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Islamic Digital Economy – Islamic Fintech – Malaysia’s New Frontier

Islamic Digital Economy – Islamic Fintech
Malaysia’s New Frontier

Yuzaidi Yusoff
January 5, 2021

Changing Economic Landscape
The World Bank reported that top 15 economies in the world represent 75% of the overall global GDP in 2018, which totalled USD86tn. United States captures 24% of the world total, or USD26tn, followed by China, Japan and Germany.

It is interesting to note from a projection by Standard Chartered, that the next decade will see some significant changes in the global economic ladder. In 2030, China will be the largest economy in the world with USD64tn in GDP, followed by India at USD46.3tn. United States will drop to 3rd in the ranking at USD31tn as its projected GDP in 2030.

What is more interesting is the rise of the developing countries. Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil and Egypt will jump to no. 4, 5, 6 and 7 in the world respectively, overtaking the likes of Japan and Germany as the leading world economies. The developed economies will still grow, but not at an exponential rate as the countries mentioned above.

Malaysia Economic Monitor (MEM) 2020 report by World Bank says Malaysia is not expected to recover fully from the pandemic shock within the next few years, creating a challenge to the medium term fiscal outlook. Malaysia has used up much of its fiscal space. By the time it is out of its crisis, it will be saddled with more debt and contingent liabilities.

It went to suggest that Malaysia should refocus its fiscal policy on sustaining public financing for long-term growth, seizing new growth opportunities and bold structural reforms.

Opportunities for Malaysia
It is said that Malaysia needs to enhance its industrialisation economy and not rely solely on her commodity revenue. Fortunately, there are opportunities out there. 2.3bn of them. That is the number of Muslims in the world by 2030, forecasted by Dinar Standard as reported in the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report (GIER) 2019/20. It said that Muslims are expected to spend USD3.2tn by 2024 from USD2.2tn in 2018.

Islamic finance (assets) is forecasted to contribute USD3.5tn with a CAGR of 5.5% in 2024 from 2018 as reported in the same Report. In 2018, the Islamic finance (assets) stood at USD2.5tn with a 3.5% growth y-o-y. Malaysia is ranked third with USD521bn.

In fact, Malaysia is ranked #1 in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI) ranking, followed by UAE, Bahrain, Arab Saudi and Indonesia.

In 2018/19, investment in Islamic economy companies is only USD1bn, a fraction of the global investment in consumer and financial services of USD596bn. The same report also reveals that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for ethical products.

Thomson Reuters projected the sharia-compliant assets worldwide to reach USD3.8tn by 2022.

The recently signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement on 15th November 2020 resulting in the establishment of the world’s largest trading bloc, will give Malaysia the opportunity to capture 30% of the world population. World Bank estimates that Malaysia is expected to see a net gain of around 1% of the GDP from RCEP. There is a huge opportunity to capture.

Among the hot sectors for growth that Malaysia can and should be focussing on is in Islamic finance, especially in Islamic Fintech, particularly in peer-to-peer (P2P) finance and insure tech/Takaful. Islamic social finance, i.e. zakat, waqaf, microfinance; and Islamic trade finance are the other sub-sectors to watch out for growth. Malaysian Islamic Fintech can and should increase adoption and in addressing UN Sustainable Development Growth (SDG) objectives. An ethical purpose and approach easily understood by the non-Muslims.

Bullish and Aggressive
According to the Department of Statistics of Malaysia’s (DOSM) report, Malaysia’s GDP per capita for 2018 shows that they are uneven across the states. Kelantan has the lowest GDP per capita at RM13,700 or 69% below the national average of RM44,700. Kedah, Perlis and Sabah are the other poor states in the country with RM21,400, RM24,400 and 25,900 respectively.

The Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) paper, “Improving Income Inequality: Fact or Fiction?” stated that the income gap on absolute term in the country has widened. In 1970, the Top 20 households (T20) earned RM3,300 more than the Bottom 40 households (B40). In 2016, the T20s earned RM13,200 more than the B40s.

Islamic social finance can and should play a bigger role in reducing poverty, inequality and addressing environmental challenges. Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) recently launched policy document on Licensing Framework for Digital Banks inviting applicants to offer banking products and services primarily to underserved and unserved market through digital means helps to address this gap.

The Shared Prosperity Value 2030 (SPV30) is a commitment by the Government of Malaysia to make Malaysia a nation that achieves sustainable growth along with fair and equitable distribution, across income groups, ethnicities, regions and supply chains. Its primary aim is to provide a decent standard of living to all Malaysians by 2030. The SPV30 preaches the concept of inclusivity, leaving no one behind. Islamic Fintech can be that engine, that driver, for financial inclusion for all Malaysians at all levels.

Two of the Key Economic Growth Activities (KEGA) outlined in the SPV30 is Islamic Finance Hub 2.0 and the Digital Economy. Malaysia strongly believes the potential growth of these activities as it aspires to achieve high value economic development.

The SPV30 is very focus to position Malaysia as an Islamic Finance Hub 2.0.

Malaysia was a leader in “Wave 1” of Islamic banking back in the 1990s. Malaysia is ready to lead the “Wave 2” of Islamic finance, adapting to the digital Fintech world. Malaysia is strategically placed in ASEAN to serve as the gateway for Islamic Fintech, particularly to Indonesia.

Malaysia has the right ingredient and ecosystem to build a Global Islamic Fintech Hub in the region as it:
• has a matured Islamic finance environment;

• is conducive and has a cost-effective business environment;

• is blessed with academicians, Islamic finance experts and shariah scholars;

• has sought after local and international talents in Fintech and Islamic finance;

• has established proven Islamic finance framework and structure; and

• progressive regulatory bodies.

Malaysia should be in the driver seat in leading the Islamic digital economy for the region. For the last fifty years Malaysia has been successful in the electrical and electronics (E&E) sector. It has the experience, the ingredients, and the know-how for a similar transformation of the Islamic digital economy. It needs to create an ecosystem for its Islamic digital economy that incorporates reforms to its infrastructure, policies, talents, production, innovation, intellectual property (IP), research and financial support.

Malaysia is located in an ideal location for the regional hub not only with a sizeable market, but also offers the opportunity to scale-up into the region, especially capturing the more than 280m Muslims in the region.

Take The Bull by The Horns
To maximize the opportunities at hand, Malaysia needs to fill the gaps and overcome its shortfalls. Funding availability has always been the issue for the Malaysian startups, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs. Many feel Singapore is friendlier and offers more funding opportunities for them. Malaysia also needs to find ways to attract more venture capitalists (VCs), investors, fund managers to support Malaysian unicorns-to-be. Government agencies should play a bigger role in providing ease and support for setting up operations and business in Malaysia. There needs to be more active engagements by regulators and offer more welcoming regulatory environment.

Malaysia can take the cue from Bahrain Fintech Bay (BFB) that has the support from the Islamic banking community, boasting eight (8) of the largest Islamic banks in the Kingdom as partners. The Association of Islamic Banking and Financial Institutions in Malaysia (AIBIM) can play a bigger role in supporting the Islamic Fintech ecosystem in Malaysia.

In UAE, the DIFC Fintech Hive, located in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), a global hub for Islamic Fintech, is driven directly by Dubai Islamic Economy Development Corporation. It is attracting local and foreign Islamic Fintech start-ups including Malaysian own shariah compliant gold digital savings platform, HelloGold.

Malaysia should learn its bitter lesson from the Malaysia-born, Singapore-based unicorn, Grab.

Indonesia just launched the Indonesia Islamic Economic Masterplan 2019-2024 (IIEM 2019-24). This is a country with the largest consumer of halal products in the world.

With a population that takes up more than 3.5% of the world’s total population, Indonesia spends more than USD215bn in all Islamic economic sectors. Indonesia is poised to be the developing country to be reckoned with. It is not surprising that the projections from Standard Chartered, placed Indonesia as the 4th biggest economy in the world by 2030, behind China, India and the United States. Indonesia has
identified strengthening Islamic finance and digital economy as two of its four main
strategies in the IIEM 2019-24.

Nevertheless, Indonesia has its own challenges to overcome in the Islamic banking.

They include skilled resources, regulations improvements, research & development (R&D) to ascertain opportunities, and education & socialisation on Islamic banking.

Malaysia has a lead-start on some of these areas. It cannot rest on its laurels and must act fast, as the window of opportunities (some say survival), is closing in fast.

The Covid-19 pandemic has given Malaysia the opportunity not only to revitalize the economy but also to REFORM the economy.

“Countries become good at certain industries only because they decide as much, and not because they are destined to do so.”
– Prof. Ha-Joon Chang, University Cambrige

Immediate actions could include the following:
1. Establish an Islamic Fintech sub-committee within a special committee of Islamic Finance under the Ministry of Finance.

i. Formulate a national Islamic Fintech strategy linking to Islamic and ethical economies;

ii. Work closely with key stakeholders across the ecosystem to drive the strategy roadmap;

iii. Design an Islamic Fintech framework;

iv. Execute and monitor the Islamic Fintech strategic plan;

v. Act as the point of reference on anything related to Islamic Fintech in Malaysia;

vi. Define and design the Islamic Fintech industry parameters – providing clarity

in roles of incumbents and new entrants;

vii. Rationalize standards, working closely with other countries, making Islamic finance standards as the leading benchmark for ethical finance practices, to reach beyond Muslim-owned businesses and to drive economic growth.

2. Enhance the existing MDEC’s Orbit and as an Islamic Fintech cluster.

i. Provide Islamic Fintech companies an access to multinational companies (MNCs), Islamic financial institutions (IFIs) and regulators;

ii. Serve as an advisory service centre including on shariah compliant financial matters;

iii. Act as an accelerator and an incubator, provide access to international market especially to Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and RCEP countries; iv. Act as a soft landing for foreign Islamic Fintech players in making Malaysia as its hub or base in this region; v. It can emulate the Bahrain’s BFB structure with a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Ministry of Multimedia and Communication (KKMM), MDEC, AIBIM, and Malaysia IFIs.

