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MPF Press Release on Soup Kitchens

July 4, 2014

Love, compassion, empathy and care are just a few of the noble traits nurtured during the blessed month of Ramadhan. The feeding of the less fortunate, namely the poor, orphan, homeless and destitute are among some of the most praiseworthy deeds advocated by the Prophet during this month.

 

In an authentic tradition narrated by At-Tirmidhi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said;

 

“Save yourself from hellfire by giving even half a date-fruit in charity.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 2, Hadith 498).

 

Charity is enjoined upon every decent human being, and Muslims are duty bound to extend a helping hand where it is needed. God allows that there should be among us in need of charity so that those who are able can give and increase their worth in the sight of God. 

 

Allah says in the Quran, Surah Al Baqarah: 271;

 

“If you give charity in public, it is worthwhile (for it will persuade others), but if you hide and deliver it to the poor in secret that is (far) better for you. And Allah will remove from you some of your sins (due to this charity). And Allah is aware of all that you do.”

 

It is therefore highly inappropriate to say the least that in this holiest month of Ramadhan where Muslims are encouraged to engage in charity, the Federal Territories Minister has chosen to ban soup kitchens  and fine both givers and takers of this charity.

 

Homelessness is symptomatic of malaise and inequity in society and the increase in their numbers reflect the widening social gaps. Urban poverty is a phenomenon that is well recognised in many of the big cities of the world including Paris, Tokyo and Washington. Urban poverty is worse than rural poverty for the urbanites have no plot of land to subsist on. In the urban areas it basically means “no money no eat”.

 

Thus the presence of soup kitchens in these cities to serve the homeless and destitute. These are made possible by many kind souls working individually or collectively with NGOs. They sacrifice their time, effort and money to feed and provide some modicum of relief to the downtrodden and destitute of KL.

 

The example of Umar Al Khattab, the second caliph of the Islamic empire, serves as a useful Ramadhan reflection for a caring and compassionate socio-political governance.

 

Umar was out one night with his assistant when he came upon an old woman sitting over a fire and stirring her pot. Her crying children were nearby. She did not recognise Umar and upon being asked informed him that her children were crying because they were hungry and all she had in her pot was water. She was pretending to cook, hoping her children would sleep out of exhaustion. Umar walked away immediately to the state godown and carried food provisions on his back, refusing his assistant’s help. When he returned, he helped the old woman prepare a meal and fed the children. Umar stayed watching till the children went to sleep happy. Only then could he sleep himself.  

 

Food is one of our basic needs and no one relishes queuing and begging for it. The fact that there are some among us deprived of this basic need is a shame upon us. Banning the homeless and criminalising the soup kitchens is a sweep under the rug solution. It will not beautify our city for the stench comes from our failure in addressing a most basic need of our fellow beings – food and shelter. 

 

Taking cognisance of this, the Muslim Professionals Forum urges the honourable minister to:

 

  1. Reflect on the implications of his ill advised decree
  2. Understand the problem of urban poverty holistically
  3. Engage the  various stakeholders to strategise a comprehensive and long term solution
  4. Support and facilitate these soup kitchens instead of persecuting them.

 

 

Press release of MPF issued  by:

 

The Board of Directors

Muslim Professionals Forum

Noam Chomsky on America’s Real Foreign Policy

July 2, 2014

 

America’s Real Foreign Policy: Global Corporatization by Force

Whose security is the U.S. military and foreign service protecting?

by Noam Chomsky

US soldiers participating in live fire drills during NATO training in Germany. (Photo: flickr / cc / MATEUS_27:24&25)The question of how foreign policy is determined is a crucial one in world affairs.  In these comments, I can only provide a few hints as to how I think the subject can be productively explored, keeping to the United States for several reasons.  First, the U.S. is unmatched in its global significance and impact.  Second, it is an unusually open society, possibly uniquely so, which means we know more about it.  Finally, it is plainly the most important case for Americans, who are able to influence policy choices in the U.S. — and indeed for others, insofar as their actions can influence such choices.  The general principles, however, extend to the other major powers, and well beyond.

There is a “received standard version,” common to academic scholarship, government pronouncements, and public discourse.  It holds that the prime commitment of governments is to ensure security, and that the primary concern of the U.S. and its allies since 1945 was the Russian threat.

There are a number of ways to evaluate the doctrine.  One obvious question to ask is: What happened when the Russian threat disappeared in 1989?  Answer: everything continued much as before.

