7 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?

Asia Sentinel

The charges against Anwar seemed cooked up and malicious, but government prosecutors pressed ahead anyway  

Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial, which ran almost two years before ending in 2012, was condemned internationally by legal scholars and human rights activists.

He was eventually acquitted for lack of evidence only to have an appeals court reverse that decision, ruling in favor of a government appeal on Friday. He was sentenced to five years in prison but is free on bail pending appeal. Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia.

The sudden reversal on Friday shocked political observers and the general public.

Sordid and Unbelievable
The story began on June 28, 2008 when a then-24-year-old aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhairy Azlan, made the sodomy accusation against Anwar, who had  had led the three-party Pakatan Rakyat coalition to a historic sweep of five Malaysian states, winning 82 parliamentary seats in general elections and breaking the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition’s two-thirds majority hold on parliament.

Despite an offer to appear voluntarily at the police station to deal with the charges, the opposition leader was arrested at his home on July 16 of that year by a contingent of 10 carloads of police commandos and was locked up overnight in a Kuala Lumpur jail.

The trial, which began in February 2010, was marred by the introduction of a mountain of questionable evidence, egregious prosecutorial errors and a long series of prejudicial rulings by High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohamad Diah.

From the very beginning, doubts began to surface. To start with, Saiful belatedly sought to get doctors to certify that he had been sodomized 48 hours after the alleged encounter. He first went to a private hospital where a doctor found no evidence of penetration and told him to go to a government hospital. At the first government hospital, doctors also told him they had found no evidence of tearing or scarring that would have indicated his anus had been penetrated. He was forced to go to a third government hospital where he finally found a physician willing to say the act had taken place.

Political connections
Saiful acknowledged in court that he had met with then-Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, on June 24, 2008, two days before the alleged sodomy took place and on other occasions with Rosmah’s close confidant, the former track star Mumtaz Jaafar. Neither the prime minister nor his wife nor Mumtaz was called to the stand to explain why they met with Saiful.

There were many questions about the DNA, which was allegedly taken from Saiful’s rectum 90 hours after the reported act took place. He claimed not to have eaten, drunk nor gone to the bathroom for that entire period.

The evidence was stored in an unguarded police office. Government laboratory technicians testified that as many as 11 different DNA traces had been found in Saiful’s rectum. At one point Zabidin ruled that the DNA was too doubtful to be admitted, only to have the prosecution appeal, at which point the judge reversed himself, leading to charges he had been coerced.

There were even questions whether Saiful had actually met with Anwar on the date he allegedly was sodomized. Although cameras showed him in the lift of the building where the offence allegedly took place, Anwar said he was meeting with a group of economists in the condo at the time and that Saiful had not appeared in the room.

Saiful also acknowledged meeting secretly twice with Rodwan Mohd Yusof, a senior assistant police commissioner, before the alleged offense took place. Rodwan became famous, or infamous, in Anwar’s 1998 Sodomy I trial when he was found to have illegally removed Anwar’s DNA samples from forensic custody and planted them on a mattress allegedly used by Anwar for a homosexual dalliance. To protect the integrity of the prosecution’s case, the presiding judge, Augustine Paul, expunged the entire DNA evidence at the time.

Saiful testified that on the day he allegedly met with Anwar, he had taken lubricant with him to Anwar’s condominium – hardly the act of an innocent aide who had no idea that the then 63-year-old Anwar was about to jump him for unnatural sex.

It also became known during that Saiful was having a sexual liaison with Farah Azlina Latif, a female member of the prosecution team, which might have further disqualified him as a complaining witness.

The family apologizes
Saiful’s father, Azlan Mohd Lazim in March 2013, apologized to Anwar at a press conference and said the plot to have Anwar arrested was cooked up in Najib’s office. He said his son had been used by “irresponsible quarters” and that statements that both he and his son gave to the press during and after the trial were written by his lawyer and a special officer in Najib’s office.

“Anwar is innocent and a victim of this slander… as such I apologize to Anwar and his family,” Azlan said in a printed statement.” He and his family have suffered a lot as a result of this slander. I deeply regret all the slander hurled against Anwar, which involved my son Saiful Bukhairi.”

The case “was planned in great detail by a special officer in the PM’s Department,” Azlan said. “Even the script I read during the press conference after Anwar’s sodomy acquittal last year was prepared by this officer.”

His son, he said, “has never explained the sodomy incident and the accusation to me. I was never called as a witness in the case. I was never called by any party to offer my statement as the father from the start to the end of the trial.”

Although he was always seen accompanying his son during the trial, Azlan explained that he did so simply as a father who was giving moral support. Azlan said he decided to make his statement after collecting information obtained during the trial, as well as that sent to him by the public.

