Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anwar's Sex Video – An Overkill Bringing Back A Mocking Bird

The penny is in the mouth of the “Datuk TKO”, the trio with a blue video of the rub-a-dub-dub three men in the tub type. Two from the three have an axe to grind against beleaguered Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. It’s a game move not many people will want to accept either as politically valid or as factual.

Anwar is in court once again on a sodomy charge. His sperm was found swimming with three or four others in the anus of the “passive” Saiful Bukhari, so we were told. He may or may not be the man in the video show too.

People the writer contacted said it is unlikely for any person in Anwar’s position to expose himself to such a degree of risk.

The video stunt is an overkill, the overkill causing PM Najib Tun Razak and the Barisan Nasional (BN) to need a recess against the growing excesses of a police state, a marred judiciary with judges ruling against themselves and an Umno that is once again becoming filth in the eyes of a lot of Malays and Malaysians.

Democratic Revolutions

The environment is serious.

As the “democratic revolutions” rise in the Mena countries with Nato having to take the lead in the invasion of Libya by “the world”, it doesn’t take anyone clever to guess that Asean is designed to return to the Southeast Asian turmoil of the sixties and seventies.

That was a time of fractious regional frivolity of big power geo-political interplay. It followed World War II and it dined at Pork Chop Hill in Korea and then at My Lai in Vietnam.

Pakistan is thoroughly a failed state and in hell. That is South Asia.

Now in Indonesia, after the ouster of Suharto in 1998 via the American Enterprise’s Reformasi which took Anwar’s friend, B.J.Habibie, to the top from number two, religious conflicts threaten to wrack the experimental democracy and the open market economy that can reach one trillion in less than four years if all goes well.

That is the largest nation and economy in Southeast Asia, a sitting duck in the spread of the hegemonic design, now disturbingly colored in Yellow and Red in Thailand, bordering trouble with Kampucea and with Muslims in the south, and in Myanmar a dreadful military stranglehold to nearly complete the jest of ruins in Southeast Asia once again.

In the Philippines, a bankrupt individual, the struggles with the Muslims and the remnants of Communist insurgents can drag the nation down into the slough of despondence.

It’s the sort of turmoil that kills aspirations and that represses the people with police states or military governments.

In Malaysia the powers-that-be kill the freedom of conscience and the rights of religious minorities, this time taking the Christians too, after thousands of Bibles in the national language were impounded for reasons known to the government and decidedly disagreed by the popular hosts, paving the way to the fire next time, to catch James Baldwin's book of that title before the twilight turns dark and the moon stands still over a burning Malaysia.

Small Town

In a taxi from a small town to another a few weeks before, the driver said to me the present day is no longer like it was when the people were uneducated and dependent on the largesse of the government.

We are different now, he said. People who were afraid before will now stand and walk for their rights.

That is, of course, correct. The BN has been slow but fairly successful.

The urban population is now 63 percent, when it was 62 percent rural the day of the racial riots of 13 May 1969.

Today in the rural are teachers, nurses and an assortment of government extension workers, ex-army and police personnel plus students of fully residential schools and colleges, many far better informed than the members of the disinherited urban groupies who become politically branded as opposition because of their drug and sex video-strips lifestyles.

It’s a patchwork population, quite unlike the 60s to 80s generations who willfully sank in with the rich and mighty in search for money and a social standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the titled members of the super-privileged elite.

The elite replaced the superior colonial whiteness with a paintwork of cultural blandness and a big nose that can and do become inefficient or swiftly filthy, which is the main bases of the widespread rejection.

The video overkill of Anwar Ibrahim occurs in such an environmental disuse of the political leadership. It almost lost traction in a day, as it did in 1998.

Prominent people and journos simply said they have seen the tapes and the hero was not Anwar.

It’s not about any love for Anwar. It is simply hate of the filth stuck somewhere in the ruling herd.

In the course of the Anwar Saga since Mahathir unleashed his fury against his unwashed deputy and rival in 1998, the judiciary which was once before respected and cherished bent with the wind like it was doing obeisance to the gods on Mahameru.

Years later, after Mahathir had retired and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became premier, the judges swayed and one declared Anwar had been the victim of a conspiracy at the highest level of government and society.

Punch & Judy

Everything seemed to have come back, like in a replay of Punch and Judy. In this segment of the saga a bunch of DNA was found residing in the victim’s (Saiful) rectum.

Meantime that fellow, Saiful Bukhari, was seduced and bonked by a DPP, Farah, a member of the Attorney-General’s “esteemed” team.

What’s left of the credibility of the case and of the allegation is anybody’s guess.

Is that why the blue video surfaced on the eve of the Sarawak elections?

The PKR was already routed and the Pas was punch-drunk following the risqué bickering at the very top of the party. It led to a series of knockdowns in bye-elections the Pas sustained, votes receding like the foreheads of the human from the Homo sapien to the Neanderthal.

Now they have a rallying point, the dying horse whipped back into vigorous aggression by a do-it-yourself CCTV blue-job.

Will a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) help convince the public it’s really Anwar who romped in bed in the video?

Have you ever heard of a RCI that was convened for a purpose like that?

Drop it friend! It’s a lost cause. It's a repeat of 1998-1999, only this time not less than 70 percent of the Chinese will oppose the BN and the Indians are split in two. In 1999 about 70 percent of the Malays turned against Mahathir's leadership.

