Sunday, April 26, 2015

THESE ARE AT THE KL INTERNATIONAL BOOK EXPO NOW - at The GERAKBUDAYA BOOTH @PWTC

Yes, my books "Controlled Chaos" and "Kalimah Allah Milik Siapa?" and I suppose "Dark Spring," and "The Allah Controversy," are now on sale at the 2015 Exposition @ PWTC. THANK YOU GERAKBUDAYA !

available here too: @ Gerakbudaya Online 
and as e-books here as well:  on Amazon Kindle


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Shakespearean trices, Malaysian ailments

by Azly Rahman




 

As a lifelong student of Humanities and Philosophy, I reflected upon the great bard of the English Renaissance period, William Shakespeare, whose birthday was on April 23 (1564), a day after what is now Earth Day. Remembering the many famous quotes by the most influential writer of the English Language, I cannot help but inwardly lamenting upon the word we live in today - one which is increasingly violent and dehumanising.

On power and in ‘Julius Caesar’, Shakespeare wrote about loving Rome more than Caesar, and the ides of March, on wealth and honesty his entire message immortalised in the play ‘The Merchant of Venice’, and in the plays such as ‘King Lear’, ‘Macbeth’, and in comedies such as ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the sage-playwright-poet wrote about the complexities of human nature as an interplay between power and love.

My early twenties was about reading his major works as part my study of English Literature.

As one who is always thinking about our beloved country and whose writings have been geared towards making suggestions for improvement, each of the Shakespearean quotes I recall went into thinking about what Malaysia has become today. Below are my notes I posted this week on my Facebook page:

1. Malaysia turning into Uganda?

at the rate of how much political fights we are seeing,
how many Idi Amins in songkoks we have produced,
how fast capital flights we are witnessing,
how serious crime rate has risen,
how policed the state has become,
how many of those speaking truth to power have been persecuted,
how fast the judiciary has rotted,
how deep the educational standards have plunged,
and how much wealth those in power has amassed...
we are seeing Kuala Lumpur turning into Kampala...
we hope not
at least we must first become Kenya.

2. Wealth can be an enemy of wisdom

one cannot serve god and money at the same time, as Jesus said
this is what is happening in Malaysia today
fighting over power, wealth and money
the loss of basic sensibility... the absence of wisdom
leaders taking pride in arrogance and ignorance
it takes three generations to destroy a nation, Kungfu Tze would say...
for Malaysia...  it takes only two.

3. Malaysia today

obsessed with the past and politics of the day
we have not paid much attention to the future... to Education
to building a new world of endless possibilities through education
we owe the children this new world
of charting new ways of doings things, of living,
of relating, and making peace
with oneself and with others of creating a new philosophy, paradigm, processes, new products of value
these -
not to have them inherit our ills

and to have them born into debt and despair
criminals are made, not born
i wished the politicians from both sides
have paid more attention to new ideas in education
what a waste of two generations.

4. Anti-terrorism laws are necessary

only if used wisely and justifiably
for national safety and security
only in a society that knows what clear separation means
of the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary
such as the government of the United States
and not yet of Malaysia - where those with power and money
and in deep inexplicable desperation

5. On the passing of Malaysia’s renewed Internal Security Act

or Prevention of Terrorism Act (Pota)... all is done as BN wanted it to be
where were all the Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament - those missing on voting day on this issue of grave magnitude? Not interested any more in fighting for those who fought for you to be in office? - are beginning to terrorise the people and the state.

6. What actually matters in Malaysia politics

for the rich and powerful, the children and family members to rule the country
for the poor and powerless, how to feed the family and how the leaders and the rulers are ruining the country...
and therefore that too is what the media is interested in reporting...
this is a new brand of class and consciousness in a hypermodern economy, in a world of modern slavery.

7. A mirror

there is so much hatred in this world today
love seems to have flown away
until in each of our heart we tear down the walls
of fear
of anger
of bigotry
of jealously
of prejudice
of selfishness
of misconstructions
and let love and only love
engulf us
and overwhelm us to tears
embracing each other and open
our eyes
window to our soul
to the sufferings of many
because we are a mirror of one another - ar

8. Malaysians... return to sanity... here’s how...

“ ... political will, radical political change, an overhaul of the system, a fresh new and different mandate, a prison complex big enough to incarcerate the long-time corrupt ones, a plan to redistribute wealth, to dismantle educational apartheid..., a rewriting of Malay and Malaysian history, a re-threading of the moral fibre of the armed personnels, a massive arrest of political tyrants of past doings, a restructuring of the casino capitalist economy, a stronger local government established, a clampdown of racist and hate-groups, a return to the rule of law, a return to agricultural society, an experimentation with a radically new form of communal-styled living, a dismantling of systems that allow global corporate giants to continue to prey upon the natives, a return to the cooperative system, strengthening of labour, a re-education of political official on management, ethics, and political philosophy, the separation of religion and state, the dismantling of useless cultural and religious rituals, a restructuring of society based on the principles of radical multiculturalism and the celebration of transcultural philosophies, the reduction of TV time and TV channels, the introduction of the reading of the great works of arts, humanities, and literature from the cradle to the grave , the curbing of rhetoric on Islamic or any religious state, the compulsory teaching of philosophy from the cradle to the grave, .... all these and more to overturn the system and its ugly head... would all of you agree?...”

