Saturday, August 30, 2014

Mujahid and Saifuddin share ‘independent’ views across political divide by Alyaa Alhadjri - The Ant Daily

MERDEKA FOCUS: As Malaysia celebrates her 57th year of independence from 
British rule this year, remnants of the past are still apparent in the country's 
administration, starting with the Westminster system of Parliament. 
In Parliament, most major decisions are determined by the Chief Whip (from 
Barisan Nasional) and votes will be cast along partisan lines, effectively silencing 
any dissenting "independent" views.
The nature of politics in Malaysia is also such that it is often very difficult, if not i
mpossible, for leaders from opposing factions to be seen to be in agreement with 
each other. 
This, however, has not stopped Global Movement of Moderates CEO Datuk 
Saifuddin Abdullah (a former Umno MP and deputy minister) and PAS’ Parit 
Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa from forming a friendship that led to their 
collaboration under various cross-partisan platforms. 
In an interview with theantdaily, Saifuddin said he first met Mujahid in 2008 
when both of them were first-term Parliamentarians.
"We never knew each other until we met in Parliament ... When we first met we 
just said 'salam, apa khabar' and that's it, until I published my book (in January 
2009) on new politics," he recalled, adding that his book was titled "New Politics: 
Maturing Democracy in Malaysia".
"He (Mujahid) read my book, he commented on it (and) then (in May 2009) he 
published his own book, also about new politics titled 'The New Face of Malaysian 
Politics'," said Saifuddin.
Saifuddin noted that both of them had been writing about new politics since even 
before they became MPs, through his column in Berita Harian and Mujahid on his 
blog, but only realising their mutual interests after having read each other's book. 
"I rearranged my column to become a book and he rearranged his blog posts to 
become a book," he added. 
Despite being a deputy minister at the time, Saifuddin is known to speak against 
his own party's line, a trait which gained him popularity among middle-ground 
Malaysians but cost him his political career -- having lost his Temerloh seat 
during the 13th general election and also his position in Umno's Supreme Council. 
"He (Mujahid) was not quoted so much at that time in the mainstream media 
but sometimes I saw (his statements) on online media and I thought, 'Eh! We 
seem to be talking about the same things'," said Saifuddin, who cited as an 
example, Mujahid's support for his proposal to amend Section 
15 of the University and University Colleges Act 1971.
While Saifuddin is now no longer in Parliament, he said he continues to engage 
with Mujahid on Twitter (among other platforms): "Even before GE13 we were 
already tweeting. He retweeted (RT) me, I retweeted him, he favourited my 
It was also through Twitter that the duo crossed path with Anas Zubedy 
(businessman, author and founder of 'Zubedy') who proposed that they
co-author a book on new politics. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Substance over form, intent over law by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf - The STAR (Part 2)

Upholding the intent of God’s law should be the common ground of a modern and diverse Muslim ummah, says Imam Feisal in Part 2 of his reply to a father whose daughter decided to uncover her head just before her university graduation.
In the Quran, God says, “…let them draw their head-coverings over their cleavages” (24:31). These head-coverings, or khumur (the plural of khimar), refer to the head-coverings customarily used by Arab women before and after the advent of Islam. Even men wore them for protection in the hot desert sun. Women also typically wore tunics with a wide opening in the front that left the breasts exposed.
With this understanding, the injunction to cover the cleavage with a khimar does not refer to the compulsory use of a khimar as a head-covering, but rather is only meant to specify that a woman’s cleavage is not included in the definition of “what may (decently) be apparent.”
The word for “cleavage” is juyub, the plural of jayb, often translated as “cleavage.”Jayb literally means “pocket.” Women traditionally “pocketed” money and other small items in their cleavage, which prosperous Meccan women, like their Western 18th and 19th century counterparts, used to accentuate. This injunction therefore cautions against exposure that might put them at risk of harm. 
From the hadith and other historic sources, we learn that it was normative at the Prophet’s time for upper-class women not to breastfeed their own children. They hired Bedouin wet nurses or called upon their slave women for this task. It was normative for these working women to expose their head and neck, their arms below the elbows, their legs below the knees while performing their work, and their breasts while breastfeeding, which was done in public as well.
There are several hadith where the Prophet sees a woman breastfeeding, and his silence (sunna taqririyya, or tacit consent) indicates that he deemed public breastfeeding acceptable.
Furthermore, because slave women frequently went bareheaded in public, scholars held that they could pray bareheaded as well. In fact, all the madhhabsunanimously agreed that a slave woman’s prayer with her head uncovered was valid. Because the requirements of salah are not different for free believers and for slaves, some Muslim scholars conclude that covering the head cannot be a requirement for any woman of any class in order for her prayer to be valid.
These reasons form the basis of the third and fourth juridical positions. They are also the basis for why a woman is not required to cover her head, either in public or in prayer.