Just let the police investigate, decide and be done. ---a.ghani ismail, 26, March, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tan Sri Robert Phang Goes Round and Round Again

At Killiney Kopitiam on the evening of Thursday 17 March, 2011, barely two days away from the UNSC-endorsed military intervention in Libya the world knows as “no fly zone”, about 50 persons listened to the good Tan Sri Robert Phang, the contrast to the bad guy Attorney-General (AG), Gani Patail, in the sock-it-to-me fight over Tajuddin Ramli’s Mas-Kebab swop.

Tajuddin, Executive Chairman of the Malaysian Flag-Carrier, Mas, from 1994 to 2001, was said to have caused the company to lose about RM 8 billion. Though said to have been recommended to be charged in court by the former head of the Commercial Crime Division, the AG hasn’t acted on it yet.

As this saga began to unfold its new chapter in 2009 when well-known blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, ran a series of 10 installments on the Tajuddin’s Mas story, few would have expected the recount of Tajuddin’s embarrassment would light a fire that combusted in the MACC, causing two advisors to burn.

That was the subject of a “Kopitiam Discussion” my old friend, Baha Zain, organized through his outfit, Malaysian Digest, at Killiney Kopitiam on Thursday, a topic few Malaysians followed because of the bad journalism it drew, the bulk of writings on it showing the writers’ emotions and flaunting the what, when, where, who and why that are basic to reporting.

Raja Petra and a few others are exceptions, the former better described as exceptionally gifted.

The discussion at the Kopitiam was not a curtain-raiser. It served instead as a discussion with Tan Sri Robert Phang, and enabling us to see the woods from the trees pertaining to the new chapter of the Tajuddin Saga the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) would want us to believe was intimately interwoven with the selective prosecution of the senior police officer who had recommended that Tajuddin be charged.

Ours is a troubled environment. Trouble has been brewing all over the Muslim world, the new sets in the Mena countries stemming from complaints about police states, dysfunctional institutions, ethnic, religious and gender discriminations, income inequalities and rising prices of food and essential items, all of which are residing in this country too.

Closer to home, in Indonesia, where Muslim extremism has been clobbering the Ahmadiyya and Christian minorities over and over again, someone sent parcel bombs to “moderate Muslims” several days before, taking the country into Takfirism which may lead her into the kind of purgatory Pakistan has become.

There the moderate Muslim Governor of Punjab and a Christian Minister had been killed.

It is turmoil.

The Killiney Kopitiam session with Robert Phang on Thursday, which was somewhat of a jumble because of the varying foci, should have been finally about these – the rotting images of our institutions, beginning with the Police Force which we have been given to believe is divided into factions and a part of which is corrupt or is corruptible.

Then the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been soured by the death of political assistant, Teoh Beng Hock, in its custody.

Several big fishes the Commission charged failed to be secured by a guilty verdict in court. That brings us to the disappointment with the Attorney-General (AG), Gani Patail.

The AG, Gani Patail, and the former Inspector-General (IGP), Musa Hassan, were implicated in Anwar Ibrahim’s Black Eye Incident in 1998 by the testimony of a senior police officer.

This rounds up why Anwar’s outfit wants the AG and the former IGP dissolved in vitriol, but says nothing about why the MCA big shot, Robert Phang, would want to ride on the fame and flames Raja Petra stands for, first in the making of the Free Anwar Campaign and now in gunning for the people who were believed to have conspired to reduce Anwar to political ashes.

Robert Phang, a big operator in the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and an advisor to the MACC, walked straight into the amazing swirl of terribly sensitive political events the Anwar outfit had been conjuring, causing a question mark to arise like a zombie in Haiti.

He is a social activist. He continued to crusade until after he had resigned in a huff in January 2011 following a blog accusation he had tried to corrupt a high government official involving a business deal.

He is a big man, a rag-to-riches story that may have once been the president of Magnum and is still the publisher of The Star.

Why did such a big guy take issue against the AG following the writings of the blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin? Is he in the outgoing camp in MCA? Or is it about putting the pressure on the government for action to be taken?

Gani, having gone to Mecca for the Hajj last year with Shahidan Shafie, allegedly Tajuddin Ramli’s proxy, was suspected to have become obliged to the businessman who was once a police officer.

But Robert Phang should have been well-disposed to know Raja Petra and his friends in the blog merely suggested Shahidan must have paid for the trip involving Gani and his family.

They had no supporting evidence.

They were again guessing when saying Shahidan had meant to persuade Gani not to prosecute Tajuddin Ramli.

But while Gani Patail had obviously attracted suspicion for the pilgrimage with Shahidan and family, he quickly reacted to a call from the MACC and attended a tell-all meeting on 4 January.

He submitted the receipts collected in his Mecca trip to show he paid for his family from his own pocket.

More than a decade ago the then Chief Justice, Eusoff Chin, had gotten into a crap for his family tour of New Zealand together with Berjaya Corporation lawyer, V.K. Lingam.

It was clear the events were good meat for the PKR spinners and if Phang chose to stay his ground he would be drawing the kind of flak Muammar Gadhafi would not want to think about in Libya.

But he did just that. No matter the fact that Gani Patail had submitted evidences to show he was clean concerning the trip to Mecca, and said he was willing to cooperate should he be investigated, Robert Phang and one other of the attendees were apparently not satisfied.

Chairman of the MACC Corruption Prevention Panel, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, issued a statement to the effect that the MACC members who attended this meeting were satisfied with Abdul Gani’s explanation.

