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Monday, March 27, 2017

Wasatiyyah concept to be taught in school, says PM Najib



The concept of wasatiyyah or moderation is proposed to be in corporated in the school and university curricula to raise understanding of the concept, says Najib Abdul Razak.
The prime minister said the government was making efforts to gather the knowledgeable from all the religions in the country to discuss the wasatiyyah concept to make it the best practice and way of life for the country's populace.
"Surely if we study all the religions, each has practices that can be said to be universal although different in creed but in terms of similarities, whether it is Christianity or Buddhism, there's the meaning of moderation."
Najib said this in the Dewan Rakyat today in reply to a supplementary question from Othman Abdul (BN-Pendang) on whether the government planned to incorporate the wasatiyyah concept in the education curricula and to gather religious scholars to discuss the concept.
He said the government was aware that it was a difficult task to inculcate the wasatiyyah concept among society in Malaysia and the world compared to inculcating hatred.
"This is a big challenge for us because to arouse anger and in fact, hatred is easier than getting people to practise noble values such as wasatiyyah as enjoined by Islam," he said.
Looking at the threats of terrorism, extremism and Islamophobia occurring across the world, Najib said the call for the wasatiyyah concept to be practised universally had now become more relevant.
In this regard, he said, Malaysia was also playing a role by cooperating with other countries in spreading the wasatiyyah concept widely so that the world community would not get trapped in ideologies that were too extreme nor too liberal to the point of ending up misinterpreting the concept of jihad like the Islamic State.

Najib said when Saudi Arabia's King Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud agreed to set up the King Salman Centre for Global Peace in Malaysia, it was an example where Malaysia could collaborate with other countries to widely spread the wasatiyyah concept.
To the original question from Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom) on government measures taken in practising moderation to ensure the country remained peaceful and harmonious, Najib said the government's commitment to this was proven through the introduction of the National Wasatiyyah Policy (DWN) on Oct 21, 2016 towards maintaining peace and harmony.
He said the five main objectives of DWN included increasing public awareness of the wasatiyyah appoach as the foundation in life; resolving society's problems created by extremism, radicalism and integrity issues, and strengthening appreciation of wasatiyyah to promote a high spirit of mutual tolerance among Malaysians.
- Bernama

'Is Dr M a Trojan Horse seeking to demolish Troy?'



An article published in the PAS organ Harakah Daily is questioning whether Dr Mahathir Mohamad's actions are designed to benefit Umno and BN instead of the opposition.
In other words, the author Ahmad Amzad Hashim likened him to the infamous Spartan ruse of war - the Trojan Horse.
Incidentally, the 92-year-old former premier is known to be fond of horses.
“Mahathir is acting as the 'batu api' (instigating) opposition supporters to lock horns with PAS supporters, (he) continues to belittle PAS similar to what he was doing since his time with Umno.
“His mission is to ensure that PAS fails. Because PAS is Umno's real threat. If Umno falls, BN falls,” read the article.
The author also noted how Mahathir had managed to “neutralise” his heir-apparent-turned-nemesis-turned-ally Anwar Ibrahim's reformasi movement by positioning himself as the new idol for the opposition.
“He has openly urged Pakatan Harapan to emulate BN,” he added, referring to Mahathir's recent call on the opposition to follow the ruling coalition's united stand during elections.
The writer also pointed to Mahathir asking Harapan to use a common logo for the general election, when it could take years for people to become familiar with a particular logo.
“This would confuse the people further as the general election could be held soon, and not later than a year from now,” he said.

As for the suggestion to change Harapan's name to Barisan Rakyat, the author argued that when the people mention the word “Barisan” it would benefit BN.
“So it is practical to be careful if they are celebrating the Trojan Horse which has an agenda to demolish Troy,” he said.
The author also cited how Achilles, who was in the Trojan Horse, had despised the Spartan King, but his actions had contributed to Sparta emerging victorious.
“PAS knows Mahathir better with all his dramas from the yesteryear...” he said. - Mkini

MACC has identified individual who tried to bribe Johor Sultan



The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has identified the individual who tried to offer the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, RM2 million to purchase a "Tan Sri" title from the Johor palace. 
In a statement at noon, the MACC confirmed that its chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad and several senior officials, has had an audience with the sultan pertaining to the matter.
"During the meeting, MACC had recorded details from the sultan and identified the individual involved.
"MACC has assured the sultan that investigations will be performed and the appropriate legal action be taken," said the MACC.
The MACC also praised the sultan for his commitment towards combating graft and abuse of power.

