Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who Will Replace Nik Aziz In Kelantan?

In the blur of a mutiny aiming to overthrow the “ship’s captain” in the Kelantan government, the big question that arises in the waves sweeping over the petty state is about who will replace the 77-year old PAS Mentri Besar (Chief Minister).

Nik Aziz Nik Mat, wiry, wily and aging, is also PAS’s (Islamic Party’s) spiritual leader.

Approaching 20 years into a secure tenure, he ruled like a surviving slur of the oriental despotism he seemed to believe will hold for another century or two.

Observers had him supped into a senile wanderlust when he kept taking to task the party president he wanted tamed and the deputy president he wanted out. It was a sustained attempt to dispel any notion that may reduce him into anything lesser than the “Captain of the Ship”.

He kept cajoling the party leaders and each time he did his thing the PAS swayed and buckled close to rupture.

When the mutiny broke out it was, to many, a much-awaited sign of sustained life in the PAS, but bringing in the tide a clear reading of monumental death.

The current crisis in the state can lead to a grab of power for a decent future of modernization and development the Barisan Nasional (BN) can make. The BN needs a frontline leader acceptable to the people of the small delta community.

The drama began when popular blogger, Kickdefella (here), suddenly sacked from his position as a liaisons officer of the state investment arm, hit hard on Nik Aziz Nik Mat’s nose.

The ancient squat protuberance of the spiritual leader and politician bled. It will bleed more if he is found guilty of accepting criminal gratification from a logger.

The rich logger, said to be a former truck driver who gained a timber concession from the state government worth RM20 million, must have been grateful enough to spend more than RM400k on a "five-star" Haj trip to Mecca for the Chief Minister and his select group of VVIPs.

Nik Aziz and his spouse was one pair of the beneficiaries of this Al-Santa Clausu, the Muslim Gift-Bearer. His son-in-law, Ir Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman and wife, was another pair, said Kickdefella, placing the parents of the bride and the prodigal son-in-law in a political embrace few would envy.

The "five-star" trip to Mecca costs RM65,000 for each pair when about RM10,000 would have sufficed.

Nik Aziz had appointed his son-in-law as CEO of the state’s investment arm he chaired himself.

It is this fellow who sacked the blogger for reasons still unknown, the probabilities leaning heavily to a spin of intrigues Kickdefella suggested was about the creation of a dynasty.

For reasons of her own Ir Ariffahmi’s wife, Nik Amalina Nik Aziz, had written and widely published in the net a soul-spilling letter to say her father, the Chief Minister, had indeed offered the big job to her husband from about one year before he husband finally accepted the appointment.

She described it as a “hot seat”. It is looking like it could burn through his pants.

She targeted the blogger.

Kickdefella is known to be an aide of Husam Musa, a state Executive Councilor (Minister) who had been groomed by Nik Aziz he served for almost 20 years beginning as a Press Secretary in 1990.

Observers mostly agreed Husam Musa did a great job to promote his boss. He was articulate, physically well-stacked and informed.

When he became Political Secretary six years later he was seen as a protégé of Nik Aziz and being groomed for high office in the state.

Husam rose to become a state minister in 2004 and soon into his second term he lunged for number two of the Islamic Party in mid-2009.

He lost, a failed crossing of the Rubicon that would have unsettled Rome for Julius Caesar.

But Kelantan obviously isn’t quite comparable to Caesar’s Rome and Nik Amalina cannot be the asp in Cleo’s chamber.

Kelantan is actually one of nine petty monarchies in the Malay Peninsular noisily bugging the environment to create heat for a constant clear sighting by GSP from above.

Kickdefella locked in and he gripped the stoic Menteri Besar in an allegation of blatant nepotism and possible graft, threatening to spill more beans that should cause the old man to rue the day he decided his son-in-law must be the CEO of the state company he sits on as Chairman.

Nik Aziz had slipped. The 77-year old stoic who is regarded by many as a Muslim saint is certainly having lots to explain.

Is Islam actually free of values that collectively forbid nepotism? Are gifts from the well-gratified merely a pleasant way of saying “Thank You” to state leaders and their councils of powerfolks called in Kelantan “VVIPs”?

Husan Musa, obviously dunked by the wily old man, was soon reported to have said he wanted out of the state government and the party, sending the Chief Minister into a corner too tight for him.

How can he face the future should his former protégé lead the final attack against him from within, or abruptly slide into the Opposition and invade his fort?

The Deputy Mentri Besar, Mohamad Yakub, is a quiet man of diligence that seemed to have cleverly failed to record his political existence. He is held in the state as unavailable for the high office.

Ariffahmi Abdul Rahman, the Engineer CEO of the states investment arm, should have accepted the job his father-in-law offered him a year earlier. He has many steps to go before he can be in the running.

That leaves either Husam Musa who is now zoomed into a limbo and the Umno Kelantan liaison chief and federal minister, Mustapha Mohammed, a brilliant former civil servant.

Nik Aziz, cornered into the wilds of the fall from grace, is likely to be thinking of dissolving the state assembly pronto and let the party run for the sun it can lose.

Whoever will finally be chosen to lead the charge in the BN must be the sort of personality the people of the tightly knit delta community can accept and can trust. Mustapha, who is the brightest, must quickly take the lead. But will he go for it? ----a. ghani ismail, 29 Nov. 2009.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Umno Won Bagan Pinang. Who Lost?

Umno President and Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, slumped on the leeward side of Isa Samad’s landslide victory in the Bagan Pinang by-election on Oct. 11, suffers a popularity downslide he may find difficult to overcome as he plans to dissolve parliament next year for a quick grab of his own mandate to rule.

Najib had taken over a corrupt Umno. Unless purged, the party no longer made sense as a nationalist organization and would stand to lose more and more members to the Pas and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Anwar Ibrahim had mounted to overtake Umno.

Isa Samad, Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Negeri Sembilan for 22 years, found guilty of buying votes to win as party vice-president in 2004, has now successfully made a tainted second coming, the taint a costly color that Najib had taken to win in the ninth by-election since the general elections on 8 March 2008.
Umno and the BN had lost the remaining eight.

Even if Isa was clearly in control of the constituency and could scuttle Umno in the by-election, a lot of people agreed with former Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, when he openly attempted to persuade Najib not to choose the tainted Isa as candidate.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who contested Mahathir for Umno president in 1987 and narrowly lost, wrote on the eve of the by-election it’s better for Umno to lose rather than “affirm corruption” should Isa win.

Now that Isa has won by a record 5,435 votes, it is Najib who stands as a casualty.

He caused the party to reel under a weight it may not be able to carry through the next general elections. Umno cannot even be classified anymore as a nationalist party the Malays can trust to take care of their interests.

Many party divisions have been bought and are controlled by money-laden contractors and businessmen since vote-buying, or “money politics”, became rampant in Umno from sometime in the mid-1980s.

After suggestions to purge the party of the corrupt have fallen on deaf ear, the resurrection of Isa Samad on Oct. 11 seemed to have spaced out all alternatives to regime change, making it pertinent for my former teacher, Gamany of Daim and Gamany (now retired) to meet me to discuss some matters of ideological vehemence in the Opposition, the Pakatan Rakyat.

Gamany was a member of the PSRM and he agreed Kassim Ahmad's helmanship of the party for 18 years was senseless.

We areed even if there is still a chance for Umno and the BN to survive by an internal putsch, the possibility did not interest Gamany and the first thing Gamany asked when we met at Restoran Jamek in Kuala Lumpur was whether or not I could accept PKR’s Marhaenism as a suitable ideological base.

I had earlier suggested we use the broader Qur'anic class of Mustaz’afin (Oppressed/ Dispossessed/ Exploited) and the class of Mustakbirin (Oppressor/Exploiter/Corrupt) in socio-historical conflict to bridge the ideological divide between the Pas, PKR and DAP in the Opposition. (see here)

Since our purpose for an ideology would be to provide for coherence and cohesion while defining objectives, priorities and methods, whatever we decide should be something that can last a long time and not become merely a convenient adoption and adaptation that bears no relevance to our historical mission and society.

Marhaenism, whatever Sukarno had conceived and introduced it for, should be conveyed within the scope of historical materialism.

What we get is the petty traders and peasants who owned some scraps of capital but who would be badly mauled by a change in any of the factors of production, or merely by an increase of taxes or rent.

In our society we have 48 percent of landless farmers (in KADA and KEMUBU for example) and the social dynamics issued from the numbers do not favor Marhaenism.

Our landscape differ from the little patches of terraced rice-fields in Java Sukarno had seen fit to use as a means to enhance his NASAKOM (Nationalisme-Islam-Komunisme) of his Guided Democracy which lasted until his overthrow in 1965.

We need something that can provide for coherence and cohesion while striding distinctly above the communal and sectarian drawbacks of our own plural makeup, the likes of which would have been shunned by heaven and hell had these places been pre-informed in any detail about Malaysia.

Gamany did not worry about returning to a purely proletarian workout seeing that could inspire more Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Myanmar workers in Malaysia than the sum total of the Malaysian blue-collar labor force.

So I suggested we can do with the scriptural generalizations and hone those into social stratifications and identities to display a broad ideological understanding as Ali Shariati had done in Iran during the Islamic Revolution that ended with the fall of the Pahlavi in 1979.

Gamany asked me what I thought of the DAP reviving the Chin Peng-Abdullah CD model of relationship between the Chinese-dominated MCP and the small 10th. Malay Regiment and I answered we can do better by aspiring to override the communalism.

Malays in Malaysia generally remain averse to socialism because of the anti-Malay policy of the MPAJA (Malayan Peoples’ Anti-Japanese Army) during the Japanese Occupation.

