Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Book Review: A Muslim Journalist Dilema

Foremost, a confession: Of late, I seldom buy Malay books. Why? Don't ask me, its just the way it is. Take it or leave it. Then what made me buy this book and give it a review? Let me rephrase the reply on the first question first: I seldom buy Malay non-religious books. Full stop.

If one had been reading The English Section of Harakah print, Sunday editions, one would most probably have noticed LanH's column on the second last page of that section. If so, then one can expect the same tone and writing of this book as in the said column: non-acrimonious and non-vindictive, to the point of almost being non-committal and passive. I may sound rather harsh here for someone I have a deep respect for, but the truth is, LanH is writing about his experience as a Muslim Journalist throughout the 23years of his career as one. He is also writing in the form of a pious Muslim and hence, has put down any firebrand approach which may have the book branded as politically inclined. Political, yes. As the very nature of human management in any society is political (click here), but not politically inclined for any political party. Here, it should be noted that LanH produced this book on his personal accord and that his book had its first print in 2001. Off course, at that point of time, the person writing this review had just experience political awakening, still groping about in semi-darkness, and hardly knew LanH then. But time remedied the situation, insyAllah.

Reading through the book, many of the events LanH described can be seen in our everyday life. Thus, one may be forgiven to think "Hey! I know about this and that!". But the question is not what a person know, but what is the person doing about it?

As mentioned earlier, this book is non-acrimonious and non-vindictive, which may open one's mind to suggestions...not from the writer, but by one's inner self! LanH, after all, is sharing his experience and not trying to be anyone else but himself. Do purchase the book. If anything, it would encourage the writer to produce more. Besides, it does make a good read.

Excerpt below from LanH's blog:

****** Assalamualaikum wbt. Mulai 21 April 2009 penulis menyertakan isi kandungan buku ‘Dilema Seorang Wartawan Islam’ karya dan terbitan sendiri. Buku penulis ini terbuka untuk pembelian melalui pesanan pos. Harga asal RM12; kini dijual RM10 saja termasuk belanja pos dalam negara (Malaysia). Pesanan melalui pos boleh dibuat dengan mengirimkan wang pos atau kiriman wang RM10 kepada ROSLAN HAMID, 952-3 Batu 3, Jalan Muar Semabok, Melaka. Pembayaran melalui bank adalah melalui akaun Maybank bernombor 114011751218. Untuk maklumat, penulis (ROSLAN HAMID) menggunakan nama pena LanH pada kebanyakan artikel. Sekian, wassalam.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


"Colour Sergeant!" cried Captain ZamBek. "Colour Sergeant! Over to me!"

Of different legions of a crumbling army, Colour Sergeant Toyo came rushing to the call of his new commandant. His old legion, crushed by the weight of their own bellies, the remnants now absorbed into the Black Crow Legion under the command of Captain ZamBek.

"Suh! You called, suh?" shouted the CS amid the din of battle, and as his small retinue came to a panting stop.

"The battle has now entered an epic proportion CS", said the Captain without taking his putting the binoculars down in an effort to survey the enemy's position.
"The enemy may have breached our southern walls, but we will make out stand here and push them out again. That, is why I called for you: this very spot will serve as our victory stand and be remembered throughout eternity."

"Suh!" cried the CS.

"Yes, yes, I know. The enemy's morale are high and our troops are well under siege at the moment. But, mark my word, our name will be ranked high like those glorious heroes of yester-wars. Yes, we will".

"But, suh!" cried the CS again.

"Now now, CS. I want to practice the victory speech for tomorrow when we regain this castle of ours".

"But, suh!" again the CS cried.

"I said not now, CS! Can't you see I am busy?"

"But you are bleeding suh!" said the CS.

"Huh? What? Wh...where?". ZamBek put down the binoculars on top of the wall in front of him even as his left arm went feeling about his body. "Get the Medic!"

"Medic!" The cry was echoed all along the line by several troops, some who were heavily bandaged, while a few were holding the blood-soaked clothes covering the wound of what used to be the knee. Or lower leg. Or arm. Without choice, they stood their ground. Or sit, would be the apt word for it.

"I say, CS, why are your eyes bloody red?" asked ZamBek to the CS who was standing almost reaady to faint.

