Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hafidz Baharom: In defense of Nik Aziz


Hafidz Baharom is a 26 year old corporate communication executive with a Malaysian GLC. He is also a regular columnist in The Malaysian Insider and also the Nut Graph, two of the more well known online news portal in this country. His blog articles also appear in The Star Online's Citizens Blog which can be accessed here.

This article first appeared in Hafidz's facebook, and is reposted here for the benefit of all readers, and it does not constitute or taken to represent the opinion of Pas For All blog.
Yes, yes. You read the title right.

I know. It's shocking.

While I am one to constantly bash PAS for their constant interference into my entertainment calendar and my lifestyle choices, I don't begrudge their leader to the point of stopping him from going off for pilgrimage merely due to the funding being from questionable resources.

I don't look to Nik Aziz as my savior, nor do I view him as my personal religious teacher. However, I do view him as a respectable politician and as an MB who is receiving gifts from various sources to assist him in his simple and rather cheap lifestyle.

For UMNO Kelantan to voice out that he should resign for such an act shows their hypocrisy rather clearly, particularly when they have yet to even voice their discordance against having a party president who may have had a part in blowing up a Mongolian mediator who helped in the purchase of two submarines contracted out to the French.

One of which is now back and garnering enough attention in Parliament full of jakuns.

Nik Aziz may be an anti-smoking nut who calls smokers stupider than cows. He may even be a nutcase for calling those who vote for UMNO as less than civilised.

However, Nik Aziz is not someone who would take RM65,000 from dubious sources to fund his haj, as he has proven rather tearfully.

And in doing so, he has proven that he has more credibility than the MP of Pasir Salak who paid off 7 million ringgit and was found guilty in an UMNO election.

He has more credibility than Khir Toyo and multiple former Selangor UMNO people in power who have now to face multiple backlash due to Khalid Ibrahim's transparency policies.

He has more credibility than the MP from Rembau and the MB of Negri Sembilan himself, both of whom were guilty in money politics.

So please, leave 'Saint' Nik alone and look into a mirror, UMNO.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I wish to extend   my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the late Kugan Ananthan.
Yesterday, I visited them together with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, YB Dr Mariah and others. The visit convinced me that Kugan's death is not just an issue for Kugan's family, but more crucially, it is an issue for this very nation of Malaysia that we all love so dearly.
As a father I share their distress and outrage in the manner in which PDRM in particular, and the Home Ministry of Malaysia in general, have failed them in its duty to care for their beloved son.
I share the family's anguish and despair regarding the uncertainty and secrecy surrounding the circumstances of this death,  and by the delays in conducting the second post mortem.
I am alarmed by the discourtesy with which the family was treated immediately following their bereavement.
I am startled with the statistics revealed in Parliament last year: a total of 1,535 custodial deaths in this country 
between 2003 and 2007.
These hard facts will further erode public confidence in the credibility of PDRM, the IGP, and the Home Ministry to protect people under its custody and to deliver justice to everyone involved.
It is a loss of confidence that will be widely shared by all citizens of Malaysia, and there is an urgent obligation on the part of Government to reverse it.
It is PAS’s view that the most basic human right is the right to life. Kugan Ananthan and 1,535 others have been denied that while in custody. This is a serious breach of human rights committed by the Government, the very institution that is supposed to care for the people.
Basic human rights entitle everyone to a fair trial. No one is above the law, not the people who are suspected of committing a crime, and definitely also not to the interrogators and those involved in conducting the investigations. No one is fair game for violence.
PDRM has an important responsibility to protect the people in their custody from harm. PDRM has no right to abuse and treat those in their custody  with any form of violence. To do so is itself a crime.
I strongly support the call by various groups for  the establishment of a Royal Commission not only to investigate this particular case but also the other 1,535 cases to ensure that this will not happen again. Death in custody has to be stopped.
A Royal Commision must examine:
-the failure of the current system to protect those in custody;
-why people die while in police custody, and too determine if this is caused by any acts of violence;
-PDRM culture, and if it condones violence toward prisoners;
-who are the perpetrators;
-whether violence toward prisoners in custody is condoned, encouraged, or ordered by others further up the chain of command, and if so, by whom.
And the Commision  must be given the power to prosecute. Then the perpetrator/s must be brought to justice. Not only perpetrators, but their supervisors and Ministers responsible must be made accountable for this. 
Then the Commision must make recommendations, binding on the government, as to how violence against those in custody can be eliminated. It must be remembered that many of those in custody, although may have been charged in the court of law, have not been sentenced, and therefore are entitled to the presumption of innocence.
PDRM staff must be trained to understand that when the state takes away a person’s liberty, it assumes full responsibility for protecting their human rights. PDRM must start creating an institutional culture which promotes and protects the rights of even the most disturbed people, and which manages those in their custody in a non-violent,
humane and ethical manner. Degrading treatment, neglect and abusive culture must stop immediately.
I must remind and appeal to the Home Minister and the IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan that by taking people into custody, Islam and fundamental human rights proclaimed that the Government takes upon itself a particular duty of care, because of those people’s vulnerability, and has a special responsibility to ensure their protection and to uphold their human rights.
Lets Kugan s burial tommorow leads us to establish justice and not to bury it!
Regardless of race, religion and nationality.
Dato' Husam Musa
PAS Vice President
Chairman for Economic Planning, Finance and Welfare Committee

