Monday, May 23, 2011

Apa lagi yang tinggal jika bukan 1Malaysia?

Kadangkala hati ini bimbang setiap pagi sebelum melihat (belum lagi membaca) muka depan surat khabar.

Mengapa bimbang? Kerana pasti sebahagian besar berita yang dipaparkan mungkin merunsingkan pemikiran dan memerosotkan hati, yang tanpa disogok berita-berita sedih dan perit dah pun berasa terhimpit. Stress.

Stress kerana tekanan akibat tanggung-jawab untuk menyara keluarga dengan pendapatan yang tak seberapa di bandar raya mencabar seperti Kuala Lumpur ini.

Ini belum lagi membaca pergolakan politik yang memeningkan. Kadangkala rasa macam tak mahu saja membaca surat khabar. Bagaimana pun, ada kaedahnya jika kita tidak mengikut perkembangan semasa?

Kontroversi berikutan isu yang dibangkitkan Utusan Malaysia di bawah tajuk “Kristian Agama Rasmi” mengejutkan ramai. Bukan hanya orang Melayu/Islam, tetapi juga bukan Melayu.

Polemik yang menyusul mencorakkan satu lagi tahap rendah dalam kehidupan di Malaysia. Sudahlah kita begitu perit mengharungi kehidupan mencabar dengan iklim ekonomi dunia yang tidak mengecualikan kita di Malaysia daripada tempias dan akibatnya.

Berhubung kontroversi itu terpanggil kita untuk bertanyakan sejauh mana setakat ini keberkesanan agenda 1Malaysia? Hakikatnya, apa yang dibawa slogan tersebut memang sesuatu yang amat baik – jika dipraktikkan semua.

Tetapi melihat apa yang berlaku berikutan kegemparan isu Kristian itu, terpanggil kita bertanyakan sejauh mana 1Malaysia digarapkan.

Jika sesuatu seperti cetusan isu tersebut berlaku, apa yang patut dilakukan?

Orang kata kalau tiada angin takkan pokok bergoyang? Dalam konteks ini tak masuk akal bagi Utusan sengaja menimbulkan isu gempar tersebut.

Apa yang dilakukan akhbar tersebut sekadar melaporkan apa yang ditulis oleh dua orang blogger sebelum itu, yang masing-masing berasa bertanggung-jawab untuk mempersoalkan sejauh mana kebenaran aduan berkenaan.

Sangat tidak adil jika hanya dipersalahkan pihak editorial Utusan Malaysia, kerana jika dilihat sebelum ini akhbar vernakular lain lebih dahsyat menggembar-gemburkan isu-isu lebih sensitif yang sering menaikkan kemarahan orang Melayu.

Tak payahlah kita mengupas lebih lanjut tentang apa yang dilakukan kedua-dua belah pihak, kerana hakikatnya dalam semangat 1Malaysia tiada satu, dua, atau tiga pihak dalam hal sebegini.

Apa yang perlu ialah kebertanggungjawaban setiap orang.

Dalam konteks tanggung-jawab rasanya hampir seluruh rakyat Malaysia yang waras tidak mahu perkara seperti ini berlaku.

Tetapi ia berlaku juga kerana bukan semua orang serupa.

Bagaimana pun, perkara-perkara menjurus ke arah cubaan mencuit sensitiviti kaum di Malaysia amat perlu dilihat daripada perspektif situasi politik semasa.

Mahukan tidak elemen-elemen dalam sayap kanan Melayu melenting jika terasa dicabar sebegitu? Janganlah dibangkitkan atau dipersoalkan ke mana perginya suara-suara moderat.

Dalam Islam, seperti juga dalam agama lain, mana ada moderat? Yang ada hanya pegangan kepada apa yang ditetapkan sebagai tiang agama.

Justeru dalam situasi runcing dan tidak menentu ini, tindakan Melayu hanya sekadar mempertahankan kedudukan selari dengan apa yang diperturunkan pada perlembagaan. Dengan berbuat demikian mereka begitu mudah dilabelkan sebagai melampau dan mencuit landasan sensitiviti.

Apabila ini berlaku ramai yang berkata agenda 1Malaysia yang diilhamkan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak tidak berjaya.

Selepas pilihan raya negeri Sarawak baru-baru ini semakin memuncak kepercayaan bahawa Barisan Nasional, terutama UMNO payah untuk menebus kembali keyakinan daripada bukan Melayu, terutama orang Cina.

