Isnin, 16 Julai 2012



From ethnic to civic nation building

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 05:25 AM PDT

From ethnic to civic nation building

Sharing The Nation
By Zainah Anwar

Civic nation building can help realise the full potential of all citizens.
IT is time for Malaysians who love this country to ask ourselves this fundamental question: Do we wish to live together as a nation, with common memories and common dreams? Or do we want to prove the pundits of 1957 right that the ethnic and religious divide of this country would eventually see it fall apart.
That the ethnic and religious faultlines of Malaysia are bursting at the seams cannot be denied. The increasing reports of violence and intimidation against political opponents – be they in party politics or in civil society – and the inability to discuss contested issues on race, religion and politics in a rational and balanced manner are ominous of what is in store in the heat of the upcoming elections.
We are a society polarised and the divide is getting wider by the day – the Rukun Negara, Vision 2020, Islam Hadari and 1Malaysia notwithstanding. Why?
About two weeks ago, I attended the inaugural lecture by Dr Muthiah Alagappa for the Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies, established at ISIS Malaysia and funded by the Noah Foundation.
He spoke on his current research topic which is relevant to the state of our nation – "Nation Making in Asia: From Ethnic to Civic Nations?"
Nation making, says Muthiah, may take several forms but at base, there are two approaches. One is on the basis of ethnic or religious community and the other on the basis of citizenship, equality, and commitment to a political creed. The first may be called ethnic nation making and the second, civic nation making. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive. They share some common elements like historic territory and common culture but they also have distinct features. Citizens' interests take centre stage in a civic nation. Group beliefs and interests dominate an ethnic nation.
Muthiah made the point that ethnicity has dominated nation making in Asia. And through a survey of China, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Malaysia, he concludes that this mode of nation building is fast running its course.
Much of what he said helped me to understand why we are in the muddle we are in today. More importantly, he offered a way out. To move from ethnic nation building to civic nation building. Actually to return to our history where once political leaders like Datuk Onn Ja'afar and Tunku Abdul Rahman, like other men of their generation, Nehru in India and Soekarno in Indonesia, who opted to build a civic nation out of multi-ethnic states.
Muthiah asserts that nation making on the basis of ethno-nationalism has been the cause of numerous domestic and international conflicts in post-World War II Asia. Core ethnic groups in control of state power engaged in constructing nations and states on the basis of their own ethnic groups. The core ethnic group develops and deploys state power to protect, remedy, and promote its values and interests including language, culture, demographic predominance, economic welfare, and political dominance. Political and other mobilisation, state institutions, and non-governmental organisations are developed to sustain and reinforce the national imagination of the core ethnic group and its domination of the state.
Their "nationalising state" strategies marginalised other populations residing in the country, provoking counter imaginations of nations also based on ethnicity, leading to violence and proliferation of demands for new nation states in China, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.
Ethnic nation making leads to conflict and violence for several reasons, asserts Muthiah.
First, in multi-ethnic countries, constructing nations on the basis of majority communities implicitly or explicitly led to the formation of minority communities and their destruction or marginalisation. These groups became apprehensive about their futures, stimulating alternative conceptions of nation as well as imagination of new states in which minority communities would become the state-bearing nations. The demand for new nations and states led to violence and war as seen in Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Pakistan.
Second, ethno-national imaginations in homogenous populations were non-accepting of divided nations and of the idea that one nation may support more than one state. The quest for unification of divided nations and the effort to achieve congruence between nation and state were primary causes of inter-state wars in Asia, for example, the Koreas and Vietnam.
Third, ethnic nation making challenged, modified, and in some cases undermined civic nation making, fostering internal conflict in those states.
Fourth, ethnic nation making polarised populations, making them intolerant and unaccepting of plurality and diversity. The forging of a cohesive national community became much more difficult, if not impossible.
Further, Muthiah asserts that if ethnicity continues to dominate nation making, nations will not command the loyalty of all their citizens and national political communities will remain divided and brittle. Asian countries would remain weak as modern nation-states, and unable to realise their full potential. And despite the growing material power of Asian countries, the dream of an Asian century will remain just that – a dream.
Muthiah acknowledges that ethnicity is deeply embedded in political organisation, mobilisation and governance in Asian countries and will not be easily dislodged. Attempts to do so could also provoke counter reaction and violence.
He admits that while civic nation making is not a panacea, it appears better placed to cope with diversity and the challenges of modernisation as well as manage and resolve domestic and international conflicts. He therefore proposes that governments and civil society take mitigating actions by overlaying ethnic conceptions with features of civic nation that emphasise territory, citizenship, and equality.
The civic nation building approach has the potential to enhance the legitimacy of the nation and state in the eyes of disadvantaged and minority groups without negating them in the eyes of the ethnic core. It can help realise the full potential of all citizens. Increased legitimacy of nation and state will help ameliorate conflict, making for increased stability, domestically and regionally.
In countries like Japan, South Korea and Taiwan that are ethnically homogenous and in multi-ethnic states like India and Indonesia, national communities are held together not only by ethnic consciousness but also by political loyalty to a higher ideal, obligations and rights.
Muthiah believes that Malaysia was envisioned as a plural nation with the Malay nation as its nucleus. That conception had ethnic as well as civic nation dimensions. The ethnic dimension related to the special position of the Malays and Malay rulers, as well as the position of the non-Malay populations. The civic dimension emphasised citizenship by birth and naturalisation, democracy, and the constitutional basis for the Malayan nation and state. That blend of ethnicity and civic features in nation making came to be characterised as a historic bargain, the social compact. Over time, however, the plural and civic nation dimensions of nation making in Malaysia weakened, with ethnicity becoming paramount in the post-1969 period.
Apprehension, alienation, mistrust and polarisation grew as emphasis on race, ethnicity and religion dominated the body politic.
Today, 55 years after independence, we are debating the very fundamental foundation of the Malaysian nation: should it be based on ethnicity, religion or be trans-ethnic and trans-religious as advocated by the founding fathers?
For me, the answer is clear. An ethnically and religiously diverse country cannot continue to survive as a nation state in peace and prosperity without all of its citizens feeling a sense of belonging and pride in the nation, and imagining a common national identity and a shared destiny.
Legitimacy and support for our socio-political order and in our institutions must be grounded in consent, not coercion. As an ever expanding educated urban middle class demand rights on the basis of citizenship, change is inevitable. The challenge is to recognise and manage these new realities by strengthening the civic foundations of this multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. I believe there are enough Malaysians, enough history and enough wisdom here to make civic nation building possible.

