AZMIN ALI

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Month: November 2015

Ucapan Dasar Timbalan Presiden dan Ucapan Perasmian Kongres Angkatan Muda & Wanita KEADILAN 2015

Alhamdulillah, sekali lagi pimpinan dan anggota Wanita KEADILAN dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN berhimpun dalam Kongres Nasional Tahunan yang menjadi platform untuk menggabung tenaga dan pemikiran bagi melakar halatuju parti.

Cabaran hari ini menuntut kita untuk mengatur, menyusun langkah dan strategi bagi menjana kemenangan untuk rakyat dan membina kemakmuran negara.

Ini Parti kita. Ini Kongres kita. Kita terpanggil untuk berhimpun di sini bagi membincangkan agenda perjuangan KEADILAN.

Jangan sama sekali kita membenarkan orang luar untuk menentukan masa depan parti. Saya yakin generasi muda dalam Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN mampu memenuhi aspirasi rakyat dan membawa gagasan parti dalam masyarakat untuk mengangkat martabat umat dan maruah negara.

Tatkala laungan Reformasi bergema di jalan raya di seluruh pelusuk negara pada tahun 1998, YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad dan YB Dr. Afif Bahardin masih di bangku sekolah. Gerakan rakyat itulah yang mendorong kedua-dua anak muda ini untuk melangkah berani memimpin gerakan anak muda ke medan jihad melawan kezaliman dan kebobrokan.

Dua hari lalu, anak kecil saya, Basheer yang berusia 15 tahun dipanggil polis untuk merakamkan keterangan kerana menyertai perhimpunan aman BERSIH. Saya bersyukur dan bangga kerana walaupun usianya masih muda, Basheer berani menyatakan kebenaran di hadapan Inspektor Hasrul dan bertekad untuk bersama menentang kezaliman. Saya yakin inilah benih-benih yang telah kita semai sejak Reformasi dan bakal menjadi agen perubahan di masa hadapan.

KEADILAN juga mempunyai aset Wanita yang dipimpin oleh YB Zuraida Kamarudin dan YB Haniza Talha yang telah membawa pencerahan dalam masyarakat supaya kepentingan dan hak wanita turut dibicarakan oleh golongan lelaki senada dengan “He for She Campaign” anjuran Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu.

Inilah sumbangan KEADILAN kepada Malaysia. KEADILAN menyediakan kepimpinan yang wibawa untuk masa depan negara. Negarawan ulung Malaysia, Almarhum Tun Ghazali Shafie berkata politik bukanlah larian pecut sebaliknya “it is a marathon.”

Perjalanan politik Winston Churchill wajar menjadi inspirasi kepada anak muda yang istiqamah dalam perjuangan. Beliau memasuki parlimen ketika berusia 25 tahun dan menjadi Menteri Pertahanan Laut pada umur 36 tahun. Pada usia 48 tahun, beliau kalah dalam pilihan raya, namun, dua tahun kemudian beliau kembali ke Parlimen.

Ketika Perang Dunia Kedua, beliau dilantik menjadi Perdana Menteri. Setelah berjaya memimpin negaranya dalam Perang Dunia, beliau meletakkan jawatan kerana partinya kalah dalam pilihan raya. Tiga tahun kemudian, partinya menang semula dan Churchill kembali menjadi Perdana Menteri sehingga beliau berumur 80 tahun.

Kita lihat pula Deng Xiaoping yang beroperasi dalam sistem politik yang sangat berlainan. Tatkala berusia 29 tahun, beliau terlibat dalam Long March yang sangat bersejarah dan memukau imaginasi anak muda zaman moden. Beliau dilantik menjadi Setiausaha Agung Parti Komunis China. Perbedaan pendapat beliau dengan Mao Zedong menyebabkan beliau dilucutkan dari segala jawatan dan disingkir dari kepimpinan sebanyak tiga kali.

Beliau kembali ke tampuk kepimpinan tertinggi parti sebagai Paramount Leader ketika berumur 73 tahun dan melakukan reformasi yang mengalih dari dasar ekonomi sosialis kepada ekonomi pasaran terbuka. Deng Xiaoping menjadi bapa kepada kemunculan China sebagai ekonomi terbesar di dunia.

Kecekalan YB Dato’ Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail memimpin KEADILAN daripada sebuah parti yang kecil sehingga muncul sebagai parti yang dominan dalam politik negara harus menjadi iktibar kepada Wanita.

Ketokohan beliau setara dengan kecekalan Aung San Suu Kyi di Myanmar. Kejayaan National League for Democracy menambah bukti betapa besarnya sumbangan wanita dalam pembangunan demokrasi.