To wear scarf or not to wear scarf By Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf - The STAR (Part 1)

When Imam Feisal wrote on hudud in his column Peace Be Upon Us last month, a concerned father wrote for advice, saying his daughter had decided, based on her study of the Quran and the hadith, to remove the headscarf she had been brought up wearing, just before her university graduation. He shares his views here.
IT is important, first of all, to recognise that your daughter’s convictions and your concerns both come from well-intentioned, considered places. Though your opinions may be different, you and your daughter are both striving to live in accordance with God’s law and to do right by each other. This common ground is profound and sacred, and from what I read in your letter, there is no question that you and your daughter share it.
The Prophet said that differences of opinion among his ummah are a blessing to the community. In light of this hadith, traditional Muslim societies created the space for acknowledging and institutionalising such differences of legal opinion, which is why we have four major Sunni schools of jurisprudence (madhhabs of-fiqh), all considered valid. Today, however, we find that the space for these legitimate differences of opinion has collapsed, which has contributed to tensions among Muslims, including your family.
The task of our modern Muslim ummah is to remember and re-establish its legal tradition, and to recognise that differences of opinion are a manifestation of Divine and Prophetic mercy. We are advised not to rush in judging the practices of other Muslims, who are in fact often following the opinions established by the great founders of the major schools of jurisprudence.
As you and your daughter have discovered, the madhhabs have differing opinions on whether women are required to wear headscarves and other coverings. I will try to summarise the differences between them and the reasons for these differences.
Jurists have defined two kinds of `awrah: the part of the body that should be covered in the presence of a marriageable person of the opposite sex, which generally means in public, and the part of the body that should be covered in order for prayer to be valid. As we shall see below, the requirements for the first definition tend to be more conservative, and more subject to varying societal custom and fluctuating norms, than the second definition.
The above definitions refer to when the body should be covered, and there are different juridical positions on what parts of the body should be covered at these times. These positions in order, from most conservative to most liberal, are as follows:
The niqab, where the whole body is completely covered (including the face, hands, and feet). However, Classical jurists do not consider the niqab as applying to anyone except the wives of the Prophet.
> Only the face, hands, and feet may be exposed.
> The areas above the neck, below the elbows, and below the knees may be exposed.
> The areas above the navel and below the knees may be exposed.
There is basis in Syariah for these positions, but in order to understand the relevant injunctions, and hence the different positions, we have to understand the social norms at the time of the Prophet.
In the Prophet’s time, social class dictated women’s dress codes. Therefore, the rules on `awrah for the Prophet’s wives differed from the average Muslim lady woman, which in turn differed from the rules for Bedouin women and slave women. The differences in these societal rules are the reason that the juridical positions are different.
For the Prophet’s wives, the Quran required them not to engage with other men who sought their advice except from behind a hijab (33:53). The word hijab means anything that stands between two things, or that conceals and protects one thing from the other. In this context, hijab may be interpreted as “screen,” “barrier,” “curtain,” or “veil,” or another such divide, meant to protect the Prophet’s wives. This injunction defined the `awrah for their interactions in public, but not for their prayers in the privacy of their chambers.
Verse 33:53 was prompted by specific scandals. While the Prophet was still alive, Talha ibn Ubaydallah publicly voiced his intention to marry the Prophet’s revered young wife Aisha once the Prophet died. And in a more serious scandal, Safwan bin Muattal rescued Aisha from a battlefield and carried her back home to Medina, triggering accusations of adultery, which were later dispelled by the Quran (24:11). To prevent further controversy, and to protect them from objectification and pursuit by other men, the Prophet’s wives were to interact with men only from behind a hijab, and men were forbidden to marry them after the Prophet’s death.
Muslim jurists emphasise that the term hijab is not used here to refer specifically to covering the head or any other part of the body, nor is there any commandment in the Quran for women to cover their face or head, either in public or in prayer. The term hijab is used seven times in the Quran, but never in explicit reference to the dress code for the Prophet’s wives, let alone for women in general. The word is used in the sense of a “barrier” or “screen,” for example between Heaven and Hell (7:46) or between the Prophet and unbelievers (17:45).
At the time, donning a protective veil was customary in the neighbouring region of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), where ordinary folk were prohibited from looking upon the faces of royalty. Royalty were therefore completely veiled in public as a sign of their status, and slave women were even prohibited from wearing a veil. The Prophet’s wives donned a similar hijab for protection.
The Quran’s explicit directive in 33:53 explains the origin of the niqab argued by the first juridical position, but it is also the reason why classical jurists argue that the niqab was only intended for the Prophet’s wives.
In another verse (24:31, God says, “Tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to be mindful of their chastity, and not to display their charms beyond what may be (decently) apparent thereof; hence, let them draw their head-coverings over their bosoms”.
This passage is the basis for the second juridical position, which argues that only the face, hands, and feet may be exposed. There are other arguments used to defend this position, but Muslim jurists consider them questionable and less convincing.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