“As a Malay and a Muslim, I started to realize the evil of this plan. I don’t want to continue to conspire with this malicious slander. I want the people who love this country to know their malicious intention,” he said. “If this malicious intention continues, not only the Malays and Muslims would be destroyed, but the nation would be destroyed as well. I do not want to see this happen.”

7 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?

Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) sungguh terkejut dan ingin merakamkan kekesalan yang tidak terhingga terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan dalam proses penghakiman yang begitu tergesa-gesa menjatuhkan hukuman bersalah terhadap Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim dalam rayuan pendakwa terhadap Kes Sodomi II pada hari ini.
PAS dan kalangan rakyat awam sudah tentu bertegas bahawa prinsip keadilan mestilah bukan sahaja ditegakkan dengan penuh telus dan bermaruah, tetapi ianya mestilah dapat dilihat ditegakkan dengan prosesnya yang begitu teliti, cermat dan berlaku adil mengikut prinsip undang-undang yang bebas. Apatah lagi sekiranya kita merujuk kepada sistem keadilan perundangan Islam yang menekankan bahawa sedikit sahaja keraguan dalam proses perbicaraan itu sudah cukup untuk membebaskan seseorang yang didakwa. Prinsip keadilan sebegini tidak dapat dilihat dalam kes yang menimpa Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Ini dengan sendirinya akan berterusan menghakis keyakinan rakyat terhadap sistem keadilan dalam negara kita ini.
PAS berkongsi kekecewaan ini dengan anggota keluarga Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, terutamanya isteri beliau Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah yang juga Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dalam menghadapi ujian yang sangat berat ini. PAS akan terus memberikan segala bentuk sokongan kepada beliau dan ahli-ahli PKR, serta seluruh penyokong Pakatan Rakyat dalam meneruskan rayuannya ke Mahkamah Persekutuan sehingga keadilan dapat ditegakkan dan kezaliman dapat diruntuhkan.
Dato’ Seri Tuan Guru Abdul Hadi Awang
Presiden PAS
5 Jamadil Awal 1435 H bersamaan 7 Mac 2014

7 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?


A gathering to show solidarity to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is being organised at Stadium Kajang tonight.

PKR activist and Malaysian Young People’s Solidarity (SAMM) chief Badrul Hisham Shahrin said the gathering will start from 8pm.

This is the first gathering planned following the Appeals Court’s decision this afternoon to overturn Anwar’s acquittal from his second sodomy case.

Kajang is chosen as the venue as PKR’s machinery is already set up there in preparation for the impending Kajang by-election.

Anwar is PKR’s candidate for the seat. Nomination day for the by-election is next Tuesday (March11).

Anwar, who is PKR de facto leader and Permatang Pauh MP, was charged, in August 2008 at the Kuala Lumpur High Court, with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

He was found not guilty in January 2012. The prosecution filed an appeal against the decision, which led to the overturned verdict today.

In an immediate response, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said he was not shocked by the Appeals Court’s decision.

“The worst feeling is that I am not surprised and am mentally prepared for this injustice,” he said.

7 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?


The Court of Appeal has been manipulated by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to halt the rakyat’s march in Kajang and Selangor, PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Speaking to reporters at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, Anwar said eyebrows had been raised at the manner in which the appellate court had handled his case.

“The appellate court has clearly been manipulated by Najib to stop the rakyat from marching in Kajang and Selangor and onwards towards Putrajaya,” Anwar said.

As Anwar exited the building, cries of ‘Reformasi!’ rocked the Palace of Justice as several hundred supporters cheered him, despite today’s proceeding not being in his favour.

Several PKR leaders rallied the crowd, railing against the injustice which had been committed against Anwar today and vowing that they would continue their work in Kajang.

Flanked by his daughter Nurul Izzah, Karpal Singh, Azmin Ali and Batu MP Tian Chua, Anwar said they would file an appeal on Monday.

“The reversal of any decision should be carefully considered and evaluated, but the appellate court could not wait as they were following a script,” Anwar said.

“We will file an appeal to the Federal Court because we are confident with our facts and information,” he added.

Asked who will be PKR’s candidate for the Kajang state seat since he had been ruled out of the running, Anwar said they would rethink their strategy.

Anwar’s legal counsel, Karpal Singh told reporters that what had been done in the Palace of Justice today was a travesty of justice.

“There were representatives from foreign countries watching the trial and they have seen it firsthand now,” he told reporters outside the appeal courtroom.

“There is clearly a blatant disregard by the appellate court of the facts of the case and the law.”

“It is shocking to hear the three-men panel state that under the circumstances, they could not wait for my medical records,” Anwar said.

He said the people of Malaysia will have their own views on the case, especially the controversial manner in which it had been conducted.

“Putrajaya is not interested in economic malaise, endemic corruption and rising crime.

“They are focused on killing, assassinating political opponents.

“Today Anwar, on March 11, Karpal. I think it is time that we warn Najib and the arrogant Umno leadership that they must be prepared to face the wrath of the people.