Oleh demikian, strategi alternatif bagai ialah dengan menumpu sebahagian besar perhatian kepada orang Melayu.

Langkah ini tentu sekali meletakkan usaha di bawah slogan 1Malaysia sebagai hanya satu impian selagi hati dan minda sesetengah pihak tidak berubah.

Suara-suara lantang dari dalam UMNO terus berkata mengapa beria-ia menarik kaum lain, terutama Cina menyokong BN setelah amat terbukti apa yang tersirat di hati mereka?

Tetapi saranan sebegitu hanyalah satu cetusan kekecewaan segelintir pejuang dalam UMNO dan elemen-elemen ‘fifth columnist’ yang sengaja mengeruhkan keadaan.

Hakikatnya di luar sana bukan hanya orang Cina yang menolak BN, tetapi tidak kurang ramai juga orang Melayu yang lebih condong ke arah lain. Ia membuktikan dengan lebih ketara bahawa Melayu kini telah berpecah.

Dianggarkan sekurang-kurangnya 30 peratus orang Melayu masa kini komited kepada PAS. Mereka tidak akan memilih UMNO.

Itulah hakikatnya.

Jika dulu realiti memaksa UMNO cuba menarik undi daripada bukan Melayu bagi menguasai Dewan Rakyat, kini peranan itu telah diambil alih oleh PAS yang dilihat sebagai lebih terpanggil untuk berdamai. PAS lebih bersifat inklusif berbanding UMNO.

Dalam pada itu, tekanan dan pendirian pejuang Melayu bermakna apa yang digarapkan BN di bawah panji-panji 1Malaysia seolah-olah sia-sia belaka.

Kemerosotan pemahaman dan kerjasama yang merentasi perbezaan kaum dan agama kini menjadi duri dalam daging bagi BN.

Kalau dah macam ini bagaimana BN hendak mendapatkan sokongan daripada minoriti lain?

Jika inilah pendirian orang Cina seperti yang dibuktikan di Sarawak, hanya masa akan menentukan pendirian orang India dan kaum-kaum lain di Sabah dan Sarawak

Dan dengan pendirian lebih terbuka PAS bukan Melayu lebih berminat untuk menyokong parti itu sebagai parti Melayu alternatif.

Mereka lebih melihat kepada potensi untuk PAS menyerlah.

Jika dilihat dari dalam konteks isu-isu yang mencetuskan kelantangan pejuang Melayu sejak kebelakangan ini kita dapat bayangkan apa yang menunggu BN di penghujung jalan kelak.

Segala ketidaktentuan yang berlaku akan menghakis keyakinan pelabur luar, mengalirkan tenaga manusia mahir ke luar dan mencetuskan pelarian modal (capital flight).

Tak payah dipersoalkan strategi bukan Melayu dan pembangkang untuk menang, tetapi UMNO sebagai tonggak perjuangan Melayu yang asal perlu bermuhasabah dan mencari kaedah untuk menenteramkan keadaan.

Yang lain tu tak lagi boleh diharap.

Antara caranya mencari kumpulan-kumpulan berpengaruh dan lebih tenang dan waras untuk berusaha menebus kembali kepercayaan.

Memang lebih ramai yang berfikiran waras berbanding elemen-elemen perungus dan mudah melenting dalam semua kaum. Mereka inilah harapan 1Malaysia. Gunakanlah mereka sebagai platform untuk mempengaruhi yang lain-lain.

Utusan Malaysia dan mereka yang begitu marah dengan isu terbaru ini tidak perlu dipersalahkan. Mereka perlu ditenteramkan dengan cara mengambil pendekatan yang tidak berbentuk sensitif dan konfrontasi.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Of PSD Scholarships, Reality and Little Napoleons

In the past, caveats such as ‘sebarang pertanyaan dan aduan tidak akan dilayan,’ which would, invariably, be part of the ‘syarat-syarat’ or terms and conditions of certain awards were the norm.

What it meant were queries or questions pertaining to unsuccessful applicants would be not be entertained. The terms and conditions would also be capped with ‘decisions made are final.’

Well, these days such clauses may still be used in competitions such as those often organised by product manufacturers as gimmick to market their products. However, despite the inevitable exclusion and liability clauses aimed at reducing or eliminating the potential for direct, consequential, special, incidental and indirect damages should there be a breach of contract, there’s no stopping disgruntled consumer from digging into the reasons for their failure to win or be awarded something.