The U.S. immediately invaded Panama, killing probably thousands of people and installing a client regime. This was routine practice in U.S.-dominated domains — but in this case not quite as routine. For first time, a major foreign policy act was not justified by an alleged Russian threat.

Instead, a series of fraudulent pretexts for the invasion were concocted that collapse instantly on examination. The media chimed in enthusiastically, lauding the magnificent achievement of defeating Panama, unconcerned that the pretexts were ludicrous, that the act itself was a radical violation of international law, and that it was bitterly condemned elsewhere, most harshly in Latin America.  Also ignored was the U.S. veto of a unanimous Security Council resolution condemning crimes by U.S. troops during the invasion, with Britain alone abstaining.

All routine.  And all forgotten (which is also routine).

Continue reading here…..

© 2014 Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor (retired) at MIT. He is the author of many books and articles on international affairs and social-political issues, and a long-time participant in activist movements. His most recent books include:  Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire (with interviewer David Barsamian), Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance, Hopes and Prospects, and Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order. Previous books include: 9-11: 10th Anniversary EditionFailed StatesWhat We Say Goes (with David Barsamian), Hegemony or Survival, and the Essential Chomsky.

This article appeared July 1 on Tom Dispatches and Common Dreams

PAS desak kembalikan jawatan Prof Redzuan

July 1, 2014

HARAKAHDAILY | 01 Julai 2014.

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS mendesak agar Prof Datuk Dr Mohammad Redzuan Othman dikembalikan jawatannya sebagai Pengarah UMcedel dan Dekan Fakulti Sastera dan Sains Sosial Universiti Malaya.

Sehubungan itu, Ketua Penerangan PAS Pusat, Datuk Mahfuz Omar berkata, Perdana Menteri seterusnya wajib memberikan jaminan kebebasan akademik kepada ahli-ahli akademik di negara ini agar mereka dapat melaksanakan tugas mereka dengan berkesan.

“Saya juga menyeru supaya seluruh masyarakat sivil agar bangkit menyatakan keprihatinan ke atas nasib yang menimpa Prof Redzuan. Hal ini tidak boleh kita diamkan begitu sahaja,” ujarnya yang juga Ketua Whip Ahli Parlimen PAS.

Berikut kenyataan penuh beliau.

PAS memandang serius tindakan universiti tertua di negara ini, Universiti Malaya (UM) yang mengarahkan ahli akademik terkemuka, Prof Datuk Dr. Mohammad Redzuan Othman supaya meletakkan jawatan sebagai Pengarah University of Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel) serta tidak menyambung perkhidmatan Prof Redzuan sebagai Dekan, Fakulti Sastera dan Sains Sosial.

Apa yang mengejutkan, kedua-dua tindakan ini dikatakan diambil hasil dari desakan politik pihak tertentu di Kementerian Pendidikan yang tidak senang dengan kajian-kajian berkaitan politik negara yang dijalankan oleh UMcedel di bawah kepimpinan Prof Redzuan.

Dengan mengambil tindakan sebegini ke atas Prof Redzuan, jelas menunjukkan bahawa janji perlaksanaan transformasi politik yang dilaungkan oleh Perdana Menteri untuk memberi ruang kebebasan bersuara yang lebih luas kepada rakyat, adalah suatu pembohongan semata-mata.

Bukan setakat kerajaan yang ada hari ini tidak boleh berkompromi dengan sebarang kritikan dari parti pembangkang, tetapi sudah sampai ke tahap tidak boleh berlapang dada di atas hasil kajian yang dijalankan oleh ahli-ahli akademik non-partisan. Dalam dunia akademik, apa jua dapatan di dalam sesuatu kajian itu adalah terbuka untuk dicabar dan dinilai semula.

Jika tidak berpuas hati dengan dapatan yang diperolehi oleh Profesor Redzuan dan UMcedel, kerajaan Umno dan BN boleh sahaja mengemukakan sebarang hasil kajian balas untuk seterusnya dinilai secara akademik. Tetapi bukan dengan mengambil tindakan ‘menghukum’ Prof Redzuan kerana tidak selesa dengan kajian beliau.

Saya ingin menegaskan bahawa Perdana Menteri dan timbalannya yang juga merupakan Menteri Pendidikan harus bertanggungjawab dan membuat penjelasan umum berhubung dengan arahan kepada UM yang dikaitkan dengan Kementerian Pendidikan agar Prof Redzuan diketepikan sebagai Pengarah UMcedel dan Dekan Fakulti Sastera dan Sains Sosial UM.

