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A few days ago a poster advertising a ‘Jamuan Makan Malam bersama Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’ caused an uproar among Muslim bloggers and blog readers alike. According to the poster, you have the choice to pick between halal and non-halal food at the event. Such an act is unheard of in Malaysia, especially not from any political parties in the course of ‘selling tables’ when it also involves their Muslims supporters.

In the first place, why would there be the need to serve non-halal food during a PKR dinner when there will be Muslims attending the function? Is this one of PKR’s ways to promote religious pluralism and Muslim liberalism as a platform towards introducing secularism in Malaysia? Of course, PAS may agree with the above statement if such an act was committed by UMNO leaders.

By the way, isn’t that against the first of the three objectives of the Common Policy Platform from the Buku Jingga?

To defend the Federal Constitution, Islam as the religion of the Federation while other religions can be practiced peacefully anywhere in the country, the special position of the Malays and the indigenous peoples anywhere including Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate interests of other races in accordance to Article 153.

Consuming non-halal food is against Islam and if Islam is the religion of the federation, non-halal food are not supposed to be served during such events. Yes, at the moment they are not the ruling government but do they have any respect for their Muslim members? And how about the religious obligations among their Muslim organising committee and other party leaders? If those Muslim leaders has no respect toward their Muslim brothers and sisters, is there any guarantee that they would fulfill the promises as in reference to Article 153?

Why didn’t Mapim or PAS say anything about this matter? Isn’t Mapim the one who accused Najib of being the ‘father of secularism in Malaysia’ because of the ‘K-Pop’ event? So, why didn’t they say anything now when the dinner organiser clearly humiliates Islam and shows no respect for the Muslims? Or did the, ‘RM500/table (non-halal)’ just appeared on the PKR poster out of nowhere just like how the K-pop dancers appeared on stage at the ‘Bertam Nite’ dinner?

Again, is it a must to serve ‘non-halal’ food at such function? And what is the real status of the claimed to be ‘halal food’ that would be served? If the ‘halal food’ is to be prepared by the same restaurant or caterer that also cooks pork in the same kitchen, will the food be really halal? Restaurants or caterers that also offer pork in their menu are not eligible to request for the ‘halal’ status from JAKIM as pork is a ‘najis mughallazah’.

How could the PKR Muslim leaders agree to the idea of selling ‘non-halal’ tables? Don’t they know that it is ‘haram’ to do so; or is ‘haram’ only applies to UMNO and BN?  Or do the Pakatan Rakyat’s non-Muslim leaders and members cannot eat ‘halal food’ hence ‘non-halal’ food must be served for them?

I am very sad and sorry for the Muslims who would be buying tables or attending the event. And as for the Pakatan Rakyat leaders, if they can do all these now, it would come as no surprise if they would dare to take worse actions against the Muslim Rights if they were to be able to ‘tawan Putrajaya’. May Allah help all of us and protect our beloved Malaysia from being ruined by those who are hungry for power and don’t really care about us, the majority peaceful loving Malaysian citizen.

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I was shocked to read an article on Harakah Daily dated May 31, 2012 entitled, ‘Mapim: Najib layak digelar bapa liberal Malaysia’ or ‘Mapim: Najib is fit to be called the father of Liberalism in Malaysia’ for being on stage together with some members of a K-Pop group at the National Youth Day Celebration last week. Mapim or the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations accused the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak of ‘endorsing’ the idea of Pluralism and Liberalism in Malaysia and suggested that he should be called ‘Ketua Liberalis Malaysia’ or The Head of Malaysian Liberalist because the K-Pop girls was dressed in shorts and top tanks.

In Malaysia, the words Pluralism and Liberalism usually refers to Pluralism in religion and Islamic Liberalism. So by calling the Dato’ Sri Najib as ‘Ketua Liberalis Malaysia’ for the reason above, I wonder if they actually understand the true meaning of ‘Islamic Liberalism’ or whether it is just another plan to tarnish the good name of the Prime Minister. Liberalism in Islam or Islamic Liberalism refers to being liberal in our ‘aqidah’ or belief.

