Selasa, 20 April 2010

Defending the monarchy

Translation by Shanon Shah
shanonshah@thenutgraph.com


PROMINENT stories in the Malay-language press between 9 and 15 Feb 2009 revolved around the monarchy, Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-lynching, and the impending Bukit Selambau and Bukit Gantang by-elections.

On 10 Feb, Utusan Malaysia got no less than Foreign Minister and Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim to write on the Barisan Nasional (BN)'s Perak takeover. In the piece, Kemelut pelantikan MB Perak, Rais dissected public dismay at the Sultan of Perak's decision not to dissolve the state assembly. He wrote: "Openly inviting hatred towards the ruler clearly violates the Rukunegara and is a prosecutable crime of sedition."

Rais recommended that the attorney-general "studies all abusive and seditious statements by various quarters against the Perak Sultan, especially bloggers and the press who are behaving as though the country no longer has rule of law."

In a follow-up on 11 Feb, titled Isu Karpal: Peguam Negara masih membisu, Utusan Malaysia reported that Attorney-General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail "remains mute" over legal action on DAP chairperson Karpal Singh's "threats" to sue the Perak ruler.

In another story Akta Hasutan paling sesuai dikenakan, the same paper quoted the president of the Malaysian Muslim Lawyer's Association, Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, as saying the Sedition Act should be used against Karpal. Utusan also ran a table tallying the number of police reports lodged against Karpal between 8 and 10 Feb: 83 nationwide.

In the same issue, the paper ran a guest column by another Umno heavyweight, incoming Wanita deputy chief Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim, who also defended the Perak palace. In the piece Sultan tentukan siapa MB, Kamilia wrote: "What is clear is that Perak subjects need to understand the high position of the Sultan, and that the Sultan's orders must be obeyed without question or doubt. We cannot drag the institution of the sultanate to the streets."

On 13 Feb, Mohd Shauki Abd Majid quoted in Utusan Malaysia a hadith of Prophet Muhammad's on whether citizens can rebel against their ruler: "Never, as long as he prays with you. Know that those who are governed by a ruler and witness the ruler committing evil towards Allah, they should hate the sin towards Allah but never become disloyal towards their ruler."

In the piece, Derhaka bukan penyelesaian bijak dan adil, in the paper's Islamic Discourse column, Shauki argued: "In the context of a stable state, citizens are obliged to stand affirmed that the ruler has the right to command the loyalty of his or her subjects."

PR-lynching

Closely related to the defence of the monarchy was the widespread lynching of PR leaders. Dakwa segera Karpal, screamed Utusan Malaysia's 10 Feb front page. Anwar perlu minta maaf, the paper's 13 Feb front page said.

Of the PR leaders, Karpal was the lightning rod for these attacks. Utusan's 10 Feb editorial, Bertindak sebelum gelombang kemarahan bertambah buruk, claimed that Karpal had been up to mischief since immediately after the 8 March 2008 elections.

On 12 Feb, Berita Harian ran an opinion piece by former Bernama editor-in-chief Datuk Rahman Sulaiman, Pakatan Rakyat Perak terjebak jerat sendiri. Rahman wrote: "The unexpected success [of PR in the 8 March 2008 elections] has made them hysterical and apparently power crazy. Headed by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PR has launched psychological warfare in many ways."

Rahman claimed it was an open secret in Perak that PKR had wanted the menteri besar position for itself, considering itself more entitled than PAS. Rahman suggested that the crisis in Perak was not faced by the BN or the people of Perak, but by PR.

He said the majority of Perak's voters chose the opposition in the March 2008 elections because they were angry with the BN. But he added that in future, voters would think twice about punishing the BN, since even opposition representatives could jump ship at any time.

Rahman concluded: "...[T]he Perak 'impasse' will once more tighten the noose around PKR's neck ... It is clear that their strategies have not been strategic."

But it was Mingguan Malaysia's Awang Selamat who actually suggested a plan of action for the authorities on 15 Feb in Kenapa takut bertindak?: "I agree with the actions suggested by various parties. These include the stripping of citizenship, detaining them under the Internal Security Act (ISA), banishing, and charging them for treason."

Awang went on to ask: "Is it so hard to strip someone of their citizenship? What is the use of having the ISA if you can't even detain someone for insulting the monarchy?"

By-election jitters

Utusan Malaysia ran a candidate analysis by Siti Mariam Md Zain on the upcoming Bukit Gantang by-election in its 11 Feb edition. In the piece, Faktor calon, perubahan Umno, penentu di Bukit Gantang, Siti Mariam said the field was still wide open for the BN. The Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat consists of the state constituencies of Kuala Sepetang, Changkat Jering and Trong. Of the three, only Trong is now under Umno/BN.

However, Siti Mariam said the BN's chances have improved now that Changkat Jering's Mohd Osman Jailu has resigned from PKR to become a BN-friendly independent. Additionally, Siti Mariam claimed that Kuala Sepetang's Tai Sing Ng from PKR is also rumoured to be one of an additional four PKR state assemblypersons interested in crossing over to the BN.

