A Tale To Tell & Remember

I'm very much inspired by the words of Thomas L. Friedman in his book "The World Is Flat" which renders about the influence of bloggers in this new age. I want to keep the highest integrity and honesty in posting my words to the world. This blog act as a testimony to my alacrity of sharing information with the borderless world. Hope we can share a high regards of veracity and chivalry with this blog because that's why it is here. So help me God!

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Thursday, 28 August 2008

Back from Gua Musang

29th August 2008 - I just came back from Gua Musang. Everything looks cruising well for the peoples of Gua Musang. The Gua Musang market economy is going very well and I hope it will bring some wealth and opportunity for the betterment of the peoples of Gua Musang. After this, its all about capitalism, freedom and upgraded living standard for the people of Gua Musang.

By the way, I must tell you all that I feel devastated seeing Anwar Ibrahim sworn in as MP's for Permatang Pauh in the Parliament today. The peoples of Permatang Pauh had made their decision and I respect that. It was Anwar’s promise to decrease petrol price up to 50 cents which got him back the Permatang Pauh MP's chair. Plus I must tell you that Indian voters were up 100% for Anwar Ibrahim [they even wear HINDRAF t-shirts on the polling day proudly]. One need to be fully aware of how much Sammy Vellu had let the Indian community down and one also need to be very careful to digest of what Anwar Ibrahim had promised to HINDRAF.

One thing that I observed personally during the previous by election saga, there were less of Abdullah Badawi posters compared to Najib posters. There were also clear evidence of how much the Malays [mostly UMNO members] abhors Abdullah Badawi and his son in law despite it was Abdullah state that the political war was waged [I did warned not to let Khairy Jamaluddin to be in the loop, apparently UMNO not listening and they pay a high price for it].

The Malays were in dilemma in Permatang Pauh. They don't want to support Anwar Ibrahim, but I guess they had no choice. They see Anwar Ibrahim as the ONLY man who can bring out the hardship of life especially on the petrol price issues. This was back up by Anwar personal promises to decrease the petrol price up to 50 cents. Today, upon seeing Anwar Ibrahim sworn in as MP's in our Parliament, I personally feel devastated... much like LBJ crying when he listened to his son calling [his son was an army colonel serving in Vietnam -1968], telling him about the fine young man which he lost under his command fighting the Viet Cong - 1968. Thats how I feel today.

As such, I won't blog for two weeks to mourn that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had opened up a Pandora's Box by being adamantly, stupid enough with his utmost sheer ignorance fools to stay in power - jeopardizing our future inadvertently sending a habitual sodomizer to the Parliament.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

News from Permatang Pauh

23rd August 2008 - I spend my time at Permatang Pauh last night. I must tell you about the race for the MP seat over there and I must say that it is very close indeed. There is no such thing as surely win for any candidates either for PR or BN or even AKIM. You can go there and see it for yourself. Some people will argue about the corruption practices in SPR, but I'm not buying into that. Having seen the standard operating procedure of the SPR, I have my full faith in SPR integrity. I need to clear my conscience here and what's my views about this by election is only came from me and myself and doesn't represent any organization or bodies. Personally, I cannot imagine what will befall to Permatang Pauh and it's people if they still pick Mr. Anwar Ibrahim for the MP post.

I'm forseen some sorts of a judgment from God, a very very very bad things will fall upon Mr. Anwar Ibrahim sooner or later with or without him holding the MP post. Allah is not inattentive of what you've done. Perhaps you can ask his son more about the father. I am very certain about this feeling and may Allah bless those that are on the right path.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Gua Musang breakaway

22nd August 2008 - I'm off to Gua Musang for a week to recess my tired cerebral.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

United Nations Peace Keeping Operations in Sierra Leone

By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Hj. Ismail

UN Peacekeeping Operations - Introduction

Since the United Nations was founded in 1945, this International Governmental organisation had deployed its thousands of its military and civilians personnel under the blue flag of UN, to implement peacekeeping operations under the purview of the Security Council. A peacekeeping operation is defined by the United Nations, as a means to help countries torn by conflict or inter-war problems enhancing conditions for sustainable peace and development. UN peacekeepers personal either it be military personnel, civilian enforcement personnel or civilian administration staff from member countries of the United Nations is accounted to monitor and observe peace processes that emerge in post-conflict situations and to assist ex-combatants and civilians in implementing the peace agreements that they have signed prior asking for the United Nations intervention.

Other than militaristic approach assistance, United Nations peacekeeping operations also is usually tasked to assist in confidence-building measures, power-sharing arrangements, electoral support, strengthening the rule of law, and economic and social development of a particular post-conflict regions to create sustainable peace and development. All operations implemented are mandated through the use of force to be considered valid under the charter of the United Nations. Under the postulation of the UN Chapter I to XV, it concludes the clear power of the United Nations in settling regional conflicts and maintaining international peace and security.

The Charter of the United Nations also gives the Security Council the power and responsibility to take collective action for the maintenance of peace and security. Achieving this, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize any peacekeeping operations in resolving conflicts and interjecting into any genocide problems which occurred especially in the African continent. Most of these peacekeeping operations carried out the United Nations itself with troops serving under UN operational command. In other cases, where direct UN involvement is not considered appropriate or feasible especially when it involved an intricate tribal problems and ethnic war such as African problems and Balkan wars, the Security Council authorizes regional organizations such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) or the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) or involving coalitions of willing countries to implement certain peacekeeping or peace enforcement functions. The encouragement of using sub-regional organisation in settling disputes can be seen in the Sierra Leone conflict which will be discussed later in this writings.

An Overview of Sierra Leone problems and internal conflicts

Republic of Sierra Leone is a constitutional republic located in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea on the north and Liberia on the south, with the Atlantic Ocean on the west. The country consists of three provinces and one area, which governed by the administration resided in the capital city of Freetown.

During the 18th century, Sierra Leone was an important hub of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans. The capital Freetown was founded in 1787 by the Sierra Leone Company as a home for previously enslaved African Americans who had fought for the British in the American Revolutionary War. In 1808, Freetown became a British Crown Colony, and in 1896, the core of the country became a British Protectorate. The Crown Colony and Protectorate joined and gained independence in 1961. There was instability due to rebel activities between 1991 and 2002, which were resolved by United Nations and British forces disarming 17,000 militia and rebels, and the country has been peaceful since then.

The conflict in Sierra Leone dates from March 1991 when fighters of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) launched a war from the east of the country near the border with Liberia to overthrow the incumbent government. With the support of the Military Observer Group (ECOMOG) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Sierra Leone's army tried at first to defend the government but in the following year, the army itself overthrew the government. Despite the change of power, the RUF continued its attacks.

United Nations Involvement in Sierra Leon conflict

In November 1994, the Head of State of Sierra Leone addressed a letter to the United Nations Secretary General-Boutros Boutros-Ghali, formally requesting him to provide his good offices to facilitate negotiations between the Government and the RUF. On 15 December 1994, the Secretary-General sent an investigative mission to Sierra Leone to initiate consultations to that effect. The mission noted the serious deterioration of the situation in the country as a result of the three-year conflict. About 10 per cent of the population in Sierra Leone were refugees in neighbouring countries and at least 30 per cent were internally displaced. Vital infrastructure had been destroyed and three quarters of the national budget was spent on its defence.

In February 1995, on the basis of the mission's findings, the Secretary-General decided to appoint a Special Envoy, Mr. Berhanu Dinka from Ethiopia. He worked in collaboration with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and ECOWAS to try to negotiate a settlement to the conflict and return the country to civilian rule.

Parliamentary and presidential elections in Sierra Leone were held in February 1996, and the army relinquished power to the winner, Dr. Alhaji Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. The RUF, however, did not participate in the elections and would not recognize the results. The conflict thus continued with the reluctant adherence of the RUF to recognize the elected government. Special envoy Dinka then assisted in negotiating a peace agreement and in November 1996, between the Government and RUF known as the Abidjan Accord. The agreement was derailed by another military coup d'├ętat in May 1997. This time the army joined forces with the RUF and formed a ruling junta. President Kabbah and his government went into exile in neighbouring Guinea.

A new Special envoy, Mr. Francis G. Okelo from Uganda and other representatives of the international community tried to assist in peace negotiations but failed to persuade the military junta to step down. The Security Council then imposed an oil and arms embargo on 8 October 1997 and authorized ECOWAS to ensure its implementation using ECOMOG troops.

On 23 October 1997, the ECOWAS Committee of Five on Sierra Leone and a delegation representing the chairman of the military junta held talks at Conakry and signed a peace plan which, among other things, called for a ceasefire to be monitored by ECOMOG and if approved by the UN Security Council assisted by United Nations military observers. On 5 November, President Kabbah issued a statement indicating his acceptance of the agreement, and stated his Government's willingness to cooperate with ECOWAS, ECOMOG, the United Nations and UNHCR in the implementation of their respective roles. Although the junta publicly committed itself to implementing the agreement, it subsequently criticized key provision and raised a number of issues, with the result that the agreement was never implemented.

United Nations Observer Mission (UNOMSIL) in Sierra Leone

In February 1998, ECOMOG responding to an attack by rebel and army junta forces launched a military attack that led to the collapse of the junta and its expulsion from Freetown. On 10 March, President Kabbah was returned to office in Freetown. The Security Council terminated the oil and arms embargo against the government and strengthened the office of the Special Envoy to include United Nations military liaison officers and its security advisory personnel.

On 13 July 1998, the Security Council established the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL), with the authorized strength of 70 military observers for an initial period of six months. The Secretary-General named Special Envoy Okelo as his Special Representative and Chief of Mission, and Brigadier-General Subhash C. Joshi of India as Chief Military Observer. In accordance with its mandate, the mission monitored and advised efforts to disarm combatants and restructure the nation's security forces. Unarmed UNOMSIL teams, under the protection of ECOMOG, documented reports of on-going atrocities and human rights abuses committed against civilians. The Security Council was kept informed of the activities of the Mission.

Fighting continued with the rebel alliance gaining control of more than half of the country. In December 1998 the alliance began an offensive to retake Freetown and in January 1999 overran most of the city. This led to the evacuation of UNOMSIL personnel to Conakry, and the subsequent downsizing of the Mission's military and civilian personnel. The Special Representative and the Chief Military Observer continued performing their duties, maintaining close contact with all parties to the conflict and monitoring the situation. Later in the same month, ECOMOG troops retook the capital and again installed the civilian government, although thousands of rebels were still reportedly hiding out in the surrounding countryside.