On the wrong side of the media

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 05:18 AM PDT

On the wrong side of the media

By Joceline Tan

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng is famous for his street-fighter style but he has been fighting on too many fronts and his recent altercation with a popular Chinese vernacular newspaper has stirred up the media fraternity in the state.
BACK in 2010, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng held up a copy of Guang Ming Daily during an event and praised it for a report about his government. Guang Ming, a Chinese vernacular paper with an established Penang base, had published a front page story about business groups in the state expressing support for his administration.
Guan Eng was very pleased with the report which coincided with his second year in office. But his relationship with Guang Ming is now going through a rather rocky phase.
The fallout apparently started after Guang Ming published a rather flamboyant front page story quoting Guan Eng and his wife Betty Chew regarding a pretty female staff who had been a special officer in Guan Eng's office before she was suddenly transferred out. The issue had been in cyberspace for some time but it sort of exploded when it was raised at the Malacca Legislative Assembly where Chew has a seat.
The Guang Ming report titled "Yao yan zhi yu zhi ze (Rumours will not harm a wise man)", among other things, suggested that Guan Eng should have acted the moment the rumours first surfaced.
Media headache: Lim has had a choppy relationship with the Penang media from day one of his administration. He is seen with his politician wife Betty Chew arriving for the public debate with MCA's Dr Chua.
Shortly after the report was published, a senior Guang Ming editor met her former reporter (now working for Guan Eng) at a funeral wake. During their conversation, the editor passed a remark about the report. Word of it reached the Chief Minister, and he issued a strongly-worded statement accusing the paper of "targeting" him.
Guang Ming is a sister paper of Sin Chew Daily and this media group has a record of standing staunchly by their editorial staff. The paper subsequently front-paged their staff's version of the issue alongside Guan Eng's statement. This created a big splash in the Chinese media fraternity, and many journalists were stunned that a conversation at a wake had become a political issue.
It was not the first time Guan Eng was taking issue with the Chinese media in Penang but it had never been on such a scale. In that sense, the Guang Ming episode was a new development in Guan Eng's ties with the Chinese mainstream media.
The Chinese press has traditionally had a good relationship with the DAP. DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang used to tell close aides in the party that "without the Chinese media, there would be no DAP."
"We don't have branches everywhere and our constituents are mostly Chinese-speaking. We would not be where we are today without friends in the Chinese press," said a senior DAP figure.
Kit Siang has had his share of clashes with the media but he does not believe in boycotting newspapers.
He once told the above DAP figure: "Once you boycott, how do you un-boycott without looking bad?"
The controversial front page in Guang Ming Daily.
Or, as one DAP parliamentarian from Penang put it: "The Chinese press helped sweep in the tsunami YBs. We owe a lot to them."
Shortly before the Guang Ming issue, Sin Chew Daily also had a run-in of sorts with Lim, who has a bi-monthly column in the paper. Some time in June, he wrote about his launch of free Wi-Fi in Penang, lauding it as an avenue where people could have free access to information and news. The mainstream media, he noted, carried only one part of the news and that once the election starts, the media which is considered to be impartial will be one-sided.
Sin Chew is quite an upright paper and has taken the moral high ground on a host of issues. The paper's bosses felt that Lim was entitled to his views but they were appalled that their paper was being used to condemn the mainstream media of which they are an integral part.
"It's like I invite you to my chicken rice shop to eat for free. Then after eating, you tell other customers, 'don't eat here, you will get stomachache, go to another shop'," said a Sin Chew staff.
Lim's article appeared in the paper's evening edition but it was missing from the usual spot the next day. However, the paper came under a lot of pressure and had to carry an apology for not informing Guan Eng that the column would be withdrawn. The matter is over and done with but it left a bad taste in the mouth of the Sin Chew staff.
Sin Chew sees itself as a reflection of the Chinese community and an opinion shaper. Its editorial leadership has always held that if Chinese leaders are not doing right, then it is the paper's duty and responsibility to point it out.
For instance, at the height of the MCA power struggle several years ago, the paper declared then MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat as the "worst president in the history of the MCA". Ong's supporters were furious but the paper felt it had to do it.
"We know our job, please don't run us down for nothing. It is not personal. We have criticised (Datuk Seri Dr) Chua Soi Lek when he was wrong. But when he does the right thing, we give due respect," said Datuk C.C. Liew, Sin Chew's former managing director and now the group's media advisor.
Liew is one of those Chinese media figures who go back some ways with politicians like Kit Siang.