3. Redefine Islamic social finance for an inclusive Islamic Fintech
Malaysia needs to revive institutions that encourage mutual help and generosities to people in need. One of them is waqaf. The basic concept is not too different from endowments. In fact waqafs are the precursors to modern day endowments or foundations, where properties or other assets are donated to be used for the benefit of society.

Development of waqaf is one of the significant social instrument for social development, greater public good and wealth distribution. During the Abbasid period of Islamic history when waqaf dominated the economy, medical services were provided free of charge by waqaf-funded hospitals. They competed with each other to provide the best free services, as the ones with better reputations would attract more donors.

i. Collaborate with UNHCR Zakat Fund;

ii. Establish synergistic collaboration with zakat collection centres, institutions and regulatory bodies across the respective states in Malaysia;

iii. Increase adoption of sustainability in Islamic social finance products, maximising social impact and addressing SDGs;

iv. Establish structured and well governed philanthropic-based institutions that include:
a) Zakat;
b) Infaq;
c) Sadaqah;
d) Waqaf.

i. Establish cooperation-based institutions that include:
a) Qard (loan-based cooperation);
b) Contemporary Islamic microfinance institutions.

i. Securities Commission recently launched Waqf-Featured Fund Framework to facilitate the offering of Islamic funds with wakaf features is a step in the right direction;

ii. Taking advantage of Fintech to be put in place like zakat information system, waqaf information systems, and enhancing the collection and management of the zakat collection and distribution;

iii. Encourage the use of big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to spur growth of innovation and improve the quality of service delivery;

iv. We need more shariah-compliant Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the market to encourage start-ups in providing investors with a globally diversified Islamic ETF portfolios;

v. Proper branding and awareness to the Muslims on zakat, waqaf, etc and that environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria goes beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR);

vi. Build a Fintech culture within the Islamic finance fraternity, in particular the Islamic social finance space.


Bby Mazeni Alwi

“Where are the enemy?”

Benjamin waved his hand expansively.

“Over zere.” Benjamin spoke English – terrible English.

“But where?”

Benjamin, a Polish Jew whose mother-tongue was French, must have deflated George Orwell’s enthusiasm in “Homage to Catalonia[1938]”; an enthusiasm driven – one may assume, by the purest of motives when he signed up as a volunteer to defend the nascent Spanish republic against the military revolt led by General Franco.

Soon after arriving in Barcelona in the early part of the civil war he was quickly sent to the frontline near Zaragoza. The “front” was not as what he had imagined – trenches in straight lines, with a mere 50-100 yards across no man’s land separating him from the enemy.

Here the frontlines were ridges and hilltops, and across hundreds of meters of barren ravines all he could see were the tiny parapets and flags of the fascist positions. His heart sank further when the weapon he was handed was a German Mauser dated 1895 while the best rifle was given to, in his own words, a half-witted little beast of fifteen (half of the “men” in his company were teenagers from the backstreets of Barcelona).

The narrative of the Covid-19 pandemic has been invested, not surprisingly, with the metaphor of war – the enemy, frontlines, heroism, sacrifice. The Emergency departments, the ward floor and the ICU are our battlegrounds.

The civilian population in turn must contend with the inconvenience of confinement. More stringent curbs on matter-of-fact liberties and uncertain economic future are to follow should this war drag on.

I could not help harking back to Orwell’s account of the enemy he couldn’t see and also the mess he observed when one entered into battle woefully unprepared.

Doctors and other healthcare professionals readily accept that their job often requires them to serve beyond the call of duty even in “peace time”. We are of course cognizant of the fact that occupational death is a risk in some fields of medicine such as one that deals with new, little known infectious diseases. Of this the late Dr. Carlo Urbano comes to mind. A WHO infectious disease expert, he contracted the disease and succumbed to it while working to unravel the mystery of SARS in 2003.

But needless deaths in frightening numbers is something else. Among doctors alone Covid-19 has claimed the lives of 61 doctors in China and Italy each, 24 in Indonesia, 10 in the UK, days before I started writing this. That is an indication of what is very frightening to health care workers about this pandemic.

Frightening but also humbling for we mistakenly thought that modern medicine has at last conquered many of the big diseases that man has long struggled with to find relief and freedom from. We didn’t see that in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, half a million died, and that too in an era of medicine when antibiotics and ventilators had not yet existed

Over a short period of time we have better understood the enemy – what it is and its genetic make-up and have baptized it with a name. We know how it is transmitted and we can accurately diagnose infected persons even if they don’t show any symptoms of the disease. But the few unfortunate enough to be inflicted the full severity can die even in the best ICU of the best hospital.

The word tragic doesn’t describe enough the sad fate of healthcare workers who lose their lives in the line of duty when we now know that this can be prevented by having the right PPE, appropriate for the level of risk in patient encounters. The recent death of a Jakarta doctor is one such heartbreaking story just as we read about fallen doctors in the Philippines paraded as heroes. Working in such an underfunded healthcare environment, we wonder if doctors, despite being aware of the dangerous odds against them, feel pressured into carrying out heroic deeds by societal expectations rather than out of their own volition. Heroism does not adequately describe their ultimate sacrifice.

But this is not just about an underfunded healthcare system in a third world country where underfunding of basic infrastructure is just one of a myriad of other interconnected problems. The 10th NHS doctor to die of Covid-19 had earlier warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that frontline workers did not have enough PPE. Except for PAPR which is used in procedures that carry the highest risks of transmission, PPE for obtaining diagnostic specimens and general ICU care of infected patients are not expensive even for the standard of developing countries.

The problem is unpreparedness, logistical issues and lack of concern borne out of ignorance for the safety of those who have to work at the frontlines. Many of these are junior doctors and nurses who dare not articulate their fears of having to work without adequate PPE. If the shocking number of doctors who have died in the line of duty is not enough to jolt those in authority to do the right thing, we hope the protests by healthcare workers from New York to Quetta in Pakistan, and the Zimbabwe government being taken to court over its failure to provide doctors on the frontline with masks, will.

Apart from the great personal cost to the families of the fallen, what is going to happen to society if the ranks of frontliners are depleted to the point that the entire system collapses? We can be certain that the ethics and legal dimensions of this will soon enter the narrative of the Covid 19 pandemic.

Those who don’t know Dr Musa in person are apt to be a little disturbed by the tone of his impassioned open letter to the DG and the leadership of KKM. But his message is a timely reminder before we lose a healthcare worker in the line of duty. That would be a devastating blow not just to the frontliners but the entire medical and its allied professions. And unlike our neighbours, ours is not for the lack of funding, infrastructure and dedicated personnel.

Dr Musa is a respected doctor in the paediatric fraternity who has distinguished himself at the forefront of neonatology. But his other passion is advocacy on vaccines and the prevention of infectious childhood diseases. Dr Musa has the right credentials and the welfare of fellow workers and the people of this country in his heart. If there is such a term as Corona Crusaders, he would be among them, urging the government to do extensive testing, protect the frontliners and guard our borders to prevent a new wave of infections from neighbouring Indonesia.

On the other hand, the Director General and the KKM leadership have earned the respect and trust of the Malaysian public in the handling of the Covid-19 epidemic. Of all the government officials, he is the only one every citizen looks up to with hope in this time of crisis. At the beginning of March, we were like Spain and France in terms of statistics. Short of calling it a miracle, we have not followed suit in the explosion of new cases and number of fatalities. And not to forget, all this was unfolding when we had no functioning cabinet for 2 weeks. Still, we should not drop our guard for the safety of the shore is still some distance away.

In the novel about a fictional plague that took place in the Algerian city of Oran before independence, Camus wrote of hundreds of city dwellers falling victims to it and the ensuing chaos, fear and the tensions brought about by closure of the city gates. The main protagonist, Dr Bernard Rieux, is a physician of supreme clinical detachment who assembled a team of volunteers of disparate individual characters to fight against the plague, bringing and treating the sick in a makeshift hospital and dealing with the dead.

As the plague began to be tamed, in a moment of reflection Dr Rieux spoke to his assistant Tarrou,

”I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints. Heroism and sanctity don’t really appeal to me..”

Let Us Together Flatten the COVID2019 Epidemic Curve

Let us together flatten the COVID2019 epidemic curve

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin
Damansara Specialist Hospital
13 March 2020

The WHO officially declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020. This is the second in the 21st century after the HiN1 influenza pandemic in 2009.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia, marshaled by the past Minister, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, was on the ball, immediately after the announcement of the first Wuhan case of COVID2019 on 31st Dec 2019.

It is pertinent to take stock of our current containment and mitigation strategies and benefit from best practices elsewhere, to craft our Malaysian plan of action against the SARS-CoV2 pandemic.

We should first try to understand current and best knowledge of this coronavirus which is bewildering most scientists studying it.

The SARS-COV2 is a very smart coronavirus. It does not overkill it’s host unlike SARS-CoV1 and MERS-CoV. Its Case Fatality Rate (CFR) is 2% when compared against 10% for SARS and 35% for MERS.

It therefore lives another day to further infect more humans. This is reflected in its Ro (Reproduction Nought) of 2-4, an index of how contagious the virus is. Contrast this to the less infectious MERS (Ro less than 1) versus the extremely infectious measles virus with an Ro of 13-18.

The mean time from exposure to the manifestation of symptoms, namely fever, cough and breathing difficulties, is 7 days, with a range of 2-14 days.

However, it is now established that he SARS-CoV2 is able to infect others even prior to manifesting clinical symptoms. Analysis of 124 Wuhan cases with clearly documented contact history illustrated an incubation period of 5 days (ranging from 1-11 days). It also showed that 73% of secondary cases were infected before the onset of symptoms in the index COVID2019 case.

