Friday, September 26, 2008

Lest We Forget........

An Excerpt from New Straits Time 1969 Edition :

MCA President , Tun Tan Siew Sin, had this to say on the issue of special position of the Malays ,on April 30th ,1969 :

""The Malays, through UMNO, were generous enough to relax the citizenship
laws of this country to such extent that within 12 months of
independence, 90 percent were still non-citizens after nearly 100 years
of colonial rule in the Malay States. In return for this major
concession. the MCA and the MIC agreed to continue the policy of
preserving the special position of the Malays while at the same time
upholding the legitimate interest of other communities. ""

MIC President Tun Sambanthan on 1st June 1965 ,said the following in Parliament :

""Now, in 1955 we won the elections with a great majority. Then we
obtained freedom in two years time. During this period, we had to
discuss citizenship and various other things. Now what did the Malays do
- since we are speaking on racial lines - what did the Malay leadership
do? They had 88 percent of the electorate still with them.
What did they do with citizenship?

If we look around in Asia and East Asia, particularly, you will find
that my race the indian race, is not welcomed in Ceylon, is not welcomed
in Burma. Look at my brother Chinnese race, it is not welcomed in
Thailand , in Vietnam , in Cambodia , in all the other areas.What help do
they get for citizenship in all these territories? In Burma , as we know,
Indian have been send packing, in Ceylont hey refused them citizenship
and in Burma it is likewise. I know it, you know it. And yet in Malaya
what happened? Here we found that the Malay leadership said, 'We shall
take them unto ourselves as brothers, we shall give them full
opportunity to live in this country, we shall give them every
opportunity to become citizens.'

And so, in 1957, for the whole year, we waived language qualifications,
and tens of thousand of Indians, Chinese, Ceylonese and others became

As I said, it has been my great good fortune to have born in this
country. Where else can you find a more charitable, a more polite, a
more decent race than Malay race? Where else can you get such
politically decent treatment for any immigrant race? Where else in the
history of the world? I ask you. These are the facts. Who are you to
safeguards us? I am 10 percent minority race here. But I am happy here.""

Winstedt some 80 years earlier wrote '..the Malays are peculiar .They are nature's gentlemen ...they would let their guest sleep in their bedroom while they sleep outside ...'

What follow suit was an on-line conversation between Doctor Rosli Yaacub ,an economist ,Prof Wan ,former Deputy DG of ISTAC and myself :

Friends ,

Lest we forget , in our rush to be fair minded and adhere to political correctness , let us be reminded by what two bygone senior Malaysian Statesmen had to say on the Malay special position some 40 years back . I could also still recall Tun Dr Ismail 's remark on the same issue about the same time to the effect that ' the time and place when the Malays should rescind their special position as enschrined in the Federal Constitution will be at the priveledge for they themselve to choose and decide ,and not others ' .

Will it be right or politically correct to extend it forever ? I am no politician but on something that has been enshrined in our Constitution why give up something so easily when 'other fellow Malaysians' of probably equal loyalty to King and Country [ some may say dubious on the basis of their reluctance] refuse to budge even an inch on what we would regard as proactive and cohesive measure as petty and inconsequential as the aborted introduction of 'Sekolah Wawasan' .Not yet addressing the real issue of why 51 years on vernacular schools still should exist !

If I recall correctly the government of the day that time lost some mileage in the election or was it a by election as a 'tempias' or communal backlash on the 'Sekolah Wawasan' issue .A definitive measure by Dr M to improve cohesiveness among our young but perceived differently by our 'guests' . Or is the word 'guests' also not a politically correct term to use here !

We are not even touching on the issue of educational divergence and divisiveness among our young Malaysians due to the presence and continued existence of a parallel education system yet [ vis a vis vernacular schools] ,50 years on since Merdeka .

There is a term called 'horse trading' and perhaps Mr Anwar Ibrahim in his haste to be in 'Putrajaya' has totally forgotten this term . Yes ! That is what we should be doing before we decide to move from the 'veranda' to the 'cowshed' to allow our 'guests' more room in the 'house' ! Just my very humble opinion .