There were 30 attendees of 42 invited. As far as this writer is aware, only two persons, i.e. Robert and one other, had protested the statement Ramon made on 4 January after the meeting.

The statement came close to exonerating Gani. Ramon said there was no need to investigate the allegations of Abdul Gani’s connection with former MAS Chairman, Tan Sri Tajuddin’s proxy, En Shahidan Shafie.

Robert Phang blew his top.

But was Ramon’s statement conclusive? Did Ramon carry such weight as to enable him to open or close an MACC enquiry?

Robert Phang was a member of the MACC panel Ramon chaired. He should know the limits of Ramon’s power. Still he acted quickly to reply on 5 January. His statement is given in full below.

I regret Ramon’s statement that - “ MACC members were satisfied
with Abdul Gani’s explanation and found that there was no need to investigate
the allegations”. I also resent Tan Sri Ramon’s statement that - “We found that
there was no case at all to accuse him of being linked to Tajuddin just because
of this Haj trip. It was irresponsible to allege that he was in any way linked.”

I consider Ramon’s statement to be a direct attack on me as I had
earlier called on Abdul Gani to clear the air over public allegations of his
relationship with Shahidan and the Mecca Haj pilgrimage. I was concerned that
Abdul Gani’s silence would fuel deeper suspicions and confusion
. (Italics mine)

Ramon can speak for himself but he has no mandate from me or the
other panel members to make that statement on our behalf. That was not how I
perceived the meeting. What was certain was that my esteemed colleagues who
attended the meeting did not want to humiliate Abdul Gani any further. It was
not our intention to humble the Top Lawyer of the country.

It is therefore imperative for Abdul Gani to dispel any suspicion
surrounding his conduct of consorting with Shahidan Shafie and [sic] the Mecca Haj
pilgrimage. The public needs to be satisfied as to why Abdul Gani had not acted
on the recommendations of the then Director of Commercial Crimes Department,
Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, that Tajudin should be prosecuted. Inevitable [sic] the public
already perceived that the AG’s decision to prosecute Dato’ Ramli as an attempt
to cover up the MAS scandal
. (italics mine)

Robert Phang invited the fires of hell to be flung at him. It was Raja Petra and several others in Anwar’s outfit who “ …perceived that the AG’s decision to prosecute Dato’ Ramli as an attempt to cover up the MAS scandal,’ but certainly not “the public”.

A friend had earlier asked what could be the connection between Raja Petra and Robert Phang, which he described as “confusing”. That was a member of the MCA.

In the corridors of the BN the episodes were viewed somewhat more seriously.

Phang was alleged in a blog to have tried to bribe a senior government official. The allegation was followed by another blog saying he had donated RM50,000 to the MCA’s nemesis, the DAP, which has been the choice of about 80 percent of Chinese voters in the general elections of 8 March 2008.

At Killiney Kopitiam on Thursday he was not asked for the basis of his allegation that the Director of the (Police) Commercial Crimes Department, Dato’ Ramli Yusuff, had indeed been prosecuted for recommending Tajuddin to be charged in court.

What was Robert Phang repeating the allegation for? Even if Ramli Yusuff had come clean in court, no evidence was offered to prove he had been a victim of selective prosecution.

To members of the BN Robert had joined a chorus in the Opposition in a straight and easy jaunt that must embarrass the MCA.

It needs to be asked is he a member of an outgoing faction in the party whose days are numbered under the new president, Chua Soi Lek?

Robert is 69 and he wouldn't be bothered about that.

To people who had followed the development, Robert will appear as having been affected by Raja Petra’s 10 installments on Tajuddin Ramli’s Mas episode in Malaysia Today posted in 2009, and he recalled it also following Raja Petra’s expose on the Gani Patail-Shahidan Shafie Hajj trip at the end of 2010.

Robert Phang has become a curiosity. Why is he doing this when it is already a glaring fact that the PKR and the Pas have lost credibility and are deemed popularly as no longer fit to lead.

While PKR suffered lawmakers who frogged to the BN, both parties have had their share of leadership crises, the PKR now quite emasculated since Syed Husin Ali retired, Sivarasa lost in the party divisional election and many have chosen to fall quiet before the new and untested leadership line-up.

The Pas has also been severely damaged after serially losing in recent bye-elections, meaning Robert Phang isn’t about to go places outside of the spaces marked “Down” or “Out”.

He called Gani Patail a rogue. Robert should have ridden on a moral movement.---a. ghani ismail, 22 March, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Selection Of History – The Malay Amazons

History is selective, Marina Mahathir of the Sisters of Islam probably wanted to say. It is the reason why we learn in school about the emancipist, Raden Ajeng Kartini (1879-1904) but nothing about the great Malay queens and warriors who predated her from centuries earlier and those who came after her, the Amazons. These are the Malay Shikandi or Sri Kandi of the Mahabharata, the character who had been a woman, Amba, who then attained manhood by prayers and fought alongside Arjuna and the Pandavas in the epic Battle of Kurushetra.

In Aceh they are simply the Inong Balee or widow warriors. They are widows who took over the helm following their husbands fall in battle, some becoming admirals, others guerilla leaders and tens of thousands more as soldiers and guerilla fighters.

But was it Hindu influence that had turned the Malay women into the Amazons we removed from our history books in school?

That isn’t altogether clear. There’s the Farsi (Persian) connection in the Malay genesis. There’s also the possibility it was all in the Malay nature.

