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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Footnote 38

I am reading Farish Noor’s ‘Islam Embedded : The Historical Development of the Pan -Malaysian Islamic Party PAS (1951-2003)'. It is an impressive work that provides valuable insights into both the workings of PAS as well as the struggle for independence and identity.

I aim to write about the work and Farish’s wider contribution to Malaysia as an intellectual once I have finished it. For the moment, allow me to share a thought that came to mind as I read of PAS’s first steps into the political arena.

The pursuit of freedom is an endless struggle as one moves from one state of oppression or subjugation into another, both within and without. So many of us take our freedoms for granted, losing sight of what is crucial in our desperate rush towards what is not. We overlook what so many gave up, will give up, for those freedoms.

In the process, we trample on, over, the foundations of our independence without even a thought for what it is we are doing.

Footnote 38 to chapter 1 of the book tells a story all of its own, underscoring the fact that there will always be those who will exploit our freedoms for their own gain. Footnote 38 is remarkable for the fact that the story it tells could be a story from the present, and not the past.

It reads:

Ahmad Boestamam (Abdullah Sani Raja Kecil) was born on 30 November 1920 in the village of Behrang Ulu near Tanjung Malim, Perak. His parents were Minangkabau immigrants from West Sumatra. He studied at the Anderson School, Ipoh and then began a career in journalism. He wrote for a number of local newspapers before writing for Kuala Lumpur-based Majlis; the editor was radical nationalist Ibrahim Yaakob. Boestamam was one of (Kesatuan Melayu Muda’s) founders. In 1941, he was arrested by the British for anti-government activities, and released by the Japanese during the occupation period. Boestamam returned to active politics in 1945 and took part in the formation of (Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya), becoming head of (Angkatan Pemuda Insaf), its militant youth wing. After his detention by the British during the emergency (1 July 1948-28 June 1955), Boestamam was persuaded to found (Parti Rakyat Malaya). During the period of Konfrontasi with Indonesia, Boestamam was placed under detention by the Malaysian government. He was the first Malaysian member of parliament detained under the ISA…



Anonymous said...

The BN government is increasingly looking like the Titanic. The mud slinging going on between Badawi, Mahathir and Razaleigh is leaving the BN regime in tatters. This is not helped by spineless individuals like Nazri Aziz and Zahid Hamidi who would cheer on anyone who is PM but immediately chastise the individual once he is no longer PM. (Remember, dear Mahathir and Badawi, "Melayu mudah lupa".) Then, we have the Ong brothers from MCA talking trash while MIC and Gerakan are busy re-inventing themselves in circles.

We also hear that document and files have gone missing in states ruled by Pakatan Rakyat. Personally if you asked me, I don't trust the BN government, the Police, the Judiciary, the AG, the Elections Commission and the civil service.

Due to this, I believe that Pakatan Rakyat must not waste any time to form the government. The BN government is now falling from within. If we as a nation don't bail out from this spiral, we as a nation may end up in the abyss with Badawi and Company! We must have regime change by having a PR government in place. We must not let the BN regime stay in power for another 5 years because by the time the next GE comes, the nations wealth would have been stripped clean and all evidence involving the sins of the BN regime would have been wiped clean by then.

Some people are against the crossing over of elected BN reps to PR. They feel this is a betrayal of the voter's trust. What I would like to suggest is why not, come April 28, if there are any BN MP's who are disillusioned and dissatisfied with the BN regime, they can declare themselves as Independent MP's and join the 82 PR MP's in passing a motion of no confidence on Badawi and his government.

I think His Majesty the Yang Dipertuan Agung, would not consent for another GE. Rather, the 82 PR MP's can form a Minority government. Infact, this government can also go on to be a Government of National Reconciliation by having not only the Independent MP's with them but also BN MP's as well, so long as they are clean.

Therefore, there is no need to wait for Datuk Seri Anwar to get to Parliament for this to happen. With Datuk Seri Anwar by her side, I'm sure Leader of the Opposition, Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah will make a good PM. Time is of the essence. We must not let this opportunity slip away. Go for regime change now!

Anonymous said...

New Cabinet:

Prime Minister - Anwar

Deputy Prime Minister - Lim Kit Siang

Culture Minister - Farish Noor

Defence Minister -

Education Minister - Nga Kor Ming

Environment Minister - Teresa Kok

Finance Minister - Tony Pua

Foreign Minister - Ramasamy

Health Minister -

Home Minister - Ronnie Liu

Information Minister - Jeff Ooi

Law Minister - Teng Chang Khim

Manpower Minister -

Sports Minister -

Technology Minister -

Trade Minister - Khalid

Transport Minister - Liew Chin Tong

(Penang Chief Minister - Lim Guan Eng)

Milky Tea said...

It is distressing to observe our Malaysian brothers and sisters continuing in personality-driven politics. You know, MIS, I really do believe that the conclusion of our current political turmoil will end irresolutely with little ground gained. I fear that this is so because our country has not yet matured into a civic and ideal conscious and motivated society. And the problem arose because of the appalling educational standards. I am just finishing Margaret Thatcher's autobiography, volume 1, the Grocer's Daughter. And my firm sincere opinion is that we are about 100 years behind British democracy. Oh yes, we have the parliament building, the palace of justice, but we lack sufficient depth in honest intellectual discourse, genuinely humble and circumspective politicans who could make a break in the current political climate. Not to mention the general public's continuing romance with entertainment, and tittilating and sensationalist news. The critical mass of intelligence has not been reached yet.

And i would venture to say that since the move away from english-medium, this gap has increased. Education, bro. Enlightened and tough, taught by well-paid professionals, is the way to go. There is a huge difference i notice between my older cousins (who all studied in English-medium up to MCE) and our current grads. They are more open-minded and certainly more knowledgeable by the simple fact that they are able to pick up an english book and read with no problems. I have grads of law coming to me, with a degree from an english-medium Uni and their english were perhaps primary school level. No joke. How did they ever acquire the degree without a strong faculty for the language in which it was taught and tested?

The trend of private schools, and the increase in children of the well-off being sent there is a damning indictment of our state of education. The continuing madrasahmisation of schools must be reversed. And it is not as if they teach what i would like my son to learn about God and the Prophet there... Indeed i expect to have to unteach him many many bad habits he may pick up in state schools... Sigh.

I suspect things will get worse before it improves... hold on tight. After all, to quote Cromwell, have faith in God, but keep your gundpowder dry... Hehehe.

Take care, bro.

Anonymous said...

So, the Party was founded because of their experience from being oppressed and therefore, Human Rights are beign realized!

Being a Muslim they take something close to their Religion is understandable.
But did they realized when People are having different religion, then, when those from their religion are enforced, it may act Bias to others?

Shouldn't Human Rights be based on with Religions open to all concerned be more appropriate?
Especially when Globalisation is or to be in place?
Or, at least Malaysia at a whole should be their ultimate consideration!

adi said...

I think the majority of Malaysians today have missed out a lot on the actual and truth understanding of our own rich history especially in the hard-fought journey towards Independence by people of the likes of Ahmad Boestamam.

I've left school about 10 years ago but History was one of my favourite subject. But very minimal coverage was given on these radical movement against the British!

Sad, sad, sad.

If we don't understand the history, how can we move forward without repeating the same mistakes?