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Month: October 2014

A lousy sequel

FOR 16 years Anwar Ibrahim, leader of Malaysia’s opposition, has battled dodgy charges of sodomy and corruption designed to keep him from power. One way or another, a court hearing which began on October 28th looks like the end of the road. As The Economist went to press Mr Anwar (pictured above, with his wife) was reaching the conclusion of his final appeal against a five-year prison sentence, imposed in March, for allegedly having sex with a male aide (sodomy is illegal in Malaysia). It leaves Pakatan Rakyat, his three-party coalition, on shaky ground.

Mr Anwar has been here before. He was once the rising star of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which has governed Malaysia since independence in 1957. But a bust-up with Mahathir Mohamad—the prime minister for over two decades—saw him dumped from the party in 1998 and convicted of sodomy soon after. That conviction (though not another for corruption) was quashed in 2004, after Mr Anwar had spent more than five years in jail. He has since fashioned the first serious challenge to UMNO rule.

The latest case looks just as fishy as the first and began in 2008. The charges were dismissed in 2012, but in March an appeal court overturned Mr Anwar’s acquittal. That came just weeks before a by-election that would probably have enabled Mr Anwar to become chief minister of Selangor, Malaysia’s richest state and a prime spot from which to challenge Najib Razak, the prime minister, at general elections in 2018. In the months leading up to his appeal, prosecutors have hounded opposition politicians with charges of sedition and defamation. One of Mr Anwar’s lawyers is among eight opposition politicians charged so far. So cynically political have sedition charges against Pakatan politicians appeared that Malaysia’s usually docile lawyers took to the streets in protest.

Mr Anwar’s conviction bars him from holding a political post for five years after his sentence is served. Going back to jail would thus probably end the political career of the 67-year-old, who as leader of Pakatan has enjoyed unprecedented success. Since 2008 the coalition has taken huge bites out of the dominance enjoyed by Barisan Nasional, the ruling alliance headed by UMNO. At the general election in 2013 Pakatan won just over half the popular vote. But under Malaysia’s first-past-the-post—and heavily gerrymandered—electoral system, it got less than a majority of the seats in Parliament.

For all its achievements, Pakatan is a fractious alliance. It groups Mr Anwar’s People’s Justice Party (PKR) with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), a devout Muslim outfit, and the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a secular, ethnic-Chinese one. Until now Mr Anwar’s charisma—and his legal travails—have kept these parties together despite their differences. But the divisions have widened.

For much of this year the coalition squabbled in unseemly fashion over who should fill the plum post in Selangor, earmarked for Mr Anwar before his conviction rendered him ineligible. PAS leaders torpedoed a plan to install Mr Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah, PKR’s president and a respected politician in her own right. The imperious way in which PKR had proposed this dynasticism raised hackles throughout Pakatan, although some say the Islamists’ main worry was the prospect that a woman—and a relatively liberal one to boot—might one day run the coalition. After a six-month stand-off and the intervention of the local sultan, the job of chief minister has gone to Azmin Ali, Ms Azizah’s deputy. But the “childish infighting” has dented Pakatan’s image among voters, says Bridget Welsh, an academic.

PAS, the smallest party in the opposition coalition, is also its weakest link. It is distracted by a struggle between progressive Muslims who predominate in its upper ranks and conservatives in its grass roots. The party is growing more illiberal, notably in a renewed push to toughen sharia law in the northern state of Kelantan, its heartland. Widespread criticism of the party’s spoiling role in the Selangor crisis has pushed PAS’s leader, Abdul Hadi Awang, closer to the conservatives, reckons Wan Saiful of IDEAS Malaysia, a think-tank. Government barons would love to lure PAS to their side.

Were he to remain free, Mr Anwar would continue to be the best person to ward off these threats. But he is no longer quite as crucial to the opposition as he once was. Though his coalition has made impressive gains, Mr Anwar has twice failed to lead it to outright victory. He can still raise a crowd. On October 27th Malaysia’s oldest university appeared to cut the electricity to parts of its campus in order to discourage students from attending a rally in his defence. But his story is less compelling to young Malaysians than it was to those who heeded his first calls for change in 1998. Another jail sentence would make a martyr of him; it would also give his party’s younger leaders a chance to shine.

