Followers

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

WE NEED MORE ECONOMIC SURPLUS, NOT MORE PM CANDIDATES, PLEASE.

What we desperately need is a huge economic surplus, not the surplus of candidates for the position of Prime Minister.
Since GE 14, we spent so much energy and attention to when the current PM will pass the baton to the next person even though the initial agreement of 2 years has yet to be breached. Nay, not even after 6 months from May 2018 did, we start! We were busy with the transition as though a change of PM is key to our success. A utopia just waiting to arrive once we have a new PM in place. How na├»ve!
Economic performance and a handsome surplus should be our priority task. The top priority task! Our focus should be on the business people, big, medium and small. Are our business community doing well? Are they optimistic? Are foreign investments rushing to invest in our country? Is our stock market doing better than all the others are within our neighboring South-East Asian counterparts? Are we removing any uncertainties to make our business climate certain and seamless for investments and economic activities?
Sadly, the answer is no.
Let us refocus. Put priority to the economy and its performance. Focus on the business people. Make their work easier by creating the environment for business success.
Why?
Because all other social functions – education, religious, health care, public-service, defense … and almost all other human activities depend and hinges on the surplus of economic resources. Profits and savings that can only be generated by a successful economic performance. Furthermore, we are living in an era of the employee society. Is it not smart to focus on those who provide jobs in the first place?
What is to be done?
It does not matter if you are the king maker in the deep state, a super keyboard warrior or all other member of the Malaysian rakyat – pay attention to the business people. Focus your energy to make them successful because your success and the country’s victory can only take place if they triumph.
We need more economic surplus, not more PM candidates.
Peace.
Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement for Moderates

Tuesday, December 31, 2019





CONQUER HATE WITH LOVE,
REPEL EVIL WITH GOOD.

Have a Meaningful 2020


Dear fellow Malaysians,
The best way for us to save Malaysia is to ensure that we all practice our faith better. Hindus become better Hindu, Buddhists become better Buddhist, Christians to trust Jesus and Muslims to trust the Quran with all our hearts.
Our tit-for-tat behavior will not bring more good, it will only bring us harm. Do we not trust our own faith?
The best way to punish those who harm you is to make them feel abashed by doing them good and thinking no more of it. - Tirukkural 314, Tiruvalluvar
If you want to see the brave, look to those who can return love for hatred, if you want to see the heroic, look to those who can forgive. - The Bhagavad Gita
For hate is not conquered by hate; hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal - Dhammapada Verse 5
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you - Matthew 5:44, The Bible
But [since] good and evil cannot be equal, repel thou [evil] with something that is better - and lo! he between whom and thyself was enmity [may then become] as though he had [always] been close [unto thee], a true friend! - Quran 41:34
I am sure many of us do 
Have A Meaningful 2020,
Peace, anas

Thursday, November 28, 2019

JUST FORUM : Myth of ‘Free Media’ and Fake News in the Post-Truth Era - 7 Dec 2019, 10.00am


JUST cordially invites you and your friends to the forum "Myth of ‘Free Media’ and Fake News in the Post-Truth Era”
JUST would be grateful if you wish to participate in this event and also appreciate if you can circulate this invitation among your network or share on your Facebook page.


Saturday 7 December 2019 - IAIS Malaysia Jalan Elmu Petaling Jaya



Programme
       9.30 am  :Registration/ Light Refreshments
       10.00 am:Welcoming Remarks
                       Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil - Deputy CEO IAIS
       10.10 am:Forum on ‘Myth of ‘Free Media’ and Fake News in the Post-Truth Era‘
                       Dr Chandra Muzaffar -(speaker)
                       Dr Kalinga Seneviratne - (speaker)
                       Chaired by Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil
       11.00 am:Interactive Session


Please register before 3 December 2019 at hassanal@just-international.org
For more information, please contact 03 77812494 (Hassanal/ Haida)

Monday, October 28, 2019

KASHMIR : SELF-DETERMINATION IS THE SOLUTION - CHANDRA MUZAFFAR


                                                                                                                           
 By : Chandra Muzaffar
                            
It is a pity that some groups and individuals are urging palm oil importers in India to refrain from buying the commodity from Malaysia. The Solvent Extractors Association of India, India’s top vegetable oil trade body is one such outfit. Apparently, this boycott is a sort of “punishment” for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s  remarks on Kashmir at the United Nations General Assembly on 27th September 2019.