Dr Nik Howk .

Reply from Doc Rosli:

Assalamulaikum Yang Berbahagia Dr. Isahak.
Here is a piece of my thought on the malaise of the Malays.

The Malay Merdeka Leaders had make a big mistake and many say to the detrimental of the Malays. At that time, their thinking perhaps, focused on achieving Merdeka and not so much on what will happen to the future of the Malays with the kind of the Merdeka deal they had worked out.

How the mistake can be reversed? Perhaps, no way. As far the Merdeka deal is concerned, it is gone with the wind for the Malays. It is a done deal. Had they opposed to the deal then, there was no Merdeka.

Remember, those Malay leaders who were steadfast in thinking that "Tanah Melayu untuk Orang Melayu" were not even invited to the negotiation table, not a chance. Many of them were rounded under the ISA and imprisoned ang perished.

By hindsight, the Merdeka Malay Leaders were nothing more than the stooges of the British colonial power. They were trained in London and trained to be liberals. Yes, they were Malay nationlists but to qualify as inheritors of the soon-to-be freed Malaya, they must think like the British. They must be secular in their thinking. If traces of Islamic inclination were detected in their blood, they were disqualified, that is for sure.

When the British left, they were entrusted with the task to continue with the British law and system of government. They did not have even an iota of thnking to establish Islamic state and rule the country the Shariah way.

Under their leadersahip, Genting, a gambling center was established and liqor factories set up to give jobs to the Muslims. Can you imagine a gambling center and liqor factories in a Muslim country? Can you see how liberal those leaders were?

UMNO leaders, despite the NEP, continue to "sell" the Malays. Can't you see that the Malays are minority in almost all modern housing estates in the country. Look at what happened to Subang Jaya is enough. It is developed by Sime Darby but is is a non-Malay majority township. Look at the town and industrial centers throughout the country. Tell me of the rows and rows of shophouses, shopping complexes and industrial buildings, how many are owned by Malays? Close to zero. Isn't it?

I think the Malays should stop crying wolf about the commission of mistakes by our past leaders and by our current leaders.

The Malays can only regain its past glory if we are prepared to rerturn to Islam and live the Quran and Sunnah way. We don't need corrupt Malay leaders anymore. They were the ones who sold and pawned away the rights and dignity of the Malays.

Since Merdeka and as a matter of fact, long before that - it goes back to the last 600 years - the Malays were discriminated against and marginalized by their colonial masters, first the Portuguese, then the Dutch and the British and currently the the corrupt Malay leaders.

Under the British rule, the then immigrants were treated with alot of previleges and were given all the support to thrive in business to enhance the colonial economic power. The then immigrants dominated the business and economic sector. The same economic landscape has not changed much after 50 years of independence. Of course now all are citizens and they continue to contribute immensely to the gowing nation's prosperity. They are the economic power house of the country.

Remember the pantun: "Buai laju-laju sampai pokok sena, bila nak beli baju baru, beli kedai Cina." This turned the Malays into a slumber party.

To be standing with dignity with other races, the Malay must return to Islam and in the economic sphere Islam teaches us that "90 per cent of our sustenanance (rezki) is in busienss." If we Muslims adhere to this reaching we can easily become an economic power house.

Wassalam ,

Dr Rosli.

My reply to Doc Rosli :

Doc Rosli ,

I have to agree with you 100 % .We are 'accidents' of HISTORY .But 'history' is no accident .The powers of that time had already 'pre-decided' ISLAM was a no no !Put yourself as Head of State of Superpowers of Russia ,Britain ,France and the US .In the wake of the breakdown and final dismantling and dismemberment of the Great Ottoman Empire ,any new State thinking of Syariah as their constitution would be nipped in the bud .How Saudi Arabia escaped was beyond my rather scant knowledge of world history !

Nonetheless we cannot continue to blame others for our continued failure to be Islamic .{Of course my good friend Prof Wan Mohd formerly from ISTAC may take exception to my comment here because from his viewpoint ,we are already Islamic enough ,given our circumstances of our plurality } .We take that view because we assume majority of us Malays are Muslims by birth and by intention .But is that so ?