"Suh! Nothing of much concern but affairs back home, suh!" replied the CS.

"The enemy got to your history, have they?"

"Suh! I think I very cruel of them suh! Its like a death sentence".

The Medic came rushing up the step of the battlement and straight to the CS, who pointed out to their commandant. The Medic got to his knees and tore open the back of ZamBek's shirt. As he was dabbing the blood to get a clearer picture of the wound, Zambek shouted as if in great pain.
"Aaargh! You imbecile, can't you be more careful! That is a nasty wound there. Were my thoughts not for the men, I would surely have gone to my room for a proper treatment."

Apologetically, the Medic went about gentler than he was before. Then, with a look that is almost in disgust as it is surprised, the Medic looked at the CS.
"Well, what's it then?" asked the CS.
Shaken by the question, the Medic went back to his task. Soon, a bulging white patch of bandage added more colour to Zambek, apart from those on his tunic.

Finished, the Medic hurriedly went down the long staircase to tend the wounded lying and sitting all the way down. The CS, followed him down and halfway through, he asked "Well, was it bad?"

"As bad as a small graze can be," replied the Medic, almost in a laugh now.

"You mean, its nothing serious?"

"Look!" said the CS. "The old man is not known for his name for nothing you know."

"And what name would that be?" asked the CS.

"He's like a goat, the old man is. He goes bleating at anything he thinks alarming, and yet fancies himslef as a great hero like Gandhi; no other reason why we call him Zambekkkk".

Monday, May 11, 2009

Garbage Calls

“If we respect the law, and everyone should respect the law, there won’t be any crisis and things won’t turn into a crisis. But when all are claiming that they are right, then there are bound to be problems,” said Garbage N to the others even as he stepped on their bags in an effort to get ahead of the queue.

"Look," cried Garbage N "if we all queue up nicely like some civil people do, we might get them to help us". He was, referring to the law abiding people in Malaysia; people who can be as nice and decent as anyone would like.

But even before Garbage N finished his sentence, he was climbing on top of the other garbage bags.

"Don't!" shouted Garbage M from afar. "You were hasty before and now, you are not making sense at all! Your statement smacks of apology and admission to a wrongdoing. You must never do that!".

As the two garbage bags continued talking incoherently, the people they wanted to reach out to, held their nose and kept their distance. "Phew! What a pong these garbage truly are!" cried one.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Gulible People

I am no political writer, just a simple man with a simple wish - quite like many other Malaysians - for peace and justice to prevail in this country. After 6 odd years of dedicating my time and effort and most of those time, alone, I thought of taking a long rest and allow the new blood - some who suddenly proclaim themselves as heroes already - to carry on with the struggle. Never a man for spoken words, I now find myself feeling very guilty and distressed at the recent events in Perak. And I am very sure many Malaysians feel the same way too - from which ever side of the coin they are looking at. Ironically though, what prompts me to write my simple thoughts here, are not the mentioned event, rather a movie I had just watched, and only the tail-end of it, I must add.

When disaster struck the WTC on September 11, I was one of the many who were initially elated that it happened. However, when senses reigned, I began to feel sorry and even pity for those victims...and anger towards the perpetrators: How could anyone be so vile as to carry such crimes against the people of their own nation? My anger, as evident with the question, was aimed at the Americans who conspired with that illegal entity in Mid East, and not against those who were accused. After looking at the video, listening to some talks, and reading several articles, I think it would be safe to say that the WTC was part of a major conspiracy cooked up by certain quarters for some financial and material gains. Unfortunately, a small number of people where sadly, some were friends, would rather believe the news as distorted by the media.

One such news, was the finding of a 'suicide note' of one of the hijackers of a plane that smashed into one of the towers. Though even then many would find it highly improbable that such a note could escape the destruction, there were a number of believer that it did. And when I saw the reenatment on the movie just now, it only strengthened my belief that the letter was nothing but a stupid 'evidence' to crucify the Muslim world: amidst all the rubble, dust and debris, fire that nearly turned the tonnes of steel there into a molten lava, could a self incriminating letter written on a piece of flimsy letter survived? But the believers of the lie stuck to their belief. Now, nearly a decade later, and the matter of the letter seem to have disappeared, so too it seem, their memory and belief...until a new lie rear its ugly head.

