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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.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

#MARUAHMELAYU #WAHAIMELAYU



Setelah mendengar isi hati orang-orang Melayu yang baru-baru ini telah dengan serius bertekad untuk mempertahankan MARUAH ORANG MELAYU, saya berbesar hati dan rendah diri ingin berkongsi sebuah buku yang saya telah tulis dan di lancarkan oleh YAB TUN DR. MAHATHIR pada tahun 2014. Walaupun buku ini istimewa ditujukan kepada usahawan-usahawan muda Melayu, tetapi seruan universalnya juga baik di renung oleh semua baik Melayu atau bukan Melayu, baik yang muda serta juga yang berumur.

Saya akan memuatkan isi kandungan dari buku ini inshaAllah setiap hari, satu. Di sini adalah mukadimah buku tersebut yang bertajuk #WAHAIMELAYU.

Salam, 

Anas


Sesungguhnya Allah tidak mengubah apa yang ada pada sesuatu kaum sehingga mereka mengubah apa yang ada pada diri mereka sendiri. - Quran 13:11

KENAPA BUKU INI? 

Salam, 

Izinkan saya untuk berkongsi satu cerita. Menurut  Statistik Pendapatan dan Kemiskinan Isi Rumah oleh Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB), keluarga saya berada di bawah garis kemiskinan. Yed (ayah) merupakan seorang pembantu kedai bergaji kira-kira RM120 sebulan. Kadang kala kami makan nasi dengan planta dan kicap sahaja. Lewat 1960an, Yed dimasukkan ke hospital akibat batuk kering. Ketika itu, Umi hanya memperolehi RM60 sebulan daripada majikan Yed.

Pada tahun 1968, Umi mendapat satu peluang ‘besar’. Nasib Umi berubah apabila adik lelakinya yang bekerja di Timur Tengah memberinya USD30 (RM93). Umi tidak menggunakan wang itu untuk kepuasan segera, sebaliknya menjadikan wang tersebut modal berniaga. Umi mula berniaga kecil-kecilan. Menjual batik, selendang, cadar, dan lain-lain yang dibeli daripada Pak Ali di Jual Murah, Pulau Pinang. Apabila Pak Ali melihat kejujuran dan kesungguhan Umi dalam perniagaan, beliau menggalakkan Umi untuk mengambil bekalan daripadanya secara konsainan - ambil dahulu dan bayar kemudian. Pada mulanya Umi enggan, tetapi Pak Ali berjaya meyakinkan Umi untuk membuat bayaran balik secara konsisten. Umi memulakan sistem kreditnya sendiri. Umi bijak menguruskan kewangan perniagaannya sehinggakan Umi mahir merancang dengan tepat bila untuk mengetuk pintu pelanggan (pada minggu gaji) dan bila untuk membayar pembekal. Bagi Umi, menepati janji adalah sesuatu yang tidak boleh dianggap remeh dalam perniagaan mahupun kehidupan.

Saya membesar melihat Umi cermat berbelanja. Umi sentiasa berjimat dan jujur dengan pengurusan wang, pelanggan, dan pembekal. Umi tidak pernah menipu sesiapa. Tanpa menipu, tanpa mengelentong, Umi membina reputasi yang baik sebagai seorang peniaga yang beretika. Sehingga satu tahap, pembekalpembekal lain turut meminta Umi menjual untuk mereka, tetapi Umi setia dan kekal berurusan dengan Pak Ali sahaja. Etika perniagaan Umi dan sifat jimat-cermatnya dengan wang telah memupuk budaya berhemat yang sama dalam diri saya.

Saya percaya pada pelan tindakan afirmatif seperti DEB. Mana-mana masyarakat yang mempunyai golongan kaya dan miskin perlu melakukan sesuatu untuk mengurangkan jurang perbezaan antara kedua-dua kumpulan tersebut. Saya tidak percaya kepada kesaksamaan dalam erti kata yang terlalu luas, saya akan sentiasa mengutamakan golongan miskin. Kita mesti sentiasa membantu mereka. Pada pendapat saya, tuntutan kesaksamaan di kalangan yang tidak sama rata hanya menguntungkan golongan kaya sahaja. Namun demikian, kita perlu berhati-hati dalam memberi bantuan untuk mengelakkan mentaliti subsidi. Kita tidak mahu membantu golongan miskin sehingga mereka hanya mengharapkan bantuan sepanjang hidup mereka. Ini bukan membantu tetapi merosakkan. Keseimbangan antara menggalakkan masyarakat untuk belajar dan pemberian yang keterlaluan tidak mudah dicapai. Kita perlu bersederhana.