Abdullah CD hailed from Lambor Kiri, a village several miles upriver from Pasir Salak where J.W.W. Birch was killed in the early years of the British Residential System. He and many of his Malay compatriots were anti-colonial first and last, or so his family members assumed of him.

There we stopped. Gamany and I shall meet again.

Since neither of us wish for a total command economy and both are favorably inclined towards choosing western models for change, modernization, development and integration, many finer points will need to be discussed before we can draw the Pas and other Muslims into serious discussions over the Islamic Welfare State and other matters of common interest.

Umno is obviously lost in the overwhelming materialism of the awesome transitional society and even if Isa Samad had won handsomely in Bagan Pinang on Oct 11, given its ruling attitude about corruption, Umno is bound to become even uglier still in the near future. -----a.ghani ismail, 12 Oct. 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


With the newt-like metamorphosis of Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) encumbering the Pakatan Rakyat’s lurch for power, Lim Guan Eng’s hunch that the ground is no longer the same as it was under Pak Lah must be a strong hint that the DAP secretary-general has become illumined.

Guan Eng had said knocking off Najib Tun Razak from the helm would not be easy.

The PKR is breaking down. The recent crossover to Umno of the PKR Lunas assemblyman in Kedah and the recalcitrant Port Klang assemblyman in Selangor are obvious symptoms of the newt reaching maturity and must return to the mud and slush for it to spawn a fresh batch of larvae.

Guan Eng must have known there wasn’t and hasn’t been much in the PKR. It is mostly about Anwar, his secretaries and a few NGOs close to him, many of the rest picked from the streets without any character assessment.

Months after the Pakatan Perak state government was formed, two PKR State Executive Councilors were trapped suckling China dolls paid for by a contractor. As a consequence the government fell in disgrace.

The playtime of these PKR members in the lair of power did not stop there.

A personal tryst of another PKR State Executive Councilor rushed into the Internet a set of near-nude pictures a gory Gallum of the middle-world said was altogether alright in Islam.

Now a Kedah State Executive Councilor who is the assemblyman for Lunas has crossed court saying he has lost confidence in Anwar Ibrahim who is again facing a charge for sodomy.

What’s left for the PKR to use as a foundation to acquire public confidence is a mystery. After more than a year of coaching most of the party’s state executive and district councilors are said to be ineffective or utterly deadwoods

They are mainly members of NGO’s who are hardly acquainted with government or with any executive function.

Now suddenly propped with power they seem to believe that that power is well spent by attending meetings after meetings in a pretense of hard work. It is Anwar that is stuck and stumped in the up-shot.

While he and his team can win a significant number of seats in state assemblies and in parliament, delivery is yet to unfold into the tangible world.

The PKR, which may have started out well in Selangor with former Guthrie’s CEO, Khalid Ibrahim, leading the state government, is now looking frothy and fat.

The DAP too may be staring into space in Selangor where the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) investigations and the select committee on competency, accountability and transparency (Selcat)interrogations can reveal more graft-stubs and fund-pilfering graver than previously suspected.

In the Islamic landscape the Pas has run berserk with the party’s Selangor state commissioner, Hassan Ali, wishing to form mosque-based moral squads to nab beer from the shelves in Muslim-majority areas.

He seems enthralled by the Pahang Shariah Court judge who had slapped some Muslims who drank beer with a fine of RM5,000, six lashes of the whip and recently, with a year custodial sentence as well.

As Malaysia appears to be going religiously mad, the PKR’s Reformasi and Pakatan’s Civil Society are staying clear from the mental-waste.

Anwar and his PKR were strangely soft about the Pas’ war against beer.

When the powers-that-be decided to slam six Shah Alam demonstrators with sedition for parading a cow’s head and then stepping and spitting on it, the PKR quickly distanced itself from the deemed sacrilegious act to appease their members who are Hindus.

It will be the monkey that the PKR should next uphold as a sacred creature, the being associated in Hinduism with the god, Hanuman, and with Sun Wu Kung in Indo-Chinese beliefs.

What is the policy position of the Reformasi and of Civil Society concerning these bewildering developments involving beer and cattle? Anwar must elucidate or the whole of the Reformasi will have to be disregarded as merely a politically sopped maverick and hence, in Islam, as short-changing the people and therefore fraudulent (Mutafiffin).

The relevant Quranic verses run like this:

Woe to the cheaters,
Who, when taking the measures from the people, they take full measure,
But when they give the measure to the people they cheat.
Do they not expect to be resurrected?
--- Q. 83: 1 – 4

The PKR may be resurrected as a newt given its sidestepping of issues relating to the religious mental-waste.

The newt lives through a three-stage metamorphosis – a creature born in mud and slush that lives on dry land as a juvenile and then back to the mud and slush in its maturity.

As for the cow, is it really sacred to the Hindus or is it merely taboo to a large number of them? Haven’t you seen Indian cowherds whipping cattle? --- a. ghani ismail (16 Sept. 2009)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Busted Party Hot Over Sacred Cow


Hot lips blowing flying kisses over a head of cattle in Shah Alam in psychedelic rays of sunshine on Friday 28 August– a brew of a Hindu temple, caning for drinking beer and the sudden leap of one PKR member, Radzi Salleh of Lunas, over to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kedah on August 23.

Now three others are rumored “missing”, meaning the Pas-led Pakatan Rakyat government in Kedah may have to call a snap state election to save its skin – gossamer-thin and serving no more than as a prophylactic to hide the non-performance since coming to power after the stupefying 8 March 2008 general elections.

Holy Cow! There’s really no need for the Police to exact a severe penalty over the Shah Alam ruse, nor any reason for paranoia.

What’s behind it is the death knell of the Pakatan in Kedah following the fall of the bugged pact in Perak. The position of the partnership in Selangor is also shaky.

If three other PKR elected members in Kedah officially swing, we would be seeing a clearance sale of the PKR in the state – all four crossing from the sick-bay to the glory of Hallelujah in a near repeat of the Perak sell-off. Pakatan would have 18 against BN’s 18, with one independent worth the moon.

It’s Anwar that’s gone all wrong with his September 16 (2008) misadventure of a calculation that was a bluff, leaving him and his party with a bill they can hardly pay for the trip that was merely a bad dream.

Anwar was reported to have confessed PKR is flawed and it is the weakest in the pact.

But some people find it is motley, showing up a legend of those types that were dragged from the trenches of the beaten.

Riding into the skirts of power they strut like crippled horsemen, making rather of a comic platoon of the wasted wherever they made their presence.

Some observers have asked whether Anwar is at all serious about making a bid for power, him to reach the pinnacle in Putrajaya with a bunch of slushy boys and big-butt sluts for the paradise his think-tank has devised for a third space of much fun?

Losing grip of the great dream to gain power over Malaysia after the paunchy win of 8 March 2008, members of the Pakatan-Pas leaderships are now seen to try for a racial polarization that will deny the 1Malaysia Vision.

While in the DAP it is about lancing Islam in the ribs, like Jesus had been lanced on Golotha, to those with a weakness for the Pas the game drags them into a historical curling, like the snake is swallowing its tail.

To the Malays the big fight that changed the course of history had been between Islam and Tantric Hindu-Buddhism in the 14th century, depicted in Hikayat Raja-Raja Pasai (the annals of Pasai) which marked the beginning of Islam in Malacca with the conversion of Parameswara when he married the princess of Pasai in 1409.

In that Hikayat was Perumal, the Pasai Raja and bhairawa (God-King) who insisted his daughters become his concubines and when his son protected the girls from their father, Perumal ordered his son to drink poison, which the son did.

It’s by the tantric to deify the kings and princes that the Malays came to know Hinduism and Buddhism in Sumatera.

It is this kind of a man-God that first became Raja of Pagaruyung, the Minangkabau heartland where Adityawarman enthroned himself king and drew attention to himself as a bhairawa who killed hundreds of his subjects, drank their blood and ate of their flesh about which he had inscribed on a stone statue which is resting in the Jakarta Museum, under the staircase.

This history of the fight against mangled Malay humanity is what is clearly stirring once again in the country, presided as it were by the Cassius-like Great Guru of the Pas whose umbilical attachment to Anwar’s PKR and the DAP cannot be taken flippantly as a passing fancy that will bear nobody any intended malice.

Though early Majapahit had driven back Kublai Khan’s 12,000-strong army in East Jawa, the Malays had never fought against the Chinese until they were forced to retaliate Chinese excesses in the 1942-46 conflicts from Batu Pahat in Johor to Grik in Perak. (see Chia Boon Kheng, Red Star Over Malaya).

It is not with the Taoist or Buddhist Chinese that the historical racial combustions lie in Nusantara, but with Tantric Hindu-Buddhism.

That is why it is critical for the Malays to be told the bhairawa-period of Perumal of Pasai and Adityawarman of Pagaruyung has long gone and that the Hindu-Muslim crises in India are differently patented.

Indeed there is no reason to be recalling the primitive conflicts between Islam and Hinduism in the Malay World.

When the chips are down there really is no reason to be flogging the Sacred Cow. ---a. ghani ismail, 1 Sept. 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Whip Kartika Publicly On Malaysia Day?

Swarmed by a pious warrant of zealotry for more than a year because she drank beer at an hotel bar in the beachside of Cherating, Pahang, and after four court appearances, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, 32, now Peoples’ Princess, was slammed by the Syariah High Court in the state with a fine of RM5000 and six strokes of the cane.

The mother of two who emotionally slumped when she was told on Monday 24 July 2009 the caning was postponed because it was Ramadhan, said she has been treated like a football since the arrest on 11 Dec 2007 and now she would prefer to be publicly whipped rather than caned, a report said.