Undoubtedly - as I have met a few - there are people who tend to believe the msm and sarkas's view of the story: That Sivakumar's position as the Speaker for the DUN Perak has been 'legally' removed, and replaced by some obscure figure whose name I even loathe to mention here. Undoubtedly, they will support the sarkas and quote another obscure figure of man from Johor statement's like the one here; and no matter how the truth is conveyed, they will not listen and keep to their belief (that too if one can call it that). Amongst them, some friends including bloggers many know of. And of these, some chose to believe simply because they prefer to remain ignorant, or claim to be partial. Well, eat this:

How, can a proceeding of official matter ever take place if it has yet to be officiated?

In the case of the DUN Perak, the chaotic scene of the House took place before it was officiated! House Speaker, YB Sivakumar was physically removed by force by several people whom reports mentioned as police personnel.

As mentioned by a Malik Imtaz here, the police do not have any jurisdiction in the House. How was it they were there then? And how was it they were allowed to do what they did?

The call for this assembly itself was unlawful as it was not issued by the Speaker. Yet, all the officials of the sarkas came a begging there. Why, did not the authorities respect the assembly when it was initially called for much earlier? Why did the authorities close the House, forcing the assembly to be held under a tree?

Off course, all these may seem irrelevant to the few mentioned as it comes from a PR activist who rely more on the alternative media than the sarkas-owned TV3, Utusan, NST, Berita and even Bernama. Well, then read it from another sarkas man who hae the guts and honour to speak out (here). (Sorry, I used to read him for a short while and thus no longer keep him on my list).

To those people I am forced to write this to: if you still prefer to remain partial and aloof despite the events which makes a mockery of democracy, justice, and all those relevant which allow you do so, then you are no different than a top hound who railed at those detained activist for being undemocratic. Yet, it was he who uses force: Go to your kennels, the lot of you!

ps. To sarkas: with this latest in Perak, are there any more talks about working together? Not on your life. If you can rape the rule of law, justice, democracy, and the people's trust, you are not worthy of any trust!

* Now, that's done, I can continue being the village idiot again :)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Monday, May 04, 2009

A Worrisome Decision

My personal blogging is now at My Neverland; do visit it.

I received the email below, and have been asked to post it in my blogs for a wider read and understanding on the matter. As much as I would like to translate it, I fear it may just lead to confusion. Any feedback one may want to give, please send it to the address below. Off course, one may also leave a comment here if one so wish.



Masyarakat Islam arus perdana amat terkejut dengan kenyataan yang dikeluarkan oleh Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz bahawa Jemaah Menteri telah bersetuju memutuskan kanak-kanak mesti kekal menganut agama asal ketika ibubapanya berkahwin walaupun salah seorang pasangan itu menukar agama.
Keputusan yang dibuat oleh jemaah menteri dikatakan sebagai langkah penyelesaian jangka panjang berhubung isu pertikaian status agama kanak-kanak berkenaan apabila ibu atau bapa mereka menukar agama.

Keputusan Jemaah Menteri ini sangatlah dikesali malah menimbulkan lebih banyak persoalan atau lebih tepat mengundang kontroversi!
Manifestasi kekesalan ini dizahirkan apabila lebih seratus NGO Islam dari seluruh negara berkumpul menyatakan bantahan mereka semalam (Jumaat).
Persatuan Peguam Syarie Malaysia (PGSM) juga melalui Timbalan Presidennya Musa Awang telah mengeluarkan kenyataan membantah keputusan tersebut. PGSM adalah NGO pertama yang menyuarakan kekesalan mereka.

Bagi memahami implikasi keputusan jemaah menteri ini beberapa perkara perlu diperincikan terlebih dahulu terutamanya kedudukan perlembagaan, undang-undang dan hukum syarak. Sebenarnya terdapat tiga perkara utama yang terkesan daripada keputusan ini iaitu berkaitan dengan pembubaran perkahwinan, agama anak dan pemeliharaan Anak.

Pembubaran Perkahwinan
Di dalam perkahwinan sivil yang didaftarkan melalui Akta Membaharui Undang-Undang (Perkahwinan dan Perceraian) 1976 pembubaran perkahwinan hanya boleh berlaku jika perkahwinan itu telah pecahbelah dan tidak dapat diselamatkan lagi.