United Nations Observer Mission (UNOMSIL) mandates in Sierra Leon

According to Security Council resolution 1181 (1998) of 13 July 1998, UNOMSIL's military element was to:

i. Monitor the military and security situation in the country as a whole, as security conditions permit, and to provide the Special Representative of the Secretary-General with regular information thereon in particular with a view to determining when conditions were sufficiently secure to allow subsequent deployments of military observers beyond the first phase;
ii. Monitor the disarmament and demobilization of former combatants concentrated in secure areas of the country, including monitoring of the role of the Military Observer Group (ECOMOG) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the provision of security and in the collection and destruction of arms in those secure areas;
iii. Assist in monitoring respect for international humanitarian law, including at disarmament and demobilization sites, where security conditions permit;
iv. Monitor the voluntary disarmament and demobilization of members of the Civil Defence Forces (CDF), as security conditions permit.

UNOMSIL's civilian element was to:

i. Advise, in coordination with other international efforts, the Government of Sierra Leone and local police officials on police practice, training, re-equipment and recruitment, in particular on the need to respect internationally accepted standards of policing in democratic societies, to advise on the planning of the reform and restructuring of the Sierra Leone police force, and to monitor progress in that regard;
ii. Report on violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Sierra Leone, and, in consultation with the relevant United Nations agencies, to assist the Government of Sierra Leone in its efforts to address the country's human rights needs.

Lome Peace Agreement and United Nations active role in Sierra Leone

In the aftermath of the rebel attack, Special Representative Okelo in consultation with West African states initiated a series of diplomatic efforts aimed at opening up dialogue with the rebels. Negotiations between the Government and the rebels began in May 1999 and on 7 July all parties to the conflict signed an agreement in Lome to end hostilities and form a government of national unity.

The Lome Peace Agreement included numerous requests for international involvement, specifically that of the United Nations in implementing provisions contained therein and required a substantial increase in the role of UNOMSIL and accordingly in its human and administrative resources. Reporting to the Security Council on 30 July 1999, the Secretary-General outlined a number of measures to maintain momentum in the peace process, and recommended that the Council approve as an immediate first step that the provisional expansion of UNOMSIL. The Secretary-General indicated that following discussions with all interested parties, he would submit additional recommendations on the overall activities of the United Nations in Sierra Leone, including the mandate and structure of a United Nations peacekeeping presence in the country.

On 20 August, the Security Council, by its resolution 1260 (1999), authorized the provisional expansion of UNOMSIL to up to 210 military observers along with the necessary equipment and administrative and medical support to perform the tasks set out in the report of the Secretary-General. It also authorized the strengthening of the political, civil affairs, information, human rights and child protection elements of the Mission.

United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) terminated

In his further report dated 23 September 1999, the Secretary-General recommended to the Security Council that it permit the deployment of the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), a new and significantly larger peacekeeping mission with a maximum of 6,000 military personnel, including 260 military observers, to assist in the implementation of the Lome Peace Agreement. On 22 October 1999, the Council authorized the establishment of UNAMSIL. At the same time, it decided that UNAMSIL would take over the substantive civilian and military components of UNOMSIL and that the mandate of that mission should terminate (United Nations, 2000).

United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL)

On 22 October 1999, the Security Council authorized the establishment of UNAMSIL, a new and much larger mission with a maximum of 6,000 military personnel, including 260 military observers, to assist the Government and the parties in carrying out provisions of the Lome peace agreement. At the same time, the Council decided to terminate UNOMSIL (United Nations, 2000).

On 7 February 2000, the Security Council, by its resolution 1289, decided to revise the mandate of UNAMSIL to include a number of additional tasks. It decided to expand the military component to a maximum of 11,100 military personnel, including the 260 military observers already deployed. The Council also authorized increases in the civil affairs, civilian police, administrative and technical components of UNAMSIL, as proposed by the Secretary-General (United Nations, 2000).

The Security Council again increased the authorized strength of UNAMSIL, to 13,000 military personnel, including the 260 military observers by its resolution 1299 of 19 May 2000. On 30 March 2001, a further increase was authorized to 17,500 military personnel, including the 260 military observers. The Council took this decision by its resolution 1346, and, by the same resolution, approved a revised concept of operations (United Nations, 2000).

UNAMSIL Security Council Mandates

According to Security Council resolution 1270 (1999) of 22 October 1999, UNAMSIL had the following mandate:

i. To cooperate with the Government of Sierra Leone and the other parties to the Peace Agreement in the implementation of the Agreement;
ii. To assist the Government of Sierra Leone in the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plan to that end;
iii. To establish a presence at key locations throughout the territory of Sierra Leone, including at disarmament/ reception centres and demobilization centres;
iv. To ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations personnel;
v. To monitor adherence to the ceasefire in accordance with the ceasefire agreement of 18 May 1999 through the structures provided for therein;
vi. To encourage the parties to create confidence-building mechanisms and support their functioning;
vii. To facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance;
viii. To support the operations of United Nations civilian officials, including the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and his staff, human rights officers and civil affairs officers; and
ix. To provide support, as requested, to the elections, which are to be held in accordance with the present constitution of Sierra Leone

According to Security Council resolution 1289 (2000) of 7 February 2000, the mandate was revised to include the following tasks (acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations):

i. To provide security at key locations and Government buildings, in particular in Freetown, important intersections and major airports, including Lungi airport;
ii. To facilitate the free flow of people, goods and humanitarian assistance along specified thoroughfares;
iii. To provide security in and at all sites of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme;
iv. To coordinate with and assist, the Sierra Leone law enforcement authorities in the discharge of their responsibilities; and
v. To guard weapons, ammunition and other military equipment collected from ex-combatants and to assists in their subsequent disposal or destruction.

The Council authorized UNAMSIL to take the necessary action to fulfil those additional tasks, and affirmed that, in the discharge of its mandate, UNAMSIL may take the necessary action to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel and, within its capabilities and areas of deployment, to afford protection to civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, taking into account the responsibilities of the Government of Sierra Leone.

According to Security Council resolution 1346 (2001) of 30 March 2001:

"The Security Council ...Welcomes the revised concept of operations for UNAMSIL as set out in paragraphs 57 to 67 of the report of the Secretary-General [S/201/228 of 14 March 2001] and the progress already made towards its implementation, and encourages the Secretary-General to proceed to its completion; ... "

Paragraph 58 of the report reads as follows:

"The main objectives of UNAMSIL in Sierra Leone remain to assist the efforts of the Government of Sierra Leone to extend its authority, restore law and order and stabilize the situation progressively throughout the entire country, and to assist in the promotion of a political process which should lead to a renewed disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme and the holding, in due course, of free and fair elections."

United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone and its success

UNAMSIL may serve as a model for successful peacekeeping operations as well as a prototype for the UN's new emphasis on peace building measures. Over the course of its mandate, the mission disarmed tens of thousands of ex-fighters, assisted in holding national elections, helped to rebuild the country's police force, and contributed towards rehabilitating the infrastructure and bringing government services to local communities.

The United Nations also helped the Government stop illicit trading in diamonds and regulates the industry. During the war, rebels had used money from “blood” or “conflict” diamonds to buy weapons which had fuelled the conflict. UNAMSIL was not always foreseen to succeed: at one point, in May 2000, the mission nearly collapsed when the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) kidnapped hundreds of peacekeepers and renounced the ceasefire in a move that endangered the credibility of UN peacekeeping. Outraged by the chaos that followed, the international community put pressure on the rebels to obey the ceasefire and slapped sanctions against RUF sponsors. Subsequently, UNAMSIL launched new mediation efforts and brought the two adversaries back to the negotiation table. It brought in more troops to monitor the ceasefire and began disarming fighters from both sides.

The United Kingdom, which had sent a force to restore peace following RUF's breach of the ceasefire, later, started restructuring the army while UNAMSIL and other international partners concentrated on training the local police force. By early 2002, UNAMSIL had disarmed and demobilized more than 75,000 ex-fighters, including child soldiers. The Government declared the war officially ended. With the political situation stable, the Mission helped organize Sierra Leone's first ever free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections by providing logistics and public information support. Two years later, the mission gave similar support for the local government elections (United Nations, Sec-General Report, 2004).

UNAMSIL completed most of the tasks assigned it by the Security Council: It assisted the voluntary return of more than half a million refugees and internally displaced persons. It helped the Government restore its authority and social services in areas previously controlled by rebels, trained thousands of police personnel, and constructed or reconstructed dozens of police stations.

UNAMSIL monitored and trained Sierra Leonean in human rights and was instrumental in setting up the Special Court for Sierra Leone to try those most responsible for war crimes. The Mission also assisted the Government in setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, tasked with healing the wounds of war by bringing together perpetrators and victims of atrocities.

Working together with UN agencies, the Mission launched quick-impact and income-generating projects to provide jobs to thousands of unemployed youths and ex-fighters and basic services to local communities. UNAMSIL troops reconstructed schools and clinics, launched and funded agricultural projects, and sponsored free medical clinics in far-flung areas.

While UNAMSIL had done much, Sierra Leone still faced many challenges: the country remained fragile and needed to take concrete steps to address the root causes of the conflict and cultivate a culture of human rights. The economy was heavily dependent on donor funds. A disproportionate share of income from diamond mining still found its way into private hands, rather than Government coffers. Despite reintegration programmes, thousands of ex-combatants and youths—many of whom never went to school—were unemployed. In short, the peace had yet to produce tangible economic dividends and social benefits for the majority of the population.

To help meet these challenges, the Security Council established a new mission—the United Nations Integrated Office for Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL)—to help consolidate peace in the country. Its mandate was to cement UNAMSIL's gains and to help the Government strengthen human rights, realize the Millennium Development Goals, improve transparency and hold free and fair elections in 2007.

United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL)

Sierra Leone has come a long way since the arrival of the first United Nations peacekeepers in 1999. A sustained peace, however, has yet to produce tangible economic dividends and social benefits for the majority of the population of Sierra Leone. To help meet these challenges, the United Nations Security Council established a new mission – the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) which aimed to help consolidate peace in the country, enhance development and ensure human rights.

