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BACUL

bilamana kebenaran datang mendayu-dayu
perasaan bergolak bagaikan muntahan gelodak tsunami
naluri kecil tahu dan mengaku 
namun isi nafsu sudah lama dimamah memakan diri
kebenaran menjadi putaran lubuk pusar
mana mungkin ditelan

bilamana ketakutan melitupi segala benak dan perasaan
gebar kuasa menjadi pelindung tanpa batasan
ahhhh!!!  aku baling ketulan kepulan asap perit
tanganku tersorok disebalik keamanan untuk rakyat
dalilku pasti kepentingan pedagang dan warga kota
mana mungkin aku diragui

kami datang berbondong bondong
santai, tangan kosong tanpa cenderahati
meski jiwa bergelodak dengan perasaan risau dan bimbang
sejarah lalu terbayang dibenak dan perasaan
pasti bermandi hujan pedih dan kabus perit
ditemani miang dan batuk terpaksa 
mana mungkin kami pulang begitu saja

kami datang dengan berjuta harapan
rintihan mudah di ambil peduli 
masa jauh kedepan yang terlalu panjang
agar nusa tiada bebanan di pundak cucu cicit kita
hasil gadaian segelintir yang nafsunya bermaharajalela
yang sudah lama dimamah tanpa rasa silu
mana mungkin kami didengari

ibarat anak-anak kecil dibumi pesisir laut merah
melontar batu membuak perasaan 
dibalas peluru hidup tanpa peri kemanusiaan
ahhhh.... senget pertimbangan neraca permainan
mana mungkin padang dikatakan rata
rebah anak anak sudah pasti
mana mungkin mampu melawan takdir

kami tiada batu tiada senjata
laungan kebesaran rabbi perisai keyakinan
dibalas tohmahan dah ejekan jahil
disulami kekerasan yang tiada undangan
ahhhh....  kami anak anak merantih di terajang tanpa ehsan
dosa kami cuma ingin berjalan santai
akhirnya disudahi dengan larian persis olimpik
mana mungkin kami yang mulakan....

bacul.


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On PAS and women

I didn’t know of Dr Siti Mariah until she ran for Parlimentary seat in Kota Raja Selangor (where I am staying now) during the 2004 elections (She lost with a big majority).  When she came to the ceramah in Bukit Rimau, I immediately admired her spirit and her ability to dwelve on issues surrounding Malaysia’s politics. 

PRU-12, she once again stand for the seat and won with a staggering majority of over twenty thousand votes!   During the two weeks of campiagning period, a friend forwarded the link ( http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=5399 ) to this article which appeared in The Sun sometimes in October 2004.  I thought this is a swell article and worth sharing….

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EDUCATIONIST. Intellectual. Women’s rights activist. PAS politician. That equation might not look quite right to some of us.  But as Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, 46, central committee member of Parti Se-Islam Malaysia (PAS) and information chief of the party’s Dewan Muslimat, or women’s wing, tells JOYCELYN LEE, it all adds up.

theSun: You started out as an educationist until 1997, when you made the jump into politics. What made you do it?

Dr Siti Mariah: I’ll give you an honest answer. Politics had been on my mind for a long time. But I did not imagine that I would be part of the leadership of the Central Committee, or the Dewan Muslimat. Actually, the strong motivating force behind me, my influence, was my mum. She is a PAS activist and she always prayed that someone would follow in her path. I was interested but I had a contract with the government [that I had to fulfil]. I left academia [she lectured at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia] because I was not very interested in research and when I left, I was free, and you go where your interest is. So I decided to join politics.

Why PAS?      Basically, I’ve got this Islamic consciousness from my younger days. I did not come from a religious school. I came from a totally English-medium school, Kolej Tengku Kursiah, [but] I have the strong belief that Islam is a way of life and that politics should not be relegated to the back seat. It encompasses everything. So that is my conviction. I also felt I had a role in life. Coming from a family of political activists, I understood PAS. I understood their struggle, I understood their weaknesses, their strengths. And I understood their needs, especially for women activists.

About PAS and women.    Just the idea of Parti PAS, it spells the curbing of freedom for women. And yet you are an intellectual and you were an educationist.

I don’t think PAS spells the curbing of women. I’ve been in PAS since 1997. I’ve got freedom. In fact, all of us have freedom. Actually, it is up to you to take up the challenge of activism and of leadership… there is nothing in PAS that curbs women. I have no problems at all. If you look at our Constitution, we don’t mention anything about gender at all, except for Dewan Muslimat, which is for women members. The committee members, the Dewan Ulama even, did not even say men. It has always been open to women and men. We hear news coming out of Kelantan about women not being allowed to do this or that…    Have you been to Kelantan?  You have to go. You’ll be amazed because there is a lot of diversity in Kelantan. You’ll be surprised, when you’re on the plane to Kelantan, some girls will be in tight pants, wearing the current fashion where they expose their navels. I do hear people say that they have come across officials who advise them to dress decently but I [myself] have not come across [this] … I would love very much to see who is doing this.   But if you board a plane to Kelantan, and go to their pasar malam today, you will see it is just like any other normal place. The girls and boys, even sometimes to my chagrin, they are just like any others… we hoped Kelantan would be a little different, but it is not very much different from other places. Why then do we hear about the Kelantan state government forbidding women to wear makeup?   If you go there, you will see the Kelantanese women wearing makeup… it’s a way of life, their clothes are more colourful than the women in other states. That [talk] is something that is baseless…

What about comments about women not being allowed to work?

Oh, those sorts of comments! I would like to say that sometimes, comments do not represent party views or party policy. When you ask a Mursyidul Am — a spiritual leader, he is like the Pope to the Catholics — when you talk about a spiritual leader, they always say something that comes from their heart; it’s a fatherly thing. Sometimes, they forget that they’re politicians. So, it’s more of a caring attitude, their feeling about things… it’s not a policy in Kelantan. If it were, women would not have come out to work. But… you see the [state government] offices are full of women.

How do women members and women leaders weigh in where PAS policies are concerned? What are their roles? Do they have a say?

As far as PAS is concerned — [where] the state [is concerned], maybe I don’t know as much — but as far as PAS is concerned, we are represented at all levels. So, it is up to the women representatives whether they can convey [their views], whether they are effective, and whether they are assertive in their opinions, in their arguments. There is no policy, nothing, it is actually up to us. So, if we play the right role, then we will be more effective. So, it depends on who is representing… but most of the time, we never get the highlights, we never get the focus, we never get the publicity [sighs]…

Why is that?

[Laughs] That you’ll have to ask the media, not me. Why is that? Do people highlight what we do? No. We had our programmes under PAS, the Afghan women’s empowerment programme in Peshawar. That was our brainchild. And we still have the centres there, where women are taught basic skills… skills to make a living. But nobody asked us… it was in our newspaper, Harakah. But how many people read Harakah?

So you’re saying that PAS members, men and women, they are all seen as equal?

We are seen as equals. We are treated equally. But, as in any organisation, there will be this tendency of a few men, perhaps, who are a little chauvinistic and some women who feel that ‘We don’t have to play such a big role. Since the men are doing it, why crack your head?’  But these are the minority. If you were to pick any organisation, tell me which organisation doesn’t have any male chauvinist? And, tell me, do women 100% feel they want to play a leading role? Some of them are quite happy being behind the men. You are familiar with [the saying], “For every successful man, there is a woman behind him”? We are saying that we should be beside them. That’s why I’m asking… the perception of discrimination in PAS is there. Sometimes, I want to ask people, “Where is this discrimination?” You see, in PAS, Dr Lo’ Lo’ [Mohd Ghazali, committee member of PAS Pusat] was the first woman elected by the delegates for the Central Committee whereas in Umno, itÍs only this year that they had three women elected. Before, they were all appointed. [Umno Supreme Council members] [Datuk Dr] Norraesah [Mohamad] was appointed. [Youth and Sports Minister and Council member Datuk] Azalina [Othman Said] was appointed. Datuk Seri Rafidah [Aziz] was there because she was head of Wanita [Umno]. But Dr Lo’ Lo’ has been there for the past four years. So she was the first, she’s there elected by the representatives to the Central Committee, who are mostly men. And when we are there for our yearly meet, our Muktamar, our representatives for the division, need not are becoming more and more prominent.