Perkara ini termaktub di dalam seksyen 52 Akta tersebut. Seksyen 51 Akta yang sama pula menjelaskan jika salah seorang pasangan itu memeluk Islam, pasangan yang tidak memeluk Islam itu boleh memfailkan petisyen pembubaran perkahwinan menurut seksyen berkenaan selepas tiga bulan pasangannya memeluk Islam.

Ini bermakna petisyen perceraian atas alasan pemelukan agama Islam hanya boleh difailkan oleh pasangan yang tidak memeluk agama Islam sahaja.

Selagi dia tidak memfailkan petisyen perceraian tersebut perkahwinan sivilnya bersama pasangan yang telah memeluk Islam tetap dianggap sah di bawah akta tersebut.

Jelaslah di sini ketidakadilan begitu ketara berlaku kepada pasangan yang memeluk Islam itu memandangkan beliau langsung tidak mempunyai locus standi (hak untuk mengambil tindakan atau mencabar keputusan) untuk memfailkan petisyen perceraian berdasarkan seksyen tersebut.

Namun Mahkamah Syariah menurut Jadual Kesembilan Senarai 2 Butiran I Perlembagaan Persekutuan, boleh membuat penentuan sesuatu perkara mengenai hukum dan doktrin syarak. Seksyen 46(2) Akta Undang-Undang Keluarga Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 1984 menepati semangat Perlembagaan Persekutuan ini dengan memberi kuasa kepada Mahkamah Syariah membuat penentuan mengikut hukum syarak apakah kedudukan perkahwinan tersebut.

Seksyen 46(2) tersebut memperuntukkan jika salah satu pihak kepada sesuatu perkahwinan bukan Islam memeluk Islam, maka perbuatan yang demikian tidak boleh dengan sendirinya berkuatkuasa membubarkan perkahwinan itu melainkan dan sehingga disahkan oleh Mahkamah. (Mahkamah di sini bermaksud mahkamah syariah).
Seolah-olah terdapat polemik di sini di mana kedua-dua mahkamah mempunyai bidangkuasa. Oleh yang demikian terdapatlah cadangan seksyen di atas ditiadakan bagi menyelesaikan kemelut ini. Tetapi sebenarnya bukan hanya seksyen tersebut sahaja perlu dipinda malah seksyen yang sama di negeri-negeri lain juga perlu dipinda dan mendapat perkenan Raja-Raja Melayu. Namun lazimnya ia mungkin satu jalan yang tidak mudah untuk digapai.

Sebenarnya tatkala seseorang itu telah memeluk Islam sudah pasti Perlembagaan Persekutuan memberi jaminan kepada mualaf itu mengamalkan agamanya termasuklah undang-undang diri seperti munakahat (perkahwinan). Tindakan mengheret mualaf ini ke Mahkamah Sivil merupakan pelanggaran hak kebebasan beragama bagi mualaf ini.

Seorang yang sudah mendapat hidayah daripada Allah s.w.t sudah tentu tidak mahu balik ke zaman jahiliyahnya kembali. Inilah hak yang perlu dipertahan oleh kerajaan dan bukan merobek hak ini atas alasan yang picisan yang tidak selaras dengan Perlembagaan.

Membawa orang bukan Islam ke Mahkamah Syariah pula bukanlah suatu perkara yang mudah kerana kebiasaannya orang bukan Islam enggan hadir ke Mahkamah Syariah atas alasan tidak mahu tertakluk kepada undang-undang Islam. Sedangkan apa yang diputuskan oleh Mahkamah Syariah hanyalah membuat perisytiharan di sisi hukum syarak, mengenai apakah kedudukan perkahwinan tersebut sahaja.

Lalu amatlah tidak wajar mualaf ini dinafikan hak ini. Hakikatnya ialah sebahagian orang bukan Islam tidak mengiktiraf langsung kewujudan Mahkamah Syariah ini. Mereka tidak mahu membantu Mahkamah Syariah memberi keputusan yang adil. Mereka sanggup memberi keterangan di medan media tetapi tidak di Mahkamah Syariah. Mahkamah Syariah adalah sebahagian dari system perundangan negara yang sah. Tidak ada seorangpun terutama atas nama “1 Malaysia” boleh memperlekehkan mahkamah Syariah.