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A MIRROR

by azly rahman

there is so much hatred in this world today
love seems to have flown away
until in each of our heart we tear down the walls
of fear
of anger
of bigotry
of jealously
of prejudice
of selfishness
of misconstructions
and let love and only love
engulf us
and overwhelm us to tears
embracing each other and open
our eyes
window to our soul
to the sufferings of many
because we are a mirror of one another -- ar




Saturday, April 04, 2015

Detoxing myself, with disgust

by azly rahman




I have not had the urge to write for the last three days... at least on my Facebook page. I have decided to digitally detox myself. Here is the reason and my lamentation.

I have been feeling disgusted with the arrests of good Malaysians speaking up for a better world for their children, the blatant abuse of power, the continuing dynastic wars over power and money between the same old same old people, the inability for the leaders of the country to help the people move beyond the intellectual, moral, cultural and spiritual dead ends created by those who have the means to change for the better, and most importantly how fast we are moving towards a police state.

I wrote this as a Facebook status, before detoxing myself for three days:

MADNESS OF BEING GIVEN TOO MUCH POWER

that’s what is happening to my beloved country
and who gave them the power?
the people themselves
from feudal times
and therefore the addiction
Is this our moment of NO EXIT at this point in history...?


We are going down the drain of history with these - bankruptcy, threat of an Isis attack, mass arrests, the rich getting richer and wanting more by choking the poor, denial that our education system needs resuscitation, rise of religious and racial bigotry, and a range of maladies that has a history and that will determine how our future as a nation will be destroyed.

From a political-cultural, political-economic point of view, and the study of soft and raw power the fight between the camp of Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Abdul Razak will be ugly and will be a prolonged war, and will not do any good to the mental and economic health of our beloved country. In other words, I see a darker Spring coming. Yes, bring it on, bring the country down, if that is your plan... I hope not.

But here is the question: Do we have a better choice for a new government?

The current regime has become mad and oppressive, killing what is left of democracy and economic decency; a hunting season and a period of slash and burn we are seeing

But what is the alternative, seriously - with all the strange happenings in the opposition coalition lately? You folks tell me.


The only consolation for each citizen is to be at peace with themselves, to do a ‘personal hartal’ on the goods and services tax (GST) by assessing what one needs and what one wants in life, to reduce, refuse, reuse, to focus on the well-being of the children and family by educating them how to do more with less, to be grateful of what one still have, to look for opportunities in the midst of chaos, to fight the good fight in life, to not neglect the education of the children in hope that they will become good, moral, and productive citizens in a word wherein the filthy rich in power do not care and in fact continue to display arrogance and hideous consumption to show the poor who is in power.

Wealth and power are merely illusions

Most importantly the best consolation is to believe that wealth and power are merely illusions and those fighting for these will perish in ways they have chosen to,  and most importantly to live like a minimalist and an ageing hippie with dignity and to watch less and less TV and to read more and more books and to take care of the well-being of each member of the family... in this crazy world of 1Malaysia run by mad men, mad mullahs, and Mad Max-es in Thunderdomes wearing tanjak and songkok screaming “... Sedition... sedition... sedition... I’m itching all over ... “even for talking bad about Justin Bieber and drawing funny cartoons of Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion the Rastafarian) - what a country!!!

But folks... it’s Friday as I am writing this column... a good Friday as well... a Passover Friday... a good Muslim Friday back home, too...  be a vegetarian and that’s a good first step of your war against the GST... stop shopping for things you don’t need... especially those diamond rings, RM1,200 beehive hairdo, new gold plated-toilets in your private jet to ease yourself after torturing the poor, and new gold teeth and a gold bling bling to match your political image...

Come back to our senses. As President John F Kennedy once said, the rich cannot save themselves from the poor if these kinds of arrogance continue. The American Revolution was made out of the slogan ‘taxation without representation’ if one reads the history of the nation. We must learn form other people’s history as well - especially when the poor is not represented in the government of the rich yet taxed heavily to feed the high and mighty.

And for those about to rock, we salute you, as the Australian rock band AC/DC once said.

I wish all of us well, on this good Friday.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Hudud questions we need answers to

by Azly Rahman



Over the last few days, I have been writing the following notes on my Facebook page, concerning the Sharia law component of the hudud. These are made in between my lecture sessions on philosophy, politics, and education and I hope that they will interest readers in sharing with me their answers to these important questions of the day.

WHAT KIND OF GOD?

stoning one to death
cutting off one's hands
beheading
100 and more lashes
and the range of punishments
in broad daylight
aren’t all these images of barbarism?
does this not show the brutality of Islam?
I thought the God of the Muslims is merciful and gentle
is this really God’s law?
if so, what kind of god?
*and yes I have these questions as they have now come to me
in which I hope for gentle answers *
- ar

ON THE HUDUD
remember this ...

The Quran is not a juridistic or judicial text... it is a compendium of short notes and narratives on morality, on stories pointing to earlier texts contained in the Bible and the Torah... it does not contain suggestions for punishment or strict legal framework of laws... is it therefore a source of God’s law?

The sharia is a human construction, derived from centuries of controversies amongst scholars and schools of thought with the ultimate aim of providing identity to this new group of believers called ‘The Muslims’.

In the hudud, stoning to death is from the Jewish text and practice. So is the suggestion of a death penalty for apostates borrowed from early Christianity. Other forms of punishment, such as beheading, crucifixion, burning to death, all have their origin in early Babylonian times. To say that the hudud is derived from God’s law and cannot be questioned is not correct, signifying one’s unwillingness to read about the origin of Islamic law, let alone the origin of punishment.