A liberalist may has her or his own ideas or doctrine about Islam, believing that the traditional Islam creates a blockade that prevent people from thinking ‘liberally’. So, it matters ‘aqidah’ and not only wrong doing or ‘maksiat’. An example of a liberalist is Irshad Manji, a Canadian ‘lesbian Muslim’ who believes that praying 5 times a day is totally man-made thus serving no purpose and Allah loves the homosexuals as they are ‘born that way’. Another popular liberalist is Salman Rushdi.

As for a pluralist, she or he believes that all religions are true as all paths of all religions shall lead to the same end as quoted by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim on March 18, 2010 at the London School of Economics. Again Pluralism in Islam goes back to ‘aqidah’, Pluralist may perform all their duties and responsibilities as Muslims but by believing that every body actually pray to the same god they are pluralists. That comes back to the issue of using the word ‘Allah’ by other religions in Malaysia. In this case it is clear that Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim and not Dato’ Sri Najib who fights to let all other religion to use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to their their gods.

Seeing the matter on this light, I cannot understand the ‘liberalism’ idea that was said to be spread and encouraged during the event. It is true that K-Pop members were not properly dressed and Najib shouldn’t have been on the same stage with them and the government should set a proper dresscode for such events but it is very wrong to use the incident to accused the PM ‘spreading liberal Islam’ unless if the PM made a statement that he wants to reform the Muslims’ dress code to the ones worn by the K-Pop groups. So, what happened was wrong doing and nothing to do with ‘aqidah’.

Speaking about the Himpunan Sejuta Belia, it is very funny that only the unIslamic  and the non beneficial programs such as the drag race and K-Pop were featured in the opposition medias but there was almost no words about the fact there were many educational activities such as ‘Young Entrepreneur’, ‘Education Fair’ and even Islamic activities like ‘Kolokium Tokoh Belia Islam’, Solat Hajat, Majlis Tahlil, Doa Selamat and Himpunan Pendakwah Muda’ marked under ‘aktiviti modal insan’ which was held during the event. Why did they only specifically highlighted the bad part of the event and did not even mention the beneficial activities. Again, I ask, is this another of their ‘political agenda’?

I do not ‘endorse’ those unhealthy culture and I call for UMNO to change and look into better entertainment approaches but I want to slam those who called the PM ‘Ketua Liberalis Malaysia’ and for writing:

“Jika ada pihak yang mengangkat isu wujudnya gerakan liberal di negara ini, maka kami berpendapat Perdana Menteri membayangkan bahawa   beliau adalah ketua kepada budaya dan pemikiran liberal di Malaysia,” kata setiausahanya Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid.

Liberalist and pluralist are serious offences in Islam and they could be consider as murtad or apostate. So calling a Muslim PM as ‘Ketua Liberalis Malaysia is really uncalled for and may suggest a very bad intention to tarnish not only Dato’ Sri Najib but also UMNO and Malaysia as an Islamic country.

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I used to have very high regards for the opposition parties, particularly PAS and PKR until recently. My childhood memories even included shouting ‘Reformasi! Reformasi!’ at the top of my voice while riding my little tricycle. I saw Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of PKR as the ideal leader for Malaysia. During his days in ABIM, Anwar was credited for doing a great job in promoting hijabs among the Muslim women. One of my teachers once told me that during her younger days, she was made fun of because she wears hijab; during the older days we can hardly see Malaysian women in proper hijab. PAS (meaning the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) was formed with a mission to fight for Islam and to uphold Islam in Malaysia. Therefore, I used to firmly believe that if PAS and PKR could work together to form a new government, it would be really great for Malaysia.

But recent events made me doubt my strong belief and trust in PAS and PKR. Was it fair for PAS to falsely claimed that Himpunan Sejuta Umat or HIMPUN (an event organised by Muslim NGOs calling the Muslims to strengthen their faith and to fight against apostasy) as an UMNO’s political agenda while giving full-support towards Bersih, a ‘demonstration turned riot’ led by an LGBT fighter asking for fair and clean election.

As an Islamic party claiming to fight for an Islamic government, PAS should not only took part but also supported HIMPUN as it was an important Islamic program. And as for PKR who claims that the current government is not Islamic for being led by corrupted leaders who cheated in the past general elections, why can’t their Muslim and ‘Islamic’ leaders especially Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim support HIMPUN, even if their non-muslim leaders would not?