Campur tangan politik sempit kepartian di dalam hal ehwal akademik dan pengurusan universiti adalah perbuatan yang amat jijik kerana ianya bukan sahaja menzalimi individu terbabit, bahkan ianya juga mencemar reputasi insititusi pendidikan terulung di negara ini dan seterusnya memburukkan lagi pandangan dunia terhadap intitusi pengajian tinggi di Malaysia.

Dalam keadaan kedudukan ranking UM dan universiti-universiti di negara ini semakin merudum jika hendak dibandingkan dengan negara-negara serantau yang lain, tidak dapat dibayangkan apakah yang menguasai cara berfikir dan bekerja para penggubal dasar, pegawai-pegawai kementerian, pentadbir-pentadbir universiti di negara ini selain dari hanya semata-mata untuk membodek dan menyatakan hanya perkara-perkara yang sedap didengar kepada para menteri dan ahli politik pemerintah.

Kongkongan kuku besi ke atas sistem pendidikan di Malaysia menjadikan negara kita semakin tertinggal di belakang. Lihat sahaja di dalam laporan yang dikeluarkan oleh The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2014 yang dikeluarkan beberapa minggu lalu menyaksikan tidak ada satu pun universiti awam di Malaysia yang menduduki kedudukan 100 universiti terbaik di Asia.

Selepas kajian ranking ini dikeluarkan, kita tidak mendengar sebarang ulasan samada dari Perdana Menteri atau timbalannya tentang apakah langkah-langkah segera yang bakal diambil kerajaan untuk memperbaiki kualiti universiti awam di negara kita. Rupa-rupanya ‘langkah’ pertama yang diambil kerajaan ialah dengan tidak menyambung perkhidmatan seorang tokoh akademik yang berwibawa!

Bagi pihak PAS, saya mendesak agar Prof Redzuan dikembalikan jawatannya sebagai Pengarah UMcedel dan Dekan Fakulti Sastera.

Perdana Menteri seterusnya wajib memberikan jaminan kebebasan akademik kepada ahli-ahli akademik di negara ini agar mereka dapat melaksanakan tugas mereka dengan berkesan.

Saya juga menyeru supaya seluruh masyarakat sivil agar bangkit menyatakan keprihatinan ke atas nasib yang menimpa Prof Redzuan. Hal ini tidak boleh kita diamkan begitu sahaja.

Politik sempit dan sikap balas dendam yang diamalkan hingga memangsakan tokoh-tokoh dan institusi-institusi yang memberi sumbangan kepada negara, harus dihentikan demi masa depan negara yang lebih gemilang. – HARAKAHDAILY 1/7/2014

Isu Prof Redzuan: Majlis Profesor Negara perlu bangkit

July 1, 2014

SALMIYAH HARUN | 30 Jun 2014. (Harakahdaily)

KUALA LUMPUR: Tiba masanya Majlis Profesor Negara (MPN) perlu bangkit menyatakan bantahan terhadap campur tangan penguasa politik dalam tadbir urus dan tata kelola universiti, kata Ketua Pengarah Eksekutif Pusat Penyelidikan PAS, Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (gambar).

“Di mana suara mereka bagi melindungi lembaga akademik dalam semua bidang termasuk sains politik, ekonomi, alam sekitar, pendidikan dll. Para akademik perlu bebas untuk menerbit dan berkarya serta menyatakan kritikan terhadap dasar dan prestasi pentadbiran..Persekutuan dan Negeri..tanpa prajudis dan bi-partisan ,” katanya kepada Harakahdaily.

Mengulas lanjut berhubung penyingkiran Profesor Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman, Dzulkefly berkata, tindakan ini sekali gus akan melahirkan budaya takut di kalangan para akademik dan juga mahasiswa untuk menyatakan pandangan dan kritikan terhadap kerajaan.

Akhirnya, tambah beliau akan wujudnya pula politik membodek kerana takut untuk menyatakan kritikan kepada kerajaan sekali gus melahirkan para akademik bertaraf ‘profesor kangkung’.

“Mereka tidak boleh berkreativiti dan berinovasi, akhirnya hasil kajian tidak ada kualiti. Prestasi universiti kita pula akan merundum, dan inilah realiti universiti kita,” katanya yang juga bekas pensyarah.

Katanya, segala campur tangan politik di dalam bidang akademik akan merudumkan institusi pengajian awam negara.

Jika keadaan ini berterusan katanya, kegemilangan Universiti Malaya yang pernah menduduki tempat ke-100 di antara universiti di dunia akan tinggal kenangan sahaja. ‘Political Bigotry’ melahirkan ‘Mediocrity’ dalam budaya serta prestasi Universiti awam, seperti hari ini.