This is what is ailing our society that do not read much on the geneaology of morals and the historicity of punishments. And when perspectives pointing to alternate truths are presented, a jihad against these ‘perspective givers’ are called upon.

Who says one cannot question hudud, Man-made laws misunderstood as law passed down directly from God? Because it is Man-made law, we therefore have those who see the hudud as barbaric, and those who see it as a framework of a good social control, however archaic. What is said as “god’s revelations” most often become a big mess of confusion when it comes to human beings, especially the priest class, try to put them down as law...

Thou shall not kill... but why stone one to death ?
Where did Man go wrong?
What is he not reading?
And worse, why must his priests insist there must be separate religious laws for the kings and the slaves? - ar

ALL MUST DISCUSS


No one is a real expert - even the clerics, the ‘erdogans’, the hard-core liberal-seculars and the little ayatollahs are disagreeing violently amongst themselves.

It is each citizen’s right to question any concern they have before things become law. One cannot be intimidated, silenced, threatened, jailed for asking questions dear to their democratic lives... that is what democracy and citizenship is all about - participation and dialogue.

It is the right of every citizen to gather freely and safely in a democracy to petition for the removal of governments and leaders that are lousy and only there to slowly kill society and humanity through taxation without representation, daylight robbery, and all kinds of thievery to support a lifestyle far-removed form the reality of poverty of the many.

On the hudud issue - To put a stop to dialogue is not democracy, it is demono-cracy... and we have seen many of these kinds of systems in countries calling themselves Islamic, especially. Would you folks, agree? - ar

LET KELANTAN HAVE ITS OWN LAW

as how Sharia is said to be
successful in Nigeria
it might work
it might not
but let it be only for the Kelantanese, shall it be?
the will of the people - who voted for a theocracy
For there is no compulsion in religion,
let alone in Islam, the Kelantanese version
For - why must religious interpretation be universalising
as if there is no spiritual difference
between you and me -
- ar

IN THE LONG RUN...

The implementation of hudud
the romanticising of an Islamic state
might be the best invitation
for Isis-like enthusiasts to fight easier than tooth and nail
for an easier jihad
for a perfect synergy
to set up a Taliban-like state...
right here in Malaysia
and what then next... ? - ar
*or - am I making strange connections here? *

to swallow hypocrisy with a gulp of little pride remaining
why don’t the promoters of hudud
and the propagandist of ultra-nationalism
work in synergy and in perfect harmony
with tears of repentance flowing in parliament buildings...
why not create a good enough sharia index
to measure how much the politicians and plunderers and robber-barons alike
have stolen from the people, how those political murders are to be gauged, how hideous and anti-Islamic those in power are spending adorning themselves, and how much the country is being brought down by those spewing religious rhetoric as well...
why not? why not? - ar
*and long live the wolves of wall street*

ALL TEXTS...

be they religious, philosophical, cultural, scientific
be they transmitted orally
or crafted through writing as literacy
are the work of Man
from the mind of men
from the imagination of Man
all religious are the work of the priest class
each a genealogy of morals, of myths, of implausibilities, of miracles
building on early stories of Man’s attempt to make sense of the word
of the creation of many gods
the opticon, the panopticon, the synopticon of Man’s delusions
and the struggle to consolidate those gods into One, into Many, into None
has it been proven otherwise that these are not of human creation
- would you agree with this proposition? - ar

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nigeria a model hudud-state?

by Azly Rahman





Will Kelantan have strategic alliances with the Boko Haram, one day? It was implied that Nigeria is practising good Islamic governance, but what is the message?

I suggest all of us debating the implementation of the hudud study the transcultural flow of ideas and we will see how fast Malaysia will turn into a Taliban-land. Don’t we have people well-versed in global politics and political philosophies in our country - to guide politicians to the path of modernisation with moderation, liberalism with inclusiveness and transcultural ethics?


Didn’t a Kelantanese leader praise the Malaysian Isis jihadists some time ago and will this become a reason to bulldoze even the rights of non-Muslims and ‘no-hudud-please’ Muslims alike? No - call it hudud or God’s law as you wish, but those implementing are human beings with motives we will never know - power corrupts, absolutely power will corrupt absolutely.

I don’t know, It is best to speak about the virtues of a secular-humanist state because we are all human beings making mistakes and in a system that will not tolerate human follies, a reign of terror will ensure... and why would the champions of the hudud from the major political camps wish to emulate Nigeria? Is this fervour a gift from PAS to the non-Muslims who voted for them in the last general election.

Each Muslim is different

All Muslims are not created equal these days; each one is a complex construction of the history, culture, and politics of Islam. Even of the metaphysics of Islam. Most importantly education and socialisation are the twin pillars of this idea of ‘to have or not to have hudud’ or ‘to what extent must the Sharia law govern the lives of Muslims’.

Is a Muslim educated in Yemen, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, or even Indonesia, or even Kelantan, created as equal as those educated in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Europe, Singapore, or even in Johor?

Which Muslim educated in which country and state has the right to impose the ideas of Sharia law and hudud more than those in other places?

Will we see the emergence of Boko Haram Muslims in Malaysia?

Who has the right to say the ‘liberal Islam’ is less Islam than Boko Haram’s type of Islam? Why would Malays of the Islamic faith be kow-towing to the dictates of those other Malay-Muslim who not only are happy to be ignorant of Western foundational ideas but also think that because they are educated in Arab-speaking countries and louder in their chants for an Islamic state they have the right to speak about Islam and become guardians of the ‘morality of the ummah’?