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Palestine Issue: History revisited

Tomorrow night, a Hamas representative Br. Sami Abu Zuhri will be one of the main speakers in an event organized by Kelantan State Government, called The Launch of "Tabung Amanah Cakno Palestin" (Palestine Care Fund) in Stadium Sultan Mohamad Ke IV in Kota Bharu.

To give a better perspective of the conflict in Palestine, and in Gaza in particular, let us revisit this nice essay written more than 60 years ago, as the Israeli state was slowly being formed by the world power brokers.

This fascinating essay, written by King Hussein’s grandfather King Abdullah, appeared in the United States six months before the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. In the article, King Abdullah disputes the mistaken view that Arab opposition to Zionism (and later the state of Israel) is because of longstanding religious or ethnic hatred. He notes that Jews and Muslims enjoyed a long history of peaceful coexistence in the Middle East, and that Jews have historically suffered far more at the hands of Christian Europe. Pointing to the tragedy of the holocaust that Jews suffered during World War II, the monarch asks why America and Europe are refusing to accept more than a token handful of Jewish immigrants and refugees. It is unfair, he argues, to make Palestine, which is innocent of anti-Semitism, pay for the crimes of Europe. King Abdullah also asks how Jews can claim a historic right to Palestine, when Arabs have been the overwhelming majority there for nearly 1300 uninterrupted years? The essay ends on an ominous note, warning of dire consequences if a peaceful solution cannot be found to protect the rights of the indigenous Arabs of Palestine.

Please continue reading here.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The emergence of a new economic powerhouse among Pakatan-ruled states

I delivered a speech in an international forum on "New Economic Vision for Penang and Malaysia” in Penang yesterday. My participation was on behalf of Kelantan Menteri Besar. Together with me were YB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of Penang, YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim of Selangor, and YAB Dato Seri Nizar Jamaluddin of Perak.

I stressed that the time has now come for all Pakatan-controlled states to foster closer strategic alliances within the group. The challenges that we are facing both internally and externally, warrant us to work closer with each other. As Tan Sri Khalid says, the time has come for us to walk the talk by establishing concrete and tangible programs between these five states.

To get the ball rolling, I proposed several initiatives to be spearheaded by the state of Kelantan that can be pursued jointly with other states, namely:
1) enhancing tourism acitivities around the area of Pergau Dam in Kelantan, which is just two hours away from Penang. Tourists coming to see the beauty of beaches and heritage in Penang can get a glimpse of the unique flora and fauna lives by just making a quick stop in Pergau Dam.
2) taking concerted efforts to reduce the production costs of our agricultural activities. For example, the plummeting price of palm oil now can be offset by reducing the costs of fertilizers, and as huge buyers of fertilizers for palm oil plantation in Malaysia, states like Kelantan, Selangor and Perak can work together to find alternative methods that can reduce our reliance on fertilizers. These states do have the economy of scale to their favour.

By working together strategically as a unified coalition of states under Pakatan, we can not only overcome some of the hurdles deliberately imposed on us by the Federal government, but we can also steer away the states from any potential economic woes blanketing the countries all over the world due to the current financial crisis.
With total GDP contribution of more than 50% within the five Pakatan controlled states, we believe that we can emerge as a viable economic powerhouse within the country.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dr. Bakri Musa: Pak Lah Desecrating Ramadan

"As a Muslim I feel profoundly the spirituality of Ramadan. It was the month that Allah first revealed the Quran to His Last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w. That was a measure of His generosity upon us. It is said that the gates to Heaven are wide open, and to Hell closed shut, during this season, again reflecting His mercifulness during this blessed month.