Biar saya  kongsikan satu lagi cerita. Ketika saya di bangku sekolah menengah, saya menerima biasiswa bulanan daripada kerajaan sebanyak RM15. Jumlah ini jika diikutkan tidaklah seberapa tetapi bantuan itu membolehkan saya untuk mengambil bahagian dalam aktiviti-aktiviti yang biasanya disertai oleh kanak-kanak yang ibu-bapanya dari kelas pertengahan atau kaya seperti Kelab Interact. Saya menggunakan sebahagian daripada wang itu untuk pakaian seragam serta projek-projek sekolah dan melabur bakinya untuk menjana pendapatan kecil dengan berniaga bersama Umi. Melalui biasiswa itu, saya dapat menimba pengalaman di luar bilik darjah. Saya mula berjinak dengan kemahiran seperti kepimpinan, kemanusiaan, menganjurkan projek, dan banyak lagi. 

Bantuan itu juga mengajar saya beberapa perkara penting yang lain. Saya belajar menabung. Kita tidak akan dapat belajar menyimpan jika kita tidak berduit. Saya belajar mengendalikan wang, cara untuk berbelanja, dan menabung. Semua ini tidak mungkin berlaku jika saya tidak menerima RM15 setiap bulan melalui pelan tindakan afirmatif seperti DEB. Bantuan kecil daripada kerajaan itu adalah lebih daripada wang benih, ia membolehkan individu seperti saya untuk memahami, menghormati, mengendali, dan menghargai budaya wang.

Apabila saya berkongsi tweet tentang #WahaiMelayu, beberapa orang kawan saya hairan mengapa saya yang selalu menggalakkan perpaduan seolah-olah hanya bercakap mengenai satu kaum sahaja di Malaysia. Bukan menjadi masalah untuk saya menulis buku yang sama untuk kaum lain, malah saya merasa satu dengan semua kaum (seperti kebanyakan rakyat Malaysia yang lain). Sebenarnya, saya bersama beberapa rakan lain yang mengambil berat isu kaum India sedang dalam perancangan untuk melancarkan sebuah buku yang sama bagi kaum India di Malaysia yang bertajuk #WahaiKaumIndia. Terdapat pelbagai aspek sosiobudaya dan ekonomi yang unik pada kumpulan khusus atau etnik tertentu yang memerlukan perhatian unik. Walaupun #WahaiMelayu ditujukan untuk orang Melayu, sebahagian besar tip-tip yang ditulis di sini adalah sesuai untuk semua.

Saya berharap buku ini akan memberi inspirasi, berfikir dan membantu anda untuk menyoal diri sendiri. Saya menulis buku ini dalam bentuk cilik supaya ia mudah dicerna oleh semua. Tip-tip dalam buku ini adalah hasil pembelajaran  daripada Umi, keluarga, pengalaman sendiri serta dengan memerhati orangorang di sekeliling.

Akhir sekali, saya tidak percaya adanya bangsa pemalas. Saya juga tidak dapat menerima bahawa kaum Melayu hanya berbakat dalam bidang seni dan berpolitik tetapi tidak dalam perniagaan – ini semuanya adalah sempadan-sempadan palsu yang membataskan diri dan kita perlu keluar dari kepompong ini. Apa yang kita perlu cari adalah motivasi dan inspirasi yang betul untuk sesuatu budaya khusus seperti kaum Melayu. Begitu juga dalam menangani golongan-golongan tertentu di Afrika, India, dan sebagainya – kita mesti mencari jalan yang sesuai untuk berkomunikasi dan berhubung dengan mereka. Ini adalah supaya mereka akan tampil ke hadapan dan menjadi produktif dan efektif.

Saya ingin memohon maaf sekiranya ada hasil penulisan saya yang kedengaran agak kasar dan menyinggung perasaan pembaca. Bukan niat saya untuk menyakiti. Tetapi untuk membuka hati kita supaya kita akan lebih maju ke hadapan. Terima kasih kepada semua pihak yang telah membantu terutamanya Hidayah Mazlan, Aizuddin Arshad, ‘Aizat Roslan, Nur Intan Dayana Adinan, Nur Syuhada Zakaria, Nurul Haqq Shahrir, dan Rozitaayu Zulkifli kerana menjayakan penerbitan buku ini.

Salam.
anas zubedy 

email: anas@zubedy.com 
http://letusaddvalue.blogspot.com 
http://www.facebook.com/zubedy 
twitter: @anaszubedy