What makes those calling for the implementation of a comprehensive Sharia, the hudud, en route to an ‘Islamic state’ think that all Muslims must also agree?

What makes them believe that these Malay-Muslims are not already fed-up and even nauseated by the urging for this or that type of ‘Islamic-ness’ which includes waging war on other races and religion in multicultural Malaysia - instead of waging peace and ensuring that Malaysia will not see the rise of Boko Haram’s type of Muslims?

Aren’t peace-loving Muslims in Malaysia more interested in having their children learn about diverse ideas to become world-wise citizens able to live is a complex and globalising world, rather than follow the urgings warning Muslims against ‘liberal ideas’ these Boko-Haram-inspired Muslims think only mean Western ideas that will turn human beings into lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders?

How obsessed with the libidinal and the sexual can these groups be?

Study the virtue of liberalism

Is that how much these Muslims understood what knowledge is about? Should we even care? Should progressive Muslims care when, in order to succeed in many ‘Western and infidel nations of liberal institutions of the advanced nations’ the foundational courses are all about ‘liberal ideas’?

Do you think these progressive Muslims are going to care about those ‘liberal-bashing’ Boko-Haram-inspired Muslims to discourage their children to even explore what ‘liberalism’ means?

And these ‘enemies of liberal ideas’ got their college/university degrees, did they not? Did they not learn about western and liberal ideas and pass their exams and at least learn a bit of good things about it?

This is a similar situation of the hypocrisy we see demonstrated in the case of those who oppose the teaching of Mathematics and Science in English.

Many are distinguished professors who wrote their dissertations in English yet they are intoxicated by a strange out-of-whack nationalistic sentimentality, chose to produce hypocritical and damaging statements denying especially the Malay-Muslim children and youth of the importance of exploring liberal ideas and other languages including the English language; the lingua franca many of the Boko-Haram-type of Muslims would call “language of the infidels/kaffirs”.

Who need these kinds of Muslims and their urging for an ‘Islamic state’ when the stench of hypocrisy has filled the Malaysian air - like the poisoning of the sky through the Kuala Lumpur haze?

Think about it - what actually is this hudud debate about? Who is benefitting from this? This is Malaysia’s talk of the town that everybody - non-Muslims as well - needs to be engaged in.

Friday, March 13, 2015

1Malaysia - now vomiting + Dr. MAHATHIR'S QUESTIONS on 1MDB

by Azly Rahman




Like many Malaysians, I am vomiting through the dungeons of my soul reading the reports daily on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), if it is true that the  leaders of this country are bankrupting it.

This is especially so when 1MDB may one day suck the blood, sweat, and tears dry out of the long and difficult years of investment of the Malaysian public, especially the kampung folk, the rubber tappers, the small businessmen and labourers of any race, not to mention the filthy work of secrecy we are seeing operating in the government, at a time when the nauseating hypocrisy of slogans such as "high-income nation," "world-class education" and "syariah index" are trumpeted and shoved down the throat of the people who are kept in fear and silence for criticising the run-amuck of the nation's "global-smart-partnership of Ali-Baba and John and Hollywood-hedonistic bloodsucker-filthy corporate-crony-useless-sons and daughters of sicko-capitalists".

Excuse me for the long running sentence. And excuse my little explosion too. The spirit of the New York beat poet Allen Ginsburg is running amuck in me today.


And excuse me while I kiss the sky and vomit through my bruised soul, as a Jimi Hendrix song would go screaming. What then must we do, in the midst of those in power pounding on the helpless crying for help in demanding justice and decency of making ends meet - especially to be reading stories of bloodsuckers and big-time conmen partying in yachts while the rakyat drowns in broken sampans and broken spirits?

And these premature talks about a replacement prime minister and who that might be too bores me to death.

Same old mould, I believe. These are mere dynastic wars over wealth and power that have become a disease of the nobility of politics as what it should be about: public service.

Same breed of emperors in new clothes

What do all these mean if what we are getting will perhaps be even worse vendetta and a continuation of the installation of the same breed of emperors in new clothes preying upon the poor and the helpless, using the state apparatuses to maintain a jet-setting lifestyle and lying to the people to beg for a mandate to rule?

Fools we have become and made to be, haven’t we?

My immediate worry is this:

With a bailout plan for 1MDB, even to pay just the interest of the loans and the new, horrifying numbers on the newly defined loan/bonds, what are we looking at? Will the rakyat's pension plan/life savings/national unit trusts and the like be used to help these crooks out?

Have we not learned from the experience of other countries how public funds were used to bail out such "Cayman Island" investments?  Do the people know enough about the kind of dictators, global CEOs and glorified money-launderers who stash their money in secret vaults in Switzerland, Singapore and those Islands?

What makes you think that your KWSP/EPF money is still going to be safe - when no one seems to want to tell the truth and what we are reading is about a barely 30-year-old kid and an investment punk partying till he pukes and investing our money till we all puke?

Why have we come to this point in history? You nationalists out there, tell me.

Now, parliamentarians we put to work - in your comfortable sittings, you better ask the government how the rakyat's savings are going to be wiped off dry!

This is totally insane a country! Yes - my beloved country I still love to see things go well for the next generation.

But in the next two generations our children may have to eat grass, wood and stones.

Progress towards a failed state...

Like Jonathan Swift’s suggestion to fatten up babies in The Modest Proposal to solve the Irish potato famine, I’d propose something less radical: just give each family a plot of land for them to plant food, raise chickens, and live in communes and live a life of dignity without falling prey to glorified gamblers. This country is gone and going to the dogs - with this progress towards a failed state.