Sementara semangat dalam perjuangan adalah satu faktor yang penting, tetapi harus diingat bahawa perjuangan adalah marathon. Kita harus punya tenaga, kegigihan, kesabaran, disiplin bagi menelurusi liku-liku, ombak dan onak duri serta gelombang tsunami perjuangan.

Pimpinan Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN harus mengatur strategi yang ampuh dalam persediaan menghadapi Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-14. Langkah yang mendesak ialah untuk melaksanakan program perkaderan di kalangan anak muda supaya mereka menghayati idealisma perjuangan parti serta menjadi penggerak di akar umbi. Saya bersedia menyokong usaha ini dengan menyediakan kemudahan dan fasiliti untuk program perkaderan.

Pimpinan Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN mempunyai tanggungjawab yang besar untuk menggalas harapan dan memenuhi aspirasi rakyat.

Tatkala pentadbiran Putrajaya sedang bergelut dengan krisis kepimpinan; kegawatan ekonomi yang memberi kesan langsung kepada rakyat dan kecelaruan dasar yang menghakis keyakinan pelabur dan masyarakat perniagaan; Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN perlu bersedia untuk menonjolkan kepimpinan dan menggarap seluruh kekuatan, memupuk perpaduan di kalangan rakyat merentasi politik partisan untuk membawa negara keluar dari kegelapan kepada pencerahan. Anak muda dalam KEADILAN harus mempunyai courage of conviction untuk menjayakan gagasan Asian Renaissance.

As expounded by Anwar Ibrahim, “The Asian Renaissance entails the growth, development and flowering of Asian societies based on a certain vision of perfection, societies imbued with truth and the love of learning, justice and compassion, mutual respect and forbearance and freedom with responsibility. There is renewal of faith and assertion of multiculturality.”

Dua tahun lalu, saya telah melontarkan gagasan temu tembung melangkahi belahan dan jurang politik, transcending the political divide demi untuk rakyat dan negara. Ini bukanlah suatu pandangan yang sumbang bahkan ianya bersesuaian dengan sifat dan jatidiri politik Malaysia yang beraksi di atas pentas masyarakat yang rencam namun sederhana wataknya. 1969 mencetuskan ketidak stabilan politik dan rusuhan kaum. Tragedi ini mengundang Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak mengambil langkah bijaksana dan berlapang dada melalui pembentukan Muafakat Nasional. Rukun Negara diperkenalkan sebagai ideologi negara.

Dasar Ekonomi Baru digubal untuk melaksanakan social engineering bagi mencapai keadilan sosial. Dasar Kebudayaan Kebangsaan dirumuskan untuk mewujudkan rupa bangsa Malaysia.

Kita perlu mengambil iktibar dan inspirasi daripada lipatan bersejarah ini. Kini, tatkala negara sekali lagi dicengkam krisis, kita perlu berjiwa besar mengenepikan partisan politics untuk menyelamatkan tanah air dan anak watan.

Ketua Umum Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim turut mengungkap keperluan Konsensus Nasional selepas Pilihan Raya Umum Ke 13 ketika Pakatan Rakyat memiliki batas moral yang tinggi setelah memperolehi 52 peratus sokongan rakyat. Pemimpin Lembaga Swadaya Masyarakat, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, juga telah menyeru untuk maksud yang sama pada awal tahun ini.

Konsensus Nasional yang diperlukan hari ini harus memupuk hubungan yang harmoni antara kaum dan agama, melakukan reformasi pilihan raya, menyuburkan ruang demokrasi dalam masyarakat, menggubal dasar ekonomi yang menjamin pertumbuhan dan keadilan sosial seperti yang terungkap dalam Agenda Ekonomi Malaysia dan Buku Jingga; dan membina asas kepada Malaysia yang kuat dan gagah untuk generasi akan datang.

Generasi akan datang pastinya akan berdepan dengan cabaran dan tuntutan baru yang menuntut kita untuk berbincang secara berlapang dada dan bertanggungjawab mengenai kontrak sosial yang dibentuk hampir 50 tahun yang lalu tanpa tercabut daripada kerangka Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Ini penting untuk generasi muda melakar masa depan yang lebih terjamin, membentuk masyarakat yang cerdas dan berdaya saing serta membina jatidiri anak Malaysia.

Saya yakin rakyat bersedia, kerana merekalah yang lebih menderita sekiranya krisis sekarang berterusan. Kita amat bersimpati dengan penjawat awam yang terpaksa berkhidmat di bawah rejim Putrajaya yang korup, rejim yang mengabaikan kepentingan rakyat dan mencemarkan imej negara di mata dunia. Kita juga menyelami kekecewaan penjawat awam kerana kebergantungan Putrajaya hari ini dengan perunding asing dan meminggirkan idea dan peranan penjawat awam.