United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leones – the mandates

UNIOSIL mission is to assist the Government and people of Sierra Leone in consolidating peace, strengthening democracy and sustaining development. The United Nations’ achievements in Sierra Leone in the areas of peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and recovery are far-reaching and successful. Therefore, Security Council Resolution 1620 (2005) created an Integrated Office in Sierra Leone and mandates this office and all agencies, funds and programmes of the UN system to work together toward the following goals:

i. Accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals through poverty reduction and balanced economic growth;
ii. Assist in the implementation of a national action plan for human rights;
iii. Build the capacity for free, fair and credible elections;
iv. Enhance democratic governance, with transparency, accountability and participation;
v. Strengthen the rule of law and the capacities of the justice, police and corrections systems;
vi. Consolidate the reform of the security sector;
vii. Ensure the protection and well-being of youth, women and children; and
viii. Promote a culture of peace, dialogue and inclusion.

United Nations remaining challenges in Sierra Leone


Sierra Leone has come a long way since the arrival of the first United Nations peacekeepers. A sustained peace, however, has yet to produce tangible economic dividends and social benefits for the majority of the population of Sierra Leone. Despite its rich natural resources and creative people, Sierra Leone has ranked for the past several years at the very bottom of the world's development statistics. Health factors, in particular, impose a heavy burden on the population. Infant mortality is at 144 deaths per 1000 live births and the life expectancy is 42.5 years. At the onset of 2006, literacy stood at just 31 percent (United Nations, Sec-General Report, 2007).

Sierra Leone faces many challenges: the country remains fragile, and as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission warned, it has to take concrete steps to address the root causes of the conflict and cultivate a culture of human rights in order for peace to be sustainable. The economy is heavily dependent on donor funds. A disproportionate share of income from diamond mining still finds it way into private hands, rather than Government coffers.

Despite ongoing reintegration programmes, thousands of ex-combatants and youths and also many of whom never went to school which children of the unemployed. In short, the peace has yet to produce tangible economic dividends and social benefits for the majority of the country’s 4.8 million people.

Conclusion

In the post-Cold War period, there has been increasing cooperation between the OAU, UN and sub-regional organisation on peace and security. This cooperation has been framed within Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Between 1994-2003, the UN Sec. General organized five high level meeting to develop a comprehensive framework for cooperation between the UN and regional organisation involving conflict prevention and peace building, and the post 9/11 new security threats.

One of the most important innovations in the management of international security in the post Cold War era is the concept of shared responsibility between the United Nations and some regional organisations for the effective management of conflicts within the regions of the world. Africa is the first region where extensive efforts have been made recently to formalize the relation between the UN and the regional organisation (Margaret Vogt, 2004).

The failure of the OAU to respond to conflict situations in Africa, in particular during the post-Cold War period, provided the opportunity for sub-regional organisations to fill the security and defence gap. They have shown more determination and greater willingness than the OAU to respond to domestic conflicts with potential regional consequences.

These sub-regional organisations have to adapt their original economic integration and development mandates and institutions to suits the new security and peace functions.

References:-

i. Robert S, Jordan, 2001.
International Organizations: A Comparative Approach to the Management of Cooperation, Praeger Publishers.
ii. Thomas G. Weiss, 2000.
The United Nation: Changing World Politics, Westview Press.
iii. Julie Mertus, 2005. United Nations and Human Rights: A Guide to New Era, Routledge.
iv. Adam Roberts, Benedict Kingsbury, 2005.
United Nations, Divided World, Oxford University Press.
v. Jane Boulden, 2003.
Dealing With Conflict in Africa: The United Nations and Regional Organizations, Palgrave MacMillan.

Book review: Human Rights – Views of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad


By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Hj. Ismail

Human rights

Human rights consign to "the basic rights and freedoms, to which all humans are entitled, often held to include the right to life and liberty, freedom of thought and expression, and equality before the law." The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

The concept of human rights came from the philosophical idea of natural rights which are considered to exist even when trodden by governments or society. Some recognize virtually no difference between the two and regard both as labels for the same thing, while others choose to keep the terms split to eliminate association with some features traditionally associated with natural rights. Natural rights, in particular, are rights of the individual, and are considered beyond the authority of a future government or international body to dismiss.

United Nations on Human Rights

The United Nations (UN) is the only international entity with jurisdiction for universal human rights legislation. All UN organs have advisory roles to the Security Council. Article 1-3 of the United Nations Charter states "To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion."

The United Nations Human Rights Council is involved with the investigation into violations of human rights. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principle judicial organ of the United Nations.

Human rights – from Asians standpoint


The concept of human rights has been largely formulated by the developed countries of the West. Nor surprisingly they reflect the culture of the West at a given time. Just as Western society undergoes changes and development, the perception of what constitutes human rights also changed and developed. Thus voting rights were initially accorded to select landowners only. The enfranchisements were then widened to ordinary citizens. It was not until after the First World War that woman gained their rights to vote. In Switzerland women could only vote in the 1960’s.

Human right is therefore neither inherently natural nor static nor free from change. Since the different human societies differ in term of their development and culture and they all undergo change with time, it is unrealistic to insist that all their values and therefore their perceptions of what constitutes human rights should be identical all the time. True, certain basic rights should be universal. The right to one’s life and to freedom from oppression should be part of the universal rights of all human societies. But it is not just governments which should not deprive their citizens of their rights, no one else should deprive anyone of their rights. Unfortunately when one talks about human rights invariably one thinks of the Government as the violator. And so many have their rights trampled upon with impunity by others within the community or by foreigners and foreign countries.

There is also a difference in the perception of human rights between the East and the West. Whereas the West is also obsessively concerned with the rights of the individual, the East is more concerned with the rights of the Community. One cannot really say whether the West or the East is more right. Thus democracy is based on the will of the majority. But the majority is not beyond abusing their power and oppressing the minority. Would curbing the exercise of the right of the majority result in denial of human rights? On the other hand, the minority may exercise their rights in such a way as to deny the rights of the majority. Should the majority accept what amounts to the curtailment of their win rights in the name of observing human rights?

The developed countries have now appointed themselves the arbiter of human rights worldwide. In the name of human rights they have applied all kinds of pressures on the countries unable to defend themselves. Every now and again new forms of human rights are invented and any country found defaulting is subjected to vile publicity and other repressive measures.

Clearly upholding human rights is not as simple as it is made out to be. Even as individual have rights, society too, being a collecting of individual has rights. In the end the answer must lie in a compromise where the important thing is not just the rights of the individual or of society but good that comes from the practice. Society and individual must accept the need to make sacrifices in the interest of the good of everyone. There can be no absolute rights for anyone. Even basic rights need to be curtailed if that becomes necessary. Rigidity in the practice of human rights can only result in society and individuals in the society paying a high price without achieving the deal. It is the result which counts, not the pious adherence to doctrine.

Human right is not a licence to do anything without regard to the rights if others, the rights of the majority are just as valid as the rights of the minority or the individual. A society has a right to protect itself from the unbridled exercise of rights by individuals or as minority which in the West has contributed to the collapse of morality and the structure of human society. In individual and minority rights are so totally inviolable then you must allow the resurgence of Nazism and the violently racist activities in Europe and elsewhere.

For Asians, the community, the majority comes first. The individual and the minority must have their rights but not at the unreasonable expense of the majority. The individuals and the minority must conform to the mores of society. A little deviation may be allowed but unrestrained exhibition of personal freedom which disturbs the peace or threatens to undermine society is not what Asians expects from democracy. Democracy is a method of Government. It is good only if the result is good.

Uniformity should not be a feature of Asian democracy. Each country should be allowed to tailor its democracy to cater to the characteristics of its people and their needs. The people should decide through the basic democratic process what kind and what degree of democracy they want.

The same applies to human rights. Asian human rights need not be a fair copy of Western human rights. The individual and the minority must be allowed their freedom but such freedom must not deprive the majority of their rights. Apart from being more democratic and subscribing to their owns perceptions as to what constitutes human rights; apart from accepting the free market economy there can be no certainty about the future of Asia. Several scenarios are possible. Based upon Asian History and the present state of Asian countries, all these scenarios are possible.

Before a Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be accepted the different perception and the various results must be carefully understood. Failure to do this may result in oppression rather than the enjoyment of such rights.

Conclusion

The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stems in large part from the strong desire for peace in the aftermath of Second World War. Although the 58 Member States which formed the United Nations at that time varied in their ideologies, political systems and religions and cultural backgrounds and had different patterns of socio-economic development, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights represented a common statement of goals and aspirations as a vision of the world as the international community would want to be.

The Declaration serves as a guide for governments to create national laws that protect human rights. Citizens can then use their own judicial and legal system to prosecute individuals or groups that have violated human rights. In Canada for example, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms has incorporated the human rights standards of the Declaration into Canadian law.

The Universal Declaration of Human rights is a profoundly important document for people all over the world because it is founded on three key principles. Human rights are alienable and no one can ever take them away from you. Human rights also are indivisible which you cannot be entitled to some of them and denied others. Finally, Human rights are interdependent which means they are all part of a larger framework and work together so you can enjoy a safe, free and productive life.

Reference:-

Human rights – views of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, 1999, Compiled by World Youth Foundation, Affluent Master Sdn. Bhd.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Now I do understand what is diplomacy

19th August 2008 - Now I do understand the true meaning of what diplomacy really is after reading Dr. Kissinger writing. I'm halfway to finish it, but I do suggest this book [by Dr. Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy published by Simon and Schuster Paperbacks]. It is indeed a very good book and I promise that I will post my analysis later on what I've read.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Kalau tak salah kenapa takut?

18 Ogos 2008 - Kalau tak salah kenapa takut? Berani kerana benar dan tak perlulah mereka cipta bermacam-macam alasan yang tak munasabah dan tak masuk akal. Allah itu Maha Adil dan Maha Mengetahui Segalanya. Dan Allah itu adalah Tuhan yang Maha Kaya serta tidak berlaku zalim terhadap hambaNya.

Friday, 15 August 2008

Impasse

15th August 2008 - I was reading a book written by Dr. Henry Kissinger on Diplomacy. I found a startling comparison between past leaders of Europe [Napoleon III and Otto Von Bismarck] which stated by Dr. Kissinger on leadership.