50 years on and the only Islamic party in the country have yet to make inroads into Malay hinterland states like Johor [thank God ,Perak show some progress ] ,Pahang and Selangor begs my question above to be answered .Are we Muslims or just 'Muslim Separuh separuh' ?Of course some people may find excuses and conveniently blame you guys from PAS for not 'selling' PAS the right way .Again the blame game .I would rather ask myself the question : Are we Malays really majority Muslims ?No .At best many of us are 'separuh ,separuh ' ,at worse some are munafik .Sorry ,brother !

Was reading Mawdudi's seminal work translated by the late Murad Khoram and re titled 'Let Us Be Muslims' .A very short work .Easy reading all the way but when I reach the last chapter ,I get cold sweat :Yes , are we really truly Muslims as we profess to be ?

In my position now , I cannot answer that question for myself satisfactorily .

That to me is the reason for our current 'malaise and backwardness' .JMHO

Dr Nik Howk

Prof Wan ,join in the fray :

Dear Dr Nik,

Since you had kindly cited my opinion in yout latest email '{Of course my good friend Prof Wan Mohd formerly from ISTAC may take exception to my comment here because from his viewpoint ,we are already Islamic enough ,given our circumstances of our plurality }, I feel a slight need to explain. 'Others' i.e. non Muslim leaders, scholars and media people etc who were/are truly responsible for 'forcing' unpalatable policies on our liberal Muslim leaders cannot be absolved of their misdeeds, whether or not the world recognize them as such. The points which I was making in my public writings and letters to you involved more of our own shared responsiblity which are definitely wanting on all crucial fronts.

I did not use the phrase 'Islamc enough' in the sense that it is enough, hence no further improvements are needed. On the contrary, I said that we are islamic (writing in English, in Malay it is just Islam, which is clearer, eg Orang islam, Negara Islam) as a minimal point of departure from the stage of islam-->Iman-->ihsan. Many people have politicized the issue of negara islam vs negara sekuler, which in our context would negate the positive socio-religious achievements and opened doors (whic are now becoming almost un-closable!) for others to questions even the basic historical and religious foundations of this nation. Objectively speaking, for I am not belonging to any political party, prior to 1998, we had achieved a rather enviable status among complex multiplural nations coming out of 5 centuries of colonization. Maududi's writings that you mentioned were no doubt inspirational but they had also contributed to some of the excessive politicization of our religion, beyond its traditional historical parameters.

In an interveiw with al-Islam magazine of Sept 2008 issue on the issue of why malay middle class does not seem to be pro-government, I said it is because most of them feel they have been treated like fools (rasa diperbodohkan). There i cautioned that after 51 years, our nation, like a huge shady tree has benefited a lot a people, but it is now infested with rodents, many branches and roots are rotten, and the gardener has been lazy. Chase away the rodents, trim the dead branches, fertilize the roots, and even get a new gardener, but dont cut down the tree...
Sorry for a rather lenghty note!

Wassalam ,

wan mohd nor

My Reply to Dr Rosli and Prof Wan :

Prof Wan Mohammad Nor and Doc Rosli ,

This polemic is getting to be more interesting ,perhaps because it is not easy to get Prof Wan 'excited' enough to join in the fray .Let me rephrase my anxiety and inner doubt vis a vis as a commited Muslim within the society with respect to whether 'I am already doing enough'as a Muslim ,in a fardu kifayah sense, to spread the universal message of Islam ?

My contention is generally most of us ,at least that is what I feel ,is hiding behind the guise of that contentious concept of 'plurality' as an excuse to not be doing more for Islam ,collectively as well as at the individual level.The 'Din ' is just not for the Muslims .It encompass the universe .