How large is the female membership in PAS?

If you look at just the membership, it’s nearly half [of PAS]. There are about one million [members] now or more. So, I would say nearly 500,000. But general PAS membership does not mean an automatic membership with Dewan Muslimat, which is equivalent to Wanita Umno. It’s a separate membership, so all the women in PAS are not necessarily members of Dewan Muslimat.

How active are women in PAS?

I think they are more active than men! All the groundwork is done by women. They are behind religious classes to the community; our election machinery depends strongly on women. Our community services also depend on women. But nowadays in PAS, when we have any activity, it’s always a joint organisation. So the Dewan Muslimat always comes in. What is it that attracts women to PAS, given the, as you say, mistaken perception of discrimination? What attracts us? I think that most of us believe that PAS is an organisation that fights for true Islam and wants to practise Islam in the truest sense. It’s altruistic. When we do something, our end goal is always Allah Subhana Wat’ala… so whatever you do, you always look at the end goal. And we see that in PAS, according to our Constitution, we want to see Islam being practised in all areas of life in the community and, if possible, in the country. That’s the PAS struggle. That leads to another question.

What about the non-Muslims in the country? Especially the fact that PAS is seen as a fairly fundamentalist party…

[Laughs] I like that question… I’m sure you’ve come up against those sorts of questions before… I think our opinion on fundamentalism is different. Just like terrorism. “Fundamentals” means “basics”, right? So, when you say you are a fundamentalist, by right you are a person who holds on to the fundamentals of your religion, right? What is Christianity without the Trinity? That is the basics of Christianity, right? So, what is Islam without the Five Pillars? What is Islam without the five [times a] day prayers? What is Islam without the fasting month? What is Islam without dressing modestly, according to what the Quran instructs? And what is Islam without us following the Quran? So, these are the fundamentals in Islam. They are solid fundamentals, all of us agree on that. But sometimes, they [Muslims] don’t agree on the interpretation. So that’s where people tend to have a lot of arguments. But fundamentals are very clear in Islam. And fundamentals are not extremes. Fundamentals are different from deviant practice. When you do not know what the fundamentals are, then you cannot differentiate between extremism and fundamentalism. But being fundamentalist means you stick on the middle path, neither too harsh nor too lax. For instance, when we talk about clothing. The guide is, you cover certain parts of the body because there is the Quranic verse about it as well as the hadith about it. I think the problem now is, among the Muslims themselves, they are saying that covering the head is by choice. It’s a choice, not a must. That’s the only thing we differ about. Does anybody agree or disagree that showing off your belly button is not a fundamental? What I’m saying is, covering the aurat is fundamental in Islam. Covering the head is being argued about. Some people say the hair is not part of the aurat. Fine, I have no problem about that. But, for example, if you are showing your tummy, like the girls are now, and showing your bosom, Islam forbids it! How can you compare a person who covers [the aurat] with this sort of person and say, “Oh, these people are extremists”. We are just trying to follow the fundamentals of Islam. And someone who prays five times is a fundamentalist? These are basics! Sometimes, the word is used to our disadvantage. When Muslims want to follow the way of the Prophet, for instance, having a goatee for the man and wearing Arabic-style robes, people say, “Oh, they’re extremists. They’re fundamentalists.” What about those in the community who follow their Western idols? Why don’t we call them extremists? They are just idol-worshipping their heroes. So they hook earrings on their nose, on the navel, everywhere! Why don’t we call these people extremists? Why do they call people who cover their heads fundamentalists when there are people who bare their bodies on the beach, for instance… Islam is about being on the middle path. Decency, decent clothing. The moment a Muslim decides to do this, he becomes a fundamentalist. But we close our eyes to the other extreme. So, I think it’s unfair. It’s just like what our national leaders have been saying about terrorism. It’s unfair. How can you equate people who fight for the freedom of their country with terrorism? Of course, we agree that terrorists are the ones who bomb the innocent… Islam forbids that. We don’t consent to that. Those are not fundamentalists. They are deviants. We have to recognise the difference… we cannot just put them all in one bakul… you know. There is this increasing fear of Islamic terrorism. You say they are deviants… but that factor seems to have led to the Opposition suffering a massive defeat in the recent general election. Yeah, yeah, this is because our government, or rather Barisan Nasional, has successfully done a very good media campaign. You know, every time they put on [PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul] Hadi [Awang]’s picture or our Mursyidul Am [Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat] on TV, they put pictures of the Taliban by the side. You know very well how association works. You put this one next to that one and people go “ahh” and think they go together. These are all gimmicks; these campaigns are done skilfully by professionals who understand the psychology of human beings, of the average people. The masses are not necessarily thinking.

The words “Islamic state” seem to strike fear in people’s hearts.

Yes, when we say “Islamic state”, it strikes fear. [Leans forward, voice rising] Do you know what Islam Hadhari is all about? That it’s part of what we’ve been struggling for? What [Prime Minister] Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is saying about Maqhasid Al Syariah, the reason for Syariah, for Islamic law, is what we have been fighting for. And I’m glad. I’m glad he’s said it. The 50 years of struggle by PAS have already been put up by Umno. We’ll see how they implement it. In Islam, the purpose of a government, Maqhasid Syariah, first is to protect religion — whatever religion. Protect religion, protect human life, protect property, protect dignity. And the other one is to protect the mind. This Maqhasid Syariah, I am watching. We are watching. You all did not realise that THAT is the concept of an Islamic state. All the while, you have been saying “Islamic state is negative…” It’s already an Islamic… Negara Islam… we have it in our concept of Al-Adaalah… good governance, fair leadership, equality… this is what Islam wants. So, actually, what we wanted, when we say that we want all this, actually, it is for the good of all. Protect life, religion, your mind, your property… don’t you want it? As we know, the concept of Islam is beautiful. But isn’t this slightly utopian? It is utopian. It’s idealistic, not utopian. But in our life, just as in anything you do, you always try your very best to reach that and if you fall, you don’t fall too far from it. Similarly for us, we struggle, we strive. Definitely, I don’t think we will reach all of this. I think, until the end of the world, we are not going to achieve this perfection. Even if we say, “Yes, we have Islam as a way of life,” we will still fall short somewhere. It is natural. Seeing that the concept of a “Negara Islam” that was put up by PAS was idealistic, as you put it, how did it get so bent out of shape so as to strike fear, especially in non-Muslims? First and foremost, we do not have the opportunity to explain it to people. We never have enough coverage. And only the negative things are highlighted. What has been highlighted to the Chinese? Hudud! You have hudud, we cut off your hands. You have hudud, you’ll be stoned to death. Hudud is just one of the penal codes among many penal codes. That gives you the severest form of punishment. But subject to proof! I give you an example. The highest form of punishment for drug trafficking is death. Gantung sampai mati! It is up to the prosecutor that the accused deserves this, beyond reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor fails to bring his proof, then they cannot hang him. Similarly, with Islamic law, there are a lot of conditions. There are laws concerning witnesses, concerning proof… there are so many things. Many people are not well-versed with it. Admittedly, maybe we did not explain it well, because we are busy fighting bush fires. We have been attacked from every angle and every time one small thing gets blown up, we are always put on the defensive. This is political strategy, we know that. This is tactical. The moment people start attacking you, you get defensive. Tok Guru speaks one day, only a few words in his sermon. He asks women to dress more decently. He said, if you expose your navel, even the tok guru, religious people, some people, may have dirty thoughts. This little thing has been taken out of context and blown out of proportion. But what happened the other day, when one Umno chap in Sabah said to women: “If you are raped, lie down and enjoy it.” Why didn’t this come out on the first page that [tapping the table vigorously] this is Umno’s policy? It didn’t come out that way. But if it was our Tok Guru who said such a thing, they would have said “Oh, this is party policy”. This is unfair reporting! You see, reporting about an event is one thing. But giving an opinion is another thing. When you put in your opinion, the masses do not differentiate this. So we are always [a] victim of the media.