I quote the book:-

"Napoleon's [III] tragedy was that his ambitions surpassed his capacities; Bismarck's tragedy was that his capacities exceeded his society's ability to absorb them. The legacy Napoleon left France was strategic paralysis; the legacy Bismarck left Germany was inassimilable greatness."

I guess we could learn a lot from that statement.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

News from Permatang Pauh

Updated: 18th August 2008 - I don't mean to sound so optimistic. Even though there was a clear bulk of support for the opposition in Permatang Pauh, but my views is that there is a slight chance for UMNO to win the election. They have to work hard to garner support from the non-Malay communities. I wish them all the best and may the right person win.

Updated: 16th August 2008 - I think I saw Khairy Jamaluddin on his way to Permatang Pauh for the election campaign. I must say that was the stupidest decision ever for UMNO to let a huge liability like him in the loop as he is hated by the Chinese community anywhere especially in Penang. Should UMNO let him show his face around Permatang Pauh, UMNO would lose the Chinese votes that they looks like they depended much upon to win the Permatang Pauh election.

13th August 2008 - My brother from Penang just spoke to me about the current situation in Permatang Pauh. Apparently there are real grievances among the Malay community towards the current state government especially on Malay issues. Some figures had really taken advantages for self serving interest by being in power just for 4 months. From the way he spoke, the Malays seem likely are not going to vote for Anwar Ibrahim and they [Malays] too begin to miss Dr. Koh Tsu Koon.

But would that feeling be back up by the Chinese and the Indian voters? What about those that are going to abstain themselves from voting due to their lost of confidence to BN and the current PM? It’s very interesting to see the election in terms of percentage that will go out to vote that day.

But the truth that I know, if Khairy are thinking about going to campaign at Permatang Pauh… well please don’t! UMNO would very much lose the election if the peoples of Penang saw KJ around especially the Chinese community. The vital key lies at the hand of the Chinese voters.

Monday, 11 August 2008

The way that I see it...

Updated Diary: 12th August 2008 - Talks about Malay supremacy and special privileges hasn't end yet. I know the reason why Malays felt threatened looking at the current situation. The party which they regard as their guardian were in shambles politically.

The morale is very low not only living as a Malaysian but also within UMNO itself nowadays. There was no clear objective where are we heading as a nation. I feel disappointed to see such thing happened. Plus we have only 11 years to reach 2020. I support UMNO struggles not merely for the sake of just supporting a political party. But UMNO was formed on the basis of guarding the Malays interest. Before 1946, the Malay doesn’t know anything about political power and unity as a whole, until Dato’ Onn asked all the Malay states association to gather at the Selangor Club [Dataran Merdeka] in 1946.

With the unity itself, UMNO managed to turn down the Empire decision for the formation of a colony [Malay Union]. But to achieve independence, the Malay had to lay down all sorts of privileges such as their nationality. It was a big sacrifices done by the Malay as before the Chinese and Indians were regarded as an immigrant races. But that was turned in 1955 with the compromises made by not just Tunku Abdul Rahman, but also Tan Cheng Lock and V.T. Sambathan.

The compromises of the nationality were made so that the Chinese would help the Malays in gaining their place in the country economically. As such, all the plans were laid out by the Alliance government spearheaded by UMNO. But it is clear that UMNO lost their objective today. I'm not surprised to see many more of UMNO members to change their political party. I'm also predicting many would abstain from voting in the future election as a protest.

People talk about Malay superiority and their privileges. But many doesn't really understand why the struggle to upheld those belief at the first place. Let me tell you a bit of the facts that I know. Before we gained independence, Malay was a peripheral race. They lived in outer skirts of major cities. The reason being is that they tended not to advent in any conflict when it comes to business and rights. The British would create a strata land not to protect the Malays from encroachment of manipulations, but as such [the strata land] it was created to con the Malays for all the land that they don’t regard as their land. The Malays were easily satisfy those days and they will just only used land that they can tilted and work on. Others were considered as not theirs and the British would then file such as belonging to the British planters to plant rubber and for mining.

The Malays also were isolated from the main stream education, political system and economy for a hundred years. Schools for the Malays were erected on the pretext of making the Malays just slightly better than their parents. If their parents were fisherman, then the education would make them a better fisherman, if their parents were a farmer/ paddy planter, then it would just only make them a better farmer/ paddy planter, not more then that [you can check paper from the colonial office as there were written papers about this education policy]. But with just only scant education, the Malays proved they were to be great students of their own teaching.

The Malays start to amass their political power through unity which leads to the formation of the United Malay National Organisation (UMNO). The struggle that were fought by UMNO those days were to rebalance back the economic portions tilted by the British government during the colonial period. It was design as not to extricate wealth from their Chinese and Indian friends, but merely by offering new opportunity that will be created through the bigger economic cake. When the times come, then such provision of mending the imbalances would be ditch out. But nowadays not many people realize this, not even an UMNO member themselves.

And now, UMNO is not fighting for the Malays, but for the UMNO "aristocrats". I feel very disappointed to see not UMNO but Malay NGOs' are currently fighting for the Malays. UMNO had become totally mute and everybody knows the reason behind this. I love UMNO, and I pray that there are still some people in UMNO who know what should UMNO do to remain the major force in Malays affairs. Or else, one day we might see that school children would only know UMNO through text books and not in what they do and can do for the betterment of the whole community regardless whether you are a Malay, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks, Ibans, Kadazan, Dusun, or aborigines.

11th August 2008 - Currently there’s a lot of talk about Malaysia political situation. There were racial and religion issues raised by irresponsible faction of people that were looking for their self interest. The truth is that everybody was disappointed with the National Alliance failure to understand what peoples want [Abdullah and Khairy out]. Personally I think that the National Alliance lead by UMNO would fall hard on their nose in 2013 election. Perhaps the opposition would clean sweep all the states legislature and the parliamentarians seats [seems that way and I have no doubt about this statement looking at the current public feelings]. Unless Prime Minister Abdullah resign and he do it now!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

School used to be good - Part 4 - The craziest time of my youth


By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Bin Hj. Ismail

The year of 1996 past by in a blink of an eye [at least for me]. I was entering my youth [14 years of age] and it was the craziest of youth. The camaraderie that I had developed in the previous year among my good friends of Argon 1 (my class name for form 1) and few selected senior (one year older) were carried forward to the year 1997. That year [1997] will always be remembered as the craziest, challenging, and adventerous year of my youth. Siti Nurhaliza was on the rise with her Cindai song and everybody was singing out of tune with her song and Malaysian was fast forwarded to the year 2020 through Dr. Mahathir Vision 2020.

I was still feeling a bit sad of staying away from my family. Personally I can’t stand being somewhere so far away [Muadzam Shah was a secluded place], and I keep counting days for me to be transfer to a much better civilized place or somewhere near Kota Bharu [near to my grandparents in Kelantan]. That year was wholly new for me and I was put into a room with a new roommate Rohazlee Hashim [still is a good friend of mine till today].

You can tell a lot the young Rohazlee Hashim. He was actually one year older than me [born in 1982], but were admitted to our college [we called MRSM as Mara Junior Science College or MJSC] one year lag behind. He was the son of a wealthy diplomat and on his first year of admission he could only talk scantily in the Malay language. I never took any attention to this new roommate of mine as his background were very different compared to me. But I guess our friendships in the previous year were seen as a good understanding for both of us that lead to our decision of sharing a room in 1997.

In 1996 I developed a very close friendship with Hijaz and in 2001, we meet again at the matriculation college in KPM-PTPL Shah Alam. There were 4 beds allocated for one room for our new building block. It was still a new dormitory block and we were the first to use it. Came February 1997, we got a whole load of new students or freshies [that we called it]. They were the batch of 1/1997 just registered in and two of the new junior students were put into our room [our dormitory teacher allocated each room to have two senior and two junior students, while some of the naughty boy were put with the previous batch of 1/ 1996 that are going to face PMR that year -1997]. If I'm not mistaken our room number were 107. I could tell you that it was Rohazlee’s traits of his personal cleanliness that make we really love to be together in one room and his high discipline for tidiness ensured our room to be granted as the cleanliest room almost every month.

Me (wearing white Kopiah and glasses) and my junior roomate - He is Datuk Maznah (Pahang Iron Lady) second son (Ridzwan)


The year 1997 witnessed as the most troubled time for me understanding my youth and the words responsibility. I was still suffering from an acute homesick. I keep asking myself, what did I do to be put someplace very far from my family. Or perhaps the town of Muadzam Shah itself were a pressure for me in looking to my senses. I bet in 1997, people doesn’t know anything about Muadzam Shah [today some still is]. It was totally an alien place for me.

On our first year there, we were so much attracted to one lake near our college and after the evening market, me, and some friends would find ourselves to visit it. I still remember the helicopter, cars, and motor bike replica that really attracted us for some fun. Sometimes our family would stay at Ridan’s Inn every time they came to visit us [the only lodging place you could find in Muadzam Shah]. I still remember the view of dead pigs that were hit by fast moving vehicles from Kuantan to Rompin using the only road to Rompin at the back of our school near the football field [the place that I would have my silat lesson].

Living your life as a young student in MRSM MZMS in 1997, we have to wake up early in the morning around 5.30 am or 6.00 am for Subuh prayers. It was a chilling cold experience [Muadzam Shah was in the middle of green forest and you could see clouds of mist in the early morning]. I could tell you that we were very much still in our dreams when we perform our Subuh prayers at the Musolla. There are also sometimes that I overslept and usually didn't go for Subuh prayers. Usually I did it [accidentally] alone and sometimes me, Rohazlee and the two juniors. If such happen, our dormitory teacher would whip our thigh two times. The whipping is not the one that scared us, but the embarrassment that we felt when our dormitory teachers announced our name during the assembly especially that announcement were listened to the girls that haunted us the most.

The morning breakfast was a nightmare for us. Most of the time I skipped my breakfast for morning shower. We usually had 30 minutes from the end of Subuh lectures to our school hour. If we late for shower then we will find ourselves in line waiting for our turn at the shower room. I could still see the green tiles of the shower room. Luckily in our second year we were given new building blocks, and the shower room were still new. On weekdays, we had to take turn [by room] to clean the shower room. Once a month, two or three room [and its mates] would be assigned to clean the shower room. There are also assignments for each room every morning for the task of Subuh azan, and to wake up every student at 6.00 am.

