Shah Alam. 16/7/2014
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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. 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.
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. 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.
 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.
 Ismail Raji al Faruqi, Al Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life, 2nd ed., Herndon: IIIT, 1992, p. 157
 Ibid. at p.170
 Badrane Benlahcene, The Socio-Intellectual Foundations of Malek Bennabi’s Approach To Civilisation, IIIT, 2011
 Malik Bennabi, Mushkilat al Afkar fil Alam al Islami, trans. M Ali, Cairo: Maktabat Amar, 1971, 56
 Abdulaziz Berghout, The Concept of Culture and Cultural Transformation: Views of Malik Bennabi, Intellectual Discourse, 2001 Vol. 9, No 1, pp. 78-79
 Ismail R. al Faruqi and Lois Lamya al Faruqi, Cultural Atlas of Islam, Macmillan Publishing Company: New York, 1986, pp.78-79
 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
 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
 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
 Muhammad Iqbal, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam, Kitab Bhavan, 2000
 Taha J. al-Alwani, Islamic Thought: An Approach To Reform
 Epistemological Bias in the Physical & Social Sciences, Edited by A. M. Elmessiri, IIIT
 Liberal Islam – A Sourcebook, ed. Charles Kruzman, Oxford University Press, 1998, Ch. 31 on Fazlur Rahman’s Islam and Modernity p.317
 Mohammad Omar Farooq, Toward Our Reformation: From Legalism to Value-Oriented Islamic Law and Jurisprudence, IIIT, 2011
 Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr, “Islamization of Knowledge: A Critical Overview”, Islamic Studies Vol. 30, No. 3 (Autumn 1991), pp. 387-400
 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
 Shaykh Muhammad al-Ghazali, A Thematic Commentary on the Qur’an, trans. Ashur A. Shamis, rev. Zaynab Alawiye, IIIT, 2000, pp. 516-517
Pilihanraya Umum ke 13 ini bakal menjadi satu detik yang sangat bersejarah. Pakatan Rakyat menjadikan perubahan sebagai teras pendekatan kami. Namun, kita sedar pendekatan Barisan Nasional (BN) adalah untuk menjadikan pilihanraya ini sebagai isu perkauman dan agama.
Pakatan Rakyat ingin menegaskan supaya UMNO dan BN jangan menakut-nakutkan pengundi dengan menggunakan isu bangsa dan agama untuk menimbulkan kecurigaan dan melaga-lagakan rakyat. Terutama, mempermainkan dan mengapi-apikan sentimen orang-orang Melayu sebagai kuda tunggangannya dalam meraih undi dan sering memaparkan Pakatan Rakyat sebagai musuh Islam dan bangsa Melayu.
Kami ingin menegaskan di sini bahawa ketiga-tiga parti Pakatan Rakyat memberi komitmen sepenuhnya mendokong perlembagaan Malaysia. Kami berikrar dan beriltizam akan memelihara status Islam sebagai agama rasmi, kedudukan istimewa orang-orang Melayu dan orang asal Sabah dan Sarawak, dan serta kedudukan institusi Raja-raja Melayu. Ini tidak pernah dipersoalkan dan tidak dipertikaikan oleh mana-mana parti Pakatan Rakyat.
Oleh sebab Dato’ Seri Najib Razak tidak berani tampil ke depan untuk debat dengan saya mengenai Manifesto Pilihanraya Umum ke-13, maka kami ingin mencabar Barisan Nasional, khususnya UMNO, untuk menjawab beberapa persoalan mengenai nasib orang Melayu:
Pertama, kenapakah di sepanjang pemerintahan BN jumlah tanah rezab Melayu yang berjumlah 3 juta hektar pada tahun 1957 telah menguncup kepada 1.7 juta hektar. Ke manakah pergi 1.3 juta hektar dan siapakah yang mendapat faedah dari penjualan tanah rezab Melayu? Bukankah BN yang cuba menjual tanah rezab Melayu Kampung Baru?
Kedua, kerajaan Pulau Pinang di bawah DAP telah mengekalkan kuota Bumiputera untuk kontraktor kelas F. Nilai kontrak yang diperolehi kontaktor Bumiputera telah meningkatkan dua kali ganda. Peruntukan untuk hal-ehwal Islam di Pulau Pinang telah meningkat sebanyak 2.5 kali ganda berbanding dengan ketika BN menguasai Pulau Pinang. Adakah ini dasar yang anti-Melayu dan anti-Islam? Prestasi Melayu di bawah kerajaan DAP lebih baik dari ketika Gerakan menguasai kerajaan Pulau Pinang. Di manakah suara UMNO ketika itu?
Ketiga, Dato’ Seri Najib sendiri dalam kenyataannya di Parlimen mengakui bahawa daripada saham syarikat yang tersenarai di Bursa Malaysia bernilai RM56 bilion yang telah diberi kepada Bumiputera, sebanyak RM52 bilion telah dijual kepada bangsa lain. Setahu kami, saham RM56 bilion tidak sampai kepada guru-guru sekolah, para nelayan dan penarik beca, kerani-kerani dan konstable polis. Berapa ramaikah menteri dan ketua-ketua bahagian UMNO yang telah menjadi jutawan melalui skim ini?