“That is Umno’s fear, that once Pakatan Rakyat gets into Putrajaya, we cannot be moved,” Anwar said.

He said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had attacked him.

“This is clearly an attempt to deny me. That is why they are doing this now. Once we get in, that is the end of Umno.”

“They have underestimated the wrath of the people. They are not God and I believe in the wisdom of the people.”

Meanwhile, Anwar’s wife and PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today’s proceedings had been conducted in the Palace of Justice, but inside there was only injustice.

The Court of Appeal today reversed the High Court acquittal of Anwar in the Sodomy II case and sentenced him to five years in jail.

7 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?


Support for opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim poured in on Twitter as news of his sodomy conviction and five year’s jail sentence spread like wildfire through social media websites today.

Thousands of Twitter users expressed their shock over the Court of Appeal’s verdict and sentence, and expressed solitarity and support for the PKR de facto leader.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders also took to the networking site to convey their disbelief and slammed the judiciary, as well as the Barisan Nasional government, over the conviction.

The ruling BN coalition has been accused of engineering Anwar’s sodomy charge largely to silence the opposition leader, who has been attributed with the BN’s dismal performance in the last two general elections.

Selangor speaker and Subang Jaya assemblywoman Hannah Yeoh said, “They did this to @anwaribrahim when I was 18. Today at 35, I’ll witness the birth of a new reformasi generation. @anwaribrahim we are with u,” she tweeted.

PKR’s deputy publicity chief and Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin: “Anwar convicted of sodomy 2.0 Clearly political move to remove him from politics. To Najib & Umno, many thousands of Anwar will rise up against you! #Reformasi”

Twitter user Izzul Hazwan called on Anwar to be strong, saying: “The verdict reminded me once again that Malaysian justice system was long dead”.

Peter Justin Skelchy said of the court decision: “Malaysia’s judiciary has once again demonstrated that we are nothing but a banana republic @anwaribrahim @rafiziramli”.

“Anwar Ibrahim sentenced to jail is unacceptable. Clearly it’s the Government’s way to tell people not to mess with them. #Reformasi,” said ??H.

“Najib is so unoriginal! Using the same old move again. Persevere, sir! I have a feeling things will right themselves soon,” Timothy Wong said.

Former Penang speaker Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain of PKR warned the ruling BN government that “Anwar Ibrahim a leader of world status & BN authoritarian govt out to shut him in jail. Be prepared for economic catastrophe & uncertainty.”

Meanwhile, NGO Human Rights Watch Deputy Director Phil Robertson said it was a “dark day” for the Malaysian judiciary, which has shown that it is incapable of “standing up straight” when national political issues are in play.

“This trial was all about knocking Anwar Ibrahim out of politics and the government was prepared to do whatever it took to make that happen,” he said.

“Anwar and his family appear caught in a never-ending nightmare of his political adversaries’ making, with the courts as the instrument of his political execution.”

With this sentence, Anwar’s political career appears to have ended. He will be disqualified from all his political positions and will not be the PKR candidate in the Kajang by-election to be held later this month.

PKR lawyer Latheefa Koya hit out at the three-man panel of judges, led by Justice Balia Yusof Wahi, who only took less than two hours to come up with the sentence.

“Why have the judges rushed into making a decision and taken such a short time before deciding to reverse Anwar’s Sodomy II acquittal,” she told reporters at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya.

“When Karpal Singh was found guilty of sedition by the Ipoh High Court, the sentencing was scheduled to be announced after two weeks.

“In Anwar’s case, the sentencing is expected an hour after his acquittal against sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan was reversed.”

It was a “serious injustice” to both parliamentarians, she said, as Anwar and Karpal are scheduled to appear in Parliament next week.

“It is very unusual for a court to reverse an acquittal so fast, and even more unusual to deliver sentence so fast.”

5 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?

Subject: Press Statement: Court of Appeal Registrar Must Reveal Reasons for Unusual Haste in Fixing Fitnah II Appeal date

I refer to the appeal of the Fitnah II case by the BN government against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on 6 &7 March 2014.

We are disturbed by the unusual haste in which the March 6 &7 dates have been fixed.

The appeal had been fixed for case management on 28.2.2014. Anwar’s lawyers then received a call from the deputy registrar of the Court of Appeal (CoA) asking for free dates between March 7 and March 10, 2014.  It should be noted that the dates insisted upon by the CoA are on the eve of the nomination day for the Kajang by-election. ( If Anwar is convicted, he would be disqualified from contesting the by election.)

On 28 February 2014, the court insisted on fixing March 6 &7 as the appeal dates. The dates were fixed despite Anwar’s lawyers  stating that those are not their free dates.  Why was the CoA in such a hurry to fix these dates?