In the PKR Mr Azmin is the most promising of them. He cut his teeth as Mr Anwar’s private secretary during his years in government and has proven a loyal deputy. But the capable 50-year-old can readily move out from his mentor’s shadow. Mr Azmin has greater experience than either Nurul Izzah Anwar, Mr Anwar’s impressive daughter, or Rafizi Ramli, a party strategist somewhat tarnished by the Selangor debacle. Healing the wounds in that state would help convince voters that Mr Azmin could run the country competently.
As for the prime minister, his people like to push the line that he is a moderniser doing away with his party’s thuggish ways. Certainly, it is hard to see how Mr Anwar’s case will benefit Mr Najib even if he thinks him deserving of punishment. He will want to see the back of a case that is damaging the country’s reputation abroad. But it all underscores how weak Mr Najib’s position has become.

With a general election still four years away, the prime minister faces a threat from within his own party, notably from conservative factions close to Dr Mahathir, who still pulls strings from the wings. Whispers abound that an effort to unseat Mr Najib is imminent. As always, the prime minister touts policies intended to get Malaysia’s economy motoring. He has never looked less capable of carrying them out.

Source : Economist

Press Statement: Anwar’s Federal Court Appeal

The hearing of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Federal Court appeal is set for the 28th and 29th October.

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in overturning the acquittal of Dato’ Seri Anwar of the fabricated charge of sodomy by the High Court has already been widely condemned as a travesty of justice.

We have consistently maintained that the prosecution is part and parcel of a despicable conspiracy, originating in the first sodomy charges in 1998, to assassinate Dato’ Seri Anwar’s character and destroy his political career.

The relentless persecution of Dato’ Seri Anwar has been on-going and is symptomatic of a judicial and criminal process that is deeply flawed.

The bad faith of the authorities can be seen in the harassment of Dato’ Seri Anwar’s legal team. Sedition charges were recently brought against his counsel N Surendran for comments made on the upcoming appeal in his capacity as legal counsel. This interference with the legal defence team is an outright denial of a fair hearing for Dato’ Seri Anwar.

In this regard, I strongly urge the powers that be to let the rule of law and justice prevail. Stop the persecution of Dato’ Seri Anwar and put an end to this perverse injustice once and for all.

Mohamed Azmin Ali
Deputy President

27th October 2014

Peruntukan Segera Untuk Sabak Bernam

SABAK BERNAM – Kerajan Negeri Selangor mengumumkan peruntukan segera berjumlah RM600,000 bagi kos penyelenggaraan sistem perparitan di tiga kampung di Sabak Bernam yang dilanda banjir kilat, baru-baru ini.

Menteri Besar, Mohamed Azmin Ali berkata, peruntukan sebanyak RM400,000 akan digunakan bagi membaik pulih saliran parit utama di Projek Perumahan Rakyat Termiskin (PPRT) Desa Kasih Tebuk Pulai, manakala RM200,000 lagi di dua kampung iaitu di Batu 38 dan Bagan Nakhoda Omar.

Beliau yang sebelum ini diberikan taklimat oleh Jabatan Pengairan dan Saliran (JPS) berkata, salah satu punca banjir kilat yang berlaku di kampung itu adalah disebabkan masalah sistem perparitan utama kampung yang tidak diselenggara dengan baik.

“Sudah tentu perkara ini perlu diselesaikan segera kerana komitmen kerajaan negeri tidak mahu masalah ini berulang yang menjadi beban kepada penduduk,” katanya ketika berucap pada majlis perjumpaan bersama mangsa banjir di PPRT Desa Kasih Tebuk Pulai, di sini, semalam.

Mohamed Azmin berkata, JPS juga memaklumkan kos penyelenggaraan sistem perparitan itu perlu diselesaikan segera bagi memudahkan air dari parit utama disalur ke kunci air berdekatan sejauh tiga kilometer.

“Kita mahu pendekatan dan penyelesaian yang komprehensif dan menyeluruh bagi kerja penyelenggaraan sistem perparitan dalam kampung ini dan kawasan berdekatan supaya paras air itu dapat disalurkan terus ke kunci air dan tidak menenggelami kediaman penduduk,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, masalah sistem perparitan di kampung itu dan di kawasan berhampiran juga sering dibangkitkan Adun Sabak, Sallehen Mukhyi yang prihatin dengan masalah yang dihadapi penduduk di kawasan rendah berkenaan.

