Sunday, March 27, 2016

A BOOK THAT I HAVE NOT READ

COMMENTARIES ON SOME TOPICS IN 'AWAKENING'

1. I was in Mecca, during the last ten days of Ramadhan and subsequently a few more days in Medinah, when I heard that the book entitled 'Awakening' was coming into the market. My sources said that it was written by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

2. Later on I read somewhere in the press that Tun Abdullah said that Tun Mahathir would not like anybody else to have a vision other than his. This could of course be the media's misunderstanding of Tun Abdullah's statement.
 
3. I have not read the book as I am still waiting for a friend who wants to give me a free copy of it. I was told by this friend that it is not written by Tun Abdullah but by others who are probably agreeable to him. Only 36 pages of the 606 pages were written by him. That sounds more like it because I cannot remember him either as a writer nor a lengthy speaker. He was known as a 'nice guy'.

4. You may wish to read what I wrote about Tun Abdullah before his succession as a Prime Minister in my welcoming speech when he launched the Mahathir Encyclopaedia published by an Egyptian printer in Cairo. My speech was posted in this blog on April, 21, 2010 entitled 'Menjadi Seorang Perdana Menteri' or 'Becoming a Prime Minister'.

5. I did however ask my friend further as to what he thought was the motive for bringing out such a book at that particular time.

6. I was informed that the book could be an attempt to blame Tun Abdullah's bad performance, in the 2008 General Election, on Tun Mahathir, instead of the 4th floor boys being blamed for it; especially when the UMNO election was near. The 4th floor boys need a lot of white-washing to improve their image, among those who know their follies, but was lucky that the UMNO election, this time around, was decided by the less knowledgeable multitude of 146,500 voters from all over the country in what an opposition thinker told me as a 'monetized, pyramidial network of wholesalers in votes for rental, guided and feudal pseudo-democratic process'. The results were as expected. I was informed by analysts the 'strategy of retaining all the incumbent office-holders was meant to rationalize the inclusion, in the list of victors, the most unpopular likely loser'.

7. When further asked whether there is any mention of 'Islam Hadhari' in the book the answer was positive.


8. Therefore, as of now, before reading the book, I can only comment on four topics - a) the title of the book - 'Awakening', b) the non-negotiability of Tun Mahathir's vision, c) the 4th floor boys and d) 'Islam Hadhari'. My comment is of course divorced from the contents of the book which I have not read. Of course I have read the Chedet blog on the book.

9. This writing was not entered before the UMNO election as it would not like to be judged as an intrusion into the affairs of party election, but meant to assist its readers in understanding part of the thinking behind the decisions made by the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
 

'AWAKENING' IS 'KEBANGKITAN'
 
10. With the use of the word 'Awakening', as a title for a book in his name Tun Abdullah, who must have been consulted on the title before it is being used, is the fourth person, if not the fifth (should Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt be included), in the Muslim world, that has thought of the word 'Awakening' as a blessing.

11. In Malay and Indonesian the word 'Awakening' is 'Kebangkitan'.

12. As my friend, whom I knew even before he became blind, the ex-President of Indonesia, Gus Dur, was educated in Baghdad, Iraq. He had included the word 'Kebangkitan' in the name of his political party, 'Partai Kebangkitan Bangsa'. He too, as Tun Abdullah, did not last long in the leadership of his nation, Indonesia. Tun Abdullah lasted comparatively longer as he lasted his first term because of his fantastic victory in the 2004 General Election.

13. The 11th General Election in 2004 had the best performance in the ruling party's history, not because Tun Abdullah has done anything exceptional in his political career but more because Tun Dr. Mahathir took all the blames, for the decisions that were heavily criticised by the public, and as a 'nice guy', Tun Abdullah projected a clean image of hope for the future of Malaysia.