This suggests that a substantial proportion of secondary transmissions was acquired prior to the onset of clinical symptoms and signs in the index case. Experts best  estimates is that 12% of carriers can spread COVID19, 2-4 days before the manifestation of the signs and symptoms.

This existence of asymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV2 makes total containment very difficult and problematic.

In the light of these disclosures of the transmissibility (and fatality) of the SARS-CoV2 we may need to realign and reconsider some of our strategies of containment and mitigation.

I do not think we need to follow the draconian, lockdown methodology of China and Italy. South Korea has been very successful in reducing confirmed cases of COVID2019 from 900 per day to less than 100 per day and declining further. Probably we could learn from some of the salient features of South Korea’s strategy to “flatten the COVID2019 epidemic curve”

We should continue to screen, through fever checks and rt-PCR testing, detect the positive cases and isolate cases. Self-quarantine should be advised in appropriate clinical settings

We should ensure that there is sufficient, rapid and accurate diagnostic test kits and which is undertaken appropriately to conserve the supply chain. South Korea undertakes 12,000 – 20,000 tests per day. Prior to the lockdown of Italy only 20,000 tests were done. Due to restricted and flawed test kits only 4,000 tests were done in the USA prior to the declaration of global pandemic. The US CDC therefore does not have an idea of the burden of COVIC2019 disease in their community, which makes it very difficult to solicit public support for their ensuing public programs.

To facilitate testing South Korea has organized several Drive-Through SARS-CoV2 tests at public areas. This Drive-Through model has been replicated in KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital (KPJ-DSH) and Hospital Sungai Buluh. In fact, KPJ-DSH has operated mobile Drive-Through COVID2019 testing at several Government Linked Companies (GLC) premises, as part of testing of persons in close contact with Index Case 26.

 Dr Dzulkefly during his stewardship of the MOH emphasized transparency of their work processes, which seems somewhat alien to the work culture of most government ministries. He pushed for the public release of the findings of the independent investigation of the fire incident in HSA in 2016 despite fierce protests from the top officers in the MOH. Tan Sri Abu Bakar Suleiman, vice chairman of the fire investigation commission and myself, as part of the now defunct Health Advisory Council (HAC), advocated for the prompt and complete release of the fire report.

This transparent work culture permeated through Dr Dzul’s handling of the COVID2019 disease outbreak. Apart from being transparent, he made sure the information was accurate, readily accessible and presented in a reassuring and calming manner.

This is extremely crucial, because quick access to accurate information is powerful in debunking fake news and fear mongering. It empowers the rakyat to be active partners of the MOH and the government in the fight against the outbreak

Another strategic decision that needs to be carefully considered is the shift from the imposition of physical and legal barriers towards creating healthy social barriers as advocated in the infectious disease philosophy of social distancing.

The cities that practiced social distancing during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 suffered the least impact from the effects of the H1N1 influenza outbreak.

These social distancing strategies ranged from best practice hygiene practices, cough etiquette, avoidance of large crowds, no handshakes, hugs and kisses, replaced with Hola, Namaste and Eyvallah, staying home when unwell, wearing a mask if unwell and still needing to be out, staying put in homes for high risk groups eg pregnant ladies, geriatrics, those with underlying health conditions, work from home, cancelation of all large events eg games, religious congregation, conferences, to more major closures of schools, theatres, mosques and churches.

Manual contact tracing can be very laborious and time consuming and may still not track the vulnerable persons. It is time for the MOH to utilize GPS technology and information for contact tracing.

In South Korea, all travellers entering the country are recruited into the Self Health Check Mobile App which not only tracks the visitors’ symptoms but also his whereabouts. This has caused some embarrassment in certain circumstances eg those who frequented love hotels etc and has raised issues of invasion of privacy and confidentiality.

And I would like to suggest to the MOH to utilize the Artificial Intelligence (AI) expertise of the likes of Dr Dhesi (previously digital health advisor to Dr Dzulkefly) to team with the group in UMMC under Prof Adeeba to get cracking towards AI

AI modeling, tracking and forecasting of COVID2019.

All of these interventions I believe, will help to flatten the COVID2019 epidemic curve, to delay and spread out the progression of the outbreak, reduce the disease morbidities and mortalities and reduce the burden on our healthcare institutions and essential services. This hopefully will buy us some time until anti-viral agents and a vaccine can be produced and its manufactured up-scaled for global treatment and protection

Kemenangan Pyrrhic untuk TSMY dan Malaysia (Bahagian III)

9 March 2020

Kemenangan Pyrrhic untuk TSMY dan Malaysia (Bahagian III)

Prof Dr Awaluddin Mohamed Shaharoun
Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)

Dari sudut pandangan Umno, ini adalah penyelamat ajaib daripada kelumpuhan akibat kehilangan kuasa secara tiba-tiba yang berlaku pada tahun 2018. Perpecahan dalaman hasil dari pemimpin terkemuka mereka, yang menghadapi puluhan tuduhan dimahkamah, namun masih degil memegang tampuk kuasa penting dalam parti mengakibatkan UMNO masih belum berjaya mencipta semula dirinya dan mensucikan diri dari runtuhan politik. Ini biasanya dicapai dengan membenteras golongan korup dan menggantikannya dengan darah baru. UMNO masih dibelengui dengan puak puak ini dua tahun selepas PRU14.

Jadi peluang baru ini untuk kembali berkuasa dan menebus kembali imej mereka pada pendapat kami tidak akan membawa kepada sebarang perubahan besar kecuali hanya sekadar mengekalkan status quo. Pada mereka ini bisnes seperti biasa. Kami tidak menjangkakan akan melihat kewujudan UMNO yang segar dan bersih untuk muncul dalam pakatan ini malah akan kita lihat pelakon pelakon lama dan yang sama. Cuma kali ini sekadar memakai pakaian yang baru.

Apa yang pasti, mereka mungkin kembali membalas dendam terutama pada gabungan PH (atau apa yang tersisa daripada mereka) kerana menyebabkan kekalahan mereka diPRU ke-14. Kami jangka DSAI akan menghadapi satu lagi dakwaan tuduhan meliwat. Bekas ahli politik UMNO yang masih kekal dalam pakatan pembangkang akan diajukan dengan tuduhan rasuah. Kebebasan akhbar akan diperketatkan, yang mana mereka gunakan semaksima yang mungkin dalam tempoh 22 bulan terakhir untuk menghina kerajaan PH dan memperkecilkan pencapaian mereka.

Daripada PAS, tiada banyak yang boleh diharapkan daripada sumbangan mereka dalam pakatan baru ini kecuali untuk mengkuduskan dan mewajarkan tindakan kerajaan baru terutama kepada persepsi penduduk Melayu-Muslim. Satu peluang untuk berkongsi kuasa di peringkat persekutuan adalah seperti manna yang jatuh dari langit dan mereka sudah pasti akan berhati-hati untuk memelihara peluang yang tidak dijangka ini setelah menunggu selama 43 tahun supaya ia tidak lagi hilang seperti pada tahun 1977 ketika mereka ditendang keluar dari gabungan BN .

Malah, dalam semangatnya kuatnya untuk menjadi sebahagian daripada kerajaan baru, Ustaz Hadi Awang ditanya oleh pihak media baru baru ini sama ada beliau berfikir pemimpin UMNO yang menghadapi tuduhan jenayah harus menjadi sebahagian daripada kerajaan baru. Sebagai seorang ahli politik yang licik, beliau menjawab bahawa fokus utama kerajaan baru itu adalah untuk menyelamatkan ekonomi negara dan pemimpin Pakatan Harapan juga mempunyai menghadapi tuduhan yang sama. Secara implikasinya beliau membayangkan bahawa “jika anda boleh melakukannya, kami pun boleh” dan jika tuduhan dalam mahkamah terhadap pemimpin-pemimpin Pakatan boleh gugur, maka demikian juga kemungkinan bagi pemimpin UMNO Perikatan Nasional (PN).

Suatu tanda yang merisaukan bahawa PAS yang sekian lama menjuarai amar ma’aruf dan nahi mungkar (ajaran Islam yang menyarankan melakukan kebaikan dan melarang kejahatan) sedia bertoleransi dengan pencuri dan perompak untuk mengisi kabinet baru demi kemaslahatan politik. Ini tidak baik untuk reputasi dan integriti kerajaan baru jika sayap keagamaan bersedia untuk menutup mata terhadap rasuah.

TSMY perlu membuktikan kabinet barunya yang kelihatan lebih putih dari putih untuk memenangi hati pengkritik dan mereka yang masih ragu-ragu di negara ini tetapi ini bukan permulaan yang mungkin dia kehendaki. PAS harus mengambil peluang untuk menegakkan reformasi sosial, politik dan ekonomi tulen dan bergerak ke arah masyarakat sivil dan membawa NGO NGO ke dalam perjuangan ini tetapi seperti dijangka kini mengambil pendekatan pragmatik iaitu “jika anda tidak dapat mengalahkan mereka, sertai lah mereka” .

Satu lagi cabaran besar bagi PAS adalah untuk menghasilkan tokoh kebangsaan yang sama handal seperti Mat Sabu, Khalid Samad, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (secara konsensus umum seorang Menteri Kesihatan yang terbaik setakat ini), Salehudin Ayob dan untuk mempamirkan keupayaan ahli mereka apabila diberikan jawatan kabinet kelak. Sekiranya watak-watak yang disebut tadi tidak dipaksa meninggalkan PAS, maka sudah tentu mereka akan menjadi contoh peranan pemimpin PAS Islam yang baik dalam memimpin masyarakat berbilang budaya dan ras. Tetapi pemergian mereka telah meninggalkan PAS dengan kekurangan bakat semacam itu tetapi yang tinggal hanya ramai tokoh agama yang layak untuk jawatan Menteri Agama dan yang sewaktu dengannya.

