti

Norway (yang mempunyai tatakelola terbaik) juga telah berada dalam mod bersedia untuk

berhadapan dengan kesan jangka panjang berikutan harga minyak yang rendah.

Diakui bahawa pergerakan harga komoditi antarabangsa merupakan sesuatu di luar kawalan

kita. Sungguhpun begitu, kita berkemampuan mengawal seluruh cara perbelanjaan dan

pengurusan kewangan negara.

Di sinilah kerajaan gagal dan terus gagal meskipun Pakatan Rakyat berulang kali menggesa

agar berpijak pada bumi yang nyata dan mengambil langkah-langkah pencegahan. Apakah

yang telah dilakukan sebelum ini? Apakah ini sikap yang memperlihatkan kesungguhan

kerajaan untuk bertransformasi?

Krisis Banjir dan Pengajarannya

Inilah sikap yang sama yang telah mengakibatkan kemusnahan dek bencana banjir baru-baru

ini. Banjir merupakan satu fenomena saban tahun yang telah berlaku berabad lamanya, tetapi

tiada langkah kawalan dan pencegahan yang serius dilaksanakan oleh pihak kerajaan.

Dalam hal ini, kita harus mengagumi badan-badan NGO yang datang beramai-ramai

menghulur bantuan. Melangkaui batas agama dan bangsa yang berbeza, sokongan dan

kesiapsiagaan untuk membantu mangsa-mangsa banjir merupakan sesuatu yang belum

pernah berlaku sebelumnya dan menunjukkan peri penting Kerajaan Persekutuan

bekerjasama dengan Kerajaan-kerajaan Negeri Pakatan Rakyat bersekali dengan badan-badan

NGO.

Mesej Kepada Rakyat

Zaman sukar menanti kita kesan daripada perbelanjaan kerajaan yang bakal dikurangkan dan

pertumbuhan ekonomi yang turut menguncup. Rakyat perlu kekal berjimat cermat dan

jangan menambah hutang atau komitmen kewangan yang tidak perlu.

Tatkala inflasi berterusan meningkat di saat penggajian kekal di takuk lama, rakyat akan

berhadapan dengan kesukaran ekonomi yang hebat dan ketidakseimbangan pendapatan akan

terus melebar.

Justeru, kami menggesa kerajaan agar telus dalam meramal ekonomi negara. Rakyat

menantikan pengumuman Selasa ini dan menjangkakan usaha Kerajaan Persekutuan yang

serius lagi bersungguh-sungguh untuk menstruktur semula Belanjawan 2015.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

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