Turmoil in Pakistan is a breeding ground of evil.

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The news are spinning the bloody incident of Benazir Bhuto’s assassination like there will be no tomorrow. Images of gruesome bodies splattering around the blast area could give shivers to any people who are watching the news. Typical media coverage-straight to the heart of the action. Emotion is running wild. Benazir’s supporters are deeply in grief as if there is no light at the end of the road. A devastated day indeed for them.

Death will come unto any being. The immortal one would only be God (sorry Sam Harris, your atheistic nature still fail to challenge God’s fate when it comes to mortality of being ). Benazir Bhuto’s death is just another turn of Wheel of Fate that has been charted long before she was born. Let us not be too grieving on her death because at time like this, when emotions running wild and rationality seems elusive, the great evil lurks behind the scene.

Human being ( read: Pakistani) is capable to turn into a beast at any time like this. Thus it is very important for the whole nation to remain sane despite the suffering that most Pakistani felt under the ruling of Musharaff the Iron fist. Let all Muslim in Pakistan turn back to their source of hope which is none other than the Quran and Sunnah as what have been told ages ago by the beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

In time like this,evil can come in different shapes and forms; internally or externally preying the weak to be exploited unto path of destruction. What’s the benefit of killing your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters? We know Pakistan is a failed state. Nothing is good coming out from that Islamic Republic in thess few years time. Does assassinating Benazir will topple the true problem (read: Musharaf)? No it won’t. Then why this bloody incident could occur deep inside the heart of land where Islam is deeply rooted in the birth of this country?

I don’t have the answer for all of the questions that I’ve posted earlier. But one thing for sure, the ‘evil’ who love to see Pakistan in turmoil surely becoming excited at this moment. As expected riot is bursting out in most township in Pakistan. People are angry and already lost control of their emotion. Musharaf’s government will be scorched down if every Pakistani go out to the streets and start burning, smashing the public amenities like those are not theirs.

Is this a sort of revolution like what happen in East Germany before the fall Berlin Wall? There is no leadership, and there is no concrete planning. Every single opposition party has been curtailed from doing concrete problem solving action in restoring back the order and the government is still thinking they can rule the land without much problems.

I bet those Zionist is already smiling widely upon the spill over effect of the incident. Nothing makes them happier than observing the disintegration of Muslims in their own land. The real problem is not about the accusation of militants as the culprit behind this assassination, but the great problem lies in the heart of every Muslims in Pakistan. Unity is the key. They have to be united first as if they are in a great line of army and start finding viable solutions for this malaise. Violent in public is not the solution. It only cause destitute towards Pakistani Muslims and change will not be happening by burning down the rubber on the street.

Pakistan is in need of a solidarity among the oppositions and they must act fast before the masses lose control of themselves and set to become a ‘beast’ with full of rage. A leadership must be instilled upon this reformation or else the death of Benazir will remain to be only a death of a person, not as a pretext for a greater change. May God reward her as what she should be deserving under the justice that has prescribed by Him. Sanity come first before victory emerge.

Five lessons we can learn from the history of Malaysia, from Merdeka to the present day.

By rausyanfikir ( this article was written for an essay competition which I won consolation prize for it)

On 31 August 2007, Malaysia will celebrate her half-century birthday with prosperity and a colourful progressive society. Many would say history does not have a place in this cyber age, especially to the youth. Maybe this happened due to our fast pace changing world that requires us to look forward always rather than the past. Alas, I do not agree with that. George Santayana, a famous historian has a great saying about history, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.1 I believe in him and due to that, I position myself as a neo-age social activist to analyze five great lessons from history of Malaysia. The subjects are racial based politics, the highly-debatable New Economic Policy, freedom of youth activism, Islam and the role of other religions in promoting national unity and common goal as the hidden strength for Malaysians that need to be addressed as a reminder and catalyst in our journey to be a ‘Greater Malaysia’ in 2020.