Oleh itu, Ustaz Hadi mempunyai tugas berat untuk mencadangkan nama-nama calon yang kompeten untuk kerajaan baru di mana PAS dijangka memainkan peranan utama. Sebagai sebahagian daripada kerajaan dan tidak lagi sebagai pembangkang, ia menjadi alasan untuk mengharapkan pendekatan yang lebih lembut oleh PAS dalam menangani rakyat bangsa bukan Melayu dan yang berugama bukan Islam terutamanya dengan sahutan mereka untuk melaksanakan hudud dan sebagainya. Sebagai pembangkang, anda boleh mengatakan apa sahaja yang anda suka tetapi sebagai anggota kerajaan yang memerintah, anda mesti bertindak dengan lebih bertanggungjawab dan bijaksana. Ini PAS mesti uruskan dengan risiko dilabel sebagai inhiraf atau menyeleweng dari perjuangan Islam oleh penyokong mereka.

Rumusannya, cabaran yang dihadapi oleh PM ke-8 dan kabinet barunya adalah seperti berikut:

1. Mengatasi ekonomi dengan ruang bertindak yang terhad untuk bergerak akibat situasi geo-politik yang tidak stabil dan pandemik Coronavirus19 yang menjejaskan ekonomi global

2. Teruskan inisiatif pengislahan atau menghadapi risiko kehilangan kepercayaan dan keyakinan dari rakyat

3. Bagaimana untuk meneruskan agenda pembaharuan sementara bekerja bersama dengan orang-orang yang akan paling terkesan akibat pembaharuan ini

4. Untuk menyatukan parti sendiri yang telah retak

5. Mengurus negara sementara himpit oleh dua partai yang lebih besar dengan ideologi yang berbeza

6. Melindungi kabinet daripada ahli politik yang tercemar yang menghadapi tuduhan rasuah dalam mahkamah yang akan merosakkan kredibilitinya serta reputasi negara yang telah terkesan akibat penyelewengan yang silam

7. Membentuk satu kerajaan yang berhidmat untuk semua rakyat Malaysia dan bukan kerajaan hanya untuk sebilangan rakyat Malaysia

8. Menghadapi pembangkang yang kini lebih bersatu dan yang telah dibersihkan dari pengkhianat dan anasir barah, yang dipimpin oleh TDM, lawan yang masih hebat walaupun berusia dalam sembilan puluhan tahun

Yang pasti, rakyat mengharapkan hasil serta-merta dan kurang sabar menantinya sebagai mana kerajaan PH pernah merasai sebelum ini. Kerajaan yang berkuasa dengan merampas kehendak popular rakyat atau secara sinis yang disebut sebagai ” pintu kerajaan belakang ” sudah tentu memikul kepincangan berat dari permulaannya dan akan mengharapkan syafaat dari langit, yang diyakini Pak Pak Lebai dari PAS akan memainkan peranan untuk meneruskan kesinambungan hidup mereka sehingga PRU 15.

Kami bagaimanapun tidak merasakan bahawa TSMY mempunyai satu pasukan impian yang mampu untuk bertahan sehingga GE15, apatah lagi menang.

Peristiwa yang berlaku sebelum ini, mengingatkan kita kembali tentang kisah Pyrrhus seorang raja negara Epirus (318-272 SM) yang berperang melawan tentera Rom. Beliau memenangi pertempuran di Asculum tetapi mengalami korban yang besar bahkan kemudiannya orang-orang Rom dapat menambah kembali kekuatan tentera mereka. Maka pengorbanan askar Epirus ternyata sia sia. Dia dilaporkan berkata “Jika saya mengalami pertempuran lain seperti ini, saya mungkin pulang ke Epirus seorang diri sahaja” Oleh itu, istilah “kemenangan Phyrric “ telah masuk kedalam kamus perumpamaan iaitu satu kemenangan yang dicapai dengan kos yang begitu besar sehingga membawa kepada kerugian.

Jalan politik khianat (angkara bekas ahli PKR dan juga parti Bersatu) telah membuat TSMY berjaya merampas kedudukan PM ke 8 dari cengkaman kedua-dua protagonis gergasi yang sedang bertarung. Dalam memenangi pertempuran PM, atau lebih sesuai diistilahkan sebagai ” pengkhianatan hak rakyat “, TMSY mungkin sebenarnya memperolehi kemenangan “Phyrric”

Walau bagaimanapun, hanya masa yang membuktikan samaada benar atau tidak. Kita menjangkakan dia berkemungkinan akan menyesal hari dia telah meninggalkan gabungannya dengan PH dan mengkhianati mentornya. Buat masa kini, dia harus berhadapan dengan prospek tidur sekatil dengan sepasang rakan yang gharib dan tidak serasi.


  • 8 Mac 2020


Prof Dr Awaluddin Mohamed Shaharoun 

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)

Bagaimana pula dengan pakej pembaharuan kerajaan PH terdahulu yang diperkenalkan untuk memperbaiki tadbir urus, ketelusan, pemisahan antara eksekutif, perundangan dan kehakiman, menangani rasuah, pembaharuan sosial dan sebagainya? Adakah ianya akan diteruskan? Kami ingin berfikir begitu dan tidak syak lagi, pada peringkat bulan bulan awal pemerintahannya, suara-suara bising akan  timbul dari kalangan rejim baru untuk  mengesahkan komitmen kerajaan baru untuk meneruskan dasar-dasar ini. Ironinya, semua pembaharuan ini diperkenalkan kerana pengalaman pahit rakyat dengan gelagat kerajaan BN terdahulu dan tindakan bobrok mereka untuk mengekalkan kuasa. Pembaharuan ini adalah untuk menghentikan penyalahgunaan ini daripada berulang dalam era Malaysia  Baru. Walau bagaimanapun, kumpulan ahli politik yang melakukan pelanggaran dulu yang menyebabkan undang undang dan pembaharuan ini dilakukan sekarang ini telah kembali memegang tampuk kuasa.

Seperti permainan polis dan pencuri, pencuri kini telah bertukar menjadi polis. Adakah komitmen mereka untuk reformasi sekurang-kurangnya pada tahap yang sama seperti mereka yang terdahulunya bekerja tanpa mengenal penat lelah untuk menginstitusikannya? Ia tidak memerlukan pemikiran serius untuk menyelesaikan teka-teki ini. Memandangkan beberapa tokoh UMNO yang berpotensi memainkan peranan penting dalam kerajaan baru (perlu dibaca sebagai calon menteri cabinet di bawah TSMY) mereka sendiri menghadapi tuduhan korupsi dan penyalahgunaan kuasa, adakah  masuk akal bagi mereka untuk melaksanakan dasar-dasar yang akan menyebabkan diri mereka sendiri meringkok di Sungai Buluh? Ibarat musang menjaga ayam?

Amat besar kemungkinan mereka akan dibebaskan dari segala tuduhan atau hanya menerima pukulan lembut  dipergelangan tangan. Maka semua program reformasi PH yang terdahulu pasti akan terbatal. Usaha pembaharuan hanya akan diteruskan jika TSMY benarbenar komited, mempunyai daya tahan dan mendapat sokongan kuat akar umbi, tapi malangnya  TSMY  tidak punyai.

Dari sudut politik, apa lagi yang mungkin berlaku? Peristiwa-peristiwa minggu lalu hanya mengesahkan bahawa dalam politik Malaysia perkara dianggap mustahil  tidak mustahil berlaku. Mesyuarat Parlimen yang akan datang yang dijadualkan pada bulan Mac (walaupun sumber sekarang mengatakan ia mungkin ditangguhkan) boleh menyebabkan undi tidak percaya yang mungkin menatijahkan tamatnya tempoh Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang paling singkat didalam sejarah.

Walau bagaimanapun, sejajar dengan DNA politik Malaysia, kita menjangkakan akan berlaku gegaran dan kejutan lanjut. Rundingan tawar-menawar dan jual beli sedang berlaku hatta sekarang ini dengan pemenangnya merupakan sesiapa yang dapat menawarkan ganjaran atau imbuhan yang terbesar. Akuan bersumpah (SD) nampaknya tidak bernilai langsung kerana mereka mengubah kem secepat mereka dapat menandatangani SD masing masing.

Seperti yang dikatakan oleh seorang baru-baru ini, ahli politik Malaysia mencari mandat dari pengundi setiap lima tahun dan berjanji untuk bertindak atas nama rakyat dan menunaikan amanah mereka. Sebaik sahaja mereka mendapat lesen itu, selamat tinggal rakyat, kami boleh melakukan apa sahaja yang kami suka, menyokong sesiapa sahaja yang kami suka dan pergi jahanam dengan janji-janji kami (sehingga pilihan raya akan datang apabila tiba-tiba mereka muncul semula dengan perwatakan yang soleh dan memohon mandat untuk lima tahun akan datang).

TSMY berada dalam keadaan yang agak rapuh (bahasa kasarnya, terdesak). BERSATU, parti nyamuk yang kini dipimpinnya telah retak dua. Enam Wakil Rakyat dikatakan tidak menandatangani SD yang telah dia persembahkan untuk meyakinkan YDPA untuk memilihnya. TDM, yang menjadi pengerusi parti itu dan yang meletakkan TSMY pada kedudukan kuasa tertinggi parti BERSATU dan juga dalam PH kini mengatakan dia telah dikhianati olehnya. Ada suara sanggahan dari akar umbi yang mengatakan bahawa Majlis Tertinggi  tidak dibawa berunding dalam usaha membentuk kerajaan dengan UMNO dan PAS. Malah, status TDM yang telah meletak jawatan, dipujuk untuk kembali menjadi Pengerusi kini diisytiharkan oleh TSMY sebagai bukan Pengerusi,  malah beliau TSMY kini adalah Presiden dan Pengerusi parti .

