Wednesday, July 28, 2004

COMMENT: Bringing Islam Hadhari into the mainstream

By Rose Ismail

The first official document on Islam Hadhari is expected to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi early next month. ROSE ISMAIL gets a sneak preview of this intriguing concept. ISLAM Hadhari will require a complete change in outlook. It will demand that every Muslim view the religion in a progressive, expansive and inclusive way.Civilisational Islam, as the term has been translated, will encourage Muslims to pay as much attention to the here and now, as they do the hereafter.It has been crafted to go beyond labels and symbols, to focus on contemporary developments and to acknowledge the contributions of all Malaysians.As Tan Sri Hamid Othman explains, the labourer who fixes broken pipes, the rubber tapper who begins tapping before dawn, the engineer who constructs a dam, the doctor who cares for her patients and the cashier who does his work with integrity are all good people and, if they are Muslims, such honest and diligent efforts would make them good Muslims as well.Such people do more for Islam than those who pray relentlessly in the mosque each day, says Hamid, who is the Prime Minister’s religious affairs adviser.In the same way, he adds, if Cordova is acknowledged by Muslims as a symbol of Islam’s past architectural glory, then KLCC should also be seen as a significant achievement by a Muslim country today.This shift in approach would be viewed suspiciously by literalists — those who take the Quran and Hadith in the most literal sense — but it is likely to open new vistas and opportunities for those yearning to make Islam relevant to contemporary times."Why do we confine our readings and discussions of the Quran to what was done in Yemen during the Prophet’s time?" asks Hamid. "Six kilometres of waterways — as stated in the Quran — was clearly a huge endeavour then but we now have 250km of waterways crisscrossing the state of Kedah. We have a dam which supplies a third of the State. "Aren’t these major achievements made by Muslims as well?"Hamid knows that it will not be easy to persuade people to believe that such developments are linked to Islam.As one political activist points out: "Malaysian-Muslims are among the most conservative and orthodox in the Islamic world. "We have a wide range of choices but our ulama tend to adopt the strictest and sometimes, the most restrictive position on most matters."A broader perspective on Islam is more readily acceptable in Iran, Indonesia and Egypt where intense intellectual discussions on Islam take place.In this country, discussions are often thwarted because of the fear of going astray. Tangible matters are also seen as "worldly" and, therefore, transient and unimportant."How do we impress upon Muslims that God enjoins them to prepare for the afterlife and, at the same time, do their best in this world, for the living, for all of humankind?"In the last few years, Hamid, encouraged by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Abdullah, travelled the world to consult scholars on how to link Islam to progress and development.After much discussion both here and abroad, Abdullah finally introduced Islam Hadhari in 2002.Because it was done without fanfare, it was almost ignored until a week before the general election when the Prime Minister fleshed it out before an audience of 25,000.Today, some political analysts say Barisan Nasional’s election victory was due to Abdullah’s integrity as a leader and his vision of Islam which fired the imagination of many.Of course, Pas has ridiculed the concept as half-baked. The Opposition party claims that Islam Hadhari is a new religion. Their leaders have poked fun at the wrong usage of "hadhari" (civilisation).Unperturbed, Hamid says the word was co-opted for local usage. Hence, Arabic grammar is not an issue.More importantly, he says, Islam Hadhari re-orientates the way Muslims look at themselves, their faith and others.Therefore, devotion to God is not just praying five times a day: it also means that you don’t cheat, take bribes, slander others and persecute those different from you. Hamid stresses that Islam Hadhari does not, in any way, tamper with the substance of Islam although there is growing acknowledgement that life has changed considerably since the time of the Prophet. Essentially, this means that problems affecting the ummah should now be handled differently.By extension, this would also mean that in worldly matters, interpretations can change.What appears to be most refreshing about Islam Hadhari is that it allows contemporary Muslims to move forward.For instance, if Pas is urging Malaysian-Muslims to support the setting up of an Islamic state, Islam Hadhari is likely to allow for a position where such a state need not be formally forged as long as values and principles are compatible with Islam.This is an interesting take on the issue and one which may pull the rug from under Pas’ feet.If Malaysian-Muslims accept Islam Hadhari, it would not just be a coup for the Umno-led Government; it could also widen the space for more voices to contribute to the kind of Islam we want in this country.One political leader who is confident that Muslims will support the new approach is Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, political secretary to the Minister of Home Affairs."Pas says that until and unless we set up an Islamic state, we will never be good Muslims. "Does this mean that if you live in England or Russia, you can’t be a good Muslim? There are five million Muslims in France. Are they all bad?"Wan Farid, who practised law for many years before joining politics, says Pas wants more laws to be implemented to rid society of negative and destructive elements "but you can’t transform society by legal means alone."People must see the bigger picture, they must understand that there is more to Islam than its laws."He believes that with Islam Hadhari, the Islamic state idea espoused by Pas will slowly meander into oblivion.But before this happens, the new approach should be publicly debated. Until now, this has not happened.Thus far, discussions have only involved a select number of scholars, politicians and senior government officials.Workshops have also been conducted, largely with government servants, but what is being taught is not known.Women’s groups, non-Muslims and Muslims who are not in the Azharite camp (those who studied in Cairo’s Al Azhar university) have all been excluded from the discussions — which may not be the best strategy to take as the new approach must be accessible to and accepted by all.Because so little is known about Islam Hadhari, many non-Muslims are naturally anxious about it, as are women who have not always enjoyed the status and rights which they have under Islam.Hamid gives the assurance that Muslims and non-Muslims have equal status, shared rights and responsibilities under Islam Hadhari. Women, Wan Farid adds, will also play as important a role as men. There are plans, for instance, to appoint women Syariah judges soon.But the proof in the pudding is in the eating.How would authorities, under the new approach, have handled the Shamala Sathiyaseelan case where her two young children were converted to Islam without her knowledge?Would the courts have dealt with the case involving four individuals who renounced Islam differently? Would Muslims have treated them less harshly, especially when one of them died upon release from prison?And where would hudud fit in this new scheme of things?Islam Hadhari does not reject hudud, says Hamid, but neither can such laws be implemented at this point in time.Political scientist Dr Chandra Muzaffar, a little uncertain about the Islam Hadhari concept because he believes Islam should not have epithets or labels, wonders whether it is even necessary to deal with hudud."Hudud is a segment of the Syariah which focuses on strengthening the ethical foundation of society," he says."Instead of looking at specific laws and getting ourselves into a knot over jurisprudential arguments, let’s concentrate on Syariah goals which ensure social justice for all."Syariah is 80 per cent fiqh (jurisprudence) and the root meaning of this is ‘to think’ — which we don’t."Malaysia must have brave leaders who say don’t be trapped by fiqh because the medieval approach was meant for medieval times."For the new concept to work, Chandra says there must be a shift in emphasis from rituals and symbols to the substance of the faith. And this must begin in schools and taken right up to the university level.Another important element would be to prevent the media from promoting a stereotypical and often simplistic approach to Islam.Chandra also believes that examples of good Muslims would help. These should be individuals who are faithful to Islamic practices, and are outstanding as teachers, engineers and doctors.Finally, he says, Muslims must know that being Islamic means recognising and respecting the rights of other communities and individuals. "Right now, there is no country that does this adequately.But Hamid, more hopeful than most, is confident that Islam Hadhari will work."We have been practising it since Independence and today, after much effort, we can stand on our own feet. This is what civilisational Islam is about."