More surprisingly, the CoA had on 12 Feb had allowed a stay of the Fitnah II appeal pending disposal of Anwar’s appeal to Federal Court on the application for Judy Pereira to be recalled.

Having granted the stay, why did the CoA rush to fix the appeal dates even before the Judy Pereira appeal was heard?

In fact, Anwar had up to 6 March to file his petition of appeal for the Judy Pereira appeal to the Federal Court.  However in a highly unusual move, Shafee Abdullah filed an application to strike out the Judy Pereira appeal. More surprisingly the Federal Court allowed on 4th March the striking out of the Judy Pereira appeal, which decision was clearly wrong in law and in fact.

It should be remembered that the Fitnah II appeal is a matter of great public interest. The court must be candid and transparent in managing the Fitnah II appeal.

The Malaysian public has a right to fullest disclosure pertaining to this appeal.

We hereby call upon the Chief Registrar of the CoA to disclose the reasons for the hurried fixing of the Fitnah II appeal dates.

Issued by

N Surendran

Vice President Keadilan


Member of Parliament, Padang Serai

5 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?


As Putrajaya prepares to fight the acquittal of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) on a sodomy charge in the Court of Appeal tomorrow, two human rights groups have called for the dismissal of the case, saying it was “politically motivated”.

Suaram and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) urged the court to dismiss Putrajaya’s appeal, saying that it was motivated to dampen the “serious political challenge” the federal government had experienced since Independence.

“The prosecution has expedited proceedings in an apparent attempt to prevent Anwar Ibrahim from running for the post of Menteri Besar of Malaysia’s richest and most populous state,” Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng said in a statement today.

The NGOs also drew attention to Anwar’s candidacy in the Kajang by-election and bid to become the next Selangor Menteri Besar, noting that an unfavourable court decision would mean an end to Anwar’s plans.

“If the Court of Appeal upholds the prosecution’s appeal, it could immediately sentence Anwar to a jail term which would result in his inability to run in the by-election,” the statement read.

Nominations for the by-election have been fixed for March 11 while polling will be on March 23.

Political analysts have said Anwar was walking a tightrope by contesting the Kajang state seat with the sodomy case still hanging over his head.

The sodomy offence which Anwar had been accused of carries a jail term of up to 20 years and whipping.

Under the law, an MP or assemblyman who is jailed for a year or more and slapped with a fine of RM2,000 or more will be disqualified.

In 2012, the High Court acquitted Anwar of a charge of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at a Desa Damansara condominium unit in Bukit Damansara in 2008, based on tainted DNA evidence presented by the prosecution.

Umno lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah is to lead the prosecution team in the appeal proceedings, which begins tomorrow.

On March 4, the Federal Court allowed Putrajaya’s application to strike out the notice of appeal filed by Anwar to recall the investigating officer in his sodomy case – former Superintendent Jude Blacious Pereira – as a witness.

Anwar had also failed in his three attempts to remove Shafee as the prosecutor. He had first challenged the legality of Shafee’s appointment under the Criminal Procedure Code but this was dismissed by the Federal Court on November 20.

His second application to disqualify Shafee, based on a statutory declaration (SD) by former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigation Department chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, was also dismissed by the Federal Court on February 11.

Anwar filed the third application on February 25 to disqualify Shafee on grounds that the senior lawyer was not a fit and proper person to accept the appointment as he was found guilty of violating the Legal Profession Publicity Rules 2001 and this, too, was struck out on March 3.

International NGO Human Rights Watch had previously urged Putrajaya to drop its appeal against Anwar’s acquittal. It had also noted that the attack on Anwar was politically motivated.

“Malaysian authorities are only adding insult to injury by appealing Anwar’s acquittal, compounding the injustice already inflicted on Anwar and his family,” Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, had said.

FIDH president Karim Lahidji said today that the appellate court’s decision would be a “litmus test” for the independence of the Malaysian judiciary.

“The Court of Appeal must uphold international standards of fair trial come this March 6 and 7,” he added.

5 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?

Program Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim di DUN N25 KAJANG

5 – 11 MAC 2014


5 MAC 2014 – RABU

1)    7.30 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib

Lokasi: Surau At Taqwa, Taman Kajang Baru

2)    8.45 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Isya’

Lokasi: Surau Ar Rahman, Blok A, Flat Taman Taming Impian,

6 MAC 2014 – KHAMIS

1)    7.30 mlm : Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib

Lokasi: Surau As Syakirin, Jalan Melati 3, Sungai Kantan

2)    9.00-12.00 mlm – Ceramah & Pelancaran DM Sungai Kantan

Lokasi : Pusat Komuniti Sungai Kantan

7 MAC 2014 – JUMAAT

1)   1.00 ptg – Solat Jumaat –

Lokasi: Masjid Kompleks  Penjara Kajang, Sg Jerlok

2)   7.30 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib

Lokasi: Surau Sri Saujana, Jalan Prima Saujana ¼, Prima Saujana

3)   9.00 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah & Pelancaran Bilik Gerakan Utama