Malays have fallen since from being the only people in the world who had dared to insult Kublai Khan and then gave the great Khan a beating in East Jawa in 1292.

The great Mongol sent more than 12,000 soldiers to teach Kertanegara a lesson in the art of might he had himself to bitterly learn.

Kublai would have become blind if he were to see them now – a motley of colonizeables drowned in orthodox and patriarchal Islam making them all screwed up over deviant teachings, interfaith, beer and women liberation movements for the want of the right to polygamy and to marry a child of eight or nine because their 7th century Arab Messenger of God had done so, may peace be upon him.

To observe the Malays of Nusantara fall into a subsidence of such historical magnitude from the high watermark to become a people as colonizable as they are today is to touch a note of history of a corruptible, power-debauched and mentally captive society.

So we learn about Raden Ajeng Kartini and touch nothing about Laksamana Keumala Hayati, or of Cut Nyak Din or of Cut Meutia in Aceh, or of the Ratu-Ratu of Pattani, one of whom could have taken Ayuthia by force but turned back upon seeing the king of Siam under attack from Burma.

And in Kelantan there was Urdugu Wijaya Malasingha, or Cik Siti Wan Kembang ibn Batuta visited. She led her own all-women cavalry.

Because Kartini was “relevant” to our Occidental history, we and our children are taught about her in school.

She is one among the Indonesian national heroes. She is displayed on a denomination of the Rupiah.

Kartini (1879-1904) had been relieved of Dutch education half way in a Dutch colonial school and then, at age 24, was married to a man twice as old and as his fourth wife, a seasoning of women under Islam that she salted into her letters to Dutch friends in Holland and thus became an emancipist.

Backed by Dutch Liberalists the letters burned into Indonesian history and Kartini Day was born when the Indonesian state constitution declared the genders in Indonesia as equal. Kartini Day is April 21.

But that’s merely a whiff about the historical roles of the Malay women in determining the destinies of their countries and of the region as a whole.

Presidents Aquino, Megawati Sukarnoputri and Arroyo Macapagal are recalls of this historical role.

Historical Distortion

History had become distorted by the selection of facts, leaving the bulk falling into disuse because the pages of time had been turned by the grand artifices of imperialism, Islamic and Western.

The natives must retrieve their own reality and rebuild it or the “truth” will be dead.

It is like this:

It was found after the dust had settled in many a battle during the War of Dipo Negoro (1825-1830), that among the corpses were women dressed in silat (martial) attire with their breasts fastened tightly to their chests.

It is documented history. But the Dutch did not want to awaken the fact and later many Islamist, fearing what those facts would do to the integrity of gender bias in Islamic Law, rejected them as well.

Dipo Negoro, as it is popularly known, traced his ancestry to Prophet Muhammad and so it was best to let the Malay women’s role in the war rest in oblivion, ignorance in cases of this sort being a heavenly bliss.

The Malay had no sense of gender bias. Malays did not adopt Hinduism or Islam without tampering with the basics. They “brought” Mahameru, which is the Hindu Mountain of the Gods, to Sumatera and Jawa. These are the two Gunung Sumeru.

In a similar insistence of this sovereign cultural nativity, the Malays had and have their concept of Adam as in the several Babab Jawa, tracing from him the lineage of the Javanese Raja.

Among the Malay Rajas of the Peninsular and Andalas (Sumatra), this lineage is traced to Gayomart, the Persian Adam, which Wilkinson recorded in his Malay Papers.

The Malay heritage isn’t a squared bundle of joy taken from the scripted prose of the Arabs and deposited into a round hole of history as a rude awakening to imperial reality that sprung from Hadramaut or Mecca.

While a sprinkle of Islamic laws were observed for a number of centuries, the Malays had never imposed the whole of the Shariat (Islamic Law) on their communities.

The 99 laws of Perak and of Pahang were not based on the Shariat. They were native Malay laws with a bit of mix-up.

Malays led their lives according to their own values, not along the rude demands of the Malay Arabic-educated intelligentsia, some mentally warped by the mesmeric trance-culture summed as rites and traditions into becoming an excessive appetite for power and for abuse.

When these flakes of the moribund are removed and Malay history is seen clearer, what rises above the historical scams is a sensational history of empires being built by men and women together, without the slightest nuance of gender bias.

President Obama, who lived as a child in school in Jakarta for some years, would have read about this, him a keen student of history too. He is someone close to us.

First Woman

The first woman known to have been an Admiral was Laksamana Keumala Hayati of 17th century Acheh. She had an armada of more than 400 ships and drove off, among others, Cornelis de Houtman.

She had built an efficient intelligence network and secured John Lancaster from a Dutch planned attack on his ship in Aceh harbor.

Keumala Hayati was succeeded by another woman. Her navy, of course, consisted of men and women.

And it had been the practice in Aceh from the time of Iskandar Muda to use women as the king’s bodyguards, not unlike what Gadhafi introduced in Libya.

There were also the palace guards, more than 500 of an all-women commando unit which, on every Friday, would accompany the sultan and his elephants to the mosque in Banda Aceh for the weekly prayers.

We are talking about the 16th century and when Aceh was recognized as the leader of the eastern chapter of the Islamic world and a partner of the great Ottoman Empire in the face of Western expansion.

It was a time of Jihad to protect the territories of Islam.