Keempat, kenapakah selepas 56 tahun Merdeka, orang Melayu masih merupakan bangsa yang termiskin? Jika benar, perjuangan UMNO ialah untuk membela orang Melayu, kenapa ramai pemimpin UMNO semakin kaya dan jurang di antara golongan miskin dan kaya semakin luas, terutama di kalangan orang Melayu? UMNO sedikit pun tidak memberi sumbangan kepada negara mahu pun meningkatkan kedudukan ekonomi orang-orang Melayu yang termiskin. Namun, UMNO cuba menagih budi dengan meningatkan orang Melayu supaya bersyukur kepada UMNO, tetapi kebetulannya merendahkan maruah Melayu dengan serdak yang mereka perolehi.
Kami, selaku pemimpin parti-parti Pakatan Rakyat, berikrar akan membebaskan rakyat dari belengu rasuah dengan langkah-langkah berikut:
- Mereformasikan urustadbir perkhidmatan awam supaya ia tidak menjadi instrumen eksploitasi kepimpinan politik. Ini akan dilakukan melalui proses yang telus, melalui pemisahan pembuatan dasar dari pelaksanaan supaya tidak wujud campur tangan politik dalam pelaksanaan dasar.
- Menjamin autonomi dan keberkecualian badan kehakiman, Pejabat Peguam Negara, PDRM dan SPRM supaya kesemuanya dapat bertindak tanpa pilih kasih atau perasaan takut. Kesemua badan ini perlu bertindak profesional dan tidak menjadi alat politik pemerintah.
- Menubuhkan sebuah Suruhanjaya untuk menyemak semula amalan kontrak runding terus yang berat sebelah dan amalan monopoli di ekonomi Malaysia yang membawa beban kepada rakyat.
Usaha membasmi kemiskinan di kalangan orang Melayu dan lain-lain komuniti yang terpinggir akan dipergiatkan lagi dengan program-program yang disasarkan untuk membina daya saing dan daya dikari seperti program mikrokredit. Dasar ekonomi yang berkesan dan berjaya ialah dasar yang dapat mengurangkan pergantungan kepada subsidi dan pemberian kebajikan. Dasar sebegini tidak akan merugikan masyarakat Melayu.
Orang Melayu yang miskin dan terpinggir tidak perlu bimbang akan perubahan yang kami bawa. Masa depan mereka lebih terjamin di bawah Pakatan Rakyat. Hanya orang Melayu yang menyalahguna kuasa dan terlibat dalam rasuah harus cemas dengan perubahan yang kami anjurkan.
29 APRIL 2013
Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat mengecam tindakan beberapa blogger pro-Umno yang meletak gambar kontroversi Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, sambil menambah perkara tersebut membuktikan mereka sudah tidak mempunyai modal untuk berpolitik.
Akhbar Sinar Harian melaporkan Nik Aziz juga mempertikaikan kesahihan gambar-gambar yang sudah tersebar luas di alam media sosial, memandangkan tiada bukti yang kukuh yang menyabitkan ketua pembangkang tersebut dengan amalan keji tersebut.
“Mereka belum puas ‘cincang’ Anwar.
“Kita orang politik ini sepatutnya kena lawan hujah bukan peribadi,” katanya yang dipetik dalam akhbar berbahasa Melayu tersebut.
Semalam, The Malaysian Insider melaporkan Anwar menafikan tuduhan blogger pro-Umno yang meletak beberapa gambar individu menyerupai dirinya mengadakan hubungan seks sejenis yang sudah tersebar luas ketika ini.
Anwar juga menuduh ia adalah satu lagi fitnah jahat dan politik jijik yang digunakan oleh pemimpin Umno untuk memburukkan imejnya serta tidak menolak akan mengambil tindakan undang-undang keatas pihak terbabit menyebarkannya.
“Ia adalah gimik politik jijik oleh Umno… Ia fitnah jijik menjelang pilihan raya.
“Saya belum putuskan akan ambil tindakan undang-undang ataupun tidak, tapi saya akan beritahu peguam saya dan biar beliau putuskan,” kata Anwar.
Pendedahan kontroversi oleh blogger pro-Umno tersebut merupakan yang kedua dituduh keatas Anwar selepas 21 Mac 2011 trio “Datuk T” iaitu bekas ketua menteri Melaka Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, bekas bendahari agung Perkasa Datuk Shuib Lazim dan ahli perniagaan Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah menggemparkan negara apabila mempertontonkan rakaman video seks kepada wakil media di hotel Carcosa Seri Negara.
Anwar juga telah menafikan lelaki itu dalam video tersebut adalah beliau dan membuat laporan di ibu pejabat polis daerah Dang Wangi pada 22 Mac 2011.