PAHIT MANIS: It’s in our hands to make the country great

By Ahmad A. Talib

Let’s make this a great country. Everything points to a bright future, provided we maintain a level head and do not get distracted by petty issues and internal bickering. We will only have ourselves to blame if we miss out on the big picture and allow the differences to undermine our collective effort. Let’s give some thought to a couple of pointers raised by a research house and disseminated to many people recently. Some of the pointers may not be new to you but I thought it worthwhile for everyone to chew on them. For instance:* The difference between poor countries and the rich ones is not age. This can be shown by countries like India and Egypt that are more than 2,000 years old, but not on the list of wealthy countries. On the other hand, Canada, Australia and New Zealand which 150 years ago were nowhere, today are developed countries and rich.* The difference between poor and rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources. Japan has limited territory, 80 per cent of it mountainous, inadequate for agriculture and cattle raising. But it is the second world economy. The country is an immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.Another example is Switzerland, which does not grow cocoa but has the best chocolate in the world. In their little territory the Swiss raise animals and plant the soil only four months a year. But Switzerland produces dairy products of the best quality. It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order and labour, which has made it the world’s strong-room.Furthermore, executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference. Race or skin colour are also not important: immigrants labelled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countriesWhat is the difference, then?The difference is the attitude of the people, framed through the years by education and culture. On analysing the behaviour of people in rich and developed countries, the researchers concluded that the great majority follow the following principles in their lives:* Ethics as a basic principle.* Integrity.* Responsibility.* Respect for laws and rules.* Respect for rights of other citizens.* Work-loving.* Strive for saving and investment.* Will for action is extremely strong.* Punctuality.In poor countries, the researchers concluded, only a minority follow these basic principles. The discipline shown by successful countries ought to be emulated, not to mention their enhanced awareness that only a collective effort will lead to better per capita income.What of we Malaysians? We are certainly not poor, but not in the same category as Japan and Switzerland. But we have shown enough ability to really become a developed nation. We have enough energy and creativity to make the grade. There is more than ample evidence of this. There is also evidence of indiscipline and lack of focus in certain areas, though this is easily rectified.When Malaysians really put their mind to it, they can surprise the world (and themselves). The country is set to step up a gear and advance its efforts to become a truly developed nation. The leadership (and conviction) is there, the vision is clear — what is needed, really, is more effort on the lines of the nine principles listed above. Let’s make it happen.Not a zero-sum gameMOST Umno divisions have concluded their meetings. Some new leaders have emerged, taking over from those who have been defeated or retired. Generally, the election of office-bearers has been well conducted, reflecting more maturity from contestants and their supporters. But it’s not over yet.In September, a far bigger election will take place. While Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak have won their posts of president and deputy respectively, many others will fight to earn their rightful places as vice-presidents and supreme council members. From the lists shown to date, the contest is not going to be too easy for party heavyweights.There’ll be intense lobbying and vote-swapping. Deals will be made as contestants seek to win support from delegates. At this point, contestants must guard against abuses and be mindful of scrutiny against allegations of money politics. Granted, some money will be used during campaigning, but this must be ethically used. The contestants are also aware that the giving of money does not guarantee victory.They must also be mindful of Pak Lah's advice against character assassination. Delegates must pick candidates on merit. And when the votes are cast, the winners and losers must get together and close ranks. It’s not a zero-sum game where winner takes all and the loser loses all. The interests of those whom they serve must be above all other interests. Let’s vote for a clean and fair contest.

nst :: julai 2004

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

THE SUNDAY COLUMN: Azizan, man of character, calibre

 Kalimullah Hassan July 18:

WHO was Azizan Zainul Abidin that king and prime minister, highest executive and low-salaried worker turned up in thousands to pay their last respects to when he died Wednesday?