Agama Anak
Perkara 12(3) Perlembagaan Persekutuan menyatakan tiada seorangpun boleh dikehendaki menerima ajaran sesuatu agama atau mengambil bahagian dalam apa-apa upacara atau upacara sembahyang sesuatu agama, selain agamanya sendiri.
Perkara 12(4) pula menegaskan bagi maksud Perkara 12(3) di atas, agama bagi seseorang yang di bawah umur lapan belas tahun hendaklah ditetapkan oleh ibu atau bapanya atau penjaganya.

Perkara 12(4) ini telah ditafsirkan oleh penghakiman mahkamah tertinggi negara iaitu Mahkamah Persekutuan di dalam kes Subahsini mlwn Saravanan.
Di mana mahkamah tersebut telah memutuskan bahawa salah seorang (bukan kedua) ibu bapa boleh menentukan keIslaman anak tersebut.

Peruntukan Perkara 12(4) dan juga tafsiran yang dibuat oleh Mahkamah Persekutuan tersebut sebenarnya selaras dengan Hukum Syarak. Sebenarnya telah disepakati di kalangan ulamak bahawa apabila salah seorang ibubapa bukan Islam memeluk Islam, anak di bawah umur mereka itu disifatkan sebagai Islam.
Ini adalah kerana anak yang dilahirkan itu adalah fitrah, dan fitrah di sini bermaksud Islam.

Undang-Undang Syariah ditegakkan berasaskan kepada Al Maqasid Al Syariah. Terdapat lima al maqasid al syariah (objektif syariah) iaitu menjaga agama (hifz al din), nyawa (hifz al nafs), keturunan (hifz an nasab), akal (hifz al aql) dan harta (hifz al mal).
Bagi mencapai maqasid ini umat Islam dipertanggungjawabkan memelihara kelima-lima perkara ini termasuklah menjaga agama dan keturunan. Oleh yang demikian agama anak itu hendaklah mengikut mana-mana ibubapa yang Islam. Umat Islam tidak dapat menerima sekiranya al maqasid al syariah ini tidak dapat dicapai.

Alasan Nazri agar mengikut 'common sense' (logik akal) adalah terlalu dangkal. Dalam undang-undang kita tidak boleh berdasarkan logik akal semata kerana dikhuatiri akan lebih menjerumus kepada kepentingan yang berpihak. Ada asas dan falsafah yang perlu ditafsirkan dan dihayati. Sebagai perbandingannya jika kita menggunakan ‘common sense’ tersebut, adakah kita boleh dianggap tidak melakukan kesalahan trafik apabila melanggar lampu isyarat merah atas alasan tiada kenderaan yang melintasi di hadapan kita? Walaupun pada “common sense” pemandu itu tidak bersalah tetapi undang-undang mempunyai falsafahnya tersendiri bagi mengawal kemaslahatan (kebaikan) sejagat. Apatah lagi 'common sense' yang dicetuskan oleh keputusan tersebut itu melanggar hukum syarak.

Keputusan jemaah menteri ini, tidak boleh mengatasi peruntukan Perkara 12(4) dan tafsiran yang dibuat dalam kes Subahsini.

Jemaah menteri juga sebagai badan eksekutif tidak boleh mencampuri urusan kehakiman (sama ada sivil ataupun syariah) apatah lagi mengganggu keputusan mahkamah dengan mengeluarkan kenyataan bertentangan dengan keputusan mahkamah.

Seharusnya segala ruang yang dibenarkan oleh undang-undang diambil bagi menangani permasalahan ini dan bukan melalui campur tangan eksekutif yang secara langsung merujuk kepada kes Muhammad Ridzuan tersebut.

Pemeliharaan Anak
Mengenai pemeliharaan anak pula. Sudah menjadi amalan di Mahkamah Syariah dan Mahkamah Sivil bahawa kebajikan anak mengatasi hak ibu atau bapa. Di dalam memutuskan hak jagaan anak sudah tentulah faktor mengenai kebajikan anak ini di titikberatkan. Kebajikan anak ini termasuklah permasalahan akidah, tumbesaran dan pembelajaran anak tersebut. Perkara sebegini boleh diputuskan oleh Mahkamah. Hak memelihara anak ini biasanya diputuskan setelah mengambil kira keperluan dan kebajikan anak.

