Matters of opinion that enables me to understand or make some sense of my country- Malaysia

Archive for March, 2016

What will UMNO do if ? PM Najib’s a liability?

  • Even Fortune magazine gets in on the act besides NYT, WSJ of the US- The Independent, Guardian of the UK , And SCMP , Bangkok post of Asean , Al Jazeera etc etc.
    Just few ,among the world’s most influential media are highlighting and not at all flaterring reports on PM Najib’s 1MDB issue or controversy .
    These names are some of the globe’s more influential media ,read by millions, including Govermental leaders.
    .If indeed there is some conspiracy to discredit PM Najib,well the shat’s international.
    Or that this is a legitimately credible newsworthy controversy that is not unfounded or baseless.
    At this rate, there exist a possibility that the whole UMNO organization may see PM Najib as more of a liability to the organization and the super elite’s personal interests than he is a cash vending machine..
    Since many in the UMNO super elite, generate wealth internationally and if their interests are compromised because of links to a political hot potato in Malaysia’s domestic political climate ,an issue that many loathe to touch, and want to distance themselves from..
    But the media names are serious players in the investigative journalism arena , imagine if they pool their resources and share intel and investigate indepth this 1MDB issue.,these media names can be relentless and will sink their teeth into the issue, and dig up, questionable dealings or associations internationally that may put them or UMNO’s interests at risk of scandal or spotlight,internationally.just because of the association or link with PM Najib.or 1MDB…Reputation is one thing, but when wealth or fortunes are threatened, well, shats gonna hit the ceiling,heads will roll..
    When if they really think that the removal of a name puts everything back on normal and international and domestic heat cool down.Potential international financial scandals that risk exposure , averted.,but now the scandal of our PM and the 1MDB controversy heating up and generating humongous international interests and limelight of corruption(always been a fascinating topic) focused on this country.

    Interesting to mull on what UMNO/BN will do indeed , if they weigh in all these factors for consideration?

    Endure the pain or deal with the source of the pain ? Remove the thorn or hope it will dissolve itself into the bloodstream?


    Rumour has it …

    The latter below are as stated..Rumours !

    Read and use own discretion to formulate a personal conclusion.

    from Syed Akhbar Ali’s blog .. OutSyed the Box..

    Talk is some UMNO Ministers went to meet the No. 2 guy quite recently.  
    They told him that it was getting more difficult to support the No. 1 guy.
    They said that at the max,  the No. 1 guy should go by early next year ie 2017.
    They also said that if the No. 1 guy does not go, then they will not run for elections in 2018.
    Because they know they will lose in their respective constituencies.
    Support for UMNO on the ground is approaching zero. 
    Support for MCA, MIC and Gerakan is below zero.
    The ‘respectmyPM’ campaign is dead. Less than 50 people turned up on their own in Johor the other day.  Even the datang naik bas supporters did not come in any significant numbers.
    In Kelantan, Annuar Musa had to use some slick tricks to get people to sign that ‘Kelantan Declaration’.  
    People were not happy at being cornered to sign. 
    Only the IGP and the AG stand between oblivion and saving the country.  
    No one, repeat NO ONE, genuinely supports the…..
    Just tell him to resign and go. The country is going to …….

Ignorance imposed by Muslim Goverments?

ISTANBUL — I recently spent a few days in Malaysia, where I was promoting the publication of the Malay edition of my book, “Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty.” The publisher, a progressive Muslim organization called the Islamic Renaissance Front, had set up several talks for me in Kuala Lumpur. As any author would be, I was happy to learn that the team was enthusiastic about my book and had been getting good feedback from audiences and readers. But I was troubled by something else that I suspect many Muslim authors have experienced: My publisher was worried about censorship.

The risk, I was told, was that the Department of Islamic Development, a government body that “was formed to protect the purity of faith,” could ban the book if it was viewed as violating traditional Islamic doctrine.

So far, the Malaysian government has not banned my book. But if it did I wouldn’t be surprised. The department has already outlawed more than a thousand books translated into Malay. Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was banned because, according to the home minister, it “goes against Islamic teachings,” and even “endangers public harmony” — whatever that means. “Islam: A Short History,” a fairly sympathetic study by the best-selling author Karen Armstrong, was similarly banned for being “incompatible with peace and social harmony.”

Malaysia isn’t an anomaly in the Muslim world. In the more extreme case of Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Information can censor any publication it wants, and the religious police can confiscate books if they detect what they perceive as a hint of blasphemy. Even the Bible, the world’s best seller, is banned in Saudi Arabia — no matter that the Quran praises it. In Egypt, under the iron fist of President Abdelfattah al-Sisi, a range of literary works can be outlawed. Last month, a novelist was sentenced to two years in prison for “violating public modesty.”

None of this is news, of course. The scarcity of intellectual freedom under self-described Islamic states has received criticism from many corners, from Islamophobic conservatives to Muslim liberals. In response, the authorities who censor books or ban blogs usually shrug. They typically think that freedom of speech is a Western invention to which they don’t have to subscribe. In Malaysia, the government brazenly condemns “liberalism” and “human rights-ism.”

These censors like to think that by protecting believers from dangerous ideas they are doing a great favor to Muslim societies. They are doing the opposite. Their thought-policing only helps enfeeble and intellectually impoverish Muslims: When Muslim minds aren’t challenged by “dangerous” ideas they cannot develop the sophistication needed to articulate their own.

I first realized this limitation about two decades ago when Richard Dawkins’s books “The Selfish Gene” and “The Blind Watchmaker” were first published here in Turkey. The books presented an aggressively atheist interpretation of evolution. As a faithful Muslim and an aspiring writer, I wanted to write a rebuttal. As I started to do research, I realized that all of the reasoned arguments against Dr. Dawkins and other “new atheists” had been written by Western Christians. Since they lived in open societies where religion could be freely criticized, Western Christians had developed an intellectual tradition of apologetics. In Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and other countries suffering under the yoke of censorship, however, Muslims hadn’t tried to counter the atheists. The government solved that the problem for them — by banning atheist books, if not also punishing atheists.

This willful closed-mindedness is not an inherent feature of Islam. A thousand years ago, Muslim societies were open and curious, while Christian Europe was insular and fearful of “blasphemy.” Aristotle’s books were translated and studied in Baghdad and Córdoba, and banned in Paris and Rome. No wonder the Muslim world was then the home to groundbreaking discoveries in science, medicine and mathematics. In theology, too, Muslim thinkers like Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroës, developed sophisticated arguments that would inspire Christian thinkers like Thomas Aquinas — thanks to the Muslim engagement with Greek philosophy.

Today, many Muslims, including those who censor books or punish “heretics,” long for that “golden age of Islam” and lament that our civilization is no longer great. Few seem to realize, however, that the greatness of Islam was made possible thanks to its openness to foreign cultures and ideas. The Muslim world began to stagnate and then decline after the 13th century, as this cosmopolitanism was replaced with self-isolating dogmatism. In the meantime, Europe flourished as Europeans began to think more openly.

The Muslim world today is in a state of malaise. Muslim societies are underdeveloped in science, technology, economics and culture. This will be overcome only with more freedom. Progress depends on more Muslims questioning whether policies that promote ignorance are really devised to protect their faith — or to protect the power of those who rule in its name.

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