Menurutnya, kerajaan negeri yang mengeluarkan peruntukan itu meminta agar JPS, Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah Sabak Bernam serta Majlis Daerah Sabak Bernam (MDSB) berganding bahu agar memastikan ia dapat ditangani segera.

“Saya tak mahu kalau saya datang ke sini, tengok kerja tak jalan kerana kita bimbang musim tengkujuh dan tak mahu ia kembali berulang. Saya akan pantau secara peribadi, namun saya yakin dengan komitmen agensi berkaitan dapat menyelesaikan masalah ini segera,” katanya.

Sinar Harian pada 8 Oktober lalu melaporkan, hujan berterusan selama kira-kira empat jam menyebabkan Pekan Sabak Bernam dan beberapa kampung berhampiran dilanda banjir kilat.

Antara kampung yang ditenggelami air antaranya Kampung Batu 38 Baroh, Bagan Nakhoda Omar, Banting, Teluk Rhu dan Sekendi berikutan hujan lebat bermula dari jam 8 pagi hingga 11 tengah hari.

Rata-rata penduduk menyifatkan banjir kilat yang melanda kampung terlibat merupakan yang terburuk pernah berlaku dalam tempoh lebih 40 tahun.

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Perutusan YAB. Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor Sempena Sambutan Maal Hijrah 1436h

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Alhamdulillahi Rabbil A’lamin, segala pujian dan rasa syukur ke hadrat Allah S.W.T. Selawat dan salam ke atas junjungan besar Nabi Muhammad S.A.W. para sahabat serta ahli keluarga baginda sekalian.

Hijrah bukan sekadar satu peristiwa penting bagi umat Islam bahkan ianya satu detik yang mencorakkan sejarah dunia. Dengan berhijrah dari Mekah ke Madinah, Rasulullah S.A.W membawa umat Islam keluar daripada keadaan sebuah masyarakat yang ditindas kepada pembangunan sebuah negara. Madinah dijadikan ruang oleh Rasulullah dan para sahabat untuk menggunakan kebijaksanaan mereka untuk mencipta satu umat baru yang kemudiannya menyatukan Jazirah Arab dan kemudiannya membina satu empayar dan tamadun.

Rasulullah tidak mahu umatnya kekal dengan jumlah kecil dalam suasana ditindas. Terus kekal sebagai masyarakat yang tertindas akan melahirkan “persecution complex”, hilang inisiatif, sentiasa bersikap negatif dan sering menyalahkan orang lain. Gejala “persecution complex” ini menular luas di dunia Islam hari ini menyebabkan umat Islam tertinggal di belakang berbanding dengan Negara China, India dan Korea Selatan. Sebelum ini, dunia Islam hanya mundur berbanding dengan Barat tetapi kini dunia Islam turut terus dalam persaingan dengan negara-negara Asia. Dan umat Islam masih menyalahkan penjajahan yang telah pergi lebih setengah abad dan ketidakadilan sistem antarabangsa sebagai alasan ketertinggalan mereka.

Dengan menggali semangat Hijrah umat Islam boleh keluar dari kepompong “persecution complex” dan membina keyakinan baru sebagai peserta yang memberi sumbangan positif kepada tamadun kontemporari. Penguasan ilmu dan teknologi tentunya merupakan pra-syarat kepada penyertaan tersebut. Atas dasar inilah, Kerajaan Negeri Selangor komited untuk membuat pelaburan dalam bidang pendidikan yang akan membina modal insan untuk memberi sumbangan kepada memperkayakan tamadun dunia.

Sekian, wassalam.

MOHAMED AZMIN BIN ALI

Ya, saya mahu tiru cara Jokowi – Azmin

KUALA LUMPUR: Menteri Besar Selangor, Mohamed Azmin Ali mengakui program turun padang yang dilaksanakannya setiap minggu merupakan inspirasi daripada Presiden Indonesia, Joko Widodo (Jokowi).

Ujarnya, tugas Jokowi yang dilihat majoritinya bersama rakyat berbanding di pejabat akan diaplikasikan di dalam corak pentadbirannya di Selangor.

“Saya kenal Bapak Jokowi dan pernah mengunjunginya tahun lalu, Jokowi kata kepada saya…Azmin, masa saya hanya 20 peratus di pejabat, selebihnya di lapangan bersama rakyat.

“Ya, saya mahu tiru cara dia, kerana itu, saya komited untuk sentiasa bersama rakyat dan mendengar keluhan hati mereka,” katanya semasa majlis perhimpunan pagi penjawat awam daerah Sabak Bernam di sini hari ini.