The Indian government has reportedly protested against Dr Mahathir’s criticism of Indian action in Kashmir. However so far it has not voiced support for the call to boycott Malaysian palm oil. There are also groups such as the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee that have come out against  the reduction of Malaysian palm oil imports by India because of the possibility of retaliatory measures that could impact adversely upon workers from Tamil Nadu employed in the information technology sector and  restaurant business in Malaysia.

This is one of the dangers of trade boycotts and the like in bilateral relations. They escalate quite easily doing irreparable damage to ties that have been cultivated over a long period of time. It is commendable that the two governments have displayed a degree of restraint. Vested interests, political parties and civil society groups in India and Malaysia should also demonstrate their maturity and approach the issue at hand in a balanced manner.

Since both countries are practising democracies, criticisms of certain aspects of the policies and practices of one another should be viewed as integral to their underlying value system. A democracy does not overact to a critical comment about its policy or practice. This is especially so if the state in question is also the world’s largest democracy.

Besides, one should examine the view expressed by Mahathir without any blinkers. Its main thrust was that the longstanding Kashmir conflict should be resolved “by peaceful means.”  UN resolutions on Kashmir should not be disregarded. This is a position that a number of other governments have also expressed from various platforms.

At the crux and core of the UN’s stand on Kashmir is the solemn recognition that the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be accorded primacy. This is why right from the outset the UN had urged all sides involved in the conflict to allow for a UN supervised plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir which would decide the destiny of the people of that region. In other words, the people of Jammu and Kashmir should exercise their sacred right of self-determination. 
  
In the early decades, self-determination was understood as the people of Jammu and Kashmir joining either India or Pakistan. In recent years, a new dimension has emerged.  Self-determination in the real sense must also mean the people’s right to establish their own independent, sovereign state of Jammu and Kashmir which is part of neither Pakistan nor India.

Whatever the eventual goal, self-determination as a principle has not only been ignored but often suppressed. Uprisings by the people have been mercilessly crushed, the most infamous of which was the Jammu Massacre of 6th November 1947. It is alleged that Indian occupation forces alongside Dogra forces and RSS militants killed around half a million Kashmiri Muslims. Killings have continued in the last seven decades. It was this that Mahathir alluded to in his UN speech.                 
It is important to emphasise that these massacres have spawned the rise of militants and militancy in Kashmir. While militancy in Kashmir is largely home-grown and is intimately interwoven with the legitimate struggle for self-determination, it is quite conceivable that it receives material and moral support from elements in the Pakistani power stratum. This support and the militancy itself have now complicated the quest for a just solution to the conflict.

Sometimes political decisions made by New Delhi intensify --- perhaps unwittingly --- militancy among Kashmiris. The recent revocation of Kashmir’s special status through the abrogation of Article 370 in the Indian Constitution on the 5th of August 2019 is a case in point.  A portion of Kashmiris will interpret the revocation and all that it implies in terms of ownership of land, the right of settlement and the alteration of ethnic and religious demographics as the wilful annexation of Indian occupied Kashmir into the Indian Union and therefore a clear repudiation of the desire of the Kashmiri people to determine their own future.

It appears that the abrogation of Article 370 will only perpetuate the violence and the bloodshed associated with one of the longest political conflicts in modern times.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar is the President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).

Malaysia.

26th October 2019.
    