Penjawat awam menyedari keperluan melakukan perubahan dan pembaharuan bagi negara menghadapi cabaran abad ke-21. Mereka lebih memahami konteks sejarah, persekitaran sosio-politik dan kebudayaan Malaysia, serta komited terhadap visi Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara maju yang kuat.

Pengalaman saya di Selangor meyakinkan saya bahawa penjawat awam setia kepada nilai dan etika profesyen mereka. Apabila mereka diberikan ruang, peluang dan pengiktirafan, mereka akan menjalankan tanggungjawab dengan cemerlang demi kemajuan negeri.

Penjawat awam di Selangor membuktikan kesetiaan mereka kepada pentadbiran negeri hari ini melalui pelaksanaan dasar-dasar yang diputuskan oleh pihak eksekutif negeri dan kesungguhan mereka mengutip hasil yang jauh lebih besar daripada sasaran bagi tahun 2015. Kita telah menunjukkan bagaimana persefahaman dan permuafakatan yang digembling atas prinsip ketelusan dan kebertanggungjawaban telah menjayakan gagasan Pembangunan Berkualiti, Rakyat Dipeduli.

Kutipan hasil Negeri Selangor telah melonjak kepada RM 2.3 bilion sehingga penghujung November 2015 melepasi unjuran awal sebanyak RM 1.97 bilion. Kita juga telah berupaya untuk meningkatkan rizab negeri kepada RM 3.6 bilion sehingga penghujung September 2015. Sebagai menghargai sumbangan penjawat awam yang setia kepada prinsip nilai dan perofesionalisma mereka, Kerajaan Negeri telah memberikan bonus satu bulan setengah gaji berbanding Putrajaya yang hanya memberi elaun khas sebanyak RM 500 sahaja.

Sementara kita mendukung perdagangan bebas yang boleh menjamin kemakmuran ekonomi, TPPA mestilah dibahaskan secara terbuka demi untuk melindungi kedaulatan negara. Namun, Putrajaya gagal menampilkan kepimpinan sebuah negara yang berdaulat dan merdeka dan bermaruah.

Hari ini, kita dikejutkan lagi dengan langkah terdesak Najib menjual keseluruhan aset strategik penjana kuasa Edra Global Energy kepada China dengan nilai RM 9.87 bilion sebagai langkah untuk menebus hutang 1MDB.

Ini merupakan langkah yang sangat tidak patriotik memandangkan pemilikan syarikat penjana kuasa merupakan kepentingan nasional. Walhasil, beliau telah melutut dan menagih kepada kuasa asing. Penjualan Edra Global Energy kepada China kelihatan berkaitan dengan persoalan keselamatan Laut China Selatan dimana China secara agresif mendakwa memiliki Laut China Selatan di dalam ruang “Nine-Dash-Line”.

Sidang Kemuncak ASEAN baru-baru ini telah gagal membentuk muafakat ASEAN berhubung dengan keselamatan Laut China Selatan yang mengancam kestabilan rantau ini.

Adalah suatu tragedi, ASEAN mempunyai doktrin ZOPFAN (Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality) yang dicetuskan oleh Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak tetapi dicabuli oleh puteranya sendiri kerana Najib menikus di depan kuasa asing.

Kepimpinan Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN perlu menghayati dan memiliki pemikiran serantau yang dipelopori oleh Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Alhamdulillah, pada awal minggu ini, saya telah berkesempatan untuk berucap di “International Conference on the World Forum for Muslim Democrats” anjuran The Sasakawa Peace Foundation di Jakarta yang diasaskan oleh Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Wacana ini bertujuan untuk memupuk dan mengajak demokrat Muslim dari seluruh dunia untuk mengembangkan Islam dengan pendekatan yang sederhana dalam menangani isu terorisma dan ekstrimophobia.

Selain bertemu dan berbincang dengan tokoh kepimpinan seperti Gabenur Kota Jakarta, Bapak Basuki Tjahaja Purnama dan Bapak Irman Gusman, Ketua Dewan Perwakilan Daerah (DPD) Republik Indonesia; saya dapat menyaksikan bahawa demokrasi yang dihirup sejak era Reformasi 1998 di negara Muslim terbesar dunia itu, kini telah menampakkan hasilnya. Reformasi di Indonesia adalah seusia dengan ledakan Reformasi di Malaysia, 17 tahun lalu.