Lokasi: Bangunan Mat Saman, Kg Sekamat, Batu 13, Jalan Cheras

8 MAC 2014 – SABTU

1)   8.00 – 12.00 mlm – Jamuan Makan Malam Pakatan Rakyat
Lokasi: Tapak Letak Kereta, Pasar Sungai Chua

2)   9.00 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah Perdana & Pelancaran Jentera PRK Pakatan Rakyat
Lokasi : Dataran Prima Saujana, Kajang

9 MAC 2014 – AHAD

1)   10.00 pagi – Medical Camp
Lokasi: Balairaya Kg. Batu 13, Jalan Cheras, Kajang

2)   10.30 pagi – Penutup Kayuhan Belia Selangor

Lokasi: Dataran Anak Muda Kantan Permai

3)   10.00 – 1.30 ptg: Wacana Islam & Demokrasi

Lokasi: Hotel KK, Kajang

4)   5.00 – 7.00 ptg – Sepetang Bersama Anak Muda

Lokasi: Jalan Jelok 7, Belakang Metro Point, Bandar Kajang

5)   7.30 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib
Lokasi: Surau Al Istiqamah, Taman Angkasa Indah, Kajang

6)   8.30 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah 1
Lokasi: No 6, Taman Cheras Mas

7)   9.00 – 12. 00 mlm – Ceramah 2
Lokasi: Taman Impian Murni, Saujana Impian

8)   9.00 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah 3
Lokasi: Pangsapuri Sri Ros, Sungai Chua, Kajang

10 MAC 2014 – ISNIN

1)   5.00 – 7.00 – Sepetang Bersama Anak Muda Sri Jenaris

Lokasi: No 34, Jalan Jenaris C, Desa Sri Jenaris, Kajang

2)   7.30 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib
Lokasi: (Surau akan dimaklumkan)

3)   9.00 – 12.00 – Ceramah Perdana Menjelang Hari Penamaan Calon
Lokasi: Tapak Karnival Usahawan, Jalan Jelok 9, Kajang


1)   8.00 – 12.00 tghari - Penamaan Calon
Lokasi: Kompleks Sukan MP Kajang, Seksyen 15, Bandar Baru Bangi

2)   8.30 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah & Pelancaran Bilik Gerakan DAP
Lokasi: Taman Megah

3)   9.00 – 12.00 – Ceramah Perdana –

Lokasi: Taman Delima, Batu 13 Jalan Cheras


4 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?

The Atlantic

At a time when advances in science and technology have changed our understanding of our mental and physical selves, it is easy for some to dismiss the discipline of philosophy as obsolete. Stephen Hawking, boldly, argues that philosophy is dead .

Not according to Rebecca Newberger Goldstein. Goldstein, a philosopher and novelist, studied philosophy at Barnard and then earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at Princeton University. She has written several books, won a MacArthur “Genius Award” in 1996, and taught at several universities, including Barnard, Columbia, Rutgers, and Brandeis.

Goldstein’s forthcoming book, Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away , offers insight into the significant—and often invisible—progress that philosophy has made. I spoke with Goldstein about her take on the science vs. philosophy debates, how we can measure philosophy’s advances, and why an understanding of philosophy is critical to our lives today.

You came across The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant as a kid. What were your first thoughts?

I grew up in a very religious Orthodox Jewish household and everybody seemed to have firm opinions about all sorts of big questions. I was interested in how they knew what they seemed to know, or claimed to know. That’s what I would now call an epistemological question. I was allowed to read very widely, and I got the book The Story of Philosophy out. I must’ve been 11 or 12. And the chapter on Plato… it was my first experience of a kind of intellectual ecstasy. I was sent completely outside of myself. There were a lot of things that I didn’t understand, but there was something abstract and eternal that underlay all the changing phenomena of the world. He used the word “phantasmagoria,” which is one of those words I had to look up, and probably one of the few times I’ve encountered it. I couldn’t quite understand what I was reading, but I was hooked.

When did your formal education in philosophy start?

I didn’t think I was going to study philosophy. I also loved science, and took out lots of books about science as a kid, and, oh gosh, I ruined my mother’s kitchen by trying to do do-it-yourself chemistry experiments. There were all kinds of things that interested me. One of the things about philosophy is that you don’t have to give up on any other field. Whatever field there is, there’s a corresponding field of philosophy. Philosophy of language, philosophy of politics, philosophy of math. All the things I wanted to know about I could still study within a philosophical framework.

What did your religious family think about your pursuit of philosophy?