"Kit Siang is a true reader of every newspaper. He can be critical but he does not harass us to make demands and to accuse. I take my hat off to him for that even though we may not agree on politics. People like him understand the principle of press freedom and that includes taking news that are unfavourable as long as it is not libelous," said Liew.
More recently, Guan Eng has lambasted The Star for its reports on the hills of Penang. He did not like the paper highlighting the complaints of Penang people about how hillslope development had affected their neighbourhoods.
Challenge from CM
Last week, in the midst of his public debate with MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, Lim referred to The Star's front page report on "The Crying Hills" of Penang and challenged The Star's group chief editor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai to an open dialogue on the issue.
The latest issue of the state government publication, Bulletin Mutiara, continued the attack and accused the paper of "rewriting history" on the hills issue. This is probably a record of sorts because the paper had never been singled out this way in the state newsletter.
When The Star highlighted the hills dilemma, it laid the blame squarely on the policies of the Barisan government and urged the present government to find solutions for the future.
Former DAP senator Tun Aziz Ibrahim who had followed the story with great interest said: "If what the previous government did was wrong, your duty as the present government is to come up with policies to correct the wrong. If you allow it to continue, then you are endorsing a wrong and two wrongs do not make a right."
Not all the Penang DAP leaders are taking the same combative road. Instead of locking horns with the media and the angry groups of residents, senior state exco members like Chow Kon Yeow and Phee Boon Poh have tried to engage the groups. They say they are now the government of the day and their priority is to find solutions to problems rather than play the blame game.
Guan Eng's extreme reaction to news reports that are not to his liking has been a subject of discussion among many journalists. They are wondering whether such extreme responses to issues is coming directly from him or if it is a result of the staff around him.
His office is located on the 28th floor of Komtar and, according to the media folk in Penang, the "28th Floor" is being spoken of in the same tone as Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's famous "Fourth Floor".
The boys running Pak Lah's Fourth Floor were very powerful and motivated but they were also inexperienced and in too much of a hurry. As a result, they made mistakes, stepped on toes and became very unpopular.
Both Utusan Malaysia and New Straits Times (NST) have been banned from covering state government functions since 2008. Guan Eng clashed with Utusan Malaysia from day one of his administration. Three months into his term, he had a massive falling-out with NST over bureau chief Sharanjit Singh's analysis of his 100th day in power.
Sharanjit had been covering DAP in Malacca before he was posted to Penang and his parents in Alor Setar and DAP chairman Karpal Singh are family friends. He remembers the day when Guan Eng phoned him at about 7am, shouting over the phone. He had never experienced anything like that in all his years as a journalist and his voice still sounds distraught when recalling that episode.
What upset the paper was that instead of just asking the NST to make clarifications, Guan Eng's press officer sent out a fierce statement to all the media. Some very strong accusations were made against Sharanjit who has kept all the documents for future use.
Some media practitioners think Guan Eng is taking a combative approach with his old friends in the Chinese mainstream media because he has new friends in the new media.
Moreover, everyone knows about the cyber-troopers who stalk the Internet, intimidating journalists who are critical of the party and flooding the pro-Pakatan websites with commentary.
Penang-based columnist Chew Siew Hui, one of the two Guang Mingstaff singled out by Guan Eng in the above incident, said that she has been writing political analyses for the last 10 years, some of which were very critical of former CM Dr Koh Tsu Koon. But neither Dr Koh nor any of his assistants had ever called to complain. The Taiwan graduate said Guan Eng has a lot of supporters, and journalists needed a lot of courage to criticise.
"Fortunately, we have many brave reporters in Penang who insist on speaking up. We will continue to monitor those in power whether it was during Koh Tsu Koon's era or Lim Guan Eng's era," she said.
For a long time, Penang reporters did not have anything nice to say about Guan Eng's predecessor. But now they are saying Dr Koh was a gentleman who did not call up to complain and he was respectful to reporters.
"The scales have dropped from their eyes. Chinese press people have a clearer picture," said a Penang-born historian.
Many DAP politicians in Penang are watching all this with great uneasiness. They know the masses are still with them and they are confident about their hardcore supporters. Their concern is the impact of this type of quarrels on the fence-sitters.
As for the hills issue, they think it is a middle class matter that will not affect the DAP's traditional base.
There have been very few voices from the party joining Guan Eng's fight with the media. The DAP base is still very Chinese in nature and these politicians are anxious to keep ties with the media read by the Chinese.