Justeru itu, saya ingin menganjurkan supaya Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN perlu segera membuat jaringan kerjasama politik dan demokrasi dengan pimpinan muda di rantau ini supaya kepentingan bersama serta solidariti demokrasi di ASEAN dapat dibina atas prinsip yang jelas.

Sementara KEADILAN menyambut kelahiran AMANAH dan menerima dalam keluarga besar kita, KEADILAN akan meneruskan tahaluf siyasi dengan PAS dan kerjasama dengan PSM serta parti-parti politik di Sabah dan Sarawak dan NGO yang menjuarai hak serta agenda rakyat.

Hanya dengan muafakat utuh tanpa dibelenggu prejudis serta prasangka yang menebal, kita mampu mencapai kemenangan. Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim seringkali mengingatkan pimpinan dan anggota Parti supaya mempertahankan ideologi reformasi yang berteraskan prinsip keadilan, kebebasan dan pencerahan dengan mewujudkan satu muafakat besar (grand coalition) yang bersifat inklusif untuk menentang UMNO dan BN. Sebagai pemimpin dan anggota parti reformasi, kita mesti bersikap tawaddhu’ (humility) dan bukannya angkuh, sombong dan bengkeng. Muafakat kita dalam Pakatan Harapan bersama DAP dan AMANAH akan terus dibina di atas prinsip dan solidariti untuk menentang UMNO-BN.

Ini adalah ketetapan yang diambil oleh Majlis Pimpinan Pusat (MPP) Khas yang bersidang pada 11 Oktober 2015 lalu, yang perlu dipertahankan oleh anggota parti. Kita mahu semua pihak khususnya rakan-rakan kita menghormati pendirian yang diambil oleh KEADILAN dan jangan sekali-kali cuba melaga-lagakan pimpinan KEADILAN. Budaya KEADILAN amat segar. Kita meraikan perbedaan pandangan tetapi kita tidak sama sekali mengizinkan perpecahan.

Saya yakin KEADILAN sekali lagi akan muncul sebagai parti terkuat untuk menyatupadukan seluruh rakyat Malaysia dan mencetuskan gelombang kemenangan dalam Pilihan Raya Umum Ke 14.

Anak muda perlu memiliki keyakinan. Milikilah keyakinan diri seperti yang dimiliki oleh Usamah bin Zaid. Beliau dilantik oleh Baginda Rasulullah SAW sebagai panglima perang tatkala baru berumur 18 tahun.

Dalam perjuangan politik hari ini kita perlu menggunakan pelbagai perkakas atau tools, media sosial dan teknologi. Kemahiran menggunakan media sosial dan pelbagai teknologi baru dalam komunikasi akan memberikan kita kelebihan dalam perjuangan. Ini adalah ruang kepakaran anak muda.

Saya mahu merasai kehadiran Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN di kampus, di bandar dan desa, di ruang nyata dan alam maya. Lebih satu juta anak muda akan mengundi buat pertama kalinya dalam Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-14. Sebahagian mereka adalah lepasan universiti dan kolej yang dibebani oleh hutang PTPTN, dan sebahagian yang lebih besar hanyalah lepasan SPM yang bergelut untuk mendapat pekerjaan. Graduan muda dan pasangan yang baru mendirikan rumah tangga pula menghadapi masalah hutang isi rumah. Golongan berpendapatan rendah dan sederhana tertekan dengan kos sara hidup yang tinggi. Memenangi akal dan hati nurani mereka adalah tanggungjawab kita bersama sebagai sebuah gerakan rakyat.

Wanita KEADILAN telah berjaya mengangkat isu wanita dan disambut oleh Kerajaan Negeri Selangor melalui pelaksanaan pelbagai dasar wanita termasuk program latihan, pendidikan dan kebajikan yang dipimpin oleh YB Dr. Daroyah Alwi. Syabas kepada Wanita KEADILAN.

Belanjawan 2016 telah memperkenalkan bebarapa inisiatif baru termasuk program perintis Selangor Homemaker Program, di mana wanita profesional diberi peluang untuk memohon waktu bekerja secara anjal atau bekerja dari rumah.

Di samping itu, lebih banyak pusat penjagaan anak-anak (Affordable Childcare Centre) akan didirikan di kawasan perumahan mampu milik dengan prasarana yang lengkap bagi membolehkan anak-anak kita diasuh dengan selamat dan sempurna.

Angkatan Muda KEADILAN harus berani dan ke depan dalam menjuarai isu anak muda – pendidikan, latihan, pekerjaan dan sosio ekonomi keluarga muda.