It made my mother intensely uncomfortable. She wanted me to be a good student but not to take it too seriously. She worried that nobody would want to marry such a bookish girl. But I ended up getting married at 19. And I wasn’t an outwardly rebellious child; I followed all the rules. The problem was, I was allowed to think about whatever I wanted to. Even though I decided very early on that I didn’t believe in any of it, it was okay as long as I had freedom of mind. It was fine with my family.

How early do you think children can, or should, start learning about philosophy?

I started really early with my daughters. They said the most interesting things that if you’re trained in philosophy you realize are big philosophical statements. The wonderful thing about kids is that the normal way of thinking, the conceptual schemes we get locked up in, haven’t gelled yet with them. When my daughter was a toddler, I’d say “Danielle!” she would very assuredly, almost indignantly, say, “I’m not Danielle! I’m this!” I’d think, What is she trying to express? This is going to sound ridiculous, but she was trying to express what Immanuel Kant calls the transcendental ego. You’re not a thing in the world the way there are other things in the world, you’re the thing experiencing other things—putting it all together. This is what this toddler was trying to tell me. Or when my other daughter, six at the time, was talking with her hands and knocked over a glass of juice. She said, “Look at what my body did!” I said, “Oh, you didn’t do that?” And she said, “No! My bodydid that!” I thought, Oh! Cartesian dualism! She meant that she didn’t intend to do that, and she identified herself with her intentional self. It was fascinating to me.

And kids love to argue.

They could argue with me about anything. If it were a good argument I would take it seriously. See if you can change my mind. It teaches them to be self-critical, to look at their own opinions and see what the weak spots are. This is also important in getting them to defend their own positions, to take other people’s positions seriously, to be able to self-correct, to be tolerant, to be good citizens and not to be taken in by demagoguery. The other thing is to get them to think about moral views. Kids have a natural egotistical morality. Every kid by age three is saying, “That’s not fair!” Well, use that to get them to think about fairness. Yes, they feel a certain sense of entitlement, but what is special aboutthem? What gives them such a strong sense of fairness? They’re natural philosophers. And they’re still so flexible.

There’s a peer pressure that sets in at a certain age. They so much want to be like everybody else. But what I’ve found is that if you instill this joy of thinking, the sheer intellectual fun, it will survive even the adolescent years and come back in fighting form. It’s empowering.

What changes in philosophy curriculum have you seen over the last 40 years?

One thing that’s changed tremendously is the presence of women and the change in focus because of that. There’s a lot of interest in literature and philosophy, and using literature as a philosophical examination. It makes me so happy! Because I was seen as a hard-core analytic philosopher, and when I first began to write novels people thought, Oh, and we thought she was serious! But that’s changed entirely. People take literature seriously, especially in moral philosophy, as thought experiments. A lot of the most developed and effective thought experiments come from novels. Also, novels contribute to making moral progress, changing people’s emotions.

Right—a recent study  shows how reading literature leads to increased compassion.

Exactly. It changes our view of what’s imaginable. Commercial fiction that didn’t challenge people’s stereotypes about characters didn’t have the same effect of being able to read others better, but literary fiction that challenges our views of stereotypes has a huge effect. A lot of women philosophers have brought this into the conversation. Martha Nussbaum really led the way in this. She claimed that literature was philosophically important in many different ways. The other thing that’s changed is that there’s more applied philosophy. Let’s apply philosophical theory to real-life problems, like medical ethics, environmental ethics, gender issues. This is a real change from when I was in school and it was only theory.

In your new book, you respond to the criticism that philosophy isn’t progressing the way other fields are. For example: In philosophy, unlike in other areas of study, an ancient historical figure like Plato is just as relevant today.

There’s the claim that the only progress made is in posing problems that scientists can answer. That philosophy never has the means to answer problems—it’s just biding its time till the scientists arrive on the scene. You hear this quite often. There is, among some scientists, a real anti-philosophical bias. The sense that philosophy will eventually disappear. But there’s a lot of philosophical progress, it’s just a progress that’s very hard to see. It’s very hard to see because we see with it. We incorporate philosophical progress into our own way of viewing the world. Plato would be constantly surprised by what we know. And not only what we know scientifically, or by our technology, but what we know ethically. We take a lot for granted. It’s obvious to us, for example, that individual’s ethical truths are equally important. Things like class and gender and religion and ethnicity don’t matter insofar as individual rights go. That would never have occurred to him. He makes an argument in The Republic that you need to treat all Greeks in the same way. It never occurs to him that you would treat barbarians (non-Greeks) the same way.

It’s amazing how long it takes us, but we do make progress. And it’s usually philosophical arguments that first introduce the very outlandish idea that we need to extend rights. And it takes more, it takes a movement, and activism, and emotions, to affect real social change. It starts with an argument, but then it becomes obvious. The tracks of philosophy’s work are erased because it becomes intuitively obvious. The arguments against slavery, against cruel and unusual punishment, against unjust wars, against treating children cruelly—these all took arguments.