As the country awakens to the agony of a woman and mother from the lower middle-class who had lost her full-time job in a hospital because of the “religious crime”, the Mufti of Perak, Harussani Zakaria, and Pas president, Hadi Awang, presented the country with a classic apology for the Islamic law.

Said they, drinking any alcoholic beverage is a hudud crime, meaning it is an offence mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. The punishment, they said, is between 40 to 80 light strokes of the cane, the victim fully dressed and not bared to show her flesh.

If you wish to debate that law you can begin by saying nowhere in the Qur’an is there a mention of the punishment. Since it will be said it comes from the Hadis (Prophetic Tradition), it should be asked, is it really sourced from the Hadis or from the reported sayings of the prophet’s companions, i.e. Atsar and not Hadis?

But the two missed the point altogether. The simple point is the fact Kartika was fined RM5000 and has paid the money. Had she been any poorer she would have to spend three years in jail. Are those deals also a part of the hudud?

She lost her fulltime job because of the zealotry. Is that not enough to satisfy the appetite for power to do violence of this unkind sort?

If the appeal to mercy and compassion is not enough to appease the temper of the holy of the holies in the country, then we need the pure souls to categorically inform us whether or not it was true Muawiyah, when he was Caliph in Damascus, was reliably reported to have been drunk on several occasions as he read the sermon and then led the Friday congregational prayer?

Was it true or false that the illustrious Umar Bin al-Khattab was drunk at prayer in the prophet’s mosque in Medina and because of that event God Almighty inspired the verse saying ‘ do not approach prayer when you are drunk so that you may know what you are saying...’ (Q. 4:43)?

That cannot be serious admonition of an abominable crime, surely.

Hence, we need to ask how serious is the crime in having a few beers to ease the stresses and tensions of working in a commercial and industrial landscape with a recession to boot and without a war to fight like the Muslims in Medina in the time of the prophet?

What more, the Pas Selangor Commissioner, Hassan Ali, wants to train squads of Beer-Fighters in all mosques in Selangor to perform a search-and-destroy mission of the beverage from hops and malt. He should begin by removing all Muslim workers from the breweries in PJ.

Since by Islamic law one drop of an alcoholic beverage is as haram (prohibited) as a jug of it, Hassan Ali should ask himself how about Air Tapai (fermented glutinous rice)?

The alcoholic content in beer is between 2.5 to 3 percent proof while in Air Tapai it is between 12 to 16 percent proof.

Go to Chechnya and you'll find some of the mujahids (Muslim fighters) drink Vodka to keep themselves warm in winter. You need to experience frostbite before you condemn that!

So, do you really believe we ought to apply the Prohibition in Malaysia in the 21st century simply because it is in the Holy Qur'an?

People of my ilk are saying it is a paltry matter Hassan Ali has grabbed for his mission and mileage. It has been said he has done nothing since assuming office after the 8 March general elections last year.

He could have worked on Cooperatives to help the members of the Pasar Tani (Rural Market) and the Pasar Malam (Night Markets) who are losing cients in the recession instead of choosing to raid 7-Eleven outlets and remove the beer.

Islam we know is a religion of mercy. But the nature and quality of a religion can and will change given a change of its environment and the means of production in the community it is upheld.

Therefore, when the environment of A and the means of production in that environment changes, A will no longer be equal to A. Its nature and quality would have changed.

The gist is, Islam will have to change substantially for it to remain a religion of mercy in our commercial and industrial society, not to mention the time that has lapsed between Muhammad in Medinah and Kartika in Malaysia.

Peoples' Princess, Kartika, should have been counseled and not punished by a RM5000 fine, removed from her job, taken into custody for a week and whipped in the privacy of a prison’s courtyard by body-builders, like these

What chance does she have? Where’s the compassion? Is it lost in the new metropolitan and industrial environs against what the Quixotic is, in fact, furiously battling?

The people is swiftly mobilizing. It'll be people against the traditional and religious elite. ---a. ghani ismail, 26 August 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Sunk into the opening day of Ramadhan, the scheduled caning of Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno for drinking beer has ruined whatever lasting enchantment Islam in Malaysia may have advanced since the Arab religion beached here sometime in the 14th century.

Kartika, 32, a mother of two, on a modeling tour in Pahang for a tourism stint drank three glasses of beer in the lounge of an hotel in Kuantan, Pahang, on Dec. 11, 2008.

She was suddenly pounced upon by a squad of Islamic moral-police and shot to fame for being the first woman in the country to be fined RM5000 and to be caned six strokes for the terrible misbehavior, the brewery quite clearly enhanced as among the worst enemies of Muslims in Malaysia.

She’s due to be detained in a prison for a week beginning Monday for the sentence to be meted in the elegant privacy of a prison hours before the country celebrates Independence Day on August 31st. The gutsy woman has been asking for the caning to be carried out in public.

Inside the sullen side of the first of Ramadhan while the otherwise cacophonous and virile opposition has fallen silent over the event, Marina Mahathir and Nuraina A. Samad took up the challenge and called people to read the Qur’an for the whole of the month in code, like this,

Even if meanings may be sometimes elusive, the intent of this suggested campaign is clear.

Islam, the way it is in Malaysia, is apparently coded in an exclusive system that is meaningless to the outsider and a referendum to let the Malays freely choose their faiths would probably leave the established domain to a minority of clowns.

In a society that’s plural and already long industrial, religious Puritanism should begin and remain at home.

But the matter is neither Puritanism nor any genuine concern for social morality. It is rather a system of feudal social control extended into the 21st century from the 17th by virtue of the fact the mullahs have no commercial, industrial or developmental talent to revise the method they had used from the time Nuruddin ar-Raniri became the Shaikh ul-Islam in Aceh under Iskandar Thani.

In early 20th century, while in Indonesia Tjokroaminoto founded Sarekat Islam and turned it from a batik cooperative into a revolutionary anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movement, the religious departments in this staunchly feudal compliance during colonial rule fought against the modernists or Kaum Muda responsible for the advancement of independence in the Malay world.

The result was an Islam that was crass, violent and as shallow as a bird-bathing pool.

In 1922, before the Comintern in discussing Pan-Islamism, the Indonesian Communist leader, Tan Malaka, stood up against the tide to say Pan-Islam in the Indonesian experience, was not the same as it was elsewhere.

More akin to the Caucasus where the Muslims had joined the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks to overthrow the Czar in 1917, Indonesian Muslims likewise should be treated exclusively, the numbers at that time showing 13,000 members of the Partai Komunis Indonesia against more than one million in Sarekat Islam.

At that same time in Malaya, the conservative ulama working for the religious departments that were directly under the respective rulers, were relentlessly exhibiting their powers of violence against any and all non-conformists. There would be no religious dissident allowed in Malaya.

This feudal power abuse, once threaded into the fabrics of state power, will obviously need more than a drill of Wingdings a month long or even yet another media blitz to retrain the power-appetite and traditional inclination.

It will need the youth and the people to directly aggress for reshaping the Constitution and the terms of references of the Islamic institutions. We have to go the way of Fazlur Rahman and Cak Noor - Islam ‘Yes!’, Islamic State ‘No!’.

Malays must have the right to choose their own faiths, to conduct their marriages at the civil registry and to set themselves free from the feudal catch-22 to escape the violations.

This sustained display of abuse is about Consciousness. The apparatus is a schematic form lost in the woods of historical materialism and never to enjoy a union of opposites like when the Raja (King) also becomes Rakyat (Subject) for the contrast to blend into a different substance in a synthesis and so the Malays and Malaysians can finally enjoy Liberty – in the 21st century that already is.

Yes, I would like Kartika to be caned in public too, as a part of the Merdeka Celebrations. We need to be sure she will not be brutalized and raped after the caning. Members of NGOs can help take her home to her family after the ordeal.

And this is her family

-----a. ghani ismail, 22 August, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009


Has Parents Any Say In Our Education Policy?

Ghoulish in the way educational policies are crafted by politicians in Malaysia has dogged parents, teachers and children once again. This time, when after much ado a lot want the teaching of mathematics and science in English (PPSMI) to be continued with choices given to parents, the Cabinet reversed the policy in a flourish six years after the policy was begun.

A host of students were sent reeling, the three in the montage above representing many more this writer had met in the several weeks before the decision was announced.

Since the parents are divided about this and students who have learned mathematics, science and many more elective subjects in English want to continue with it, the Cabinet could have opted to let the parents make the choices.

There was a time when parents could apply to the school to teach a subject of their choice, needing only 15 parents to clinch the deal with the school. A posse should be quickly organized to search for that parents’ right in education. It must have run away.

The PPSMI policy reversal is not catastrophic as some may wish to suggest it is. But it clearly is a disappointing turn of policy for a lot of middle-class and urban families.

It should be noted this is not merely about teaching and learning of mathematics and science in English. Some elective industrial and vocational subjects are also taught in English, the reason stated being mainly because of the lack of supportive reading material in Bahasa Malaysia.

This is not about language learning, which the Ministry shall attempt to enhance and shall recruit more than 13,500 English Language and Literature teachers.

After that is understood, it remains rather of a big waste to relieve the society of a policy that had worked well in urban schools but not for schools in the rural, a matter of fact that applies for almost all subjects and for the whole of the teaching-learning process generally.

Gunnar Myrdal’s study of the rural-urban divide had made that clear.

Urban and rural performances in the learning process cannot be expected to be the same. The teaching-learning occur in different life-spaces, the same as between the better-endowed suburbs and the ghettoes, or with the inner-city schools.

After RM 4 billion have been invested in the venture over six years and every student I asked want to continue learning the subjects in English, the writer will have to register his own feeling of going south following the cast-away decision that need not have been as black-and-white as the Cabinet had decided.

It looks done, especially after it is clear very few teachers were trained to cover the need in the past five years.