Kerajaan Negeri Selangor yakin potensi dan keupayaan anak muda untuk membangunkan masyarakat. Apabila saya diberikan amanah untuk menerajui Negeri Selangor, saya telah melantik ramai pemimpin muda di kalangan Pakatan Rakyat untuk mengambil tanggungjawab sebagai Exco Kerajaan Negeri. Dua daripadanya adalah dari KEADILAN iaitu YB Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad dan YB Amirudin Shari. Teruskan perjuangan untuk membela anak muda demi masa depan yang lebih cerah. Perpaduan yang utuh di kalangan pimpinan Angkatan Muda adalah pra-syarat untuk mencapai kejayaan yang bermakna bagi memenuhi aspirasi rakyat.

Teman-teman seperjuangan sekalian. Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim telah menyalakan obor Reformasi. Saudara-saudari bertanggungjawab untuk menjulang obor ini sehingga ke Putrajaya. Kita akan menyatukan rakyat, menggembleng kekuatan demi membawa perubahan, menyelamatkan negara dari rejim durjana, menjana pertumbuhan ekonomi dan mencapai keadilan sosial. Marilah menuju kejayaan. Ayuh, kibarkan panji KEADILAN. Demi generasi akan datang, kita akan memastikan sebuah negara Malaysia yang kuat, gemilang dan terhormat.

Maka, dengan lafaz Bismillahir rahmannir rahim marilah kita sama-sama menyempurnakan Majlis Perasmian Bersama Kongres Nasional Tahunan Ke-11 Wanita dan Angkatan Muda KEADILAN Tahun 2015.

Press Release by YAB Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

26 November 2015

Press Release

I refer to the incessant attacks upon Nurul Izzah Anwar over the meeting with Jacel Kiram.

Nurul Izzah and Tian Chua have explained that they had not arranged for any such meeting, and that Jacel was invited by the hosts which included the Office of the Vice President of Philippines.

No evidence has been produced by the government to controvert this explanation.

Despite this, top government leaders and police leadership have spared no effort in vilifying Nurul Izzah including making wild allegations of treasonous conduct. These politically motivated attacks are disgraceful and cowardly.

In this regard, the latest move by BN MPs to take punitive action against Nurul Izzah through Parliament is both undemocratic and a gross abuse of the Parliamentary process. If carried through, it is nothing short of the tyranny of the majority showcasing once again BN as the big bully on the block.

This harassment must stop and BN leaders should instead answer the public’s questions on the various national financial scandals gripping the country.

MOHAMED AZMIN ALI

 

[SPEECH] Selangor International Expo (SIE) 2015

1. Thank you for joining us today for this inaugural international trade expo and supporting us in this great endeavor.

2. Indeed, this is a very significant expo as it brings together business owners from not just Selangor but from all over the country, the ASEAN region and other parts of the world.

3. On behalf of Selangor, I would like to welcome all the participants – both visitors and exhibitors – from China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom and Europe. You have made the right decision to come to Selangor and participate in this major event.

4. We are confident that this Expo will be a great platform for trade, investment and business expansion within the highly developed industrial and economic eco-system of Selangor.

5. The State of Selangor is the largest contributor to the national economy totaling about one quarter of the Gross Domestic Product of Malaysia.

6. We are strategically located as a regional centre with major infrastructure facilities such as Port Klang as well as the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

7. Our economy grows on average at a rate of more than 5 % per annum and attracts investors from all over the world. We have always maintained an open-door policy to traders and investors since the old days.

8. It is no surprise therefore that we have become a destination of choice for corporations from Japan, the US, Korea, China and Taiwan, Germany, the UK, France, Singapore, Australia and Thailand among many others.

9. In recent years, Selangor’s investment inflows have shifted to high-quality investment projects driven by highly specialized small and medium-sized enterprises. They play a crucial role in supporting many major multinational giants already invested in the state.

10. Our new core clusters span sectors such as Aerospace, Automotive, E&E, Life Sciences, Food and Machinery. In this regard, the Selangor International Expo 2015 is part and parcel of our initiatives to strengthen the competitiveness and development of these sectors and clusters.

11. In our budget for 2016, I announced that Selangor will embark on a transformational leap to become a Smart State that will, among other things, take us to the next level in industrial and economic development.

12. Integral to this paradigm change is our new industrial master plan, a transport master plan, educational programmes and initiatives, and a restructuring of our essential power and water utilities.

13. These initiatives are all subsumed under an economic blueprint that is humane and caring and guided by a policy of governance based on accountability and transparency.

14. I therefore assure all our investors that in return for your ventures and confidence in us, we will give you a clean, open and efficient government.