So you feel that the media is skewed…

Definitely. You know what their stand is. And even in the recent debate [over RTM], the questions pitched to us were unfair. It’s always to put us in a negative light. We’ve never had a real opportunity, real exposure to the public. Islam means freedom for all… that’s what we mean as well… every deserving Malaysian citizen, you deserve help whether you are Malay or Chinese or Indian and you are poor. I shed tears when one of the voters in my constituency came to me to show the results of his daughter. How many principals and she couldn’t get into university. I felt it. I felt the pain. I wish I could do something.

So is PAS for the spirit of meritocracy?

Yes! PAS is FOR meritocracy. There’s no problem about that. What about the current government policies of 30% bumiputera ownership of public listed companies, of the quotas? You see, we have a problem. We have to admit that. But we have to sit down and discuss in detail how we can do it. The thing is, if you look at it from the point [of view] of a Chinese, you will see it differently, if you are a Malay, you’ll look at it in another way. What I see now, when you talk to non-Malays, they only see the opportunities Malays get in government. They never see the problems faced by Malays in the private sector.

You think the racism cuts both ways?

Yes! It works both ways. You see, the problem is, we are all in a very vicious circle. And if you don’t break it somewhere, it’s not going to end. We have to break it somewhere. And perhaps the government will have to come up with a weaning period for the Malays and, at the same time, give a period for the non-Malays to show that they back this. Because, you see, when BN makes policy, votes are in their head. If they don’t please the Malays, they will not get the votes. Politics is such. And they have to have a truly good programme which will wean the Malays off their tongkat, and [help] the Chinese to be less selfish. I am in business, I know what it is like to compete with the Chinese. Honestly speaking, 20, 30 years ago, you couldn’t find Malay or a Muslim-made kicap in a Chinese grocery shop. You can’t find it because the Chinese refuse to put Malay products [up for sale]. One of the problems with Malay entrepreneurs is finding space for their products. And the Chinese have not been very cooperative about this. The Chinese, I understand, they help their own clan… but if you don’t break this sort of circle, we are going to end up [sighs, shakes her head]… Maybe the perception is, the Malays have already got their entitlement in terms of the public sector.

You are talking on behalf of the Chinese [laughs].

No, no, no… we are talking about perception… I agree with you, but I don’t want to talk about this because I am on neither side. Okay, I will tell you something. I am a beneficiary of the New Economic Policy. I was from a rural school. If I had not been given the chance to go to this residential school, I wouldn’t have … not to say I wouldn’t have made it, [but] maybe I wouldn’t have become a doctor. But to go there, I would need good results, to score a string of As. You see, the Malays who are selected to go for these schools, they are people who are qualified. They are not just simply Datuks’ sons… they are qualified but they come from different backgrounds. What I’m saying now, similarly, it should apply to the Chinese, the Indians. I even suggested to some of my Indian friends, why don’t you all bring this up with this Samy Vellu [issues like] the residential schools that we have now, the Indians from the rural schools, from the estates, you can’t build a good school in an estate, the teachers refuse to go there. You take them out from that situation, put them in a more conducive situation, break the poverty cycle of the family… why can’t Samy Vellu do that? No, he has to establish one terrific elite school in Negri Sembilan where only rich people can go. When you talk about Indians, I say just take them out from the estates, take them out from Form One, just like what has been done for the Malays. Similarly, if the Chinese come from a poor family, take them out!

When it comes to policy making, what is the level of contribution where the party’s intellectuals and professionals are concerned, as opposed to the ulamas?

The ulamas don’t make much policy. We don’t need much policy. Our policy is Islam. They don’t make specific policies, unless a problem crops up, then we address the specific problem. But normally… all Muslims who are knowledgeable about the religion, most of the tenets of Islam have been outlined. There’s not much… Islam is so open that we have solutions to most things.

What about potential religious and secular policy conflicts?

Give me an example… you have to have an example. That’s why when people say that “PAS is like this or like that”, I tell them, show me which policy is discriminating. When it comes to secular and religious policies, like family and marriage laws, for instance. You have to be able to differentiate between what the religion wants and what is being practised. Actually, our family laws are one of the best. BUT, the implementation, the resources. You see, if you talk to the kadis, they say, “We are so short-staffed, the resources are so small”. All these problems, it shows there is no seriousness on the government’s side. Actually, in Islam, there is no such thing as flippant divorcing. In fact, if you don’t divorce in court, you will be fined. And you also have to pay, the West calls it alimony. We call it sara hidup. All these are there, it’s just the enforcement of it. It does not mean that the religion is like that. You see, Islam has outlined everything. No other religion in the world has given such details as Islam has. But, unfortunately, the people who have the power and who are implementing them are not sensitive enough to all this. I think it was worse 10, 15 years ago, when we didn’t even have women counsellors in Syariah Court, not even in the court. Even the police, when you used to go report a rape, they just tell you, “Ah, you cari pasal.” But now, we have teams for them, people who are sensitive, who have been trained. Similarly, it’s just a matter of proper implementation, training…

Are you saying that if PAS has the opportunity, it would implement [policies] better?