But teachers can be trained if there’s the political will and with a mighty perhaps, enough parents can be brought to hold the pitch and ransom the Ministry to be accommodative and let those who want to continue with the subjects in English do so.

Former Prime Minister, Tun Pak Lah, declared the policy was a failure. It was not. It merely lagged in the rural, something we can find happening with subjects taught in Bahasa Malaysia and especially with mathematics and science.

Trouble brewed inside of the political nuances, which happened even in Proton, whence a whole chunk of valuable shares in Augusta were sold for One Euro or RM4.50, the same shares sold later for more than RM300 million.

Tun Pak Lah, as Prime Minister, also wrote off the Smart Schools project Tun Dr. Mahathir had started. Pak Lah merely said the money would be better spent to upgrade hundreds of schools.

We would not be facing the drastic decision had that been done satisfactorily during his tenure.

The three girls in the montage are from the first cluster of Smart Schools Mahathir had wanted to pursue, i.e. the Sekolah Seri Bintang (formerly Sekolah Bukit Bintang) located in Shamelin Garden, Cheras.

Asked, they replied they are from a Smart School (Sekolah Bistari) but when I followed through they said Smart Schools are schools where teaching and learning are electronic-aided.

Electronic-aided teaching-learning is less than 50 percent of what a Smart School should be and I suggested they get into the net and search for Smart School for a start.

When the concept is understood I told them they should get organized and aggress for a proper Smart School development. I had been a teacher, you see.

So the question should be asked as to whether or not we had been heading South in education because of the political blur and have we now done a leap South again?

Well, it’s about one and another policy and facility gone and we’ll need to wait to see if the new initiatives will show any better performances in our schools after 2012. --- a. ghani ismail, 11 July 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Bicara mengenai usul Objektif Syariat Presiden Pas, Haji Hadi Awang

Kerana President Pas, Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, mempunyai dasar dan ukurannya ketika menegur Sisters-in-Islam (SIS) supaya berhati-hati dalam mengejar reformasi Syariat untuk memperjuangkan hak wanita dalam Islam, beliau terus dibalun sebagai seseorang yang menidakkan kebebasan berbicara mengenai agama dalam ruang awam (public domain).

Undang-undang dan pengadilan, sama ada Islam atau sekular, tentu sekali merupakan bidang pengkhususan yang tidak membolehkan orang sebarangan mengusul bicara mengenainya agar umum tidak akan kekeliruan. Ia terhad untuk mereka yang terpelajar dan/atau terlatih dalam bidangnya.

Namun, mereka yang tidak senang dengan Islam terus menerus menolak Syariat sebagai sesuatu sistem undang-undang dan pengadilan yang patut dilindungi daripada kritik dan tuntutan sombrono.

Mereka bersikap seolah-olah Islam dan Syariatnya adalah kolot dan boleh diperlakukan seperti sampah.

Ini adalah gejala dan gejala ini merupakan sesuatu yang kelahiran daripada tujuan Reformasi di Malaysia.

Syariat mengutarakan budi bahasa yang berlemah-lembut (rifq), berbahasa dengan manis dan meringangkan (husn al-khulq) dan supaya berihsan dalam segala perhubungan dan perbuatan.

Maka kita perlu menerangkan dulu segala sesuatu yang asas berkenaan dengan dasar dan perhitungan kita kenapa kita tidak mengharuskan perbicaraan sombrono mengenai Syariat.

Tidak ramai orang Islam di Malaysia mengetahui apakah Objektif Syariat (Maqasid al-Syariah) kerana subjek itu, walau telah diperkenalkan dalam Pengajian Islam di Universiti Malaya sejak awal tahun 1960an, ia kurang menjadi buah perbincangan.

Objektif Syariat adalah kebaikan (masalih atau benefits) yang menjadi tujuan undang-undang Islam.

Lima kebaikan yang utama dan yang menjadi asas (dharuriyat al-khamsa) yang oleh Haji Hadi diungkapkan dalam Ucapan Dasarnya pada Muktamar Pas ke 55 baru-baru ini, adalah rumusan Imam al-Ghazali.


Al-Ghazali mengutarakan bahawa lima kebaikan yang asas ini, yakni iman, nyawa, akal, zuriat dan harta, adalah tujuan Syariat yang utama dan yang tidak boleh dileka-lekakan oleh sesebuah masyarakat Muslim.

Ringkasnya, objektif Syariat bertujuan membentang dan melindungi kebaikan masyarakat yang maksima (the greatest public good) dan Dharuriyyat al-khamsa adalah lima keperluan asas dalam cara hidup Islam.

Siasah dalam Islam, secara yang unggul, justeru, adalah untuk memperjuangkan objektif-objektif (maqasid) Shariat dan Maqasid al-Syariat diberi kepada tiga bahagian yang besar, yakni:

a) Lima yang Asas (Dharuriyat al-Khamsa) – lindungan dan kemajuan (i) keimanan, (ii) nyawa dan anggota tubuh, (iii) kemajuan akal (intelek), (iv) zuriat atau lineage, (v) harta (property).

b) Hajiyyat, atau segala pembangunan dan kemajuan komplimentari pada yang lima perkara tadi.

Umpamanya, mendirikan sekolah adalah tergolong dalam kategori Dharuriyyat, dan meningkatkan keselesesaan persekolahan dengan ada bilik darjah berhawa dingin dan beroleh semua alat elektronik pembantu pembelajaran adalah Hajiyyat.

c) Tahsiniyyat, atau perhiasan yang diingini. Bila sudah masyarakat dan Negara beroleh pembangunan dan kemajuan yang asas dan yang komplimentari barulah perbelanjaan dapat diperuntukkan supaya mewujudkan sekitaran yang lebih cantik dan selesa. Ini kategori Tahsiniyyat, atau perhiasan.

Maqasid al-Shariat, justeru, menjadi dasar untuk sebarang tindakan reformasi Syariat dan sekaligus menjadi jadual nilai masyarakat Islam untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan zaman.

Penerangan Asas

Yang di atas tadi hanyalah penerangan yang asas. Kita akan dapati nanti susunan al-Ghazali yang meletakkan dasar Maqasid al-Syariat yang pada lima perkara seperti yang tersebut di atas akan diubah secara yang menyeluruh oleh ibn Taimiyya.

Pendekatan ibn Taimiyya, yakni Bapa Reformasi Islam, itulah diteruskan sampai sekarang oleh mujtahid Yusuf al-Qaradhawi.

Maqasid al-Syariah bukan satu undang-undang Islam atau sesuatu dasar yang berkuatkuasa sebagai satu undang-undang. Ia hanyalah satu perutusan yang diterima oleh umat Islam sebagai dasar dalam Usul Fiqh dan laku sebagai satu asas untuk segala perbicaraan berkaitan undang-undang Islam, atau mengenai Syariat secara umum.

Saya percaya itu sajalah yang menjadi maksud Haji Hadi Awang, yakni untuk mengutarakan pada masyarakat supaya menghurmati objektif-objektif Syariat bila melangkah untuk mengejar perubahan atau pembaharuan Syariat.

Apakah Maqasid al-Shariah ini berguna, atau masih laku dalam masyarakat di Malaysia yang sudah menjadi industrial dan berkotaraya, justeru, merupakan perkara-perkara yang bolehlah dibangkitkan dalam perbincangan.

Yang kurang disenangi hanya sikap acuh-tak-acuh sebilangan orang Islam dan warga Malaysia maupun yang terus bersikap bermusuhan seolah-olah mereka hendak menghapuskan Islam yang mereka pandang sebagai satu kepercayaan yang sudah jauh ketinggalan zaman.

Apakah mereka telah beroleh satu cara hidup yang istimewa? Di mana letak contoh budaya, tamadun dan cara hidup itu?

Satu garis retak yang sudah lama menanti belah telah membentuk konflik terbuka. Yang belum dapat dapat dipastikan adalah apa mungkin SIS akan membuka langkah supaya bertarung dalam gelanggang usul figh ini. ----a.ghani ismail, 1 July, 2009

Saturday, June 20, 2009



The moon is split. It’s the clout of aging what’s hit the party, not the suggested Unity Government which is a non-issue, the tantrum this time going so far as to tell the deputy president, Nasharuddin Mat Isa, to resign as MP of Bachok, Kelantan, and get lost from Pas altogether, a wounding that will be hard to plaster.

Nasharuddin is from Negeri Sembilan and therefore a guest of Nik Aziz, 78, the Kelantan Pas chief and Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) who is also the murshidul am (spiritual leader) of the party.

The irascible stoical savant insists he is the captain of the ship and wants Nasharuddin cast overboard, opening a way for mutiny.

Will the ship sink this time? Or is the event only a splitting of the moon deliberately designed to issue an anticipated conflict to remove the distressing distortion of the power hierarchy in Pas?

For how can the party continue if there’s a sustained usurpation of the president’s power and authority?

The party has an elected president and a murshidul am or spiritual guide who is chosen by the Dewan Ulama (Council of Scholars) from an elected group of 15.

He can only be removed by two-thirds of his peers in the Council and therefore, can be a scary figure of power should he also become a state leader and chief executive like Nik Aziz Nik Mat in Kelantan.

Complaints about Nik Aziz performing against the party’s resolutions had consistently surfaced from months after he became Menteri Besar in 1990.

The difficulties arose from the personality, the positions he held and the poorly defined role and authority of the murshidul am – reasons enough to cause gaping holes to appear in the ship’s belly.

Then there’s the fact that Kelantan, which has been the host and fortress of Pas all through the party’s history, is losing the special status and privileges.

Pas, after the sudden surge into national stature in 1999, is now standing with more than one million members from about 60,000 before 1999. That expansion can only be described as an explosion.