“PM cakap tentang  transformasi ianya semua adalah retorik semata mata. Transformasi dalam pendidikan nyata dirosakkan sama sekali dengan insiden hari ini.

Justeru tegasnya, Menteri Pendidikan wajar bertanggungjawab terhadap pemecatan Prof Redzuan bagi menutup kononnya pemecatan itu bukan kerana campur tangan politik.

“Ini bukan soal parti, ini adalah kelangsungan dan kecemerlangan sebuah universiti,” katanya yang turut memuji tindakan Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah yang turut meletakkan jawatan sebagai Felo Penyelidik Kanan Universiti Malaya (UM) hari ini kerana protes.

Pentadbir Universiti Malaya telah ‘menyingkirkan’ Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman sebagai Pengarah Pusat Kajian Demokrasi dan Pilihan Raya (UMcedel) dan Dekan Fakulti Sastera dan Sains Sosial.

Penyingkiran itu dibuat atas alasan beliau akan bersara tahun depan dan tidak akan disambung kontraknya.

Profesor Redzuan yang mengetuai UMcedel sering mengadakan kajian politiknya termasuklah beberapa siri pilihan raya umum dan kecil, namun hasil kajian yang dijalankan dilihat memberi kelebihan kepada Pakatan Rakyat. – HARAKAHDAILY 30/6/2014

Leave us alone, UM academics tell Putrajaya after professor’s removal. The Nation Will All Stand in Solidarity with PKAUM!

June 30, 2014

 

BY JAMILAH KAMARUDIN  (TMI)

Published: 30 June 2014

Academic staff of the University of Malaya today hit out at the Education Ministry over its role in the removal of Professor Datuk Dr Mohammad Redzuan Othman, saying it was clear Putrajaya did not rate academic freedom highly.

Associate Professor Dr Azmi Sharom (pic), who heads University of Malaya Academic Staff Association (PKAUM), said if the ministry had leaned on Redzuan, then it is clear that decisions are made based on political importance and not academic reasons or interests.

“This is one of the reasons why Malaysian universities find it difficult to develop because there is political interference,” he said.

“Leave the academicians alone, our studies and methodology are done according to academic standards. If the government is facing problems or has issues, it is not our problem.”

The Malaysian Insider reported today that the Education Ministry had told Redzuan to quit as director of Universiti Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMcedel), while his tenure as dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in the university was also not renewed.

Azmi said Putrajaya should stop mouthing platitudes about academic excellence.

“Close your mouth and keep quiet. Do not dream of delusions of academic grandeur and Malaysian universities making the Top 100 institutions of higher learning in the world rankings,” he said, adding that academic freedom was the basis of a top university.

“The top universities are free of political interference, especially in matters concerning research. However, the Education Ministry appears to have failed to understand this particular point,” Azmi said.

Continue reading here….

 

 

In solidarity with Prof Redzuan, Saifuddin resigns as a senior research fellow in UM

June 30, 2014

Harakahdaily – TS | 30 Jun 2014.

Former Temerloh MP Saifuddin Abdullah from UMNO announces today that he had resigned as senior research fellow in Universiti Malaya in solidarity with the ousting of Prof Redzuan Othman as Universiti Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCEDEL) director and as the dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FSSS).

“Because of some instructions from certain parties in the Education Ministry, recently he was asked to resign as UMCEDEL director. But he did not spread the news.

Today his tenure as the dean is not renewed (although he was voted in by lecturers from FSSS). The story was published by The Malaysian Insider today,” wrote Saifuddin in a Facebook posting.

Saifuddin said he knew about the news earlier from Redzuan and also UM vice president.

He added Redzuan had accepted both decisions with open heart.

“In the name of academic freedom and in solidarity with him, I have resigned as a senior research fellow in UM today,” said Saifuddin.

Redzuan made his name with his work at UMCEDEL that have published many survey findings on Malaysian politics.

UMCEDEL’s surveys, which have proven to be reliable, have often put Barisan Nasional in the defensive prior to the 13th General Election – because the majority of Malaysianswere losin g confidence in BN. Although BN managed to win the 13th GE, they lost on popular votes to Pakatan Rakyat.

Redzuan’s tenure as UMCEDEL director that started on February 26, 2012, supposed to end on December 31, 2014.

Those in Education Ministry could have waited for another few months. Now, even without UMCEDEL’s survey, this action of forcing Redzuan out would definitely inked another black dot on the people perception about BN.

 And this, probably just proves that Redzuan may have lost the battle, but win the war.