Azmin sebelum ini dilihat menyamakan tanggungjawab kerjanya sama seperti Jokowi.

Selain digambarkan melalui Tweet, Azmin turut membayangkan kerja-kerjanya lebih kepada meninjau kesusahan rakyat negeri itu sendiri.

Pelantikan Jokowi sebelum ini turut memberi harapan baru kepada anak muda Indonesia yang membentuk peratusan besar dalam populasi rakyat republik itu yang melebihi angka 250 juta orang.

Jokowi sendiri di dalam pidato pertamanya mengajak semua golongan bekerja keras dan menghargai peranan golongan bawahan demi masa depan Indonesia.

Sementara itu, dalam perkembangan perjanjian air Selangor, Azmin dikatakan sudah menulis surat kepada Menteri Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili berkenaan dan meminta kandungan perjanjian didedahkan.

Menurut sumber dalaman, Azmin mahu perincian perjanjian itu dimaklumkan selain mahu rakyat tahu sepenuhnya isu berkenaan.

“Sehingga kini masih belum ada perkembangan, hanya sudah tulis surat sahaja,” kata sumber itu.

Azmin sebelum ini dilaporkan ingin melihat kualiti dan pengurusan air yang berkesan di negeri itu dan tidak berniat untuk membatalkan perjanjian air yang dimeterai di antara kerajaan Persekutuan dan negeri.

Read more at: http://www.astroawani.com/news/show/ya-saya-mahu-tiru-cara-jokowi-azmin-46865?cp

Kenyataan Media 24 Oktober 2014

Mesyuarat Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri (MMKN) yang bersidang semalam telah meneliti maklum balas daripada Majlis Perbandaran Klang (MPK) dan Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah Klang mengenai laporan kejadian ribut taufan di Pandamaran, Klang yang berlaku pada 21 Oktober 2014 yang lalu.

Kejadian angin kencang ini telah memusnahkan harta awam dan rumah penduduk di Kampung Pandamaran, Flat PKNS Pandamaran Jaya, Flat Pandamaran Permai Indah dan Kampung Pandamaran Jaya. Jeti Nelayan Pandamaran (Sg. Aur) juga turut mengalami kerosakan.

Kerajaan Negeri melalui Lembaga Perumahan dan Hartanah Selangor (LPHS) telah bersetuju untuk membaik pulih bumbung di tiga (3) blok kediaman yang mengalami kerosakan teruk dan juga menggantikan tangki-tangki air di Blok A, B, C dan D, Flat Pandamaran Permai Indah. Kos pembaikan untuk kerja-kerja ini melibatkan kos RM600,000.00.

Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) telah menampung kos kerja-kerja pembaikan di Flat PKNS Pandamaran Jaya dan dijangka siap pada hari ini, 24 Oktober 2014.

Kerajaan Negeri juga bersetuju untuk memberikan sumbangan saguhati untuk membaikpulih kerosakan yang melibatkan kerangka kayu dan penggantian bumbung bagi lebih 40 buah rumah mengikut tahap kerosakan yang akan dinilai oleh Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah Klang. Kos untuk maksud ini dianggarkan berjumlah RM50,000.00.

Kerajaan Negeri juga telah mengarahkan Pejabat Daerah dan Tanah Klang bersama Lembaga Urus Air Negeri Selangor (LUAS) untuk membina semula Jeti Nelayan Sungai Aur bagi menjamin keselamatan dan kesejahteraan nelayan di kawasan Pandamaran. Kos dianggarkan berjumlah RM30,000.00.
Majlis Perbandaran Klang telah diberikan sejumlah RM73,000.00 untuk

kerja-kerja pembersihan sisa runtuhan, sampah sarap, pemotongan dan
pembersihan pokok-pokok yang tumbang berikutan bencana ribut taufan ini.

MMKN juga telah bersetuju melaksanakan Pelan Tindakan Selangorku Bebas Denggi dengan bertemakan “ Terjah & Musnah Aedes Negeri Selangor 2014 “ yang bertujuan untuk meningkatkan tindakan pencegahan dan kawalan denggi di kawasan Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan (PBT). Pelan Tindakan ini berfokuskan tiga (3) bentuk pendekatan ; kawalan dan tindakan, aktiviti kesedaran dan promosi, serta pemantauan secara berterusan.