While from the early days the party had rooted in Kelantan and expanded merely to the predominantly Malay states of the peninsular, the Pas has now become national and is only requiring to seed in Sabah to contest Umno as a whole.

Temper, personality and character of the leadership must change to accept the new membership profile which has outgrown the old rural and religious-school restrictions.

Pas now embraces an impressive stack of scholars, professional and technocrats.

Resulting from Nik Aziz’s remarkable outburst is a certain gloom. While he is widely respected as a party elder and as a symbol of Islamic stoicism (zuhud), the man is ledged in the patriarchal splendor only because of his appeal to moribund values.

The times have changed. So has the country that has long outgrown the rural dominance and is now having to deal with living in sprawling metropolises revealing hysterics of the industrial society that are unknown in all of Islamic history.

Nik Aziz Nik Mat is still seriously encased in his rural habits and he must reevaluate his own effectiveness, especially in trying to secure for Kelantan her special status as a state that’s central in Pas.

Kelantan cannot remain the center of gravity if Pas is to expand and contest Umno nationally.

For weeks after the 55th Pas general assembly (muktamar) whence the president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, had delivered an inspiring policy speech, the murshidul am simply derailed the whole of the speech by publicly stomping the party president, the deputy president and the secretary-general.

The “Captain’s” anchorman and oarsmen had lost in the recent party elections. Nik Aziz must be feeling that his days too are numbered.

For him there’s no escape. He must immediately prepare for his retirement if the Pas is to remain a credible alternative to Umno or as an effective partner in a Unity Government.

Hadi’s idea of the Unity Government was only a suggested means to overcome the political distresses that had arisen from the 8 March 2008 general elections.

It is no more than a loose suggestion many regard as a good idea. ----a. ghani ismail, 20 June, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009




Less than a week after I wrote to say a lot of people have had enough of the frantic indiscipline in the rank-and-file of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), we have Rocky Bru writing today to tell us what well-known fugitive, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, and the new-fellow-on-the blog, Din Marican, had done to journalist, Rusdi Mustapha, who works for Najib Tun Razak. Rocky Bru described it as “something rotten”

The duo, both closely associated with Anwar Ibrahim, have been flexing their muscles often for nothing, this time alleging Rusdi Mustapha is an anonymous blogger who calls himself Pasquale and who is pro-Najib

Din Marican, quite completely ignorant of the person he is after, billed Rusdi as being Najib’s new spinner, when Rusdi has, in fact, been working for Najib personally for many years. He posted a picture of Rusdi with Rocky Bru (Ahirudin Attan), meaning he wants to take on Rocky for coming to Rusdi’s aid.

Rocky is the president of the Journalists’ Club. Who is this very daring Din Marican?
Will he not get himself torn to pieces as a rot should he want to war?

Raja Petra we all know. Big Dog, in his blog, described Raja Petra as a cyber-anarchist now turning to cyber-terrorism after Raja Petra posted on his blog, Malaysia Today, a picture of Rusdi with his wife and only daughter, thus attracting hate-mail aimed at the family.

It signals a new means of intimidation in the cyber issued by the Anwar camp, a warfare for what we have still to wait to know since this is altogether unexpected and unbecoming of civilized society, but apparently not in the Civil Society Anwar proposes to hoist in Malaysia.

Big Dog, as we know, is a former political secretary and a lawyer. Raja Petra, whatever he has been, is now a self-made fugitive, and Big Dog reminded him nobody had exploited the news about what happened to his son.

But the war is on and it is quite clearly uneven. The weights are certainly against Petra and Din.

It is rather of an inane development which will finally leave their master and mutual friend, Anwar Ibrahim, mired in the self-defeating comic, head down. Anwar is already sinking. The Pas has apparently taken enough of him and his “roughnecks” who seemed to deliberately want to sanctify vulgarity in the New Malaysia.

But who is Din Marican, the suddenly-appearing-maestro-of-some-sort in Anwar Ibrahim’s office?

Why has he returned from a posting in Vietnam several years before? Does anybody know? Can Anwar tell us why if someone were to ask him in parliament?

The writer doesn’t know much about Din Marican other than what he has written of himself in his blog. He was a year my senior in college. He did not luster. I listed his blog in mine and took it out after what he has done to Rusdi today.

Rusdi Mustapha is, of course, a long time journalist who had been with The Star, The NST and then with the Sun before working for Najib in a personal capacity. He was not attached to Najib’s official staff. I do not know if he is now included in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Rusdi is married to a Canadian and has a grown daughter. He lived before in Melawati and is known to all his friends as a very helpful, low-keyed, honest-to-goodness person who cannot be having any of the “great political acumen and charm” of the “big” fellows like Raja Petra and Din Marican who appear to have no qualms about stabbing people in the belly or in the back, even some who took them as friends.

Many are calling their style budaya samseng – “hood culture”, something rather stinking in the PKR and for which it is fast losing popular support, including a hefty chunk of the sympathies for it in the Pas.

After the stunts in Penang on the way to the Penanti by-election I wrote to say the Pas and Dap should “eat” into the PKR. Several days after, the Pas, at its annual general assembly, apparently gave notice the party will want to do exactly that.

Now the duo popped up like rotting sour-sops. The question they must ask themselves is whether or not they and their family members can withstand public scrutiny and cyber-splash. Can they? Isn’t there any vulnerability they may wish to secure?

Raja Petra has quickly posted an apology but said his daughter was threatened. Who threatened her? Rusdi Mustapha? Are you serious?

How about Din Marican? Who is he? What has he ever become to want to war with us?

We are probably going to hear a lot about this Johnny-come-lately and I wonder whether he will want to remain in the country or he will also flee like Raja Petra. LEAVE WIVES AND CHILDREN OUT OF YOUR SLIME. Now Din, go!.--- a.ghani ismail, 9 June 2009.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009



After amazing things happened along the road to the Penanti by-election on May 31 including a needless call to bribe one of the three independents who also lost her deposit, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) glory was still smart even if it rode only on a 46 percent voter-turnout. But how long can the maverick party last?

In terms of discipline the PKR is the weakest in the Pakatan pact of three, some of its members observably power-drunk very early in the day and hardly able to stay out of trouble, even for nothing.

Also apparent is the bite of narcissism some suffer by virtue of being visible in the Blogosphere.

Many simply rile, first flogging the Malays and Islam, then shifting to flogging Umno instead when the heat had touched the danger point.

It’s hardly possible to take the party anymore seriously than a mob.

It is Anwar Ibrahim’s vehicle to power, put together by a chance of history that came and went between 1998 and 2004 and then returned to hit the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the eye on 8 March 2008.

Inside the vehicle are Anwar and his family members, his secretaries and aides, an assortment of NGOs some of which were and are one person-with-a-sidekick shows, members of the former Parti Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM) and, if we are to believe the incredible, the bulk could be members of urban groups, collectively the Mat Rempits.

Is this motley crowd socialists, or socialistic? Is there any intention to redistribute income and eradicate urban-rural poverty?

Is there a social policy guaranteeing human and social rights plus a system of taxes and provisions glued to the motive of this lightning-strike political force that has suddenly captured enough power together with the Pas and DAP to deny the BN the two-third majority in parliament?

None as far as the writer is aware.

The PKR is seriously unlike the social democrats of the DAP and the Pas with her Islamic Welfare State.

The PKR is merely about Anwar Ibrahim first and last, with an easily countable number of capable hands.

It started off as a powerhouse in March 2008 with a crisis in the Selangor Mentri Besar’s office and it is still as rough at the edges as when it started.

Can it be sustained in the future after power is acquired over the Federation, which could very well happen in the 13th general elections?

As it is that would be unlikely.

Without an ideological purpose and already showing the inclination to corruption and power-drunkenness, the PKR must necessarily be eaten by the other two in the pact for the Pakatan Rakyat to continue as a viable power-option that can provide for a stable government and for development.

The members of the pact will have to consider other likelihoods if that eating is not possible.

They would even need to think of joining the BN if this country is to be kept from crumpling in the conflicts between the innocence of the lesser endowed and the vicious corruption of the cunning.

PKR has been an endless string of trouble.

Beginning with the spat between Khalid Ibrahim and his Special Officer in the Selangor Menteri Besar’s Office, the party locked into a set of troubles between Anwar’s secretaries, followed by the two state executive councilors in Perak who were caught doing something in a hotel in Penang.

Then came Elizabeth Wong’s difficulty with her boyfriend that will come back later on and the latest is about the two who lunched in Aminah’s house to persuade her to withdraw from contesting in Penanti.

They could have offered her RM80,000 to withdraw. Why did they do that will remain rather of a mystery of power. ---a. ghani ismail, 2 June, 2009

Saturday, May 23, 2009





PSRM is a party of academic snobs and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is something of a disjointed group of political newbies led by Anwar Ibrahim, journalist, Shamsul Akmar, said. He was in a hurry.

It’s a knee-jerk reaction to my recent postings that say the Pakatan Rakyat is poised to win the next Malaysian general elections, not because it entices but because more and more voters do not want Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN).

Many among my friends were shell-shocked by the matter-of-fact statement.

Professor Emeritus Dr. Isahak Haron of the UPSI said I was being “mystical”. He expects my reading to be correct again even if it does not appear right at the moment. But the reading here is simple.

The former PSRM is now a component of the PKR, which is the weakest of the trio in Pakatan Rakyat but with the largest number in Parliament (31 seats). Other than the PSRM the PKR is mainly led by a motley of Anwar Ibrahim's secretaries and NGOs. But was the PSRM leadership scholars and snobs?

Other than Kassim Ahmad who had led the party for 18 senseless years and has left it for good, the others I knew in the PSRM were not all scholars nor were they egoistical snobs. Syed Husin Ali and Gamany can’t be snobs.