We are expected to reciprocate this divine gift by being generous to our fellow beings. Ramadan is thus a season to be charitable, to be forgiving of each other and the seeking of forgiveness from others. All faiths have such a special period in their calendar when their followers are expected to be extra generous to and tolerant of their fellow human beings.

Imagine my horror, shared by many, when Prime Minister Abdullah, the self-declared Imam of Islam Hadhari, chose this particular month to incarcerate Raja Petra Kamarudin and others under the draconian Internal Security Act that allows for detention without trial, or even the filing of charges."

Those are the few lines penned by M Bakri Musa, a well-known Malaysian surgeon based in Silicon Valley, California, on yesterday's decision of the Malaysian Government to detain Raja Petra Kamaruddin in Kamunting Detention Camp for two years. It took place just a few hours before a habeas corpus hearing on the legality of his earlier detention since September 12.

Full article here:

Pak Lah Desecrating Ramadan

M. Bakri Musa


When President Nixon ordered the bombing of Hanoi during Christmas of 1972, I knew then that his fate was sealed. I am not a Christian, but living in the West I am very much aware of the spiritual significance of Christmas. As such I found Nixon’s action, coming from a self-professed Christian who regularly had Billy Graham pray with him in the White House, abominable beyond comprehension.

A Just God would not let such a barbaric action go unpunished. Sure enough, a few months later the Watergate scandal broke out that would ultimately lead to Nixon’s resigning under threat of impeachment. This was less than two years after he won a landslide re-election victory.

As a Muslim I feel profoundly the spirituality of Ramadan. It was the month that Allah first revealed the Quran to His Last Messenger, Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w. That was a measure of His generosity upon us. It is said that the gates to Heaven are wide open, and to Hell closed shut, during this season, again reflecting His mercifulness during this blessed month.

We are expected to reciprocate this divine gift by being generous to our fellow beings. Ramadan is thus a season to be charitable, to be forgiving of each other and the seeking of forgiveness from others. All faiths have such a special period in their calendar when their followers are expected to be extra generous to and tolerant of their fellow human beings.

Imagine my horror, shared by many, when Prime Minister Abdullah, the self-declared Imam of Islam Hadhari, chose this particular month to incarcerate Raja Petra Kamarudin and others under the draconian Internal Security Act that allows for detention without trial, or even the filing of charges.

I would have expected the reverse. That is, during Ramadan the Prime Minister would grant amnesty to deserving prisoners as a gesture of the government’s generosity and charity of spirit.

I have yet to see this happen in Malaysia, or any other Muslim country for that matter. Instead we have the odious act of the police bundling up Raja Petra and others into prison, right in front of their families. Where in the Quran or the sunnah of our Prophet Muhammad, s.a.w., did Imam Abdullah find the justification for such a cruel act? Where is the spirit of generosity or sense of forgiveness demanded from each of us by our faith during this holy month?

As a Muslim Abdullah will be paying his zakat fitr (tithe) this Ramadan, and come Hari Raya he will be generous with his duit raya to the children calling upon the gates of Sri Perdana. That is the extent of his understanding of the concept of charity and generosity called for in our faith: simplistic, ritualistic, and materialistic. Those he jailed under the ISA or the millions made miserable through escalating living costs as a consequence of his economic policies never enter his heart.

ISA Unjust

Like Nixon before, I also expect Abdullah’s latest inhuman act would also seal his fate. I do not know or care what or when his comeuppance would be but I do know that whenever I see an injustice being perpetrated, I am duty bound by my faith to respond.

I do not wish to sermonize and outdo our Imam of Islam Hadhari (he is already good at that and does it all too frequently), but I do know this. As per the teachings of our Prophet, s.a.w., when we see an injustice, we are to do whatever in our capacity to stop it. If we are unable to do so with our hands (that is, physically), then we are to use our tongue (voice our disapproval). Failing that, then at least acknowledge in our heart that we disapprove of it, though that would be the option least pleasing to Allah.

Incarcerating Raja Petra and others without affording them their due process is the height of injustice; and to do it during Ramadan is both cruel and vindictive. It is also an affront to our religious sensibility; the very act desecrates our holy month.

I do not recommend anyone attempting to physically stop the police as that would risk your being arrested too, or worse. We have to caution ourselves that where injustice or lawlessness is institutionalized, then the just and the lawful become victims.

There is something well within our ability to do, that is, voice our disapproval of the brutal ways of our government. Many have already done so last March and again last month at the ballot box. Unfortunately our leaders are slow learners, or refuse to learn the lesson. We have to keep teaching them.