Me and my good buddy - Khir Asah


We would wait for Saturday to come every week. On Saturday, in Muadzam Shah town, there will be a weekly market. That’s the only place for me to find some form of civilization and escapade from my torturous time studying inside the compound of our college. My parents would send me some pocket money every month. The amount is not much, and sometimes not even enough for me to buy stencil and note books for my studies. But somehow I manage it. I usually went to the weekly market with my good friends Khir, Rohazlee or Rahmat. Living in MRSM, we would form our own click/ close friends. We would do things together. Usually in Saturday before we went to the weekly market, I would go to the Ridan store (one of two bookstores in Muadzam Shah town, even though the other one was also a branch of Ridan Store – located near BSN). Khir would find his favourite comic while me and Rahmat were just happy to be outside our college compound watching peoples coming in an out of the bookstores.

Apart from studying, I was up and coming in the year 1997. I was being looked upon especially on my oratorical ability. My Bahasa Malaysia teacher by the name Shamsuri Mahat was training me for debates, and oratorical competition to represent my college. My first year participation in the story telling contest have indeed put me into a bright light of debates oratory skills. I kept representing my schools for debates and curriculum activities. Some of the times I won trophies for my school, but usually you’ll never knew how great you’re until today the day came and you reckons that you’re doing not bad for your college. I would say that I’m proud to have given much for my school.


Me at Ridan Inn


I did mention that in the year 1997, I was very close to Khir Asah. He was really a very good friend of mine. He loves to read comic book and his favourites were “The Dewata Raya”. He took a great care of those comic and keeps it from volume 1 - 100. Most of the time I would find myself reading his comic books especially in the evening when we skipped our evening sports. Both of us hate evening sports (riadah), and we would find ourselves together and loitering behind our dorm. Most of the game courts [Volleyball and Badminton/ Sepak Takraw] were used by the senior students or some of the hard headed friends of us don’t really like to share the court when they played games with their click members.

But that doesn’t really matter to us, thus we would enjoy the evening breeze of small hills behind our college overlooking the road going to Kuantan. It releases us from studying tension. Khir Asah came from Felda Keratong located about 10 miles from Muadzam Shah town. He was very good in Mathematics and was my usual math teacher (I was never good in Mathematics in 1997). Most of the time when both of us went to the school library, I would only concentrate to study Science subject or would find myself reading books about John F. Kennedy, while Khir would practice his Math skills. He was a genius with figures and calculations.

But my break of my studies came with the subject of science. I would find my name at the top ranking of Science monthly/ semester test. I never knew why I love science subject so much. Perhaps I was very good in remembering facts and love to read, I don’t even know that when I read something I would remember the facts without even re-phrasing it many times. Even though I was regarded as a good competitive partners in the subject of science, but still my Math disappoint me. I dislike and shunned doing my Math homework and most of the time I will be whipped, punished or humiliated among my classmate by my math teacher for unable to complete my Math homework. Most of the time Khir will help me with my homework on math but many times I would copy Khir mathematics homework’s.

Meanwhile Rohazlee was very busy as a school prefect and later in 1997, he was appointed as the head of school prefect [we also call it as Lembaga Disiplin Pelajar – LDP]. Most of the time, I wouldn’t bugger him and would only discuss things or talk to him when lights off [mandatory to switch off the light at 12.00 pm]. He was a great friend, much updated and very smart. He was very committed in his new task as the head of school prefect. But I guess he did his work too diligently thus precipitated someone to piss in his shoes. The good part about Rohazlee is that he never took it personal and regards the incidents as a naughty one and immature. I learned a lot from this guy who once resided in Brazil but born in Japan.

Somebody however registered a form for me to contend in the 1997 student representatives’ election i.e. student leaders. I would never know who the one that fill up the form and where the hell did they got my photograph for the registration to be completed. But I believe whoever the person might be; honestly they did in believing of my personal capabilities as a student leader. However I was not so interested to be a student leader that year and I didn’t have any posters or went campaigning. But I won the election as second highest elected candidates out of 13 candidates. I didn’t take the job as the student representatives though and that was the most stupidest and regrettable decision I have ever did in my entire life. Some people say that I was disappointed that I came second (you could say that), but part of it, I’m really not interested for the job.

I was nevertheless appointed as the head of school librarian – the so called media branch by Cikgu Shamsuri. My responsibilities consist of taking photographs of school activities coordinate any activities pertaining to media publishing, newsletter of latest current news of Malaysia and also preparing details on first school magazine. Cikgu Shamsuri names it [the school annual magazine] as Memoir. There was a picture of me on the front cover of Memoir 1996. Frankly, Cikgu Shamsuri put the photo of me out of my knowledge. All the students that were framed in the front cover of Memoir 1996 got 8A's in their PMR either in 1997 (senior students) or 1998. You can tell a lot about Cikgu Shamsuri from that first edition of Memoir 1996. He was really a great teacher and still is for me as I begun to realize on his prediction about me and the wisdom behind his teaching now.

For me the year 1997 was the craziest year in my teenage time. I was very active and involved in a lot of schools associations. Ranging from English Language Association to Silat and to Science club, I was in all angles of curriculum participation. The only thing I'm not good at was sports. During my sports hour [every evening from 4.30 to 6.00 pm], I would make a lot of excuses just to evade sports. I remember one of our PT teachers would teach us Sepak Takraw and Volleyball. I'm not so much interested in Sepak Takraw, but Volleyball is a whole different game for me. It was really exciting to play. Most of the time the court (only two courts in MRSM MZMS that time) would be fully booked by either of the active boys [some were naughty students too] or the seniors. No way will they give some space for us to join in. We were a different click compared to them.

Its not that I don't like sports at all, but the truth is I don't have a sports shoes to wear for my sports activities. Most of the time, I would evade sports activities so that I don't have to run or do PTs using my formal shoes [it was either leather or plastic material and when I’ve run in it, it would develop inflammation to my feet]. Plus I'm very embarrassed at the times when I do have to wear my formal shoes for sports activities [in MRMS there was a physical test which requires students to do certain sports activities]. My parents at that time couldn't afford to buy me a reliable sports shoe which furthers my embarrassment especially when a girl of my class looks down on me.

But my limitation on sports activities does not shut me taking an active part in representing my school for other curriculum activities. I won third place for my debate competition that was held at the one religion school located at the outskirt of Muadzam Shah town. That competition was sponsored by Sawira [one of Palm oil Company operating in Muadzam Shah]. There was one moment in 1997 that I still remember, one day I went out to the nearest bank in Muadzam Shah. It was Bank Simpanan Nasional [BSN]. During that time there were only two banks in Muadzam Shah town [the other was Bank Bumiputera].

My parents can be put as categorically poor and my father would debit RM 30.00 every month in my BSN account for my other expenses. My father was relying on my free meals six times a day at the school to limit his expenses on me. On that particular day in 1997 when I went to the bank to withdraw my money from the ATM machine, I found out that my father hasn’t debit any money which disappoint me later that I couldn't buy the necessary stencil equipment for my school work. But to my unconsciousness, somebody was watching at me and I guess it left a picture in him that I was really in need for the money.

As I was walking back slowly to the school thinking about the stencil that I couldn’t buy a car then stop by beside the pavement near me and that particular man that was watching me at the bank stopped me and gave me RM 30.00. I was startled and he told me to study hard and don’t worry about it. After thanking and waving him goodbye, later one lady that was working nearby asked me what happened. After she finds out then she told me that, that man was the Penghulu of Muadzam Shah. I still remember that man chivalries till this day and God bless that man.

One of the best memories when I was in my second year in MRSM MZMS was that the uprising of the mangga culture of Tamiya - Dash Yonkuro. In that year, I could tell you that most of the MRSM MZMS boys were crazy about playing Tamiya. You could find every drain at the school hostel were clean because the boy would use the drain as their race circuit for their Tamiya/ Audley. Rohazlee too were crazy about Tamiya. He had this upgraded motor engine version for the Tamiya and usually he would lend the motor engine friends that want to race among others. Most of them would find out the hard way when at the end of the day, their locally built Tamiya (Audley) would melt due to the heat emitted by the Rohazlee's upgraded motor engine. We had a good time that particular time and our dormitory teacher himself would be happy himself due to the cleanliness of school drain.

The thing which I can’t forget is that in 1997 at the MRSM MZMS, we as very young teenagers were very much fascinated and influenced extremely by the Islamic teaching. Most of the boys would learn to wear serban (Arab's head wear) or kopiah to get respect by their peers. We would spend most of our free time talking about Islamic scholars and the past Islamic civilization and about the greatness of Islamic scholars’ such as Al-Khindi, Avicenna and et cetera. The students would listen to the nasyid song and there are competition of nasyid among the students was held from time to time. Sometimes our school representatives would win the nasyid competition held outside among other schools nearby Kuantan / Muadzam Shah or Keratong.

The most boring time for us would be during weekends especially Sunday morning, thus we had nothing to do except washing our clothes, and talking about all sorts of things and eating instant noodles. I develop a good friendship with my non-Muslim friends. They were indigenous people [Orang Asli]. One of them was Rahmat. Rahmat is a very nice friend and most of the time we would find our close circles (Khir Asah, Rahmat and me) loitering at the back of the school dormitory evading prep time or evening sports. We would talk about everything and sometimes listening to my illegal radios that I bought at the price of [RM 15.00]. We were forbidden to bring any walkman or radio during our time at MRSM MZMS in 1997. But no matter how bad it was, we really had a good time that year.

Me and the beautiful teacher Erema


On my academics, I wasn't doing very well in 1997. I can say that my CGPA were an average among 2.9 - 3.35. I'm not very much happy with my CGPA and only my Bahasa Malaysia subject and Science subject helped me in my CGPA. I was doing very badly in my mathematics (C+ and B-). By the end of 1997, we welcomed our new English teacher. Her name was Teacher Erema. She was very beautiful lady and a graduate from United Kingdom. She was one of the major factors in my life, not only she lifted my interest in English subject but also she shed some lights on what I can do in my life too.

To be continued...

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Siri II - Evolusi Sistem Kapitalis Dalam Sistem Kerajaan Di Malaysia

Kartun Richard Cobden yang memperkenalkan Pasaran Bebas kepada rakyat British pada abad ke 19

Saya cukup memahami kebimbangan sesetengah pihak dikalangan kita jika sistem kapitalis diimplementasikan secara sepenuhnya di Malaysia. Keraguan yang dibangkitkan terhadap sistem ini rata-rata berkaitan isu moral - sesuatu perniagaan akan hanya mengejar keuntungan semata-mata dan ini boleh menimbulkan masalah seperti kenaikan harga sesuatu barangan pada kadar yang tidak munasabah ataupun juga masalah rasuah.