Do you believe they, the members of the all-women Aceh commando palace guards, would have covered their faces or their hair? Would these Malay troopers have covered the aurat parts of their arms?

It could never be fitted into Islamic Law, surely. But in today’s Malaysia is a mix-up of the tightening of Islamic law against military and police forces that have women jogging up sharp hills to keep fit, wearing short-sleeves and ass-tight pants, or flying faster than the speed of sound in a fighter jet we have yet to manufacture ourselves.

You’d need to somehow override the confusion, which means you will have to let the Malays enjoy the freedom of conscience and choose not to remain Muslims of the 7th century AD and somehow adjust to the new millennium.

Keumala Hayati was succeeded as the Admiral by a woman, whose deputy was also a woman.

When the Dutch finally captured Aceh and the national forces had to fight from the mountains, women took the leadership from their fallen husbands, as Cut Nyak Dien and Cut Meutia had done, two from thousands of liberation fighters.


The Malay cultural scenario had begun to change drastically in the early 19th century, with the outbreak of the Padri Wars (1815-1830). Padris were Malay Wahabis.

It wasn’t the Dutch or the English who were the main cultural contestants. It was the Padris.

They fought a war of attrition in Minangkabau to break the matriarchal stranglehold.

Pagaruyung, the tip of the Malay pantheon, was surrendered to the Dutch, the raja becoming the regent and settling himself in Batu Sangkar a few kilometers away.

Malay-Islam was never the same since. Even after their defeat in 1830 (by the Dutch) the Padris spread.

In Langkat, Sumatra, where the largest spiritual school in the region (Tareqah Naqshabandiah) was settled, the political struggles for power over the highly influential bodies of followers consequently became more observant of the Arab Shariat.

The contrasts between Arab and Malay Islam were reaching to a head. Malay religious teachers of the new breed never seized to attack Minangkabau traditions or the Adat Pepateh until Umno predominated and took the lead in the 70s under Tun Razak.

But the tenor had been set. The religious orthodoxy had made itself the custodian and arbiter of religion, the miniscule Vicegerents of God on the good earth.

These attacked Islamic religious minorities as they still do in a crystallization of the mental warp in heads bundled in towels in the tropical heat and humidity.

The brains can enjoy seminal splendor but are often unable to appreciate abstractions, making the word of the law overwhelming to the remains of the mind.

Who said Gadhafi has at all been a nuisance? When a Libyan had come to complain to me about Gadhafi’s unorthodox Islam in 1976, I remember telling him that Gadhafi’s Islam is very much like Malay Islam and I suspected, I said, he had learned something from the Malays.

The Libyan religious man never came back. He failed to see the light.

We are Malays and we have to be of our own nature and not ape into the heavens a tribal Arab spiritual awakening of the 7th century that has, to many of us, exhausted itself and fallen into sectarian distresses Pakistan and Iraq are displaying everyday since the War of Mr. Bush and of Dick Cheney.

We are Malays. We are a composite community that had never had any gender bias.

When Aceh was ruled by queens in a row, they were not called sultanah (feminine for sultan). They were in their own rights, sultans and were referred to as such.

The last of them was deposed on the fatwa (religious ruling) of the Sheriff of Mecca.

Quo Vadis Melayu? Into bewilderment?---a. ghani ismail, 17 March, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011


As the European powers were deliberating in Brussels about the means to bring Gadhafi to yield in Libya and hope for the Arab revolutionary is hanging by a thin thread, the Arab League on its own came to a unanimous resolution for a no-fly zone over the fellow Arab state.

The Arabs apparently eat themselves.

Unless a new body of people embraces Islam, the religion can never again become a contestant for universal power and resources.

Can the no-fly zone resolution be about Amir Mousa who wants to leapfrog from Arab League secretary-general to position number one in Egypt, replacing Hosni Mubarak as the ultra Israel and American ally?

The question arises since President Obama and the Nato members have not decided yet the course of actions to take against the revolutionary hero.

The answer to the question will have to wait.

What is assumed about the Arab League is none from among its members can decide without consulting allies from the European front or from the USA. In short, the resolution was probably orchestrated from outside.

Gadhafi may be the exception to the rule. But even if we remember Lockerbie, Gadhafi’s only “crime” now appears to be about staying in power for 41 years, as some surviving Arab monarchs may do.

Gadhafi may have no peer. He is the soul of Libya who does not hold any official office or title. But Libya nonetheless complied with the IMF.

The oil producer has hefty deposits in European and American banks that are now frozen - hundreds of billions of Euros in Germany alone.

While many in the world and especially the Latin Americans socialists are backing Gadhafi, the Arab League jumped the gun for the no-fly zone.

It means the Arab League has voted for military intervention into the affairs of a sovereign Arab state. That runs against the UN Charter and should run against Islamic ethics as well.

What have the Arab nations done for their people that Gadhafi hasn’t done?

He modernized Libya, provided for her sustainable growth spending billions to bring water thousands of kilometers through the desert from the Upper Nile and miraculously greening Tripoli’s sandy hinterland.

It was a great Arab romance, the ideas and achievements of the revolutionary soldier spilling the world in places he spawned and sponsored socialist(ic) revolutions.

To many who were born to rise into the heights of the Afro-Asian revolutions, he was the other side of Lawrence of Arabia. But many Libyans from as long ago as the 70s regarded Gadhafi’s emancipation of women and his brand of socialism as Islamically antithetical.

