Thursday, June 22, 2006

WWF (bukan gusti)

brung brang brung brang rm50/month...
gedebuk gedebik gedebuk gedebik rm30/month pun boleh, singgit aje sehari...
gedegis gedegus gedegis gedegus credit card boleh...
guk grek gruk grek auto-debit bankrimau pun boleh...

"errr... ada brochure tak dik?"

"takde lah bang. tapi saya lah 'brochure'nya. lagipun kita nak jimat kertas supaya hutan kita yg dah 250 juta tahun ni boleh dinikmati oleh generasi akan datang..."

"brung brang brung brang rm50/month...
gedebuk gedebik gedebuk gedebik rm30/month pun boleh, singgit aje sehari...
gedegis gedegus gedegis gedegus credit card boleh...
guk grek gruk grek auto-debit bankrimau juga boleh..."

"takpe lah dik, terima kasih ye..."

"terima kasih juga sebab sudi mendengar dan kalau boleh tolong sebarkan pada kawan2 yg lain ye..."


kepada awek volunteer WWF yang aku jumpa kat bankrimau dam*nsara ut*ma tenghari tadi, aku dah sampaikan amanah kau...

link :
hijaukan bumi kita...


Blogger spyz said...

[ for my own record... ]


Thursday June 22, 2006

Love for Islam comes first

I grew up in the minority Muslim community of secular Singapore. My teacher father and social worker mother were both social activists and leaders of the community. I consider myself fortunate that because of my mixed parentage, my religious education was a combination of the traditional method of learning about Islam and the broader approach of a convert.

So we had an Ustazah coming to the house to teach us to read the Quran and perform the Solat in the right manner. My mother’s family was strict about performing the five daily prayers right on time and in carrying out all the other obligations imposed on Muslims.

My better understanding of the religion, however, came from my father who was the epitome of Islamic ideals. He emphasized the values that Islam expected of its followers – integrity, diligence, patience, compassion, charity, and the importance of amanah – what we are entrusted with and our duties to discharge that trust in accordance with Allah’s teachings.

I learnt and absolutely believe that the Quran is the Word of God, meant as a guide to mankind for all times and for all places. To me, the Quran is the anchor that prevents the ship of society from being buffeted by the winds of change in human behaviour resulting from a refusal to obey God’s prescriptions for human conduct.

From my constant reading of a paperback copy of Pickthall’s translation of the Quran while I was growing up, I was able to quote in English, verses which were to help me through life’s difficult times. Sadly, despite several forays into intensive Arabic courses, I am still unable to quote the Arabic text.

Surrounded as I was by people who personified Islamic values, it was inevitable that I develop a strong faith. The first test of my faith was when the question of marriage came up. I had been dating a Hindu classmate and under Islamic Law a Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man.

For a valid Muslim marriage, my intended had to convert to Islam. Perhaps this is why many of my Muslim friends will not date non-Muslim men – to avoid this difficult situation. Our situation was made even more difficult because we were presented with a choice.

We were in Singapore and the Women’s Charter allows a civil marriage between a Muslim and a non-Muslim. Such a marriage would be valid by Singapore law but not according to Islam.

The Islamic Law on capacity to marry is codified from verse 2:221 of the Quran:

“Do not marry unbelieving women until they believe ?

Nor marry your girls to unbelievers until they believe ?”

Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s commentary of this verse explains: “If religion is at all a real influence in life to both parties or to either party, a difference in this vital matter must affect the lives of both more profoundly than differences of birth, race, language or position in life. It is therefore only right that the parties to be married should have the same spiritual outlook. If two persons love each other, their outlook in the highest things of life must be the same.” That is the traditional view.

There are those who advocate an amendment to the law, arguing that the Quran should be interpreted contextually –relate the text to its socio-historical context and then relate it to the present.

I have done that with the verse above but I am unable to identify the change in society that justifies a shift from the traditional interpretation.

The argument that women today are better educated, economically independent and more mobile does not rebut Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s explanation.

Has anyone studied mixed marriages where only the wife is Muslim? What is the effect on the spirituality of the woman, the upbringing of the children and the general pattern of their lives?