Yes! We would! We may not do it overnight, because all this needs development.  I always give this example. When the British first came, there was no secular law, no Islamic law. Everything was under the Sultan, it was all Islamic. And when they left, they left us the family law. And then, we took on the British common law. Those are not our original laws. We adopted them from the British, and after that, we refined them. And, in some aspects, we add on drug trafficking, this, that. And over how many years, we have refined them. Still, we have abuses of implementation and miscarriage of justice. And we’re still plugging the loopholes. Law is something that is evolving. And when the British went away, our family and inheritance laws were chaotic because there was no streamlining. Even now, we still cannot streamline between the states. This is administration, not Islam. But over the last 40 years, family law has become much better. Last time, you can get married anywhere. Now, you must get registered. If you want a second wife, you must get permission, show proof. When you flout the law, the law should go after you. But the problem is, the law doesn’t go after you, because it says it is short-staffed. When a man marries another woman, he is supposed to maintain his first wife and his children. Of course, in Islam, he can have two wives. But in other religions, he doesn’t marry another, just keeps a mistress. What does the mistress get? Nothing, no rights. The children are illegitimate. But in Islam, all the wives have equal rights. But in the first place, under Islam, a man who marries another wife should have adequate and good reason. Sure, it’s all there. But, in practice, unfortunately, it’s different. I tell you, I’ve asked my husband if he wants to marry another one. He will tell me, for a man, any man would perhaps like to have a few women. But, in reality, I mean, when you talk about lust, of course it’s nice to have all these women. But when you love someone, you have responsibility… if you read the Quran, it says… you can marry four, or three, or two, or one only if you can manage to be fair. So it’s clear … if you can be fair. Islam is a religion of realities. You tell a man he can marry only one. What is there to stop him from marrying more or keeping mistresses or becoming a womaniser? But you must understand that the background for the permission of polygamy was actually to limit the number of wives. During our Prophet’s time, it was more than four. It was a tradition for the Arabs to have as many wives as possible. We can talk about this for ages. The men will say it is their right. The women will say it is a conditional permission. But it’s how you educate people. Of course, before, the men were the religious teachers and the women were not familiar with their religion. But you can’t do that anymore, women are more educated. It’s the role of education. So, I don’t think that’s an issue with us. We are very clear on this. PAS does not advocate polygamy, please [laughing]! But this is Islam. When we talk about faith, in any religion, there are certain things beyond our understanding; that’s why it’s called faith. So, where policy is concerned, it’s pretty much controlled by professionals and intellectuals and not religious leaders? I don’t think it’s a matter of control. Because we make our decisions by consensus. We have a clear-cut way, principles of how to make decisions. Anything that does not cross the line of our religion, we accept. Anything that is already stated clearly, we accept. We don’t argue anymore. Because, the Quran, it is such that if you believe it is the word of God, you can’t refuse even a single word. So, when in doubt, refer to the Quran. Yes. We do that. You can’t refuse a single word, you have to accept everything. But accepting and being unable to practise is different from rejecting, there is a difference. If you look back in history, Umno leaders in the past have said religion is separate from politics. At that time, perhaps they did not really understand it, perhaps because they were Western-trained. But because of the Dakwah movement and their missionary work, more people now understand Islam. And when people understand Islam… you can even hear in Umno now, people are talking about Islam. Therefore, the result, Islam Hadhari, is what we have been educating people on. And if Umno does not take up on Islam Hadhari, they will be out of place soon. Because the Muslims who understand Islam, will want Islam. How will this affect non-Muslims? You will have your religious freedom. Nobody is there to stop you from your religious freedom. What we want is our religious freedom. What we want is a middle path in society. We [advocate] respect for each other. There are certain things we have to respect. For instance, at a recent short course on world religions I went to at a church here, even the Christian men do not agree with over-exposure. They say, “Nowadays, all the bulges that should not come out are coming out.” These are good Christians we are talking about, so at least we have something in common, in the middle, which can be accepted by all. Decency. When the Chinese open non-halal restaurants, we cannot go in, we don’t grumble. And at a shop that sells beef, the Indians don’t go in. Fine. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I suggest, to add more respect, by now Malaysians should be serving not only pork-free but also beef-free food, when it is for all. I learnt this from one muslimat. During one Hari Raya, she only prepared chicken and lamb. She said, “My Indian friends are coming,” because to Hindus, cows are sacred. You have also spoken out on education and the rural-urban divide. What can be done to rectify that, as well as the racial divide that comes from the rural-urban divide? When you talk about rural-urban divide, this is how I see it. This is why we have such a difference between the Malay and the Chinese mentality. The Chinese, when their forefathers came here, it was a case of survival of the fittest. They ran away from a bad situation in China to seek a better life and, in Malaysia, you know, when you throw the seeds, it will grow anywhere. The Malays were so complacent, they put the fishing rod in the river, the fish will come. And they live in the kampung, they get their greens, they don’t even have to plant vegetables, they just harvest from the forest and that was how their lives were. Then, when the British came, they divided the three races and ruled, and when they left, the Chinese had already got a head start. Admittedly, people in the urban area with educated people in the family, can see much further. You can’t compare me with someone in a kampung who doesn’t have any professionals in the family. I am the first professional in my family! My parents were teachers in a kampung. And when I came out of that cocoon, I could see more. And because of my education, I could see further. So, a Malay in the urban area compared with a Malay in the rural area, definitely they are far apart. So, to me, in this set-up, if you want to look at meritocracy, it’s not only grades. I do not agree with just grades. You have to have criteria for everything in education. For instance, academic performance, you give a certain weightage. Schools! Which school do you come from? If you are in VI [Victoria Institution] and someone else can score a better result in, say, Sekolah Menengah Pokok Sena, where I come from, which is very rural, definitely, we know who will perform better. So, the schools will also have to be graded. Urban, rural, family background. Come on, if I am a doctor and my children are hopeless, there’s something wrong. There must also be family criteria. If my son can only get the same result as someone in the rural area, then the farmer’s son deserves better than mine. Similarly, when you draw up these criteria of meritocracy, we have to look into all aspects to be fair. And weightage to be given, everybody sit down … MIC, MCA, DAP, PAS … everybody, all walks of life, sit down and together we make the weightage, the criteria, for meritocracy, not just academic. And from there, we stick to it. We will fight about it, never mind. We [can] sit down or throw chairs at each other and say how this should be… and if we all Malaysians can accept this sort of meritocracy and criteria, then everybody will be happier. There will be no more “This is because you are a Malay and I’m a Chinese.” These are the criteria, it’s transparent, everybody knows about it, and we stick to it. Will PAS recommend something like this? It’s coming from me, I do not know, I have never brought it up [with the party]. I have had these ideas in me for a long time but there was no place for me to go and tell all this [laughs]. Will you bring it up? Of course! Because right now, educationwise, we have not made any specific policy, we have just been talking about meritocracy. I have been talking about this for a long time, to whoever wants to listen. Will PAS actually come up with something on meritocracy and education policy? No problem! I think now, they are concentrating on getting back the voters [laughs]. Actually, we were doing it [education policies] together with BA [Barisan Alternatif]. Last time, we had an education bureau under BA. We should come out together. It’s not just PAS policy. PAS policy is Malaysia’s policy, what! Fairness for everybody. Opportunity for everybody, if you all care to listen [laughs]. Coming back to the election, the Opposition suffered quite a bit… Yes [shrugs]. But at the same time, PAS fielded 10 women this year, more than previously. Previously, no. It’s been like 20 years. Is it because there were more women now who wanted to come out and speak up? Let me put it this way. Before, PAS was only in certain states. 1999 gave us the idea that maybe we could be accepted. We got the attention of the mainstream. We commanded about 60% of the Malay votes then. We still command a high percentage. Before, we were not mainstream. If you know what politics was like 20 years, even 15 years ago, it was rough. My mum used to go and campaign. They were followed by Umno men, they were samseng… we were not 100% safe when we were doing political work. We had to be escorted anywhere we went. That was the situation we were working under. For that reason, our ulama said it was not yet safe for women. In addition to that, because the wakil rakyat don’t really function as legislators … they just pass everything … they are seen more as servants of the rakyat. That is what Umno has been emphasising. Servant. Servant. Servant. So, whatever the rakyat wants, you must fulfil. Bila gotong royong, mesti cuci parit bersama. You must be seen together with the rakyat. This is the thing … MPs from PAS, or from the Opposition, never get any help from the government. No allocation. Don’t MPs get allocations from the government for their constituencies? Gaji, gotlah. But don’t you know, only wakil rakyat BN get allocations? Only Kelantan gives to everybody. Umno MPs were getting RM500,000 a year just for the constituency. Even the male candidates had to fight tooth and nail. My father stood three times as PAS candidate. Never won. But the entry of PAS women during the last election, the time was right. We had people who are willing. You see, to be a candidate, you have to be willing. And you have to be financially quite independent. If a woman is not working and she’s not a philanthropist or something like that, she has to depend on her husband … there is nothing coming from the government side to help her serve the constituency. It is rough! I was very lucky during the last election because I got a lot of help. Or else, where am I going to get the chunks of money to do all this? So, the thing is, the timing was right. It’s not that PAS barred women, no. You don’t seem to think that Malaysia is heading in the right direction. Only if you follow the Umno mould. Say the right things at the right time. Do not say anything to irritate them. Do not criticise the government, and you’re all right. Actually, it has been Umno that has been giving the tongkat to the Malays. So, if PAS and the Opposition come into power, the tongkat will be removed? We will remove that but we will empower them with something else. You can’t just take it away and the fellow falls flat. That’s why I said you need a weaning period. Clear-cut strategy on how to wean. If you take it [away] now, of course the Malays will rebel. Because they are not prepared. And why are they not prepared? Because they are made to be that way. You see, these are the politics of division. As long as the Malays count on Umno for these subsidies, Umno will continue to win. Just look at all the government contracts. Where are the open tenders? You see, you want to start a business, you go the hard way, then only you learn to survive. I look at the Chinese. During the 1997-98 economic crisis, they did not crash because they had strong business fundamentals. They started maybe with a small capital and then, expand, expand, expand. But perhaps the Malays, ahh, can take loan here, can take loan there. And who cares if I can’t pay, it’s not my money, company will be closed or restructured. [It’s] not the money from their own pocket. It’s either the shareholders’ money or the bank’s money or the government loan. When they are directors, they get their remuneration. When the company closes, they can work somewhere else. But before we wean, we have to educate them so they know why… and now Malays are accepting. But it must be clear and the situation must be fair to everybody. Where would you want or like to see PAS go? Honestly speaking, I would like to see PAS be able to show at least some exemplary states. Like, we had Kelantan and Terengganu. We still have Kelantan. There is a lot of federal intervention. We can’t do much because of the shortcomings that people do not know about. We can’t carry out our plans because of economic problems, economic sanctions all around. Like in Terengganu, let me ask you, without that [oil] royalty, do you think the Terengganu state government now, under BN, can do anything? They can’t do anything without the royalty, without the federal money. What is your opinion on where the Prime Minister is going?