He was seen differently by different people.Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop saw him as "the quintessential public servant of the highest rank." Nor Mohamed's Cabinet colleague Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said Azizan was "a man of calibre who loved his race and nation".Exxonmobil Malaysia chairman Rob Fisher found him "a man of integrity, honour and wisdom".And Shell Malaysia chairman Jon Chadwick describes him as "a special Malaysian who has contributed so much to his country".Most of us knew him as the chairman of Petronas, Malaysia Airlines and Putrajaya Holdings. But he wore many other public service hats, accepting every call to service from a Government which recognised him as a hardworking, honourable and decent man.He was 69, overseeing, as chairman, almost a dozen government-linked companies, and yet, when asked to become a member of the Royal Commission on the Police Force earlier this year, he accepted without a murmur.Yet, while those in the highest circles of Government and industry and those who have had the privilege of working with him knew who Tan Sri Azizan Zainul Abidin was, he remained a faceless public servant to the larger Malaysian citizenry.Perhaps, former journalist Tan Sri Noordin Sopiee's description of the man is one of the more succinct. Noordin said: "Some men must be measured by the scale of their contribution; some by the content of their character. Tan Sri Azizan must be measured by both."He never sought accolades. He never needed the limelight to show him the way to service and duty. To his last day, he was quiet and unassuming. Never in the shadow. Always in the background. "As ever, making a difference. History will not accord him a large place. It should." Yes, it should.For Azizan was that rare breed of Malaysian who selflessly served his country quietly but honestly, diligently carrying out whatever duties a Government, which recognised his sterling qualities, heaped upon him.Azizan was orphaned at a very young age. Born into poverty, he lived with one, and then another relative, never knowing the constancy of a normal home.These early years shaped Azizan. He developed a steely ambition to excel and discard the shackles of destitution. The testing life he led gave him the humility that would be his hallmark as he progressively made his way up in later years.Friends and people who knew him well recall that Azizan was kind and gentle to everyone, be they his subordinates, his peers or his superiors.In some ways, Azizan symbolised the "Malaysian Dream".He was born in Penang in 1935, at a time when Malays on the island were marginalised and eked a life of meagre subsistence.Despite the subsistence-level life he endured, Azizan slogged his way into the country's premier school then, the Penang Free School. He went on to the University of Malaya in the 1950s. Not many Malays, especially those who did not come from nobility or royalty, had the opportunity or means for a tertiary education then.After graduating, in 1960, he joined the civil service.It was here that he showed his mettle, developing a reputation as a good administrator, a man of honour and integrity.He worked in different jobs but perhaps he became known to the top echelons of Government and politics when from 1971 until 1984, he served consecutively as principal private secretary to three Prime Ministers — Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.Being gate-keeper to the Prime Minister is indeed a powerful job. Yet, Azizan's name was never linked to any abuse or favouritism in allowing people inside those gates. In fact, as Nor Mohamed said, Azizan's reputation as the "quintessential public servant of the highest rank" only grew.On Wednesday, Azizan, working till the last, died.Nor Mohamed, the last person to meet Azizan officially less than 12 hours before his death, said "a man like Azizan is not born every day".He could not have been more right, especially in today's world.When a man like Azizan passes on, it holds to reason that his country becomes that much poorer for the loss.Media and telecommunication tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan is one of those privileged to have known and worked with Azizan for many years.One of the strongest characteristics of Azizan, Ananda remembers, was that he was "extremely devoted to his wife, Puan Sri Noor Ainee Che Teh, and his family".Perhaps, say some, because Noor Ainee and his three children are the only family he has really known.The sad picture of an inconsolable Noor Ainee at his grave site best depicts how strong their relationship was.Asian Wall Street Journal journalist Leslie Lopez had many encounters and meetings with Azizan since the late 1980s.He remembers Azizan as "a man whose love for his country knew no limits". Azizan would get incensed, says Lopez, at the slightest impropriety and abuse of public funds."I always felt our country's resources (Petronas) were in safe hands with him there," Lopez said.It was two days after Azizan's death and at the dinner where Lopez and other friends were present, the conversation centred on the Petronas chairman.Penang Port chairman Datuk Latif Abdullah recalled that many years ago, he invited Azizan for dinner in Japan and ordered the best abalone.When everyone at the table raved about the high quality of the meal, Azizan politely enquired how much the abalone cost.Latif was a little embarrassed, because he knew Azizan's dislike for extravagance, but eventually revealed the abalone alone cost US$200 per person."I think he was only too happy that it was not Petronas or the Government which was paying the bill," Latif says, describing the surprise on Azizan's face.Ananda sat on the board of Petronas together with Azizan from the early 1980s, and was his deputy chairman on the board of Kuala Lumpur's most prestigious real estate development, KLCC.Ananda is quite affected by Azizan's death.He says Azizan was "one of the last of the classic civil servants … a very good administrator who made the successful transition to business".Ananda recalls that when Petronas and he agreed to jointly develop the multi-billion ringgit KLCC area, "we only signed a three-page memorandum of understanding".It was based on this three-page agreement and a gentleman's handshake that Azizan proceeded with the highly successful development.Ananda credits Azizan as the man who played a pivotal role in the radical re-organisation of Petronas of which he became the first president cum chief executive officer in 1988."He created an organisation out of Petronas. He got rid of favouritism and allowed talent to emerge and develop. He was unique; he did not play favourites. Everyone had a chance. "When he was young, he was an elder brother; when he became older, he was the father figure, always kind, always gentle, always responsive," Ananda recalls.But perhaps, says Ananda, it was his inability to decline the calls to public service that finally weighed down on his health.A selfless man with no interest in material things; a man who had so much love for his wife and family; for his colleagues and his country — that is how Ananda says he will remember Azizan.Besides serving the three prime ministers, Azizan was also the powerful secretary of the National Operations Council formed after the May 13 riots in 1969 and was boss to a young civil servant assisting him called Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.Thirty-four years later, Abdullah became Prime Minister and Azizan's boss. But as ever, he was always respectful of Azizan.Abdullah, too, like Ananda, was visibly affected by Azizan's passing. Hours after Azizan's funeral, he returned home for an interview with Financial Times journalists.The first thing he said, as he shook hands, was, "We have lost a very good man today …a very good Malay- sian." The integrity and dignity Azizan brought to the civil service is also reflected in the way that Petronas has expanded under his stewardship, becoming the 186th of the Fortune 500 companies and the most profitable oil company in the world today.For the financial year 2004, under his guidance and the leadership of his protégé, Tan Sri Hassan Marican, Petronas recorded unprecedented revenues of RM97 billion, an increase of 20 per cent over the previous year. Its pre-tax profits rose 39 per cent to RM37 billion.Today, Petronas is the one real global Malaysian company with a presence in more than 30 countries and is a source of pride to Malaysia and all its people.In his last 16 years in Petronas, Azizan came under a lot of pressure, recall those who knew him. But he was never afraid to stand firm when others would try to curry favour and score points, says AWSJ's Lopez. Trusted by Tun Mahathir, Azizan was able to let Petronas stay the course. The professionalism that people like Azizan and Ananda brought into the Petronas board when Tun Mahathir revamped it in the 1980s remained intact, says Lopez, allowing the oil company to thrive.Lopez says: "He was one of the protectors of our country's resources." Azizan was many things to his country, his people and his family. He was little heralded when he was alive. Almost an unsung hero.But hopefully, Noordin Sopiee is proven wrong. Hopefully, Malaysia would accord Tan Sri Azizan Zainul Abidin his rightful place in our nation's history.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Dari Gerbang Negeri: Nasi kandar atasi nasi lemak di Alor Star