Such studies would be more relevant for consideration than the other reasons that have been advanced.

For example, we are told that other Muslim countries have made the changes and their action hailed as a progressive step forward in guaranteeing Human Rights for Muslim women. Shouldn’t we think about the impact of such changes before blindly following them?

I hear the call to amend the relevant domestic laws so that women can have equal rights with men in relation to the family and thus enable Malaysia to withdraw her reservation to Article 16 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

Muslims can subscribe to the theory of the universality of Human Rights but only to the extent that it does not conflict with clearly stated principles in the Quran. We cannot reject Quranic verses just to bring ourselves in line with UN Conventions and the practice in other parts of the world.

Should the fear of being labelled “backward” push us into reforming our Islamic laws? Shouldn’t the fear of incurring Allah’s wrath be a more important consideration in our deliberations?

Thirty five years ago, I could not see any reason for going against the Word of God, whatever the law of the land provided, and today, I am still unable to find the justification for rejecting the Quranic injunction.

So what does one do when the person one loves refuses to convert to Islam? My advice to everyone in that situation has always been the same – break up and go your separate ways. I have been asked how I can be so heartless when Islam itself is not heartless.

Unfortunately, I have not found any verse that says it is all right to go against the teachings of the Quran for the sake of someone you love. No matter how much we may love a fellow human being, we must love Allah even more. And that, I guess, is the bottom line – how much do we love our God?

Those who believe know that Allah will give them what is best for them, even if it is not what they want. For me, it was a happy ending.

The only love in my life had been attracted to Islam from his school days in Penang when he watched Anwar Fazal’s family going to the mosque for Friday prayers in their “furry” Pakistani caps (as he called them). His knowledge and belief increased as he read all the books on Islam in my father’s vast collection during the six years of our courtship, so when the time came, we had an akad nikah in secular Singapore.

Now retired, the writer has served as a Professor, an Advocate and Solicitor, a Consultant for UN agencies, a Commissioner of Human Rights and an NGO activist.

6/22/2006 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Bukunota said...

kalau awek wwf tu brochure, aku tau muka surat mana yang kau tenung2 dan telek2. ha ha ha!

6/23/2006 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger tujuh86 said...

Ada berapa 'brochure' yang ada kat situ? Takkan tak ada satu yang boleh bawa balik? Ha ha!

6/23/2006 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger spyz said...

bukunota n tujuh86 - cheh cheh cheh korang nih. tak baik tau. awek tu menutup aurat lah :-)

6/23/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger spyz said...

[ again, for my own record..
but, sorry doctor, the way u answer the question is not very convincing laa.. i support 1000%your effort anyway... ]

Stepping forth to explain
by Zainon Ahmad and Jacqueline Ann Surin

A group of Muslim professionals, mostly doctors and lawyers, are beginning to make waves in their attempt to explain and clarify some misconceptions about Islam that have emerged during the current unstructured public debate about the religion, the manner in which it is practised in this country and their implications on others. Formed less than two years ago, the Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF) also attributes the misconceptions to the distortions of mainstream Islam by 'fundamentalists' and 'hyperliberals'. The forum seeks to address these issues in English because it is in the English media that much of the debate on these controversies is raging, MPF chairman Dr Mazeni Alwi tells ZAINON AHMAD and JACQUELINE ANN SURIN.

theSun: Can you tell us a little about the Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF). I know it was officially launched in August of 2004. Who are the founding members and what was the motivation for setting it up?

The founding members basically are a group of friends, and many of them are actually from the medical profession, and then also a few other professionals like lawyers.

And the reason why we set this up, we felt there was a need to address some of these issues in the English language. It's not that we have any problems with the Malay language but I think a lot of the controversies are in the English media.

And there are two, basically, two trends which we feel are not really representative of mainstream Islam. One is the fundamentalists, called the fanatics, or whatever people call them. That term, I think, is very loaded but people understand when you say 'fundamentalist', it means people who have a rather extreme view of Islam. And we don't think that's representative of Islamic teaching.