GONG XI FA CAI
17 Februari 2013 Hari Ahad
One Utama, Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya
10.00 AM Ketibaan Orang Awam
11.00 AM Ketibaan Tetamu Jemputan
Persembahan Nyanyian Lagu Tahun Baru Cina
11.30 AM Ketibaan dif-dif kehormat
Persembahan Tarian Kebudayaan Oleh MBPJ
12.00 PM Ketibaan Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim
Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor.
Ketibaan Y.A.B Dato’ Seri Anwar Bin Ibrahim
Penasihat Ekonomi Negeri Selangor
Persembahan Tarian Singa
12.15 PM Ucapan Y.B. Puan Elizabeth Wong
Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Pelancongan
Hal Ehwal Pengguna dan Alam Sekitar
Ucapan Perasmian oleh Y.A.B. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri
Abdul Khalid Bin Ibrahim
Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor
Ucapan Oleh Y.A.B Dato’ Seri Anwar Bin Ibrahim
Penasihat Ekonomi Negeri Selangor
1.00 PM Persembahan Drum –
“Hands Percussion Malaysia”
Persembahan Nyanyian Lagu Tahun Baru Cina
1:30 PM Pemberian Ang Pau oleh God of Prosperity
2.00 PM Tamat
It has come to our attention that on December 31, 2012, the Malaysian government forcibly expelled six Uighur Muslim asylum seekers back to China.
They were in our country seeking shelter from persecution in their home country and should have been accorded all due process as warranted by international law.
Since their cases were being reviewed by the asylum processing agencies, their sudden transfer without the cooperation of the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees’ office in Kuala Lumpur is a clear violation of international law.
Malaysia is a sovereign nation and must act accordingly in its handling of such cases. Whatever may be the reasons, we condemn the inhumane and illegal repatriation of the asylum seekers. We reiterate that in dealing with refugees, humanitarian considerations must prevail over political expediency.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim criticised Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today for not immediately condemning the Bible-burning remarks from the ultra right-wing Malay rights group, Perkasa.
“We know their (Perkasa) role is outsourced by Umno to fan racist bigotry… we have not yet heard any tough response from the Umno leadership.
“Not even from the prime minister or the home minister. This is disturbing.
“Notwithstanding partisan politics, you have to draw the line,” Anwar (right) said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters today.
Anwar was referring to Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali’s call for Malay language Bibles using the word ‘Allah’ to be burnt.
Ibrahim was called up by the police yesterday over his statement, but the Pasir Mas MP had said that his remark was not intended to offend Christians.
In another matter, when asked if Pakatan Rakyat will have their general election candidates vetted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Anwar said that it was akin to looking for trouble.
“They (MACC) did not investigate the Scorpene scandal, the cow (National Feedlot Corporation) scandal, or the 200-acre land scandal. Everyone had been left off the hook.
“And then later when they vet me, they will say that I am not cleared, and that more investigation is needed – that would be looking for trouble,” he said.
EU prepared to negotiate
Earlier, Anwar held another press conference with European Union ambassador Luc Vandebon (right in pic) after a briefing on the bloc’s free trade agreement negotiations with Malaysia.
Anwar noted the negotiations that began in 2010 had stalled due to the looming general election, and urged the government to stop procrastinating on the matter.
“What is being demanded (in the negotiation) in many areas is consistent with Pakatan Rakyat’s policy, such as the issues of procurement, transparency, and doing away with rent-seeking and supporting cronies like the Approved Permits (AP) system for various sectors.
“This seemingly insurmountable issue in the negotiations with the BN government is not a problem for us,” he said, but added that necessary steps should also be taken to protect the local industry.
Anwar also welcomed the EU representative’s statement that it was willing to work with any government that comes into power in the next general election.
“I am delighted to hear that the EU is ready to work with any democratically elected government, and that it plans to resume the negotiation process immediately after the GE,” he said.
Asked if the EU was prepared to negotiate should Pakatan win federal power, Luc replied: “Absolutely, we have said from the beginning that we want to continue; we work with Malaysia, Malaysia is our partner”.
He added that the negotiations were complex and the need for a longer time frame was to be expected.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – 10 January 2013
We are members of a Muslim American Election Observers Committee delegation to Malaysia on a fact-finding mission in advance of the upcoming 13th General Elections.
Over the past two days, we have met with the Election Commission (SPR) Secretariat, members of parliament, representatives from political parties and representatives of civil society organizations.
American Muslims are very interested in the growth, development and prosperity of Malaysia – as it is one of the most developed Muslim majority nations in the world. We feel a special bond with Malaysian Muslims because of their commitment to Islam and the potential for Malaysia to serve as a model throughout the Muslim world as a pluralistic society committed to democratic principles and the rule of law.
As democratic movements sweep across the Muslim world, we believe that Malaysia is in a position to set the standard. Our presence here is an effort to urge continued progress towards meeting international standards for free and fair elections.