He was one more Afro-Asian who had stood for the freedoms from wants, from fear and from tyranny, a formula of freedoms that had come from Franklin Delano Roosevelt and which, as it was understood by the generation of Bandung 55, had meant it took first call while the freedom of speech and expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of assembly which are the new frontiers, would come later.

Now once again to the peoples of that spirit all over Africa and Asia, plus the brothers and sisters in Latin America, another Arab leader, another Arab people’s socialist state, is being dispelled by the Arabs and Muslims and is being readied for the storming, once again by the West, like it had been with Iraq, and then, Afghanistan.

Present orthodox Islam, set against the principle of peace by the benefit of the other in the Treaty of Westphalia,1648,has been like crap ravings.

Having no magisterium to moderate between the different sects (mazhab) and the cults in Islam, Muslims in most Islamic countries and in the world cannot unite.

Iraq after the American invasion and Pakistan by contagion of the war in Afghanistan, are great examples of the Muslim sectarian blood-lettings, the disintegration of pan-Islam as run-offs of the social disintegration that attended the transitions from the colonized world to the world of decolonized natives Franz Fannon and Jean Paul-Sartre had dreamed for the newly independent Afro-Asians.

Everywhere in the Muslim world most of the intelligentsia cannot communicate with the religious scholars and their captives. It’s a separate reality that’s the wall of the divide, the exceptions to be found in the Al-Qaeda operatives, many of whom have become martyrs in suicide bombings.

Then, in a widening crescent of the sublime religion, followers of their holinesses attack Christian minorities, which brings us to the lark in Malaysia where, by a regulation passed in 1986, the Christian minority was and is denied their Bible in the national language, Bahasa Malaysia.

It makes no sense other than merely as one of the many regulations in the feudal form of social control and of coercion carried into independent and contemporary Malaysia.

It is an absurdity of statecraft, of governance in a plural society, of modernization and of diplomacy in the new millennium.

Yet it is universal in the Islamic resurgence the world over.

Yet a part of the professional and scientific communities of Muslims have volunteered to die in the on-going mission to battle against Western and Christian oppressions and atrocities.

The confusion cuts deep into the sinews of the Islamic societies.

This isn’t about the “bewildered.” This is a new set of references in the Islamic consciousness the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban had secured, something the Japanese had done in the War.

Malaysia did not see a freedom revolution. In Malaysia Islam is mainly about a rites of passage and the Law, or something of a quest for Islamic integrity and supremacy that is as wild as Sylvester d’ Pussycat can get in his quest to fry the little birdie, which would be barbaric, of course, but celluloid.

Muslims in Malaysia may be fined Ringgit 5,000, imprisoned for two years and whipped six times for drinking in a public place a glass of beer, or for being in “close proximity” with the other gender outside the muhrim ( close relatives), or if suspected of deviant Islam, can be detained without trial for as long as it does not matter to society. Isn’t that nice!

Caught in a trap of conflicting civilizations that colonization, modernization and development brought, Muslims face dysfunctional families and social disintegration they cannot manage in the given cast of religious emotions.

The religious bodies are bent on preserving the wonderment of a Way of Life God Himself revealed through angels, prophets and messengers, in a set of Books and preserved by ustaz and ustazah (male and female religious teachers) who believe of themselves as custodians of the religion.

It’s about the same with the other Abrahamic sisters – Judaism and Christianity. These two may or may not have gotten out of the legalistic jumble a lot earlier, depending on cultic preferences and the political mission they must undertake as “fishers of men”, no less.

How do we believe these aged systems of faiths and laws can draw for us a compound of ideas that may relief us of all or of some of the challenges in a world that’s already seven billion and facing a painful climatic revolt that is bringing back the fluvial age?

Can we believe it is possible to stop by prayers the melting icecaps and the glaciers on the third polar region?

Or do the religions have, in their cache of mercy, compassion and agape, the means to at least extend favorably a way of cooperation between the nations?

If Islam, or Christianity or Judaism fails to suggest to the world anything equal to the principles of the Treaty of Westphalia, they should, at the very least, let the rest of humanity be free to attempt tearing down the walls and build bridges and an ark of friendship and respectful coexistence.

But that may amount to innocent simplicity. The world isn’t as simple anymore. China is reported to have agreed with the Americans over Libya, for instance, causing the former socialist bloc to hold its breath for what can transpire in the UNSC should the forces of America, Europe and the Arab League decide to bring Libya to the UN.

Within the context of such an excess of geopolitical realities, Malaysian Muslim authorities and some NGOs are insisting the Christians must not be allowed to extend their missions using a Malay translation of the Bible.

In fact, the non-Muslim citizens in Malaysia cannot use the Name, Allah, nor can they say Allahu Akbar, Great God!

What happens if the injured take their savings and investments elsewhere? Will the financially powerful Arabs bring their dirhams and dinars here?

Hush babe, the truth about all of that is surely coming this way soon! Surely.--- a. ghani ismail, 13 March, 2011

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mahathir’s Memoir - Being A Haunting of Old Buddies, Jekyll and Hyde

Mahathir opened Pandora’s Box upon himself. Seeking to have his last say no matter what, the ex-premier, riding on a wave of a popularity-comeback, the man, in his 800-pages plus memoir, is shown in the early reactions to the book as nasty.

It’s only been three days since he launched the great book and 5,000 copies had flown off the shelves.

Early reactions are making the monumental work like it’s entitled, A Doctor in a Haunted House - Memoirs of a Jekyll seeking for a place to Hyde.