And on the other hand also, a very liberal re-interpretation of Islam which we don't think accords well with mainstream beliefs, mainstream teachings that Muslims uphold.

So, basically these are the two trends that we felt need to be addressed and that's why we set it (the MPF) up.

And we plan to do it in a way which is non-confrontational, you know, if possible through dialogue, through publication. And we think that whatever that is not within the law is not appropriate for us, especially as professionals.

I read your website ( and it says that one of the things that you all are very concerned with is 'hyperliberal Islam'. Do you see a threat of hyperliberal Islam in Malaysia?

Aah, not exactly in terms of violence, whatever it is. But in terms of what Muslims uphold. I think sensitive matters like the syariah (Islamic law) and all which is being challenged in ways which can be detrimental to the harmony of the nation and also to the unity of Muslims.

We feel that some of these issues have their relevance, have their social and historical relevance, and we have no problems about people wanting to express their views about Islam, how they live their lives whether as Muslims or non-Muslims, how much piety they want to have.

But I think when they want to impose these on mainstream Muslims, then that's a problem because a lot of Muslims still are very traditional. They hold to traditional teachings, and therefore trying to make Malay society very liberal can be detrimental.

Can you cite an example so that it becomes a bit clearer?

For example, the issue of hijab, the tudung (head cover). We disagree that it should be imposed.

But we also know and I think people should understand that it comes from the sources of Islamic teaching. To question that it is not Islamic, that it is just a local (cultural practice), that it is, ah, that it must be imposed in a Muslim society, is wrong. But then again, it is something which is from the Islamic teachings, but it is up to people's choice to wear or not to wear. That's one.

And number two, I think the polygamy issue. I think a lot of the family law aspects of the syariah which is being questioned and we feel that this, ah, people have the right to question but then again to impose it and to say that, 'This is un-Islamic. This is not from Islam', is a bit overboard.

But a particular viewpoint about syariah is being imposed. So, who decides then which viewpoint should be imposed?

I think the authorities have the right to do it. And they get feedback from society.

So, it is perfectly within the rights of any Muslim to give their feedback but then again, it can be a very minority view. And they must not say that, they must not complain when it is not adoptedlah because the majority still wants to uphold a view which is more conservative.

As long as it doesn't, it doesn't infringe on the rights of non-Muslims, I think that is fair.

How is MPF different from other Muslim organisations? Because there are already several out there.

Oh, yes, yes. We are, I suppose, one, we tend to express a lot of our ideas, a lot of our views using the English language and in the English media because we felt that the Malay media and all that is fairly well served by the other organisations, more established organisations, as well as by the authorities.

And a lot of the controversies that are actually being played out (are) within the English media. That is one.

And number two, we are very new. And we are rather small, and ah (chuckles), we don't think we are elitist but most of our members are from those who have higher education and also probably trained abroad, myself included, but not everyone.

So, who are your members and how many do you have?

Oh, not very many. Maybe 30 plus or so, including our spouses.

We don't aim for big numbers. We just aim for having a platform to express our views. This is not meant to be a social organisation. It's just meant to be a platform whereby we can, are able to, express our views on certain matters that we think are important to society.

Somebody said to me in the course of talking about MPF that most of your members were formerly members of JIM (Jemaah Islah Malaysia). Is that right?

Oh, no, no. I, myself, am not a member of any organisation. As far as I know, only one, Dr Musa Nordin, he's from JIM. But the rest are not.

It's not a spillover from another organisation?

Ah, no, no, no. We are, most of us are above 40, so we are old enough not to be embroiled in inter-organisational conflicts (chuckles).

What kind of main activities have you all had so far?

Over the past two years, there are two, I think you can classify into two broad aspects. One is dealing with what our objectives are. So that constitutes holding talks, seminars.

And number two, we try to do a bit of charity work. For example, for Aceh after the tsunami. We spent quite a bit on that because we sponsored about 100 medical students who were in their final year but lost their parents and their sources of funding. Most of them have already graduated actually.

Plus a few other charitable works but this is not our main focus. Our main focus is basically participating in important issues that affect our society through discussion. So a lot of it is through our writings, our website writings as well as our newsletter.

