Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Millionaires of Malaysia

The Millionaires of Malaysia

I wonder how many millionaires and billionaires there are now in Malaysia. Millionaires grow like mushroom after a rainstorm with politicians swarming the field which before was the territory  of the business tycoons and magnates. The latter make their millions through business and trading, manufacturing, providing services, playing the stock market etc. The former just play with words and influence over people, get elected or selected to hold a public office, then play "monopoly" with the national assets and wealth.

There is no doubt that all prominent politicians from the political parties in power in Malaysia  today, are rich and belong to the millionaire group. Even billionaires, although they have no business empire to talk about. Their business is just politics  and "politicking". Once they fall out from the corridor of power for whatever reason such as "a disagreement with the boss",  "backing the wrong horse", or "considered disloyal", they will be out on the street like the common citizen. Of course, some had already made their pile and can enjoy life in luxury.

I'm persuaded to believe that these rich politicians are the ones who make Malaysians as a people appear rich and prosperous, while the working class of Malaysians are really struggling to maintain a middle-class style of living. Let alone the farmers, fishermen, and odd-jobbers who form the poverty-prone group.The business magnates and tycoons are easily identifiable and their assets well-known. It's the rich politicians, some with no obvious source of income, who don't grumble over the high cost of living, rising prices of consumer goods and services, rising taxes, charges and rates over many things,  that worry the common man in the street. Some prominent ones even refuse to declare their assets. A distinct group of well-to-do politicians that have emerged in Malaysia today are the "dedak" (chicken feed) receivers". They are reputed to receive millions from their billionaire Master.

So, why worry when there are thousands of millionaires (and billionaires) in Malaysia? We are a rich nation then. Why worry if the national debt is more than half of the country's income? The worry is that
the rich politicians are not helping to increase the assets of the country but draining them. How?  You are a damn good citizen if you don't know and better if you don't care. When people get rich without working their ass out, some downtrodden folks are doing the work for them, and paying the debt they create. One day the assets of the nation will be drained and you have to sell the country to the wealthy
business magnates and tycoons.

And the rich politicians? They have to flee or the tortured and hungry citizens will come after their necks. Let's hope this won't happen in Malaysia.      

Friday, September 9, 2016

Eidil Adha Again

Eidil Adha has come around again as millions of Muslims move to Arfah to perform the Ukuf. Muslims at home and around the world were advised by Prophet Mohammada SAW to fast from the first of Zulhijjah until Ukuf (Sunday 11/9) to honour the Haj  pilgrimage and perform the Qurban ( sacrifice) on  the day Eidil Adha is celebrated (Monday 12/9). The single day of fasting would delete a year of sin both before and after that day ( with other terms and conditions, of course.)

Islam indeed is a religion with well-defined do's and don't's, based on four or five categories of restrictions and flexibilities. "Wajib" is a must, prescribed by Allah in the Quran. " Sunat" is something that is preferred and strongly recommended. It is what the Prophet (PBUH) had done and, therefore, praiseworthy to emulate. "Haram" is what is categorically prohibited and a sin to violate the restriction. "Mubah" is what is an obvious necessity like eating and drinking, also known in Malay as "Harus" ( a must). Finally there's the uncertain or controversial category called "                   ". You are advised to keep away from such things such as when you are in doubt as to whether certain action is permitted or not.

But Islam has one other category of flexibility that is most practical and human. It is called "dharuri" or "dharurat" as the Malays put it. It allows you to eat and drink what is otherwise "Haram" in times of emergency and a person has no choice if he or she were to survive. The Muslim is even allowed to do do things that would otherwise be strictly prohibited, when life and limbs are endangered. A Muslim is strictly prohibited from putting his life in danger intentionally, such as trying to or committing suicide.

So, it's most surprising that some people think of Islam as a very strict and restrictive religion. Yes, some of the responsibilities imposed look severe such as praying five time in a day and night ( a good Muslim  performs more than five times (Subuh, Zuhur, Asar, Maghrib dan Isyak) with all the "Sunat" prayers as performed by the Prophet (PHUB). You've to fast in the month of Ramadhan, pay Zakat (in addition to income tax), perform the Haj, keep away from illicit love (zina), women (and men too) must cover their "aurat" ( attractive body parts), etc. etc. Yes, women's rights are not the same as in the west.

But, Allah imposed all the restrictions for certain reason which modern science is just beginning to appreciate. The Islamic Banking system for example is just beginning to be appreciated after the weaknesses of the capitalist and profit-centered western system begins to show its ugly face.

No, we Muslims don't like to nor criticise other faiths and religion. They all originate from some sacred revelation from the Creator, tempered or not by men. What you believe in is your right. But Eidil Adha is here and people of other faiths are welcome to celebrate with us. Were are firstly all human beings, but   the degree of humaneness and humanity inherited from our forebears differ. Some can kill and destroy other human beings like they are animals. Let them face their Creator in the after life and the Day of Judgement. However high their position and status in society now, before the Creator they will only be powerless souls at His disposal.

Happy Hari Raya Haji to all.