Sekelip mata, beliau kehilangan sokongan TDM, Mukhriz, Maszlee Malek (MM) dan Syed Saddiq (SS). Pengundi PRU 2018 sangat menghargai MM dan SS kerana sikap mereka yang berani dan berprinsip di dalam ketidak-tentuan politik sekarang ini. Walaupun pada masa yang terbaik, mengekalkan kelestarian parti BERSATU menjadi masalah, dengan bertubitubi kekalahan dalam pilihan raya kecil, apatah lagi dengan kehilangan tokoh-tokoh besar yang menjadi pemimpin kebangsaan dengan ketokohan masing-masing.

Bagaimana pula dengan 10 pendekar yang melompat kapal dari PKR ke BERSATU? Adakah mereka dapat menampung kehilangan tokoh yang kini di kem TDM? Jawapan jangka pendek adalah ya, bahkan dialu-alukan dalam suasana jumlah kerusi diparti BERSATU yang merosot itu. Walau bagaimanapun, kesetiaan puak puak ini akan tetap diragui. Pendatang baru  tokoh kanan yang telah bekerja selama beberapa dekad dengan DSAI, yang mendapat kepercayaannya, kini telah menjadi penyangak, menikamnya dari belakang dan melompat kapal, tentunya tidak boleh dipercayai dalam jangka masa panjang. Malah ada di antara mereka orang yang mengidamkan jawatan tertinggi yang kini disandang oleh TSMY.

Menempatkan mereka di kalangan pengikut pengikut yang tidak puas hati kerana kehilangan perintis2  parti BERSATU dan tiba-tiba digantikan oleh kumpulan baru yang terus menikmati kerusi selesa di Kabinet Menteri bukan lah tugas yang boleh diambil ringan atau hanya dengn bersangka baik. Menyatupadukan partinya sendiri akan menjadi keutamaan bagi TSMY  untuk kejayaan masa jangka panjangnya dan kegagalannya akan menyebabkan dia akan diperas ugut oleh parti-parti gabungannya yang baru dan yang lebih besar.  Lagipun BERSATU sebagai pecahan dari UMNO mewarisi DNAnya, dan menerima kemasukkan orang lain adalah asing dengan budaya politik mereka. Oleh itu demi kepentingan kelangsungan jangka masa pendek, DSAA dan pasukan pengkhianatnya adalah dialu-alukan tetapi akan menimbulkan masalah jangka masa panjang. TSMY perlu bijaksana dan waspada, perlu sentiasa memandang kebelakang bagi mengelakkan nasib Anwar  dan TDM terjadi keatas dirinya pula.

Dengan mengandaikan bahawa dia tidak dapat menyelamatkan perpaduan partinya sendiri, apakah pilihannya selain itu? Senario seterusnya akan menyaksikan dia meninggalkan BERSATU dan kembali semula kepangkuan UMNO, senario yang bukan mustahil memandangkan  peristiwa yang telah berlaku minggu lalu. Tengku Razeleigh membawa kembali Parti Semangat 46 selepas meninggalkan UMNO berikutan pertembungan dengan TDM maka TSMY mendapat kawan yang se nasib. Melangkah kembali ke UMNO akan  membawa cabaran besar baginya. Beliau dibesarkan dan dipelihara di UMNO sebelum ini dan sudah biasa dengan budayanya, tetapi tetap ada cabaran kerana beliau akan kembali ke UMNO yang besar dengan kumpulan pengikut yang lebih kecil berbanding semasa menjadi presiden di parti BERSATU yang kecil.

Sebagai seorang PM, walaupun berada di dalam sebuah parti yang kecil di himpit antara PAS dan UMNO,  beliau menikmati kuasa dan leverage yang besar, tetapi tetap juga akan menghadapi cabaran besar kepada kualiti kepimpinannya. Sudah tentu kedua-dua pihak berminat untuk memperluas pengaruh mereka dalam agenda politik, sosial, agama dan ekonomi nasional. UMNO dan PAS tampil dari dua budaya politik yang agak  bertentangan antara satu sama lain, maka perbezaan pendapat dan penekanan dijangka pasti berlaku. PAS dari bentuk asas dan ideologinya akan menuntut agenda Islam untuk membela kehadirannya, tanpa mengira bantahan kaum atau agama lain. Dan UMNO dengan agenda nasionalisme pragmatik dan ultra Melayu seolah olah tidak dapat menawarkan apa-apa agenda pembangunan negara selain daripada retorik anti-DAP untuk menguasai emosi dan psyche Melayu untuk menentang orang Cina dan pada masa yang sama mengerjakan tabung negara.

TSMY akan menghadapi suasana yang sukar bagaikan  menunggang dua kuda liar dan mengawal nya serentak di sepanjang trek yang sama.  Disamping itu, dia menghadapi dua ancaman besar kepada kesejahteraan dan kestabilan negara yakni CoronaVirus2019 dan CronyVirus2020 yang baru muncul.


Prof Dr Awaluddin Mohamed Shaharoun

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)

Islam vs Islam : A reflection on Malaysia’s political crisis

*Islam vs Islam : A reflection on Malaysia’s political crisis.*
Muhammad Abdul Mannan
8 March 2020
The following is an excerpt of what I wrote in the Foreword section of my Quran translation that was published in July 2014, and my ensuing comments in reflecting those thoughts.
*[Begin]* The journey of this book started when I set out to seek the essence of happiness and the true purpose of life. Apart from this, the other burning questions that have always been haunting me for such a long time and needed to be urgently addressed are, “Why are Muslims all over the world generally so disunited, weak, oppressed, corrupt, and in a nutshell – manifesting virtually almost all the negative traits and attributes of human character?

Why is this happening especially when all of us believe in the same One God – the Almighty Allah, Who is the ultimate Creator and Master of all the worlds, bear witness that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is His final Messenger, and even have in our hands the Glorious Qur’an which we believe without an iota of doubt, is a Book which contains His literal words that is divinely infallible to guide us aright?”

“And why is it also that Muslims seem so incapable of stepping up to our duty to become Allah’s emissary on earth, becoming exemplary leaders that could exhibit the best intellect and conduct in the most natural manner that would make Islam so appealing and attractive to everyone, and actively vying among one another to make this world a better place for everyone to live in? Surely, if we claim that Islam is indeed the true religion for all mankind, then it simply does not make sense why Muslims all over the world are so helplessly experiencing a calamity of gigantic proportions today.

If Islam is indeed the solution to all problems, then why are we in such a sorry and woeful state today?” None of whom I have spoken to could give me a satisfactory answer to these questions.

My simple theory is that most of us never really bothered to read the Qur’an and try to understand its message because we are just plain lazy and/or are simply indifferent to it. Apart from this, a great majority of us also feel that we should not read the Qur’an by ourselves without proper guidance from qualified teachers, lest we misinterpret it because we are being constantly reminded from time to time that its content is “quite complicated to grasp”. As such, we should just let the scholars do the interpretation on our behalf and make it easy for us to understand.

But from where I see it, either way, this situation is certainly not getting us – the Muslims – anywhere. In fact, the state of our Muslim ummah (i.e. community) is getting worse with each passing day and no one seems to have a good answer and solution to this. *[End of quote]*

This is exactly what is happening in Malaysia today. One party interprets Islam one way, and another party interprets Islam in a totally different and opposite way. They are vastly different as black is from white, as the night is from the day, and as far as the east is from the west. Nothing in between.

One party says betraying the rakyat’s mandate in the previous election is permissible to get rid of the non-Muslims participation in that government whom they see as arrogant, too noisy and are threatening the rights of the Malays and Islam, even if it necessitates hijacking a democratically elected government and then forming an alliance with thieves and scum to establish a new backdoor government; while the other party says this is totally against the true principles of Islam.

Those who were and are still dead set in purging the non Muslims (namely DAP) from the government by hook or by crook, saw and still do see the situation as something that cannot be remedied anymore; while those who are fighting hard to defend the original pact, argue that issues with DAP are only being blown out of proportion.

The Malay Muslims from PH say that the crux of the matter actually boils down to nothing but an evil act of political expediency that led the hijackers to use the rhetoric of racial hatred as a means to accomplish their despicable political ambitions.

They claim that DAP is not anti-Islam as what many Malays were misled to believe, but admitted that the actions of a handful of those in DAP were responsible to cause this ill perception. They argue that those in DAP who have “crossed the line” can be reasoned with to exercise restraint. There was no need to dismantle the government just because of this, especially when DAP did not launch any hostile act on the Malays and Islam.

Therefore, to bring down the government by way of selling out PH to Umno and Pas just to oust DAP is a sure act of betrayal to the pledge and agreement among the PH component parties and to the rakyat who voted them into power to oust the corrupt kleptocratic regime of Umno in the last general election. This is clearly against the principles of Islam.
As far as I know, never has it ever been recorded in the Qur’an and in the tradition of the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions that they have betrayed any agreement with the non Muslims of their times. And I am sure the hostile infidels at that time were completely incomparable to the non-Muslims in Malaysia.

Even though those infidels were in a different “class” of its own, the Prophet and his companions were still never unfair to them. If there ever was anything that seemed like the Prophet had betrayed them (which would mean that it was wrongly cited and presented), what the Prophet did was only to respond to their betrayals and treacherous acts. These incidents are namely :

1. The killing of Ka’ab bin Ashraff, a Jewish traitor from Madinah who came to Makkah to instigate the Qurasyh pagans to attack the Muslims in avenging their earlier defeat in the Battle of Badr. This led to the Battle of Uhud not too long after that.

2. The beheading of all the men from the Jewish tribe of Bani Qurayza and the enslavement of their women and children, for plotting to kill the Prophet (pbuh) who was the head of the state of Madinah and for violating and betraying the state’s constitution which they had pledged loyalty to earlier.

3. The attack on the Jewish tribe of Bani Nadhir and then exiling them from Madinah for their covert support to the large confederation of enemies of the new state during the battle of Al-Ahzaab.

4. The violation of the treaty of Hudaibiyyah by the Arab pagans of Quraysh which resulted in the Prophet to lead 10,000 muslim soldiers to march to Makkah and liberate the city from the pagans.