Namun apa yang berlaku ialah masyarakat bukan Islam atas sebab-sebab tertentu terlalu takutkan Mahkamah Syariah dan menganggap Mahkamah Syariah hanya mempertahankan hak orang Islam sahaja. Sudah dibuktikan di dalam beberapa kes di Mahkamah Syariah, keputusan yang dikeluarkan oleh Hakim Syarie tidak memihak kepada orang Islam semata-mata tetapi memihak kepada keadilan.

Berbalik kepada keputusan jemaah menteri seperti yang dilaporkan oleh kebanyakan media hari ini, amat jelas keputusan tersebut gagal mempertahankan kelebihan agama Islam sebagai agama Persekutuan. Keputusan tersebut menyamatarafkan Islam dengan agama-agama lain dan perkara ini tidak dapat diterima oleh masyarakat Islam arus perdana.

NGO-NGO Islam juga mempersoalkan keputusan Jemaah Menteri yang dibuat itu langsung tidak mengambil kira pandangan NGO-NGO Islam. Dalam masa yang sama pula pihak kerajaan termasuk Timbalan Perdana Menteri telah berjumpa dengan NGO bukan Islam mengenai kes yang tersebut di atas.

Tiada usaha untuk mendapatkan pandangan NGO Islam (yang berjumlah hampir 100 pertubuhan) dilakukan bagi mendapat pandangan mereka sebelum keputusan dibuat.

Malah ada beberapa NGO Islam cuba untuk bertemu dengan kepimpinan kerajaan tetapi tidak dapat direalisasikan. Seharusnya pihak kerajaan lebih peka dengan sensitiviti umat Islam khususnya masyarakat saudara baru. Suara mereka harus didengar terlebih dahulu sebelum sebarang keputusan yang membabitkan mereka dibuat. Hak mereka untuk didengar (audi alteram partem) oleh pimpinan kerajaan sudah tiada lagi. Dimanakah audi alteram partem itu?

Justeru untuk memberikan kebaikan kepada semua pihak adalah lebih baik kepada kerajaan supaya menarik keputusan berhubung kes Mohd. Ridzuan ini. Lebih-lebih lagi bagi memelihara keharmonian dan perpaduan dalam masyarakat berbilang bangsa, kaum dan agama ini.

Ini kerana jika dilaksanakan juga, diyakini ia akan berlarutan dan tidak menemukan jalan penyelesaian secara tuntas apabila secara terang keputusan itu begitu bertentangan dengan Perlembagaan dan tidak selaras dengan keputusan kes Subahsini sebelum ini.

Malah jika bercakap soal kemanusiaan, pastinya si ibu yang masih beragama Hindu itu akan lebih menikmati keadilan dan haknya sebagai seorang ibu tidak akan dinafikan. Ini kerana sesuai dengan Firman Allah dalam Surah Al Baqarah ayat 256 yang bermaksud;

"Tidak ada paksaan dalam agama (Islam), kerana sesungguhnya telah nyata kebenaran (Islam) daripada kesesatan (kufur). Oleh itu, sesiapa yang tidak percayakan Taghut, dan ia pula beriman kepada Allah, maka sesungguhnya ia telah berpegang kepada simpulan (tali agama) yang teguh, yang tidak akan putus. Dan (ingatlah), Allah Maha Mendengar lagi Maha Mengetahui."

Malah jika kerajaan mengambil pendekatan untuk berbincang dan berkerjasama dengan para ulama, pakar perundangan Islam sehinggalah termasuk NGO-NGO berkaitan pasti kerajaan tidak perlu bersusah payah sehingga perlu melakukan sebarang pindaan terhadap undang-undang apa tah lagi membabitkan Undang-undang Syarie.

Ditulis oleh Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, penulis adalah Setiausaha Agong Peguam Pembela Islam.


* Bekas Mufti Perak, Dr Asri Zainul Abidin, turut memberi pandangnya di sini.