15. With all these frameworks in place, Selangor will not only have a bright future, but will remain the golden state of Malaysia.

16. Our youth is truly the future of our society and in Selangor we believe in entrepreneurship as a means of elevating the standard of living, becoming innovative, dynamic and advanced. The state government has introduced programmes to not only foster the employability, but the entrepreneurial spirit of our young people.

17. In this regard, it is fitting that I mention the initiative of YBDato’ Teng Chang Khim in our recent launching of the Selangor Digital Creative Centre. This is totally in line with our Smart Selangor vision and the SDCC will become a major training and knowledge centre for Selangor’s entrepreneurs.

18. I believe that this expo is more than a platform for traders as it will also offer a medium for exchange of goods, information, business opportunities and a venue to expand your horizon.

19. As ASEAN is a relatively new and trending market place, Selangor companies may use this platform to connect beyond our borders into the region and even the world.

20. Our foreign exhibitors and visitors should make use of Selangor as a gateway for the whole ASEAN region. We offer you a great business environment, a multilingual workforce and excellent connectivity.

21. Let this Expo be the new avenue of trade and investment as well as the bridge for building strong relationships and collaborations between successful and sustainable corporations, regions and states. Let us develop a better future and pave the way for growth and innovation.

Thank you.

[SPEECH] Second International Conference On The World Forum For Muslim Democrats

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Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

1. The major convulsions that have gripped the worldand that have been dominating the media headlines for the last two decades share a common link. They all point to either individuals or organisations that are Muslim or at least they claim to be so.

2. But on closer examination, we find that much of the instability and violence, the destruction and the killings have less to do with Islam as a religion and more to do with staking out spheres of power and influence.

3. It is true – these individualsand organisations invariably claim that they act according to the commands of Islam and that when they kill, they do so in the name of jihad.

4. But we know it is a lie. Their actions are, in fact, not related to religion or to holy war or are really committed in the name of Allah or for the cause of Islam even though they try very hard to make it look that way.

5. The barbaric killings, bombings, kidnappings and other acts of violence are also not related to Islam as a civilization. Contrary to what was predicted in the past, there is no civilizational clash between the Muslim world and Christendom.
In fact, there is no clash between or among civilizations at all.

6. Indeed, what we are witnessing is the wholesale hijacking of Islam for worldly gain. With increasing rapidity, religion is being exploited to take over territory with rich resources.People are kidnapped for ransom. Women are captured and turned into sex slaves or pawned as bait to men as reward for joining in the fight.

7. In this renewed quest for more power and influence, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has now overtaken al-Qaeda and the other terrorist groupings in the race to show who can wreak more havoc and create more terror. As events in the last month have shown, ISIS has demonstrated that it too can operate beyond geographical boundaries.

8. The recent ruthless attacks and brutal massacres in Paris must be condemned categorically and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

9. Nevertheless, while we must condemn all forms of senseless killing, what tend to be glossed over are the equally inhuman acts and depredations inflicted on other innocent peoples as well.

10. The plight of the Palestinians appears to be all but forgotten until another incident erupts for which the Western controlled media will always ensure that equal if not total blame will be heaped on them.

11. The fact that they have been dispossessed of their homeland, and have to fight tooth and nail just to get by with the territorial prison they are being caged inis somehow lost in the narrative.

12. And there is Myanmar. While we rejoice in the electoral victory secured by Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy, we remain concerned that the plight of the Muslim minorities such as the Rohingyas has not been resolved.On the contrary, we are witnessinga rise of extreme bigotry towards minorities particularly the Muslims and unchecked violence inflicted on them.

13. There is also a real and bloody clash that is happening within the Muslim world itself with Muslims murdering Muslims in the name of Islam. Sectarian strife between Sunni and Shia continues to claim thousands of lives.

14. Across the Middle-East and Pakistan, the inability or sheer refusal to look beyond parochial interests and sectarian beliefs has resulted in a culture of intolerance and hate, a deadly one-dimensional outlook with extreme and violent consequences.

15. The fact is that these turbulent happenings and events are detracting us from our main focus as Muslim democrats.

16. Leaving aside all other extraneous factors, the Muslim world continues to be plagued by the problem of widespread poverty and economic backwardness.

17. The statistics paint a sad picture. While the Muslim population is less than a quarter of the world total, more than half of global poverty is in the Muslim world.

18. There are no positive signs to show that the trend is about to be reversed any time soon. What it means is that the host of problems associated with poverty continue to plague the umma.

19. Employment, education, health care and housing which form the fundamental determinants of societal progress – these are all sorely lacking in Muslim societies. And when we factor in the social inequities between the rich and the poor and the overall political situation, it begs the question:
How much capacity is there left for the questions of freedom, democracy and justice? Will issues of rule of law and an independent judiciary be relevant at all?