Why do we still have these people running our country and running it down? And when the people speak up, you in power throw them in jail so that you folks in power can run free, looting and looting while speaking Greek and geek and those GST and your gobbledygook of your syariah index lying through your behind.  Excuse my little explosion again. Now the blood of the poets Rimbaud and Rendra combined, is boiling in me.

How filthy and corrupt can man get! Can't we teach one another to live within our means and be grateful and to think of others?

All these while I thought our economists, political scientists, and investment strategists in this and that national and high-strung high impact steering committees are well-versed in the Keynes-Hayek debate and the intricacies of the nation’s economy as it rides the wave of national reform and globalisation.

We seem to pride ourselves in this nationalistic obsession with our own version of command economy and be wary of letting the market solely dictate, and angry at any attempt by global empires to tell us what to do and how to behave – in the name of sovereignty. We seem to be in control of our “culturally-constructed commanding heights” but what is happening now?

Those entrusted to control the economy are gambling with it, big time, and letting the big-time gamblers sell the country off. Worse, do we not know what is happening to our national financial assets as many are guessing that they are being used to recover the money we lost through our secret wheeling and dealing in the world of casino capitalism, where “wolves of Wall Street” race with the velocity of money?

We can never know the truth – just like the truth of what happened to the missing Flight MH370, that I wrote about in April last year.

This is what we have become - a secret society of leaders making secret deals and using some acts to punish those who wish to know the truth – especially when the life savings of those who slog for this world of indentured servitude is at stake.

This is a case that might be worse than America’s Enron and Subprime Fiasco combined; a world too big to fail but crumbled like Humpty Dumpty and all.

What then must we do?

 Dr. MAHATHIR'S QUESTIONS


Written by Che Det
15 March 2015

1. UMNO telah mengadakan majlis penerangan tertutup yang dihadiri oleh sebahagian dari Ketua-Ketua Bahagian pada 8 Mac. Keputusan majlis mengikut akhbar ialah menyokong penuh Presiden parti.

2. Tidak diketahui tentang penjelasan oleh Presiden berkenaan kontroversi 1MDB, yang sedang dibincang dengan meluas oleh rakyat. Bahawa perkara ini dibawa oleh parti lawan, justeru itu ia adalah fitnah belaka tidak mencukupi untuk rakyat menolak tuduhan-tuduhan berkenaan 1MDB.
3. Rakyat masih tidak puas hati berkenaan 1MDB. Mereka bincang perkara ini dimana sahaja. Jika mereka tidak puas hati dan tidak sokong Barisan Nasional (BN) dalam PRU akan datang, BN mungkin kalah. Dan jika BN ditolak, sokongan kepada Presiden oleh pemimpin bahagian UMNO tidak lagi bermakna.

4. 1MDB bukan buat hutang biasa seperti Kerajaan yang biasanya berjumlah hanya ratusan juta sahaja. 1MDB telah hutang berbillion Ringgit. Walaupun 1MDB bukan Kerajaan tetapi ia adalah badan yang ditubuh dan dimiliki oleh Kerajaan sepenuhnya dengan modal sebanyak 1 juta Ringgit. Ada juga jaminan oleh Kerajaan terhadap beberapa hutang 1MDB. Oleh itu Kerajaan tidak boleh dakwa bahawa ini masalah syarikat dan bukan masalah Kerajaan.

5. Kerajaan sudah melantik Auditor General untuk memeriksa akaun 1MDB. Tetapi ini tidak akan menjawab banyak soalan yang telah dikemukakan dan dibincang oleh rakyat.

6. Dakwaan-dakwaan yang telah dibuat terhadap 1MDB bukan berbentuk tuduhan melulu. Ia disertai dengan fakta yang jelas, iaitu jumlah hutang, siapa yang mengurus, siapa yang menerima wang berbillion Ringgit, pelaburan yang dibuat, dimana wang ini disimpan, dalam bentuk apa.

7. Nama Jho Low disebut berkali-kali. Demikian juga nama-nama syarikat miliknya. Tuduhan dibuat berkenaan dengan pembelian rumah mewah olehnya di London, New York dan Holywood. Lepas itu rumah dijual kepada anak tiri Perdana Menteri dengan harga ratusan juta Ringgit. Sudah tentu ini tidak disebut dalam akaun 1MDB yang akan diperiksa oleh AG.

8. Pada mulanya duit Riza Aziz dikatakan warisan harta kekayaan dari keluarga Tun Razak. Kemudian dakwaan ini dinafi. Soalannya jika tidak dari keluarga Tun Razak dari mana datang wang yang banyak ini. Apakah ianya hasil dari perniagaan? Jika ya, apa perniagaan, dimana? Sudahkah cukai pendapatan dibayar? Kepada Kerajaan mana?

9. Pelaburan ratusan juta untuk filem “The Wolf of Wall Street” oleh Riza Aziz, anak tiri Dato Sri Najib datang dari mana? Filem ini tidak memberi keuntungan. Tidak mungkin filem ini membiayai rumah mewah yang dibeli dengan ratusan juta Ringgit atau Dolar Amerika.

10. Semua perkara-perkara ini tidak akan terdapat dalam akaun 1MDB. Tetapi rakyat ingin tahu kerana melibatkan Jho Low. Dan Jho Low disebut-sebut berkenaan dengan pengurusan 700 juta USD dari 1MDB.