Even Datuk Ibrahim Ali (not that I am a fan of his), whom the opposition leaders refer as  ‘frog’, attended the event to support his Muslim brothers and sisters. Of course, he wanted to be one of the speakers at the event, but even after he was ‘denied’ the honour, he still attended HIMPUN, proudly sitting with the mass crowd despite of his flamboyant self. And not just that, he even used his influence to promote the event and brought along the members of his NGO in full spirit. Ibrahim Ali may be a frog for some people but when it comes to his faith, he knows that as a Muslim, he needs to protect Islam.

If a flamboyant ‘frog’ can put aside his ego for the sake of Islam, why can’t the supposedly honourable Muslim leaders of PKR and especially PAS at least voiced out their support towards strengthening the faith of Muslims? PAS president, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said to the press just before the event that (because) he respected the organisers’ wishes to keep HIMPUN as a non-political event, he will not be attending HIMPUN and advised all PAS members to follow suit.” It was an odd indeed; but what makes it more confusing is the fact that he and other PAS senior leaders gave Bersih their full-support when Bersih is also a non-political event. PAS’s spiritual leader even made a call to all Muslims to attend Bersih 3.0 rally; not only saying that it is a must(wajib) for Muslims to do so but even admitted that he provided some of them with some pocket money. Or did they took those actions to humiliate the Bersih 3.0’s organisers since Bersih 3.0 was led by an LGBT fighter? But of course it would make sense if the rumours were true that Bersih 3.0 is actually the opposition parties’ political agenda to tarnish the reputation of the current government with the hope to paint the Malaysian government as cruel, injustice, corrupted and against the freedom of speech.

PAS should do all it takes to fight for Islam, after all their party’s mission slogan is (or was?) to implement the Islamic law (hudud) in Malaysia; claiming that Malaysia under the current government is a secular country. Later, they even accused UMNO was behind HIMPUN, which was a big white lie! Why must they choose to policalise everything? And what is wrong for Muslims to sit together as an ummah(a muslim) disregarding their different political stances at such events? Earlier, PAS youth chief made a statement giving full support for HIMPUN but he was silenced by Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s strong statement against HIMPUN. Wouldn’t PAS be gaining political mileage if they support HIMPUN, instead of fibbing and twisting stories? Perhaps HIMPUN is not Bersih(clean) enough …. for it was not a political event.

However, Datuk Dr. Hasan Ali who was one of their state government’s excos attended the event not as a political leader but in his personal capacity as a Muslim individual. Ironically, he was shortly sacked from the party for (as quoted by PAS president) “based on Datuk Hasan Ali’s action which have wronged and damaged the party’s interest as provided for in PAS constitution”. I (and I believe, many others) give high respect to Dr. Hasan Ali for he dared to go against the odds to support Islam despite of PAS’s orders that prevented their members from attending HIMPUN.

It seems very clear that PAS isn’t true to their words to uphold and fight for Islam. Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat(PAS spiritual leader) and Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS president) made lots of questionable statements; some were even contrary to the teaching of Islam. It is such a shame if the ‘rumours’ is true that PAS uses Islam for their own political gains to win the Muslim  (who are the majority of Malaysian) votes in achieving their dreams to lead the country or as they fondly say ‘menuju Putrajaya’. Instead of upholding Islam, their conducts shows the opposite. The worst is, the Malays are torn apart.

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Pak_Loh_in his bookshopOver a hundred years ago, my great, great grandfather, Abdullah Al-Yunani came to Kuala Terengganu from China and decided to stay there. He opened a bookstore named Abdullah Al-Yunani or better known to the locals as ‘Keda Buku Pok Loh Yunang’. Ask a person who was brought up in Kuala Terengganu, most of them would know the bookstore and they might even tell you that the shop was where they bought their schoolbooks long, long time ago. [Read what Awang Goneng wrote about it here]

Over a century, the business grew from a simple bookstore selling newspapers, a few kitabs (religious books) and some other books to a fully air-conditioned modern bookstore offering WiFi service. In the 1970s the bookstore was renamed Kedai Buku Ahmad Omar and later to Alam Akademik Sdn Bhd.

AA-tingkat bawah pelanggan-sMy grandfather, Ahmad Omar bought the shophouse more than 30 years ago but was forced to surrender the  land to the state government for only RM200, 000 (because of land acquisition)! Did we agree to such a low price for the freehold prime land right by the very main street of the town? Of course we did not; in fact my grandfather had never ever wanted to sell the shophouse for what ever price for the shophouse means so much to him. But what choice did he has when it came to land acquisition by the state government?