Oleh Norbakti Alias

SEORANG rakan dari Kuala Lumpur yang singgah di Alor Star baru-baru merungut kepada penulis betapa sukarnya mencari nasi lemak pada malam hari. Malah, beliau mendakwa sering tertipu dengan papan tanda yang dipasang pada gerai-gerai yang kononnya menjual ‘nasi lemak’ pada sebelah malam.

Apakan tidak, ‘nasi lemak’ yang kebanyakannya dijual oleh kaum India Muslim atau mamak ini bukan nasi lemak yang dimasak dengan santan, tetapi sebenarnya nasi kandar.

Malah, lauknya juga tiada sambal ikan bilis atau sotong tetapi lauk yang sememangnya sinonim dengan kedai mamak seperti dhal, kari ikan dan ayam madu.

Penulis hanya mampu menumpang simpati dengan rakan itu kerana pernah berasa demikian ketika mula-mula ditukarkan bertugas di negeri ini.

Lupakan saja hasrat untuk makan nasi lemak pada sebelah malam seperti di Bangsar dan Kampung Baru di Kuala Lumpur, kerana penulis belum lagi menemui jualan seperti itu di Alor Star.

Bagi tidak mengecewakan rakan itu, penulis membawanya makan di sebuah gerai di depan Pekan Rabu yang menjual nasi bungkus dengan harga 30 sen setiap satu.

Biarpun ia hanya nasi biasa dengan lauk seperti ikan atau daging, bukannya nasi lemak seperti yang diharapkan rakan itu, setidak-tidaknya ia dapat memberi sedikit pilihan kepadanya.

“Di mana peniaga Melayu yang benar-benar menjual masakan Melayu kerana rata-rata yang ada adalah kedai mamak manakala bangsa sendiri lebih ghairah berniaga makanan Thai.

“Apakah makanan Melayu seperti nasi lemak ini hanya layak dijual di kaki lima dengan harga antara 30 hingga 50 sen saja,” tanya rakan itu kepada penulis.

Penulis tertarik dengan soalan kedua rakan itu yang jelas kecewa dengan sikap peniaga Melayu sendiri yang sering ‘berhati kecil’ ketika berniaga, tanpa merujuk nasi kandar yang dulunya dijual peniaganya mengandar makanan itu di jalanan tetapi kini ada restoran yang merancang menyenaraikannya di Bursa Malaysia.

Sebenarnya, sejak kebelakangan ini Alor Star menyaksikan percambahan restoran dan gerai yang menjual nasi kandar atau ‘nasi lemak mamak’ ini termasuk yang dibuka 24 jam.

Jika dulu, ada yang terpaksa berkunjung ke Pulau Pinang untuk menikmati nasi kandar ini, kini ia mudah diperoleh di bandar raya ini berikutan pembukaan restoran dan gerai yang tumbuh bak cendawan selepas hujan ini.

Ini termasuk juga pembukaan rangkaian restoran yang sebelum ini sudah dikenali di Pulau Pinang, sekali gus membuktikan betapa makin popularnya makanan itu.

“Beberapa tahun dulu, kedai yang menjual nasi kandar boleh dibilang dengan jari di Alor Star ini.

“Dulu, kalau ada yang berhajat makan nasi kandar yang sedap, ada yang sanggup ke Pulau Pinang tetapi sekarang ia mudah didapati di Alor Star,” kata seorang rakan lain yang berasal dari bandar raya ini.

Namun, jika ada yang beranggapan harganya akan sama taraf dengan kos hidup yang rendah di bandar raya ini, mereka mungkin akan terperanjat kerana harganya tetap setanding dengan yang dijual di Kuala Lumpur mahupun Pulau Pinang.

Percambahan restoran dan gerai ini terus menenggelamkan makanan Melayu, sekali gus peniaga Melayu sendiri yang kian ketandusan idea untuk mempromosikan jualan mereka seperti yang dilakukan oleh restoran mamak ini.