I concede, however, the party had gone rather wrong after Boestamam (Pak Boes) left the helm to Kassim in 1967, at Kangar, Perlis.

Pak Boes regretted that day, saying he had to retire but the party ought to have chosen someone else.

Since then it was true the new stars of Partai Rakyat (later PSRM) would talk far above the heads of their audiences whereupon my friends and I, including Drs Ahmad Kamar and Dr. Raja Mukhtaruddin Dain, not only distanced ourselves but also launched into a lengthy and extensive study of Islam.

Shamsul, worried about what would happen to the Malays should Pakatan win the 13th general elections, said Pas would be the better choice compared to Parti Keadilan Rakyat. He mentioned several bloggers having trouble over the same question.

People ought to be told Anwar Ibrahim knew he was in deep trouble soon after becoming the number two in Umno in 1993. He suggested I quickly move to the Pas with the late Fadhil Noor at the helm then. Fadhil was Anwar’s deputy in Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) and we were close friends.


Today we have some writers dividing the Pas into the Traditionalists and the Erdogan groups, the latter meaning the Anwarites. That isn’t quite right.

Pas had been a variety all the time since it was born and with many socialists joining the party soon after. Socialists, including Pak Boes and Pak Sako, had been together with Abu Bakar Baqir in Gunung Semanggol when the Hizbul Muslimin was formed in 1948. The party was promptly banned by the British Colonial Government.

Fadhil Noor joined ABIM in the early 70s followed later by Hadi Awang, with Dr Haron Din, Abdul Ghani Shamsuddin and Ahmad Awang from the Persatuan Ulama Malaysia (PUM) and many more Pas stalwarts acting as advisors in the Muslim youth organization.

There was unity among those from the ABIM in Umno and Pas even if the groups had to undergo a severe initial shock following Anwar’s decision to join Umno in 1981.

By 1985 Anwar had gone places. He met Paul Wolfowitz who was US ambassador in Jakarta in 1986. The beginning of the Reformasi would soon be seeded.

ABIM was to get together with B.J.Habibie’s ICMI in Indonesia, ushering in a new element, new thinking and new Malay-Islamic outlook.

Habibie, an aero-engineer who was one among 20 bright-sparks Suharto sent abroad to become Indonesia’s future technocrats, would soon inspire with his wonder-ideas, like using the reflected sunlight from the sand in the shallows of the sea along the shorelines for energy.

He planned to make helicopters and submarines in Indonesian and usher in industrialization in a big way.

Since then, the ABIM in Pas and the groups under Fadhil Noor and Hadi Awang were no longer the same as they had been when the ulama took over the party from Asri Haji Muda in 1982.

By 1995 the scenario we see today had been set. It was sensed sometime in the late 80s.

We were told a multiracial party like the Gerakan had been in 1969 would be needed to change the pattern of votes if the Opposition were to win.

Gerakan, in 1969, listed members of the Malaysian stardom with the late Prof. Dr. Syed Hussein al-Attas as president, his brother, Naguib, and the venerated Prof. Dr. Wang Gung-wu, V. David from the labor unions and many more greats leading the party that Dr. Lim Chong Eu founded.

As a result of the intrusion the votes broke the historical distribution and several states fell to the Opposition.

The similarities between the election results of 1969 and 2008 had too many things in common to be given to coincidences. Anwar had advisors who had studied well the voters’ behaviors in Malaysia.

A Gerakan of the 1969 sort was required and it was this Gerakan-type party that skidded in the making and became the PKR we know today – broad-based, no doubt, but with drug addicts, thieves and sex-savants inside.

Anwar was in prison at that time, people fearing for his life after he was severely beaten by the then IGP in police custody.

As a result PKR divisions were formed riding piggy-back on Pas. Now many party divisions are non-performing. Wan Azizah, the president, had six growing children to take care of.

The PKR, however, functioned as a vote-collector and soon it will be put in better battle order by Azmin Ali and his task force.

Now that the Pakatan is poised to win federal power, the people who worry like Shamsul should be told there was pre-planning and in the end the Malays will be secure in the Pas, no matter what the ancient Nik Aziz Nik Mat is saying. He seems to fear retirement and the loss of fame, or notoriety, whichever applies.

Welfare State

Pas under Abdul Hadi Awang is going for the Welfare State. In Islam the Welfare State is simply a national and a universal order that guarantees a set of securities.

These securities begin with Food and Water Security, Health Security, Employment and Old Age Securities, Education Security by which everyone, young and old, are entitled to free education and will be paid a stipend sufficient to meet their basic needs.

Then there are Supplies and Consumer Security that traditionally were the domains of the Muhasib, the responsibility given to former Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas, when Terengganu was held by the Pas in 2004-2008.

The same department is responsible for Moral and Ethical Security which makes it impossible to hoard and escape punishment, or to purchase votes like it has happened in the two previous Umno Divisional and Supreme Council elections.

The list of securities is not exhaustive, of course. When in Medinah with Abdul Hadi Awang I dropped my wallet in the mosque during Subuh prayer, Hadi told me it will not be picked by anyone and we can retrieve it when we return to the mosque for Zuhur. The wallet was there, intact.

All shops, including jewel and money-changer stores, would be left open without any guard during prayer times in Medinah and Mekah, which are Haramiyah, or sanctuaries.

It’s hard to believe nobody would be tempted to steal in whole towns of shops and stores left open and unguarded.

That’s the Islamic state of security Hadi has been talking about several times in his speeches and Dr Mahathir denying that is so. Mahathir was not honest. In fact, many believe he and some of his men were corrupt.

Aaand…and…and Umno too became corrupt.

Said Tengku Ahmad Rithaudeen, chairman of the party’s Disciplinary Board, the party is already corrupt at the core.

People know that this is true, and the corruption had begun sometime in the 80s under Dr. Mahathir who wanted to remain PM for life.

Can the Malays any longer trust their future to Umno? Is corruption somehow tame and developmentally neutral, even after Bloomberg suggested more than RM300 billion had been lost to corruption in Malaysia?

What glory is there in the BN taking over the Perak government when two of the three grasshoppers should have been charged in court for accepting money and sexual gratifications?

What about the BN’s decision not to contest in Penanti on May 31? Is that what a political struggle is about? Isn’t there anything more to gain in whipping the Opposition during a by-election run?

Can it be the same as it would be with Islam under the Pas?

The list of securities in Islam given above is in the limited case, the object here is merely to show that Islam is not the Devil’s Workshop some in America and Europe would have us believe.

There’s freedom of religion in Islam. For the Socialists looking for nationalization, in the times of the second Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, five essential items were nationalized, namely weapons (it was wartime), grains, salt, sugar and fabrics.

You would term those primary industries today. But the nationalization is merely “an attire” or a dressing in Islam. It is only useful when it serves to secure the People.

But where then is the “explosion” to be making history with in Islam, like with the Proletarian Revolution in scientific socialism?

That lies in the fight against “Falsehoods” (Taghut), the expressed arrogance of the Rich and Mighty that mars human liberty, equality, fraternity and dignity. It’s as easy as that, something everyone can understand.

If you have a problem with the PKR or the DAP, try Islam then, sans the mythic, the patriarchal, tribal and the superstitions. --a. ghani ismail, 19 May, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009



As soon as one democratic history was made in Ipoh with the unprecedented disorder at the opening of the new session of the Perak State Assembly on 7 May, another history was being readied to repeat itself from outside the august building that’s become september.

If there had been chandeliers in the state assembly hall, assemblymen, fully dressed in the splendorous outfits of the state’s lawmakers, could have been seen swinging from the ceiling in the attempt to disrupt the proceedings the Pakatan Rakyat conceived as illegal.

The Pakatan Rakyat (Pakatan) literally means People’s Pact. It was contesting in court the legitimacy of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government the state ruler appointed in February. The judgment shall be read on Monday 11 May.

But in the wake of the failed attempt to disrupt the May sitting is to be seen the seeding of a failed state many observers have decided is staring at us eye-ball to eye-ball.

The turn of events in Perak from February, when the Sultan decided to appoint a new Menteri Besar, has now reached the point when the Pakatan will probably gain much politically by returning to People’s Power.

The court will decide who the legitimate Perak Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) is this Monday.

Whether it will be Nizar of Pakatan or Zambry of BN, it is the people who must be finally the kingmaker and the people are not sure that the monarch was vested with the power to dismiss Nizar.

That makes for a crack in the wall large enough for People’s Power to slip through and to continue aggressing for change.

This time the change is spelled into a simple compound of ending the BN (and Alliance) rule of more than 50 years in the 13th general elections which the new PM, Najib Tun Razak, will have to decide as early as he possibly can for a mandate.

It is now about the force of popular perceptions in a circumstance of a weakened government abruptly underscored by massive corruption and a ruling-elite of contractors, businessmen and professionals that’s popularly assumed as unreservedly arrogant.

It is also about a Prime Minister with a luggage heavy enough for him to be evenly distracted, isolated and demonized, which is what the game has become since Najib Tun Razak took over from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (Pak Lah) about a month before.

The doubt about the monarch’s power-reach is one thing and the problem of the PM and the power-elite is another. The third disturbing factor is about the police political over-reactions.

The BN, having lost enough popular support to be denied the two-third majority in parliament on 8 March 2008, turned under Pak Lah to using the police to stem the tide of popular demand for change and for basic democratic liberties.

On 7 May in Ipoh the police force apparently recoiled like a disturbed cobra and struck, arresting 69 in the ripples of the protests advanced by the Pakatan lawmakers in the State Assembly.

Some were arrested for wearing black T-shirts to mark 1Black Malaysia, a lithe marker of the 7 May opening of the “illegal” Perak State Assembly.