Which philosophical arguments have you seen shifting our national conversation, changing what we once thought was obvious?

About 30 years ago, the philosopher Peter Singer started to argue about the way animals are treated in our factory farms. Everybody thought he was nuts. But I’ve watched this movement grow; I’ve watched it become emotional. It has to become emotional. You have to draw empathy into it. But here it is, right in our time—a philosopher making the argument, everyone dismissing it, but then people start discussing it. Even criticizing it, or saying it’s not valid, is taking it seriously. This is what we have to teach our children. Even things that go against their intuition they need to take seriously. What was intuition two generations ago is no longer intuition; and it’s arguments that change it. We are very inertial creatures. We do not like to change our thinking, especially if it’s inconvenient for us. And certainly the people in power never want to wonder whether they should hold power. So it really takes hard, hard work to overcome that.

How do you think philosophy is best taught?

I get very upset when I’m giving a lecture and I’m not interrupted every few sentences by questions. My style is such that that happens very rarely. That’s my technique. I’m really trying to draw the students out, make them think for themselves. The more they challenge me, the more successful I feel as a teacher. It has to be very active. Plato used the metaphor that in teaching philosophy, there needs to be a fire in the teacher, and the sheer heat will help the fire grow in the student. It’s something that’s kindled because of the proximity to the heat.

What is it like teaching philosophy to students from a variety of backgrounds?

A good philosophy professor needs to be very aware of the different personalities in her class. I’ve had students who’ve become so very uncomfortable. They needed a lot of handholding. Some came from very religious backgrounds, and just the questioning sent them into a free-fall. We made our way through. Some of them ended up being my strongest students. Two of them are very successful professional philosophers. But they required a lot of extra time because they felt it so deeply. You’re being asked to rethink all sorts of opinions. And when you see that the ground is not very firm, it can distance you from your own family, your upbringing. I went through this. My own philosophical journey distanced me from my family, the people I loved most. That was very difficult, so I know what they’re going through. It can be a very intense journey.

What’s happened to the popularity of philosophy as a subject since you studied it?

It’s gone down. Our college students today are far more practical. When I was in college, which was in the last hey-day of the radical movement, it was a more philosophically reflective time. Now, they want to get good jobs and get rich fast.

Despite this, and the fact that so many students are facing massive debt and a bleak economy, how can you make the case that they should study philosophy?

I wouldn’t say that they must go into philosophy, and frankly, the field can’t absorb that many people, but I would say that it’s always a good thing to know, no matter what you go on to study—to be able to think critically. To challenge your own point of view. Also, you need to be a citizen in this world. You need to know your responsibilities. You’re going to have many moral choices every day of your life. And it enriches your inner life. You have lots of frameworks to apply to problems, and so many ways to interpret things. It makes life so much more interesting. It’s us at our most human. And it helps us increase our humanity. No matter what you do, that’s an asset.

What do you think are the biggest philosophical issues of our time?

The growth in scientific knowledge presents new philosophical issues. The idea of the multiverse. Where are we in the universe? Physics is blowing our minds about this. The question of whether some of these scientific theories are really even scientific. Can we get predictions out of them? And with the growth in cognitive science and neuroscience. We’re going into the brain and getting these images of the brain. Are we discovering what we really are? Are we solving the problem of free will? Are we learning that there isn’t any free will? How much do the advances in neuroscience tell us about the deep philosophical issues? These are the questions that philosophers are now facing. But I also think, to a certain extent, that our society is becoming much more secular. So the question about how we find meaning in our lives, given that many people no longer look to monotheism as much as they used to in terms of defining the meaning of their life. There’s an undercurrent of a preoccupation with this question. With the decline of religion is there a sense of the meaninglessness of life and the easy consumerist answer that’s filling the space religion used to occupy? This is something that philosophers ought to be addressing.


4 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?

Program Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim di N25 DUN Kajang

Selasa – 4 Mac 2014

1) 5:30ptg – Sepetang Bersama Ahli Persatuan Kereta Sewa Kajang

Lokasi: Hentian Teksi Kajang

2) 7:30mlm – Solat dan Tazkirah Maghrib

Lokasi: Surau Al-furqan, Taman Sekamat, Sg Sekamat

3) 8:45mlm – Solat dan Tazkirah Isya’

Lokasi: Surau Al-Rahman, Blok A, Flat Taman Taming Impian, Kajang

4) 9:45mlm – Ceramah 1

Lokasi: Padang Taman Kajang Baru, Kajang

5) 10:45mlm – Ceramah Perdana dan Pelancaran Jentera PAS

Lokasi: N0 45, Jln 4C, Desa Sri Jenaris, Sg Kantan, Kajang


4 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?