14. In the case of Gus Dur he did not complete a term because his lady deputy, daughter of the first President Soekarno, Presiden Megawati, ousted him. The late elderly Prof. Dr. Irfan, who was teaching at the International Islamic University Malaysia when I was its President, was one of those who taught Gus Dur in the university in Baghdad; he appeared to be lamenting for Indonesia when his student suddenly became the President.
 
15. In Arabic the word 'Awakening' is 'Ba'ath'. The Ba'athist party in Iraq was led by Saddam Hussein while the Ba'athist party in Syria was headed by the former President Hafez al-Asad and now by his successor son Bashar al-Asad. It seems that both the Arab 'Awakening' or 'Kebangkitan' parties have brought disasters, instead of blessings, to their countries just as the two 'ba'athist' inclined leaders of two Malay Muslim nations were also brought to disastrous ends to their leadership of their respective nations.

16. I am now very cautious of anyone who attempts at awakening a nation when the person himself is not awakened by the facts of history and to the reality of life, particularly political life.

 
VISION 2020
 
17. I am quite amazed if it is true that Tun Abdullah said anything which implies that there is anyone who is trying to deflect a population from Vision 2020, as that was the only vision that Tun Dr. Mahathir ever introduced and was talking about during his tenure as Prime Minister. I am however comforted when I then began to understand the reason as to why anyone should not want to adopt that vision. It is just because of not knowing what 'Vision 2020' means.
 
18. When Tun Mahathir announced Vision 2020 he did not call all leaders, close or far, to explain at length of what he meant by that vision. Of course no political leader, either a member of the cabinet or of the UMNO or BN supreme councils, would like the public to doubt that they are close to Tun Mahathir when they were unaware of what 'Vision 2020' means after Tun Mahathir announced it. Those who were not informed of the meaning of 'Vision 2020', simply replied, when asked, that it means  the country must be a developed nation by the year 2020.

19. The year 2020 is certainly a good target to work for.

20. However, one should ask the meaning of 'Vision 2020' when Tun Mahathir said even Selangor must have Vision 2020 if it is to be a developed state by 2005. Kedah too should have Vision 2020 if it is to be a developed state in 2015. Are there no contradictions in these two statements? The answer is no if one knows the meaning of Vision 2020.

21. After the Wednesday cabinet meeting when Tun Dr. Mahathir introduced 'Vision 2020' he asked me, as I was leaving the cabinet room, whether I understand what he meant by 'Vision 2020'. I replied 'Yes', and continued 'The Eyes'. 'OK, but make sure that on the logo the two 20s are separated so that the public do not read as 'two thousand and twenty' instead of 'twenty twenty'. I replied 'OK, thanks' and left the room.

22. This short conversation was necessary as I was the Chairman of the Merdeka Anniversary Celebration Committee for 13 years and had to organize a logo competition each year depicting a theme that the government was introducing or popularizing for the year. This particular year it was meant to be 'Vision 20 20'. That is why you will see the look of this logo, in my blog posting on December 23, 2009 entitled 'Bingkisan Merdeka 52 Tahun' or '52 Years of Independence', separating the two twenties in order not to be read as the year two thousand and twenty (2020).

THE SPECTACLES SHOP
 
23.. Though I am not a doctor I was lucky to have chosen a table near the window of the cafe' at the old Grand Continental Hotel, now renamed The Regency Hotel, in Alor Setar whenever I returned to the state to visit my padi farmers who borrowed money from the bank I worked for. Looking at Maha Clinic, where Tun Mahathir used to have his practice, through the glass window of the cafĂ©' in Grand Continental Hotel I could not avoid seeing a spectacle shop with the label '20 20' on the matted screen hung to prevent rays of sunlight from getting into the shop.

24. I did one day ask a doctor friend the meaning of '20 20' on the matted screen of the spectacle shop. I was then informed that when an optometrist check your eyes and the reading on one eye is 20 and on the other eye is also 20 then your vision is said to be '20 20' which means that you have a perfect vision and you do not need a spectacle.

25. On the other hand if both eyes have different readings then it is the business of the optometrist to provide the glasses so that you have an improved and balanced or perfect vision.