Berdasarkan kepada kebimbangan yang sama juga, sistem kapitalis ini telah mengalami evolusi pada abad ke 21 di mana pengamal sistem ini mula menekankan kepentingan tanggungjawab korporat (corporate responsibility) di dalam pembangunan sosio-ekonomi sesebuah masyarakat. Ada juga ahli perniagaan yang berjaya mengaut keuntungan berlipat ganda menggunakan sistem kapitalis ini untuk memberikan sebahagian keuntungan yang dinikmati ini secara bersama. Sebagai contoh Bill Gates melalui "Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation" telah menyarankan agar sistem kapitalis ini digunakan secara kreatif di dalam memastikan pengagihan kekayaan secara menyeluruh kepada semua pihak.

Tujuan saya menulis email berkaitan sistem kapitalis ini adalah bagi memberikan sedikit maklumat dan memperbetulkan persepsi salah mengenai sistem kapitalis. Saya percaya propaganda yang dibaca dan diulangi sejak dari perang dingin telah membuatkan rata-rata penduduk di negara membangun termasuk Malaysia kurang percaya kepada sistem ini. Saya akan kongsi dua pengalaman pemimpin negara dunia ketiga iaitu pengalaman Lee Kuan Yew (bekas Perdana Menteri Singapura) dan Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (bekas Perdana Menteri Malaysia) yang juga pada mulanya agak kurang percaya kepada sistem kapitalis ini tetapi akhirnya membuat perubahan kepercayaan ideologi yang besar seterusnya menggunakan sistem ini bagi memodenkan negara masing-masing.

Pengalaman Singapura - Lee Kwan Yew

Setelah Singapura mencapai kemerdekaan dari Malaysia pada tahun 1965, Lee Kwan Yew agak buntu untuk memilih antara sistem ekonomi mana yang perlu diikuti oleh negaranya. Masalah dan tekanan kesatuan sekerja di Singapura pada awal 1960-an adalah tinggi dan union-union ini lebih memihak dan mempercayai ideologi Komunisme/ Komunal yang dipercayai mereka adil, tidak bersifat mengeksploitasi golongan pekerja boleh membawa kesaksamaan kepada semua.

Lee Kwan Yew didalam misi mencari kebenaran kemudian telah melakukan lawatan ke dua buah negara bagi melihat kesan sistem ekonomi berpusat ini. Pada mulanya beliau telah melawat Rusia iaitu ke Moscow. Setelah bertemu pemimpin Rusia ketika itu (Nikita Khruschev), beliau pulang semula ke hotel penginapan dan memesan makanan melalui perkhidmatan ke bilik. Sebagai seorang ketua negara beliau percaya beliau akan diberikan layanan kelas pertama. Makanan kemudian dihantar ke bilik beliau dan setelah selesai makan, beliau telah meninggalkan pinggan dan cawan yang digunakan di atas meja di bilik tersebut untuk diambil semula oleh perkhidmatan mencuci bilik.

Pada keesokkan harinya pinggan mangkuk yang sama didapati masih ada di atas meja dan tidak diusik. Beliau bersiap untuk bermesyuarat kali kedua dan pada waktu petang (selesai bermesyuarat), beliau pulang ke bilik hotel dan terkejut apabila mendapati pinggan mangkuk yang digunakan masih lagi di atas meja seperti semalam. Bilik beliau jika tidak dikemaskan seperti mana beliau menginap di London ataupun di Washington.

Beliau terus menelefon pihak pengurusan hotel dan bertanyakan perkara tersebut. Pengurus hotel menjelaskan bahawa sistem komunis di Soviet Rusia menekankan bahawa penginap perlu mencuci pinggan mangkuk tersebut dan menghantar ke dapur hotel. Penginap juga perlu membersihkan bilik penginapan mereka sendiri. Itu merupakan sistem yang perlu diikuti oleh semua pihak samada pemimpin negara ataupun rakyat biasa di Rusia apabila menginap di hotel. Ia bertujuan untuk mencipta kesaksamaan. Lee Kwan Yew merasakan bahawa jika perkara seumpama diimplementasikan di Singapura, sudah tentu penduduk Singapura akan mempunyai esteem diri yang rendah dan tidak bersemangat untuk bekerja.

Beliau kemudian membuat lawatan ke sebuah negara di Afrika. Pada awal 1950-an lawatan pertama beliau ke negara berkenaan (ketika itu masih dalam jajahan British), beliau dapati pemandangan di jalanan adalah kemas dan cantik. Pada awal 1960-an sekali lagi beliau membuat lawatan ke negara yang sama (negara tersebut mencapai kemerdekaan dan mengguna pakai sistem ekonomi berpusat), beliau terkejut melihat perubahan jalan yang kotor, dipenuhi binatang ternakan dan sangat tidak bersih.

Beliau kemudian pulang ke Singapura dan memutuskan bahawa Singapura akan mengguna pakai sistem ekonomi kapitalis dan beliau berjaya memodenkan Singapura. Lee Kwan Yew menulis bahawa "It's a gamble that I won. I don't know myself which one will work (communism or capitalism)".

Pengalaman Dr. Mahathir Mohamad - Malaysia

Dr. Mahathir pula secara peribadi beliau pernah berkongsi pengalaman beliau mengenai bagaimana sistem komunal ini boleh merendahkan esteem diri seseorang, membosankan sesuatu tugasan dan mengurangkan produktiviti sesebuah negara. Beliau berkongsi pengalaman beliau berkunjung ke negara yang mengamalkan sistem ekonomi berpusat ini.

Pengalaman beliau ke ibu kota utama di negeri di bawah Soviet Rusia samada jika beliau ke St. Petersburg, Moscow ataupun mana-mana ibu negeri di Rusia atau negara Eropah Timur. Jika beliau menginap di salah sebuah hotel di Soviet Rusia dan kemudian beliau ke ibu negeri atau kota lain di Rusia, beliau akan tahu di mana letaknya tandas, bilik mandi, tempat makan, reception ataupun mana-mana bahagian hotel penginapan beliau, walaupun itu merupakan kali pertama beliau ke hotel berkenaan.

Sistem ekonomi berpusat akan menentukan bahawa hotel, pejabat kerajaan, ataupun sesebuah rumah kediaman akan direka dan dibina sama rekabentuk walaupun berbeza tempat - ini bertujuan mewujudkan kesaksamaan bagi semua tanpa mengambil kira perkara utama yang menjadikan sesebuah ekonomi itu berfungsi dengan baik iaitu kehendak pengguna yang sentiasa berubah-ubah dan berbeza antara satu sama lain.

Suka saya untuk meminjam kata-kata Dave Packard (Pengasas Komputer Hawlett Packard -HP)

"Ramai orang mempunyai tanggapan yang salah berkenaan objektif utama sesebuah perniagaan. Pada pendapat mereka, sesebuah perniagaan wujud adalah bagi mendapatkan keuntungan wang ringgit semata-mata. Ini sememangnya penting (keuntungan), tetapi jika diamati dengan lebih mendalam dan mengkaji sebab kewujudan sesebuah perniagaan... masyarakat dan perniagaan itu sendiri wujud bagi membolehkan syarikat itu mencapai keuntungan bersama (antara masyarakat dan perniagaan) - dan membolehkan syarikat berkenaan menyumbangkan sesuatu kepada masyarakat berkenaan".

Saya melihat kepada perubahan ekonomi dunia yang pesat (samada dari segi perdagangan ataupun bagaimana sesebuah ekonomi berfungsi), menyebabkan peranan Kementerian ini tidak dapat tidak dan terpaksa berubah mengikut perubahan semasa. KERAJAAN akan mengalami perubahan besar daripada berperanan sebagai "gatekeeper" kepada aktiviti perniagaan domestik berubah kepada beberapa peranan yang memerlukan KERAJAAN untuk kurang terlibat secara langsung di dalam aktiviti perniagaan domestik.

Ingin saya kongsi mengenai fakta berkenaan sistem ekonomi berpusat yang dilaksanakan di Soviet Union 20 tahun dahulu yang seakan mirip peranan yang dilakukan oleh KERAJAAN pada masa ini. Umum mengetahui bahawa Kerajaan Soviet Rusia telah menekankan dan percaya bahawa sistem ekonomi berpusat mampu memberikan kebaikan dan kesaksamaan kepada semua pihak. Bagi memastikan ekonomi Rusia berkembang dan memenuhi keperluan pengguna, Kerajaan Soviet pada ketika itu telah menubuhkan satu jawatankuasa yang dikenali sebagai Jawatankuasa Perancangan Ekonomi Berpusat (State Planning Committee/ di dalam bahasa Rusia Gosplan).

Bagi menguruskan jawatankuasa ini, satu birokrasi diwujudkan dan dinamakan sebagai "gos" yang bermaksud negeri/ milik negara. Salah satunya adalah "Gosnab" yang bertanggung jawab untuk membekalkan bahan mentah kepada pihak industri, "Gostrud" pula berfungsi bagi menetapkan gaji dan peraturan kerja, "Goskomtsen" pula ditubuhkan bagi menetapkan harga sesuatu barangan. Ditengah-tengah jawatankuasa berkenaan adalah Gosplan - yang bertanggung jawab menganalisa, menentukan jenis, kuantiti, dan harga komoditi yang dikeluarkan di setiap kilang dan pusat pengeluaran di 11 zon waktu yang berbeza di seluruh Rusia.

Secara keseluruhan, Gosplan ini mirip kepada peranan KERAJAAN di Malaysia pada masa sekarang. Gosplan bertanggung jawab kepada pertumbuhan Keluaran Negara Kasar (KNK) Rusia pada ketika itu sebanyak 60 hingga 80 peratus. Apa yang paling penting di dalam sistem Gosplan ini adalah bagaimana ahli ekonomi Rusia pada waktu itu menekankan kepentingan sistem matrik input-output (dari bahan mentah kepada pengeluaran sesebuah produk).