Others were arrested for standing around the State Assembly building and some for drinking tea at coffee-shops within a given radius from the building.

It was as though the State Secretariat building was conceived as a nuclear bomb test-ground.

When lawmakers, both federal and state, were among those arrested and were handcuffed and taken to the Balai, what was messaged in our heads was a repeat of the arrest and subsequent injury vested on the then Deputy Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, who was taken from his house in 1998 by a troop of police personnel wearing balaclavas and armed with automatic weapons.

The reactions were plain: If that could be done on the deputy prime minister and the lawmakers it can be done to any of us without a squeak being heard. It is feudal and it is tyranny.

It’s the kind of action designed to drive the people into a sense of impotence and that failed before, leading instead to the popular rejection of the BN and which has stayed for more than a year since 8 March 2009.

The pictograph issued to our brains from the day of Anwar’s arrest and subsequent abuse in police custody was of a Police State.

It was this pictograph of the Police State that has been the most tangible evidence of power misuse in a nation popularly conceived as ruled by a self-seeking and corrupt elite, now intervened by three monarchs for good measure.

This same hyperactive police force, we are often told, is faction-wracked.

When one senior officer is transferred to another location, it was said the group of his subordinates would follow him, leaving his successor having to begin anew in the arts and sciences of crime-busting in the given locale.

In the circumstances of rising prices, flips-flops or fumbles of policy decisions and which have even led to royal interventions in at least three states, increasing crime rate, unemployment, falling morale and growing malaise, the accumulated distresses must lend something familiar to the critical mind – i.e. failing statecraft.

Hence, more and more want a recall of People’s Power to furnish the gloom with a bright yonder. Allahu Akbar! Workers Unite! Ahem, it’s a naked backside of a China doll!

And yet the Pakatan is poised to win bigger in a Perak state re-election and in the 13th general elections. The People have had enough. --- a. ghani ismail, 9 May, 2009

Friday, May 1, 2009


Gazing With Gamany Into The Future Of Pakatan Rakyat

When in a seizure of gloom Gamany of Daim And Gamany (retired) called to dispense present Pakistan as the prescribed end-time of Malaysia, the surrender of the socialist’s sense of optimism caused the hurt in the heart a paste of the Balm of Gilead cannot lighten.

Gamany was my teacher when I was in primary school, probably a member of the socialist circle in Taiping from back then, which was when I was introduced to the colonial banned items but was too young to read them.

These items were books and pamphlets, including Marx and Engel, and the manifesto of 1848, available later in the University of Malaya library where I read them in 1962.

I knew of the circle in Taiping in 1951. I had to collect these items for my eldest brother who was a member.

That’s a glimpse of personal history, when Gamany was my teacher, and later becoming a friend.

Now, a little older and wiser, I can tell Gamany he erred when he assumed the Pas would follow the path of the Taliban someday, possibly because the followers of Nik Aziz Nik Mat had gone to Kabul to show support for the Taliban regime before the Nato forces displayed their powers of Light-N-Sound in that wonderland weapons test-ground.

Taliban means students. The community is properly a Deobandhi movement, the Dar’ul-Ulum (House of Knowledge) in Deobandh being the oldest university in South Asia and the second in the world.

Nik Aziz Nik Mat, currently the Kelantan Menteri Besar, was a student of Dar’ul-Ulum before he did his Masters at al-Azhar in Cairo.

Deobandh was traditional. Even if the great Muslim reformist/modernist and member of a Freemason Lodge, Jamaluddin al-Afghani, had taught at Deobandh before leaving for Cairo and recruiting into the reform movement the then Rector, Muhammad Abduh, the Dar’ul-Ulum itself retained rather of a conservative outlook through the 20th century.

It was itself physically a small campus with merely about 15,000 titles in its library when I visited it the first time in 1972.

Dar’ul-Ulum, it should be recalled, was and is financed by Muslim endowments, and hence purposed to preserve the traditions, leaving little room for the westernization of al-Afghani and Muhammad Abduh.

Islam and the Pas cannot be equated with the Talibans or the Deobandhis, surely. Pas president, Hadi Awang, belongs to the Egyptian Ikhwanu’l-Muslimin of the Abdul Rashid Rida school.

The Syrian Rashid Rida was publisher and editor of Al-Manar. He was a member of the reformists but who differed from Muhammad Abduh and al-Afghani about westernization. He inspired Hassan al-Banna, founder and leading light of the Ikhwan and Syed Qutb the martyr.

Now I need to ask Gamany whether or not because of the differences in worldview with the Muslim traditionalists of Pas, he finds little patience with them as it is with the American and Europeans and therefore, he too regards them as “Terrorists” who should be eliminated?

To a socialist, as it would be to a Muslim or a true Biblical Christian or Jew, optimism is interwoven with Life, the lost of which would sunder the soul and render it to prostitution of one sort or another.

…as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to the ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshipping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.

‘Therefore the Lord was very angry
…’ (Judges, 2:18-20)

Gamany, now 80, had sunk by the weight of the conflicting ideologies in the Pakatan that bunched the former Partai Socialist Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM) with the Singapore-branded Social Democrats of the DAP, the Muslims in the Pas and the youthful sets of ‘Anwar’s secretaries and NGO activists’ a few of whom had ruined the pride of the revolutionaries with their rides on belles from China.

After the magical orgasms of two of these seekers of sexual succulence were over, so was the Pakatan government in Perak, stumped and slumped, but not spent.

The circus cast returned to the fore merely as snarling lions, the growls and roars lost in the driving spurts of New Malaysia, and yet it won against the Barisan Nasional (BN) in Permatang Pauh, Kuala Terengganu, Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau by-elections.

The rot in the Barisan Nasional (BN) has certainly set and Pakatan is definitely looking good for federal power in the near future, many expecting it to win in the 13th general elections.

Therefore, either Pakatan is cleansed from the Rambo sexuality and corruption pronto and a bridge is built between the differing groups and parties inside it, or, as Gamany said, the components of the pact will fight one against the other.

PKR’s Civil Society isn’t and cannot be about drugs-sex-politics, surely, and it is best for those notched at the top of the Pakatan posse to know they had dragged a few of these into the ark, strapped to the folios of the long gone hippie wave but still wishing to be free to suck into the shamanic soma of Shangrila.

Ces’t la guerre! This is war! This is not a New Age passage to release sexual pent-up on a springboard having only the water below as the attire of entire casts of stags!

This is war of a democratic sort, a fight for hearts and minds against inequality, against the denial of rights, against unjust laws and against tyranny, not of the classical industrial proletariat (landless workers) versus the bourgeoisie (landed owners of capital) in Marx’s 1848 manifesto for turning over power.

This is a Malaysian and global run against the sustained feudalism and plutocracy, the latter being the rule of the rich and powerful, for the rich and powerful, by the rich and powerful, the proletarian and peasant blurred in the structures and processes of the patron-client that’s able to lift, in a jiffy, a poor clerk into becoming a millionaire. Aaaand it is filthily corrupt.

For this war we have our own foundational and structural priorities. We have our own theories and strategies.

Even the “Marxists” in Kerala and Tamil Nadu do not keep to the textbooks and are not revolutionaries in a class struggle of labor against capital as proletarian revolutionaries of the kind imagined by many in Malaysia because of the Communist Insurrections.

In Indonesia, Tan Malaka did not keep to “scientific socialism”, nor did Musso keep to the instructions of the Comintern.

It was a fight against oppression more like this:

Why should you not fight in the cause of God, when the oppressed men, women and children are crying out,” Our Lord, deliver us from this community whose people are unjust, and make us worthy of having You as our protector, and make us worthy of having You as our support.’ (Qur’an, 4:70)

There in the Holy Qur’an and the Bible we can find the unity of purpose the Pakatan can use to seal the pact with, i.e. if that is what it wants to do.

In Islam it is a struggle between the class of mustas’afin (the poor, dispossessed, exploited or oppressed) and the mustakbirin (the powerful and arrogant). Islam is meaningless without this struggle.

It must be simple to see the two classes would be differently expressed between historical epochs and Marx’s proletariat was the mustas’afin of the European Industrial Revolution when the bourgeois was the mustakbirin.

Were the classes the same in Asia? Are the classes remaining the same in the post-industrial age?

Since the Muslims have a perception of their own about the class struggle, how the simplicity of Marxist dialectical and historical materialism are translated into a class and/or moral struggle will decide whether or not the pact can survive the change after power is acquired and distributed between the groupings in it.

Outside the dogmatic and show of bookish ideological fundamentalism, the Pakatan foursome can find enough sense in the class and moral struggles of the scriptural revolution to spring a unity of purpose and unity of thought so the different groups within it can become complements.

But should the DAP and the socialists in the PKR insist on seeing Islam in bits and pieces and name-call the Pas as Taliban or a party that’s glued to the Hudud and the Islamic State like it is a tri-foliated weed, the result will have to be a carefully graduated cooperation under stress that will have to win power first and then agree to battle forevermore.

The Muslims have their own idea of history and their own traditions, now working their way out of the crumpling orthodox fundamentalism and having the more stable financial institutions, insurance and securities in a world gone limp by the post-Bretton Woods super laissez-faire economy.

It is the Atlantic Axis that has become bankrupt while it was wishing to contain China and create a Greater Middle-East by diplomacy and by force.

The “New Islam” in Malaysia was very much Anwar Ibrahim’s brainchild. He introduced the Islamic financial institutions in the country, plus the International Islamic University to found the New Islam.

In Malaysia it was Ustaz Ahmad Awang who led the initial studies of the Islamic laws governing the financial institution. He is now the Perak Pas Commissioner and a member of the Pas Central Committee.