     
 
         
     
        

Saturday, October 26, 2019

It is OK to be RACIAL, not OK to be RACIST

It is OK to be racial, not OK to be racist. My dear Malaysians, we are Malaysia – a country from its inception have chosen integration over assimilation. The rainbow instead of just one color. As such, it is okay to organize a congress, meeting, political party, society, etc. based on race or ethnicity but …
In Malaysia each of our ethnic groups are encouraged to bloom for the most part unhindered; Chinese speak Chinese, eat with chopsticks, have Chinese names; Indians have Indian names and speak their own dialects; Malays follow their traditions which are the core culture of this nation. So do our brothers and sisters is Sabah and Sarawak be they Iban, Kadazandusun, Bidayuh, Melanau, Bajau, Murut and the other groups.
We want all the beauty of each of our member rainbow race to blossom, thrive and add value to the Malaysian supra-race and at the same time accept that it is a functional, cognizant goal, and strive to inculcate our children with the goal of being Malaysian: speak, read and write our language Bahasa Malaysia, with ease. As such, it is OK to be racial, to follow what our tradition dictates for our behavior, beliefs and customs; it enriches and grounds us, makes us feel safe and secure with who we are in relation to everyone around us. But it is not OK to be racist; to think that our race is somehow superior to others and to dislike someone or some group of people because of their ethnic background; that is plain ignorance and arrogance.
So, it is okay to organize a congress based on one’s ethnic grouping. But it is not okay to use it as a platform to threaten or bad mouth the other.
So, let’s get that right. Because …
“We appreciate food instead of bullets, clothing instead of uniforms, houses instead of barracks” – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Bapa Malaysia.
Peace, anas zubedy Malaysian Movement For Moderates

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

BUILD TRUST, HEAL HEARTS.


Peace.
Our future depends on how well many different kinds of people
can live and work together.”
                                     Tunku Abdul Rahman

I recently had the pleasure to attend Khazanah Megatrend Forum 2019 - “BUILDING OUR COLLECTIVE BRAIN” – from the past to the future. (read here https://www.kmf.com.my/concept-paper/ )

“BUILDING OUR COLLECTIVE BRAIN” is based on Harvard Professor Joseph Henrich’s book, entitled, THE SECRET OF OUR SUCCESS. The gist of Professor Henrich’s proposition as I gather suggests:

1.    It is not our general intelligence, innate brain power or specialized mental abilities that can explain our success as a human species but it is our collective brains through cumulative cultural evolution – our ability to learn from each other.

2.    The power of our collective brains depends on in part on the size of the group of individuals engaged and on our social interconnectedness.

3.    The larger the group and the more interconnected – meaning the more inclusive we are, will result to a more powerful collective brain. And the reverse is true.

In other words when a group of people are secluded from others, they will have less technology and tools, less know-how, less skills etc. In fact, they are likely to slowly but surely move backwards. In a crude way of summarizing this, the more inclusive and connected a society, the smarter they get and conversely, the more exclusive and less connected the society, they get dumber and dumber. Do read the KMF link above about the Tasmanian and Melaka experience for better understanding.

4.    We don’t have culture because we are smart, we are smart because we have culture. The more we learn from different cumulated cultural knowledge, the more we amassed the collective brain – the bigger our cultural library. And, the more successful we get.
Being a student of the Quran, as I listened to Professor Joseph Henrich’s lecture, I cannot help but remember the inclusive and pluralistic call of the Quran. It seems the Professor has help us understand the Quranic truth better, with deep analysis, empirical data and well researched findings. He confirmed my thoughts and stand on the Quran’s call value our diversity and the stress for inclusiveness.

Let me share 2 verses.

Quran 49:13

O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.

Quran 30:22

And among His wonders is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colours: for in this, behold, there are messages indeed for all who are possessed of [innate] knowledge!

We in Malaysia are very lucky as we are a supermarket of languages, culture, ethnic groups and sub-groups.  Our collective brain should burst with new ideas and technology, know-how, systems and processes. But, is this happening? Are we celebrating our Quranic gift? I have strong convictions we can do better. I am very certain we are not tapping our utmost potentials.