He asked for it. From the reactions, Mahathir Mohamed, the doctor and long time premier (he stayed all of 22 years at the helm), apparently wants to be best remembered as a pugilist, squeezing into history a wondrous storm to batter him so the adrenaline will keep flowing in his twilight days. He is 86.

He wrote into his memoirs a series of nasty remarks and accounts of persons he had undone and those he crossed swords with to provide for him a clean bill of health.

Hundreds have not agreed with the one-eyed. The numbers will pile into the thousands within a month.

It’s the view of the personality from his lofty perch, his nest, that’s now being bombarded, the bombardment stretching into a force of willful destruction of Mahathir’s version by a popular force that wants history to reflect the people’s perceptions.

While Mahathir spent 20 pages of his book on his decision to sack and clobber Anwar Ibrahim on the basis of the dubious allegations of Umi Hafilda, most of the people simply saw Anwar as one of his rivals he clobbered to stay on as premier.

Anwar, he had written in his memoir, had asked four women for sex, two of whom said ‘no’ while the other two undressed.

That was according to Umi Hafilda, the sister of Anwar’s former confidential secretary who is now number two in the wracked Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Umi Hafilda was featured in the recent twin by-elections, in Merlimau and Kerdau.

She was reported to have attracted large crowds, which she can, dragging sibling-rivalry sensationally through the mud and revealing succulent sexual stories about Anwar Ibrahim.

But that’s where Umi comes and goes, herself not a likely candidate for any virtue.

Anwar fumed. Still in court in a second leg of the sodomy charges, he combusted in Banting last night (10 March) and reached for Mahathir’s throat in an exchange of libelous and sub judicial remarks for a slanderous tirade, like Alladin’s bargain of the old lamp for new.

The storm has begun. The opposition pact requires unification, uniformity and unity. Now it can embark on a recall of the Free Anwar Campaign.

In court the last prosecution witness, a senior police officer, divulged the surprising detail that Saiful Bukhari, who is the man Anwar was alleged to have sodomized, had run to Najib’s wife first, and not directly to the Prime Minister as we have been made to believe before.

It’s a very small detail for the pact to ride on.

Saiful, it appeared, had had the DNA of several men in his anus. A scientist had speculated in court that it could have happened when the man sat on a toilet bowl. Take care!

Reactions to the earth-shaking memoir and the trial in court are happening as the world is going upside down, making Malaysia politically dicey.

China suddenly sprung a USD 7.3 billion trade deficit in February, said to be caused by the volatile prices of oil because of the “democratic revolts” in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

That revolt has become a civil war in Libya and in Bahrain Sunnis battle Shiahs on the streets.

The regional revolution is scheduled to happen in Saudi Arabia today (11 March). It’s the largest oil producer.

In Egypt the revolution has wound its way into Muslim-Christian unrest. Some 2.4 million barrels of oil run through the Suez-Mediterranean pipeline per day.

If China can fall into a trade deficit following a simmering oil threat, what will happen should oil prices surge to frightening heights will certainly be the Chinese economic crisis that’s predicted to happen in four years time.

Muslim violence against minorities has spread from Nigeria, Somalia and Egypt to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and to Indonesia.

The environment could not have been more exciting for Mahathir to launch his exorcism.

People are waiting for the reactions of Razaleigh and Musa, the duo that teamed to challenge Mahathir for the leadership of Umno in 1987 and lost by 43 votes.

Of Razaleigh, the affable prince from Kelantan, Mahathir had said he sploshed more than Ringgit 20 million of his own money into the 1987 contest, an allegation most people in Umno can hardly believe.

In fact, about a couple of weeks before the contest, Marina Yusof and the writer together told Razaleigh to quit, seeing he would lose by a count of 26 votes at that point of time.

Votes are countables and we can know from the bundle of reports that had come in. Ibrahim Ali was the director of Razaleigh’s campaign for the 1987 contest. He too said Razaleigh would lose by such a slim margin.

Later some Umno members suggested to Razaleigh to purchase the required votes and he flatly refused.

Razaleigh and Musa are not the end of the complainants. Mahathir has asked for a tsunami to engulf him. The raving reviews are merely a preface.

In the given circumstances people he rubbed would throttle the godfather for a joyride that can be politically profitable.

If the forces are strong enough, the guards will change and heads may be made to roll at high speed, like in pinball. Najib, as premier, will have to keep himself at a safe distance. --- a. ghani ismail, 11 March 2011

Monday, March 7, 2011


In the unfolding democratic revolutions of the Arab world the Pas’ stream of losses in by-elections in recent months is telling of the democratic distresses in Islam and it can prove to be terminal for the party.

While it is clearly indicated the Islamic party has lost the popular support it gained in the March 8, 2008 general elections, the fact the party is not equipped to overcome its constitutional, democratic and leadership crises forces the conclusion that the disease that had struck the Pas is a killer.

Who is really the leader in Pas? Is it the party president, Datuk Seri Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, 63, or does the power actually reside in the claimant to the throne, the stoic Datuk Haji Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the older Tuan Guru (Teacher), who, at 78and despite being in and out of hospital, has displayed a singularly beautiful temper that burst out repeatedly against the whole party leadership in the last couple of years.

The troubles that brewed first over the president’s inclination to discuss a “Unity Government” with Umno and the Barisan Nasional (BN) then turned into a nasty personal spat between Nik Aziz and the president’s deputy, Nasharudin Isa, that dragged the stoical Nik Aziz into a waste of nepotism.

