Malaysia is a land of controversy. There is tension in the air all the time. At any time, one can list a few things that threaten the stability of the nation. Financial scandals, corruption, race, religion, language, crime or even simple management of thingslike education, justice and public utilities are our daily subjects of concern and unhappiness. Even truth among the official sources is a scarce commodity. Sometimes not knowing the truth is better.Considering all the tragedies and bad news that have inflicted the nation so far, the continued rule by BN is really a bad omen for the country.
The Sun is the only 30 sen newspaper I can afford to read. It is an addiction I have cultivated over the years. Though news about the government and politicians in Malaysia is something that can spoil the day but fear of police and the lopsided application of the law compel me to be in the know and be careful because it is easy to get into trouble.
For example, reading the three news items featured in page 12 on Thursday, March 24, 2015 was worrying and thought provoking. Let them eat cakeis about GST, G25: Hudud law is irrelevant to society today and Is Malaysia safe for my children, are about Hudud.
A simple thing like implementing GST, which is functioning very well in more than 160 countries, is mired with controversy in Malaysia. With the implementation already in place, nobody can give a clear direction. Different professionals and sectors of economy and society have differing visions of what is happening.
From the time GST was first mentioned and now April as the month when it starts, we have been taken for a ride of fear to the unknown. The amount of money wasted in the campaign to inform or educate the people about GST is more than enough to build a few hospitals or schools in the country. We saw billboards glorifying GST, professionals conducting courses and many other costly campaigns. The pandemonium at the custom’s HQ at Kelana Jaya and other places are clear indication of the failure. PDRM has once again come to the rescue of the government by using unnecessary force on tax payers, who are worried sick about breaking the laws that are involved with GST, when it is implemented.
Malaysians have become like the six blind men figuring out what the elephant named GST looks like. From all the courses held, the messages are different. A simple survey of opinions will show the differing views about GST, after these enlightenment courses. Many cautioned that ‘be careful what one declares in the GST’, because it could be a trap to compare any under declarations in the past income taxes. Others give conflicting and ridiculous information like there is no GST for smaller dosage of some medicines while higherdosagesinvolve GST. Also some say that for some medical brand names there is no GST while others have GST. Only Toyota says their cars will be cheaper. There is this pre GST frenzy of buying, even I changed by car in fear of high cost with GST.
Anyone with an iota of commonsense would have used one of the 160 countries as a model to implement GST. A simple reading about GST will show how GST is being implemented in other countries. There are countries where GST has been maintained at 3% for many years. Malaysia beginning at 6%, is very high. Our fear that the country’s economic mess especially IMDB, and over inflated purchases and corruption is going to hit the people even harder. Malaysians cannot afford BN government anymore.
With so much of mess and uncertainty, it would be a good idea to stagger or make the implementation by sectors and stages.For example in April only electrical goods be subjected to GST, May transport sector, June food basket and so on. The impact and results can be studied.
The G25’s article is a challenge to the HududBill passed by the Kelantan State government. Some of the points raised are very pertinent and require urgent response from those who are involved in the preparation of the Bill. The Muslim scholars and sources of information in the G25 argument are well respected and documented people whose views Muslims respect and honour. The argument has created a lot of doubts about the HududBill that was passed.
Non response will do a lot of harm and divide the Muslims further. The Hudud argument has taken an intellectual dimension using the Quran as the information source. Let us keep it as an intellectual discourse for the betterment of Islam in line with knowledge and technological developments of the world, because reference and knowledge, about any subject, is one touch away in the mobiles and computers. Official PAS explanation will help to dispel any half-truths and lies.
The father’s concerns about his daughter, in the third article,are real. My sympathies and support are for the Professor. I was a lecturer at UTM too. I can vouch for the Islamic credentials in terms of knowledge and commitment for a majority of the lecturers and staff there. The book in the UTM logo is the Quran.
I expect more Muslims to come out and condemn the hooligans who threatened his daughter. I also expect PAS leaders to respond to his views and objections about Hudud. Intellectual discourse helps to narrow differences and finds solutions to problems.
In my last article about crime and police, I dealt with ‘perception’. As it is, Muslims are unfairly singled out for ill-treating women by many people including some Muslim themselves.How do we correct this wrong perception? One way to fight this is for Muslim society to condemn any incident or even a whisper of disrespect or unfairness to women. From my own circle of friends, I see more ill treatment of women and broken marriages among other races and religions, yet why the ‘perception’ about Islam and women is so unfair?It must be because we Muslims are not vocal enough to voice against social wrongs.
There is no place in Islam for ‘butt dancing’, threatening to slap Theresa Kok’, ‘butt pinching’ and ‘talking about leaking women’ in Parliament. We shamelessly allowed a Chinese politician to go to prison, trying to save the honour of a Muslim under-aged girl involved with a politician in Malacca some time ago. Not being able to find MH370 is acceptable because of the technology involved but not punishing the real culprits of Altantuya’s murder is a shame to all Malaysians. People equate even this with the fact, men are the culprits, who are superior and should be protected.The content and acceptance of Hudud is a Muslim problem that has to be solved by Muslims. The others should confine their arguments to the constitutional issues involved.
I still have hope and faith that the PAS leadership will meet its critics and have open dialogues about the issues raised concerning Hudud and its implementation. I want Pakatan co-operation to continue. It is the only hope to save Malaysia from corruption, bankruptcy and disunity.