Meeting With Dean Of Cambridge Muslim College

Chang Lih Kang and I were privileged to meet British Muslim scholar Timothy John Winter @ Sheikh Abdul Hakim Murad. He is the Dean of the Cambridge Muslim College where imams are trained with the religious knowledge then exposed to leading scholars from Cambridge University.

Then we were honoured to visit (and pray Maghrib and Isha) at Cambridge Mosque Project the world’s first modern eco mosque and Cambridge’s first purpose-built mosque. It is not open to ths public yet. Ironically they did a test Friday Prayer on the day of the Christchurch attacks and the local non Muslim community came to give flowers to the mosque.

Sheikh Hakim has been the driving force of this project. About 10 years ago he came to Malaysia and I managed to get him to speak at Masjid Tengku Kelana Jaya Petra in my old constituency and we did a fundraising for this mosque project. Interestingly non Muslims too donated in in the building of the mosque.

Alhamdulillah, we were given a preview of the mosque from the man himself.

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The “Marriage” Between UMNO And PAS Means The Two Parties Are Now One And The Same

The announcement by Acting UMNO President Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan that the party and PAS would form a committee and opposition caucus in Parliament finally confirms—despite years of denials by leaders from both sides—that the two are in an alliance.

Mohamad even went as far as to describe the alliance as a “marriage”. I had declared them “married” as far back as in the Seri Setia by-election in August 2018 after all the “courtship” that emerged after the fall of Pakatan Rakyat. But with the revelation of the deals that PAS leadership took with UMNO involving monetary compensation, it seems that this is less a “marriage” but a commercial arrangement involving a willing donor and willing recipient.

After months, if not years of colluding and enabling each other—UMNO and PAS are now essentially one and the same.

It is unclear what benefit, if any, the new arrangement will bring to the wider Malay community given that both parties have lately seemed more concerned with jockeying for political power, justifying alleged past wrongdoings and attempting to stir communal feelings.

The two parties have only provided tired rhetorics without any clear alternatives, and have whittled down to become more like regional rather than national parties.

Their former leaders, in contrast, including Dato’ Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak, Dr Burhanuddin Helmy, Dato’ Ustaz Fadzil Noor and Tuan Guru Dato’ Bentara Setia Nik Abdul Aziz Mat, were towering Malaysians and Malays who upheld not only multiracial cooperation, but also the highest standards of integrity in public life.

The actions of today’s crop of UMNO and PAS leaders, as well as their so-called “marriage”, mean that both parties have turned their backs on the spirit as well as legacies of their former icons.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

We Must Learn The Lessons Of Defeat From Semenyih And Cameron Highlands

Pakatan Harapan has suffered yet another by-election defeat, this time in Semenyih.

I congratulate Barisan Nasional on their victory. I also want to thank the Pakatan Harapan team in Semenyih for their hard work and hope that this setback will not dampen their spirits.

This is now the second defeat Pakatan Harapan has suffered and the first time we have lost a seat since the 2018 General Elections.

I have stressed many times that our government will succeed or fail based on our management of the economy, as well as our stewardship of the institutional reform process.

At the same time, the lack of clarity over our government’s goals, vision for the country and who will be its future leadership have also hampered our work. We must remember, we have agreed to the Pakatan Harapan consensus on this matter.

It has also weakened the confidence of voters in us. When leaders have no clarity and when there is no clarity who is leading, the county drifts and the people suffer.

This latest defeat highlights that we cannot afford to be complacent any longer, or avoid addressing the difficult questions and tasks ahead.
Pakatan Harapan’s leaders must tackle crucial questions over cost of living in a substantive manner.

It must also make government more responsive to the needs of the rakyat and combat corruption as well as impunity relentlessly. The promises outlined in our 2018 manifesto must be adhered to and realized as soon as possible.

Reform can and must be people-centred. That is to only way it will succeed.

Cameron Highlands and Semenyih are clear warnings for Pakatan Harapan: we must deliver or be voted out.

It is as simple as that.

NIK NAZMI NIK AHMAD
KEADILAN CHIEF ORGANISING SECRETARY
KEADILAN CENTRAL LEADERSHIP COUNCIL MEMBER
SETIAWANGSA MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

European Muslim World Democracy Forum

Last week, I was invited by Syed Kamall MEP, from the Conservatives to be a panellist at the European Muslim World Democracy Forum. My session was on human capital and education looking specifically on women and youths.

I began by talking about how Malaysia’s NEP stabilised its society and helped to create a Bumiputera middle-class.

This middle-class arguably assisted the movement for political change and reform in Malaysia, especially for parties like Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

However, there are certain anomalies that need to be addressed:

The problems that initiatives like the NEP created, such as corruption, but also entitlement.

Also, economic empowerment has not necessarily prevented youths—whatever their faith—from becoming radicalized. There have been countless terrorists, extremists and radicals from middle-class backgrounds.

The first problem can be addressed by continuing to pursue democracy and good governance in Muslim societies. It is wrong to say that these things are in any way inimical to the teachings of Islam.

The challenge is for politicians to win support and buy-in for these principles among Muslim constituents. This is the challenge facing Pakatan right now. But this is not a problem unique to Muslim polities. Look how American voters continuously tolerate corrupt Republican and even Democratic politicians in some states.

This issue hence requires nuance. Progressive politicians must show that good governance will benefit all peoples—both majority and minorities—as well as protect their dignity and status.

But economic justice is just one piece of the puzzle. Radicalisation among educated and middle-class youth often happens not because they feel poor or oppressed, but because they want meaning in their lives.

The key is persuading young people that voting, being in political parties and civil society as well as participating in policy debates can not only improve their economies, but also make their societies more equal, improve their sense of self-worth and genuinely build their nations.

What needs to happen is that the political class has to:
a. Reduce the barriers to entry for politics for younger figures.
b. Recognize that youth-driven political causes like environmentalism and universal basic income must now be in the mainstream of political discourse.
c. Not scoff or trivialise the influence of social media on politics. We must fight against fake news, of course—but also recognize that Twitter, Instagram and Facebook etc. are serious factors in our democracies.

It is certainly not right for European countries to seek to clamp down on immigration or multiculturalism. We live in a world now where every country is being judged via the 24/7 news cycle and social media.

The West needs to live up to its own values—and it must also have confidence in its own civilization. It should not fear what immigrants do to their values: if Western civilization was really that strong, noble, enlightened and tolerant—all peoples who encounter it would embrace it regardless of their background.

I believe this can be the case. Alienation happens—both among Westerners and immigrants—when the West’s leaders engage in hypocrisy, double-standards or fail to live up to their ideals.

This is something that Asia also must live up to—including Muslim societies and also emerging powers like China – look at the situation of the detention of over a million Uyghurs.

We need all societies to remain open and to also be confident of themselves. At the end of the day, this can only happen with both justice at home and justice abroad.