I think one of the most sophisticated culturaltj pluralism nations in the world would be my own country, Malaysia. The diversity of our culture can be seen through the lenses of different races like Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indigenous people. The diversity is seen as a positive resource and not a difficulty or a barrier as Malaysia’s brand of multi- culturalism is based on an integrative model (Abdullah and Pedersen 2003). One lesson should be learnt by all Malaysians on this diversity would be racial based politics can go nowhere without cohesion and synergy between respective sides in giving the best for the citizen. For me, the most powerful period when we can observe clearly how unity can be achieved in total diversity was during the road to nationhood way back during pre-independent period even though some academicians referred that as ‘Bargain of 1957’ (Yap 2005). The spirit of nationhood was characterized by a sense of goodwill and racial tolerance and, despite the existence of racial and geographical polarization (Hock 1991). However, that was long time ago. The merry of independent had turned ugly when 13 May 1969 incident occurred. Despite the economic growth in the sixties, disparities in income and unemployment rate increased and the economic inequalities came to be perceived along ethnic lines (Yap 2005, Hock 1991). Communist influence was also another evident factor in this crisis, which continues from previous minor clashes along the years before (Rahman 1969). We, human being are usually crisis oriented and basically reactive towards it. People tend to react to any crisis when it threatens to upset or destroy the status quo and quite often, they only react after the process of destruction has already begun (Hock 1991). The crisis was sparked by extreme communal politics and they sure did not consider the terrible consequences out of it in the first place.

Personally, I see the “white man’s burden” quest solely relied on the greed for wealth. The theory of comparative advantage by Adam Smith4 could be seen in Malaya when most of the mining, and rubber industry were being outsourced to the best people who could do that which are the Chinese and Indian. Despite the wealth, the only return we could get were disparity and polarization between the multi-racial society in Malaysia, which served as the best recipe for conflict, violence and disaster (Kaur 2001). Whether we live in a single ethnic society or ‘melting pot’ like ours, one lesson we can learn from the past would be distribution of wealth with proper planning is very crucial to avoid national crisis. Thanks to our visionary leaders like Tun Abdul Razak, the aftermath of 1969 crisis had given birth to the New Economic Policy (NEP). NEP was formed to create the socio-economic conditions for improved ethnic relations by reducing poverty and “restructuring society” to eliminate the identification of race with economic function, especially through state intervention to accelerate the growth of Malay business and professional communities (Jomo 1989). So how does NEP fare today? Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi in recent UMNO assembly stated the failure of NEP was caused by poor attitude of the Malays (Berita Harian 2006). I could not deny there were still some successes being brought by the policy to our country notably the nationalization of our Oil and Gas industry that rise from the impetus of NEP. Starting with capital worth RM10 million given by the government, PETRONAS has become a multinational company spanning over 34 different countries around the world and is the leading source of income for the nation, spearheading industrialization and regional development (Hashim 2004). It proves NEP is not a total failure but in dire need for protection to avoid abuses in implementation to ensure that, the real priority is achieving, rather than undermining national unity (Jomo 1996).

My dad said, 1970’s-era students were more dynamic and patriotic thus many of the student leaders have become Ministers in the government. I agree with his statement. As a youth in the 21st century, I can see there are many loopholes for my generation to continue the legacy of producing national leaders at tertiary education level thanks to unilateralism meritocracy2 and the controversial University Act3 as the obstacles to produce vibrant leaders like Tun Dr Mahathir. The act was handed to ensure our student focus on their study rather than doing street demonstration, nonetheless the act is ‘killing’ our youth activism spirit, which my MTV generation clearly depicts today. I was so shocked to read the recent Malaysian Youth Index report in the newspaper about the state of Malaysian youth. They are passive, ignorant and selfish when it comes to national issue. We have seen before without the act, former student leaders of the past had turned out to be high-ranking government officers and our current Prime Minister was one of the quality products before the implementation of the act. Universiti Teknologi Mara Centre for Asean Studies fellow, Umminajah Salleh shared her view that, she was confident Malaysian youth would rise to the occasion if given the chance by those in authority. She said youth had the potential to lead and make a mark in civil society or even in the political scenario, if they were given the faith, the trust and the chance to show their prowess (News Strait Times 2006). I think it is better for the authority to abolish the University Act and draw a proper guideline that guarantees the lifeline of creativity, bravery and patriotism for Malaysian youth. From that experience, we should learn the importance to galvanize our youth to be more responsible towards our nation. It is still not too late to revive the driving force of the past for future glory of our country under the banner of Malaysian-mould democracy.