11. Ada yang disebut berkenaan Petro Saudi yang juga menerima bayaran ratusan juta dolar dari 1MDB Benarkah Petro Saudi ini mendapat konsesi kawasan minyak dan gas di Argentina, di Turkmenistan dll. Apa buktinya? Benarkah JV dibuat dengan Petro Saudi sebelum ‘due diligence’ dibuat. Katanya sementara 1MDB melabur USD1 billion dalam JV dengan Petro Saudi, tetapi Petro Saudi tidak melabur satu sen pun. Apa jadi kepada wang IMDB dalam JV tidak jelas.

12. Apa sebabnya lebih dari 6 billion Ringgit (Dollar) disimpan di Cayman Island? Kerajaan tidak pernah simpan duit di lain negara selain pembelian bond. Apakah bond dibeli? Apa hasilnya?

13. Katanya wang sebanyak USD1 billion sudah dibawa balik dari Cayman dan disimpan dalam bank Singapura. Kononnya Bank Negara menjadi masalah kerana proses menyimpan wang yang banyak mesti melalui proses yang rumit. Bolehkan Bank Negara jelas kenapa menimbul masalah sedangkan 1MDB adalah syarikat Kerajaan yang dikuasai oleh Kementerian Kewangan. Jika mudah di Singapura kenapa susah sangat di Malaysia?

14. Urusan Kerajaan pernah dirahsia. Tetapi soal bayar balik hutang adalah public knowledge (dalam pengetahuan orang ramai). Orang ramai ingin tahu benarkah Ananda Krishnan memberi pinjam RM 2 billion untuk bayar faedah ini. Apakah faedah yang dikenakan oleh Ananda? Apa cara bayaran balik hutang Ananda? 1MDB dikatakan untung. Kenapa tidak dapat bayar faedah 2 billion Ringgit.

15. Juga diketahui umum ialah permohonan hutang sebanyak 3 billion dari Kerajaan baru-baru ini. Apakah Kabinet melulus pinjaman yang begitu besar ini? Apakah syarat yang dikenakan? Bagaimanakah hutang ini akan dibayar balik oleh 1MDB.

16. Tanah Kerajaan di Jalan Tun Razak dan Lapangan Terbang Sungai Besi telah dibeli oleh 1MDB. Apakah harga yang dibayar? Apakah tanah ini yang dikatakan asset 1MDB? Bagaimanakah dinilai harga tanah ini? Kerajaan berhak mendapat pulangan yang setimpal apabila tanah ini dijual kepada sesiapa pun. Berapakah harga satu kaki persegi. Tanah berdekatan dijual dengan harga RM7000/- satu kaki persegi. 1MDB juga membeli tanah di Pulau Pinang. Apa harganya. Apa jenis pembangunan yang dicadangkan. Sudah dimulakah?

17. Jika tanah-tanah ini menjadi aset 1MDB, apakah nilai tinggi aset ini disebabkan kenaikan (revaluation) dari harga belian yang murah dan harga pasaran yang tinggi.

18. 1MDB meminjam lebih dari 10 billion Ringgit untuk beli beberapa stesyen janakuasa. Harga yang dibayar dikatakan lebih tinggi dari harga pasaran. Lesen stesyen-stesyen ini akan mati tidak lama lagi. Kenapa tidak tunggu hingga lesen mati sebelum membeli. Harga selepas mati lesen tentu amat rendah. Membeli dengan harga tinggi sebelum lesen mati amat merugikan.

19. Wang untuk membeli stesyen janakuasa dipinjam. Laporan menunjuk komisyen sebanyak lebih dari 10% dibayar kepada Goldman Sachs untuk mengurus penjualan bond.

20. Jika komisyen 10%, 1MDB akan dapat hanya 90% dari jumlah yang dihutang. Tetapi faedah perlu dibayar keatas 100% jumlah hutang. Ini menghairankan!

21. Biasanya hutang yang dijamin oleh Kerajaan dikenakan faedah 3%. Hutang yang diurus oleh Goldman Sachs dikenakan faedah sebanyak 5.9%.

22. Jumlah hutang sudah meningkat kepada 42 billion Ringgit. Faedah keatas jumlah ini, jika hanya 5% pun akan berjumlah 2.6 billion Ringgit setahun. Ini adalah satu jumlah yang amat besar.

23. Sebaliknya jumlah keuntungan dari pelaburan dalam stesyen janakuasa tidak akan mencukupi untuk membayar faedah ini. Demikian juga pelaburan untuk beli tanah di Kuala Lumpur dan Pulau Pinang tidak akan beri apa-apa pulangan sebelum di bangun atau dijual.

24. Sesungguhnya 1MDB menimbul banyak soalan tentang pengurusan dan kegunaannya. Dan jumlahnya juga amat besar. Rakyat berhak merasa curiga akan cara dan kegunaan wang mereka yang banyak ini.

25. Ulasan bahawa semua tuduhan adalah fitnah tidak mencukupi. Mereka yang mendakwa bahawa ada penyelewengan dalam pengurusan 1MDB berani membuat kenyataan terhadap Kerajaan dan individu-individu tertentu walaupun terdedah kepada tindakan saman malu. Tetapi mereka mendakwa mereka memiliki bukti-bukti yang jelas seperti e-mail, surat perjanjian dan bukti-bukti lain. Tarikh dan nama-nama diberi tanpa bersembunyi. Pembohongankah tuduhan mereka!!

