Listen to Perkasa : Dr. M


PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has advised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak not to ignore Malay rights movement Perkasa as it has become a force to be reckoned with.

The former prime minister said Najib should listen to views expressed by Perkasa, which is a mouthpiece of the Malay community.

“Listen to their views, whether it is sane or insane. Failure to listen will result in lost votes as the Malays are his core constituents.

“The Government is listening to the grouses of other communities and it should also listen to the grouses of the Malays,’’ he said when opening Perkasa’s first AGM at Putra World Trade Centre yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said the recent sprouting of Malay-based NGOs like Perkasa that expressed views on political issues affecting the community reflected erosion of confidence in Umno.
Sound advice: Dr Mahathir making his point clear during Perkasa’s inaugural assembly in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. — AP

“For 50 years we did not see the existence of such NGOs because Umno had always championed Malay issues,’’ he said, stressing that the New Economic Policy had never hindered development.

Dr Mahathir also revealed that certain quarters had advised him against attending the Perkasa event, claiming that it would tarnish his name and reputation. “Perkasa is not an extremist or a violent group; its objective is to defend and protect the rights of the Malays.”

Noting that Malaysia did not record significant growth over the last six years at a time when racial bickering took centre stage, Dr Mahathir said sensitive religious and racial issues should be discussed behind closed doors for the sake of stability.

He also chided detractors who made unfounded claims that Malays had grabbed everything from scholarships to government projects.

On Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin’s revelation in Parliament that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had conspired to topple Najib by linking him to the murder of Altantunya Shaaribuu, the former premier said he was not surprised. “Even when he was serving as my deputy, he conspired to topple me.

“He is nice in front of me, but behind my back, he was plotting my downfall with someone from Negri Sembilan,’’ he revealed.

Dr Mahathir said Anwar would cry conspiracy when he was caught in a position where he could not explain himself.

Earlier, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali took a swipe at DAP for propagating its Malaysian Malaysia agenda.

Without naming PAS, Ibrahim also hit out at “a certain Islamist party for selling out religion” for selfish gains.

He also chided Anwar for getting foreigners to condemn Malaysia over his sodomy trial.

Ibrahim expressed full support for Najib, stressing that Perkasa was not a political party and that it wished to see Umno return to its original struggle to defend the Malays.

Perkasa presented the inaugural Bintang Perkasa award to Dr Mahathir, whom it described as the nation’s greatest statesman.

Najib urged to safeguard Malay rights


KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak has proved in his one year at the helm of the country that he is a leader with ideas.

This was the accolade given to Najib by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country's longest-serving prime minister.

"He is a better leader," Dr Mahathir said when asked for his opinion on Najib's performance over the last one year.

"I feel he has some good ideas," he said after opening the inaugural annual general meeting of Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) here yesterday.

Earlier in his speech, Dr Mahathir said he hoped Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, could win back the confidence of the Malays in Umno and the BN-led government.

"I hope that just as he is now listening to the grouses brought up by the various races in the country, he will not forget to listen to the grievances of the Malays.

"He should also ensure that the rights of the needy are not taken away and given to those who are well to do."

Mahathir to Open Inaugural Perkasa Assembly


By Zainal Epi
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad will officiate at Perkasa’s inaugural assembly on March 27, replacing Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sarafuddin Idris Shah.

Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali said Mahathir will be given a warrior’s welcome in line with the spirit of protecting Malay rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

“It will be a grand opening for Perkasa as this is its first assembly,” the Independent Pasir Mas MP said.

Sultan Salahuddin had said in a statement that he withdrew from officiating at the assembly to avoid any misinterpretations.

The sultan said Ibrahim should not be blamed for issuing the invitation card as he had indeed agreed to come but changed his mind later.

Perkasa will also hold its first election of office-bearers as well as chart its future course in championing the rights of the Malays.

Some 10,000 members and observers, coming from all over the country including Sabah and Sarawak, are expected to turn up at Putra World Trade Centre for the event.

Election for office-bearers is expected to be a tame affair as many members had said they would leave it to Ibrahim to pick his choice.

Posts open for election are president, deputy president, five vice-presidents, including one each from Sabah and Sarawak, and 15 central committee members.

Under Perkasa’s constitution, the president is given the right to appoint seven to the central committee, a secretary-general, a treasurer and an information chief.

So far, no nominations were received as the members felt that it was best to endorse the present protem committee for a two-year term.

Perkasa was formed in the wake of Barisan Nasional's dismal performance in the March 2008 general election and following Umno’s decision to champion the cause of Malaysians and not only Malays.

In Perkasa, regarded as a right-wing group, the disgruntled Malays have found a platform to continue their fight for their cause.

Marina Mahathir's banned article

The Marina Mahathir's article which The Star refused to publish!
Marina Mahathir wrote an exceptional article for her regular column in
the Star but alas, the newspaper refused to publish it.

Fortunately for us, The Malaysian Insider has published it as: The
column that wasn’t, obviously a jab at The Star for denying the
publishing of Marina's latest article in her Star column.

I won’t say much about it here so you need to read it yourself.
However I venture to post here some selected extracts of her writing:

… most people are ignorant about their religion and tend to leave
these matters to those they believe know best. Thus if the State Mufti
or religious adviser says it’s a good law, they are unlikely to
challenge him. Thus are religious laws passed unscrutinised.

Until, that is, something happens, such as when someone gets convicted
of a syariah crime and punishment is meted out. Who knew that people
could get caned for drinking, or for having a baby out of wedlock
until the recent cases of Kartika and the three women?