And so, it was upon this premise that MCA Youth Chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong recently questioned why some of the 363 full A+ students who should have received overseas scholarships did not get them while others were given matriculation or diploma scholarships when they ought to be given scholarships for degree courses of their choice.

To this, the Public Service Department (PSD) had quickly come up with the rationale that scholarships are only awarded to Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) high achievers based on the country’s human resources needs.

PSD director-general Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Abdullah called upon students and parents to understand that PSD scholarships were only awarded to those qualified, and those who would later serve the government in the required areas.

Of course, that on the face goes without saying. Clinching a PSD scholarship without merit or fulfilling the criteria is a no-no. But what happens in the hallowed hallways of the department could be something else.

Being fallible humans, the powers that be starting from the selection panel and to the awarding gateway that executes the decisions are something else.

Now, those are just criteria – the conditions for the award. If fallibility here would mean not free of mistakes, that would surely be understandable, but if it touches the dominion of integrity and honesty, that is a different matter. Something that is, indeed, serious.

The problems with the little napoleons cut across the board, whether in the civil service or the private sector. It is more than a question of human fallibility. It is one of trust and conscience.

The decision had been made by the government that all SPM 8A+ students would get PSD scholarships. It was a sweeping statement that verily needed much common sense from the PSD as well as from the students and parents.

Ask ourselves, how many 8A+ students are there each year, and how much can the government afford? On top of that, ‘afford’ from the perspective of the government is all about funding and reaping the rewards at the end of the day when the students graduate in the fields chosen and serve the government.

Fair deal that. However, back to the question of fallibility and integrity. What if the officers in charge of the awards were to deliberately ignore applications and chose those whom they deem as should be awarded the scholarships, such as the children of friends, kinsmen and even politicians?

Difficult it may be to investigate this, but we must for the sake of integrity and to pacify the restless.

The act of doing such things is tantamount to corruption – corruption of the very system that badly needs a high infusion of integrity. And, talking of integrity I will not be surprised to see a framed copy of the departmental charter that would, invariably undertake to provide a fair and professional service to the people.

Ah, this would be nothing more than a piece of paper to show how they have a grasp of what it entails in spirit, but the reality on the ground is another matter.

To many in the civil service or the private sector, corruption only means the taking of money in return for services that would circumvent the procedures. Bribing with money is at the top of the food chain for those who observe such obnoxious practices. They fail to see or realise that corruption is also about turning a blind eye to those we are entrusted to listen or assist. Corruption is also about the omission of a public duty. Corruption is the lackadaisical way in doing what we are entrusted to do as custodians of the public trust. Corruption is about forgetting who we are as civil servants.

And so, despite the explanation given by the PSD director-general about the department’s role in human resource for the country, he nevertheless, still told students who were unhappy with the type of scholarships they received to contact the department – for an explanation. That is clearly not necessary. It only sounds like an opportunity to tell-off those unsatisfied one to one.

Dr Wee said some of the 363 full A+ students who should have received overseas scholarships did not get them, while others were awarded matriculation or diploma scholarships when THEY needed or DESERVED scholarships for degree courses of THEIR choice.

What gives? It surely looks like Dr Wee was only playing to the gallery or adopting a populist stance on this matter.

Perhaps, he is half right in doing so, as much as the PSD director-general who expounded what PSD scholarships were all about.

By not addressing the high possibility of little napoleons bending the rules at its end to the detriment of very qualified students who would have no qualms to be of service to the government and country upon graduation, the good director-general has clearly failed to pacify the situation – as of now.

And as for Dr Wee and MCA Youth, we would implore upon him not to pander to skewed emotions over the matter and quit his populist stance. It is a problem that can be solved eventually by all in the spirit of 1Malaysia.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Curse of Wealth and Arrogance

Arrogance is unacceptable, no matter by whom.

It is,invariably, frowned upon by any individual, race , culture or countries.

To say the Malays are arrogant and to wrongly translate the term Ketuanan Melayu is a big mistake.

There will always be the arrogant lot irrespective of race. Arrogance is despised by all. Arrogance is destructive. Each and every race in our society has its share of arrogant individuals.

From normal observation, it is reasonable to say that it is the rich, the powerful and the 'clever' ones who become arrogant.

It is about greed and the lack of self worth, which prompts rich people to use their money to 'demand' respect.