He had been believed to have planned to appoint his son-in-law, Arriffahmi, as his successor, and his protégé, Husam Musa, the brightest spark in the Pas government in Kelantan, he had wanted to kick upstairs in the party's hierarchy and shunted to Kuala Lumpur.

Nik Aziz is the general guide (mursyidul Am) and elected by the council of scholars (Dewan Ulama) consisting of 15 members, all of whom are elected by the party representatives to the general assembly.

Hadi Awang, as president, is elected by the party representatives to the general assembly held once in three years.

Memories of party members do not admit of such a conflict between the mursyidul am and the president.

But this is a conflict of power that has made history and its expression as a serial burst of temper that began in 2009 and has not shown any sign of relief is best kept in a space capsule.

The party has had to pay heavily in losses of voters’ support. It has so far trailed through four by-elections in which the party lost and one more that reduced the winning votes from a full basket to a handful.

At the same time it’s a mess of constitutional, leadership and personal conflicts that visited the Pas after 19 years of Nik Aziz at the helm of the state government and as state party chief.

Following the differences between him and the president’s men over the proposed “Unity Government” discussions with Umno, the old man was reported on 16 July to suddenly lash out at the party deputy president, Nasharudin Isa, who had retained his position in the party’s supreme council election 10 days before.

Nasharudin, a mild-mannered scholar and among the best there is in the party was contested by Husam Musa from Kelantan and Mat Sabu from Penang on 6 June 2009.

It became clear from the ramblings of the party’s general guide he had wanted Nasharudin to make way for his protégé, Husam Musa, whom he wanted out of Kelantan to open the way for his son-in-law he had earlier appointed as CEO of the state’s commercial arm.

Husam garnered 281 votes against Nasharuddin’s 480 in the contest. The third candidate, Mat Sabu, won 261 votes.

On 16 June 2009 the old man thundered against Nasharudin ‘for not losing the contest to Husam Musa’.

He asked Nasharudin to vacate the Bachok parliamentary constituency the man represented and get out of Kelantan – a hit to the prostrate followed by a kick on the ass of the party deputy president.

The party, reeling in an agony of faith and of morale, never recovered.

It’s an infection of a super ego that has become day-by-day a sickness.

Nasharudin who apparently swooped himself into meditation mode for more than a year, remained silent in obvious political pain.

In the enfoldment of the violent schisms in Islam and the recent surge for democratic rights and of freedoms in the Arab world, how can the erudite gentleman explain the maladies that have struck Islam in his home turf now becomes mysterious.

Is this where we can find the element of uniformity in Islam? Is the egophiliac the final construction of Iqbal’s Secret of the Self or has there been a gross misreading of his Asrar-i-Khudi, with the magic of the “I AM” finally becoming a sub-equation of the wild over-empowerment of the political ego that is corruptible, and is corruptible absolutely in self-structured absolutism?

It did not take long for Nik Aziz and the Pas to face the consequence of his irascibility when a Kelantan state constituency, Manek Urai, fell vacant.

In the by-election of 14 July 2009 the Pas majority of 1352 votes won in March 2008 had been reduced to a meager 65.

Nasharudin visited the constituency during the by-election. But he remained silent in the lush speculation whether he would or would not speak.

The Pas was hit hard. Had it been generally clear at that time that the aged general guide had succumbed to senility and had wanted to also oust his protégé, Husam Musa, from Kelantan to make way for his son-in-law to succeed him, the party could have fallen straightaway into the slough of despond.

But most in the party did not know. Nik Aziz’s daughter, Nik Amalina, was to write in the net about the alleged nepotism later.

In the contrasts between the chief minister/general guide with the president and the deputy president, Nik Aziz, likening the Pas as a ship, claimed to be the “captain”, while Hadi and Nasarudin were merely the “anchorman” and the “oarsman”.

That’s a serious constitutional matter the party leaders should have found occasion to officially discuss and determined who, indeed, is “captain of the ship”.

But while the “ship” was floundering in troubled waters and the old general guide had been summoning the party leaders to his office in Kelantan to be told, the president, his deputy, the chief of the council of scholars and the secretary-general jointly and severally opted to remain silent like the whole caper had been a non-issue.

Party members panicked. The party was not stable and the constitutional integrity of the Islamic party is fictional.

Under pressure the Pas could have disintegrated at that point.

Nik Aziz Nik Mat is not a trifle. The charismatic religious scholar is well-known throughout the region and in the Islamic world. But his charm in Malaysia is certainly on the wane. He lost Galas, Kelantan on 4 Nov. 2010 by 1190 votes to Umno. Pas had won Galas in March 2008.

Then the party fell in Tenang, Johor by 3707 votes on 30 Jan. 2011. Tenang was won by the BN but with a smaller majority in 2008.

On 6 March 2011, two days before the third anniversary of the Pas’ big win on 8 March 2008, the party lost by larger majorities in Merlimau, Melaka (3643 votes) and in Kerdau, Pahang (2724 votes).

The old scholar was reported to be ranting against Malays for not supporting his party in Tenang, a certain sign of fatigue and weariness of one who had served with diligence from 1967 and who should have retired.

Without change, the Pas is likely to lose Kedah in the next general elections. It may also lose Kelantan. --- a. ghani ismail, 8 March, 2011