Since our society is 'plural ,this is where we stop ,since we are 'plural' it s just okay and politically correct to just limit ourselves .Since the society is 'plural' we may allow dissenting views even from within ,like say from Islamic academic 'eunuch' like Dr Farish Nor [ to me though on some issues he behaved more like an 'academic prostitute ,prostituting himself to the 'secular' gallery ], who seem to know all about Islam , to go round and round in circles and confused others on liberal Islam .Likewise we let people who know little about Islam like the SIS group who has a tendency to again 'play to the gallery ' to capture the public imagination and play the cenre role as if they represent progressive and true Islam . .Unfortunately these clowns are media savvy and have friends within the media that share the same aspiration to beguile and confuse!

Our basic premise of 'plurality' is rather blurred and give us a sense of overwhelming odds to doing more .

To my mind to understand and appreciate the basis of 'plurality' we actually need to put ourselves in the position our prophet Mohammad faced 1450 years ago .When he got the Message ,he was faced with 'corporate' Arabia in Mecca ,who were mainly successful small and big time traders of his own tribe who were in the main idol worshipers .In Medina the envelope of 'plurality' somewhat enlarged a wee bit to include the People of the Books ,Jews of Bani Nadhir and the Trinitarian polytheistic Christians who had since departed from the original teaching of Prophet Isa ,bearing in mind the concept of Trinity was only introduced by Paul some 200 years after Prophet Isa ..That in essense was 'plurality' during Prophet's time .

Now ,some 14 centuries passed ,the nature of our 'plurality' has not changed very much if we care to separate the leaves and twig from the main trunk .To put it simply ,taking away a whole gamut of the race equation ,we are just facing only two groups of people :mereka mereka yang 'sesat' dan mereka yang di murkai Allah .Yang di murkai Allah hanya 15 juta bertaburan di Bumi Allah dan yang sesat memang ramai lah mereka .

Looking that way ,make the issue of 'plurality' as a rationale for our collective inaction less tenable .That ,Prof Wan ,is the dagger that prick my conscience now day and night as to whether I have done enough ,even though from our conversation a year back I did get some consolation from you .That is also why I envy people like Tok Guru Nik Aziz ,Musa Husam ,Doc Rosli et al .

Di Padang Mahsyar nanti do you want to be judged as a Monarch , PM , or doctor troubled by his conscience ,a Prof of Theology ,or just an inconsequential slime in the rock !!!??? The organic ,soul-less slime would be better in such circumstances !

Dr Nik Howk

Prof Wan’s Reply :

Dr Nik,

I agree with you on plurality as indicated in all my works on the subject.
Our aqidah--the Maturidiah and Ash'ariah-- says clearly that we should not consider our works as adequate enough for salvation--that is tantamount to taking God for granted---but rather we may be saved because of His gracious mercy and generosity: we are commanded to have faith and hope in His forgiving attribute while constantly improving our intentions and actions, personal and collective, untill He calls us unto Himself.


My Reply to Prof Wan :

Prof Wan ,

There is a big group I missed ,and this is probably the reason for the 'blurring' of the concept of plurality .The munafiks !Mereka2 yang sesat dan mereka2 yang di murkai Allah are two well dictinct group but the third group dilutes and blurs the issue.It is probably a taboo subject here !

Your answer was understandably short and political .My gut feeling is it is the 3rd group that really retards the institution of syariah in our country .No wonder as in Surah Al Munafikun ,Allah guarantee them a very special place ,more special than untuk 'mereka2 yang sesat dan mereka2 yang di murkai ' .

Dr Nik Howk

Reply from Dr Rosli

Yang Berbahagia Dr. Nik Isahak

On the issue that pluralistic Malaysia cannot possibly become an Islam State, this is a piece of my view.

Can't we all see that Western socieities are already rotten to the core? Nothing that is forbidden by Allah SWT that is not transgressed by them. When come to committing sins - of course our reference is sins as defined in the Quran - they are extremists of no comparison. They are modern day firauns, 'ads, thamuds and luth and these peoples, because of their extremism in defiying Allah's law, Allah made them to vanish from the face of the earth and permanent citizens of hell. Without doubt, the same faith shall befall the modern day jahiliyyah societies.

