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)

The Unity and Diversity Conference as I reflected… (By Krishnan S)

It was an educational journey into the tribulations and the complexities of our contemporary society, in particular the Muslim Ummah. I was glad to learn especially that in Islam there is a place for minority communities ie: the treaty of Medina.

I learnt that Islamaphobia is real and that the ummah has to take responsibility by looking at the causes from within…meaning one should look at oneself. I was thrilled by the quest for peace and harmony in the midst of adversities that are prevalent in all communities across the globe. The speakers spoke from their hearts and here are few key words that impacted me.

“We cannot sit and wait for
a miracle to happen. Let us aim for practical unity – its an explicit goal – All human beings are equal – no superiority, no inferiority, no racism and no classism”.

“Let us look for the factors that unite us. We can disagree with respect”.

“Lets embrace both the revealed knowledge and the scientific and secular knowledge as well”.

“Before you criticize others you will need to look at yourself. Looking within is the key”.

“We need to eliminate all forms of HATE”.

“We send our children to school to be better in English, better in science, better in maths – can we also teach our children to be better human beings: To love, to have compassion, to have kindness and understanding towards all people”.

“To the organizers of this event, I would like to say WELL DONE and thank you for your desire to bring peace and unity amongst all on this one planet that is our HOME.

Krishnan S

International Unity in Diversity Conference 2020

Introducing the *International Unity in Diversity Conference 2020*

The world has transformed significantly over the last 10 years, rapidly changing the way we live and interact with one another. The Muslim Ummah now stands at many crossroads and to meet these challenges as well as those that lie ahead requires a serious discussion on how to drive the Ummah forward into the future.

As we walk into a new decade, The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT), Muslims Professional Forum (MPF) and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) invite you to participate in this conversation alongside a panel of eminent speakers:
– Dato’ SeriAnwar Ibrahim
– Dr. Yasir Qadhi
– YB Nurul Izzah Anwar
– Sheikh Omar Suleiman
– Sheikh Nuruddin Lemu

Register now at

*Lunch included. Limited Seats*

Clearing The Air On Anti-Semitism

24 January 2019

Austrian Chancellor, Sebastion Kurz raised concerns about anti-Semitism in his meeting in Vienna with Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Bearing in mind the horrific culmination of European anti-Semitism during the Second World War, we emphatise his legitimate fears of anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head anywhere.

However, we would like to point out that anti-Semitism is a phenomenon peculiar to Europe and other western societies but not to Asia.

The anti-Israel movement in Malaysia, of which Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Malaysia (BDS Malaysia) is a part, is not in any way anti-Semitic.

Just like the Austrian chancellor, we abhor all forms of anti-Semitism and do not wish to be associated with any of them.

We have no problems whatsoever with anyone of Jewish origins or, for that matter, any ethnicity. One’s ethnicity is no more and no less an accident of birth.

But we do have problems with Zionists whether they are Jews or non-Jews because of Zionist Israel’s unrelenting persecution of the Palestinian people over the past seven decades.

The barring of Israelis from our country cannot be interpreted as a form of anti-Semitism. We do it because we do not want to be exploited by the Zionist propaganda machine as an example of a Muslim-majority country which accepts and tolerates the Israeli oppression of the Palestinians people. Our boycott of Israel  continues because of this and because of our support for the Palestinian cause.

We have never been anti-Jewish at any level. Jews who are vocal critics of Israel such as Miko Peled, Dr Peter Slezak, Ms Anna Baltzer and the leader of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Ms Zohar Regev have all visited Malaysia. In fact, Miko Peled’s visit was hosted by Dr Mahathir himself. So much for Dr Mahathir’s anti-Semitism.

We would respectfully direct Chancellor Kurz’s attention to the following concerns:
1. Having declared Austria to be a friend and partner of Israel, is that an endorsement or moral support for the Apartheid policies of the Israeli government against Palestinians? If it is not, Austria should speak up and publicly object to those policies. What are friends for if they do not point out the error of one’s way? If it is, then Austria is in no position to lecture others about the racist nature of anti-Semitism.

2. The Israeli government for self-serving reasons is in the habit of branding all criticisms of its actions and policies as anti-Semitic. While an anti-Semite correctly means a person who does not like Jews, it is now becoming to mean a person whom the Israeli government dislikes. Such is the ease it uses that accusation against its critics. Chancellor Kurz should be concerned that in his opposition to anti-Semitism he does not become an unwitting party to such dishonest attempts to stifle free speech and legitimate criticisms of Israeli actions.

3. The Israeli government claims to speak and act in the name of all Jews in the world, despite clear evidence that it does not. This deliberate conflation of ‘Jew’ and ‘Israeli’, especially involving Israeli actions which are clear violations of the human rights of Palestinians, plays no small part in fueling anti-Semitism. Rising anti-Semitism suits the Israeli government since it leads to higher Jewish emigration to Israel. They even have the audacity to demand $250 billion from 8 Arab countries for the emigration of Jewish people since the birth of Israel in 1948.

Lisa Kokin in her artwork for the Jewish Alliance Against Zionism, 1978, sums it well: “Being Jewish is NOT the same as being Zionist. Our own history of persecution as Jews helps us to understand the struggle of the Palestinians to determine their own destiny”

Prof Dr Nazari Ismail