It is clear if PKR can get it’s act together it is especially suited to play the role of bridging the differences between the Chinese dominated social democrats of the DAP and the Malay Muslims in Pas, and to lend a hand to the socialists in the PKR so the trio may walk together in confidence as a unity in diversity, as it had been in the Indonesian experience.

It should be remembered former Pas president, Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy, was a socialist. It is also well-known that former Acheh governor and member of PUSA (Persatuan Ulama Seluruh Acheh), was a leader of PESINDO (Pemuda Sosialis Indonesia).

Are you still afraid? In all its blessed life it seems likely the PSRM never did acquire even a single fruit stall to lend a helping hand to the peasants and proletariat. For 18 years under Kassim Ahmad it’s likely it merely talked itself almost to death. Could that be the reason for your fear? ---a. ghani ismail, 2 May 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Umno's Changing Fore-tunes


The will to fight having snapped at the very top following the losses at Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau on April 7, Umno, which has long been overwhelmed by contractors and businessmen, can only hope to retain her dwarfed stature in the Barisan Nasional (BN) via off-party means.

The party is apparently in grave need of NGOs, the para-military Wataniah outfit and state agencies like the Biro Tatanegara (BTN) to fight the battles for the state-enriched Malay elite that’s mostly dissociated from the people.

NGO queen, Marina Mahathir, catching the call by the Umno Youth vice-president, Razali Ibrahim, for members of his wing to join NGOs, asked in her blog whether these chaps are expected to simply declare they are from Umno Youth and then expect to be elected presidents of the voluntary outfits.

The tomcat-call isn’t at all new. Over and over again it was voiced by office-bearers during the recent party divisional meetings. It can’t be such a piece of cake.

But rich contractors and businessmen now stud the starry sky of Umno, many, if not most, winning their way through the ranks via vote-purchase.

These are dissociated from the people. They do not fight politically. They do not know how.

Some said aloud they cannot fight because they are contractors who have now to depend on the largesse of the ruling Opposition in five (or four states) and in one Federal Territory.

It’s this loud song of business distress that’s breaking the morale to bits in Umno, now flung high as confetti after the new president, Najib Tun Razak, slumped to the ground before the unbroken losing streak running from 8 March, 2008 to 7 April, 2009.

He is himself a representative of the traditional and the entrenched elites.

Now unable to face another knock-out in Penanti on May 31, the man is certainly not an Umno and BN leader who can be expected to regain lost grounds. Worse, people are beginning to shun him and soon he may not be anymore listened to.

Purchase and sleight-of-hand is looking like the only ways to regain the loss grounds and loss states, like what happened in Perak which finally converted into a gain of merely five percent of Malay votes on April 7 in Bukit Gantang.

That gain was offset by 10 percent of Chinese votes going the other way, resulting in a bigger-than-ever loss the BN had sustained in that constituency.

The thinking is simple: Because a direct and comprehensive ideological dispute is impossible for Umno to launch against the Pakatan, it will mean we have to be sitting through a political paradigm shift that will make democratic elections a grand market-place with outright purchases, infiltrations and sabotage of NGOs to counter Civil Society.

How will that ever work?

Umno is not anymore the party that was born in 1946 and which was sustained by voluntarism through the murderous Communist Insurgency, the main thrust of which ended in 1960.

But after the fight for freedom and democracy has now become a furious greed and the party is merely a playground for the rich and connected, the questions members ask are about which Malays the party represents and what are the leaders fighting for other than for their own business and financial interests?

The party is fractioned into factions of the New Malay, the indigene Mafiosi, many members without a smear of nationalism in their natures.

The previous party president and Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (now Tun), could have even made Malaysia to become like a vassal of Singapore, himself sometimes described as a “Singapore serf”, a thing unthinkable in Umno until his tenure.

Singapore was made the anchor of Iskandar Malaysia in Johor and was apparently represented in Khazanah Malaysia and in Level Four of the PM’s Department.

Are these psychological warps the results of Umno’s successes?

Are these changes necessary in a party that leads in a successful industrial and trading plural nation of 28 million souls, mixed in a swap of ideological divisions for a Greater China, Greater India, and the bunched Anglophile Compradors which have now taken to Neo-Cons valuelessness by video-visages?

And are Malay contractors and businessmen the answer to the cultural shifts that ought to have been a leap towards modernization and integration in an industrial and digital setting?

Truth is, there’s hardly a Malay critical mass worthy of spawning the much vaunted Bumiputra Commercial and Industrial Community (BCIC) after more than 50 years since Independence or more than 30 years of the New Economic Policy.

The New Malays, dripping excessive Brute deodorants in their cosmetically sweetened spaces of BMWs and Mercedes, are definitely no match for the demonstration-hardened Marhaens, the Muslims of Pas and volunteer activists of the Pakatan demanding change to secure liberty, transparency and accountability.

The government had been run by a dictator in the second half of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership, the man taking power over religion and the judiciary as well.

He slurped power and decided on his own everything the Malays had held dear or distressful, including teaching of Mathematics and Science in English even in rural schools.

It was once rumored he had suggested the confusing anti-Hadith personage, Kassim Ahmad, to become Mufti of Penang. Many think of Kassim as an outright charlatan, either as a Socialist or as a Muslim.

The result is a gaping question that hasn’t been answered to date – Wither Malaysia? There is also the problematic and arousing puzzlement about where the Malays are being led to, like paddy-buffalos.

Najib has answered none of these questions. Has he the answers or will he eventually lead the Malays and the nation into one or another form of vassalage?

In the given circumstances it is the Opposition that’s looking more and more the likely winner in the next general elections. It is merely in need of a thorough cleansing to remove the dregs and the culturally bewildered.

The Pakatan represents the larger segment of the people and Najib’s Umno isn’t looking likely that it shall at all become relevant to the lesser endowed among Malays and Malaysians alike. These form the greater body of producers in Malaysia.

Adios amigo! Ces’t la vie! ---a. ghani ismail, 28 April, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009



Wretched days gloomed the recall of power to the family of Malaysia’s glorious leader, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, whose son, Mohamed Najib, 55, was sworn-in as the country’s new premier on April 3 only to be socked by a double defeat on April 7 when the Barisan Nasional (BN) he now leads lost to Pakatan Rakyat in Bukit Gantang and Bukit Selambau in a fight for grabs.

The spontaneous reaction when the results were announced was ‘It’s over!’ (Habis!).

The third contest in the by-elections did not bother anyone. Batang Ai was a BN seat in Sarawak the ruling coalition retained.

Bukit Gantang (Parliamentary) and Bukit Selambau (State) were fought against Najib’s clever takeover of the Perak government the Pakatan is contesting. Also staked in the fight for the finish was Najib’s One Malaysia concept.

People are now asking what does the One Malaysia actually mean, a critical question that’s sending his ascent to the highest office in the county into a popular frown that can cost him a quick loss of confidence.

Najib walked into his first day of office on April 6. A day later he was shrunk by the acid froth that surfaced from the larger-than-before losses in the two constituencies the BN should have walked away with, hands down.

As he shrunk in size his arch-rival, Anwar Ibrahim, rose into an out-of-proportion giant.

Anwar is now poised to grow into a mighty Godzilla win or lose against the peculiar charge of sodomy he was alleged to have enjoyed in a ride of his aide, Saiful, 21, a day after he returned from umrah (supererogatory pilgrimage) in Mecca.

It suggested he was addicted to forcible homosexual thrust many refuse to believe is possible for a man of 61 with a bad back to boot.

Clearly the dual defeat on April 3 injured Najib worse than before.

In his trail to the top he lugged an out-sized luggage which became heavier after his chosen running-mate, Ali Rastum, was disqualified from contesting for party number two by the Umno Disciplinary Board. Ali was found guilty of political corruption and the country is abuzz until now.

Wagging tongues had since verged on the vitriolic. When he chose Gerakan president, Koh Tsu Khoon and his Wanita Chief, Tan Lian Hoe, into his Cabinet, the Malays became sullen.

The duo was mainly responsible for the punishment meted out on former Umno divisional chief in Penang, Ahmad Ismail, for saying in a communal banter the Chinese were squatters in Malaysia.

When Ahmad was forced out of all his political and NGO positions and then, in fact, was charge for sedition (later withdrawn), the whole 14 divisions of Penang Umno protested against the severe punishment and against the Gerakan duo.

Later former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir, was to refer to the event in a speech wherein he said it would soon be seditious for the Malays to call Malaya Tanah Melayu (Malay Motherland).

It’s ironic, and perhaps negligent, for Najib to make Koh Tsu Khoon in charge of Unity, which ought to entrust the One Malaysia concept to him. And with him in the Cabinet is Tan Lian Hoe a lot of the Malays in Umno had wanted out.

It must also be remembered members of the Movement Against Teaching Mathematics and Science in English who had held a large demonstration in Kuala Lumpur weeks before had campaigned against the BN in Bukit Gantang.

The upshot is obviously bad for Najib. While some are saying let’s wait for the first 100 days of the new premier before judging him, a lot of Malays are saying he is not championing or even representing their cause.

Najib is, they say, only a more efficient version of Pak Lah, the party president they sacked and may now be punished for having done that.

Meanwhile, the MIC has shown its dissatisfaction for being given the junior Human Resource Cabinet post and not either the Works or the Transport Ministry where good fruits are bunched.

It’s certain Najib is in deep waters. What’s happened to the PPP is a question worth examining after it was said 6,000 of the party members in Kedah had joined the PKR before the April 7 by-elections.

It’s looking like Najib may sink before he is actually launched. But what would it take for the Pakatan Rakyat to become an acceptable alternative to the BN? ---a. ghani ismail, 13 April, 2009