Jadi tidak hairanlah jika peniaga Melayu ini mengambil jalan mudah dengan meniru perniagaan yang dikira berjaya umpamanya berniaga makanan Thai berikutan agak mudah mencari tukang masak dari selatan Negara Gajah Putih itu.

Namun, berbanding restoran atau gerai mamak ini yang agak jauh antara satu sama lain, peniaga Melayu lebih suka berjual di tempat yang sememangnya sudah banyak jualan seperti itu, sekali gus terpaksa bersaing sesama mereka.

Berita Harian ::13 Julai 2004

Friday, July 02, 2004

Nakhaie Ahmad menulis: Misi Islam Hadhari bentuk acuan Wawasan 2020

PEMIKIRAN Islam Hadhari bukanlah sesuatu yang baru dicetuskan atau rekaan yang diada-adakan. Ia adalah usaha mengungkap kembali kefahaman Islam dari sumber asalnya, al-Quran dan Sunnah, dengan melihat realiti dan perkembangan sejarah umat Islam.

Tamadun Islam mengalami saat-saat keruntuhan yang teruk apabila negara Islam dijajah dan pemahaman Islam terbelenggu dalam pemikiran jumud dan beku, akibat kepincangan ilmu dan penutupan pintu ijtihad.

Masyarakat Islam yang lena dan tidak bergerak sepanjang zaman penjajahan, akhirnya dikejutkan oleh kebangkitan Islam yang dipelopori Sayyid Jamaludin al-Afghani dan Muhammad Abduh yang mengajak umat kembali semula kepada al-Quran dan Sunnah, membuka kembali pintu ijtihad dan membebaskan bumi Islam daripada kemunduran.

Golongan reformis Islam inilah yang mencetuskan idea Islam Hadhari, setelah lama dunia Islam lena di bawah penguasaan penjajah Barat. Penutupan pintu ijtihad yang berlaku sebelum kedatangan penjajahan, menyempitkan kefahaman Islam hanya di dalam lingkungan ritual semata-mata dan tumpuan penulisan di lapangan ilmu dilakukan di sekitar persoalan ibadat khusus, kahwin, zakat dan hukum.

Golongan reformis Islam berusaha membebaskan umat daripada lingkungan sempit ini dan bergerak menyuntik semula semangat jihad menentang kemunduran dan penjajahan. Mereka mengembangkan ajaran Islam yang dilihat dari perspektif luas sebagai sistem hidup dan sebagai ajaran yang menggerakkan pembentukan tamadun dan bukan daripada aspek ritual yang dibentuk oleh sikap bertaqlid buta.

Kefahaman Islam sebagai cara hidup yang dilihat daripada perspektif ketamadunan, turut memancar sinarnya ke negara ini, menerusi tokoh reformis tanah air seperti Sayid Shaikh al-Hadi, Syaikh Tahir Jalaludin, Zaaba dan lain-lain. Pemikiran mereka disalurkan menerusi penubuhan sekolah agama, majalah dan surat khabar.

Bicara Islam yang dibuat menerusi saluran itu tidak lagi terbatas kepada permasalahan hukum atau ibadat khusus, tetapi menyentuh kemunduran dan kemiskinan orang Melayu, pembebasan wanita dan persoalan kemerdekaan negara serta pembebasan daripada penjajahan.

Pergerakan mereka telah berjaya mencetuskan kebangkitan nasionalisme Melayu, yang sebelumnya hidup berpuak mengikut etnik dan negeri. Dengan kesedaran yang dicetuskan itu, timbul semangat kebangsaan Melayu yang berjuang menuntut kemerdekaan.

Bagaimanpun, persoalan ketamadunan yang lebih luas daripada kemerdekaan tidak begitu difahami oleh orang Melayu. Ini kerana persoalan yang besar itu membabitkan bukan saja kesatuan sentimen dan fikiran, tetapi juga penyuburan budaya ilmu yang lebih luas.

Oleh kerana masyarakat Melayu pada waktu itu adalah masyarakat tani yang miskin dan dibelenggu kejahilan, maka persoalan ketamadunan yang dilontarkan ke tengah masyarakat tidak dapat disambut dan dibincangkan dengan meluas.

Akhirnya, ia menjurus semula ke arah perbincangan di sekitar persoalan ritual. Maka, muncul kaum tua dan kaum muda yang berbalah mengenai masalah khilafiah.

Apabila negara ini mencapai kemerdekaan dan keadaan negara serta masyarakat Islam telah berubah, dengan prasarana pendidikan yang lengkap dan negara melangkah ke depan memasuki ruang negara maju, bicara Islam Hadhari lebih sesuai untuk diketengahkan.

Dengan adanya masyarakat di negara ini yang lebih maju dalam bidang pendidikan, bicara Islam Hadhari sangat sesuai diketengahkan, bukan hanya sebagai latihan intelektual, tetapi sebagai agenda pembangunan negara yang membentuk acuan kemajuannya yang tersendiri seperti diungkapkan dalam wawasan 2020. Misi Islam Hadhari ialah memberi bentuk kepada acuan sendiri itu.

Sejak tahun 2000, saya telah menulis dalam ruangan ini dan beberapa daripada tulisan saya itu mengungkapkan mengenai Islam Hadhari dan menggunakan istilah itu dalam menjelaskan kefahaman Islam yang dipelopori oleh golongan reformis, sejak dulu lagi.

Ada dua keadaan yang menjadi latar belakang penggunaan istilah itu. Pertama ialah kemunculan istilah Islam siasi (Islam politik) yang menamakan pendekatan politik sebagai cara bagi menjelaskan Islam dan menghayatinya secara syumul.