26. Sehingga kini Kerajaan tidak menjawab secara yang masuk akal. Umpamanya 1MDB tidak punyai masalah kerana asetnya lebih dari hutang. Tetapi hanya untuk bayar faedah 2 billion, tidak ada wang sehingga tidak dapat tutup akaun ikut jadual. Kemungkinan terpaksa hutang untuk bayar faedah.

27. Sejak Arul Kanda Kandasamy mengambil jawatan CEO, banyaklah kenyataannya yang tidak munasabah yang dibuat. Kononnya wang di Cayman sudah dibawa balik. Kemudian wang ini tidak boleh bawa balik. Kemudian sudah dibawa balik tetapi disimpan di Singapura.

28. Yang diperlukan bukan audit biasa buku akaun. Yang diperlukan ialah siasatan forensik oleh polis akan tuduhan yang dbuat terhadap beberapa orang yang terlibat dengan pengurusan wang 1MDB.

29. Jika ini tidak dibuat dan dibuat secepat mungkin, sokongan rakyat yang sudah pun merosot dalam PRU 2008, 2013 akan merosot lagi. Besar kemungkinan BN akan kalah pada 2018, walaupun ketua-ketua UMNO sokong dan terima dengan puas hati penerangan yang dibuat. Ingatlah undi orang UMNO sahaja tidak cukup untuk menang pilihanraya.


TAMAT

Friday, March 06, 2015

Why distribute only the Quran?

by azly rahman




Why not distribute free copies of the scriptures of other religions? I have been reading the complaint of those reading about the latest antic of a nation struggling with the complexities of hypermodernity. I believe I can understand why the negative reaction.

Free copies of the Quran, I believe, should not be distributed as if one is on a national roadshow giving out free minyak kapak (camphoric ointment) - complete with minivans like those used by start-up hip hop and rap artistes. This reminds me of the work of the members of the Christian denominational group Jehovah’s Witness who would go around the neighbourhood handing out pamphlets on ways to true salvation.

All religious texts need to be treated within their rightful context, to be accorded the status of serious literary and literary text first and foremost.

They are to be used as texts in courses that invite interfaith dialogue in which all texts are held in equal high esteem to be debated of their content using discursive and dialogical methods that might hopefully bring about some common truth and weed out many common falsehoods.

One cannot ban the use of the word ‘Allah’ one day, and force others to read the text that contain the name on another and expect non-Muslims to be happy and ready to learn... at best that is hegemonic, at worst idiotic.

Humanism and rationalism

We must go back to the drawing board of our approach to teaching religion in terms of curricular design and how to juxtapose or even infuse it with core ideas of humanism and rationalism. This will take another few decades given the complexity of our society and its present evolution of ‘half-bakedness’ of hypermodernity.


Here in the United States, I have had the opportunity to teach two summer classes on ‘Religions of the World’ and ‘Introduction to Religion’ in a college where I have also been asked, for the last several years, to teach ‘Islamic Scriptures’.

I find it liberating to conduct classes after classes in which my students not only are American and foreign-born Muslims but also Jews, Christians, Catholic, Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, and even Pagans.

At the end of each semester, they have a different perception of each other - more in-depth understanding of what could have remained antagonistic. We read the Quran and the Hadiths and look at the scriptures from a hermeneutic perspective - situate it in the present and projecting it into the future.

Most often, our discussions on jihad evolved into a reflection on the struggles for the human self to explore suffering, violence, and liberation in all religious traditions. It includes passionate discussions on media representation of the concept.

I often wonder if what I am doing is possible in Malaysia but I certainly have the confidence and hope that given the most peaceful way to approach it, a lot can be gained. Essentially religious dialogue need not be painful.

It ought to help foster deep understanding and dispel misconception of ANY religion. It ought to make us become deeply religious and to learn to explore what others believe, to respect them, to learn from the universal themes of spirituality, and ultimately to contemplate our existence within the context of the struggle between Good and Evil and to evolve as more ethical and rational beings - so that we may participate better as political and social beings.

Major scriptures

We need to do more than just print our copies of the Quran to distribute to those reluctant to accept them in light of the image of Islam these days.

We need to revamp undergraduate foundation courses in our public and private to include one that teaches the classics of the thoughts of the Eastern and Western tradition and the scriptures of the major religions.

But then again, our university students are not even allowed to be involved in politics and to engage freely in public forum on political matters - how might this be possible with interfaith dialogue then?

We have a long walk to mental freedom and to a philosophical understanding of Islam and other religions. Unfortunately we are now known as people who are good at disrupting dialogues. I hope this perception will change.

But then again, education is about hope, peace, empathy, intelligence, and liberation - these we must use as a basis for a new design once we see major restructuring efforts under way undertaken by perhaps a new political, social, and educational arrangement.

Let us look at possibilities in interfaith dialogue. Let education for peace and justice do that. This should be our commitment to an evolution of a world wise society I wrote about in last week’s column.

I end this week’s opinion piece with these verses:

MERE MORTALS, or
Mantra of a Minimalist

mere mortals we might be
magnificent though within
making sense of our maddening world
of machiavellian moods of Man’s antics
meanderers we have become
mystified by the mediated selves we have been turned into
and when the moments of truth arrive
mirrors will invite us
to multiple worlds
we have made
out of memories we have made
but who knows...
who wants to know?
mere mortals we might be
a speck of dust
but a proud evolution
only if we know - ar

Saturday, February 28, 2015

World wise before world class

by Azly Rahman




Each Malaysian university need not aspire to become "world class", but to start becoming 'world wise' instead. These are my thoughts on the issue of the culture of our universities.