How can we ever grow our collective brain when there are many among us who prefer and promote exclusivity and the strong desire to be cocooned with their own community? Why are some among us pushing for more and more exclusiveness? Why are we not making full use of our diversity to build our collective brain? Why are we not making the best of our God-given diversity?

This is my take.

Before we can build our collective brain, we need to first build our collective heart. The brain will not come together when the heart is not willing. Sadly, we are a nation that is fairly rich and successful, but yet we are a nation with wounded hearts.

Allow me to repeat. We are a nation with wounded hearts.

Today, in Malaysia, every single group of people is feeling as though they are not being treated fairly. Every community feel that they have been short-changed. We are suspicious of each other and we have a trust deficit. We question each other's intentions. We are wary of each other’s actions.

Until we build our collective heart no amount of effort can ever foster or promote harmonious living and national integration. We need to heal ourselves. We need to heal the other. We need to heal the wounded hearts.

I am optimistic. I have to be. I believe, we can do it. And we must do it!

I would like to propose 5 key points. 5 good culture we must foster between us. I will try to support my recommendations with Quranic guidance and the Muslim traditions. This I do because I would like to convince my fellow Muslims first, those who are bias towards a more exclusive approach, so they may have a change of heart. For my Non-Muslim brothers and sisters, I am confident we share common values within our traditions.

1.    Practice the culture of fair play and be honest on both sides. The Quran chapter 83 verses 1-3 reads, “WOE UNTO THOSE who give short measure: those who, when they are to receive their due from [other] people, demand that it be given in full. but when they have to measure or weigh whatever they owe to others, give less than what is due!”

As an example, when we call for one stream schooling, we must not just choose to point at say the Chinese school system, but also pay attention to say, agama schools that also separate out children from the other. And vice versa.

When we do this, we build trust. When we do this, we heal hearts.

2.    Practice the culture of self-criticism. The Quran says at Chapter 4: 135, “O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it be against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk. Whether the person concerned be rich or poor, God's claim takes precedence over [the claims of] either of them. Do not, then, follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for if you distort [the truth], behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do! –

In other words, say, “I will first be critical of myself and my own community. If I am Muslim, I will be critical of the wrongdoings of Muslims first. If I am Christian, I will be critical of the wrongdoings of Christians first, and so on.”

Similarly, at the ethnic front. Each community should first be critical towards their own ethnic groups who fail to work towards promoting harmonious living and national integration before pointing the fingers to the other.

When we do this, we build trust. When we do this, we heal hearts.

3.    Practice the culture that acts with empathy and mercy. The Quran says that the Prophet was send as the evidence of Mercy to all the worlds - Rahmatan lil Alamin at chapter 21 verse 107. Thus, we must practice mercy to everyone regardless of race, religion or background.

Our economic policy must help everyone that is needy and poor. No poor rakyat must be left unattended. I am not suggesting equality in the loose sense. Equality in the loose sense will favor the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and weak. What we must do is to bias the poor. Period. All who are poor – Malay, Chinese, Indians, Eurasians, Kadazans, Ibans, Murut, and so on. All who are poor must be given full attention, adequate help.

Here I would like to suggest we do somewhat the opposite of what was suggested earlier in point two. Each ethnic group pay attention and practice mercy and empathy to the poor among the other ethnic groups instead of their own community. Perhaps the government can appoint a Malay to be in charge of the Indian poor, an Indian to be in charge of the Chinese poor, a Chinese to be in charge of the Eurasian poor, and so on.

When we do this, we build trust. When we do this, we heal hearts.

4.    Practice the culture of moderation. Moderation is the virtue of Islam. At chapter 31 verse 19 the Quran says, “Be moderate in your pace. And lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is certainly the braying of donkeys”. And at chapter 17 verse 29 the Quran says, “Make not thy hand tied (like a niggard's) to thy neck nor stretch it forth to its utmost reach so that thou become blameworthy and destitute.”.

At Chapter 2 verse 143, the Quran drew that the difficult test of those who are rightly guided are those who can be a community that practices the middle way.