There is now a petition circulating in cyberspace seeking the release of all those detained under the ISA. I urge all to sign it, as my family and I did. Writing this commentary is also my way of condemning Abdullah’s brutish ways.

Last week with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim threatening to bring down the administration through coaxing its members to cross over, Abdullah threw a veiled threat of resorting to the ISA to silence Anwar. Local and international pressures made Abdullah back off.

If we can believe him, Home Minister Syed Hamid was not at all involved in the process. He proudly asserted that he did not “interfere” with the “professional” work of the police. To think that the precious freedom of our citizens could hinge on the judgment if not fancy of some functionary in the police department is truly shocking. For a minister to admit that he does not know what is going on in his department goes beyond incredulity; it is utter incompetence and gross dereliction of duty.

Today (September 22), just hours before the habeas corpus application by Raja Petra, Syed Hamid signed off on the detention of Raja Petra, thus making a mockery of the minister’s earlier denial.

No man is perfect enough to be entrusted with the liberty and dignity of others, asserted the Sudanese reformist Mahmoud Mohamad Taha. I certainly would not entrust my freedom to others, least of all characters like Abdullah and Syed Hamid. We need due process.

Raja Petra was held for supposedly “insulting Islam.” Those police officers either have not read his articles, or if they did, could not understand them.

As Mufti of Perlis Datuk Asri Zainal Abidin so wisely noted, even Allah on the Day of Judgment would have us answer for our deeds before rendering judgment. Here we have a mere mortal in the person of the Imam of Islam Hadhari passing judgment on fellow citizens without first hearing their side.

Law professor Azmi Sharom said it best. “The arrest of Raja Petra, Kok and Tan shows that the law is so open to abuse that we have no other choice but to get rid of it. …. There can be no room for amendments. The ISA must go.” Amen!

God works in mysterious ways, so says our Quran. Nixon had his Watergate; Abdullah too will have his comeuppance. Whenever that comes, I pray that Allah would be merciful. There is no anger in me for Abdullah, only sadness for what he has done to our nation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Barisan will receive backlash from people over ISA detentions

PAS is predicting that Barisan Nasional would receive a huge backlash from the people over the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) on blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok.

The backlash would manifest itself either at the next general election or perhaps in the internal elections of the Barisan component parties.

There would be a migration of support more intense than in the last general election, PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa claims.

”It has become a messy form of governance. Everything from economic to security management and the people are angry,” he said after presenting aid to two-year-old Asraff Abdul Malik who suffers from a heart ailment.

Read more here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Abdullah's slippery path downhill

1. Over the last few days, it is becoming more and more obvious that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is going through a very treacherous path downhill. From all angles, he fumbles as he attempts to steer his way for a safe journey.

2. It all started with Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's statement in Singapore that the earlier agreed transition plan is too long, and hence, untenable, more so when UMNO is still reeling from its most recent defeat in Permatang Pauh.

3. It is amazing that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is surprised by the statement made by Tan Sri Muhyiddin, when most people in the country are in fact welcoming and cheering the learned minister for being brave.

4. It is obviously like "sudah jatuh ditimpa tangga" for Pak Lah, when his own deputy Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak has joined the chorus of UMNO leaders who are revising their earlier stands. By saying that the issue of power transition should be decided by the UMNO divisions during their upcoming meeting, he is sending a subtle message to Pak Lah that the earlier agreed road map is no longer feasible.

4. Pak Lah may think that staying on is not for the sake of pleasure, but for "work", in the face of all the programs and problems that he has vowed to address, including eradication of poverty, the reform of the judiciary and the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), and last, but not the least, the establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission-IPCMC.

5. We would like to remind him that if he has failed to accomplish all those lofty objectives when he was strongest after winning the 2004 General Election, what makes him believe that he can accomplish all those things now, when he is at the weakest position in his life, and UMNO leaders are pulling the party from all sorts of directions, giving it the shape of a lifeless organization?

6. The recent arrests under ISA have further plummeted Pak Lah's position in the eyes of all Malaysian citizenry: His component parties in BN are rejecting it, six of his own cabinet ministers are expressing outrage at the detention, NGO's are organizing night vigils to protest and opposition parties are united in confronting this latest crackdown. In fact, all elements of a civil society are united in voicing their dismay and rejection of the comical, yet outrageous way the ISA arrests have been handled.

7. After all these, what is there left for Pak Lah to continue clinging on power? He definitely does not want to be seen as clinging vainly on ISA to carry on with the last few days of his administration.