Have you had forums or conferences?

One seminar. One or two public forums.

And have those been well received?

Depends on what you mean by 'well received'. Like, some of them, yes. Some of them, not so. We've had visitors from, most of these visitors are actually visitors from abroad who come to Malaysia either on our invitation or they came for some other purposes, and we take the opportunity to have them speak at our forums.

Well, one observer has also said that the MPF is like a mirror organisation or a counterweight to an organisation like, say, Sisters in Islam (SIS).

Aah, I suppose, I don't know whether, that is not, we don't really exist because we want to counterweight SIS. It happens that some of the issues that we deal with are also issues that are being dealt with or being promoted by SIS. And so, it happens to be that way.

But our objective is not to counter any existing organisation.

Do you agree that holding kongsi raya (joint festive) celebrations and open houses would erode the faith of Muslims and could lead to blasphemy as suggested by Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Harussani Zakaria (on behalf of the National Fatwa Committee on June 13)?

I think, firstly, Datuk Seri Harussani's view needs to be seen not in the context where Hari Raya today has been stripped of its religious meaning to degenerate into a consumerist indulgence of excessive consumption, wastage and banal TV entertainment.

Eidul Fitri (Hari Raya Puasa) marks the end of the fasting of Ramadan and payment of zakat (tithe), the third and fourth pillars of Islam that aim to bring back the believers to the state of fitra (original, purified state).

Eidul Adha (Hari Raya Haji) marks the fifth pillar of Islam, the hajj, and serves to remind Muslims of Prophet Abraham's mission and sacrifice in bringing the concept of tauhid (one-ness of God, the principal Islamic doctrine) into man's consciousness.

Both have very much to do with doctrine and rituals of worship, so it doesn't make much sense for those who don't believe in them to kongsi or share.

Conversely, the Hindu and Christian festivities have their own religious meanings which we respect but do not share. The national holidays dedicated to them is a way of showing that respect. I think it is in this sense that it needs to be seen.

Secondly, I am not sure if genuine harmony and understanding can be achieved by stripping these festivities of their spiritual significance so that they can be kongsi-ed by all Malaysians. In other words, does exclusivity always mean mistrust and prejudice? Going by what we see today, all that consumption and waste has only produced more Islamophobia and conversely, I think Muslims in general don't really understand better the essence of the other religions in Malaysia.

As we said earlier, it would be much more meaningful if we all tried to understand our religions better and try to practise their teachings as sincerely as we can in the face of relentless secularisation.

As a lay person, I am not very sure if offering greetings to our close friends and accepting invitations to their houses during these festivities - something that I do - amounts to that (blasphemy). I think we need to have more feedback from the public and deliberation by the scholars before this is adopted as government policy.

What do you think of the proposal (also announced by Harussani) for the government to set up a monitoring body to stop the spread of liberal Islamic thinking, especially through the Internet?

Nothing can stop people from having their own personal opinions or taking information from the Net to form their own ideas of how things should be, in this case the interpretation of Islam. That is a right that has to be respected.

However, if liberal Islam is inimical to the government's view of how Islam should have its role in public life and in the administration of Muslim affairs as represented by the various religious institutions, authorities and think-tanks, monitoring and responding to it (liberal Islam) in a dignified manner that is within the limits of the law is fair.

As it is, I am sure the pronouncements of the mainstream ulama and scholars are also being monitored and responded to by those who disagree with them. It is a normal societal affair.

I know that the MPF was part of a delegation that met with (Minister in the Prime Minister's Department) Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri (Abdul Aziz) at Parliament (in March), and a comment was made about non-Muslims speaking out on Islamic issues.

(In that meeting, a few representatives expressed unhappiness at 'the interference of non-Muslims, ignorant in Islamic texts and jurisprudence, in what is clearly an Islamic issue'.)

Ah, ok.

Does MPF believe that non-Muslims shouldn't talk about Islamic issues?