 Well, people say he’s done something with corruption, he’s showed good governance. Actually, I have not seen much, except for two chaps, Kasitah Gaddam and Eric Chia. Chia is so old, so sick, I’m so scared the trial will take another how many years. I hope the truth [about Perwaja] will come out. So far, it’s just these two big fish and a few [others] here and there.

Updated: 11:51PM Fri, 08 Oct 2004

A waiting game….

Its one week shy of reaching one month after that now well remembered Hari Malaysia date of 16th September.  After three weeks of no real progress – for some, after a failed exchange of power from BN to PR on the purported date – life it seem is returning to normal.  Not much talks or speculations now on the Anwar’s takeover plan.  In fact if there are talks at all, its on the many ponders of what lies behind the now dubbed as Anwar’s lie.  Was he really lying?  Was he trying to pull a bluff?  Though many has already dismissed this angan-angan Mat Jenin as just that, in PR’s camp the hope and confindante is till strong.  The announcement made by our beloved PM Paklah today that he will not continue with the premiereship after march 06 seem to have sparked new debates on who will be the next PM.  Will the ‘power transfer’ between Paklah and his deputy be as planned or will there be other contenders?   And the more interesting question would be whether DSAI and his now ‘unbelievable’ plan come true?

Although PakLah hoped that DS Najib will be his successor, many outside of UMNO would wish otherwise.  With so many uncertainties surrounding our dear TPM, it would be natural that some quarters have reservations.   As many have voiced again and again throughout blogs and forums, our country need drastic reform and in dire need of change not only in policy but in administration.  Transparency between the many different ethnic groups especially is a big concern for whomever helm the country.  There seem to be renewed frictions ~ though I personally think this is mere fabrication for certain quarter’s gain ~ between racial and/or religous groups.    

The question remains the same.  What is the general feeling of rakyat akar umbi?  Talk to UMNO diehards and they will say DS Najib is well on his way to the premiership.  Some quarters in the camp are banking on either Ku Li or TS Muhyiddin to be at the top.  Outside of this camp, the general hope is for the government to undergo a “smooth transition” as suggested by DSAI.  Many say the effort to change the administration via ‘defection’ amongst BN MPs would be ‘undemocratic’and ‘unethical’.  On the same token many opined that this strategy is perfectly acceptable and is within our constitutions.

I guess its still a waiting game.  DS Najib is waiting for March 09 – so does Ku Li & Muhyiddin… Everyone else but UMNO dierhards is waiting for DSAI’s “dream” to come true.  Until it does… I’d say that many would agree its merely a dream….  at least something to talk about when we rise…

 

Our very own YB Dr Mariah in the news again… Harakahdaily

Pendekatan Dr Mariah pikat bukan Islam

Nyza Ayob
Tue | Sep 02, 08 | 10:38:03 pm MYT
AHLI Parlimen Kota Raja, Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud adalah satu-satunya ahli Parlimen PAS yang mendapat sokongan tinggi bukan Melayu pada pilihan raya umum ke-12 lalu. Ketika kunjungannya ke pejabat Harakah pada 28 Ogos lalu, wartawan NYZA AYOB mencatat pengalaman beliau berdepan masyarakat bukan Melayu serta pandangannya mengenai orang bukan Islam sebagai ahli Kelab Penyokong PAS.

HARAKAH: Apakah cadangan Dr untuk menarik lebih ramai bukan Islam bersama dengan PAS?

DR MARIAH: Orang bukan Islam mengharapkan kita mengutarakan masalah mereka. Kalau kita boleh memahami masalah mereka, mereka akan sokong kita. Begitu juga jika kita telus dengan mereka. Pengharapan mereka terhadap kita juga tinggi, bukan sahaja kepada wakil rakyat tetapi juga terhadap PAS. Mereka juga suka menyertai setiap aktiviti kita. Terdapat aktiviti yang dianjurkan Kelab Penyokong PAS bersama PAS Kawasan dan PAS Cawangan.

Bagaimana Dr berdepan dengan masalah di kawasan Parlimen Dr yang mana kebanyakan anggota masyarakatnya adalah bukan Islam?

Perkara yang sering dihadapi masyarakat beragama Hindu di Kota Raja adalah berkaitan rumah ibadat mereka. Jika rumah ibadat itu berada di atas tanah kerajaan atau kerajaan negeri, terdapat exco yang bertanggung jawab dalam menangani masalah tersebut. Tetapi jika masalah melibatkan tanah persendirian, ia agak rumit.

Masalah juga timbul apabila orang Islam tidak mahu kuil didirikan di kawasan rumah mereka. Ia amat sensitif terhadap orang Islam. Selain itu, oleh kerana tidak banyak terdapat kuil besar, mereka membina kuil kecil. Saya mengharapkan ada satu jabatan yang menyelaras bagi mereka yang bukan beragama Islam. Kita perlu adil terhadap mereka.

Jika kita mengatakan tidak boleh, apa pilihan mereka? Ia bukan satu perkara yang boleh diselaras oleh seorang YB tetapi ia melibatkan masalah polisi dan dasar. Sebagai orang Islam kita boleh memperkenalkan Islam kepada mereka. Tetapi akhirnya mereka mempunyai hak sendiri.

Bagi saya, apabila terdapat peluang dan ruang, saya menceritakan mengenai Islam kepada mereka. Saya juga cuba menyediakan al-Quran terjemahan dan akan diberikan kepada sesiapa yang memerlukannya. Tanggungjawab dakwah adalah menyampaikan. Sama ada mereka terima atau tidak, kita tidak boleh nak cakap apa. Itulah tanggungjawab yang terpaksa saya pikul.

Saya harap juga tanggungjawab tersebut tidak saya pikul seorang diri. Sebagai seorang wakil rakyat wanita, saya tidak dapat bergaul begitu rapat dengan mereka khususnya dengan bukan Islam lelaki.

Dr pernah melakukan perbincangan dengan masyarakat India di kuil-kuil. Bagaimana Dr menyesuaikan keadaan ini?

Saya tidak mempunyai masalah jika mereka meminta saya berjumpa untuk mendengar masalah di kuil-kuil. Sungguh pun saya telah mengetahui, saya bertanyakan Tuan Guru Dato’ Nik Abdul Aziz sama ada boleh atau tidak saya masuk ke kawasan kuil. Beliau menyatakan tidak menjadi masalah. Contohnya Sayidina Umar dulu pernah ke gereja.

Saya selalu minta kepada mereka, jika ingin melakukan perjumpaan, biarlah upacara agama itu selesai. Barulah saya berjumpa mereka di luar kuil supaya tidak menimbulkan fitnah. Sebab tidak semua orang Melayu memahami.

Mereka rakyat kita dan sebagai wakil rakyat saya tidak boleh mengatakan tidak boleh jumpa mereka. Bagi saya ia juga sebahagian dari tanggungjawab jika mereka memilih kuil untuk tempat perjumpaan. Nak cari tempat untuk berbincang bukannya senang.

Kita kenalah dengar masalah mereka. Walaupun kadang-kadang kita tidak dapat memberikan jawapan dan penyelesaian, mendengar adalah sebahagian daripada memahami masalah yang mungkin ahli Parlimen lain tidak hadapi seperti kawasan saya, dan juga kawasan Shah Alam serta Kuala Selangor yang mempunyai peratusan penduduk kaum India yang agak tinggi.

Pandangan peribadi Dr mengenai keahlian bukan Islam dalam PAS?

Setelah bergaul dengan bukan Islam, bagi saya, sebelum membenarkan mereka menjadi ahli kita, pertama mereka mesti faham perjuangan PAS. Supaya tidak timbul konflik setelah mereka menjadi ahli. Sebab jika mereka menjadi ahli, biar jadi ahli betul. Kita tidak mahu jadi ahli bersekutu, yang mana timbul ‘double standard’ atau mereka hanya ahli kelas dua.

