Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ridhuan Tee, Hudud & Malaysia's Academic Integrity

The only way to implement the Islamic hudud law is by implementing it "by force", said Malaysian National Defence University lecturer Ridhuan Tee Abdullah said today.

NONE"To implement Islamic law and to educate non-Muslims (on Islam) can only be done by force," the associate professor told a forum entitled 'Hudud: Its dilemma and implementation' organised by Malay-language daily Sinar Harian in Shah Alam.

Qualifying his assertion, Ridhuan (right) said this is because the "negative attitude" of non-Muslims towards Islamic law makes it unlikely that they will voluntarily accept its implementation.

He related his own experience as being an ethnic Chinese from a staunchly Chinese family and observations and studies of non-Muslims and their perception of Malaysia's federal religion.

Ridhuan is again trying to use his "experience being an ethnic Chinese" to qualify and justify his observation on the reaction and reception of the community towards ethnic politics and Islam. 

First, what does it means by being a 'staunch Chinese'? As an ethnic Chinese myself, I find it difficult to explain what is it like being a 'staunch Chinese'. 

Being Chinese is not a religion or a cult. The community is never known for it's uniformity or homogeneity. That's why Ridhuan and millions of other ethnic Chinese had embraced Islam, Christianity and other religions.  

Moreover, there is little correlation between being a 'staunch Chinese' and being receptive to Hudud law. Hudud law is conceived from Islamic value system and religious ethical code. This is the main reason why non-Muslim are skeptical about accepting something which is alien to their own value system. Similarly, Muslim being a minority in other societies should not be forced to follow any other religious law and conduct too. 

Logic should explain the apprehension especially when Hudud has a clear religious connotation and it's implementation in a religiously and ethnically diverse society is going to cause discomfort and distrust. 

Hudud has a bad image in modern jurisprudence and justice system. It's methods of punishment e.g. stoning to death, cutting hands, decapitating etc. have been widely publicized and depicted as gory, uncivilized and brutal. 

In an age where the world is trying to get rid of death penalty completely, it is difficult to see how hudud can fit into the modern justice system unless there are efforts to show that the Islamic law is consistent with modern jurisprudence and fairness. 

Non-Muslim is not the main obstacle or problem. Ridhuan mentioned the use of force. This is precisely the problem. The fact that Ridhuan suggested the use of force proved that he is not a suitable spokesman for Islam. The use of force is going to give Islam and Hudud a bad name.

He should propose a national referendum on the implementation of Hudud. He should find out what the Malay Muslim think of Hudud too.

He was wrong to suggest that the Chinese community would have preferred a corrupt Umno to a holy Pas which is dead set to implement the Hudud law. His anology reflects a serious problem in Malaysia which an academic like himself should have contributed to help us find a remedy.

It merely means there is a serious lack of choice in the Malay leadership. Give us a good, responsible, professional, progressive and democratic third force and find out which one we would prefer. 

Ridhuan's attempt to use his own personal experience and a few non-authoritative studies to justify the use of force to push through the implementation of Hudud is most unfortunate and a serious challenge to the academic integrity of the Defence University and his own credential. 

He should first answer this question, "what is wrong with Malaysia's civil law?" 

Islam is not the problem but the practitioners and so-called spokespersons of the religion are sending out too many mixed signals which jeopardized our willingness to engage with them and to understand the religion. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Malicious Attack on Guan Eng's Son has Become an International Shame for Malaysia

Anya Ann Corke, a young woman whose photograph had been used to implicate the son of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in an alleged molestation case is an unfortunate victim of dirty politicking by unscrupulous parties.

Anya, a one-time Hong Kong chess champion who is now studying in the US, was alleged by pro-Umno bloggers to have been molested by Guan Eng’s teenage son, and was the reason for his transfer from the SMK Heng Ee school.

Guan Eng had also paid Anya’s parents some RM200,000 to cover up the purported scandal, they alleged.

Anya, Guan Eng and the principal of SMK Heng Ee have all denied the incident ever happened, with the DAP secretary-general last Wednesday lashing out at those trying to destroy him
politically by wrecking his teenage son's life with "morally despicable and barbaric" lies.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, on the other hand, has continued to apply pressure on Guan Eng. Muhyiddin on Saturday said Lim's denial that his son had done anything wrong was "not enough" and that Lim should ask the police to investigate.

It is both silly and frustrating see a conspiracy born out of unscrupulous and irresponsible allegations cooked up by a few bloggers who were known not for their ideas and wisdom but for being spiteful and morally corrupted to gain so much attention and support from politicians and media organisations of the same class.

Guan Eng's son is not the only victim here. Anya, a chess prodigy, has been subjected to unfair and unwarranted publicity glare for some silly Made-in-Malaysia stupidity and low-class allegations.

Most baffling is the involvement of politicians such as Deputy PM Muhyiddin, Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin and others whom, instead of rubbishing the allegations, had tried to tarnish the two young victims of this saga.

How would Malaysia be perceived by outsiders? Surely not a few notches better than some of the most outrageous autocratic regimes in the world.

Where else in the world where a deputy PM is found indulging in a brainless and unscrupulous conspiracy involving two teenagers?

Why are those bloggers still enjoyed reverence from Umno leadership? This is surely not helping PM Najib's new image and public relations tune up.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UiTM Lofty Target to Create Nobel Prize Winner

Vice-chancellor Datuk Prof Dr Sahol Hamid Abu Bakar said Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) is aiming to produce the first Malay to win the Nobel Prize, through guidance and advice from renowned Pakistani scientist Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman.