Mengikut pendekatan ini, Islam tidak mungkin dilaksanakan secara syumul melainkan apabila ia menguasai negara. Justeru, perjuangan Islam mestilah terlebih dulu menguasai negara untuk membolehkan Islam ditegakkan.

Demi untuk meneruskan pendekatan ini, ia memerlukan ideologi politik yang mendukungnya. Justeru, ajaran Islam telah diungkapkan sebagai ideologi politik dan bicara yang berkaitan dengan Islam, pegangan Islam dan pendirian Islam dibicara mengikut rentak bicara ideologi.

Ternyata, Islam politik bukan saja gagal menguasai kerajaan dan negara, tetapi lebih daripada itu telah memberi kesan yang tidak baik kepada masyarakat Islam sendiri. Islam politik telah memecah belahkan masyarakat Islam menerusi bicara ideologi yang menyentuh persoalan akidah, syurga dan neraka dan sebagainya.

Keadaan kedua ialah kesan daripada kemunduran yang masih membelenggu masyarakat dengan bicara ritual, telah menghalang kemajuan umat Islam. Islam hanya tinggal sebagai iman di hati dan ibadat khusus saja. Tetapi tidak muncul sebagai sistem yang membolehkan ajaran Islam menjadi wahana dalam kehidupan seharian umat.

Masyarakat Islam tidak berasa bahawa mengeluarkan masyarakat daripada kemiskinan dan kemunduran sebagai amal soleh dan ibadat.

Membaca dan menuntut ilmu tidak dianggap suatu kemestian agama. Mengurus ekonomi dan harta benda dengan baik bagi menghasilkan keuntungan dan memanfaatkannya untuk kemajuan, tidak dirasai sebagai amalan agama.

Dalam usaha negara ini memacu kemajuan mengikut acuan sendiri, maka pendekatan Islam Hadhari itu adalah penting bagi memberi makna dan bentuk kemajuan yang tersendiri itu.

Bagaimanapun, cita-cita dan hasrat ini, tidak akan berhasil jika Islam Hadhari kekal sebagai retorik politik semata-mata atau ia hanya kekal dalam bentuk konsep yang dilaungkan keindahannya, tanpa dibentuk gagasan pemikiran yang jitu dan jelas bagi membolehkan ia diserap ke dalam agenda pembangunan negara.

Bharian ::2/7/04

Semakin berumur semakin kurang minat membaca

Oleh Mohd Fuad Razali

SEPERTI tahun lalu, bulan ini diisytiharkan sebagai Bulan Membaca. Walaupun kita sudah beberapa tahun mengadakan kempen ini, tahap pembacaan rakyat masih belum boleh dibanggakan.

Perpustakaan Negara pernah menjalankan kajian mengenai tabiat membaca di Malaysia pada 1996. Kajian itu mendapati kadar literasi penduduk meningkat kepada 93 peratus, tetapi hanya 87 peratus benar-benar mengamalkan tabiat membaca.

Kajian itu juga menunjukkan 79 peratus rakyat Malaysia membaca akhbar, majalah (47 peratus), buku (52 peratus) dan komik (32 peratus). Akhbar dan majalah hanya dibaca pada waktu senggang, manakala buku dibaca untuk tujuan kerja dan belajar. Kajian itu juga mendapati rakyat Malaysia membaca secara purata dua buku setahun.

Bagaimanapun, minat membaca di kalangan rakyat secara keseluruhannya dikatakan menurun apabila sudah berumur. Akhbar dipilih oleh kelompok berusia 15 hingga 44 tahun, tetapi minat membacanya menurun selepas usia itu. Begitu juga majalah dibaca sebahagian besar kelompok berumur 15 hingga 34 tahun. Minat membaca majalah menurun lebih cepat berbanding akhbar selepas usia itu. Minat membaca buku dan komik pula menurun selepas umur 24 tahun dan kadar ini lebih cepat bagi komik.

Walaupun keadaan munasabah bagi pembacaan komik, penurunan minat membaca akhbar, majalah dan buku tentulah memeranjatkan. Ini bertentangan dengan anggapan bahawa semakin berumur seseorang itu, semakin banyak masa untuk membaca. Sudah tentu mereka membaca apa saja jenis bahan bacaan untuk mengisi masa lapang.

Ada tanggapan menyatakan keadaan ini mungkin kerana masyarakat Malaysia adalah masyarakat yang agak baru mencapai tahap literasi dan generasi lama yang ada kini kurang berpendidikan berbanding sekarang, melainkan kumpulan berpendapatan tinggi.

Sebuah kertas kerja dibentangkan oleh Somsong Sangkaeo dari Perpustakaan Negara Thailand di persidangan tahunan ke-65 Persekutuan Antarabangsa Persatuan dan Institusi Perpustakaan (IFLA) pada 1999, agak menarik untuk dikaji. Ia membincangkan mengenai promosi tabiat membaca di perpustakaan negara Asean.

Beliau memberikan tiga faktor utama menyebabkan budaya membaca kurang menggalakkan di kalangan rakyat negara Asean. Pertama, masyarakat Asean bukanlah masyarakat membaca, sebaliknya masyarakat berbual. Mereka lebih suka mendengar dan berborak berbanding membaca.

Ini ada kaitan dengan tradisi masyarakat itu sendiri. Malah, sarjana dalam masyarakat tradisional Asean sendiri menyampaikan ilmu yang terkandung di dalam buku secara membaca dengan kuat. Malah, jika perlu melakukan apa yang terkandung di dalam buku berkenaan kerana ketika itu sukar untuk mendapat buku di negara terbabit. Budaya ini diwarisi dan menjadi penghalang memupuk tabiat membaca di kalangan masyarakat.