The Western societies of today are the Jahiliyyah socieites at the time of our Prophet, 1400 years ago. They are the modern day jahiliyyah, if you will. As then, Islam is the only solution to all kinds of ignorance and it is now coming the way.

Don't you know that, despite all the malignance and negative publicities labelled against it, Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today? Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, Europe, Russia, Africa, Latin America and Australia. This is a living proof that Islam is on its way to greatness again. Allah says it: Islam is the solution to the problems of mandkind.

At our own level, in our society and country, the duty of every Muslims is to spread Islam. The pluralistic society that we are all in should not be an excuse for us not to talk about Islamic state but rather it should be a fertile ground for us to spread Islam. That Malaysia is a pluralistic society comes from Allah and taken in a positive light, Allah wants us Malaysian Muslims to propagate Islam to our neighbors and fellow citizens. Islam is for all.

If there is someone out there says that there is a limit to Islam in Malaysia because of our pluralistic nature, I want to take exception to that view. If Karpal Singh cannot accept Islam, nobody can say for sure he will remain that way tomorrow or his next and next generations will not accept Islam. History is replete with stories that many of the best Muslims were the worst of persons in their jahilyyah days.

When Islamic state will become a reality in Malaysia? When Islam will rule the world? These are questions not for us to answer. Our duty is to work for Islam and to work with those who are working for the revival of Islam. In the day of judgement, Allah will only ask us what we did for Islam not the results of what we did.

If I am asked, can Malaysia, a plural society, become an Islamic State, I will answer with 100 per cent confidence that one day it will be.

When the non-Muslims appreciate, see, feel and enjoy the justice of Islam, they will choose to come under the banner of Islam like what happened during the time of our Prophet and the rule of the four guided Caliphs and also during the time of Omar Abdul Aziz, the Fifth Caliph. During the reign of Sallahuddin Al Ayubi, so many Christians pleaded to become his subjects as he was a just leader - to the Muslims and non-Muslims.

I choose to be in the bandwagon of Islamic revivial and I believe this the only bandwagon that is taking us to the straight path.


Doc Rosli.

PS :Can you see that Islam is again on its way to greatness?

Doc Rosli ,

Islam in Malaysia has got a perception problem .Take any Malaysian Chinese and ask him ,'Islam is a great religion that once illuminate the world ,it is synonamous with your world view of progress and excellence ,in fact much much better ' and his response would be "saya tak mahu masuk Melayu " .That is how we sell Islam to the non Malays in Malaysia .Melayu = Islam .

Whether we like it or not kita Melayu banyak penyakit .Karat2 jahiliyah berinci-inci tebal nya .Ilmu akhirat kurang .Ilmu dunia lagi kurang .Sembahyang tanpa ilmu dan tanpa ihsan ,tunggang tunggek .Quran jadi hiasan dan tangkal .'Yang tu pi mai pi mai dok tang tu jugak kita ' . Kalau bagi bank kat Melayu ,kalau silap hari , habis wang lesap ,bagi listed company kat Melayu ,kerusi meja pun kalau bolih dijual dijual , ,wang ehsan untuk orang2 miskin habis dikebas dek menteri !Bagi Negara ,negara pun bolih semua tergadai .Too many examples recent and past

Sadly Islam has not empowered us to be God's ambassadors on earth .Just reexamine and do a proper audit of the previous Administration and the current one .Corruption ,nepotism and cronyism tanpa malu dan segan !

Ini belum lagi di ambil kira Islam at the world stage perspective .Of course the biased Yahudi controlled media is not a 'great ' help either .

We have a perception problem .Namun ,we are on a roll and I agree with you only we can change ourselves .The change is not physical ,it has to be from the 'heart and the soul'.We are not "mereka2 yang sesat dan mereka2 yang di murkai " .Neither are we the munafikuns .We are Muslims .

There is only one standard expected of being a Muslim :Excellence in intent and behaviour .The type expounded and shown by the Perfect Man :Muhammad ibnu Abdullah .

Insyaallah ,insyaallah ,Insyaallah !

Dr Nik Howk

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