In the same issue, Zaini Hassan in his Cuit column suggested that the BN try to field a non-politician as their candidate in Bukit Gantang. His column title, Pilih saja Harussani Zakaria, mengapa tidak?, said it all.

Coincidentally, in the same issue, Awang Selamat quoted the incumbent Perak mufti's advice to the public to accept their divinely ordained destiny in Perak. Harussani said if a decision had been made by the ruler, the public should abide by it; "just as how we are obliged to abide by the commands of Allah and His messengers."

Sinar Harian's Assistant Editor of its Perak Edition, Manzaidi Mohd Amin, wrote the paper's editorial on 14 Feb, Hati rakyat luka, masa untuk rawat. He wrote: "The BN must remember. They cannot begrudge or hate the rakyat. But they have to realise that the people of Perak begrudge and hate them now."

He concluded: "History shows that each general election reflects the public's attitudes and attributes. It's impossible for leaders not to be able to 'read' the rakyat's signals. Usually, BN and PR leaders have been careless. They forget their roots very easily. They never learn from history."

Khamis, 8 April 2010

7 Minit

Guna remaja kutip derma
Ketika melewati deretan kaki lima bangunan di pusat bandar raya Shah Alam, Selangor, kelihatan dua tiga orang anak muda dalam beberapa kelompok berdiri di hadapan pintu keluar masuk institusi kewangan, restoran dan pusat beli belah.
Mereka bukan pengawal keselamatan atau pekerja di premis berkenaan, juga bukan saja-saja melepak di situ. Mereka adalah anak muda yang dipilih pihak tertentu menjalankan kerja mengutip derma. Tidak kira bagaimana cara dan apa sekali pun, mereka mesti mengumpulkan sejumlah wang seperti ditetapkan.
Derma yang dikumpulkan itu bukan untuk kegunaan membiayai kebajikan anak-anak yatim, ibu tunggal, keluarga miskin atau pembinaan surau, sebaliknya bagi menampung perbelanjaan pengajian pelajar kita di Mesir.
Mulanya saya tidak percaya, tetapi setelah diamat-amati perkataan "Bantuan untuk membiayai pengajian rakyat Malaysia di Mesir" sebagaimana terlekat pada bakul derma itu, timbul seribu satu persoalan.
Apakah selama ini, perbelanjaan pelajar kita di sana hasil daripada kutipan derma orang ramai? Kalau ya, berapa sangat yang mereka dapat, kerana dalam satu hari rasanya tidak sampai pun lima ratus ringgit dikumpulkan adik-adik ini. Kalau dapat pun cukup untuk seorang penuntut.
Kalau tidak, siapakah mereka (yang belajar di sana). Berapa ramai yang menyambung pengajian di sana. Mereka pergi dengan kelulusan apa. Siapa membiayai tambang penerbangan, yuran pengajian serta menampung kos sara hidup sepanjang menuntut ilmu di Mesir?
Ini yang menimbulkan keraguan munasabah (prima facie) berhubung tujuan kutipan derma oleh anak-anak muda kita di sepanjang deretan bangunan yang menjadi tumpuan orang ramai itu.
Ini menggambarkan betapa daifnya kerajaan sehingga terpaksa menubuh jawatankuasa khas mengutip derma bagi menampung kos sara hidup dan pengajian pelajar kita di seberang laut.
Kalau penuntut kita pulang ke tanah air dan melihat apa yang dilakukan 'adik-adik' mereka di sini dengan berjemur panas, berdiri dari pagi sampai petang, minum air dibungkus dalam plastik dan makan nasi dalam polisterin, sudah tentu mereka menangis hiba tidak tahan melihatnya.
Jika kutipan derma itu tiada kaitan dengan pelajar yang ditaja oleh Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi dan Kementerian Pelajaran atau atas pembiayaian sendiri, siapakah mereka yang menuntut di sana? Adakah mereka ini lulusan Sekolah Agama Rakyat (SAR) atau Sekolah Agama Negeri (SAN).
Apa pula peranan dan tanggungjawab kerajaan negeri dalam hal ini? Kalau tidak mampu, kenapa tidak serahkan sahaja SAR dan SAN kepada Kerajaan Pusat menerusi Kementerian Pelajaran.
Jangan kerana mementingkan diri sendiri, anak negeri menjadi mangsa. Tambahan pula, kerja mengutip derma ini boleh mengganggu pembelajaran remaja berkenaan. Banyak masa dihabiskan dengan menunggu orang ramai mencampakkan duit dalam bakul derma.
Sedangkan, masa yang ada itu boleh digunakan untuk menimbal ilmu atau mengulangkaji pelajaran. Penulis harap ada pihak tertentu turun menyiasat kes ini. Jangan biarkan pihak tertentu menggunakan anak-anak muda atau pelajar mereka untuk mendapatkan sumber kewangan.
Bukan tugas kita mendidik remaja mengutip derma. Siaran 8hb April 2010

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