Kedua, kelemahan ketara dalam pengurusan sumber manusia, kewangan dan strategi. Keadaan ini menyebabkan jumlah perpustakaan tidak mencukupi kerana kebanyakan perpustakaan awam, sekolah atau pusat sumber khusus berpusat di bandar.

Jumlah koleksi buku dan bahan bacaan untuk kegunaan awam dan pelajar juga tidak mencukupi. Kekurangan tenaga pustakawan terlatih dan berpendidikan serta bajet terhad untuk membeli koleksi bahan bacaan.

Ketiga, tarikan media elektronik. Potensi mengenai kesan media elektronik seperti televisyen terhadap keupayaan membaca kanak-kanak sering menjadi isu yang membimbangkan pendidik. Malah, ia selalu dikatakan menjadi punca kurangnya minat membaca di kalangan kanak-kanak yang terlalu banyak menghabiskan masa menonton rancangan hiburan berbanding berbentuk pendidikan.

Mungkinkah ketiga-tiga faktor ini turut menjadi penyumbang kepada kurangnya budaya membaca di kalangan masyarakat kita? Tambahan pula, untuk sekian lama kempen membaca nampaknya seolah-olah menjadi tanggungjawab Kementerian Pelajaran saja. Jika ada pihak lain melaksanakan kempen sama pun, ia lebih bersifat acara bermusim dan sementara.

Kita sering mendengar ungkapan memupuk budaya membaca perlu dilakukan sejak kecil lagi. Banyak kajian membuktikan tabiat itu boleh disemai sebelum peringkat kanak-kanak memasuki alam persekolahan lagi. Kajian ini membuktikan memupuk tabiat membaca sebenarnya memakan masa. Ia tidak mungkin berkesan dalam tempoh singkat dan mengharapkan hasilnya tercapai sekelip mata.

Oleh itu, gabungan bersepadu antara lima kementerian yang ditetapkan Kabinet baru-baru ini untuk meningkatkan tabiat membaca di kalangan rakyat sudah tentu dapat memberikan nafas baru kepada kempen membaca sedia ada.

Lima kementerian itu ialah Kementerian Pelajaran, Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan, Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna, Kementerian Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan serta Kementerian Penerangan.

Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran, Datuk Mahadzir Mohd Khir, baru-baru ini berkata beberapa cadangan sedang dipertimbangkan untuk dilaksanakan kementerian terbabit.

Kementerian Pelajaran sendiri misalnya merancang meningkatkan pusat sumber sekolah mengikut standard ditetapkan dan memantapkan bahan bacaan di pusat berkenaan.

Selain itu, ada cadangan supaya semua pusat sumber sekolah dikendalikan pegawai perpustakaan sepenuh masa. Cadangan lain ialah memperkukuhkan pelaksanaan program Nilam di sekolah, mengkaji semula Dasar Buku Negara serta memperluaskan penganjuran pesta buku ke setiap negeri.

Kementerian Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan pula dikatakan merancang menggalakkan minat membaca melalui kegiatan budaya dan seni seperti persembahan wayang kulit, sayembara puisi, penglipur lara, mak yong dan awang batil. Kementerian itu juga dicadangkan supaya menerapkan budaya membaca menerusi acara dalam program Citrawarna seperti apresiasi pantun, syair dan deklamasi sajak.

Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan pula diminta menyediakan ruang bacaan di dewan orang ramai di seluruh negara serta menguatkuasakan garis panduan kemudahan masyarakat supaya perpustakaan disediakan di semua taman perumahan.

Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri dan Hal Ehwal Pengguna pula diharapkan berusaha mengurangkan kos buku import dan kos penerbitan buku tempatan, merancang supaya terbitan luar negara dapat dicetak semula di Malaysia serta mengurangkan cukai import peralatan mesin cetak dan kertas.

Bagi Kementerian Penerangan, ia diminta untuk mempromosi Kempen Membaca Kebangsaan secara meluas melalui media cetak dan elektronik menerusi iklan serta slot masa utama, di samping mempromosi budaya membaca menerusi radio dan televisyen.

Ketika ini, kita dapati publisiti bagi acara pesta hiburan dan konsert tempatan mahupun antarabangsa lebih hebat daripada pesta buku yang diadakan. Jika ada pun iklan dan hebahan di akhbar dan media elektronik, ia tidaklah sehebat konsert dan perasmian sesuatu pesta.

Sebenarnya, kita memerlukan kempen membaca sehebat kempen pilihan raya, malah lebih hebat daripada itu. Ia perlu dipromosikan bersungguh-sungguh sepanjang tahun dengan menetapkan sasaran, mungkin lima tahun. Ini kerana usaha memupuk budaya membaca adalah agenda negara sebagai wahana penting bagi memperkayakan ilmu, selain mencerdaskan minda.


Jangan buka ruang untuk peragut

MELIHAT kepada senario jenayah ragut yang makin berleluasa, rakyat Malaysia hanya mampu mengeluh. Lebih daripada itu, ada yang memberi pelbagai pandangan untuk mengatasi atau mengurangkan jenayah ini.

Apa yang pasti kekejaman makin jelas dan terserlah. Peragut yang tidak langsung berperikemanusiaan tidak akan berputus asa menjadikan jenayah ini sebagai kerja tetap atau sambilan yang perlu diteruskan untuk meneruskan kehidupan.

Ada yang mencadangkan agar peragut dihukum dengan hukuman yang berat, media bertindak pantas menggunakan salurannya membanteras jenayah ini, pejalan kaki berhati-hati dan tidak menggunakan jalan yang sunyi, kaum wanita tidak menggunakan beg tangan yang senang diragut, mempelajari seni mempertahankan diri daripada diragut dan sebagainya.

