AZMIN ALI

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Day: August 5, 2010

Menyambung Amanah Bangsa

Oleh : Mohamed Azmin Ali

5 Ogos – Pemimpin yang hanya membela kaum sendiri, akan menyebabkan negerinya punah ranah. Tidak kiralah sama ada kaumnya itu merupakan majoriti mahupun minoriti.

Sejarah pahit Afrika Selatan – negara yang telah berjaya menganjurkan Piala Dunia baru-baru ini – pernah menyaksikan kaum minoriti kulit putih menindas kaum majoriti kulit hitam menerusi dasar perkauman yang dikenali sebagai Apartheid.

Penindasan dan ketidakadilan sedemikian juga turut berlaku di Amerika Syarikat sekitar 1940-an sehingga 70-an di mana kaum majoriti kulit putih menindas minoriti kulit hitam yang telah melahirkan satu gerakan ‘civil rights movement’.

Dari negara-negara ini jugalah lahirnya tokoh-tokoh pejuang demokrasi seperti Martin Luther King Jr di Amerika Syarikat sehinggalah Nelson Mandela di Afrika Selatan.

Para pejuang ini bangkit bersuara bukan hanya untuk mempertahankan hak kaum mereka sahaja tetapi juga kepada kaum yang dahulunya menindas. Berbekalkan tekad dan keazaman tersebutlah ianya telah menghasilkan masyarakat yang ‘egalitarian’ sepertimana yang kita saksikan hari ini.

Malaysia tidak dapat menolak arus massa dan kini mengalami getir ujian ini. Saki baki dasar dan kefahaman era penjajah semakin menjadi barah. Pengasingan antara kaum di dalam sektor ekonomi dan politik menimbulkan pelbagai konflik serta rasa tidak selesa di kalangan rakyat.

Melayu, yang di desa selalu dikaitkan sebagai pegawai pemerintah; Cina yang di pekan dan bandar sebagai peniaga; dan, India sebagai pekerja ladang di estet. Ini belum lagi diambil kira kondisi di Sabah dan Sarawak. Pemikiran yang kolot ini sudah mulai diseranah oleh rakyat.

Pemikiran feudal ini menyerap masuk ke dalam sistem pemerintahan dengan parti-parti politik dibahagikan mengikut kaum yang kini menjadi tembok penghadang kepada cita-cita melahirkan sebuah negara Malaysia yang bersatu padu.

Mungkin, lebih setengah abad yang lalu inilah persoalan yang mengganggu benak fikiran pendiri negara kita seperti Dato’ Onn Jaafar, Burhanuddin Al-Helmi, Ahmad Boestaman dan ramai lagi tokoh pejuang progresif.

Meskipun Dato’ Onn mulanya mendirikan parti untuk satu kaum, namun di dalam kesempatan yang singkat dan di ambang kemerdekaan, beliau segera pula mengorak  langkah menubuhkan wadah untuk semua kaum.

Beliau seakan-akan sudah dapat melihat kesilapan awal dan bahaya parti yang berasaskan kaum. Masa depan Malaysia adalah masa depan untuk semua warganegara atau seperti yang diungkapan sendiri oleh Dato’ Onn, “kepada sesiapa yang lahir dan mencurahkan taat setianya kepada negeri ini.”

Kita tak punya jalan berpatah balik. Kita harus mara, dan kepada pemimpin Melayu yang mewakili kaum majoriti di negeri ini, kita akan hanya terhormat apabila dapat menyuarakan kepentingan semua kaum dan wilayah.

Adalah sesuatu yang dusta kiranya kita bercakap mengenai kepentingan semua kaum, seraya melaungkan slogan “1Malaysia” tetapi suara itu datang daripada parti yang kebijakannya adalah dasar perkauman dan assabiyah.
Ia bertambah-tambah nista apabila gabungan-gabungan parti-parti tersebut dianggotai oleh parti-parti yang berlandaskan kaum masing-masing.

Kepura-puraan politik sebegini harus diketepi dan disingkir segera. Sikap perkauman melampau mengakibatkan polarisasi kaum dan ianya makin serius di era “1Malaysia”!

Dalam kekalutan dan riuh suara perkauman sempit yang bertujuan menakut-nakutkan orang Melayu khususnya, saya teringat puisi Usman Awang yang judulnya “Melayu”, yang saya gantungkan di pejabat saya sejak awal tercetusnya pejuangan Reformasi sedekad lalu lagi.

Antara lain, kalimah puisi itu berbunyi :

“Melayu itu kaya falsafahnya
Kias kata bidal pusaka
Akar budi bersulamkan daya
Gedung akal laut bicara”

Yang diseru dalam puisi Tongkat Waran ialah kesedaran untuk merungkai kebijaksanaan atau hikmah. Ia adalah asas penting sebelum kita mampu untuk menyambung tugas dan cita-cita perjuangan ‘founding fathers’ negara dan bangsa kita.