Mereka yang bekerja di Gosplan sangat teliti dan cekap didalam pengiraan matrik input-output dari mula-mula pengeluaran bahan mentah ini dikeluarkan hinggalah kepada penggunaan tenaga buruh sehingga pengeluaran sesuatu produk. Pendek kata, pengiraan dilakukan dengan teliti dan sangat cekap sehingga tiada langsung berlaku penyelewengan di dalam sumber-sumber yang digunakan. Persoalan di sini yang ingin saya bangkitkan - kenapa sistem seumpama masih lagi gagal untuk berkembang dan meningkatkan taraf hidup penduduk Rusia dan memenuhi kehendak bekalan makanan dan keperluan utama penduduk Rusia?

Setelah dikaji semula kegagalan Gosplan di Rusia, di dapati tiadanya unsur dinamik pasaran di dalam sistem Gosplan. Ahli ekonomi dan mereka yang bekerja di Gosplan terlalu menekankan kepentingan pengeluaran produk sehingga mereka tidak sedar bahawa dinamik pasaran adalah faktor utama yang menentukan keberkesanan sesebuah sistem ekonomi. Dinamik pasaran ini adalah perubahan harga dan kehendak pengguna yang sentiasa berubah-ubah. Harga sesuatu barangan pada hari ini belum tentu akan kekal pada keesokkan hari dan begitu juga dengan kuantiti permintaan pengguna yang memerlukan satu sistem ekonomi yang cekap dalam membekalkan keperluan ini. Seperti yang kita tahu bahawa di dalam sistem kerajaan, berlakunya masalah cekap/ tiada kepentingan untuk membekalkan barangan secara cepat dan tiada dinamik reaktif tindakan dalam memastikan bekalan sentiasa dibekalkan pada kuantiti yang cukup dan pada waktu yang tepat. Faktor inilah yang menentukan keberkesanan sistem ekonomi kapitalis di dalam mencipta kekayaan dan menaikkan taraf hidup pengguna di dalam sesebuah negara.

Tanpa mekanisme perubahan harga yang ditentukan oleh pasaran, Gosplan gagal berfungsi sebagai sebuah sistem yang cekap di dalam memenuhi kehendak pengguna di Rusia dan sistem ekonomi terancang dan berpusat Soviet ini tidak berfungsi dengan efektif tanpa maklumbalas harga dan kehendak pengguna yang dinamik di dalam pasaran. Perancang Gosplan juga akhirnya buntu dan tiada input yang tepat untuk menetapkan sejumlah simpanan bagi mencipta situasi pelaburan produktif yang boleh memenuhi kehendah sesebuah populasi yang berubah-rubah dari segi kehendak dan kemahuan.

Berdasarkan kepada pengalaman yang dilalui oleh Gosplan di Soviet Rusia itu, saya berpendapat bahawa Kementerian ini juga perlu berubah dan terpaksa mengubah peranan bagi memastikan pengurusan ekonomi domestik yang cekap di Malaysia. Saya melihat keperluan untuk KERAJAAN berubah kepada beberapa fungsi utama iaitu:

1. Enabler - KERAJAAN perlu berfungsi sebagai sebuah badan yang bersifat membantu kepada pertumbuhan ekonomi domestik. Memudahkan pertumbuhan perniagaan yang membawa keuntungan bukan sahaja kepada individu yang terlibat, malah kepada keseluruhan masyarakat. Ruang-ruang perniagaan yang boleh membawa keuntungan dan mencipta peluang pekerjaan/ keuntungan yang boleh mencipta kecekapan pengeluaran perlu digalakkan seperti - industri perkhidmatan.

Ini memerlukan KERAJAAN sentiasa peka dengan perubahan ekonomi dunia dari masa ke semasa.

2. Mediator - KERAJAAN akan memainkan peranan yang lebih aktif pada masa hadapan sebagai orang tengah (mediator) antara pihak industri dan pengguna. Keperluan pengguna contohnya peralatan/ kemahuan pengguna perlu dipenuhi oleh pihak industri dan KERAJAAN perlu memainkan peranan menyampaikan kehendak ini kepada mereka yang terlibat di dalam aktiviti perniagaan yang terlibat.

3. Crisis manager - KERAJAAN akan memainkan peranan yang sangat aktif di dalam aspek pengurusan krisis yang melibatkan isu perniagaan/ perbekalan dan perdagangan dalam negeri. Perubahan pesat dek penggunaan IT akan menyebabkan reaksi pengguna yang sangat reaktif terhadap sesuatu barangan/ produk keperluan. Harga sesuatu barangan pada hari ini akan menjadi sudah tidak relevan pada keesokkan hari dan ini mungkin menyebabkan berlakunya krisis sesuatu bekalan dan atau inflasi yang tinggi.

Di dalam aspek pengurusan krisis, peranan KERAJAAN akan terhad kepada mengembalikan situasi kepada keadaan status quo (sebelum krisis berlaku) dan bukan kepada menyelesaikan masalah tersebut secara keseluruhan.

Keadaan ekonomi dunia akan mengalami perubahan yang pesat pada masa akan datang. Ini merupakan cabaran yang cukup besar untuk KERAJAAN tempuhi dalam masa 10 tahun akan datang. Saya pasti jika kita sentiasa awas terhadap perubahan ini, peranan KERAJAAN akan dapat dilakukan tanpa memerlukan bantuan konsultasi daripada pihak luar. Samada KERAJAAN berjaya atau tidak di dalam tanggung jawab baru ini adalah terpulang kepada tuan-tuan dan puan-puan untuk menerima perubahan tersebut.

Selamat berjaya! :-)

AHMAD SYAH EJAZ BIN HJ. ISMAIL

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Impasse

8th August 2008 - I'm very disappointed with the Malaysian BAR Council on many issues and these issues raised by this particular organization seems to intervene in many of the socio-political and executives power disregard the nature of BAR Council itself. My suggestion to BAR Council is to register their organization as a political party and then they can starts meddling in every Malaysian socio-political issue instead of using the impartial virtue of laws and human rights for the sake of some BAR Council's figures personal agenda.

BAR Council has lost its focus and I suggest the Malaysian ROS to have a look into this.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Evolusi Sistem Kapitalis di Malaysia

[Pada email saya yang terdahulu, ada yang meminta agar saya menulis apa-apa pendapat melalui email yang diedarkan kepada Kerajaan di dalam Bahasa Malaysia agar mesej yang ingin saya kongsi tersebut lebih mudah difahami dan diterima ramai. Pada email kali ini saya ingin berkongsi pendapat mengenai keberkesanan sistem ekonomi kapitalis dalam meningkatkan taraf hidup masyarakat di Malaysia dan saya akan menyentuh sedikit perubahan peranan KERAJAAN di dalam sistem ekonomi kapitalis ini.]

1. Kita semua adalah pengamal sistem kapitalis samada kita sedar ataupun tidak. Dalam menguruskan kehidupan seharian samada dalam melakukan kerja rasmi atau aktiviti yang tidak berkaitan bidang kerja, sistem kapitalis ini memberikan pengaruh yang besar dalam pencapaian taraf hidup yang dikecapi sekarang.

2. Bagi kalangan masyarakat negara maju, sistem ekonomi kapitalis adalah sistem fait accompli dan sudah tidak didebatkan lagi. Tetapi bagi masyarakat di negara-negara membangun dan negara miskin, sistem ini masih dipandang negatif. Email yang saya tulis ini adalah bertujuan untuk membetulkan tanggapan ini dan menerangkan secara umum potensi dan peranan sistem kapitalis dalam membina kekayaan dan peningkatan taraf hidup sesebuah masyarakat.

3. Sistem ekonomi kapitalis terbukti berjaya meningkatkan taraf hidup masyarakat di Malaysia. Walaupun berkhidmat sebagai penjawat awam, kita tidak terkecuali di dalam mengamalkan sistem ini. Antara bukti kenyataan tersebut adalah apabila kita membuat tuntutan kewangan samada perjalanan, lojing, elaun-elaun tertentu (makan, gangguan, lebih masa) dalam tugas rasmi yang dipertanggungjawabkan. Malah sistem kenaikan pangkat dan perbezaan bayaran gaji bulanan yang berbeza mengikut gred perjawatan dan kelulusan akademik juga adalah bukti amalan sistem kapitalis di dalam sistem pengurusan sumber manusia yang diamalkan oleh pihak kerajaan.

4. Sistem kapitalis ini terbukti berkesan meningkatkan produktiviti, memotivasikan diri dalam melakukan kerja dan membantu didalam melancarkan perjalanan tugas seharian serta berfungsi secara tidak langsung dalam meningkatkan esteem diri sebagai penjawat awam. Cuba bayangkan didalam sistem komunal yang hanya menekankan tanggung jawab sebagai penjawat awam untuk bersikap nasionalis tetapi tidak dimotivasikan dengan emolumen yang menarik, sudah tentu sistem perkhidmatan awam tersebut menjadi korup dan kurang cekap. Ini berlaku di India apabila Nehru mengamalkan sistem sosialis komunal dan Russia serta China yang mengamalkan sistem komunal bersepadu/ komunis. Walaupun negara-negara ini (India, China dan Russia + negara-negara Eropah timur sebelum 1989) mempunyai jumlah penduduk yang besar, namun produktiviti, inovasi dan taraf hidup mereka tidak meningkat malah jatuh merundum.

5. Walaupun terdapat bukti jelas yang menyatakan bahawa sistem komunal yang berteraskan semangat nasionalis, bersifat bersama (komunal – asal kepada perkataan komunisme) dan berdisiplin tinggi ini dibuktikan tidak berjaya diaplikasikan di Rusia, China, India dan negara Eropah Timur dalam usaha untuk meningkatkan taraf hidup mereka, masyarakat di Malaysia masih lagi keliru akan hala tuju sistem ekonomi yang perlu diikuti (samada komunal ataupun kapitalis).

6. Antara contoh kes kegagalan sistem komunal yang bersifat berpusat ini dilaksanakan dapat dibuktikan dengan kegagalan pembangunan industri automobil - Morris (hak milik kerajaan British yang dibeli oleh kerajaan Nehru India pada awal 50an) dan juga Lada (kenderaan Russia) di dalam pasaran/ market yang cukup besar dan jika diamati dengan logik akal mampu menawarkan modal dan pulangan pendapatan yang menguntungkan melalui kuasa beli dan kehendak pengguna yang besar di India dan Russia.