Bearing the above in mind, the most important questions all god-fearing Muslims in Malaysia must honestly ask themselves are :

1. Is Muhyiddin’s act in betraying his pledge to PH and the rakyat’s mandate in accordance with the Prophet’s Sunnah (i.e. prophetic tradition)?

2. Was it in the true principles of Islam for the President of Pas and some state muftis to support Muhyiddin’s action?

3. Would the Prophet and his successors do the same as what Muhyiddin did if they were in Muhyiddin’s position?

“Learned” Muslims are in total disagreement over their reading and interpretation of this crisis. By right, they should not because the Quran and Sunnah are clearly evident for them to take judgment from.

Islam is crystal clear on the concept of justice and fairness. Betrayal and violation of agreement is never accepted. Doing so is an act of gross injustice in Islam. Islam is not Islam without justice. Allah curses those who do so, and they together with their supporters will be dealt with severely on the Day of Judgment.

And because the so-called “learned” Muslims are at odds among themselves about this crisis, it has caused the average unlearned Malay Muslims to be doubly lost and confused, blindly following their emotions instead of principles. Why wouldn’t they be confused when 9 out of 10 of the ustazs, imams, scholars and muftis in Malaysia are all saying that this sort of betrayal is permissible in Islam?

How can the Malay Muslims be united when Islam is being interpreted in such a diametrically opposed way like this, causing the society to be categorically divided with almost no chance of reconciliation?

Both interpretations cannot be right at the same time. Only one can be right, and the other must be wrong. Each leads to a set of entirely different consequences for Malaysia. One will be for the better, and the other one will be for the worse.

There is nothing wrong with Islam. The Qur’an is perfect, and so is the Sunnah. Instead, it is our flawed interpretation of the Qur’an and the Sunnah is what makes us become the pariahs of the world. Islam is nothing but rigid set of rituals for us, and most of these are not even prescribed by our religion. They are false meaningless innovations. Whereas the true spirit and soul of Islam is lost and uncomprehended. Lust and greed have prevailed above all things. Without doubt, this answers the key questions that I raised in the Foreword section of my book.

What is happening in Malaysia now is a classic example of the Muslims’ inherent problem. True principles of Islam will always give way to lust and emotions. And because of this, don’t ever dream that the Malays will be united. Some will always worship lust, while some will strive to be on the right path by observing the principles that Islam has laid down clearly for mankind. These two will never be together. Falsehood and truth are as distinct as black and white.

And so, know that Muslims are indeed the worst enemies of our own professed faith. We do not need non-Muslims to lead us astray and destroy us. We are doing a good job at this by ourselves, thank you.

So I ask you now O fellow Muslims.. Which is the “right” Islam that you wish to follow? The one that is blinded by emotions, or the one that is grounded by its true principles? Ask yourselves again : Did Muhyiddin act correctly from Islam’s perspective? Yes, or no?

Remember, all of us will be called to account by Allah when we stand before him on the Day of Judgment. And surely, those who are unjust and those who support injustice in the sight of Allah will not bode well.


2 Mac 2020


Prof Dr Awaluddin Mohamed Shaharoun 
Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)

Kemelut baru-baru ini dalam sejarah politik negara kita telah reda, sekurang-kurangnya untuk seketika. Tetapi satu perkara yang pasti adalah bahawa ia belum berakhir. Satu pertempuran telah selesai tetapi perperangan baru sahaja bermula.

Apa yang bermula sebagai keengganan Tun Dr Mahathir (TDM) untuk menentukan secara jelas tarikh penyerahan kuasa kepada pengganti yang telah disepakati sebelum ini, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI), telah dijadikan modal oleh dua orang ahli parti mereka yang paling berperanan iaitu TSMY (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) dan DSAA (Datuk Seri Azmin Ali) bagi mencetuskan krisis perlembagaan untuk merampas kuasa. Selepas seminggu dalam keadaan yang tidak menentu, TDM dan DSAI mendapati diri mereka kehilangan kuasa disebabkan pengkhianatan rakan sepasukan masing-masing. Tetapi tumpuan bicara kami hari ini bukanlah tentang perkara tersebut. Ini lebih dari cuba melakarkan   ramalan dan kebarangkalian scenario yang bakal mewarnai dan mencorak landskap politik Malaysia dimasa depan terdekat hasil kemelut yang berlaku.

Marilah kita mulakan dengan TSMY, Perdana Menteri Malaysia Ke-8 yang baru dilantik. Bagaimana dengan dia? Pertama sekali, dia mewarisi sebuah negara yang cukup terjejas dalam krisis kewangan. Dengan bebanan hutang negara yang hampir mencecah 1 trillion ringgit, ruang bertindak beliau agak terhad. Tidak bisa diagihkan ole-ole untuk menawan hati dan sokongan orang ramai terutamanya golongan lebih daripada 50% rakyat yang telah mengundi keluar BN. Sebaliknya, dia sudah tentu mengundang kemarahan mereka kerana telah merebut kuasa melalui pintu belakang.

Wang, disamakan dengan candu, adalah pemanis standard untuk BN selama 60 tahun yang lalu    apabila BN mahu mengulakan rakyat bagi mendapatkan sokongan popular. Kerajaan Pakatan Harapan (PH) sebelum ini melalui slogan-slogan ketelusan  dan bertanggung-jawab kepada rakyat telah berjaya  membongkarkan kepincangan kewangan hasil kerja kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) sebelum ini. Sudah tentu mereka terpaksa mendedahkan bahawa tabung negara hampir kering dan langkah langkah ekonomi yang ketat terpaksa diambil untuk meletakkan negara ini kembali ke landasan yang sepatutnya. Pendedahan ini tidak diterima dengan baik oleh kalangan rakyat yang telah biasa mendapatkan  bantuang tunai untuk mengurangkan masalah kewangan mereka.

Lebih malang lagi apabila Menteri Kewangan yang dipilih oleh kerajaan PH adalah dari Parti Tindakan Demokratik (DAP). Walaupun YB Lim Guan Eng dan pasukannya di Kementerian Kewangan (MOF) bertindak cemerlang, memandangkan suasana keadaan ekonomi negara dan dunia, momokan kejam terhadap DAP oleh cybertroopoers BN di media sosial amat keterlaluan sehingga beliau telah dilabelkan sebagai dalang kepada kesengsaraan kewangan semasa Malaysia dan bukannya penyelamat.  Tidak perlu dinyatakan bahawa telah tertanam dengan sangat mendalam dalam jiwa Melayu bahawa DAP adalah anti-Melayu, maka sudah tentunya anti-Islam dan kerana itu tugas cybertroopers bagi menyalahkan dia kerana kegagalan ekonomi negara kita menjadi sangat mudah.

Jadi, bolehkah TSMY merancakkan ekonomi dan menawarkan wang tunai kepada pengundi seperti yang lazim dilakukan oleh kerajaan BN dahulu? Jawapan mudah – tidak. Dia pastinya tidak boleh mencadangkan penyelesaian yang lebih baik daripada apa yang sekarang diamalkan oleh kerajaan PH yang mana dia pernah menjadi ahli. Untuk menyelamatkan negara, langkah-langkah fiskal yang sukar tidak dapat dielakkan kerana ia amalan wajar dalam pemerintahan politik yang bertanggungjawab bagi menghadapi krisis ekonomi global dan pandemik coronavirus19 yang menjulang. Tentunya semua mata akan tertumpu kepada MOF untuk mengesan sebarang percubaan untuk lakukan rent-seeking, capital cronisym dan semua amalan rasuah yang lain yang telah mengeringkan tabung kewangan negara.

Oleh itu, kita boleh menjangkakan bahawa lebih banyak dasar PH  yang sama akan diteruskan sekiranya TSMY serius dan mengambil berat tentang keadaan kewangan negara. Rakan sekatil, UMNO, dalam kegembiraan mereka untuk memerintah semula selepas ditendang keluar pada 2018, pastinya akan bersemangat untuk memenuhi janji janji pilihan raya mereka, disamping memperkayakan diri mereka sendiri, tabiaat lama amat sukar dibuang.   PAS pula telah menyatakan dalam manifesto pilihan raya 2018 mereka, hasrat untuk menghapuskan bayaran balik PTPTN yang mencecah jumlah RM8 bilion. Mereka agak lantang bersuara tentang kegagalan kerajaan PH memenuhi janji janji pilihan raya dan terus menerus mengejek.  Orang yang tinggal di rumah kaca tidak seharusnya membaling batu. Bagaimanakah kerajaan campuran baru ini berharap untuk memenuhi janji-janji salah satu anggota utama parti gabungan mereka tanpa jatuh air muka dihadapan rakyat umum? Kerajaan PH yang digulingkan telah mendapat pengajaran perit bahawa  tidak mungkin untuk memenuhi janji-janji yang tinggi melangit dalam manifesto mereka tanpa memufliskan negara.

Satu penyelesaian yang mungkin boleh diambil adalah pengenalan semula GST. Jangkaan kami ianya akan datang lebih awal dari yang dijangka. Pasukan manifesto PH telah dinasihatkan oleh beberapa pakar ekonomi negara kita untuk tidak menghapuskan GST tetapi sebaliknya mensifarkan kadarnya. Ini akan meninggalkan peluang untuk memanfaatkannya pada masa akan datang, kerana negara telah mewarisi infrastruktur kutipan GST yang agak cekap. Walau bagaimana pun pujian yang sama tidak boleh diberi kepada system agihan/bayaran GST yang menyebabkan kerajaan PH terpaksa menanggung jumlah yang mencecah RM19.25 bilion. Jawatankuasa Akaun Awam (PAC)  telah mengesahkan bahawa tiadanya pembayaran dana GST oleh kerajaan BN terdahulu telah menyebabkan kesulitan kewangan yang teruk kepada pembayar cukai kerana dana itu sebaliknya telah digunakan untuk membiayai perbelanjaan operasi dan pembangunan.