It depends. I think for cases like the Moorthy (the family of Everest climber, the late M. Moorthy, could not bury him according to Hindu rites because he had converted to Islam without their knowledge) and the Nyonya (Tahir who had left Islam and whose children wanted to bury her according to Buddhist rites) cases, I think that's perfectly, it's valid grounds for non-Muslims to have their say.

But, some other things, like for example, that is involved in Islamic teaching like polygamy and the hijab and all that, though there is the right of everyone to express any opinion, but then again, I think sensitivities need to be observed that can make some people upset.

We are mature enough to accept that kind of thing, but I think (with) the wider society, there needs to be some care.

Especially the doctrinal?

Yes, correct. Because it doesn't affect non-Muslims so for them to just do it (question may not be acceptable). We (Muslims) don't really question any of the Hindus or the Christians, in the same way, we expect non-Muslims to respect the doctrinal, ritual aspects of Islam.

But perhaps it's because Islam has an impact on public policy.

That is true.

And in the case of say, S. Shamala (who found that her estranged and converted husband could unilaterally convert their children to Islam), even though she is a non-Muslim, she is affected by Islamic legislation in this country to some extent.

That is true. Whenever it affects (non-Muslims), same as in the Moorthy and Nyonya Tahir cases, it is perfectly legitimate (to question it).

But things that really concern Muslims and which do not affect non-Muslims, I think, not that we cannot say it, you have the right to do it, but then again, I think, in our plural society, there needs to be some care.

Sure, but then the teachings of other religions do not really affect Muslims in this country, right?

Of course. What I mean is that some of the teachings of Islam don't, but I think that as policy, yes, I agree that the government has the policy of, ah, apa (what)? Menerapkan nilai-nilai Islam (Applying Islamic values). Yes, that has some effect on the non-Muslims and that is stuff that is valid for you all to voice your opinion.

Because, sometimes, as (with) any government official, they can go a bit overboard and that might not sit very well with you all. For example, imposing some aspect of dress code on non-Muslims. I agree that you all have a right to voice out (against it).

But in matters like, for example, the hijab only for Muslims, then I think it won't be very nice because we are still very much an Asian traditional society. The respect that one needs to accord to another is still important.

What about hijab with regards to the Universiti Islam (International Islamic University) campus?

Right, I think if you make it very clear, for example, ya.

The hijab, in general, should not be imposed on anybody, even on Muslims, let alone non-Muslims. But I think for an institution which is being established in the name of Islam, I think it has the right to impose certain dress code. Just like a convent has a right to impose certain aspects of Christian rituals and dress.

And any institution which is established in the name of Islam has certain rights to impose that. It must be spelt out very clearly beforehand so that those who apply (to enter the university) know that this is the condition. You may apply but these are the conditions.

But in any other circumstances, for example, in public, there is no valid reason for anyone to impose any of these things, either on Muslims, let alone non-Muslims.

But even within Islamic jurisprudence, the court is still out on whether or not there should be a particular form of dress code for Muslim women.

I think that's not true.

There are differing view points among Muslim jurists about the tudung.

Not in the courts, but I think among Muslims, but not in the courts. Not in the law, but in matters of personal moral codes, there are (different views), I agree. But the mainstream views, the mainstream opinions, what you call the consensus among the scholars is what we have now.

The minority opinion is really minority.

But then if people want to uphold that (minority opinion), that is fine but it is their personal decision. But this is the mainstream consensus with regards to dress code among Muslim women.

Then what happens to wearing the tudung in the police parades (for Muslim and non-Muslim officers), for example? What do you think of that?

To me, I find that difficult. I find that difficult. But then again, I have no powers to say 'yes' or 'no' but in my opinion, I find that difficult.

But I think if the government makes it very clear before anyone joins the force, that for special ceremonial purposes, this is what you have to wear, then I think it's fine. But for now, there is none (no clear statement). I think that's the problem.

I think it needs to be spelt out very clearly what it involves. And I'm sure, not because the rule is there, I don't think it cannot be challenged. I think there is room for negotiation, there is room for dialogue. There's no need to go overboard on either side, to be really critical of one another in ways which are very unreasonable.