20. I have no doubt that the answer to all these questions remains a resounding “yes”. Indeed, we cannot dismiss these issues or set them aside with the hope that they will just disappear.

21. Issues of freedom and democracy are fundamental and together with the questions of proper governance, they hold the key to resolving some of the major problems that beset poverty stricken Muslim countries.

22. Widespread corruption and kleptocracy are definitive features. Tied with this is the length of rule – typically, either the same individual or the same political party will remain in power with no signs of handing over power. Accountability and transparency of governance are essentially brushed aside.

23. So, while the world at large is focussed on the “war against terror” and while we are clear on which side we stand in this war, the underlying fundamental problems of the umma must never be forgotten or even neglected.

24. The situation is not entirely hopeless. The Arab Spring may have most unfortunately turned into a winter which promises to be protracted and harsh.

25. But over here in this part of the world with the largest number of Muslim inhabitants is living testimony of what a nation can achieve when political will meets the umma’s aspirations.

26. I believe that Indonesia’s successful transition from decades of autocracy to democracy since the Reformasi of 1997 should be a showcase of why the fight for freedom and democracy does not end just through the ballot box.

27. That in fact is just the beginning. It is a long hard struggle to have democracy institutionalised – the most challenging being the reconstruction of the constitutional structure and ensuring the separation of powers.

28. In spite of the huge challenges, Indonesia is very fortunate to have had a well-entrenched civil society. This essentially translates into civil Islam and that is the key to the future success of Muslim nations in the quest for freedom and democracy.

29. The lessons of 1965 and the winter of democratic suppression and dictatorial controls that set in with the New Order (OrdeBaru) in a deep sense moulded the emergence of civil Islam.

30. There was no need to craft an Islamic Weltanschauung for it has evolved by natural selection.

31. Today, with Reformasi already 16 years behind us, what can Muslim democrats learn from the legacy of the likes of Gus Durand Nurcholish Madjidin terms of giving the Muslim world the new impetus to deal with the multifarious challenges?

32. I believe we need to revisit the inclusivist concepts within the framework of the foundational themes for Muslim-majority nations.

33. Surely, any signs of a revival of “Islamic puritanism”, or “religious conservatism and social exclusivism” are tell-tale indications of slouching towards militancy, fanaticism and terrorism.

34. This forum will therefore have to address these issues boldly. I make no apology for advocating civil Islam in its widest conception and, to borrow the expression of Robert Heffner, in order to create “a civilized and self-limiting state”.

35. In other words, “the state must act as a guardian of public civility as well as a vehicle of the popular will.”

36. Previously, the prevailing myth was that Muslim societies desire less freedom and democracy. We can safely bury this fallacy. We need greater democratization.

37. At the same time, religious intolerance, fanned by right-wing racist groups will continue to put stress on multi-racial and multi-religious coalitions. We need to be constantly vigilant against that.

38. Let me conclude with a quote from the convener and co-founder of the Forum, Anwar Ibrahim:

“There are no two ways about it. The growth and strengthening of civil society committed to the advancement of democracy and freedom, the establishment of rule of law, and the safeguarding of human dignity, will continue to serve as the bulwark against the forces bent on derailing them.”

Thank you.

Mohamed Azmin Ali
Dato’ Menteri Besar Selangor

[SPEECH] The 5th Malaysia-China Entrepreneur Conference

The Maritime Silk Road and a New Paradigm for Globalization

History tells us that back in the 16th century, when China found out that Portugal had invaded Malacca, the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty was deeply offended. According to the well-known Portuguese adventurer Tomé Pires, Portugal’s application for the establishment of an embassy in China was then rejected in 1521. Two years later, in retaliation for the invasion, the Chinese authorities executed 23 Portuguese and incarcerated many more.[i]

The point of this story is that Malaysia and China have a common history that goes back many centuries. The 15th and 16th centuries essentially tell us about the era of “globalisation” as spearheaded by China then – when the word or the concept was not even heard of.

The Ancient Silk Road as a prototype version of globalisation goes back even further to the Second Century BC when during the Han Dynasty of China, an elaborate network of trade routes connected major cities in the West and the Middle East to China.

Today, we have the Maritime Silk Road which I would regard as an alternative road to globalisation in the 21st century in the sense that it is not a “West-centric” paradigm. To my mind, this new Silk Road offers a more “Asia-centric” approach in trade and commerce, and cultural ties and opens up vast opportunities for multi-lateral dealings not just between China and ASEAN but the rest of Asia as well.