Wabak koronavirus19 yang seperti pandemik sekarang, kesan global kelembapan ekonomi, terutamanya China dan geo-politik dunia yang tidak stabil menjadi ramuan beracun kepada kerajaan baru. Kembalinya semula GST, mungkin lebih rendah daripada 6% seperti sebelumnya kami jangka akan diterima oleh rakyat Malaysia (baca sebagai Melayu), boleh memberi ruang bernafas untuk kerajaan yang ditunjangi oleh orang Melayu. Ya, telah terbukti berulang kali bahawa orang Melayu adalah golongan sangat pemaaf dan pelupa tentang perkara yang berkaitan kekayaan luar biasa pemimpin Melayu mereka. Beg-beg tangan Birkin milik mantan Wanita Pertama yang dihimpun melalui salah guna wang hasil keringat rakyat hampir tidak mendapat sebarang perhatian hari ini. Walaupun perincian skandal 1MDB telah sedikit demi sedikit dikemukakan melalui pengadilan di mahkamah dan pendedahan tentang peranan yang dimainkan oleh suaminya, beliau malah diraikan dan diberi gelaran kehormatan “bossku”.

 DAP terus dimomok-momokkan dan dikecam manakala kumpulan penjahat dianggap wira hanya sa nya  kerana mereka bangsa Melayu. DAP disifatkan sebagai anti-Melayu dan anti-Islam tetapi tindakan menyokong pemimpin-pemimpin Melayu yang memufliskan negara dianggap wajar kerana mereka adalah saudara Muslim Melayu. Sikap ini mencerminkan fahaman perkauman sempit (Assobiyah) yang ditegah oleh Nabi(SAW), tetapi orang Melayu tidak melihat atau menganggapnya seperti itu. Ini berlaku walaupun terdapat peringatan yang jelas dari Al-Quran yang menyatakan: ” Wahai orang-orang yang beriman, jadilah kamu orang yang benar-benar penegak keadilan, menjadi saksi karena Allah biarpun terhadap dirimu sendiri atau ibu bapa dan kaum kerabatmu. Jika ia kaya ataupun miskin, maka Allah lebih tahu kemaslahatannya. Maka janganlah kamu mengikuti hawa nafsu karena ingin menyimpang dari kebenaran. Dan jika kamu memutar balikkan (kata-kata) atau enggan menjadi saksi, maka sesungguhnya Allah adalah Maha Mengetahui segala apa yang kamu kerjakan.. (Surah An-Nisa 4: 135).

Maka dari sudut pandangan ekonomi, TSMY malangnya tidak mempunyai tongkat sakti untuk mengatasi masalah ekonomi negara. Dengan keadaan ekonomi dalam lingkaran memendap secara perlahan dan tidak ada lagi DAP sebagai kambing hitam yang mudah untuk dilonggokkan semua kejahatan dan kelemahan. Beliau memerlukan satu naratif baru untuk menjelaskan kedudukan ekonomi kita yang sedang sakit.

A Pyrrhic Victory for TSMY and Malaysia (Part II)

3 March 2020

A Pyrrhic Victory for TSMY and Malaysia (Part II)

From UMNO’s standpoint, this is a miraculous rescue from a state of gradual paralysis and implosion brought by the sudden loss of power in 2018. Fractured by the loss, their prominent leaders, men and women facing a battery of charges, yet holding the reins of power, UMNO has not quite reinvented itself nor extricate honourably from the political ruins (normally achieved by removing these culprits and replacing them with new and fresh blood). UMNO is still saddled with them two years post GE14.

So this fresh opportunity at power and a chance to redeem their battered image is unlikely to lead to any major changes except to maintain the status quo. It is business as usual. We do not expect to see a rejuvenated and cleaner UMNO faction to emerge in this coalition rather the same actors albeit dressed in new and fresh clothes.

They may be back with a vengeance upon the PH coalition (or what is left of them) for causing their unexpected defeat. Expect DSAI to face another round of sodomy allegations, charges of corruption against ex-UMNO politicians still remaining in the opposition and perhaps a tightening of freedom of press, which they utilized to the maximum during the last 22 months to denigrate the PH government and belittle their achievements.

Of PAS, nothing great can be expected of their contribution in the new coalition except to sanctify and justify the actions of the new government especially to the Malay-Muslim population. A chance at sharing power at federal level is akin to manna falling from the sky and one has to be judicious and careful to preserve this unexpected opportunity after a hiatus of 43 years lest it slips away like in 1977 when they were unceremoniously kicked out of BN.

Indeed such was his eagerness to be part and parcel of the new government, Ustaz Hadi Awang was asked by the press whether he thought UMNO leaders with criminal charges should be part of the new government. Ever the astute politician, he replied that the main focus of the new government should be to save the economy and that Pakatan Harapan leaders also had their charges dropped. So by implication he is hinting that “if you could do it so can we” and if Pakatan leaders had their charges dropped, then so could UMNO leaders of the Perikatan Nasional (PN).

An ominous sign that PAS for so long the self-proclaimed champions of amar ma’aruf and nahi mungkar (Islamic teachings of enjoining good and forbidding evil) will tolerate thieves and robbers to populate the new cabinet in the interest of political expediency. This does not bode well for the reputation and integrity of the new government if the religious wing is prepared to turn a blind eye to corruption.

TSMY has to prove his new cabinet is whiter than white for him to win over the many detractors and doubters in this country but this is not the sort of beginnings he may have wished. PAS should take over the mantle of pushing for genuine social, political and economic reforms and move towards a civil society and bring NGOs into this struggle but true to form, it is adapting a pragmatic “if you can’t beat them, join them”.

Another big challenge for PAS would be to come up with national figures of the same caliber as Mat Sabu, Khalid Samad, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (undoubtedly by consensus the best performing Health Minister thus far), Salehudin Ayob and to demonstrate their competency when given cabinet posts. Had these same characters not been forced to leave PAS, they would serve a good role model of PAS Islamist leaders within a multi-cultural society. But their departure has left PAS with a dearth of such talents but a surfeit of religious leaders who can vie for the post of Religious Minister and little else.

So Ustaz Hadi has his work cut out to propose names for the future government in which PAS is expected to play a major part. As part of the government and no longer the opposition, it stands to reason to expect a more mellowed approach by PAS in dealing with the Non-Malay and Non-Muslim population especially with their call for the introduction of hudud etc. In opposition, you can say anything you like but as a member of the government, you must act more responsibly. This they must manage at the risk of being labeled as betrayers of the Islamic struggle by their erstwhile supporters.

The challenges faced by the new PM8 and his cabinet are as follows:

1. Tackling the economy with limited room to maneuver due to unstable geo-politics and the looming coronavirus19 pandemic impacting on global economy

2. Continue the reform initiatives or risk losing the trust and confidence of the rakyat

3. How to continue the reform agenda whilst working with those who stand to lose most by these very changes

4. To unify his own fractured party

5. Govern the country whilst hemmed in by two bigger parties with opposing ideologies

6. Protect the cabinet from tainted politicians facing corruption charges which would damage its credibility, not to mention the country’s already battered reputation

7. Present a government that works for all Malaysians and not a government for only some Malaysians

8. Face an opposition that is now more united and purged of traitors and cancerous elements led by TDM, a formidable adversary even well into his nineties

The rakyat expects immediate and prompt outcomes as the PH government found to its detriment. A government that came to power by usurping the popular will of the people or cynically touted as “kerajaan pintu belakang” is severely handicapped from its inception and would benefit from acts of miracles, which we are sure the Pak Lebais from PAS will solicit from the heavens for their survival up until GE15.

We however, do not feel that TSMY has the dream team with the staying political power to survive up till GE15, let alone win it.

The previous week unprecedented scenes, reminds us of the story of Pyrrhus the king of Epirus (318-272 BC) who fought a war against the Romans. He won the battle at Asculum but at great cost and even then the Romans were able to replenish their army. So the sacrifice in men lost amounted to nothing. He was reported to have said “ If I had another battle like this I might be coming home to Epirus alone” Thus a pyrrhic victory entered folklore as a victory achieved at unbearable cost.

The political path of khianat aka betrayal empowered TSMY to grab the much coveted PM8 from the two other giant protagonists. In winning the PM battle, or more appropriately “pengkhianatan hak rakyat” aka travesty of justice, TMSY might actually be landed with a pyrrhic victory.

However, only time will tell. We reckon, he might live to regret the day he left his PH coalition and betrayed his mentor. As for now, he has to contend sleeping with 2 strange and seemingly incompatible bedfellows.

Prof Dr Awaluddin Mohamed Shaharoun

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin

Muslim Professionals Forum

A Pyrrhic Victory for TSMY and Malaysia (Part I)

2 March 2020

A Pyrrhic Victory for TSMY and Malaysia (Part I)

The recent tumult unprecedented in our national political history is over, or at least for the time being. One thing for certain is that it is not the end. One battle is over but the war has only just begun.

What began as the refusal of Tun Dr Mahathir (TDM) to conclusively mention a handover date to his anointed successor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (DSAI) was capitalized upon by their respective two most prominent party members, TSMY (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) and Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (DSAA) to spark a constitutional crisis to seize power. And after a week of ding dong, both TDM and DSAI found themselves out of power due to the betrayal of their respective party mates. But our piece today is not about the past. It’s about forecasting, an attempt to paint a possible scenario of the future.

Let us start with TSMY, the newly appointed 8th prime minister of Malaysia. What of him? Well first of all, he is inheriting a country which is fairly steeped in financial crisis. With a national debt approaching 1 trillion, there is not much room for him to manoeuvre. No goodies to shower upon the populace to appease everyone especially the more than 50% population who voted out BN. If anything, he has incurred their utmost wrath for grabbing power through the backdoor.

Money, likened to opium, was the standard sweetener for BN for the last 60 years, to appease the rakyat whenever they wanted to gain popular support.