My grandparents complained the matter to the Terengganu Chief Minister (at the time), Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar Ahmad and he promised that the shophouses’ owners will be offered to buy new shophouses at a very special price (as part of the deal) to compensate our lost, as the RM200,000 paid to us was far below the market price at the time. He also promised us that the government will let us stay in the building until they provide us a new place in the area. Trusting that Tan Sri Wan Mokhtar’s words as official promises by the Terengganu state government, my grandfather did not make any further official complain. Furthermore as a strong UMNO supporter, my grandfather trusted the Barisan Nasional state government fully and never ever imagine that UMNO will disown their promises even though it was not made on paper!

AhmadOmar-SetPolMBMy grandfather used to work overseas for the first Malaysian Prime Minister YM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj as a diplomat with minister’s status and later joined the politics as a state assemblyman and also as the political secretary to the (then) Chief Minister, Tan Sri Ibrahim Fikri. And for the sake of UMNO my grandfather had no choice but to accept the offer without making a legal complain.

On the 19th July, 2009, 34 shopkeepers in Jalan Bandar and Jalan Banggol, Kuala Terengganu (including Alam Akademik) received a notice from the Lembaga Tabung Amanah Warisan Negari Terengganu to vacate the shophouses before 13th August, 2009. [Read about it in my previous posting here] When we questioned the notice and the promises made by the state government years ago at the time we were forced to surrender our land to the state government for a mere RM200,000; they said that they are not responsible of providing us a place to move to and have the right to force us out since the land is now theirs. What happened to all of the sweet promises they made before?

going next and goneThe sad news was that the LTAWNT or the ‘supposedly’  heritage board of the state of Terengganu  is planning to demolish the heritage row to widen the road and to build new building in the name of modernisation. Isn’t it odd that the heritage board do not seems to understand the value of heritage? When the other states of Malaysia such as Melaka, Pulau Pinang (Penang) and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur are proud to restore their heritage buildings, the Terengganu heritage board looked at the heritage building as an eye sore. How sad…..Who can we trust to protect our heritage then? The heritage row is still standing strong and beautiful; and still fit for business. And what about the historical value of the building?

As Uncle Awang Goneng wrote in his blog ‘Kecek Kecek‘, ‘Now they are planning to pull down a row of shophouses in Kedai Payang, buildings that are more than a hundred years old that are still fit for purpose and need, at most, a tender loving touch and a coat of colour. Thus our history can be saved.’

stadium-bernama4The Terengganu state government had already destroyed lots of heritage  historical buildings to make way for new buildings. They claimed that they are building a modern ‘city’ and they do not want ‘old and shabby’ buildings in the city of Terengganu. If they are trying to say that the shophouses looked old and shabby, think again. It does NOT look shabby at all, in fact its quality is even better than the new ‘modern’ buildings which are facing problems (including those that collapsed) as we can see day after day. The state government should instead use the fund to restore and beautify the heritage row and protect the heritage historical building for its invaluable historical value to the people of Terengganu.

The reason why the government cannot see all these is because they are all money-driven. They are greedy and materialistic, all they think of is money, money, money. [see various comments on Kecek-kecek’s Mabuk Kepayang]  And not even one assemblyman nor their representatives (except one from the opposition party) came to visit us. It was reported in the newspaper that the Chief Minister Y.A.B. Dato’ Ahmad bin Said visited some villages and helped them to fix roofs and did all kinds of other things. But why can’t he meet us even once? asked CikguFauzi of MAMPAT (view here on Youtube as reported by http://buletinonline.net/ or as reported by NTV7)

HM bantah notis“He is a coward” said one of the shopowners during the many protests held. “Is he afraid of what people may think of him? He knew it was wrong of him to do what he is doing but who cares? He’ll get the money and it’s not him who will suffer… it’s us“. To all those out there who care enough for the heritage and history, please help us to preserve the place. You could ask help from organisations, NGOs or perhaps inform this to a person you know. The least you can do is perhaps to write about it and spread the message. You’ll never know how powerful words can be.

Read news and articles on “Selamatkan Warisan Sejarah Trengganu – Save Our Historical Heritage

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