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

ONE STREAM SCHOOL SYSTEM




Can we re-look both the VERNACULAR and AGAMA school system?
I am for ONE-STREAM school system but not on the expense of quality education. Any move to change must be done sensibly and the transition period must be managed with extra care and planning. For example, if the vernacular or agama schools are producing better citizens as compared to our national ones - say in terms of life skills and discpline, learn from them - let them lead if we must. Choose from the very best. Home bred ways, besides learning from other countries like Finland.
Furthermore, even if we have a single stream school system, due to location, we will still likely have schools that are filled with kids from a particular ethnic group – say in Kedah and Kelantan. As such, it is important that we ensure the tenaga pengajar (teachers and principals) and school administrators are represented by all our ethnic groups including Sabahans and Sarawakians for schools in the Semenanjung. These teachers and administrators will act as a channel, role model and informal teachers who can share their ethnic culture with the school population via special extra-curricular activities and festive celebrations.
The following is an article from my book The Middle Path published in May 2012 about the subject concern.
WHY HAVE ONE-STREAM SCHOOLS
What do you mean by one-stream schools?
We now have national schools and vernacular schools - schools that use Mandarin and Tamil as their medium of teaching. We also have Agama schools as well as International private schools.
However, I suggest that we work towards forming one- stream schools where all our children can learn together. For this to happen, there needs to be a change in our schooling system. We need to come up with a two-session structure perhaps where all students go to school together in the morning session, then learn the vernacular languages and other important skills in the afternoon. This way, Mandarin will not just be limited to the Chinese students, or Tamil to the Indian students - our children can learn all four major languages including Arabic if they are interested.
Why have one-stream schools?
Because Unity is our most important goal.
As children go through their socialisation process, it is crucial that they do it in an environment that is truly representative of the Malaysian society. Beyond what they learn in school lessons, the actual process of socialisation, mixing around with others around them, is the most influential learning process our children will go through. We must ensure that they get to know each other from a young age – that they interact with each other, learn to get used to each others languages, cultures, practices, smells, behaviours … and if they have to quarrel because of differences, it should all be part of the socialisation process from when they are young.
Whatever it is, we are a multicultural society – we cannot allow our children to grow up separately. This is one of the greatest recipes for disunity. If children grow up surrounded only by their own race, they will be ill-prepared to deal with the reality of Malaysian society. They may become maladjusted people when they enter the workforce.
This is why I suggest that we encourage more multiracial neighbourhoods so children can grow up together at home (as I have explained in the previous chapter). In the same way, we need to work towards one-stream schools so that they can grow up together in schools and practice supporting one another as they learn together.
Are you saying that those who go to vernacular and private schools are not capable of Unity?
No, it is not a generalisation that applies to all who go to vernacular or private schools - there are many who still have a healthy sense of Unity. In any situation, there are always some who are able to rise above the circumstances. But I am suggesting that having separate school systems does not prepare a conducive environment for most of our children to grow up knowing each other as one.
How can we work towards schools that are conducive for our children to study together?
We need to deal with the quality of our national schools; the system, approach, and the teachers. Many send their children to Chinese schools not simply because of language, but more so because of the quality of education. When we work towards setting up one-stream schools, we need to carefully look into the quality of the school system and the quality of teachers. Maybe we can even learn from the Chinese school system, transfer technology of how they mould hardworking and effective students. The leaders and technocrats from the Chinese schools should play an important role in revising the structure of national schools. We need to study how to organise the school system to allow students to learn history, mathematics, science, languages, arts, drama, sports, culture… all the important aspects of development.
As far as possible it would be best if we have teachers from all races. The school environment must be a microcosm of the diversity in Malaysian society for children to go through a healthy socialisation process that will prepare them to know, appreciate and love our various cultures.
Peace,
Anas Zubedy

Saturday, September 21, 2019

PORK IN THE QURAN - What does the Quran say?

The Quran is very specific about pork. The Book specifically said that we are to avoid EATING the 'MEAT' or ' FLESH OF SWINE' . Any other than these are basically MENGHARAMKAN YANG HALAL. Here, read for yourself all verses regarding the prohibition of eating THE FLESH OF SWINE. Nothing about touching it or using it for printed money. Quran 2:173 إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ بِهِ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the FLESH OF SWINE, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Quran 5:3 حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِه Prohibited to you are dead animals, blood, the FLESH OF SWINE, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah , and [those animals] killed by strangling or by a violent blow or by a head-long fall or by the goring of horns, and those from which a wild animal has eaten, except what you [are able to] slaughter [before its death], and those which are sacrificed on stone altars, and [prohibited is] that you seek decision through divining arrows. That is grave disobedience. This day those who disbelieve have despaired of [defeating] your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. BUT WHOEVER IS FORCED BY SEVERE HUNGER WITH NO INCLINATION TO SIN – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Quran 6:145 إِلَّا أَنْ يَكُونَ مَيْتَةً أَوْ دَمًا مَسْفُوحًا أَوْ لَحْمَ خِنْزِيرٍ فَإِنَّهُ رِجْسٌ Say, “I do not find within that which was revealed to me [anything] forbidden to one who would EAT it unless it be a dead animal or blood spilled out or the FLESH OF SWINE – for indeed, it is impure – or it be [that slaughtered in] disobedience, dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], then indeed, your Lord is Forgiving and Merciful. Quran 16:115 إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنْزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, THE FLESH OF SWINE, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah. But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit] – then indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Peace, anas Note : You may choose to follow or not to follow the Quran. That is between you and Allah.