Memadai setakat ini mereka menjadi ahli Kelab Penyokong PAS. Dan bagi memperkasa kelab tersebut, kita boleh jemput ketua mereka di peringkat kawasan atau negeri untuk menghadiri mesyuarat tertentu. Bagi saya, kita mesti jelaskan kepada mereka kenapa penelitian ini perlu dibuat kerana perjuangan kita berasaskan Islam yang turut melindungi hak mereka.

Tetapi kita bimbang ada perkara yang mereka tidak boleh terima jika sebagai ahli. Rasionalnya, kita sebagai ahli PAS juga berbeza pendekatan. Kadang-kadang, berbeza pendekatan dan strategi itu menyebabkan kita berbalah. Inikan pula mereka yang tidak memahami perjuangan kita.

Jika mereka hendak bersama kita tanpa memahami perjuangan kita, lebih kusut bagi kita nak mengendalikan. Bagi kawasan saya, ada kalangan mereka yang inginkan satu ‘dewan’ atau satu entititi dengan satu struktur organisasi untuk mereka. Mereka ingin menyumbang dan mengambil bahagian apabila kita mengadakan aktiviti.

Mereka inginkan entiti seperti ini yang juga bertanggungjawab atas komuniti mereka dengan bantuan kita. Sebab jika mereka jadi ahli, ini bermakna dalam Perlembagaan PAS mereka juga layak dilantik dan tiada halangan untuk dilantik sebagai Presiden. Secara ‘teoritikal’ dan ‘hipotikal’ maka itu adalah sesuatu yang ‘possible’.

Kita juga perlu melihat sejauh mana ahli PAS itu sendiri bersedia menerima mereka. Saya rasa lebih harmoni dan lebih bijaksana jika kita memperkukuh Kelab Penyokong PAS dan memperkasa mereka.

Melalui kelab ini, mereka boleh berbincang sesama mereka sama ada hendak menubuhkan ‘dewan’ atau sebagainya. Mereka lebih mengetahui kehendak komuniti mereka.

Kelab Penyokong India lebih memahami komuniti kaum Indi dan Kelab Penyokong Cina lebih mengetahui komuniti kaum Cina. Tetapi apabila di Pusat, kita hanya ada satu kelab penyokong. Kita mesti ada ‘fleksibiliti’ dalam struktur kita.

Walaupun mereka ahli Kelab Penyokong PAS, kita perlu melayan mereka seperti ahli kita dari semua segi. Dan di tempat saya, jika mereka ingin mengadakan aktiviti dan meminta sumbangan, saya akan bagi.

Mungkinkah pada muktamar akan datang, akan ada perwakilan di kalangan kaum bukan Islam ini?

Ya, mungkin dalam muktamar akan datang, perlu ada perwakilan di kalangan Kelab Penyokong PAS. Macam dalam muktamar baru-baru ini, Hu Pang Chaw mewakili Kelab Penyokong PAS. Jadi, mungkin dalam muktamar akan datang, kita boleh adakan perwakilan yang boleh duduk bersama perwakilan kawasan. Jadi perkara ini perlu dibincangkan dan diperhalusi.

Kita belum pernah ada satu seminar atau forum terbuka dengan mereka untuk mendengar harapan serta hasrat mereka. Sekarang ini hanya di peringkat kawasan. Secara umum kita telah tahu, tetapi kita belum lagi ada satu konvensyen.

Dan saya berharap satu hari nanti, PAS Pusat akan mengadakan satu konvensyen yang mana mereka akan menghantar perwakilan dari kawasan mereka sebagaimana ahli PAS mengadakan muktamar setiap tahun.

Mungkin sebagai Ahli Parlimen Dr tidak mempunyai masalah untuk berunding dengan bukan Islam. Tetapi bagaimana pula dengan penerimaan PAS di peringkat kawasan?

Saya melihat di peringkat kawasan, di kalangan Muslimin tidak kekok dan mempunyai aktiviti bersama. Tetapi di peringkat Muslimat, mungkin belum melaksanakan aktiviti bersama Kelab Penyokong PAS wanita. Ahli Kelab Penyokong PAS sangat aktif.

Jika kita perlu banyak berinteraksi dengan mereka. Ahli PAS di kawasan Kota Raja, saya lihat tidak mempunyai masalah untuk menerima mereka. Cuma mungkin pendekatan mereka terhadap bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam tidak meluas, jadi mereka kelihatan kekok sedikit.

Saya apabila bersalaman dengan wanita India saya lakukan seperti Muslimat juga. Saya peluk dan cium mereka. Sebab bagi saya, apa yang dilakukan itu penting untuk menunjukkan kemesraan dan tidak ada halangan untuk kita bermesraan dengan mereka. Muslimat perlu pendedahan seperti itu.

Apabila melakukan aktiviti bersama kita akan lebih kenal mengenali. Cuma saya melihat bentuk kerjasama itu belum cukup konkrit.

Apakah pandangan Dr apabila kalangan Jawatankuasa PAS kawasan sendiri kelihatan kekok untuk berdampingan dengan ahli-ahli Kelab Penyokong PAS dan hanya menyerahkan isu berkaitan kepada Lajnah Perpaduan Nasional sahaja?

Kita perlu ada sikap keterbukaan. Saya menganggap mereka seperti orang kita juga. Mereka sering memuji orang PAS dan menyatakan orang PAS jujur, telus dan tidak mungkir janji.

Jadi ini adalah kualiti universal. Dan apabila mereka menyebut kualiti ini, mereka memandang kita terlalu baik.

Kita perlu tonjolkan kepada mereka, dari segi kebajikan, kita tidak memilih bulu. Kita melihat anak mereka seperti anak kita dan kesusahan mereka seperti kesusahan kita. Mereka juga manusia. Saya berpegang satu prinsip, kita semua sama cuma yang memisahkan adalah agama kita.

Walaupun mereka berlainan agama, mereka hendak bersama kita. Seperti saya katakan sebelum ini, saya adalah ‘buta warna’. Saya memang tidak pernah memandang warna kulit. Tetapi saya memandang atas diri dan peribadi.

Jadi, sukar untuk saya meminta orang lain melakukan sedemikian. Sebab saya sejak dahulu lagi, sejak zaman persekolahan lagi saya tidak mempunyai masalah dengan bukan Islam. – (TMJ) _

The month of July… Seventh Month of the year.  Seven day each week…. the whole month… has been an exhilirating roller coaster ride.  This political show began with a number of shocking events that would reveal new episodes almost every day.  To start off, on 1st July, DSAI was attacked from every corner through the alleged sodomy case.  Then we saw RPK (Raja Petra) with his Statutory Declarations implicating our minister.  This was followed by another SD from a private investigator whom became well known instantaneously. 

As though we were in the middle of a digital dolby sensaround theatre, UMNO and PAS were reported in the mainstream media as having “talks” to defend the Malays & Muslims.  This of course caused ripples in the now not so calm waters of Pakatan Rakyat.  And this drama that took shape on the third week of July attracted many divided stands.

Today, on the last day of the months, this July drama doesn’t show any signs of ending.  Not for the DSAI ‘case’, neither for RPK’s many SD and revelations through his Malaysia Today blog, and certainly not for the unfolding PAS story with UMNO regarding the much ado about nothing muzakarah or muqabalah.  However, all quarters within PR should not jump the gun and try to understand the scenarios.  Probably today’s Harakhadaily report can shed some light into the hovering shadow of doubts…

Cabaran perkongsian kuasa dalam pembentukan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat
Mohd Rashidi Hassan
Wed | Jul 30, 08 | 12:54:03 pm MYT
PAS tetap komited dengan Pakatan Rakyat. Itulah jaminan pemimpin-pemimpin PAS dan kehendak ahli serta penyokong PAS keseluruhannya. 