Responding to the global LGBT agenda

Posted: 16 Jul 2012 05:16 AM PDT

Responding to the global LGBT agenda


The culture wars are no longer about gay rights but about shaping a new global value system.
The whole debate about gay marriage and the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered (LGBT) people is reaching a climax of sorts across North America and Europe.
Britain is in the midst of a showdown between religious groups and the government over Prime Minister David Cameron's plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
In the United States, similar battles are being waged across several states. President Barack Obama, finally, and some would argue, very conveniently, came out of the political closet to endorse gay marriage in time for the upcoming November presidential elections. That endorsement earned him a rare rebuke from Datuk Seri Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
While the ongoing battles over gay marriage continue to draw a lot of attention, the real focus has gone beyond gay rights to shaping a global value system based on LGBT culture.
LGBT culture is itself still evolving as boundaries are relentlessly pushed back to accommodate individual whims and fancies.
Consider, for example, the newspaper report that was headlined, "He's having their baby" about a man who used to be a woman who says he is now pregnant. Though legally classified as a male, he apparently opted to keep his "reproductive rights" intact – meaning that "he" still has ovaries, a uterus and a vagina!
And then there is the case of Miss Canada contestant, Jenna Talackova, who was born male but now regards "herself" as a female after having undergone hormone therapy and "sexual reassignment surgery" (the politically correct term for a sex-change operation). According to press reports, Jenna lied on her application form by stating that she was a "natural born" female and was subsequently expelled from the pageant.
The LGBT community immediately cried foul, alleging gender discrimination; Jenna was allowed back into the competition but did not win.
Meanwhile, an Ottawa exhibition aimed at educating teenagers about sex (as if today's teens need any help) demonstrated twelve different kinds of sexuality, none of them heterosexual.
In schools, textbooks now almost routinely tell stories of Jack and his two dads or Jill and her two mums, portraying gay families as the norm. There are also mandatory gay/straight clubs in all schools in the province of Ontario.
Even comic book superheroes have not been spared. Marvel Comics just "outted" Green Lantern as gay. Who would have thought the poor fellow was struggling all these years with identity issues while trying to save the planet?
And who's next? Could Wonder Woman be a transgendered male? Is there more to the relationship between Batman and Robin after all?
Doesn't the LGBT community have any superheroes of their own? Do they have to raid our childhood memories and remake our superheroes in their own image? Do they have to colour the whole world in rainbow shades in order to feel equal and free?
The blurring of gender identity, the constant promotion of the idea that there is no such thing as normalcy in sexual matters, that gay families are somehow the norm rather than the exception, that anything and everything is morally equal, acceptable and normal is intrinsic to the LGBT agenda.
It has, of course, become politically incorrect to even ask these questions or wonder out loud where the West is heading given the wholesale abandonment of the very value system that underpins Western civilisation. Indeed, those who beg to differ are quickly shouted down and labelled intolerant, hateful and homophobic.