IRAN --- NEITHER MILITARY ACTION NOR ECONOMIC SANCTIONS

by Chandra Muzaffar

It would be utterly immoral of the United States to launch a military attack upon Iran if it is true that one of the missiles that destroyed an oil refinery in Saudi Arabia on the 14th of September 2019 had a casing bearing a number that suggested that the weapon was manufactured for NATO forces. The alphabets preceding the number denote the type of missile it is and one of its uses. The picture of the missile was inadvertently supplied to the media by the Saudi Defense Ministry.

A theory that has emerged in the wake of the picture of this missile is that the assault on the oil refineries in Saudi’s Eastern Province could have been a false flag operation initiated by John Bolton who was sacked by President Donald Trump as National Security Adviser around that time. It was his way of orchestrating a ‘parting shot’ which he could then blame on Iran --- a State that he has always targeted in pursuit of his neo-conservative agenda of emasculating Israel’s regional adversaries in order to ensure the latter’s supremacy and hegemony.

A false flag operation would exonerate Iran which has consistently maintained that it had nothing to do with the attack on the refineries. Besides, Iran does not stand to gain in any way from such action. Its current preoccupation is with getting crippling sanctions imposed on it by the US lifted immediately. A false flag operation would however raise a question or two about the Houthi ( Ansar Allah) claim that it destroyed the Saudi refineries. Indeed, if anyone in the region has a reason to act against the Saudi regime, it would be the Houthis and the people of Yemen in general. Since 2015 at least 50,000 bombs and missiles have been dropped in Yemen by the Saudi military and its regional allies. More than 15,000 children, women and men have perished. Farms, hospitals and schools have been bombarded. The constant daily attacks have spawned the worst humanitarian crisis in the 21st century. Preventable diseases such as cholera have spread and malnutrition and starvation haunt tens of thousands of families. It has been estimated that a child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen as a result of all this.

It is this terrible catastrophe that the world should address. False flag operations divert attention from the root causes of a catastrophe ignited by the Saudi and US elites years ago. Those causes in turn are related to geopolitics, power and hegemony. The ordinary Yemeni has paid a huge price.
If a military assault on Iran is not to going to help the ordinary Yemeni neither will the tightening of economic sanctions against the people of Iran. Already the sanctions re-imposed upon that country since the US withdrew from the six nation nuclear deal have led to a great deal of pain and suffering within the populace. The sick including children have been deprived of much needed medicines which are presently imported from abroad.

Military action and economic sanctions it is obvious only exacerbate dire situations. Whenever it is initiated by a mighty power in collusion with its allies and agents, it fails to achieve its objectives. Take US helmed military campaigns aimed at furthering their own often diabolical agenda. The US attempt to crush what was in reality a nationalist movement in Vietnam in the sixties and early seventies resulted in its own ignominious defeat. Under the banner of NATO, it took control of Afghanistan in October 2001 and in the process ignited a war of resistance which after 18 years has undoubtedly enhanced the Taliban’s grip upon power.

Together with Britain, it invaded and occupied Iraq convinced that it would not only be able to control the nation’s rich oil resource but also determine the region’s politics in favour of Israel. Neither goal has been achieved and Iraq continues to be in a quagmire. Libya is another country in West Asia and North Africa (WANA) where the US and its NATO partners initially succeeded in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi and murdering him brutally but is now bogged down in a chaotic terrain where there is no effective functioning government.

In Syria for at least seven years, starting in 2011, the US and its allies sought through covert and overt means to oust the government of Bashar Al-Assad mainly because it refused to kowtow to them. Though they even employed terrorist outfits to achieve their objective, Bashar is still in the seat of power, supported by the Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. Syria has proven yet again that it is not possible to accomplish regime change through military means orchestrated by external actors.

Economic sanctions however harsh have also not succeeded in bringing governments that value their independence and integrity to their knees. An outstanding example of a nation that has withstood US sanctions and enhanced its sovereignty is Cuba. One of those rare occasions when sanctions have worked is the global movement against Apartheid South Africa in the eighties. There was a universal moral principle underlying those sanctions that transcended any self-serving agenda which was one of the reasons that explained its success. One can argue that such a principle is also present in the Boycott, Divest Sanctions (BDS) movement in relation to Israeli occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands.

The time has come for people everywhere to reject military action and self-serving economic sanctions as means towards certain nefarious ends. Since the former is a threat and the latter is a reality in the case of Iran, the Iranian crisis should serve as a platform for the mass mobilization of global public opinion against the use of these two weapons. Let Iran be that moment in history that will persuade humankind to eschew what is vile and vicious, what is cruel and callous in our setting as we journey towards a civilization that is just, humane and compassionate.

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

Malaysia.
20 September 2019.