YAB. TUAN MOHAMED AZMIN ALI
DATO’ MENTERI BESAR SELANGOR

Tanah runtuh: Setiap keluarga dapat RM300

Sumber: Selangorkini

BUKIT BERUNTUNG, 21 OKT: Kerajaan Negeri hari ini bersetuju menyalurkan bantuan wang tunai RM300 kepada setiap keluarga mangsa tanah runtuh di Pangsapuri Teratai, di sini, kata Dato’ Menteri Besar, Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Beliau berkata demikian kepada media selepas melawat mangsa kejadian tanah runtuh berkenaan di pusat penempatan sementara di Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) Taman Bunga Raya , di sini, hari ini.

Beliau mengunjungi mereka selepas mengadakan lawatan di kawasan kejadian di pangsapuri Teratai berhampiran sekolah berkenaan.

Dalam kunjungannya, Azmin sempat bertanya khabar dan berkongsi kesedihan yang dialami mangsa terbabit, selain menegaskan Kerajaan Negeri akan memantau kawasan berkenaan dengan bantuan Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR), IKRAM dan bomba.

Azmin turut menyampaikan ucapan ringkas di sekolah itu yang juga dihadiri Exco Kerajaan Negeri iaitu Dr Daroyah Alwi, Ean Yong Hian Wah dan V Ganabatirau, selain Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Rawang, Gan Pei Nei; ADUN Kuala Kubu Bharu, Lee Kee Hiong serta Ahli Parlimen Ampang, Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Mohamed Azmin berkata, Kerajaan Negeri khususnya Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) sudah mengambil langkah proaktif membantu semua mangsa dengan keperluan asas sejak hari kejadian semalam.

“Antara barangan keperluan dibekalkan termasuk tilam, bantal, makanan dan beberapa keperluan lain untuk semua termasuk warga emas serta bayi. Setakat ini dilaporkan 158 keluarga sudah didaftarkan di pusat penempatan sementara di sini.

“Semua mangsa perlu terus ditempatkan di pusat penempatan sementara selepas JKR menarik semula kenyataan bahawa keadaan di sini didapati selamat pagi tadi,” katanya.

Mohamed Azmin berkata, berdasarkan laporan Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor (MDHS), JKR dan IKRAM masih terdapat pergerakan tanah di kawasan kejadian.

Sehubungan itu, katanya, pemantauan akan terus dijalankan pihak berkuasa dan tempohnya dianggarkan dalam satu hingga tiga minggu.

“Kerajaan Negeri pentingkan keselamatan penduduk. Buat masa ini kita belum boleh benarkan penduduk kembali ke rumah.

“Pada masa sama, pihak pengurusan sedang berusaha membawa masuk blok konkrit untuk menahan tebing supaya tanah tidak runtuh. Jika usaha ini berjaya, penduduk boleh kembali ke rumah masing-masing dalam masa terdekat,” katanya.

Kejadian tanah runtuh di pangsapuri Teratai, petang semalam dianggap terburuk setakat ini dengan penduduk di blok K dan L dipindahkan ke pusat penempatan sementara iaitu tiga sekolah berhampiran.

Kali pertama kejadian hampir sama berlaku pada 2009.

Although Azmin Is Busy With Duties As MB, He Still Does Housework – Wife

AMPANG – The Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali, is not just committed to working as a representative of the people on the outside, but he also works hard in doing work at home.

His wife, Shamsider Taharin, likened Mohamed Azmin as someone who works hard and likes to do and complete his work on his own.

She said that that is Mohamed Azmin’s nature which she likes because Mohamed Azmin is someone who likes tidiness and perfection.

“He is a very hands-on person so much so that I seldom ask him to do housework. He would take the vacuum on his own and clean the house, especially on festive days.

“When he is free at home, he does not only do everything without being asked. That is Azmin” said Shamsidar to Selangor Kini.

When met after the Deepavali contribution presentation ceremony by the Selangor Women’s Welfare and Charity Organisation (PEKAWANIS) at the Dato’ Ahmad Razali Hall here.

Commenting further Shamsidar however does not see Mohamed Azmin’s appointment as the Menteri Besar creating a gap in his relationship with his family, especially their children.

She said that when he is free, Mohamed Azmin is smart in finding time, and in fact, their family’s relationship is very close.

“Sometimes Azmin organises meetings for his work at home to be close to the family.