This new conception of globalisation is important because in reality the world is NOT flat, whatever may be the merits of Thomas Friedman’s popular book. And as Joseph Stiglitz puts it: “Not only is the world not flat: in many ways it has been getting less flat.”[ii] So, the idea of there being a level playing field for all countries in the world and that free market capitalism should be the main mantra is just unfounded.

In the early eighties, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the father of the nation’s quantum leap from a traditional agrarian-based economy to a proto-knowledge and newly-industrialised economy with modern infrastructure, propounded the “Look East” policy. To my mind, as we approach 2020, we must continue to look East but with our heads tilted Northwards to an angle that we may call North East!

In this new perspective, the indebtedness of developing countries and international fiscal instability demand a new way of resolving consequential issues. The Bretton Woods institutions created after the end of the Second World War cannot be expected to be able to deal as effectively. For example, as the developing nations in Southeast Asia as well as Africa embark on a renewed drive for infrastructure development, major issues of financing will arise.

In this regard, the formation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) spearheaded by China represents a crucial and significant step in the new path to more egalitarian globalisation. This is because what Asia needs urgently is world class infrastructure in the major logistical sectors and the financial capacities to drive these ventures. This is apart from trade and investment.

The world is looking at China as the rising economic behemoth, some with genuine admiration and some with a tinge of envy. In this regard, China’s commitment to peaceful development is absolutely crucial for the Maritime Silk Road to succeed.

In my view, the suggestion by certain quarters that China would use its military superiority for imperialist designs and geopolitical hegemony is unfounded. Gunboat diplomacy, by way of a display of military might, was used by certain Western powers in the past, to project their influence on weaker nations. Today, it can no longer be regarded as politically correct or even strategically sound.

China, on the other hand, will continue to demonstrate a foreign policy founded on peaceful co-existence with other countries. Therefore, it stands to reason that this Maritime Silk Road venture can only make China even more peaceful in both regional and global terms as it embarks on its voyage to prosperity with the rest of the world.

Having said that, we cannot overstress the paramount importance of China bearing the essentials of soft power. That of course should be done, not as a response to the demands of the West, but as the only logical next step for a nation that may eventually drive the Asian Century.

China, I dare say, will have higher moral ground to lead this change but only if they evolve to harness this soft power – because historically, they have been less imperialist, if at all, as compared to the Western powers.

China may provide global leadership in the economic sphere and also be a major military force to contend with but the Asian century will be defined not by just economic and military might but also by the universal values of freedom, democracy and justice.

On a bilateral scale, I must add that, thanks to the foresight of Malaysia’s second Prime Minister the late Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia was the first member country of ASEAN to establish diplomatic ties with China thereby writing a new chapter in China-ASEAN relations.

We have come a long way since those days. Malaysia is an open economy. Within the ASEAN Economic Community, Malaysia is China’s number one trade destination since 2008 with total bilateral trade turnover of USD 106 billion, and in Asia, we are the third-largest trade partner, after Japan and South Korea.

With the enhancement of economic collaboration in a wide spectrum of areas, including halal food production, health care, tourism and railway construction, we see a huge spike in FDI from China in the markets of Southeast Asia, no doubt thanks to the region’s strategic location.

In this regard, the State of Selangor, as Malaysia’s largest contributor in GDP terms, has its own legitimate reasons to see the success of the Maritime Silk Road venture.

China’s vibrant economic initiative will be pivotal in contributing towards greater economic integration in our region. Selangor aims to be an active partner in this. To tap into the anticipated spike in development and its collateral benefits in all the important economic sectors, Selangor is actively promoting its industrial park and maintaining a green sanctuary and eco-system.

The emphasis is in infrastructure development and the export business. The seminar on internet is noteworthy because Selangor is striving towards becoming the first Smart State in the country and we encourage the move towards the Internet of Things.

I would like to congratulate the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) for organizing this international conference which will, as before, produce tangible results in the form of increased investment and trade.

Even more significantly, such conferences are not just business-centric but go a long way towards enhancing bilateral people to people as well as G-to-G relations between Malaysia and China and the region.

I also wish to thank the organisers for choosing Selangor as the venue for this year’s conference and holding it right here at the seat of the Selangor State government.

Let me conclude with a wise saying from Lao Zi:

“A tree you can barely get your arms around grows from a tiny shoot. A nine-story tower begins as a heap of earth. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Thank you.

 

[i] Suma Oriental of Tome Pires – 2 Vols. Asian Educational Services.

[ii] Joseph Stiglitz, Making Globalization Work, (Norton & Co, 2006)