BLURRED VISION
 
26. The government policy of VISION 20 20 therefore means that the government would like to proceed with a development plan with a PERFECT VISION. Only with PERFECT VISION or VISION 2020 can we expedite development. To propagate other visions must inevitably be a result of ignorance of the meaning of Vision 2020 as the alternative to PERFECT VISION is IMPERFECT, DISTORTED OR BLURRED VISION.

27. It was probably because of this blurred vision that the results of the 12th General Election in 2008 was a disaster compared to the 2004 election when it was held in the shadow of Vision 2020 as it came to an end with the change in the leadership of the country.


THE ROLE OF ADVISORS AND IMPLEMENTERS

28. Just as any leader or head of a large institution or organization need advisors the same goes to a leader of any nation. Besides the advisors there must be the implementers for it is impossible for any leader to think and do everything himself.

29. A perfect vision with poor advisors will slow down progress and with weak implementers will achieve minimum results. An imperfect vision can be corrected by good advisors. But when the advisors are inexperienced, with potted thinking and deviationist orientation, motivated by their own personal or proxy agenda we see the disastrous election results as in the 2008 General Election.

30. When Dato' Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak took over the leadership, his gentlemanly and less Machiavellian political approach, coupled with having to maintain, as a matter of curtsey or condition for succession, all the pre-2008 General Election advisors, who brought the political Tsunami, and added with more overconfident but passive advisors, who could not even realize that they themselves were not winnable candidates in the constituencies which they choose to contest, the result was shown in the more disastrous 2013 General Election.

31. Although parliament-wise the 2013 General Election appears more disastrous but it is a better result in terms of greater Malay support for Barisan Nasional due to last minute actions by the leadership and the realization that the Chinese opposition to the BN was almost absolute.

ONLY DAP AGAINST MALAY LEADERSHIP
BUT ALMOST ALL CHINESE ARE
AGAINST CORRUPTION AND NEPOTISM

32. The results of the 2008 General Election revived the People Action Party's (PAP) idea of displacing the Malay leadership before Singapore was expelled from Malaysia in August 9, 1965. This idea was inherited by the successor party, the DAP (Democratic Action Party). The excitement brought about by the results of the 2008 election caused the visit of Lee Kuan Yew to Malaysia meeting, besides our national leader, and wife, separately, with Dato' Nik Aziz the Menteri Besar of Kelantan. Other unknown meetings were of course more important.

33. Except for the anti-Malay DAP leaders and members who have the intention of displacing the Malay leadership in the government, or replacing it with a puppet Malay leader, I do not believe that all the Chinese have the same intention as the DAP of displacing the Malays, but almost all the Chinese, except for those Chinese who facilitate and benefit from corruption, are against corruption and nepotism. In the case of nepotism they are only envious of those in power but are themselves practicing it in their own respective parties.

34. If one asks 'What more do the Chinese wants?' there are two answers to the one question. DAP Chinese wants the Malay leadership out but almost all Chinese wants a government which is not corrupt and does not practice nepotism. That is not to say that a Chinese led government will not be corrupt as even in China and Taiwan the problem of corruption is rampant and in some Chinese-led state, in a federation or nation, one cannot even talk of corruption.

35. The Malays too know that corruption is sinful and benefit only a few.


WHO ARE THE 4TH FLOOR BOYS

36. When I was still in the government and active in UMNO there was a time when the leadership was concerned with the activities of a student organization in the United Kingdom called the International Malaysia Forum (IMF). This organization was against the New Economic Policy and was attacking the social contract in the Constitution. The members of this forum comprise mostly of non-government scholarship students, of all races, and children of well-off Malay businessmen or civil servants, including children of those parents who occupied their positions because of the Malay privileges provided in the constitution, which the children are against.

UMNO KELAB

36. As the UMNO Kelab of the United Kingdom and Eire, at that time, has turned out to be more of a social organization and non-responsive to the above political situation it was thought that a new student organization need to exist from among the government scholarship holders who are grateful for the privilege of getting the scholarships. Thus was born the UKEC or the United Kingdom Executive Council.