I suppose it won't be long before straight couples and normal families are ridiculed as hopelessly outmoded and harassed for holding on to traditional values.
It might be tempting to think that all this has nothing to do with us in Malaysia, that we can safely retreat behind our own cultural and religious walls and remain unaffected by the emerging LGBT global culture.
The reality, however, is that whatever happens in the West invariably sets the pace for the rest of the world. A global culture is being shaped through television, music, education and the internet that is steadily influencing opinion and moulding attitudes, especially among the youth.
As well, powerful countries like Australia, Britain, Canada and the United States have now made the LGBT agenda one of their foreign policy goals and are aggressively lobbying to make a broad spectrum of LGBT rights mandatory for all countries. Britain and the US have even threatened to withhold aid to developing countries that do not support LGBT rights.
Interestingly, several hard-pressed religious leaders in the West are now looking to Asia, Africa and Latin America for moral support to counter the LGBT agenda. The Third World could well become the last refuge of traditional morality.
It is now incumbent on Third World leadersto develop a measured political, spiritual and intellectual response to the global LGBT agenda.
Harassing the LGBT community and treating them as common criminals, as so many Third World countries have done, is both morally wrong and counterproductive. The real challenge is to find a way to respect basic rights without sacrificing fundamental values or abandoning foundational belief systems as the West has done.
■ Datuk Dennis Ignatius is a 36-year veteran of the Malaysian foreign service. He has served in London, Beijing and Washington and was ambassador to Chile and Argentina. He was twice Undersecretary for American Affairs. He retired as High Commis­sioner to Canada in July 2008.


Posted: 15 Jul 2012 05:17 PM PDT

Manusia sentiasa memakai topeng

SEBENARNYA sebelum merebaknya penyakit H1N1 manusia kebanyakannya telah memakai topeng. Topeng yang selalunya dipakai oleh manusia begini tidak nampak.

Jarang sekali kita mendapati manusia menunjukkan dirinya yang sebenar. Diri yang dilihat oleh orang ramai dengan diri yang sebenar selalunya berbeza. Misalnya kepada umum seseorang pemimpin masyarakat itu boleh menunjukkan bahagian dirinya yang alim, warak, kerap menasihati orang berbuat baik tetapi dirinya yang sebenar jauh berbeza.

Kadang-kadang kita tahu orang itu menyalahgunakan kuasa yang diamanahkan kepadanya tetapi kepada umum dia tidak menampakkan bahagian yang dia menyalahgunakan kuasa tetapi menampilkan bagaimana dia taat sekali menjalankan amanah yang diberi kepadanya.

Hanya mereka yang menjadi mangsa kepada penyalahgunaan kuasanya saja yang tahu diri manusia itu sebenarnya. Oleh sebab mangsa takut atau diancam akan dilakukan sesuatu terhadapnya, mangsa akan terus berdiam diri.

Ada juga yang menyalahgunakan kuasa ini tertangkap atau didakwa di mahkamah tetapi ramai juga yang terus bermaharajalela dengan amalan buruknya. Kadang-kadang sudah jelas seseorang yang melakukan penyalahgunaan kuasa itu bersalah tetapi disebabkan kecekapan peguam berhujah di mahkamah, manusia itu boleh bebas. Banyak kita lihat kes yang sebegini.

Sesetengah peguam itu mempunyai reputasi untuk menyambut kes-kes yang mirip kepada penyalahgunaan kuasa kerana dia tahu kes sebegitu mempunyai publisiti yang tinggi dan kalau dia menang, namanya akan melonjak naik.

Kita perhatikan mereka yang bersalah dari segi gerak laku mereka. Kebanyakan mereka tidak menunjukkan gerak laku orang yang bersalah dan menyesal. Dalam kes-kes rasuah misalnya mereka yang didakwa boleh ketawa-ketawa walaupun mereka sedar orang media sentiasa di hadapan mereka.