Islam is synonymous to Malaysians of the past and today. Tunku Abdul Rahman was the founder of the current Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), which now currently being presided by our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Dr Mahathir’s outspoken policy towards Western hegemony in Muslim world was enough to prove our role in Islamic issues at the International scene. Locally, Islam holds a special place in Malaysian constitution as stated in Article 3 (Federal Constitution 2006), and majority of the people are Muslims. One lesson we need to learn from here would be Islam and any other religions are very hard to be ignored by all Malaysians due to its role in promoting national unity of our people. When you talk about national unity, most of us would be relying upon external factors to deal with it such as equality in economic distribution, social justice and cohesiveness in politics. Rarely religion plays a leading role to promote the solution and understanding for Malaysian in our path to national unity. I am not surprise with the situation we are facing today because the mould of our political, economic and social point of view has never been emphasis greatly through religious scope. Be it in Islam, or any other religions. This is our weak point. In a forum entitled Racial Unity: Religion Plays an Important Role that was conducted by Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM), Professor Khoo Kay Kim single out that Malaysian need to be given a thorough explanation about religion. He commented that it was true many of non-Muslim do not really understand about Islam. This has caused some sort of uneasiness whenever issues regarding polygamy, apostasy, unclear status of Muslim converts to highly debatable kongsi raya issue being raised by the media. Clearly from all of the above controversies that have surrounded Islam, Malaysian need to buck up the understanding of religious matter in order to reinforce back one of the principle in Rukun Negara which is believed in God. Whether the issue is an Islamic one or related to other religions, all of us need to gear up ourselves based on our purely religious teaching to find the commonalities and resolving the conflicts that has been plaguing our society for long enough.

We have gone into torrid times as Malaysian in the past and we too, have achieved success by being a Malaysian. Whenever we enjoy our country’s success, we will always refer it to be everybody success. Rarely seen in the mass media where those successes were anointed to a particular race in Malaysia. Therefore, I consider this as another precious lesson, which came through solidarity in achieving common national goal, is our true strength to national unity. I think this lesson can be best viewed through our sports scene in Malaysia. I have never seen any team in Malaysia whether they are competing locally or internationally with only one race participating in it. When we see our squash darling, Nicole David whom also a daughter of an inter-racial marriage parents achieving sporting glory, we are proud that she is a Malaysian. It is her success as an individual but yet she tributes the success as a Malaysian’s one. To push my idea further, I would like to quote one of the most outspoken Opposition members, Lim Kit Siang in one of his speech in Penang during the 1997-98 financial crisis:

I believe that Malaysians regardless of race, religion or party differences can rise up to the challenge to unite and put the national interest above everything else if they are taken into the full confidence of the government about the full facts of the national economic crisis and the remedies necessary to overcome it (Siang 1999)

Rhetoric or not, at least he has shown his commitment to protect our nation from such disaster by collaborating with the government for the betterment of all Malaysians. I guess our motto ‘Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu’, which means ‘Unity is Strength’, really played its part in all of our success as a Malaysian.
We have come across five of many more lessons that we can learn from our rich history. None of them will be useful if we submerge ourselves with the past glory and sidelining the untold future. We have glorified our past leaders for their quality leadership but all of them were still representing our past. According to Saidina Ali5, one of the closest companions of Prophet Muhammad, “if you want to see the future leader of a nation, look upon their youth.” Also another great commentary by Vandana Shiva6, during her famous anti-globalization rally in Seattle:

The first globalization was colonialism and it lasted 50 years. The second globalization was so called development and it lasted 50 years. The third globalization was free trade and it only lasted 5 years and since Seattle, we are now into 4th globalization which is people’s globalization which theorized as ‘globalization from below’.