Not only are these laws not debated when they are being made, they
can’t be debated afterwards either, unlike civil laws. To do so,
according to some people, is akin to arguing with God …

If one believes that syariah laws are superior to civil laws, should
they not be held to higher standards? Should they not be subjected to
more rigorous debate than civil laws out of fear that they may be
unjust? If syariah courts are deemed superior to civil courts, should
not their processes be more transparent and efficient? How is it that
there are innumerable women having to undergo tremendous suffering
because syariah court orders to their divorced husbands to pay child
maintenance cannot be enforced?

How is it also that we suddenly hear about women being caned without
any information about the processes they went through? Did they have
the benefit of legal representation and heard in an open court? If
they did, who were their lawyers and what defence did they mount?

Surely the best court of law is one that strives for justice, which
shows it is fair to all parties. In this case, on whose behalf was
justice served?

I have no problems with syariah laws if their foundation is justice,
equality and non-discrimination for all, even non-Muslims. But when
their intent, processes and enforcement are unfair, they only give the
impression that Islam is unjust and discriminatory. Surely to give
such an image of Islam is a sin.

As I mentioned, I won’t comment on the questions she poses. I merely
want to put the above extracts in juxtaposition with another article
(below), also by The Malaysian Insider titled: Government woos
conservative base with canings - extracts follow:

The caning of three women under Islamic law is the latest move by the
government to woo conservative Muslims, a risky tactic that could
cause a backlash by ethnic minorities and damage economic reforms.

The first ever canings of women in traditionally moderate Malaysia
were carried out in February after syariah court sentencing for
adultery. Another woman faces caning for drinking beer.

The canings came hot on the heels of a row over the use of the word
‘Allah’ by Malay-speaking Christians that triggered attacks on
churches and mosques and ahead of another court case this week over
Christians’ right to use the word.

PAS officials say Umno’s approach on the canings was a political ploy
to win over the 15 per cent of Malays who remain undecided as well as
to split PAS from its ethnic Chinese allies.

“The caning issue is just political bait,” said Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad, a
senior PAS official.

In closing, I beg Marina Mahathir’s permission to quote once again her
final sentence in her article, namely: Surely to give such an image of
Islam is a sin.

The article:
MARCH 3 – When we want to compete with anyone in any field, we seek those who are better than us. And we keep going until finally we are recognised as the best.

For example, a tennis player starts at the unranked bottom and tries to play and win against better players until, finally, there is nobody to beat.

We do not, however, insist that everybody comes down to our level or to play badly in order for us to win.

This is what puzzles me about the syariah courts in our country. In 1988, a clause was inserted into our Constitution that has been interpreted as having erected a “Berlin Wall” between the syariah and the civil courts.

Basically, Article 121(1A) said “the courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts.” This has caused untold problems because real life sometimes dictates that some issues cross over both jurisdictions. But leave that aside for a moment.

Although the new clause did not say that the two separate courts were equal to one another, there are some people who are of the view that the syariah court is superior to the civil courts simply because syariah law is deemed of a higher order than civil laws.

This is because apparently God made syariah laws while mere human beings made the civil laws. Never mind the fact that human beings have been changing syariah laws over the years, for instance, by loosening laws that protected women from losing all their property to their divorced husbands.

Like other laws in this country, syariah laws have to be drafted, tabled and passed through our various lawmaking bodies, whether at the State or Federal levels. This process leaves a lot of human fingerprints all over them.

Civil laws are drafted, tabled and passed through Parliament. The difference is that at the tabling stage, they have to be debated before they are passed. The quality of the debate may be sometimes wanting but debated they are. This process provides some sort of ‘quality control’ over the laws so that they are hopefully current, reflect realities and are just.

The same does not hold true of syariah laws. When they get tabled at State Excos, non-Muslims do not participate because there is the notion that they cannot partake in any such debate.

That leaves only the Muslim Excos, few of whom are women. This means that if a bill affects women, the opinions of the female minority in the Exco can be ignored.

Furthermore, most people are ignorant about their religion and tend to leave these matters to those they believe know best. Thus if the State Mufti or religious adviser says it’s a good law, they are unlikely to challenge him. Thus are religious laws passed unscrutinised.

Until, that is, something happens, such as when someone gets convicted of a syariah crime and punishment is meted out. Who knew that people could get caned for drinking, or for having a baby out of wedlock until the recent cases of Kartika and the three women?

Not only are these laws not debated when they are being made, they can’t be debated afterwards either, unlike civil laws. To do so, according to some people, is akin to arguing with God. (There are, however, some who think that God welcomes such arguments just so that He can prove He is right).

If one believes that syariah laws are superior to civil laws, should they not be held to higher standards? Should they not be subjected to more rigorous debate than civil laws out of fear that they may be unjust? If syariah courts are deemed superior to civil courts, should not their processes be more transparent and efficient? How is it that there are innumerable women having to undergo tremendous suffering because syariah court orders to their divorced husbands to pay child maintenance cannot be enforced?

How is it also that we suddenly hear about women being caned without any information about the processes they went through? Did they have the benefit of legal representation and heard in an open court? If they did, who were their lawyers and what defence did they mount?

Surely the best court of law is one that strives for justice, which shows it is fair to all parties. In this case, on whose behalf was justice served?

I have no problems with syariah laws if their foundation is justice, equality and non-discrimination for all, even non-Muslims. But when their intent, processes and enforcement are unfair, they only give the impression that Islam is unjust and discriminatory. Surely to give such an image of Islam is a sin.