I am trying to understand and digest Dr Sahol's enthusiasm and huge ambition. Perhaps, he was inspired by Steve Jobs to dream big and aim for the impossible. Unfortunately, Dr Atta's advice and guidance alone is not going to help UiTM achieve it's aim anytime soon.

Dr Sahol said the university is unique and has the possibility to achieve the target. For UiTM and the country's own good, we certainly hope so. However, upgrading the university's centre of excellence and R&D in scientific technology alone is not going to help much.

The university needs to embrace diversity, open up to a world's of knowledge, attract world-class researchers of all races and creed and practice meritocracy and real innovation. Universities which had produced Nobel Prize winners have had decades if not centuries of R&D background. 

A baby step which Dr Sahol should take is to take UiTM in the league of Top 400 universities in the world. This would be a more measurable and realistic target.

Where's ex-Tony Blair's PR Team?

Why pay Tony Blair's PR Team millions of RM to polish up the administration image when it can just send a notice to the likes of Khairy Jamaluddin to shut up?

Khairy Jamaluddin suggested today there was nothing wrong with his remarks about allegations involving Lim Guan Eng’s teenage son, and called his critics hypocrites for pointing out that he was perpetrating lies about a member of a political rival’s family.

Responding via his Twitter account to the criticisms, the Umno Youth chief said Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians and their families had been on the receiving end of even worse insults from the Opposition in the last.

The sorry part is Khairy is supposed to be one of the smartest leaders in Umno. This episode has proven that Khairy may be book smart but not street smart. His statement is going to win Lim Guan Eng and his family more sympathy.

A tit for a tat here is going to cause Khairy and his party a lost of respect from the middle ground whom to their horror may find that their young children may not be free and safe from the ugly side of politicking in Malaysia.

Lim's young son has been dragged into Khairy's political game despite being just 16 years old. Leave the young man alone. He is only in his puberty.

Khairy should be reminded of a picture of him holding a can of beer circulating around on the Internet. It hurts. I did not think it was big deal. So what if even Khairy were to drink a bit. At least he was not a hypocrite.

Those high fliers who were recently hired into the PM's office as his PR backbone should learn the art of using stick and carrot to maintain decorum in the party. Otherwise months of solid PR work can be destroyed by a minute of 'shiok' statement like one just made by Khairy against Lim's young son.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Koh Tsu Koon, Gerakan & The Wrong Way Forward

Most Gerakan members would agree that Koh Tsu Koon is not speaking up enough. Those who know Koh are not surprised. As a leader and a person, Koh is very conscious of his own image and perception. He wants to be on the good book of everyone; political comrades, friends, allies and even foes.

Between standing up for something righteous and being perceived as a someone agreeable, Koh would have chosen the latter without a second thought. In short, Koh would have been a good PR man. He was used as a PR man for Gerakan in Penang and often praised sky high by ex-president Dr Lim Keng Yaik as a clean, smart and impeccable leader.

Why is Koh now being blamed for almost everything in the party? Party members and leaders should know that it is not Koh's DNA to fight back like a hungry leopard. He is simply no match for Dap supremo Lim Guan Eng in this department. Koh is a good asset when everything is well and rosy. His personality and education background would glow in such a situation.

But Koh is not an antidote to the party's current political woes. They need to get the right leader to lead them at the right time. Some observers had put it aptly, Gerakan cannot expect their fate to change in a blink by just replacing their "mild, meek and weak" leader.

Koh is just buying time by announcing that he is prepared to sacrifice himself for the party. Koh is not someone who dream big and act crazy. Koh's overly risk averse leadership is suitable for a bureaucrat but not an opposition leader.

To become an effective one and give Lim Guan Eng a run for his money, Koh would have to obtain the right mindset by immersing himself into the role of an opposition leader in Penang. But he is too comfortable in Putrajaya, enjoying the perks and limelight as a minister in the Prime Minister's department. How can the party expect Koh to speak the lingo of an opposition if he is still a minister. Koh's good fortune is Gerakan's misery because the party is clueless once there is no direction from a strong and authoritative leadership.

The party might have missed the old Lim's crude joke, authoritative or parochial leadership and his stern demeanor but there is nothing they can do to bring back the same era. The era of personality politics is over. The party cannot depend on just a leader to bring them political glory.

They can only stop the slide by being truthful and sincere with their political struggle. They should start by answering a very simple question; what do they do hope to achieve in politics? Since 2008, what has the party done to stay relevant and connected with the new political paradigm?

Hence, do not expect Koh to speak out and cry his lung out to save the party. I believe Koh would want to do so after the last annual conference but making noise or slamming Umno alone will not help the party redeem it's lost support. It is outdated and outmoded. They should have done that pre-2008.

Now, the electorates want solutions and real actions. No more rhetoric and cheap political stunts. What can Gerakan do to tame the religious and racial extremism in the current political climate? What can the party do to address Malaysia's socio-economic woes? What can the party contribute to policy making?

It is best for Gerakan to realize that a gungho and outspoken Koh is not the right way forward. The right way forward is for the party to show more backbone in a host of issues and policies. Let's start with the continuation of racial policy in whatever guises and stemming corruption.

Why pick a bone with Koh Tsu Koon? He is neither a black sheep nor a superhero for the party. He is just a politician who is way past his prime time. Can Gerakan attract young, smart and visionary leaders like it used to?