'KALSOM'

37. Some of the earlier students who mooted the idea, if my memory is still reliable, are Abdul Rahman Redza (now YB Abdul Rahman Redza, ADUN of Linggi), Omar Siddiq Amin Noer Rashid and Mohd Hirmiadi Don Rahim. When the protem committee was set up (arwah) Adlan Benan 'Ben' Omar became Chairman with Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah becoming the treasurer.

38. Rahman Redza withdrew from participation in the committee, when it was finalized, as he was focussing on another program for providing tuition to rural children under the 'KALSOM' programme.

UNITED KINGDOM EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (UKEC)

39. When UKEC was registered, Adlan Benan 'Ben' Omar and Akhramsyah chose to act as advisors with the leadership going to Eqhwan Mokhzanee and Badlisyah Ghani (who drafted UKEC's constitution and is now CEO of CIMB Islamic Bank) as Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively. They were succeeded by Hirmiadi Don, better known as Don, and Akhramsyah as Deputy Chairman. Helmi Nyak Yusof, who is now a senior Shell executive succeeded Don. They were at that time the defenders of the NEP and the Constitution. They were for the 'Affirmative Actions' to correct the economic and social imbalances in a multi-racial Malaysia.

INTERNATIONAL MALAYSIA FORUM

40. On the IMF (International Malaysia Forum) side was Khairy Jamaluddin (KJ) the current Minister of Youth, Omar Mustapha Ong (now PETRONAS Director and Najib's adviser), Ganen Sarvananthan (now in Khazanah) and Zaki Zahid (the former 4th Floor chief and now Managing Director of KFC Holdings Malaysia Bhd.. ). When Anwar Ibrahim was removed from the government, and expelled from UMNO, he became an ally to this forum.

41. Since the formation of UKEC the influence of IMF greatly eroded.

42. However, with Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi taking over the government and the subsequent marriage of KJ to the Prime Minister's daughter, the table was turned, and the anti NEP, Social Contract and 'Affirmative Action' members of forum became part of the establishment and becoming the advisors to the Prime Minister.

A TRIBUTE TO 'BEN'

43. This episode was so traumatic to the UKEC members to the extent that the first Chairman of UKEC, Ben, who obtained double-degree in History and Law from Cambridge University was forced to join PKR as the only platform possible to confront the ex-IMF members. When I met him as a young and intelligent man, and a friend of Akhramsyah,, who was his treasurer, in UKEC, he was still lamenting on the future of UMNO although he was already in PKR. As a highly thought of historian from Cambridge he did not fancy Anwar Ibrahim. His heart was still with UKEC when he died of diabetic as a young man.

RAFIZI SHOULD BE IN BN

44. Rafizi Ramli  who is the current PKR MP for Pandan in Wilayah Persekutuan, succeeded Helmy Nyak Yusof as President of UKEC. Knowing Ben it is not difficult therefore to see Rafizi, following in the footsteps of Ben, is now head of strategy for PKR when as the leader of UKEC, he would have been in BN had the 4th Floor boys not been there. A number of UKEC activists, being government scholarship holders, have left for overseas as the unfriendly IMF boys are now everywhere in the government.

45. Are the IMF alumni still questioning the NEP and the Social Contract? It is obvious that their foreign western oriented political exposures, devoid of the knowledge of the history and political situation in multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-religious Malaysia, have influenced Tun Abdullah's government leading to the Tsunami in the 12th General Election in 2008. Tun Dr. Mahathir was not the cause of the Tsunami.

SCHOLARSHIPS

46. A good example is the allocation of government scholarships to Bumiputras. This allocation was one of the subjects of criticism against the NEP by the forum members. It is considered as a great injustice. Of course the raw students were unaware of the reasons for this corrective or affirmative action. Continuous self indoctrination of this supposedly glaring injustice became an obsession to the raw students and eventually influenced the leadership of UMNO to doubt itself.