Sultan Ibrahim had recently revealed that an individual offered him RM2 million to propose to the chief secretary to the government names of candidates for 'Tan Sri' titles, which would be bestowed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
However, the sultan refused to reveal the person's identity, apart from stating that he was from Kuala Lumpur.
Earlier this morning, Dzulkifli had an audience with the Ruler at a luxury condominium in Kuala Lumpur, but both parties refused to divulge what the meeting was about, when met by reporters afterwards. - Mkini

Pua offers Johari a chance to knock out 1MDB's chief critics



DAP lawmaker Tony Pua has invited Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani to a fund-raising dinner, at which Johari can put forth his arguments on 1MDB.
Other speakers attending the May 6 dinner will be DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu and PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli, Pua said.
“The minister has a chance to put all of us out of business,” he added in a media statement.
Last week, Johari penned an open letter to Pua urging him to cease his relentless attacks on 1MDB.
He also said that the Petaling Jaya Utara (PJU) voters had cast their ballots for Pua to do better things, instead of being obsessed over 1MDB.
Pua said Johari would be given an hour to speak uninterrupted to the PJU voters at the dinner.
“There will be no better opportunity for the minister to do so than in front of an expected sell-out crowd of 300 tables.
“The minister is free to put forth his argument, as per his open letter, that 'the spectacle of name-calling, not only towards me but towards other members of the administration as well, is nothing less than embarrassing and demeaning to your standing as a Member of Parliament'.
“Then, the minister can ask the voters of PJU directly, whether 'the folks of Petaling Jaya Utara elected me as their MP to do better things than just being obsessed with 1MDB',” Pua added.

He said no BN minister would invite him to attend their official events to explain the issues regarding 1MDB.
“However, perhaps in my foolishness, I am giving Umno-BN an excellent chance to sign my political death warrant.
“The question is, will Johari have the courage and conviction in his defence of 1MDB to pick up the gauntlet?” he asked.- Mkini

Spill details on role in Aramco deal, Rahman Dahlan urged



PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli today urged minister in the prime minister's department Abdul Rahman Dahlan to clarify his exact role in salvaging the US$7 billion deal between Petronas and Saudi Aramco.
At a press conference, Rafizi referred to Abdul Rahman's reported remarks on Saturday that he was at the right place and the right time when the deal did not progress as expected.
"The remarks gave an impression that there was interference (in finalising the deal) and raised several key questions," said the Pandan MP.
Rafizi, as such, urged Abdul Rahman to clarify whether he had "forced" Petronas to change their minds on the joint-venture to develop the Refinery and Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) in Pengerang, Johor.
He also questioned the reasons behind Saudi Aramco's change of stand despite Abdul Rahman's admittance that the negotiations which went on for about two years, had stalled. 
"I would like to know in which areas of the deal exactly that you have interfered in," he stressed.
In making the call, Rafizi pointed out that he had been extremely cautious to not make too many statements over past deals involving Petronas, noting that the company had stringent measures to avoid any political interferences in its decision making processes.

He also credited the development of his personal career as a chartered accountant to professional training received while working in Petronas. 
Asked for comments on Petronas' reported defence of the deal, Rafizi merely said it was an expected move and promised to raise further questions later this week.
English-daily The Malay Mail today  quoted Petronas group executive vice-president Md Arif Mahmood as saying that it was "never forced into the joint venture" and had always been eyeing a partner like Aramco.- Mkini

Teachers' right to support opposition parties, minister told



Pakatan Harapan leaders have blasted Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid for telling teachers who actively promote the opposition or discredit the government to resign from the civil service.
Amanah's Kota Raja MP Siti Mariah Mahmud said teachers have every right to support a political party that can improve their working conditions.
“With the rise in information technology and growing interest in politics among the people, it is pretty strange when a national leader like Mahdzir chooses to be conservative and old-fashioned in denying the right of teachers to support political parties that are not in government.
“Perhaps it's because the attitude of outdated leaders such as this, that is causing the country to fail to reach developed nation status by the target year 2020, forcing it to be extended to 2050,” said Siti Mariah in a statement today.
“I suggest Mahdzir stop interfering in the affairs of teachers outside of school hours, and instead prioritise efforts in raising the standards of teaching and learning in schools,” she said.
She said it is no secret that teachers are burdened with administrative and clerical tasks that interfere with their teaching duties, and such extra workload even spills into their after work hours.
They are also reported to be required to attend courses that have nothing to do with the teaching profession, said the MP.
“With all this burden unrelated to their job, surely teachers have a right to choose and participate in other political parties with the hope they could guarantee the quality of education in the country would be improved to the utmost,” she said.
Siti Mariah said the minister should look at the poor educational infrastructure in rural areas and in Sabah and Sarawak, which should be the focus of his ministerial duties.
As for the teachers, she said teachers and other civil servants should be wary of an increasingly autocratic government that is increasingly intolerant of criticisms from the civil service.
“Ensure you use the power of your vote to change the government now, to a new one that cares more for the plight of all segments of society,” she said.
Loyalty to country, not BN
Meanwhile Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen's special assistant Kelvin Yii said he was “appalled” by Mahdzir's warning to teachers, which showed a “clear disrespect for the principles of democracy and well as the use of fear tactics to control and intimidate the civil service”.
Yii said BN should not demand “blind loyalty” from civil servants as the taxpayers are the ones who pay their their salaries.
“Civil servants are paid by revenue generated from the country. Revenue from a country comes from many sources, which one of it is income tax, which is paid by the public.
“So it is not the government nor is it BN that pays the salary of teacher and civil servants. The loyalty of these civil servants is to the country, not to a political party nor to an individual,” he said.