Orang sekarang sudah tidak ada rasa malu lagi membuat kesalahan. Mereka yang didapati bersalah kerana mendera pembantu misalnya boleh menampilkan bahagian diri mereka yang sedih konon kerana ingin diberikan pertimbangan.

Kalau dilihat penyeksaan yang telah dilakukannya, nauzubillah, berbanding dengan manusia yang pijak semut pun tak mati dalam mahkamah, sekali lagi beliau memakai topeng.

Bagi mereka yang walaupun tidak jadi mangsa kepada manusia bertopeng ini, tapi ada kalanya tahu apa sebenarnya di belakang topeng orang tertentu. Mereka ini akan ketawa sendirian melihat gelagat manusia yang bertopeng itu.

 Kenyataan mereka mungkin disanjung oleh orang yang tak tahu diri mereka sebenar tetapi bagi mereka yang tahu latarbelakang perangai buruk mereka, mereka akan berdekah ketawa.

Banyak kita terdengar orang terpedaya dengan macam-macam gaya, ditipu duit, ditipu berubat, ditipu berkahwin dan seribu satu macam lagi. Ini kerana orang tidak melihat diri orang yang memakai topeng tersebut. Macam orang sedang bercinta, semuanya seronok, selalu makan angin, selalu tengok wayang, selalu lepak bersama.

Lepas kahwin saja macam monster perangai. Semasa itulah menyesal tak sudah. Walaupun banyak yang boleh dijadikan contoh tetapi manusia mudah lupa dan banyak lagi terus terkena.

Saya masih ingat seorang ustaz saya semasa sekolah agama rendah dahulu yang begitu garang, garang muka, garang perwatakan. Pakai smart siap bercelak. Saya hairan kenapa ustaz itu (datang naik basikal) berbaju Melayu bersamping hari-hari begitu garang.

Korek-korek rupanya dia berminat dengan seorang anak dara kampung itu tetapi tidak dapat sambutan. Jadi dia lepas geram kepada kami anak muridnya. Sebenarnya sebelum dia jatuh hati dengan anak dara kampung itu, dia baik orangnya.

Begitu juga di pejabat. Ketua jabatan mungkin bila mesyuarat baling fail, baling pena, mengherdik, memaki hamun seperti yang terdapat dengan suatu jabatan kerajaan yang saya ada hubungan. Semua orang tahu perangai ketua jabatan tersebut. Rupa-rupanya ketua jabatan itu takut bini di rumah macam tikus jatuh ke beras tetapi di pejabat kalah harimau betina.

Sandiwara manusia ini menarik bagi mereka yang sedar ramai orang yang bertopeng. Kadang-kadang dengan tidak disedari oleh mereka yang bersandiwara ini, tabiat sebenar diri mereka terkeluar. Ini yang banyak kita lihat akhir-akhir ini.

Pergolakan yang kita lihat hari ini baik di peringkat negara mahupun di peringkat antarabangsa, kebanyakan manusia memakai topeng diri mereka. Misalnya di peringkat antarabangsa presiden Amerika dulu, George W. Bush kata Iraq di bawah Saddam Hussein ada senjata yang boleh menjahanamkan dunia tetapi sebenarnya dia hendak menguasai minyak Iraq. Saddam Hussein sudah menjual minyaknya menggunakan Euro.

Kita lihat Presiden Obama sekarang, sambil dia kata ingin merapatkan diri dengan orang Islam, sikap Israel yang degil dan biadap tidak mahu memberhentikan pembangunan rumah di tanah Palestin berterusan.

Berpuluh kali Iran mengatakan kuasa nuklear hanyalah untuk tenaga tetapi terus mempengaruhi dunia mengatakan Iran ialah pengancam ketenteraman dunia. Sebab Israel dekat dengan Iran.

Di negara kita terlalu banyak contoh yang boleh di ketengahkan. Buka saja surat khabar hari-hari terlalu banyak dalam pelbagai bidang kita akan terjumpa sandiwara manusia ini.

Oleh sebab politik penting lebih banyaklah cerita dalam akhbar tentang politik, yang sudah kalah tak tahu nak berundur, yang ditolak pun tak mahu pergi. Sementara itu yang berangan-angan meneruskan angan-angan mereka. Maka begitulah seterusnya.