Today many in Malaysia are fond of choosing the worst from the other community and make that person as the representative of the whole. The Chinese will choose the worst of the Malays and make him the standard. The Malays too will do the same. Similarly, the other ethnic groups and religious affiliation.

We are nuts.

We choose the extremes rather that choosing to look through the eyes of moderation. We should never give legitimacy to the extreme few who want to hurt the others or with hideous personal agenda. In choosing to do so, we too fail to practice moderation. There will always be those with more extreme views within each community. We should not give them power and make them the spokesperson for the whole community. We must always treat them as the minority and highlight the moderate majority.

Failing to do so makes us no different than the Islamophobic West who equate Islam with terrorism because they choose to give legitimacy to groups like IS and AlQaeda who are the extreme minority as representing Islam instead of the majority 1.6 billion Muslims who are peace loving.

We must practice moderation and choose to highlight the best among us, the moderate majority from all ethnic groups and religious believes and never give legitimacy to the few who are peddling exclusive, extreme and hurtful views.

When we do this, we build trust. When we do this, we heal hearts.

5.    Practice the culture derived from the Constitution and Rukunegara.
The Constitution and Rukunegara must be made our compass. Better still, integrate the Rukunegara and its Cita-cita as the preamble to our Constitution.

Recently, we proposed to add Integrity as the sixth Cita-Cita to the current five. I always find the opportunity to share these Cita-Cita.

               I.         to achieving a greater unity of all her peoples;

             II.         to maintaining a democratic way of life;

            III.         to creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared;

           IV.         to ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions;

             V.         to building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology, and the sixth, our recommendation,

           VI.         to foster a national identity grounded on integrity of thought, speech, and action.

Let us focus on Cita-Cita number 1 and 4 in this article – To achieve a greater unity and ensure a liberal approach to our rich and diverse cultural traditions.   

As I quoted earlier, Quran 49:13 suggests, it is God who have made us into nations and tribes, so that we might come to know one another. And, Quran 30:22 stresses that it is God who created the diversity of our tongues and colours: and these are messages for those of us who have innate knowledge.

The Prophet organized a social contract, the Medina Charter that includes Muslims, Jews, Christians and a myriad of clans that proclaimed all of them as belonging to ‘one single community’ or ‘ummah wahidah’.  The social contract offers a vision of a religiously multicultural society based on loyalty to each other, security and a mechanism to settle disputes among each community.

We too have a parallel social contract, our Malaysian constitution that proclaims us all as ‘one citizen under the Malaysian nation’. We need to carry the spirit and practice the culture of Ummah Wahidah under our constitution and stop hurting each other by calling the other pendatang or asking one or the other to balik somewhere else as we have no other home but Malaysia.

When we do this, we build trust. When we do this, we heal hearts.
To conclude, let me make a short review. We the Malaysian rakyat are sitting on a winning ticket but we are too afraid and wounded to cash it in. We have the right formula and opportunity to build our collective brain and win big locally and globally. But to build our collective brain, we first need to build trust, heal hearts. To build trust and heal hearts we need to practice a few new culture and habits. Namely, practice fair play, self-criticism, empathy and mercy, moderation and embrace the constitution together with the Rukunegara.

As a request, may I suggest, you and I be the first to start. We must take ownership, take responsibility. Let us not wait for others to act. We take the first step.

Last but not least,

May all of us guide ourselves with love, logic and wisdom. Love, because love makes us fair with our hearts; Logic, because logic makes us fair with our minds; and Wisdom, because wisdom leads us to combine our love and logic in the way of God and for the benefit of Mankind.

BUILD TRUST, HEAL HEARTS

Our future depends on how well many different kinds of people
can live and work together.”
                                     Tunku Abdul Rahman
Peace.
Anas Zubedy
Malaysian Movement For Moderates

Note: This is an adaptation to my presentation script as a panelist during HARMONY MALAYSIA’S 5TH Annual National Conference - Education and Culture in Promoting Harmonious Living and National Integration, last weekend,  October 19th, 2019 at IAIS, Kuala Lumpur.