Yii said government agencies should not be politicised and any general orders that limits the freedom of speech and of association as enshrined in the federal constitution should be reformed.
Independent and critical thinking, he said, is critical to educators and should be cultivated for the sake of the children they educate.
The quality of education would be put at risk, he said, if teachers should be “selected not by educational merit, but only by loyalty to a political party”.- Mkini

Sunday, March 26, 2017

‘The hypocrisy of the pious Malays’



Do state muftis give any thought to what they say? Some of them appear to excel in the art of making the Malays look more ‘stupid’. To a large extent, the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) and the other religious authorities have a role in undermining the Malays and seemingly opening them up for ridicule.
You may wonder why few Malays have dared to criticise these religious men and their statements. Their hesitancy stems from the knowledge that other Malays will accuse them of insulting Islam.
Moreover, rent-a-mob thugs may be used to target their homes, businesses and members of their family. Cast your mind back to March 2015, when Aisyah Tajuddin, the presenter of the video clip ‘Does hudud fill our rice-bowl?’, was threatened with rape and death.
The Malay is the product of his environment. Decades of abuse by his leaders and brainwashing by religious leaders have mentally crippled him.
He will not speak out against corrupt leaders for two reasons.
First. The opportunist hopes to fill in the vacuum at the top, and enjoy the riches guaranteed to the holder of the position. In the climb up the greasy pole, he dropped the values and social mores which his elders once held dear.
He may think he is working smart. In fact, he is destroying his and his children’s future. He only thinks of today, and not tomorrow.
Second. The Malay is tribal. He will not speak out against one of his own, because it is akin to a betrayal. His gut tells him that the wrongdoing perpetuated by another Malay should be stopped, but his heart tells him that kinship matters more.
On the eve of voting, someone will offer the Malay RM50, or RM500 (depending on his social standing) and warn him that a win by the opposition, which is aligned to the DAP, will lead to a Chinese PM, and a nation overrun by Singaporeans and Christians.
Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad observed the weaknesses of the Malays and despite an avowed wish to help them, the Malays became the victims of their own dilemma.
Forty-seven years after ‘The Malay Dilemma’ was written, affirmative action policies have produced a bigger Malay middle class, but ironically many Malays feel victimised. The persecution complex, which makes them think that they will be trodden on by the Chinese and the Christians, still runs deep.
The tribal Malay thinks his rulers can do no wrong. When the Sultan of Johor lashed out against the Arabisation of the Malays, he was praised for his frank views. When ordinary Malays said more or less the same thing, they were denounced for being anti-Islam.
‘Preoccupation with sex’
Despite the conservative brand of Islam forced upon Malays, with the help of the Saudi petro-dollars, the two things that these Wahhabis cannot eradicate is the Malay preoccupation with sex, and women being treated as second-class citizens.
Sex is a dominant feature in many muftis’ announcements. The Perak mufti, Harussani Zakaria, dismissed marital rape as a “European invention” and said that a wife could not refuse sex, even if she and her husband were astride a camel.
Each year, the Federal Territories mufti, Zulkifli Mohamad, warns Muslims about Saint Valentine’s Day. Last week, Zulkifli said that two Muslims of the opposite sex should not be together because they could end up committing khalwat (close proximity) be it in parks, gardens, hotel rooms, cars, taxis, Uber or Grabcars.
What about buses? A male bus driver and his woman passenger, could be the only two people on the bus. Should she leave the bus and hail a taxi? What if the taxi driver was male?
The FT mufti is probably driven around in an official car and is unaware of people’s transport woes.
Many women have to work overtime and have to take a taxi home, or be given a lift by a work colleague. After a hard day at work, most of us have only one thing on our minds - a shower, a hot meal, then sleep. Muftis with too much time on their hands tend to fantasise about sex.
When Muslims in the religious departments are bored, they fret about the presence of porcine DNA in chocolates, bottled water, butter, Tabasco and HP sauces, kek lapis, supermarket trolleys and paint brushes.
For some Muslims who have ‘done wrong’, the umrah (mini-pilgrimage) is treated like a Catholic confessional. The Muslims perform their umrah, like one former women’s minister, to cleanse their souls and re-start with a clean slate.
If Malays are not careful, they will wither away, not because of a nuclear disaster, a tsunami or Chinese/Christian domination, but because they lack motivation and aspiration. Generations of Malays have been spoon-fed the mantra of “let’s-blame-the-other-races-for-our-under-achievements”.
This attitude has already started the downfall of the Malays. The only way to reverse the process is to overthrow the oppressive Umno Baru regime.
The Malays should rise to the challenge, instead of gravitating to the stereotypical image of “laid-back civil servant Malays, corrupted by hard-working, business driven, money-worshipping Chinese”.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). BlogTwitter.- Mkini