Seboleh-bolehnya manusia akan menyorok sifat diri mereka yang sebenar. Macam orang homoseksual. Dia tidak akan mengaku dalam masyarakat kita atau mungkin sudah ramai yang berani mengaku mereka homoseksual kalau dilihat gelagat sesetengah orang itu.

Mungkin ada orang itu tiap-tiap bulan buat usrah di rumahnya – panggil kawan-kawan datang dengar ustaz bersyarah pasal agama, makan-makan sikit. Biar orang cakap, "Oh dia itu kuat agama, selalu ada majlis usrah." Padahal perkara yang sebenarnya mungkin mengamalkan sikap "mujur lalu melintang patah."

Bagi Islam, orang yang apabila bercakap dia bohong, bila berjanji dia mungkiri, bila diberikan amanah dia mengkhianati, orang itu tergolong dalam golongan orang munafik. Orang munafik lebih teruk daripada orang kafir. Di zaman Rasullullah, Allah melarang Rasullullah menyembahyangkan orang munafik yang mati. Tetapi manusia sudah takut mati.

DATO' SALLEH MAJID ialah bekas Presiden Bursa Saham Kuala Lumpur (kini Bursa Malaysia)


Posted: 15 Jul 2012 05:03 PM PDT

Himpunan Oren bagi membantah pengadaian aset Felda kepada pelabur asing di Masjid Wilayah Persekutuan, Kuala Lumpur, Sabtu lalu lebih kepada usaha pembangkang untuk mewujudkan persepsi buruk rakyat terhadap usaha kerajaan BN . - utusan/IRWAN MAJID


Tiada sesiapa pun dapat menafikan bahawa kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) di bawah kepimpinan Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak telah melakukan pelbagai langkah bagi tujuan bukan sahaja memperbaiki pengurusan negara tetapi juga meningkatkan taraf hidup rakyat.

Maknanya, perubahan dalam masyarakat diterima dan diuruskan supaya ia dapat memberi manfaat kepada rakyat dan negara tanpa konflik atau menjejaskan keharmonian.

Dalam perancangan dan pelaksanaan yang dilakukan tiada mana-mana kelompok pun terpinggir daripada nenek di kampung hinggalah mahasiswa di menara gading, semuanya mendapat faedah.

Tetapi semua ini tidak mahu diakui oleh pembangkang, mereka resah gelisah dan bagaikan cacing kepanasan apabila usaha kerajaan semakin mendapat sokongan rakyat.


Slogan 'Rakyat Didahulukan, Pencapaian Diutamakan' dan laungan 1Malaysia, seolah-olah mimpi ngeri bagi pembangkang. Mereka menjadi semakin tertekan apabila Perdana Menteri muncul pula dengan program Janji Ditepati.

Semua ini meresah dan membimbangkan pembangkang kerana ketika mereka sedang bergelut dengan usaha meyakinkan rakyat, BN sudah jauh meninggalkan mereka.

Berbanding dengan 2008, pembangkang ketika itu begitu agresif menyerang kerajaan tetapi sekarang berada di posisi bertahan. Sebab itulah, ramai pemerhati politik melihat pembangkang terpaksa terus bergantung kepada politik persepsi kerana hanya itu sahaja satu-satu cara yang akan membolehkan mereka bertahan.

Mengulas perkara ini, penganalisis politik, Prof. Datuk Dr. Mohamed Mustafa Ishak berkata, memberi dan membentuk persepsi buruk ke atas pihak lawan atau seteru politik adalah cara paling berkesan untuk merosakkan segala kebaikan dan sumbangan bermakna yang dilakukan.


Katanya, jika rakyat dan pengundi menerima baik segala dasar, pendekatan dan faedah-faedah besar yang telah dinikmati mereka hasil usaha kerajaan BN, tentulah ini merupakan satu malapetaka politik kepada pembangkang.

''Justeru, supaya rakyat atau orang ramai lupa akan kebaikan yang dilakukan oleh kerajaan atau kebaikan tersebut mahu ditenggelamkan, maka cara paling buruk yang dapat dilakukan pembangkang ialah dengan memberikan persepsi buruk dan negatif kepada kerajaan di mata rakyat.

"Jadi, reka dan carilah apa sahaja yang dapat supaya perkara buruk yang dilihat dan diingati, bukannya kebaikan," katanya ketika dihubungi.

Berikutan itu kita tidak perlu terkejut apabila pembangkang mengadakan perhimpunan itu dan ini semata-mata mahu menarik perhatian rakyat. Begitu juga apabila mereka sengaja membangkitkan sesuatu isu berkaitan kerajaan.