Harus diingatkan, bahawa pemimpin, ahli dan penyokong PAS memberikan kerjasama yang tidak berbelah bahagi sejak penubuhan Barisan Alternatif (BA) yang menggabungkan PAS, KeADILan, PRM dan DAP semasa al-Marhum Dato’ Fadzil Mohd Noor menjadi Presiden PAS lagi.

Komitmen tinggi ahli-ahli PAS dengan semangat berpasukan yang jitu, mereka sanggup bekerja bertungkus lumus untuk kempen pilihan raya yang ditandingi calon dari rakan pembangkang, walaupun PAS lebih dominan di kawasan tersebut.

Tanpa mengira penat lelah, tanpa meminta sebarang upah, jentera pilihan raya PAS, tanpa mengira agama, bangsa dan fahaman ideologi, atas nama demokrasi dan keadilan, turut sama menjulang pemimpin pembangkang sama ada dari KeADILan, PSM, hatta DAP sekali pun!

Komitmen ini tidak harus dipertikaikan! Dan, dengan rasa rendah diri, Ahli-ahli Parlimen dan Adun Pakatan Rakyat harus mengakui, tanpa sumbangan dan kerja keras ahli-ahli PAS, kita semua tidak berada dalam kedudukan sekarang.

Justeru, dengan berlatarbelakangkan keikhlasan dalam perjuangan, PAS sama sekali tidak pernah meninggalkan gabungan atau pakatan pembangkang sebelum ini.

Dalam politik negara, rakyat menyaksikan pasca Pilihan Raya Umum 1999, DAP yang meninggalkan BA. Apa pun alasan yang diberikan itu hak DAP.

Namun dalam keadaan sekarang, pemimpin-pemimpin DAP tidak berhak mempertikaikan keikhlasan pemimpin dan ahli-ahli PAS dalam Pakatan Rakyat.

Jaminan kepada golongan bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam

Jika pun PAS berbincang dengan Umno sama ada atas nama muzakarah atau muqabalah, untuk kepentingan agama Islam dan bangsa Melayu, ianya tidak sesekali menyalahi dasar perjuangan parti PAS.

Walaupun PAS diterajui majoriti orang-orang Melayu dengan dasar perjuangan Islam, namun hak, peluang dan keadilan terhadap golongan bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam tetap dipelihara sebaik-baiknya.

Pengalaman PAS menerajui Kelantan, Terengganu (1999-2004) dan Kedah waktu kini, membuktikan bahawa PAS tidak pernah menyisihkan sama sekali golongan bukan Melayu dan bukan Islam.

Jika dipersoalkan mengenai kepentingan bangsa, apakah MCA, Gerakan dan DAP, walaupun ada pemimpin bukan Cina seperti Karpal Singh, tidak pernah memperjuangkan chauvanisme bangsa?

Terlalu banyak desakan dibuat oleh pemimpin dari ketiga-tiga parti ini, ada kalanya menyentuh soal kedaulatan Raja-raja Melayu, kesucian agama Islam dan kepentingan bangsa Melayu.

Namun, orang-orang Melayu, khususnya dari PAS tidak melatah dan cuba melihatnya dari sudut yang rasional.

Maka apabila PAS dan Umno bercakap soal agenda Islam dan Melayu, kaum-kaum lain tidak harus memandangnya dari sudut yang negatif.

Sesuai dengan dasar perjuangannya, PAS harus memastikan kedudukan majoriti Melayu dan kedaulatan Islam sebagai agama rasmi negara terpelihara sebaik-baiknya.

Masalah yang dihadapi negara cukup besar, ianya adalah manifestasi daripada kegagalan kerajaan Barisan Nasional memastikan kesejahteraan agama dan perpaduan antara kaum terpelihara.

Ketegangan agama dan perpecahan kaum akan membawa kepada ketidakstabilan politik, ini yang harus disedari.

Matlamat PAS jelas, PAS mahu memelihara kestabilan politik dengan peranan serta ruang yang diberikan dalam sistem demokrasi yang diamalkan dalam negara.

Dan, PAS sudah memberi jaminan bahawa PAS sama sekali tidak akan bergabung dengan BN, walaupun wujud pelbagai tawaran.

Jika pemimpin PAS ‘tamak kuasa’, sudah tentu awal-awal lagi PAS menerima tawaran Dato’ Seri Mohd Khir Toyo untuk membentuk kerajaan campuran di Selangor, sejurus selepas PRU, 8 Mac lepas.

Sebaliknya PAS kekal dengan persefahaman Pakatan Rakyat. PAS bekerjasama membentuk kerajaan yang diketuai Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim dari parti KeADILan.

Walaupun banyak tawaran dari Umno, sama ada di Perak, Pahang, Terengganu atau di mana sahaja untuk berkongsi kuasa dengan PAS, namun pemimpin dan ahli-ahli PAS sama sekali tidak bersetuju.

Usaha merencatkan pembentukan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat

Tidak dinafikan usaha pembentukan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat tergendala seketika beberapa minggu, ekoran tercetusnya isu-isu seperti dakwaan liwat terhadap Ketua Umum KeADILan, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim dan muzakarah PAS-Umno.

Momentum ke arah itu sudah bermula dua bulan lalu, berikutan pengumuman hilang keyakinan anggota komponen Barisan Nasional, Parti Maju Sabah (SAPP) terhadap kepimpinan Perdana Menteri, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Tambahan pula, ramai ahli Parlimen BN, sama ada dari parti komponen BN dari Sabah dan Sarawak, hatta dari Umno sekalipun sudah berunding secara serius dengan Anwar untuk menyertai Pakatan Rakyat.

Umno-BN sudah mulai gelabah. Timbul pula ura-ura usul undi tidak percaya terhadap kerajaan pimpinan Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, yang bakal dikemukakan di Parlimen.

Seluruh Kuala Lumpur menjadi ‘havoc’ seketika dengan pelbagai sekatan jalan raya akibat kegusaran pemimpin BN, yang entah dari mana mendapat maklumat perhimpunan besar akan diadakan menjelang pembentangan usul berkenaan.

Sehingga polis terpaksa menggunakan mahkamah untuk menghalang kehadiran Anwar ke Parlimen.

Hakikat sebenarnya, rakyat tidak berurusan dengan khabar angin. Segala perancangan ke arah pembentukan kerajaan Pusat oleh Pakatan Rakyat menjelang 16 September depan sudah direncanakan.

Sebaik sahaja pengumuman ketidakpercayaan kepada PM, beberapa orang ahli Parlimen BN sudah bersedia untuk mengumumkan untuk menyertai Pakatan Rakyat.

Kemudiannya, ia akan disusuli dengan pengumuman Anwar untuk bertanding di kerusi Parlimen.

Ada kemungkinan pemimpin sudah menghidu momentum ke arah itu. Maka pelbagai usaha dilakukan untuk merencatkan pembentukan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat.

Namun apa pun halangan yang hamparkan oleh Umno-BN, Anwar tetap komited dengan agenda beliau. Dalam beberapa minggu ini dijangka pelbagai anjakan positif bagi Pakatan Rakyat akan dilakukan.

Cabaran perkongsian kuasa

Masalah utama kepada gabungan PAS, KeADILan dan DAP ialah bagaimana membentuk serta menyusun sebuah kerajaan yang boleh memuaskan hati semua pihak.

Tidak dinafikan, masing-masing ada agendanya yang tersendiri. Namun asas kepada pembentukan sesebuah kerajaan ialah keadilan, ketelusan, pertanggungjawaban dan amanah kepada semua rakyat.

Dalam merencana agenda masing-masing. Semua pihak tidak harus mempertegaskan kepentingan sesuatu bangsa atau memperjuangkan matlamat politik masing-masing tanpa mengambil kira kepentingan majoriti rakyat, khususnya orang-orang Melayu yang beragama Islam. Inilah dasar yang jelas dan harus difahami.

Sememangnya diperakui, Pakatan Rakyat memperjuangkan dasar perkongsian yang samarata (equal sharing). Equal sharing dalam perkongsian kuasa politik, bukan seperti kiraan subjek matematik.