Penderitaan yang dialami oleh Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim akibat kekejaman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (gambar) tidak ubah seperti Nabi Musa yang dibesarkan Firaun dan kemudian disingkirkan daripada istana, kata bekas presiden Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) Dr Razali Nawawi.

Bekas presiden Abim yang pertama itu berkata, angkara fitnah yang dilemparkan Firaun ke atas Nabi Musa, memaksanya lari meninggalkan istana menuju ke Iraq.

“Saya kata (perumpamaan) mereka ini seperti Firaun dengan Musa. Nabi Musa anak angkat kepada Firaun duduk dalam istananya tetapi apabila dilihat nabi ini membahayakan, dia membuat fitnah dan Nabi Musa terpaksa membawa diri sampai ke Iraq.

“Beginilah Anwar. Apabila Dr Mahathir nampak Anwar ini bahaya, macam-macam dia berbuat fitnah. Fitnah yang tidak pernah dilakukan orang lain sebelumnya,” katanya sewaktu berkempen di Taman Puncak Saujana, Kajang malam tadi.

Anwar pada 1998 dipecat sebagai timbalan perdana menteri selepas dikatakan terlibat dalam kes liwat membabitkan Azizan Abu Bakar, Sukma Darmawan dan beberapa individu lain.

Pada 2008, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, bekas kakitangan Anwar mendakwa diliwat oleh bekas timbalan perdana menteri itu dan pada 7 Ogos tahun sama, Anwar didakwa di Mahkamah Sesyen Kuala Lumpur, bagaimanapun pada 9 Januari 2012, Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur membuat ketetapan bahawa Anwar tidak bersalah dalam kes tersebut.

Dr Razali berkata berulang kali mengingatkan kepada Anwar agar berhati-hati dengan permainan politik Dr Mahathir dan bekas menteri kewangan, Tun Daim Zainuddin.

“Saya kenal dia sejak 1969 dan sejak itu kami berkawan di dalam Abim. Saya presiden dan dia setiausaha agung.

“Saya ingatkan kepada Anwar berhati-hati  dengan Dr Mahathir dan Daim ini tetapi dia kata dia boleh uruskannya,” katanya.

Dr Razali berkata banyak pemimpin dunia hari ini mengalu-alukan kepimpinan Anwar dan berasa senang untuk berunding dengan ketua umum PKR itu.

“Saya pernah bertemu dengan timbalan presiden Sudan dan beliau berkata selagi Dr Mahathir hidup, Anwar akan susah,” katanya yang selesa berjubah dan berkain serban putih di kepala.

3 March 2014


Pendapat Anda?


It is interesting as I monitor the news about the Kajang by-election.

This time around, MCA vice-president, Chew Mei Fun was selected to go into the battleground with PKR supremo leader, Anwar Ibrahim.

Note what Chew’s first statement: “It is time to vote a strong opposition in Selangor.” This statement is interesting considering the fact that Umno already has an opposition leader in Selangor.

In a largely chauvinistic society, I wonder how does Umno perceive Chew’s statement – that she wants to be the first Chinese non-Muslim lady to lead the BN opposition team in Selangor.

Voters will be disillusioned if they were to vote for her, thinking that a Chinese non-Muslim lady would finally champion the cause as opposition leader in Selangor.

Chew was rejected by PJ Utara

Chew had lost the 2008 General Election when she was contesting for the parliamentary seat of PJ Utara.

If she had been so hardworking, why did the people of Petaling Jaya reject her?

Now, after nearly six years, Chew is making a comeback in Kajang. Does she think that the people of Kajang are any less discerning compared to the people in Petaling Jaya?

Not forgetting 15,000 of Kajang are young voters who have hardly even heard about Chew’s political career and achievements as a deputy tourism minister.

Even Zaid Ibrahim, who was contesting as KITA president, was rejected by the people of Hulu Selangor. The people of Kajang know well the background of these candidates.

Chew’s lacklustre performance should not be spun around to make her look so great right now, when trying to woo Kajang voters.

MCA might as well have picked Ong Tee Keat to challenge Anwar in the Kajang by-election, instead of placing Chew as a sacrificial lamb to shame MCA because Umno knows that it is game over where the people of Kajang is concerned.

Chew resigned from all party posts

At least in the case of Ong, he had stood his ground when MCA party president ousted him in the internal MCA feuds, but Chew simply resigned from all posts.

There is a saying, “When the journey gets tough, it is the tough that gets going”. Chew does not have what it takes to withstand pressure, especially when her political master, Umno, sets its food down.

In Malaysia, we need people like Ong who stood firm despite being shaken over and over again. Between the two candidates, Anwar has the tenacity and what it takes to face the onslaught of Mahathirism in this country.

Having been imprisoned, and have all sorts of allegations hurled against him day and night, Anwar stood firm to his pursuit for justice. This is the kind of leader that we need for this country.

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