Sama ada perhimpunan mahupun isu yang dibangkitkan, segalanya dilakukan untuk mewujudkan keraguan rakyat terhadap kepimpinan negara.


Pembangkang masih lagi begitu percaya bahawa politik persepsi akan menjadi senjata ampuh kepada mereka, biar pun situasi politik dan pentadbiran negara bukan lagi seperti tahun 2008.

Perhimpunan haram Bersih contohnya, ia dilakukan dengan matlamat untuk menunjukkan kepada rakyat kononnya proses pilihan raya di negara ini tidak bersih. Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) buatlah apa sahaja, ia tetap tidak diterima oleh pembangkang.

Ia kerana pembangkang sudah tahu bahawa mereka berada dalam keadaan 'nazak' untuk mendapatkan sokongan rakyat, ia berikutan pelbagai masalah yang melanda mereka, oleh itu bagi menutupi kelemahan berkenaan. Mereka berusaha mewujudkan persepsi di kalangan rakyat bahawa jika pembangkang kalah teruk dalam pilihan raya umum akan datang ia bukan kerana mereka tetapi disebabkan manipulasikan kerajaan melalui SPR.

Begitu juga apabila pembangkang mengadakan Himpunan Oren pada Sabtu lalu, ia tiada mengena dengan soal kegagalan kerajaan BN menjaga kebajikan peneroka tetapi ia sebaliknya usaha politik Pas untuk meraih sokongan.

Pas sudah tahu penerokalah satu-satu kumpulan yang boleh mereka gunakan sebagai top up bagi menggantikan undi orang Melayu sama ada di bandar mahu desa yang Pas yakin pasti akan berkurangan kerana dasar dan arah tuju parti itu yang semakin bercelaru.

Selain mengadakan himpunan demi himpunan yang entah apa-apa, pembangkang juga melalui kumpulan strategik mereka akan menyerang individu-individu tertentu termasuklah Perdana Menteri.


Kumpulan ini menggambarkan seolah-olah mereka pembela rakyat sebenar tetapi hakikatnya mereka ini hanya berani membuat tohmahan kepada pemimpin BN sahaja.

Mereka tidak akan berani bersuara biar pun sepatah perkataan jika ada pemimpin pembangkang dikaitkan dengan sesuatu skandal atau penyelewengan biar pun dengan bukti yang nyata.

Namun begitu pembangkang mungkin boleh mengaburi penyokong tegar mereka tetapi bagi rakyat yang mahu berfikiran waras, mereka akan memahami helah politik pembangkang. Apatah lagi kerajaan telah menunjukkan ketelusan melalui pelbagai usaha penambahbaikan.

Apa sahaja yang dikeluhkan oleh rakyat termasuk pembangkang pasti mendapat perhatian kerajaan. Selagi kerajaan merasakan itu adalah suara rakyat maka segala desakan, pandangan dan permintaan akan diambil tindakan.

Tetapi pembangkang masih belum berpuas hati, mereka mencari apa sahaja ruang untuk mempertikaikan dan sekali gus memburuk-burukkan kerajaan BN.

Pembangkang akan menyerang kerajaan dengan persoalan-persoalan yang bukannya atas kebenaran tetapi semata-mata untuk mewujudkan persepsi buruk rakyat terhadap usaha kerajaan BN. Dalam soal ini, kata Mohamed Mustafa, BN dan kerajaan harus berupaya menangkis perkara ini.

''Ini kerana seringkali yang mudah dan lebih berkesan diingati ialah keburukan dan perkara negatif, bukannya kebaikan. Satu perkara negatif sudah cukup untuk tenggelamkan 10 kebaikan yang dilakukan. Inilah bahayanya persepsi negatif dalam arena politik," katanya
Sememangnya dalam menghadapi politik persepsi ini, BN dan UMNO tidak boleh pandang mudah perkara ini.

Penerangan secara berterusan perlu diberikan kepada rakyat kerana apa yang dilakukan bukanlah semata-mata untuk survival politik politik itu sahaja sebaliknya demi bangsa, agama dan negara.

Ia disebabkan semua orang tahu bagaimana cara berpolitik PKR, DAP dan Pas yang sekarang ini begitu ghairah untuk menawan Putrajaya, itu sahaja!.

Oleh itu BN perlu bersedia menghadapi serangan politik persepsi yang dilakukan kerana itu sahaja modal pembangkang ada dalam memenuhi cita-cita politik mereka.

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