What is MPF's position on the proposed Inter-Faith Commis-sion (IFC)?

As a whole, I think that's a very difficult thing. Aah, we like people to be religious, whether they are Christians, Hindus or Sikhs. I think it's good for religious people to talk to one another, to promote harmony and understanding.

But I think the problem that we can find with the Inter-Faith Commission is that, aah, it is, it is, aah, trying to do it from above, not from below by establishing a body with statutory powers, ah, appointed by Parliament and maybe, the Agong. It has power even by the Constitution to force people to do dialogue.

To force people to dialogue?

Ya, I mean, it has the power to, for example, to summon religious leaders to settle disputes. I think that's not correct. I think harmony and understanding should come from below. Should come from religious leaders of their free will.

And, I think, ah (pauses), the main thing is that people must be sincere, they sincerely want to have an understanding and talk to one another.

The problem here, I suppose, is a lot of it has to do with the fact that many of the Muslim authorities and organisations were not represented. The way it was promulgated, the early stages of the institution for the proposal of the IFC was clouded in a lot of mystery, was clouded in a lot of secrecy.

I don't know, we did not exist at that time but from what I heard from people who attended the earlier meetings, they were not very happy with the way it was handled.

What we disagree is that dialogue should not be imposed from above by a body that is in power. It should come from below with the free will of individuals, various groups, people who are sincere.

But, still there are problems on the ground...

Of course, there are many! Any multi-religious society, there'll be problems.

Sure. So what other options for better dialogue or better mechanisms for resolution can MPF think of? I think the IFC was probably one proposed solution to some of the problems that have cropped up but obviously, it has its own problems as well. So, what other mechanisms could there potentially be?

I suppose, this is a question that is difficult that I've been thinking about, but I suppose in some ways the authorities must provide a platform, to invite bona fide, genuinely sincere people of all religious backgrounds from all the major religions to get together without imposing any restrictions.

And the purpose here must be sincerity.

So, you question the sincerity of the people behind the IFC?

Aah, from the Muslim side, yes.

You mean, the Muslims behind the IFC?


Oh, ok.

Because there's a lot of Muslim NGOs (non-governmental organisations) and people from the mainstream, these are people who are for the mainstream Islamic interpretation.

But the rest, from the non-Muslim side, we don't really know. I don't know them personally, and also we were in existence only for the past one-and-a-half years, so we don't really know, we were not very much involved in what happened in the past few years.

Because, you see, this is very, very controversial among Muslims (in) that some people who are wanting to promote the Muslims to not uphold the mainstream views and teachings of Islam. So, that is the problem.

What about MPF's position on the notions of freedom of religion and apostasy?

Ah, well, that (freedom of religion) is in the Constitution, and we respect that, but I think there are also sub-clauses in that particular article with regards to Islam. I think that has to do with the political and historical background of the country, and that's why those clauses are put in.

And it's basically to protect sensitivities. And I think it is reasonable.

So, basically, in general, yes, of course, religion is something that involves conscience, so it must come from our own free will. So, we must respect that.

But, on the other hand, as we said before, there's the issue of sensitivities (that) must be respected and must be observed.

And also there's the issue of history, how Malaysia came about. And what was Malaysia before, and that is why those clauses are put in. They may not seem very fair, but basically, I think this is for the common good. It's to prevent any unnecessary anarchy and disharmony. That is very fundamental.

But, secondly, with regards to apostasy, again, this is something that has to do with conscience. And people can hide what their real religious feeling is and any Muslim who professes the faith can not follow the Islamic practices in their private lives. Nobody can question that. That is their right.

But, the problem is that once this is being (pauses) stated in public in a way that Muslims find insensitive, then that is the problem. I'm sure there are many Muslims who do not really care and do not really believe in Islamic teachings in their own private lives and they go on as they are. And that is perfectly ok.

But, the problem is when they start to make, ah, a very public statement out of it. And that can be too sensitive to some Muslims.

But if Islam is a religion that doesn't force somebody to believe...

True, true.

...and it's a religion that is not about compulsion...

True, true.

...then do you think that Muslims in this country should also have the right to also choose to leave the religion?

