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Saturday, August 27, 2011

In Harussani's comments, signs of growing rebellion against Umno's elite

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:23 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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When Perak Mufti Harussani revealed that he had met and advised Prime Minister Najib Razak on the need to address three important issues concerning widening Malay disunity, he actually let the cat out of the bag on many extremely important and key issues.
Let us review what he said.
“I said (to Najib) that the divide among Malays is caused by a weak government, corruption and lack of trust,” Harussani told a religious forum organised by Sinar Harian earlier this week.
Elaborating that the major split among Malays occurred after former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed sacked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from public office, Harussani also said that unlike Najib, his father Tun Abdul Razak had listened to the Perak Mufti’s advise to address three issues that were contrary to Islam.

The first issue concerned Hindus who used to enter the Malay Kampung once a month for religious practises. The second involved 14 temples which had used Malay names and the third issue was the celebration of other faiths together with Islamic festivals which he said was ‘syirik.’
Harussani’s remarks come amid intense concerns voiced by Malay groups and NGOs that Malays have become increasingly divided over the past couple of years. One recent high-profile academic who also voiced such concerns was UUM vice-chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak.
But so what?
The difference is ...
Perkasa has been saying this all the while, readers especially from cyberspece might be thinking. And this true. The difference though is that Harussani is now saying that the divide was caused by none other than Mahathir himself, when he sacked and jailed Anwar on trumped-up charges. And this is the first time that such a high-level UMNO religious stalwart like Harussani is saying so.
Will Harussani now lose his job? Time will tell. But this is a good indication that the first signs of rebellion is beginning in UMNO. Hopefully, it is the faction that knows UMNO needs reform, it needs to 'correct' the politics of its excessive ruling elite. Maybe it is accidental or too much to hope for but as we said, time will tell soon enough.
In plain English, Harrussani had accused the Malaysian government of being corrupted, dishonest and too weak to unite the Malays. Who would disagree with him except for the UMNO supreme council, which must surely share the blame with Najib and Mahathir.
The Malays will not unite if the forces of good and evil are still in existence. Perhaps this is why PAS and UMNO members insist on remaining apart, until one party bites the dust. How can good mix with evil? As long as Malays subscribe to good religious values they will shun any party that upholds corruption and dishonesty. For this reason many Muslims are sympathetic to PAS because they uphold the good values of Islam, without compromising their faith on worldly treasures.
At this point, we categorically that the vast majority of the UMNO members are fine people. Normal Joes and Janes like you and me. But it is their elite - greedy and grasping top leaders who need to be rehabilitated and seriously so.
So no wonder what Harussani is finally preaching is striking a chord around the nation. Good values like fairness and justice are the core of any religion and Muslims and even non-Muslims recognize this. And this is why Harussani's latest comments have made him less the Mad Mullah of Perak, as he was once rather rudely nicknamed along with another scholar going by the name of Kazim.
For Malay and Malaysian unity, UMNO needs to take a rest
As Harussani warned, only the downfall of a weak government will attract the Malays to reunite. Harussani has declared that the government is corrupt and dishonest, which goes against Islamic values. So for Malays to unite, Islam must reign supreme and unity is only possible if Muslims change their ways to embrace Islam’s universal values.
For a start, the Emergency Ordinance and the Internal Security Act have to go, as Islam is against detention without trial. Meritocracy and segregation of the races too, must be done away with, as it goes against Islamic values. But Harussani is deadly silent on such matters, even when PAS has widely supported the idea. Maybe the forum did not touch on this area, but it is for Harussani to espouse his beliefs should he be asked to. Even if he refuses to endorse such repeal of the oppressive laws, he has already been quite earth-shaking in finally speaking up.
Malays must ask themselves when will Malay Unity occur? Is it when all Malays support PAS or when all Malays return to UMNO? Or is when Malaysia has space to embrace both parties and more?
Don't forget the other races
Does Harusanni realise that it is not only the Malays who are disunited, but Malaysians in this country too are deeply split, confused and bitter. Does he care only for the Malays and not for other Malaysians as well? Would that make him a good Muslim?
But come the 13th general election, at least half the Malaysian population is not going to vote for the ruling coalition again. Why is that so? Is it because what Harussani finally admitted is true, that our current government is weak, corrupted and dishonest?
We have to come to terms that Malaysia simply lacks good leaders. Najib is someone whom UMNO had insisted is their best leader, and if Harussani is condemning his leadership too, then maybe it is time to reconsider the Pakatan Rakyat which seems to be a wealth of talent in comparison.
So, now that the Perak Mufti has said his piece, what is Najib’s administration going to do about it? Does the Mufti have a right to indulge and champion Politics? Is Najib going to grit his teeth and ignore the ‘slight,’ as if nothing has happened? Aren’t the duties of State Mufti’s reserved only on religious matters? Will he finally ask the questions that many long-suffering Pakatan Rakyat leaders have asked in the past?
More-rounded and healthier perspectives
Harussani’s fame as Malaysia’s most controversial Mufti has not faded, despite his latest comments. From smoking to poco poco dance fatwas, he also alerted the authorities to an alleged attempt by Christians to proselytize Muslims in a church ceremony that later turned out to be a false alarm. In other words, let's not rush to 'herorize' him either.
His own controversial fatwas and religious edicts too have split the Muslims in this country, with many progressive and liberal followers eyeing his fundamentalist religious edicts with suspicion. The poco poco dance is one example of his fatwa, which other states in the federation have wisely chosen to steer clear of.
Most people had written Harussani off as a conservative with extremist views much akin to Ibrahim Ali, who certainly is better off being a politician than trying to masquerade as a religious man. So indeed, in the autumn of his long career, it was a shock to finally hear his 'true' comments. Perhaps, he wanted to do something for Malay unity. But whatever his motives, comments alone are not enough.
The people must ask themselves, why would Malays want to unite under one umbrella or under one political party? How can having 2 or 3 or even 4 decent and sincere political parties split the community? Are the Malays in the country under any political threat? What about the other races? How do we integrate, or how do we include them into our lives and more pertiently, how do we allow ourselves to be included in their lives.
These are indeed very controversial issues at this stage of our society's development. But remember, every human being has two hands. And to clap, you need both. We think Malays are smart enough to realize that.

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