Ia tidak merujuk kepada semuanya harus dibahagi tiga, atas sifat perkongsian tiga parti PAS, KeADILan dan DAP.

Di Selangor misalnya dalam penyusunan ahli majlis sama ada Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam atau Majlis Perbandaran atau Majlis Daerah, walaupun Exco yang terbabit, Ronnie Liu mewakili DAP, beliau tidak seharusnya dilihat membahagi-bahagikan jawatan dengan melebihkan kaum Cina.

Misalnya di Majlis Perbandaran Subang Jaya yang merangkumi kawasan Puchong, Serdang dan Kelana Jaya, daripada 24 orang ahli majlis, hanya 8 orang sahaja yang beragama Islam sedangkan majoriti penduduk orang-orang Melayu yang beragama Islam.

Begitu juga di Shah Alam yang merangkumi Parlimen Shah Alam dan Kota Raja. Perlantikan Ahli Majlis harus mewakili peratusan penduduk, bukan dibahagi tiga antara tiga parti atau dilantik daripada NGO yang bukan Melayu/ Islam.

Ini amalan dasar kesamarataan yang silap dan membangkitkan sensitiviti orang-orang Melayu. Harus diingat rakyat akan membandingkan senarai keanggotaan majlis PBT di antara zaman BN dengan Pakatan Rakyat.

Jangan sesekali benarkan rakyat menuding jari kepada DAP di Selangor yang hanya dilihat cenderung untuk ‘protect’ bangsa Cina sahaja. Jangan sesekali dibenarkan nama Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, dipalitkan dengan tuduhan orang Melayu yang tidak ‘protect’ bangsanya sendiri.

Pakatan Rakyat seharusnya menutup ruang kelemahan ini dari serangan BN. Orang-orang Melayu tidak pernah meminta lebih atau dimanjakan seperti zaman pemerintahan BN, apa yang perlu hak dan keistimewaan asas mereka sebagaimana yang diperuntukkan dalam perlembagaan, terpelihara.

Kita boleh berikan alasan bahawa kita baru sahaja empat bulan berkongsi kuasa. Tetapi kita harus sedar dan mengelak berperangai seperti Umno/BN yang kita serang habis-habisan akibat pengamalan dasar korupsi, kronisme dan nepotisme.

Walaupun berkongsi kuasa, rakan dari KeADILan juga tidak harus dilihat mengulangi perangai Umno, khususnya dalam pembahagian jawatan-jawatan politik dalam anak-anak syarikat kerajaan negeri Selangor misalnya.

Jangan sesekali dilihat terlalu ghairah hendak merebut ‘ghanimah’ yang besar. Dalam hal ini, tidak dinafikan wujud tindakan dan perlantikan jawatan dibuat tanpa mengambil kira kepentingan PAS dan orang-orang Melayu.

Juga, kaum bukan Melayu atau bukan Islam, mereka tidak harus sewenang-wenangnya menuntut pembesaran kuil, tokong atau rumah ibadat sebagaimana keperluan orang-orang Islam yang mendirikan masjid dan surau.

Pembesaran dan penambahbaikan rumah ibadat tidak disekat sama sekali, tetapi seharusnya dibuat mengikut population atau jumlah penduduk yang bersesuaian.

Berlaku sebuah kampung di Klang, di mana tidak sampai 5 buah keluarga bukan Islam tinggal di situ, menuntut dibuat rumah ibadat untuk mereka. Bukanlah tuntutan ini tidak wajar dan hanya akan membangkitkan sensitiviti orang Melayu/ Islam?

Dan, jika rakyat mengajukan kepada PAS, mengapa pada zaman Umno/BN tuntutan sebegini tidak pernah dilayan, sedangkan pada zaman Pakatan Rakyat dibenarkan tanpa mengambil kira sensitiviti kaum, PAS hanya akan berdiam diri?

Banyak contoh cabaran-cabaran sebegini wujud. Penulis tidak perlu menyenaraikan kesemuanya. Namun apa pun, Tan Sri Khalid seharusnya memperbetulkan keadaan ini segera, jika mahu gabungan Pakatan Rakyat terus utuh.

Menguruskan sebuah negeri maju seperti Selangor bukannya mudah, Khalid adalah orang korporat yang masih memerlukan bimbingan orang-orang politik. Setakat ini, walaupun wujud pelbagai cabaran, kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat terus utuh.

Apapun bebanan Khalid sebagai Menteri Besar Selangor amat besar. Jika Selangor mahu dijadikan asas perkongsian kuasa yang adil, Dato’ Seri Anwar harus memberikan sedikit lebihan tumpuan kepadanya._

There is nothing more sacred than a gentleman’s agreement.. and more so in the Islamic way of life.  I only pray that everyone within Pakatan Rakyat, regardless of race or religion, give our leaders – be it from PKR, PAS or DAP – the confidence and faith that we gave them during the recent PRU….

The test of time is one of the hardest to endure….

Protes & Blog

Sunday 6th July 2008 ~ the day when scores of Malaysians protested against the recent humungous increase in petrol price and the subsequent domino effects on essential goods.  There is no need for me to write about that “PROTES” event as there are already hundreds of blogs and webs that dwelved on it.   But what’s more interesting are the reactions of some of our country’s ministers.

Despite roadblocks and warnings from authorities that the gathering was ‘illegal’, rakyat donning red outfits swarmed the MPPJ stadium that day.  I’d say the response was overwhelming!   And so were the responses from our ‘leaders of the country’….

The TPM was quick to remark that ‘the event was a failure – organiser said it was a protest of a million people, but less than twenty thousand attended’….  this was also echoed by the Menteri Dalam Negeri… hmmmmm…. why suddenly ‘our leaders’ were concerned with this insignificant event.  Or was it too significant that they must by all means lead the rakyat to believe that its just akin to pouring a drop of water into the sea?

And almost immediately our beloved PM slammed bloggers and internet forums, labelling them (us) as being treacherous.  Act of mutiny?  How shallow….. No doubt, as with any communities, there exist irresponsible or misinformed bloggers.  But traitors?  I wouldn’t go that far… but then I do not have any political significance to resort to “all it takes” in addressing issues. 

We have to come to terms that the new world is already here – one that is borderless and where exist free flow of not only information and knowledge, but ideas and opinions whether we like it or not.  Its a world where everyone is able to project their thinkings and thoughts. Its a world where anyone can pen down truth or make-believe.  And it is up to us as individual to filter and open-mindedly analyse the datas. 

Now, its blogs and forums.  Not more than ten years ago, it was books and pamphlets or circulars.  If the government decides to ‘burn’ the blogs and forums, then how different are we from Pol Pot?   Information in writings, be it knowledge or mere myths, cannot be stopped by burning books.  Haven’t we learn enough from history?

Many say that its a repeat of the 1998 fiasco.  I agree.  Typical?  So what…. As I recall, the same swift and fast paced scenarios happened in 1998 when DSAI were then taken custody just few days after he spearheaded the ‘reformasi’ rallies around KL.  Similiar episodes unfolded, one by one, beginning Sunday 29th June 2008.

The nation, again, has been slapped by this disgusting sodomy allegation involving DSAI and his aide during the recent election.  And yet again, the nation is divided on beliefs and opinions.  Some bloggers have even cooked up seven theories on this allegation alone.  And then, there’s the series of statutory declarations and police reports made implicating three of our country’s top brass pertaining power-abuse and the on going trials of a certain Mongolian murder case.

DSAI made his first appearance to address the public in Satdium Melawati on the evening of 1 July 2008.  I was there!  My feeling during the almost three hour event can be summarised as this: a dawn of the new Malaysia is here!    I thought he was going to eloborate and defend the allegations made against him… but was I wrong…  Poised and confident, DSAI spoke like the credible leader he is… of the fight towards making a Malaysia that’s just for every single rakyat.

DSAI

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Today, exactly one week later, many episodes have unfolded. Yet, it is still not clear on what will happen next ~ akin to those Indonesian telemovie Bawang Putih Bawang Merah!