47. Pressured by the increasing popularity of the PKR advisor for promising to correct this injustice the government then, in trying to deprive the PKR of gaining greater influence, on the issue, decided to supposedly put this injustice right. This is of course a short-sighted political decision which became a major reason for the Malay voters rejecting BN in the 2008 General Election, without actually making any gains in the non-Malay support.

CORRUPTION AND NEPOTISM

48. The non-Malays were more obsessed with corruption and nepotism within the government. These two issues appear to them to be more important than other issues especially when they know that they have been enjoying the scholarships provided to them by the private sector which does not provide to the Malays. The Chinese know that they do not have any obstacle in getting their children educated though they are skeptical of the type of education that they get. 

49. The government scholarships concession was however a welcome bonus to them without them having to ask for it. But because of the image of corruption and nepotism they continued to vote against BN.

50. It is not the elderly Chinese who need to be explained that what appears to be an imbalance of allocation between Bumiputras and non-Bumiputras is actually an attempt to correct the overall imbalance of allocations of scholarships caused by the non-Bumiputra private sectors not providng scholarships to Bumiputras. It is the young Bumiputras who need to be educated on the subject; especially on the New Economic Policy and the necessity for the Affirmative Actions being undertaken to correct the potentially dangerous inter-racial imbalances.


ISLAM HADHARI

51. The fourth topic that interest me is the Islam Hadhari version of Islam. I had great hope for Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he first became the Prime Minister. Before becoming the Deputy Prime Minister, he came twice to my 'Toeti Juairiah Library' at No. 3, Lorong Batai Dalam, Damansara Heights, 50490 Kuala Lumpur. Although he knew me personally for a very long time he was accompanied by Kalimullah Hassan on both the visits. It was only to ensure that I did not object to any proposal that Tun Abdullah be chosen to be the Deputy Prime Minister.

52. He gave me the impression that Tun Mahathir, while not necessarily accepting my recommendations, is quite receptive to my objections. This was of course a false impression.

A BRIDGE NOT BUILT

53. When Tun Abdullah was falling out with Tun Dr. Mahathir I did meet him to discuss on how I could be the bridge between them. He did ask me whether I would be available for advice during odd hours, in the early morning, when he could not sleep. After agreeing to make myself available I was never contacted and was also unable to contact him any more. He must have been advised not to use me as a bridge.

54. Knowing that the Prime Minister is a busy man I appointed one of his secretary, who was supposed to be his advisor on the International Islamic University Malaysia, to be a board member or Majlis of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM). Reezal Merican was also the President of IIUM Alumni Association at that time. In order to reinforce the bridge between the Prime Minister's office and the IIUM I chose the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Dato' Dr. Mashitah to also be a member of the Majlis. She was a former lecturer of IIUM.

55. These two appointments did not help to bridge the gap in communication.

ESQ REJECTED

56. At one time I was approached by Reezal and Dr. Raihan (who recently contested for the post of Wanita UMNO Chief)  to introduce the ESQ method of preaching or 'Dakwah' at the IIUM. The Senate however rejected this methodology as Islam has it own method of disseminating the faith.

REJECTION BY 8 REPRESENTATIVES OF FROM OIC COUNTRIES 

57. A message was later conveyed to me that Tun Abdullah would like the IIUM to be the center for the dissemination of 'Islam Hadhari' to the world. Being a big decision to make I had to bring the matter to the Council or Majlis and to the Board of Governors. These two bodies had representatives from Bangladesh, Egypt, Libya, Malaysia (being the host country), Maldives, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and a representative of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). All representatives of the 7 member countries and the OIC representative rejected the idea of IIUM becoming the world center for the dissemination of Islam Hadhari.

