MY COUNTRY MALAYSIA: ITS PROBLEMS
AND RECOMENDED SOLUTIONS
By: Kassim Ahmad
3th February, 2016
I am a patriot, a plain Kassim Ahmad, who a long time ago politely refused an UMNO offer for a datukship. Being from a poor oppressed class, I began early as a rebel (with cause, of course!) and soon became the leader of the Malayan People’s Socialist Party (1968-1984). In 1984, seeing the collapse of international socialism in the world, I left the party and made a strong patriotic statement by joining UMNO in 1986. My aim of reforming UMNO from within could not take off. I am still an UMNO member, albeit very critical one. I have also written to the UMNO president suggesting to him how to reform UMNO. I did not expect him to be able to do it; still I tried.
On the same day when my application was approved, my widely discussed book Hadis – Satu Penilaian Semula came out. After two months of extensive discussions, including an ABIM-organized public dialogue, and through cunning and deceit, it was pronounced deviationary and was banned by the religious establishment in the country.
Several state muftis penned books to rebut my book, repeating their tired old arguments, which I have already refuted in the first place. However, I wrote another book entitled, Hadis – Jawapan kepada Pengkritik (1992), briefly dismissing the muftis’ several books, but giving more details about the Quran.
This started the movement for the review of Hadith as well as for going back to the Quran, not only in Malaysia, but internationally. Hadis – Satu Penilaian Semula has since been translated into English and Arabic. I am glad to say that today the Turkish Governmet is undertaking a major project of Hadith re-evaluation.
The title of my essay is touching on Malaysia’s problems and my recommended solutions. I admitted that I was a rebel, and still am.
At the core of Malaysia’s problems is UMNO, the backbone of its ruling BN Government. In 1946 when UMNO was first formed it was a poor idealistic Malay party embraced en mass by the Malays in their enthusiasm and quest for Merdeka.
To cut the story short, via the bloody Mei 13, via great Razak’s Mageran (the Council for the Regeneration of the Country) and his extraordinary vision, Malaysia is what it is today, one of the most progressive countries among the developing world.
At the same time, as it is wont in human affairs, deterioration sets in, as complacentcy grows among the ruling elite. UMNO became corrupt, and has perhaps reached the point of no return today. In this atmosphere of gloom when financial scandles abound, pessimism is in the air. Oh Lord! Do we need a second Mageran, ask the thinking part of Malaysia.
The people ask, “What are we to do? Can anything be done? Such voices rise from the depths of the soul of the people, voiced by their intellectuals, the likes of Tun Mahathir, HRH Dr. Nazrin Shah, HRH the Crown Prices of Johor, and others.
Yes, indeed. What is to be done? Can corrupt UMNO be reformed? Can weak Pakatan Rakyat take over? Where is our Saviour? Where is our Imam Mahdi? When is the Second-Coming (of Jesus Christ)?
Unfortunately, all these wailings are of no avail. Man has been created as God’s vicegerent on earth, to rule the earth and change it to his liking. Oh Man! Rise up to your calling! “I created you free,” God said. So wait no more! Act!
Enumerate the things you must do in order of importance. Firstly, you must reform UMNO. This has to done through education and constant vigilance by the yearly UMNO general assembly to criticize and correct from within. This is a better way than the Western concept of two-party system of check and balance. A would-be UMNO member must go through an appropriate course, and so would a cadre for various levels of UMNO leadership.
Once the difficult task of reforming of UMNO is over, all other problems will be resolved: wastage in manpower in Government, increasing productivity by optimum use of assets, trimming the Government, the need for good governance, increasing salaries of lower-rung Government servants, overcoming corruption, overcoming periodic floods in some states, eliminating traffic jams by decreasing private cars and increasing and improving public transport, and doing away with tolls, and such like actions, to make life more comfortable for all Malaysians.
Of course, we should not miss learning from our good traditions. We have the Prophet’s great Madina Charter to model our constitution on.
KASSIM AHMAD is a Malaysian author. His website is www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com