Tradition of intellectualism, freedom of inquiry, adaptability, quality of teaching, production of intellectual and ground-breaking artifacts, the undying pursuit of truth for the betterment of society, the championing of diverse philosophical thinking along with a diverse and global student population rigorously selected and admitted...

These are amongst the elements that make a university not only world class, but 'world wise'.

Malaysia’s road to world class-ism is a long and winding one due to the following hurdles we have created:

  • A political governance that imposes a style of anti-intellectualism on campuses;
     
  • A culture of fear of thinking, retarding critical sensibility permeating;
     
  • A lack of encouragement of radical thinking amongst the faculty;
     
  • A culture of high-stakes testing and post-high school teaching;
     
  • A society as a force fast moving towards mono-cultural mono-religious thinking;
     
  • A nation helpless in determining the freedom of inquiry that ought to be championed by universities;
     
  • A government that insists on the appointment of politically-connected and aspiring educational leaders to lead universities;
     
  • A mission and vision of the university that do not have a statement which guarantees academic freedom and the protection of free speech as the key foundations of its existence;
     
  • A grand curriculum that is weak in the philosophical, sociological, humanistic, and cultural traditions of the East and the West;
     
  • A population of students and faculty weak in the mastery of the English Language;
     
  • The entire misconception of the aim and purpose of education in an increasingly globalising and predatory world;
     
  • The lack of skills of faculty as Socratic thinkers and the mastery of the art and science of teaching and inspiring;
     
  • The model of Industrial Age of education still in use in a Post-Industrial Cybernetic world...
And these are amongst the few.

Where do we go from here to make things better - even of it takes a hundred years?

Seems that the farther away society is from nature, the closer it is to materialism; the more people love money more than humility, the deeper truth may be buried.

So, we ought to at least read 'The Epic of Gilgamesh' and learn from the tension between the illusions of civilisation and civility.

Fights over money and materialism

This is what Malaysia is now facing. The fights in Malaysian politics - to the point of murder, mayhem and madness - are over money and materialism.

Dr Martin Luther King Jr often talked about three things that destroy humanity: racism, militarism, and materialism.

And Malcolm X had his famous saying: "Show me a capitalist and I will show you a bloodsucker."

What's nauseating is the growing critical mass of support for this dying regime over-killing the little hope we have for the flowering of critical and moral sensibility.

Why? Because the process of educating for hegemonic and totalitarian ends have been very successful with better ideological state apparatuses built to sustain the political-dynastic progress.

And in all these, we have created a one-dimensional two-sided society arguing over issues versus non-issues, parroting theories and clich├ęs'.

We are in a theatre of the absurd and will be staying in it for a long, long time (Time to read Moliere again and relive my college freshman years in those Literature classes).

In the life of one's mind, the greatest challenge is to think as freely as one can allow oneself to live in a culture that is increasingly shackling, disabling, controlling, and oppressing.

From this, too, the question of how can we design a suitable education system comes into being... of the perfect process of schooling - one that will respect the dignity and freedom of the human mind. But how? It must begin with the universities.

What is so complex about the definition of a university for it to be misunderstood? A university is a secularly-sacred institution of scholarly pursuit of ideas that must not be used to create further divisions in society - be they divisions and sub-divisions based on race, colour, creed and national origin.

It is a place wherein the universality of ideas must reign, guided by philosophies that will bring humanity closer to a more meaningful democracy.

A university is not merely a diploma mill and a production-house of academic Taylorism.

It is not an institution to put a 'quality control' stamp on the minds of students so that they may become merely good workers in a Total Quality Management-inspired company.

It is not a game of production and reproduction and schooling the mind into total submission.

A university is not a place wherein the discoveries of new bodies of knowledge must point to the dictates of party politics and that ‘truth’ must be acquired through ‘methods’ designed by and derived from the structural-functionalism of politics.

It must not be a place to canonise the ideology of this or that dubious leader whose interest is in self-emulation and deluding oneself to grandeur. A university has more respect than that.

The university is above politics. It must educate politicians. The professor must guide politicians - a professor who is a philosopher-ruler and one who is incorruptible and preserves the culture of free inquiry and human liberation is the best professor a nation can ever have.

Professing knowledge and helping others grow intellectually is not the same as packaging propaganda and helping others become retarded by it.

And so, we must engineer a revolution to make our institutions wiser and to move society to become 'world wise' instead of prematurely appraising our institutions as “world class”.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A FLAWED UNIVERSE?




beauty is higher than truth
love reigning more supreme than religion
the self more superior than the state
and we have structured the universe in error
putting the love for things
more than the love for fellow human beings
we are in a state of constant flux, hence
vacillating between evil ... and diabolism
how must we detach ourselves
to escape from sufferings -- of our own design?
you tell me deus ex machina


-- azly rahman


Lecture: Edward Said

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Lecture: Noam Chomsky

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Lecture: Jacques Derrida

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Lecture: Jean Paul Sartre

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Movie: 1984

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Movie: Animal Farm

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Movie: Chicken Run

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Poems: Rumi

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Dialogue on Religion: Karen Armstrong

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Dailogue on Religion: Huston Smith

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Islam

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Humanism

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Jainism

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Sikkhism

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Hinduism

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Bahai

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Confucianism

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Taoism

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The Bhagavad Gita

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Jesus of Nazareth

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Siddharta Gautama

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Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh)

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