I could not agree more with them. It is my generation will be shaping the things to come. Human factor has never been so important than before. I am sure our Prime Minister will agree with Saidina Ali and Vandana Shiva statements and that it is why he really emphasis ‘Human Capital Development’ as the driving factor for our nation progress in 15 years time before the D-Day of 2020.

End notes

  1. This quotation has been repeated in almost every pages of form 5 history text book. It will be sad if the students were found to be ignorant about it.
  2. According to our meritocracy system, student who score more A’s will be eligible to entitle scholarship and securing a place to study any local universities. Let say the passing requirement is 7A’s. A fisherman’s son got 6A’s while a doctor’s daughter got 7A’s. Based on the system, the doctor’s daughter will get the reward even though the fisherman’s son is more deserving for it. It is not a fair system due the socio-economic factor of students in Malaysia are not the same.
  3. Popularly known as AUKU in its Bahasa acronym. Obstructing freedom of expression for the students to voice their concerns and opinions. Lambasted by Opposition parties as it curtails the activism spirit of the youth
  4. Adam Smith was considered as the father of free market by many and his comparative advantage theory is being used in today’s complex international trade system between nations.
  5. Alī ibn Abī ālib (599661) was an early Islamic leader and fourth Caliph. He is revered by Sunni Muslims as the last of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs and as a foremost religious authority on the Qur’an and Islamic jurisprudence. Shi’a Muslims consider him the First Imam appointed by the Prophet Muhammad and the first rightful caliph. Ali was the cousin of Muhammad, and after marriage to Fatima Zahra, he also became Muhammad’s son-in-law.
  6. Vandana Shiva is a physicist, ecofeminist, environmental activist and author. Shiva, currently based in New Delhi, is author of over 300 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. One of the serious opponents to globalization.


Bibliography

Abdullah,Asmah and Paul B.Pedersen. 2003. Understanding Multicultural Malaysia:Delights,Puzzles & Irritations. Petaling Jaya: Prentice Hall.

Federal Constitution compiled by Legal Research Board. 2006. Petaling Jaya: International Law Book Services.

Hashim,Ismail. 2004. The Young Turks of PETRONAS. Self-published title.

Hock, Oo Yu. 1991. Ethnic Chameleon: Multiracial Politics in Malaysia. Petaling Jaya: Pelanduk Publications

Jomo K.S. 1989. Beyond 1990:Considerations for a New National Development Strategy, Kuala Lumpur: Institue for Advanced Studies, University of Malaya.

________. 1996.Deepening Malaysian Dmeocracy with more checks and balances. Said, Muhammad Ikmal and Emby, Zahid (Eds). Malaysia critical perspectives: Essay in honour of Syed Husin Ali. Petaling Jaya: Persatuan Sains Sosial Malaysia.

Kaur,Hardev. 2001. Malaysia as a Moderate Muslim Nation in the New World Order. Richter, Frank-Jurgen and ThangD.Nguyen (Eds).The Malaysian Journey:Progress in Diversity.Singapore:Times Edititons.

Rahman, Tunku Abdul.1969. May 13 before and after. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Melayu Press Limited.

Siang, Lim Kit. 1999. Economic and Financial Crisis. Petaling Jaya: Democratic Action Party Economic Committee.

Yap,O.Fiona, Citizen Power, Politics, and the “Asian Miracle” reassessing the dyamics. Boulder: Lnne Rienner Publishers,Inc.

Internet source

Laporan Persidangan Agung UMNO 2006. http://www.bharian.com.my/Misc/Umno55/artikel/laporan2005/20050722121421/Article

Chok Suat Ling. Opinion: Give youth chance to make mark in society. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/nst/Monday