The previous Pakatan Harapan (PH) government through their transparent and accountability slogans had uncovered the financial mess the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government left behind. And understandably, they had to reveal that the national coffers were running dry and that tough economic measures were required to put the country back on track.

This revelation did not bode well with the rakyat used to getting cash hand-outs to cushion their fiscal woes. It was most unfortunate that the Finance Minister chosen by the PH government was from the Democratic Action Party (DAP). Although YB Lim Guan Eng and his team in the Ministry of Finance (MOF) performed admirably considering the national and global economic circumstances, the demonization of DAP by BN trollers on social media was overwhelming and he was branded as the culprit of Malaysia’s current financial woes rather than the saviour.

It goes without saying that it is deeply ingrained in the Malay psyche that DAP is anti-Malay, hence anti-Islam and therefore the task of the cybertroopoers to blame him for our economic failures was easily a walk in the park.

So can TSMY rejuvenate the economy and offer cash hand-outs to the voters as per the BN government of old? The simple answer is no. He surely cannot propose any better solutions than the ones currently practised by the PH government of which he was previously a member.

To save the country, tough fiscal measures are inevitable as is the financial game-plan in most responsible political governance, in the midst of a global economic meltdown and a looming coronavirus19 pandemic. And all eyes will be honing on the MOF for any attempts at rent-seeking, capital cronisym and all the other corrupt practices that bled the country dry.

So one can expect more of the same policies would be continued if TSMY is seriously concerned about the country’s financial health.

Bersatu’s bed fellow, UMNO, in their euphoria of governing once again after being booted out in 2018, would surely be keen to fulfil their election promises, this apart from enriching themselves, as old habits die hard.

PAS on the other hand, has declared in their 2018 election manifesto, their intention to abolish repayment to PTPTN amounting to a colossal 8 billion. They were quite vocal about PH government not fulfilling their election promises and taunting them. People living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. How can the new coalition government hope to fulfil one of their major component parties promises without losing face to the general populace?

As the ousted PH government has painfully learnt, it is not quite possible to fulfil the pie in the sky manifesto promises without virtually bankrupting the country.

One viable solution would be the reintroduction of the GST. One can expect that to come sooner rather than later. The PH manifesto team was strongly advised by some of our countrys’ eminent economists not to junk the GST but to instead zerorise it. This would leave a window of opportunity to utilise it at a later date, as they had inherited a relatively efficient GST infrastructure for collection. One however cannot say the same for GST disbursement which unfortunately had to be borne by the PH government, a thumping RM19.25 billion. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) confirmed that the previous government’s non-payment of the GST funds had caused severe financial distress to the taxpayers, which was instead utilised to finance its operating and development expenditures.

The now pandemic-like coronavirus19 outbreak, global namely China’s economic slowdown and the unstable world geo-politics presents a lethal brew to the new government.

The reintroduction of the GST, probably lower than the previous 6% is a worthwhile gamble which we think the Malaysian (read as Malay) public would go along with, allowing the predominantly Malay government much latitude and benefit of the doubt.

Yes, it has been well proven that the Malays are a forgiving and forgetful lot when it comes to the excesses of their Malay leaders. The former first lady’s Birkin bags amassed through pillaging the rakyat’s hard earned money barely earns a mention today. Even as the scandalous details of 1MDB were revealed piece by peice in the courts and the role her husband played in the role unveiled, he was instead feted and given the honorary title of “bossku” or my boss.

DAP continue to be demonized and feared beyond all reasonable doubt and the band of crooks deemed heroes simply because they were Malays. DAP are deemed anti-Malay and anti-islam but supporting corrupt Malay leaders who bankrupt the country is okay since they are brethren Malay Muslims.

This much prevalent attitude smells of crass racism (Assobiyah) but the Malays do not view or consider it as such. This despite clear injunctions from the Quran which states:

“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, eventhough it be gainst yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you swerve, and if you distort justice or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well acquainted with all that you do.” (Surah An-Nisa 4:135).

From the economic point of view, TSMY unfortunately has no golden wand to uplift it’s woes. With the economy in a slow downward spiral, there is no longer DAP as a convenient scapegoat to lay all the evils and shortcomings. He needs a new narrative to explain away our economic ails.

What about the package of reforms the previous PH government introduced to improve governance, transparency, separation between executive, legislative and judiciary, tackling corruption, social reforms etc? Will they continue? We would like to think so and doubtless, in the early months of his reign, shrill voices coming from the new regime would continue to reaffirm the commitment of the new government to continue with these policies.

However, all these reforms were introduced because of the publics’ bitter experiences with the previous government and their shenanigans to maintain power. These reforms were to stop these abuses from recurring in the so-called New Malaysia era. However, the same band of politicians who committed these excesses upon which these laws and reforms were enacted are now back holding the reins of power.

Like a game of police and thieves, the thieves have now become the police. Would their commitment to reforms be at least on the same level as those who worked tirelessly to institutionalise them? It does not require rocket science to figure out this puzzle.

Since some of the prominent UMNO figures likely to play a prominent role in the new government (read as prospective ministers under TSMY), are themselves facing a slew of corruption and abuse of power charges, will it make sense for them to commit to policies which will condemn themselves to spend some considerable time resting in Sungai Buluh? The smart money would be upon acquittals or a gentle tap on the wrist. Will these lead to a reversal of reforms? This is highly likely but on the flipside they might just continue but only with a high degree of statesmanship, leadership, commitment and grass root support which TSMY does not have in abundance.

Politically what can possibly happen? The events of last week merely confirms that in Malaysian politics the impossible is possible. The next parliamentary meeting scheduled in March (although sources now say it may be postponed) may result in a vote of no confidence perhaps ending what must be the shortest reigning Malaysian prime minister in history.

However, true to the DNA of Malaysian politics, expect further shocks and surprises. A flurry of bargaining and horse-trading is taking place even now with the winner being the one who can offer the biggest cookie or toffee. Statutory declarations appear not to be worth the paper they are written on as politicians change camps as fast as they can sign their SDs. As someone remarked recently, Malaysian politicians seek mandate from the voters once every five years promising to act on the rakyat’s behalf and to uphold their trust. Once they get their license as it were, its goodbye rakyat, we can do whatever we like, support whoever we like and to hell with our promises (until the next election when suddenly they reappear with pious looks in their eyes pleading for a mandate for the next five years).

TSMY is in a rather delicate situation (though more wicked souls would term it as desperate). Bersatu, the mosquito weight party he now leads is split into two. Six MPS apparently did not sign the SDs with which he was able to persuade the King to rule in his favour. TDM, the man who led the party and placed TSMY on a pedestal in Bersatu and PH government now says he was betrayed by him. There are voices of dissension amongst the grassroots that the supreme council was not consulted in the move to form a government with UMNO and PAS. Even the status of TDM having left, persuaded to return and regain the chairman position is now declared by TSMY as not the real chairman since by virtue of his position is both party president and chairman. At one stroke, he lost the support of TDM, Mukhriz, Maszlee Malek (MM) and Syed Saddiq (SS). The 2018 electorate were appreciative of both MM and SS for their courageous and principled stand in the political imbroglio

Even in the best of times, maintaining the sustainability of Bersatu has been problematic, with multiple losses in by-elections, let alone now with the attrition of big players who were national leaders in their own right.

What of the 10 musketeers who jumped ship from PKR into Bersatu? Would they make up for the lost people now in TDM’s camp?

The short-term answer would be yes, even a welcome to his fledgling numbers. However, their loyalty will be quite suspect. These senior newcomers who worked for decades with DSAI, who earned his trust had gone rogue, stabbed him in the back and jumped ship, therefore cannot be trusted in the long run. And amongst them are those who have their eyes at the top job too.

Accommodating them amongst disgruntled followers sore at the loss of the pioneers of Bersatu’s formation and suddenly being replaced by a band of newbies who go on to assume comfy seats in the cabinet will not be a task taken lightly or in good spirits. Uniting his own party will now be an imperative for TSMY for his own long-term survival failing which he would be held to ransom by his new and larger coalition parties.

After all Bersatu, a rebel offshoot of UMNO has inherited virtually of its DNA, and accommodating others is alien to their political culture. So for short-term survival sake, DSAA and his band of renegades are welcome but would however pose long-term problems. TSMY would be wise to keep one eye on his back to avoid suffering both Anwar and TDM’s fate.

Assuming that he cannot save the unity of his own party, what are his other options? The next scenario would see him leaving Bersatu and rejoining UMNO, which is not an impossible scenario considering the events of last week. Tengku Razeleigh brought back Parti Semangat 46 after leaving UMNO following a clash with TDM so TSMY would be in good company. Jumping back into UMNO would also present another big although not impossible challenge for him. He was bred and nurtured in UMNO before and is familiar with its culture although going into UMNO with a smaller band of followers will in itself pose a challenge to exert control compared to being a big fish in small Bersatu.

Being a PM, he enjoys considerable power and leverage although being in a small and lightweight party hemmed on both sides by big brother PAS and UMNO will also pose considerable challenges to his leadership qualities. Both parties will be keen to expand their influence on the national political, social, religious and economic agenda and coming from two previously diametrically opposite political culture, clashes in opinions and emphasis will be expected.

PAS from its fundamental and ideological credentials will seek an Islamist agenda to vindicate its presence, regardless of other racial or religious objections. And UMNO with its pragmatic and ultra Malay nationalistic agenda seemingly unable to offer any modicum of nation building agenda apart from its anti-DAP rhetoric to brainwash the Malay emotions and psyche against the Chinese and in the interim launder the nation’s coffers. TSMY will be in for a rough ride trying to keep two seemingly wild stallions running along the same track and two major threats to the nation’s well being and stability, the CoronaVirus2019 and the re-emerging CronyVirus2020

Prof Dr Awaluddin Mohamed Shaharoun

Dato’ Dr Musa Mohd Nordin, Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)