In fact, in theory, yes. But I think, as I said, in private lives, I'm sure that is perfectly fine. People do it here, there, in the past, in the present.

But, I think to make that as an official, as a public statement, it can be, in terms of sensitivity, it can be quite damaging.

How do you think this 'sensitivity' came about in Malaysian society?

Because the Malays are fairly conservative. They view Islam and Malay as inseparable. So, when someone leaves the religion, it is such a big thing. That is why.

And is this problematic at all, you think?

Yes, it is. It is problematic. For now, anyway. But, I think, as society progresses, it won't be like that anymore.

But, as it stands now, many Muslims find it difficult, and especially when it is in the context where it is seen as being encouraged by some, I think conservative Muslims find it insensitive. That is all.

You think that it's a bit insensitive if there are groups that are actually encouraging people to leave the religion?

Yes, correct.

These are Muslim groups?

No, whatever. Muslim or non-Muslim who say, 'You are free to do this. Go ahead, go ahead.' I think in general, Muslims in the country will find it insensitive.

And is that happening right now?

I don't know. I'm sure if you test the waters, you might see a reaction. But, I think, it is better not to play with this kind of thing.

You were talking about the public realm and the private realm. This comes to the question of morality. You know, there are a lot of views on this. Some say you need to legislate morality while some say this should be left to the individual as long you don't do it publicly. What do you think of morality laws?

I think we have to understand that human beings are basically, not all human beings are exactly strong in their integrity as you or me or Jacqueline (chuckles). You might say there are no morality laws in the UK or in the US. (But), they do exist.

For example, in some states in America, even oral sex is against the law. Sodomy is against the law, as I read it a few years ago. If you go to New York today, in certain places, you cannot dress in any way you like. There are dress codes. And there are certain hours when pubs are open. And all these are morality laws.

The only thing is that for Muslims, it (morality) comes from the religion but in the West, it doesn't come from the religion. But that is not completely true (either). I think laws in the West, although the hold of religion is less now, I think many of the laws, including morality laws, most likely came from Christian teachings.

But, I can't remember the name of this professor, who said something like, 'I think the law has no business to regulate morality. For as long as you do not cross that line, for as long as it doesn't go beyond the limits of tolerance, for as long as it's not disgusting in public. I think whatever happens should be ok. We leave it to personal decisions whether to do it or not.'

The only problem is that, for example, this issue of having sex with minors. Even in England, it is still a crime to have sex with a girl who is 15, although she may be very mature physically, has had previous sexual encounters, but it is still a crime. It is still a crime. There is such a thing as the age of consent. Why?

What I mean is that this is, of course, disgusting. It goes beyond the limits of tolerance.

To you. But to many people, it's not.

But I think it is to a minority.

I don't think so.

For the majority to have sex, maybe 15 is quite alright, let's say a five-year-old girl.

Of course, it is (disgusting). Even at the age of 16, for example, a very mature woman and she understands, she knows what she is doing, it is still wrong. Although times have changed, this is not in the 60s, but still it is the law.

What more things like incest, even paedophilia, that's even more.

But then again, if you say that we leave it to individual control, it doesn't happen that way.

No, no, but what I meant was, these are extreme things.

It's not extreme (chuckles).

Ok, from your point of view. But, let's say this incident about this boy and this girl, sort of necking in a public park.

Again, again, it depends on the society as well. In Malaysia, in general, people still are rather conservative. I think this set of municipal laws, I think, every municipal authority has the right to make laws with regards to this. This is not the Penal Code. This is not a crime. These are just moral laws.

I think each municipal council has the right to make laws but it must make it in cognisance with what people feel, what is the general feeling of the people because in a conservative society, it has to follow the mores of that society.

In a more liberal society, then it follows (that). So, to say that morality laws should be abolished, I think that ...

No, no, no. I didn't say that.

I know you didn't. To say that it's unnecessary is, it should be left to the individual ...

For minor things, you know.

Yes, for minor things as well.

Like, for example, Justice Devlin, he said, it shouldn't go beyond the limits of tolerance.