One is never beholden to wealth and arrogance; the reality is whatever wealth one acquires is, essentially, God's test invoked upon us to see how we can handle our self worth in this world of mortals.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Menggarap Agenda Liberal Di Sebalik Alasan Kebebasan Rakyat


Apa dengan campur tangan negara-negara barat di Libya dan sebelum itu, di Tunisia, Mesir dan lain-lain negara Afrika utara dan Timur Tengah?

Pada yang sudah lama menyedari apa yang sebenarnya tersirat di sebalik segala desakan dan kecaman ke atas negara-negara Islam di Timur Tengah yang digambarkan sebagai pincang dan menidakkan hak asasi manusia, pendirian mereka amat jelas. Mereka sebulat hati menolak campur tangan barat melalui sama ada Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu atau NATO.

Pada yang lebih berfikiran terbuka dan tidak taksub, apa yang berlaku di negara-negara tersebut memang patut pun. Ini kerana hukum alam tidak akan mengecualikan mana-mana pihak dari detik penentuan.

Segala kerakusan ekoran kegilaan kuasa dan cengkaman terhadap rakyat yang merempat sejak sekian lama pasti berakhir apabila mereka berhadapan dengan tembok penghalang di penghujung jalan. Bila tiba ke tahap ini, seluruh rakyat yang sudah sekian lama terhimpit dan menderita seolah-olah diperkasakan oleh rasa serik dan kemarahan yang tidak lagi terbendung.

Mereka bertindak balas dengan apa cara sekali pun. Dan apabila tiba di saat inilah maka elemen-elemen dari luar mengambil kesempatan untuk mencurahkan minyak ke api yang sedang membara.

Inilah peluang bagi Amerika, rejim Zionis dan konco-konconya dalam NATO masuk daun untuk memperhebatkan asakan. Segala-galanya sudah tersedia. Yang diperlukan hanya kudrat dan usaha untuk menyemarakkan kemarahan rakyat terhadap pemerintah.

Dalam hal ini ada pihak yang berasa terpanggil untuk menyarankan supaya pencerobohan pihak bersekutu di Libya dibawa ke Mahkamah Antarabangsa.

Mereka berpendapat bukan saja jenayah kerakusan Muammar Gaddafi yang perlu dibicarakan, tetapi juga pencerobohan oleh negara-negara barat di negara itu.

Jika disorot pergolakan yang dialami banyak negara di dunia, angin perubahan sudah lama berhembus hingga menggerakkan negara-negara yang terbabit mengambil langkah proaktif dan positif untuk berubah.

Nafas kebebasan menghembus di mana-mana saja dan disebabkan itu kita menyaksikan sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini perubahan yang amat menggalakkan sedang berlaku di serata dunia.

Keputusan pilihan raya di Singapura yang masih mengembalikan parti PAP ke persada kuasa pemerintahan telah menukar landskap persepsi rakyat. Mereka mahukan perubahan, dan perubahan sudah mula berlaku dengan anjakan sihat melalui kemenangan parti WP (Workers Party).

Ke arah menggarap apa yang disebut sebagai ‘participatory democracy’ banyak negara semakin rancak dan agresif melancarkan kempen anti-rasuah dan program pemupukan tahap integriti dalam kerajaan. Parti-parti pemerintah yang terlalu taksub dan terlalu lama dihanyut kuasa tidak terbendung, mula terasa terpanggil untuk berubah, atau jika ingkar, menerima padah.

Segala perubahan ini bukannya baru mula berlaku. Ia dapat dilihat sejak robohnya tembok Berlin pada tahun 80an dan runtuhnya sistem pemerintahan komunis Soviet Union. Perubahan juga digerakkan dengan pantas oleh kerajaan Komunis Republik Rakyat China selepas peristiwa berdarah Tiananmen.

Dalam konteks kedua-dua negara, perubahan muncul sebagai parang dua mata yang tajam, memotong di sebelah atas dan di sebelah bawah. Penghapusan sistem Komunisme di Rusia menimbulkan masalah sosial dan politik lain. Di China, kebebasan ekonomi dan perniagaan mencorakkan masyarakat yang menyaksikan jurang perbezaan ketara di antara yang kaya dan yang miskin. Kini jurang perbezaan itu hanya menunggu saat untuk terungkai, justeru mengulangi sejarah silam apabila rakyat yang miskin dan terhimpit bangun untuk memberontak.

Di sini kita dapat melihat tidak ada mana-mana sistem pemerintahan yang kekal bersih dan mampu bertahan jika hak asasi dan kebajikan rakyat dipandang remeh.