What if Khalid Ibrahim forms a state level political party?

What if Khalid Ibrahim decides to advise the Sultan to dissolve the state assembly and at the same time forms a state level political party offering the people of Selangor a third alternative to the BN and PR coalitions.

By state level it means the new political entity has no federal aspirations and only interested in working for the good of the state, in this case Selangor. To fight, defend and do what is best for the state – have the state’s welfare embedded as the core of its existence.

What if Khalid Ibrahim promotes the idea that the rakyat need to sacrifice RM 50 million for the elections to save RM 3 billion Selangor money from being used by those who want to use Selangor money to further their federal goals and ambitions?

What if Khalid Ibrahim promise that if his new state political party wins and he remains the MB he will double the RM 3 billion within the next 5 years?

What if Khalid Ibrahim argues that even if they do not win a majority number of seats they can still be the power broker that can force whichever party who needs their numbers to form the new government to negotiate what is best for the state?

What if Khalid Ibrahim succeeds?

Will it be one idea of New Politics bearing fruit?

Anas Zubedy, Kuala Lumpur.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Join us to #ServeSomethingNice


As a part of our #SaySomethingNice projects, we at zubedy are looking for donation for Kechara Soup Kitchen. As the campaign is 17 days long, we feel that it’s best if we are able to find our friends who want to fund food and supplies for Kechara Soup Kitchen during this period.


·         The donation and time spent with Kechara Soup Kitchen will go a long way to help the homeless and urban poor of Kuala Lumpur.

·         Participation in #ServeSomethingNice, be it via donation or volunteering, is hoped to inspire members of the public to positively contribute and do something nice for the society.


There are two ways which you can help:

·         You can sponsor a slot of your choosing. Your donation will be used to buy vegetarian food and basic necessities such as toiletries, vitamins, and ointment for the poor and homeless.

Monday - Friday
(Walk-in Client)
RM 1,600
(To be distributed in KL area)
RM 2,000 x 4 slots
(RM 8,000 in total)
(To be distributed in PJ area)
RM 1,600

·         You can also participate as a volunteer on a Saturday night with the Kechara team. During the 17-day campaign period, there are 2 Saturdays of which you can join Kechara’s food/aid distribution activity:

6 and 13 September 2014

To place your donation or to volunteer, you may contact Dayana and she’ll arrange accordingly.  She can be contacted at 03 - 7733 6419 or via email at You can also call her for further inquiries.

To know more about Kechara Soup Kitchen and its organisation, you may visit their website:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