Menjelang Ramadhan Al-Mubarak yang mulia ini, marilah kita sama-sama merenung dan meningkatkan keringat kita untuk bersama kembali ke khittah (landasan) perjuangan.

Selamat berpuasa kepada seluruh umat Islam, semoga ibadah kita mendapat keberkatan dan keredhaanNya.

Malaysia’s Opposition on Trial

From Wall Street Journal
By AL Gore And Paul Wolfowitz

Anwar Ibrahim could be headed to prison again on trumped up charges. We urge the U.S. government to speak out on his behalf.

We come from opposite sides of the political spectrum and disagree about a great many things. However, one issue that brings us together is the case of Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia who is now leader of the political opposition in that country.

Mr. Anwar has been charged under very dubious circumstances with sodomy, a criminal offense under Malaysian law. If convicted, he faces a possible 20-year sentence—effectively life in prison for a man of 63. His trial, scheduled to resume next week, threatens not just Mr. Anwar but all those in Malaysia who have struggled for a freer and more democratic nation. It is also important for the rest of the world, because it casts a troubling shadow over the future of a nation that should be a model for other Muslim countries.?

Our views of Anwar Ibrahim have been formed completely independently of each other. We do not always agree with his views on foreign policy, but we do agree that as a political leader, statesman and intellectual, Mr. Anwar possesses qualities that encourage hope for the future. These qualities include lucidity and openness to debate and engagement; commitment to principles of accountability and good governance; and a serious concern for the future of his country and the world—not to mention his extraordinary courage in standing up for what he believes. We are convinced that he is committed to the values of pluralism, tolerance and freedom that are needed for Malaysia to flourish.

In the end, what matters is not our opinion of Mr. Anwar’s character, but the opinion of his fellow countrymen. Malaysians should decide for themselves, through an open electoral process, who they wish to lead them. They should not be deprived of that opportunity by an abuse of judicial power.

This is the second time that Mr. Anwar has been subjected to a politically?motivated trial on similar charges. The first time was in 1998, when as deputy prime minister and finance minister he dared to mount a challenge to then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed. Mr. Anwar was jailed, beaten severely, and condemned to years of solitary confinement after a trial that was a travesty of justice. That is not just our conclusion. It is the conclusion of the International Commission of Jurists, the International Bar Association, and a number of international human-rights organizations. It was also the conclusion of Malaysia’s highest court, which overturned the sodomy conviction in 2004, after Mr. Mahathir was no longer prime minister.

Mr. Anwar now leads the coalition of Malaysia’s three opposition parties, which won more than a third of the seats in the parliamentary elections of March 2008. This was the best showing that the opposition had ever managed against the governing coalition led by the United Malays National Organization, the party that has ruled the country for the past 53 years.

Three months after the election, Mr. Anwar threatened to call for a vote of no confidence in Parliament and take over the government. He was then arrested and charged again with sodomy. Like the charges 10 years earlier, the timing of these new charges carries the strong odor of political manipulation. And, if anything, the case against Mr. Anwar this time is even less credible and the violations of due process are even more egregious.

While Anwar Ibrahim is on trial before the state, the state is on trial before its people and the world. If he were to be convicted, the whole of Malaysia’s political life and its standing in the world would be damaged. And for what gain? The timing of the trial has led many observers to the conclusion that the objective is to stem the ruling party’s loss of popular support. Public opinion polls indicate that the great majority of Malaysians see the charges against Mr. Anwar as politically motivated. In any event, as Mr. Anwar himself would be the first to say, his imprisonment would not extinguish his cause. On the contrary, the movement he began a decade ago will continue to spread.

This is a pivotal moment in Malaysia’s history with consequences that are also meaningful on a global scale. With a population of nearly 30 million, Malaysia is not a small country. But it is also significant as an example of a Muslim-majority country making its way in the world. It has been able, over the first half-century of its independence, to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve economic growth while sustaining a degree of harmony among its religiously and ethnically diverse population.

In recent years, however, the country has been sliding backwards, with increasing exploitation of religious and ethnic differences for political purposes. The trial and conviction of Mr. Anwar would intensify these problems by destroying the confidence of millions of Malaysians in the possibility of justice under the law.

We urge our own government to make clear the importance the U.S. attaches to the role of the law in sustaining a political process in which justice and freedom are natural allies. We know from experience that sensitive issues of this kind are often best pursued quietly, government to government. But time is running out. A moment of truth is approaching.

Two days ago, a judge postponed Mr. Anwar’s trial in order to deal with charges of an improper relationship between a female prosecutor and Mr. Anwar’s accuser. This is an opportunity. Malaysia’s system of governance has the capacity to do the right thing—not only for Anwar Ibrahim, but for the millions of Malaysian citizens who look to him as a spokesman for their aspirations. We urge those in the Malaysian government who will decide this matter to act with wisdom.

Mr. Gore was the 45th vice president of the United States. Mr. Wolfowitz was deputy secretary of defense from 2001 to 2005.