Apa yang menarik, ada juga rakyat Malaysia yang kreatif, mencadangkan agar penunggang motosikal tidak dibenarkan membawa pembonceng memandangkan banyak penjenayah menggunakan pembonceng untuk meragut. Memang benar! Amatlah bodoh sekiranya peragut berjalan kaki yang memudahkannya ditangkap oleh orang awam. Tidak pintar juga andainya peragut menaiki kereta, kerana amatlah susah untuk meragut pejalan kaki atau penunggang motosikal.

Memang amat jelas, kejadian seorang anggota polis wanita menjadi mangsa terbaru kes ragut membabitkan kerugian lebih RM40,000 adalah kerana beg tangannya diletakkan di dalam raga motosikal dan peragut amat mudah `mengambilnya' memandangkan peragut juga menaiki motosikal. Kedudukan yang agak dekat antara satu sama lain menyenangkan peragut ini melakukan jenayah.

Apatah lagi kalau diperhatikan di mana-mana perhentian lampu isyarat, motosikal akan tersusun kedudukannya antara satu dengan yang lain. Kalaupun tidak ingin melakukan jenayah ragut di situ, penunggang akan mengekori bakal mangsa dan meragut di tempat lain setelah mengatur strategi yang bijak. Mereka akan melihat kedudukan beg bakal mangsa dan boleh mengatur cara yang terbaik untuk meragut hanya dengan sekelip mata.

Yang paling mengejutkan, kematian orang awam, Rosli Mohd. Saad yang cuba membantu orang awam lain, Sutriya Abdul Shukor yang sedang diragut. Seluruh rakyat Malaysia berasa terkilan atas apa yang berlaku. Mungkinkah akan ada orang awam kedua, ketiga dan seterusnya yang bakal menjadi mangsa bunuh tanpa niat, Seksyen 304, Kanun Keseksaan?

Apakah cara lain yang boleh dilakukan orang awam untuk membantu mangsa ragut selain mengejar peragut untuk melihat dengan jelas nombor pendaftaran motosikal mereka dan kalaupun boleh, untuk mengecam wajah mereka? Kalau berhempas-pulas mendapatkan nombor pendaftaran motosikal, tetapi rupanya nombor tersebut adalah palsu, berbaloikah orang awam pertaruhkan nyawa untuk itu? Sekiranya orang awam bertindak mengejar peragut untuk menyalin nombor pendaftaran dan peragut nekad membunuh orang awam tersebut kerana mempertahankan diri, adakah saranan ini berbaloi?

Tahun lalu, jumlah kes ragut yang dilaporkan sehingga 31 Mei adalah 7,377 yang mana 3,605 berjaya diselesaikan dan 810 tangkapan dibuat. Manakala pada tahun ini sehingga tempoh yang sama, 5,515 kes ragut dilaporkan berlaku, 2,710 berjaya diselesaikan dan 665 tangkapan dibuat.

Perlu juga dinyatakan bahawa daripada keseluruhan jumlah tangkapan yang dibuat, hanya 40 orang peragut orang Indonesia, 21 Filipina, enam orang Bangladesh, seorang Myanmar dan empat dari negara lain. Selebihnya adalah peragut warganegara Malaysia yang tinggal di negara yang begitu makmur dan kaya dengan pelbagai punca mata pencarian.

Memang ketara adanya penurunan lantaran kesedaran orang ramai membantu membanteras jenayah ini, tindakan polis memasang kamera litar tertutup di tempat awam dan banyak rondaan dilakukan.

Jarang benar kes ragut yang berlaku tidak menyebabkan kecederaan. Sekiranya jenayah ragut menyebabkan kecederaan, ia diklasifikasikan sebagai merompak. Saya amat tertarik dengan arahan yang dikeluarkan oleh Ketua Polis Negara, Tan Sri Mohd. Bakri Omar berhubung hal tersebut. Memang jelas, jenayah mencuri berlaku tanpa pengetahuan pemilik barang dan pemiliknya hanya mengetahui bahawa barang miliknya dicuri setelah menyedari bahawa barang tersebut hilang dan tiada dalam miliknya lagi.

Kejadian mencuri juga tidak berlaku di hadapan pemilik barang yang mana pemilik tidak nampak pencuri dan barangnya dicuri. Manakala jenayah merompak berlaku apabila pemilik dapat melihat pencuri dan tahu bahawa barangnya `sedang dicuri'. Apabila mempunyai sentuhan fizikal terhadap barang yang sedang diragut, tentulah pemilik akan mempertahankan haknya dan berlakulah pergelutan, inilah yang menyebabkan kecederaan seperti dalam kes rompak.

Sama ada hukuman terhadap perompak lebih berat daripada pencuri, itu tidaklah menggerunkan peragut kerana yang penting kehidupan mesti diteruskan. Untuk orang awam yang belum pernah diragut, berhati-hatilah dengan penunggang motosikal, lebih-lebih lagi yang membawa pembonceng kerana kebarangkalian untuk mereka meragut adalah tinggi melihat kepada modus operandi yang lepas.

Semua rompakan yang berlaku seperti dinyatakan di atas, terutama yang menyebabkan kematian menggunakan motosikal sebagai pemangkin. Sesuatu harus dilakukan hari ini untuk kemakmuran rakyat Malaysia.

Bagaimanapun, motosikal tidak bersalah, tetapi kita harus rasa bersalah sekiranya membiarkan ruang dan peluang terus terbuka untuk peragut terus merompak! - NIK SALIDA SUHAILA, Gombak, Selangor.

-- Kirim pendapat anda melalui emel

Utusan Malaysia::2/7/04