Tuesday, October 16, 2018



Chandra Muzaffar

One hopes that upholding and enforcing the rule of law will be one of the legacies of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership. He has emphasised the importance of this fundamental principle of governance over and over again since he assumed the prime ministership for the second time in his life on the 10th of May 2018. The rule of law, needless to say, is what distinguishes a civilised society. It has been at the core of the long struggle for human dignity and social justice for centuries.

The rule of law is not just about a society governed by laws. The laws must be just and fair. They must promote and protect equality and dignity. When the law is supreme there will be no room for arbitrariness. All segments of the nation should have a clear understanding of what the rule of law implies. It is a pity that this is lacking in our society though the Rule of Law is the fourth principle of the Rukunegara, Malaysia’s national philosophy.

As part of this understanding of the Rule of Law, Malaysians should realise that the greatest threat to the Rule of law comes from the abuse of power. The abuse of power associated with those who formulate the laws, who implement the laws and who enforce the laws. In the last few years under the Najib Razak government individuals and groups at different levels of society suffered from the consequences of such wanton abuse of power.

It has underscored the critical importance of establishing mechanisms to curb and, if possible, eliminate such abuse. A law that requires those exercising executive and legislative powers to declare their assets and liabilities to the public and another that regulates the financing of political parties are among the mechanisms in the offing. Making certain appointments such as the Chief Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission answerable to a parliamentary Select Committee would be yet another move designed to enhance public accountability.

In this regard, the Prime Minister had also announced on the 11th of September 2018 the establishment of two institutions which are crucial for checking abuse of power especially in relation to the ordinary citizen. The Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) was perhaps the most significant of the 125 recommendations made by a Royal Commission in 2005 but it failed to materialise mainly because of opposition from certain quarters and the lack of political will on the part of the powers-that-be. The IPCMC was supposed to investigate and act on police corruption, criminal offences by the police and other misconduct. It was largely because police abuses had become rife and rampant that there was public clamour for an independent body to investigate and act. Now after 13 years, Dr Mahathir has taken the courageous step of bringing the IPCMC into reality. It is a timely move that is most welcome because there is increasing evidence of bribes allegedly influencing police investigations and of malice stemming from extraneous links driving the conduct of certain police personnel.

For misconduct outside the police, Dr Mahathir is proposing an Ombudsman Act which will install a public official who will receive, investigate and act on complaints of abuses by all public officials. To be effective, different spheres of public life should have different ombudsman. It is interesting that this idea was first explored in the early seventies by the second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein. One hopes that it will now see the light of day.

To be honest, there is no guarantee that the IPCMC and the Ombudsman will emerge as effective, independent instruments for checking abuse of power. There may be attempts by public servants themselves to dilute their independence, to weaken their strength. Or those who are given the task of actually designing these instruments may procrastinate or find all sorts of excuses to delay their implementation. In other words, we should not discount the danger of sabotage or subversion from within.

This is a danger that is real especially in view of the allegation made by the Chairman of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP), Tun Daim Zainuddin, that there maybe “moles” in the public services leaking information to the likes of Jho Low, wanted by the Malaysian authorities and other jurisdictions because of his pivotal role in the 1MDB scandal. What this suggests is that action against wrong-doers maybe hampered and hindered by those who are entrusted with the mission of protecting the public good. Sabotage from within is therefore a factor that should also be considered in the struggle to enforce the rule of law.

All the more reason why Malaysians with conscience and integrity should not waver in this momentous struggle.

Dr Chandra Muzaffar is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Yayasan Perpaduan Malaysia (YPM).

Petaling Jaya.

14 October 2018.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


Jawatankuasa Tertinggi Institusi Hal Ehwal Islam Peringkat Persekutuan,
Pejabat Penyimpan Mohor Besar Raja-Raja,
482, Jalan Bukit Petaling,
50460 Kuala Lumpur.



I apologize for writing in English. I am writing in English because most of my reading and research regarding Islam all this while has been in English and as such I feel that I can convey my message better on this subject through the English medium.
My suggestions on how we can better our practice of Islam are:
  1. Make Malaysia the center and beacon and the leader for the practice of Universal Islam – making Islam inclusive. In order to do so we need to do the following:
    1. Relook the way we view, frame and understand Islamic History. We need to identify world and human history as ours – not the history of the Arab people. For a Quranic background on this position please go here
    2. Reframe and breathe new life into the word pluralism as a positive word within the Islamic tradition. In so doing we go back to the original message of the Quran. For a Quranic background on this position please go here
    3. Reframe and breathe new life into the word liberalism as a positive word within the Islamic tradition too. Make the Prophet as our number one example of a liberator. For a Quranic background on this position please go here
    4. Practice, promote and defend Diversity and Inclusion within the Islamic World by the direct endorsement of the Amman Message by the Majlis Raja-Raja. We should also, after reorganizing and winning the hearts and minds of our own people, organize an expanded and a more in-depth conference here in Kuala Lumpur and thereafter set a permanent office and processes to look into the practice of the Diversity and inclusion within the Islamic world.
  2. Update Jakim’s translations of the Quran especially the Bahasa Malaysia version. This is key in making the teaching of the Quran accessible to the majority population. Translations at different points of history is crucial in making the teachings relevant, up to date and practical.
  3. Support and protect all endeavors that promote the reading of the Quran in the language one understands best. In Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia. Contrary to popular narrative, it is the translations of the Quran that is more important in the day-to-day practice for the average Muslim population as the majority are not Arab speaking. One such project is the yearly #LRTQ – Let’s Read The Quran Campaign. Refer here
  4. Colour Coded Hadith Collections by JAKIM- Create a website with a powerful search engine for all the hadith collections colour coding of what is Sahih, Hasan, Daif and Mawdu’. This will help minimize the wrongly used hadith by many both religious leaders as well as lay people.
  5. Lead Muslims to pay attention to substance rather than form. An example is our overly concern on dress codes rather than ‘pakaian Taqwa’. Refer here - . Getting Muslims to pay attention to what is more important is crucial as we are what we pay attention to. For an explanation, refer here
  6. If there is one thing the religious leadership choose and nothing else, it would be making READING the core message. PAY ATTENTION TO READING AND SEEKING OF KNOWLEDGE. Even if the religious leadership drops everything else and focus only on one thing reading and the seeking of knowledge, we will move forward, be leaders again and be successful both here and the hereafter. So, make reading core. Make reading and seeking of knowledge as one of the central pillars of Islam. After all it was the first of all commandments. Refer here and refer to the earlier link on the impact of reading to modern history since the Prophet’s time here

Thank you and Salam.

anas zubedy