58. The leaders of these Muslim nations were of the opinion that we already having enough problems in the Muslim world without having to add one more subject to argue about. Tun Abdullah informed me that as the West was against Muslim Fundamentalists we have to improve the image of Islam by introducing Islam Hadhari. He did mention that George W. Bush of the United States, Tony Blair of United Kingdom, Merkel of Germany and others looked favourably at Islam Hadhari which literally means Civilized Islam.

59. I am not aware of the authority of leaders of non-Muslim nations, particularly those who are messing up the affairs in Muslim countries, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of innocents, to decide the acceptability of Islam Hadhari while rejected the goodness in the fundamentals of Islam.

60. I cannot accept the idea that leaders of nations, barbaric to Muslims, to decide what type of branding which is good for Islam. Can one remain a Muslim but reject the fundamentals of Islam? Is it not the responsibility of Muslim to explain to those who are ignorant of the fundamentals of Islam of the goodness in them?

61. Even Tony Blair was unsure of his faith. Upon retirement from the premiership he changed from being a member of the Anglican Church to being a Catholic.

62.. The above stand was in contradiction to the view that we have always had. As Muslims it is imperative that we accept, as we know, that the fundamentals of Islam are correct. And therefore a Muslim fundamentalist is someone who adheres to these fundamentals and therefore should be a good man. Just as a man who knows the fundamentals of science is a good scientist, and a person who knows the fundamentals of mathematics is a good mathematician, a person who upholds the fundamentals of Islam is a good Muslim. He cannot therefore be a terrorist.

63. Except for those who benefits in many ways, such as getting employment, by promoting Islam Hadhari, it became an issue which was used in the succeeding General Election causing the disastrous Tsunamic effect.

64. At a meeting with the late Tan Sri Hamid Othman I was informed that he was responsible for the idea of Islam Hadhari. Tun Abdullah readily accepted the idea as it would make him a different person than his predecessor.

DEMOTION OF A MINISTER TO AN ORDINARY MP

65. Islam Hadhari was mentioned to the Minister overseeing Islamic Affairs TS Brig. Jend. (Rtd) Hamid Zainal Abidin by TS Abdul Hamid Othman. Sensing that it could become a sensitive issue during the coming election the Minister was cool towards the idea. TS Hamid then approached the Head of Kusza in Trengganu informing him that he would be a Minister if he is prepared to introduce Islam Hadhari as a national programme. Upon acceptance the Kusza head was invited to contest the the PRU 11.

66. It was from TS Brig. Jend. Hamid, at a wedding function in his house, that I discovered that he was not informed that the introduction of Islam Hadhari was a pre-condition to him continuing to be a Minister. Had he known that he was not going to be a Minister for this rejection he would not contest the up-coming election, as it would look awkward for him to contest but not being of help as Minister of Islamic Affairs. Being just a Member of Parliament was not the reason for his coming into politics.

BRIG. JEN. HAMID AND MAULANA ZAKIR NAIK
ON THE SAME STAGE

67. I am glad that on the recent beginning of the Hijrah calendar Tan Sri Big. Jend. Hamid Zainal Abidin was put on the same stage as the world renowned Islamic scholar Maulana Zakir Abdul Karim Naik to receive the Maal Hijrah award. Obviously, the current Minister responsible for Islamic Affairs, while playing down and out of Islam Hadhari have pun a seal on it by honouring the man who rejected the idea in the first place.

 68. Now that I have said on the 4 topics mentioned in the book which I have not read, I am ready to read the book entitled 'AWAKENING'. I will write again if my opinion changes after reading the book. Thank you.

Wallahua'lam.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

'all chinese against nepotism'

then how do you explain LKS's family and Karpal's family in DAP and Anwar's family in PKR?

Sanusi Junid said...

Thanks for your comment. I have qualified and thereby explain the statement.

Anonymous said...

Makaseh T'S
Sudah terang lagi bersuluh.
Mcm membaca buku sejarah Malaysia moden.

shahrimanjohann said...

very informative. Just like the Peremba boys of the 80s and 90s, we all now have the UK Boys managing the political landscape of the country. Imagine if we could expand this into a movie!