Ya, I agree, too.

But again, beyond the limit of tolerance depends on time and place.

Depends on where you are.

For instance, if a Malay Muslim wants to opt out of the religion, you said earlier, maybe now is not right because society is such but maybe 20 years or 50 years into the future, this is possible.

That's right.

So, I was saying something like this as far as morality laws are concerned.

I tell you one incident where Janet Jackson suddenly exposed her breast (during a televised performance). But people made an uproar. Why?

America is a modern society, this kind of thing should not be (such a big deal). I think, there is still such a thing as morality laws. Anywhere in the world.

Because society needs to function, and it functions on the existence of laws. And how that law is being drafted, it depends on the level of maturity and the mores of society. It's going to vary according to time and place.

But also, enforcing this, I think, is very difficult.

Ya, of course. Of course.

But I think there should be space for humans to also have their own privacy, you know.

Of course.

And for them to make their own decisions. I mean, we shouldn't regulate everything.

Of course.

If you regulate everything, then there is no space. Then you're forcing people to do it.

But I think in the private space, for example, in the home, there should be no intrusion at all. Completely.

But in public, I think it is up to the society as well to have what kind of mores they want according to the sensitivities at that time. It might change with time. It may become more strict or more liberal but I think society has the right, the majority has the right. What is the mainstream preference should be (the benchmark).

But also to decide the limits of tolerance is also difficult. Again, time and place.

Yes, that's right. And these kinds of things need a lot of feedback from a lot of people.

And also the enforcers themselves, they prefer to watch it to their satisfaction (laughs), then they go in, you know.

That's wrong. That's also a problem. Some enforcers are heavy-handed, go overboard, and this complicates the issue.

And also like the case of what happened at the disco Zouk (in Kuala Lumpur where Muslim patrons were rounded up publicly and then detained). Here, I think we have this principle of, if they are doing something which is mungkar (disobedient of God's laws), we should of course, do our duty to sort of hinder them from doing those things. But, I think, there is also the other principle about the need that whenever you do things like that, you must make sure that the person involved is not shamed. Because public shame is really abhorred by religion.

Ya, it should not be tolerated. I agree.

I think here in the case of the Zouk incident, I think it was the over-zealousness of the enforcement officers.

Ya, very heavy-handed approach. The law is there. Do it but don't go overboard.

What do you think about the protest in Penang over the Article 11 forum?

We wrote a letter. We disagreed with it (the protest) because we don't think it's appropriate. The issues (at the Article 11 forum), to me, are valid but then again the way to do it is not correctlah, those kind of things.

One thing is it's (the protest) inappropriate and number two, it backfires on the cause that they want to bring to the attention of the public.

They (the protesters) shouldn't have done it that way.

No, no, of course not.

Subsequently, they have released a statement that promises that there will be more trouble if Article 11 continues on its road show.

Ah. Again, we disagree. People must act within the law.

And have dialogue.

And have dialogue.

So, the forum should be allowed to continue?

I think everyone has the right to that kind of thing but as we wrote there (in our press statement), you must think also of the sensitivities and also the peace of the wider society.

I think in theory, it is something that can go both ways. It is a right but whether you should exercise that right or not is something else.

To me, the issues raised (by Article 11) are sensitive.

So, because they are 'sensitive', they shouldn't be talked about in a public forum?

It can (be talked about) but I think it must be done in a way, first of all, the intention must be correct to arrive at a decision which can be accepted by all parties.

But, I think a lot of people see that as provocative, bringing up those issues and from what I heard, I think the way the forum was conducted may not be, may have upset some of the protesters. So, those things must be looked into.

Updated: 05:58PM Thu, 22 Jun 2006

6/23/2006 11:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Op said...

wahahaha amanah la kau dude.
tp tak sampai objektif. apa yg 30 sebulan kredit kad pun boleh? derma ka?

6/23/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous gitartong said...

salam spyz.

6/24/2006 07:00:00 PM  
Anonymous ron97 said...

cukuplah sekadar kau kasi afif bela kucing sekor

6/26/2006 09:08:00 AM  

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