7. Walau bagaimanapun terbukti bahawa walaupun kedua-dua negara tersebut (India dan Russia) mempunyai jumlah penduduk yang tinggi, sistem ekonomi komunal (yang pada mulanya dikenali sebagai sistem ekonomi yang menekankan prinsip nasionalis, sayangkan negara dan berdisiplin yang tinggi) tidak berjaya untuk berinovasi dan bersifat kreatif malah tidak mampu menawarkan produk-produk baru yang berinovasi tinggi. Ini seterusnya mengurangkan semangat pembaharuan dan persaingan serta mengurangkan produktiviti yang berdaya tinggi.

8. Morris yang dibeli oleh Nehru bertujuan untuk membangunkan industri kenderaan di India hanya mampu menawarkan model jenis Ambassador yang masih kekal dikeluarkan dari tahun 50an hingga hari ini (banyak dijadikan teksi hitam-kuning di India) dan Lada keluaran Russia hanya boleh di bawa pada kelajuan 60 KM/j walaupun speedometer tercatat kelajuan maksimum adalah 120 KM/j (Pembelian Lada akan disertakan dengan sebuah manual penggunaan kenderaan ini kepada setiap pemilik yang membelinya). Ini adalah contoh kegagalan sebuah sistem ekonomi yang mempunyai niat bagi mencipta kesaksamaan tetapi berakhir dengan kemiskinan dan taraf hidup yang rendah.

9. Diakui bahawa kekeliruan bagi masyarakat pengguna di Malaysia untuk memilih samada sistem kapitalis sepenuhnya ataupun sistem ekonomi berpusat mendorong kepada perlakuan dan keputusan yang tidak tepat diambil didalam kehidupan seharian samada berkaitan bidang kerja ataupun pencarian sumber rezeki/ kewangan yang baru. Ini seterusnya memperlahankan proses pembangunan dan peningkatan taraf hidup masyarakat yang sepatutnya berlaku pada kadar yang lebih pesat setelah runtuhnya sistem komunal pada tahun 1990an.

10. Saya kira tidak terlambat untuk saya menegaskan bahawa pada ketika ini, untuk mencari kekayaan adalah menjadi satu keperluan dan tanggungjawab moral yang paling besar bagi rakyat Malaysia. Dengan mempunyai kelebihan ini, barulah peningkatan taraf hidup pengguna seharian mampu dilakukan. Usaha peningkatan taraf hidup masyarakat ini hanya akan lebih berkesan dilakukan oleh individu dan badan swasta berbanding dilakukan oleh penggerak kerajaan dan individu ini boleh dicipta melalui sistem kapitalis yang kreatif dan berkesan.
11. Masyarakat pengguna di Malaysia perlu dididik bahawa perbelanjaan yang kreatif dan bijak tidak akan merugikan malah akan membantu kepada pencapaian keuntungan samada secara fizikal ataupun melalui pencapaian esteem diri yang tinggi. Sesuatu perbelanjaan yang dilakukan bagi bertujuan untuk mengurangkan perbelanjaan lain adalah satu keperluan (di gelar sebagai bajet – setiap belanja akan mendatangkan keuntungan samada fizikal ataupun kepuasan diri). Setiap perbelanjaan yang dibuat pasti tidak semua akan menjanjikan keuntungan wang ringgit, tetapi akan membantu kepada pencapaian objektif yang dirangka dan pencapaian objektif ini mampu dicapai dengan baik dan menjimatkan (dari segi masa dan perbelanjaan pada masa hadapan).

12. KERAJAAN perlu mengguna pakai sistem kapitalis secara kreatif bagi meningkatkan taraf hidup pengguna seharian terutamanya di dalam keadaan ekonomi yang kompetitif dan mencabar. Proses evolusi ini perlu dilakukan bukan dengan mengurangkan/ merendahkan taraf hidup pengguna tetapi melalui galakkan perbelanjaan pengguna secara kreatif tanpa mengorbankan taraf hidup yang dinikmati sebelum ini.

13. Sebagai contohnya, jika pada waktu dahulu seseorang pekerja perlu berada secara fizikal pada sesuatu tempat untuk melakukan kerja dan tugas yang dipertanggungjawabkan, perubahan boleh dilakukan di mana seseorang boleh berada di beberapa tempat dalam sesuatu masa. Ini boleh dilakukan dengan menggunakan teknologi terkini seperti VC/ telefon mudah alih dan kaedah ini mampu menjimatkan kos serta meningkatkan produktiviti pada satu-satu masa tanpa perlu mengorbankan taraf hidup seseorang individu. Saya secara peribadi menjangkakan akan tiba suatu hari nanti seseorang pekerja di Malaysia boleh beroperasi dari rumah kediaman (keadaan ini sudah berlaku di U.S. dan Eropah).

14. Di dalam sistem kapitalis, peranan sebagai badan pengawal/ kerajaan adalah untuk memperuntukkan kaedah dan mengenakan tindakan kepada pihak industri/ peniaga agar mengikut peraturan perniagaan yang adil. Peranan intervensi secara langsung perlu dikurangkan di dalam sesebuah pasaran tetapi peranan pengawal perniagaan ini boleh beralih kepada badan yang menawarkan kaedah dan badan pendesak kepada perubahan sesebuah operasi perniagaan bagi membantu mereka mendapatkan keuntungan maksimum tanpa perlu menekan pihak pengguna.

15. Sebagai contoh galakkan/ insentif kepada sebuah syarikat makanan bagi memfortifikasikan sesebuah produk makanan agar mengandungi nutrien yang tinggi dan produk makanan ini boleh diambil pada kadar yang sedikit (GM food). Terdapat juga galakkan dan usaha tidak langsung daripada pihak kerajaan untuk galakkan penjualan sesebuah produk dan sebahagian daripada keuntungan produk ini boleh didermakan untuk tabung pendidikan golongan miskin. Prinsip utama program pembangunan ini adalah tiada penyertaan langsung daripada kerajaan tetapi hanya sebagai badan penggalak.

16. KERAJAAN boleh juga menggalakkan pengeluar produk seperti alat elektrik kegunaan harian untuk mengeluarkan produk yang menggunakan kadar watt yang rendah. Ini hanya boleh dilakukan di dalam sistem kapitalis yang aktif kerana sistem kapitalis itu akan mendatangkan keuntungan dan melalui keuntungan ini, proses inovasi dapat dilakukan. Proses inovasi dan pembangunan sesebuah produk dalam sesebuah ekonomi kapitalis adalah tidak dapat dipisahkan. Ini dibuktikan dengan pengeluaran produk seperti yang ditunjukkan oleh Henry Ford melalui pengeluaran Model-T pada 1914 hinggalah kepada pengambilan risiko yang tinggi oleh Muhammad Yunus di dalam menawarkan kredit mikro kepada peminjam melalui Grameen Bank. Proses inovasi ini tidak hanya tertakluk kepada R&D sesebuah produk, tetapi juga cara gaya pengurusan sesebuah organisasi.

17. Untuk memungkinkan keberkesanan sistem Kapitalis di kalangan pengguna di Malaysia, persepsi negatif kepada sistem kapitalis ini perlulah diubah. Fokus masyarakat di Malaysia perlu diletakkan pada landasan yang betul iaitu ke arah sistem kapitalis yang berkesan. Pihak swasta dan usahawan yang berjaya di dalam sesebuah perniagaan perlu sentiasa diingatkan bahawa keuntungan dari hasil perniagaan mereka adalah juga perlu diberi kepada pembanguan sosial sesebuah masyarakat seperti pembinaan perpustakaan, universiti, taman-taman dan biasiswa untuk pembelajaran. Jika pihak swasta dan usahawan sedar akan kepentingan sinergi antara usaha pembangunan dan tanggungjawab sosial dalam meningkatkan taraf hidup masyarakat ini barulah konsep kepenggunaan lestari dapat dijadikan realiti.

AHMAD SYAH EJAZ BIN HJ. ISMAIL

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Penang that I love


By: Ahmad Syah Ejaz Hj. Ismail

Many people asked me many times why I loved Penang so much. What's so special about Penang? And why is that I always regards Pulo Penang [classic name of the Penang island given by the English colonialist] as a place for me to find my true soul. Why is that I always went to Penang as if it was my birth place? I must say that its quite a lot of questions for me to answer as if I need a solid alibi to justify my un-authorized love for Pulau Pinang.

Me at the Esplanade

My first intimate encounter with Pulau Pinang was in the year 2005 when I went there by plane to meet the girl that I loved who happens to work there on my birthday. Before 2005, Penang was a secluded place and entirely alien to me and my life. I never went there before even though my mother studied there [University Science of Malaysia-USM] in the 80's. I must tell you today, I could still see the glimpse image of Teluk Kumbar from my plane view overlooking the southern tip of Penang island that morning of 5th December 2005.

Even though that particular girl was history, but my love for Penang is still much alive and grew stronger. There are strong feelings in my heart to explore the island more and getting to know the people and their culture. I believe the love for the island developed maybe with the view of Angsana trees in Gurney Plaza, or the view from the Esplanade, or perhaps the smell of the ocean breeze of Penang from Eastern and Oriental hotel. Which one really I couldn’t tell you all exactly. I couldn't explain how elated my heart felt to be there and knowing Penang so close like that before in my entire life and this feeling is only me and myself can understand no matter how much I explain it to others.

The classical building that really goes in jive with my historical readings of the Malay history [I am a historian] which further strike my heart redder of my love for Penang. I could still remember the respectful waving gesture of Dr. Koh Tsu Koon to me at the lobby of Komtar building [he was the Chief Minister then], as if I was somebody big coming to visits him on my second day in Penang in 2005. Perhaps I could tell you that I have a very high regards my utmost respect for P. Ramlee which also happens to come from Penang with all of his wonderful literature writings that enchanted me to believe that Penang is a place full of opportunities and great talented people waiting to be tapped.

I could tell you that I have a long list of my future plan for Penang and Penangites to capitalize on its potentialities and these plans is also for all Malaysian to believe, adventure and to love. Penang will always be my true love and this love will keep going strong and stronger. That’s why my prayers are to marry someone from Penang. It’s not just the love feeling for that particular person that I'm in love with now [and indeed I love her and her family so much], but also for me and my love feeling for Pulo Penang itself.

Faces of Tun Teddy

Faces of Tun Teddy