It's a game of numbers - Prof Shad Saleem Faruqi

The role of the Sultan becomes paramount if the political wrangling fails to come up with a solution.
THE raging turmoil in Selangor over the post of the Menteri Besar is testing the tenuous bonds of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partnership. Many riveting issues of constitutional law have come to the forefront.
The Selangor MB was appointed by the Sultan of Selangor and there are five main ways in which the MB’s term can come to an end – resignation, expulsion from his party, defeat in the assembly, dismissal by the Ruler and disqualification due to a criminal conviction.
Resignation: If the MB resigns and the ruling coalition (with 44 out of 56 seats) unanimously nominates a successor, a smooth transition is likely. The Sultan’s constitutional role of appointing a new MB will be largely formal.
Expulsion from party: If the MB digs his heels in because he thinks that he has a working majority of 28+1 in the 56-member assembly, an engaging political scenario may ensue. He may be expelled from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and be reduced to an independent or join another faction.
Expulsion from PKR does not automatically affect the post conferred on him by the Sultan if Khalid retains majority support in the Assembly. For example Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, was in 1969 expelled from her Congress Party. Mahathir Mohamed was left without a party in 1988 because Umno was declared illegal by the High Court. Yet both premiers retained their posts because it is not party affiliation or party posts but requisite number of legislative supporters that count.
No-confidence: If Khalid does not resign, a motion of no-confidence is a looming possibility. Two examples from constitutional history are: in 1976 the BN majority in the Selangor Assembly dismissed its MB, Datuk Harun Idris, because he had fallen foul of the national leadership. In Kelantan in 1977 PAS moved a motion of no-confidence against its own MB, Datuk Mohammed Nasir.
Khalid is not entirely powerless in the face of such a threat. The Selangor assembly is not in session and the power to advise the Sultan to summon the assembly belongs to the MB and not the Speaker or the PKR leadership.
Under Article 70 of the Constitution of Selangor, six months can elapse between one session and the next and Khalid can frustrate PKR by not advising early summoning of the assembly! The Sultan may, of course, frown upon such unreasonable delay.
A motion of no-confidence needs an absolute majority of the total membership i.e. 29/56 legislators. Many permutations are possible. First, PKR’s 13 Assemblymen (Khalid excluded), DAP’s 15, PAS’s 15 and Umno’s 12 may all team up to oust Khalid.
Second, Umno may support Khalid or abstain but all PR partners (43) may unanimously support the motion. Third, PAS may be divided but even if one PAS member supports PKR’s 13 and DAP’s 15, the motion will reach the requisite number 29. A fourth scenario is that PAS’s 15 and Umno’s 12 may abstain. With PKR having 13 (Khalid excluded) and DAP 15, the motion will fail by one vote! Khalid will have a right to continue. PAS’s role is therefore pivotal.
Dismissal by Sultan: The power of the Sultan to dismiss an MB is not explicitly mentioned in the Selangor Constitution. However Common­wealth conventions indicate that the Head of State has a reserve, residual, prerogative power to dismiss the political executive in some exceptional circumstances.
For example, PM Whitlam of Australia was dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in 1975 due to the budget stalemate between the Senate and the House and Whitlam’s refusal to call an election to resolve the issue.
In the present scenario, the Sultan can remove Khalid in the following three circumstances.
First, if a majority of the members of the Selangor assembly make a written representation to the Sultan that they have lost confidence in Khalid and the Ruler wishes an immediate sitting of the assembly to resolve the issue of confidence and the MB refuses to advice the Sultan to summon the legislature immediately.
Second, because the assembly is in prorogation, the Ruler can follow Perak’s Nizar v Zambry (2010) precedent and personally determine the issue of confidence by taking note of political realities outside the assembly. The Stephen Kalong Ningkan v Tun Abang Haji Openg (1966) ruling in Sarawak that the issue of confidence must be resolved only in the legislative chamber is no more law.
If the Ruler comes to the conclusion that confidence has been lost, he can ask the MB to resign. If the MB refuses, the Ruler can dismiss him.
Third, if the assembly when convened, votes Khalid out, the Sultan can ask him to resign.
Dissolution: If Khalid is defeated by an absolute majority of the total membership, he has two options: resign or advise dissolution. The Sultan has wide discretion to accept or reject the advice. There are precedents from Kelantan (1977), Perak (2009) and Sabah (1994) when the advice to dissolve the assembly was rejected by the Rulers and Governor respectively.
Appointing a new MB: If Khalid resigns or is voted out but the PR coalition is deeply split over the choice of its MB, then the Ruler’s discretion and wisdom can provide the solution. As on many occasions in the States of Australia, the Sultan can choose a compromise candidate of his choice till the coalition puts its house in order.
Can a woman be appointed as MB? The incredible assertion that she cannot, has no basis in federal or State laws. In fact Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution is clear that gender discrimination is forbidden except in explicitly specified areas like personal laws.
A “hung Parliament”: If after a new election, no party or coalition in the assembly has a clear majority, the Sultan’s discretion will become pivotal. He may appoint a minority government or a unity government pending a repeat election.
Sultan’s role: All in all, it can be said that in the following critical circumstances, the Sultan holds the key to keeping things on an even keel:
> the summoning of the assembly in case the MB is reluctant to face a vote;
> the discretion to accept or reject the MB’s advice on dissolution in case it is 28-28 on the confidence vote;
> the discretion to accept or reject a defeated MB’s advice to dissolve the assembly after a vote of no-confidence;
> If on a vote of confidence, the floor is split 28-28 for both sides, the Sultan would have the discretion to allow the MB to continue pending elections;
> the dismissal of the MB in the situations outlined above;
> the choice of a new MB if the majority coalition is hopelessly deadlocked over who should lead it;
> after a dissolution, to allow the incumbent to remain as caretaker MB or to appoint someone else as head of an interim, neutral government pending election that must be held within 60 days after dissolution;