Dan seperti parang bermata dua, kebebasan dan liberalisme juga tidak akan mampu mengubati segala keresahan dan masalah rakyat. Ia sekadar bantuan awal yang lambat laun akan hilang maya dan mengembalikan pelbagai kepincangan.

Oleh itu, selagi kerajaan-kerajaan di dunia tidak bermuhasabah dan menyedari betapa dunia telah berubah, selagi itulah mereka akan mendapati negara masing-masing terdedah kepada pelbagai penggugatan daripada kuasa luar.

Tidak guna kita mengecam imperialisme barat, Zionisme atau apa saja bentuk ‘adventurisme’ yang menghasut dan mengancam kestabilan. Penyelesaiannya ada dalam diri, ia itu melangkah mengikut rentak perubahan semasa.

Ini sedang dilakukan oleh kerajaan di Malaysia di bawah pimpinan Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, tetapi walaupun menyedari bahawa perubahan tidak akan boleh berlaku dalam sekelip mata, pembangkang yang di dokong kuasa-kuasa luar terus bertindak, tanpa menyedari agenda sebenar mereka untuk menguasai negara ini.

Anwar in a fix: "A Case of the Tail Dogging the Wag'


In our minds the memory of the the alleged injection of the AIDS virus and arsenic into the body of Anwar Ibrahim while in prison still hold fresh.

The crafty character that he is, is now replaying the same script in the wake of a lengthy and exhaustive court deliberations over the sodomy II charge.

Anwar has directed his personal chauffeur to lodge a police report at 3.30 pm today at Balai Polis Tropicana over what he claimed as a plot to harm him.

He said efforts are underway to do him in by staging an accident. Earlier, he had claimed that his car was vandalised.

Such shallow efforts to divert attention from the real issue (or is it a dilemma that he is facing?), when he is obviously at wits end to answer the prosecution's offensive in court.

We will know of the court's decision on May 16.

Friday, May 6, 2011

1Malaysia Email - So Blinded By Hate...


Much to the chagrin of the trigger happy detractors, the explanation given by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Idris Jala on the 1Malaysia email initiative, indeed, holds much water.

Of course, if one were to chose to keep the mind closed over the matter, it will forever remain as something not good or even worse as something tantamount to a strategy to big brother the masses.

So, would it not be sensible to keep out all the spite and read through the exhaustive rationale laid out by Idris?

The two-page long explanation which needed the government to take out a two-page pull out of sorts in today’s papers should be read by all.

Much of what was laid out make a lot of sense, although it is by no means perfect or fault-free.

From my point of view, what irks me most is the contention by Idris when equating the issue of privacy in this matter to the current norm of individual operators OWNING all individual and personal information.

By saying that they own all the information, it will, invariably, point to the willingness of the operators to eventually use the database in which such information is contained for profit, i.e. the database selling business, which incidentally is big business.

So, would it come as a surprise to know that what worries the rakyat here is the possibility of flagrant abuse of our personal information?

Abuse here may not be restricted to the act of extending all the information to third parties for profit, despite the rule of the game promising that such things are taboo and frowned upon.

Promises of integrity on the part of the telecommunication operators and banks are now being taken with a grain of salt, as what is happening daily is the exact opposite.

Whenever a rights-conscious member of the public dared to stand up and speak out, the PR spin masters of the telcos and banks would with bravado announce that such an act was against company policy and privacy laws.

After having said that, it is all back to business. The public will still receive unsolicited commercial invites through their emails and mobile phones, until much later when another upstanding rakyat comes forth to complain.

It is from this premise that more worries are triggered, causing rise to phobias and to the NIMBY stance.

And so, conspiracy theories over things such as the monitoring of our votes and other modes of big brotherism will be bandied.

Listen to the people it must, and in this context the Government should step back and resolve this all-important issue of personal and private information being irresponsibly channelled to third parties.

Why is this so important? To the rakyat it is all too obvious, but on the part of the Government it is could be the all important lynchpin to an even higher level of Government integrity that lies at the heart of the noble 1Malaysia slogan.

The Government, i.e. The Prime Minister and the good Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of PEMUDAH and the 1Malaysia Email ETP project must not be discouraged.

There are more people who believe in the sanctity of the initiative than those who have nothing but brickbats for it. Do not back down. You have thus far shown how sincere you are in pushing forward the 1Malaysia ‘concept’ and Malaysians have opened their hearts to it, even those in the other side of the political divide.

If you know the meaning of truth and what it entails you will have no qualms about accepting a person’s word for it.