“In fact, in his busyness recently, he has also managed to celebrate his child’s birthday, although not on the supposed date, but his thoughts and time is sufficient.

“He remembers important dates, even with six children. Everyone reminds each other, so how can he not remember,” she said.

Perutusan Deepavali YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

22 Oktober 2014

Pertembungan berterusan falsafah kehidupan manusia dengan nilai-nilai kepercayaan merupakan perjuangan di antara kegelapan dan cahaya.

Bagi masyarakat Hindu, Deepavali serta festival utama lainnya seperti Thaipusam merupakan satu tempoh pengabdian dan pembersihan diri mendakap prinsip-prinsip kerendahan diri dan kezuhudan — kejayaan ilmu pengetahuan dan kesedaran mengatasi kebodohan dan keangkuhan.

Signifikan keagamaan menerusi perayaan Deepavali terhadap masyarakat Hindu adalah pelbagai namun ke semuanya berakarkan kepada idea cahaya terjelma. Dalam teks Hindu klasik — Puranas — Deepavali diraikan tatkala Dewa Krishna menewaskan Naraka yang jahat. Satu lagi rujukan menjelaskan tentang kelahiran Dewi Lakshmi dari lautan kosmik. Di dalam epik Mahabhrata, Deepavali melambangkan kepulangan Pandawa Bersaudara dari pemencilan manakala di dalam epik Ramayana pula menyatakan Deepavali sebagai tempoh ‘cahaya agung’ tatkala Rama bersama isterinya Sita dan saudaranya Laksmana kembali dari pemencilan panjang untuk memerintah kerajaan mereka dengan “adil”. Penganut yang taat pada Dewi Ibu meraikan Deepavali sebagai kesinambungan kepada Dewi-Dewi “Vilaya Thandava” — “Tarian Kehidupan-Nya” untuk mewujudkan peraturan dan keadilan di alam sejagat.

Sebagai rakyat negeri Selangor yang turut berkongsi kemeriahan sambutan istimewa bersama-sama para penganut agama Hindu, kita sewajarnya menghayati signifikan kerohanian mengenai perayaan ini. Di atas semangat persefahaman, kita berupaya mencipta asas kepada sikap saling menghormati dalam mewujudkan sebuah masyarakat yang stabil dan makmur berdasarkan prinsip keamanan dan empati. Menerusi asas-asas inilah maka prinsip keadilan, integriti dan kemuliaan rakyat dapat disuburkan.

Atas semangat tersebut, saya mengucapkan selamat menyambut Deepavali kepada semua penganut agama Hindu. Semoga sambutan pada kali ini diraikan dengan penuh kebahagiaan dan kemakmuran.

MOHAMED AZMIN ALI

Deepavali Address
YAB Mohamed Azmin Ali, Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor
22 October 2014

The timeless preoccupation of humanity’s philosophical life and life of beliefs has been the struggle between darkness and light.

For the Hindu community, Deepavali, along with another principal festival, Thaipusam, signifies a period of devotion and self-renewal to the principles of humility and self-effacement – the triumph of self-knowledge and self-realization over ignorance and the ego.

The religious significance of Deepavali among the Hindu community are varied, but are all rooted in the idea of the Personified Light. In the classical Hindu text – Puranas – Deepavali is celebrated when Lord Krishna defeats the evil tyrant Naraka. Another reference can be traced to the birth of the Goddess Lakshmi from the churning of the cosmic oceans. In the ancient epic The Mahabharata, Deepavali signifies the return of the Pandava Brothers from their years of self-imposed exile while the complementary epic The Ramayana mentions Deepavali as a period of “great light” when Rama, with his consort Sita and his brother Laksmana return from a period of exile to reign “justly’ over their kingdom. Devotees of the Mother Goddess celebrate Deepavali as a continuation of the Goddesses “Vilaya Thandava” – Her “Dance of Life” to establish order and justice in the universe.

As citizens of the state of Selangor who share in the celebrations of this auspicious festival by followers of the Hindu faith, we ought to be reminded of the deep spiritual significance of these celebrations. It is in the spirit of understanding that we are truly able to create the foundations for the mutual respect imperative to creating a stable and prosperous society based on peace and empathy. It is upon these foundations that the principles of justice, integrity and dignity of citizenry can flourish.

In that spirit I wish all followers of the Hindu faith a blessed and prosperous Deepavali.

MOHAMED AZMIN ALI