Call on Umno members to emulate terror group shows Najib’s desperation, say analysts. I say – ‘Global Movement of Moderates’ stink to high heavens.

June 25, 2014

After Allah ruling, Najib preens his Islamic credentials: BE LIKE IRAQI MILITANTS, he tells Umno (Malaysia Chronicle).

BY EILEEN NG AND MOHD IZWAN (TMI).

Published: 25 June 2014

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) holds a weapon while another holds a flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak surprised many when he said that Umno members could emulate the group. – Reuters pic, June 25, 2014.

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) holds a weapon while another holds a flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak surprised many when he said that Umno members could emulate the group. – Reuters pic, June 25, 2014.Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call to party members to emulate a terrorist organisation showed his desperation amid waning support for Barisan Nasional, say political analysts.

They said that the statement, made to Umno members on Monday night, might further damage his moderate image which he is taking pains to present to the international stage, as well as Malaysia’s reputation as a moderate Muslim country.

While they noted that the prime minister is not supporting militancy, they were surprised that Najib had named the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), the militant al-Qaeda splinter group which recently took over the Iraqi city of Mosul, and whose alleged supporters were recently arrested by Malaysian authorities.

‎”It does show a certain sense of desperation on Najib’s part that whatever reforms he wants to push through, it is not carried out because the expected followers are not behind him,” ‎said Dr Ooi Kee Beng (pic, left), the deputy director of Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies‎.

“While ‎the moderates in Umno are waiting for him to come out with clear reform agenda for the next four years, it seems he’s waiting for his followers to lead.

“There seems to be a waiting game between the prime minister and moderates in his party.”

At a dinner to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Cheras Umno branch on Monday, Najib said party members should emulate Isil as they were able to defeat an Iraqi force although they were outnumbered.

“Whether we agree or not is another matter, the group Isil with the strength of just 1,300 people, can defeat an Iraqi army of 30,000 soldiers, until four, five generals with three, four stars ran for their lives, jumped out the window at night,” Najib was quoted as saying.

Observers ‎felt he made such a statement out of desperation especially since support for his ruling coalition BN and his lynchpin Malay party, Umno, has been waning, as reflected in last year’s May 5 national polls, where the coalition lost a further seven seats to Pakatan Rakyat (PR), despite Umno adding nine more parliamentary seats due to rural votes.

Ooi said Najib’s remarks will definitely leave international observers confounded.

“It’s a bit scary. It shows that he is not on top of his game.

“What does he want from this? There is no election around the corner,” he added.

Analyst Khoo Kay Peng (pic, right)  did not mince his word, saying it was the “most stupid statement” made by a Malaysian head of state.

“It is unbecoming of the prime minister. He has totally lost it,” said Khoo.

He said Najib could have given the examples of other innovative and moderate movements.

“On one hand, we have Malaysian police trying to stop our citizens from joining Isil, ‎on the other, we have the prime minister encouraging his members to emulate the bravery of the militant group.

‎”Is the prime minister encouraging Umno members to join the missions there?” he asked, adding that Najib should have spoken out against such militant organisations undermining an elected government.

“He represent all Malaysians. The image of Malaysia as a moderate Muslim country will go down the drain.”

Ibrahim Suffian (pic, left), who heads pollster Merdeka Center, said Najib’s statement would create a negative perception towards the country especially in the wake of several religious and racially-charged issues.

Call on Umno members to emulate terror group shows Najib’s desperation, say analysts – See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/najibs-call-on-umno-members-to-emulate-terror-group-shows-desperation-say-a#sthash.i6QXe0ag.dpuf

“It is tough to put his statement in context, it will cause negative perception at the international level‎,” said the Merdeka Center executive director, who agreed that Najib could have cited other examples without involving militants.

Ibrahim said as the chief administrator, Najib should not only place importance on political influence just to gain Malay support.

‎”He is a politician, he might have his own reasons for saying that. I think at this juncture, he really needs Malay support especially since the Federal Court decision,” he said, referring to Monday’s Apex court decision upholding the ban on the word “Allah” in Catholic weekly Herald.

“He may be using this to strenghten Malay support.”

‎Professor James Chin of Monash University Malaysia, expressing surprise that Najib used Isil as an example, however, believed the latest storm would not affect his image.

But Chin said it does not augur well for the premier to use such a poor example.

“It is extremely unwise for a political leader to suggest that such group should be emulated,” he added. – June 25, 2014.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/najibs-call-on-umno-members-to-emulate-terror-group-shows-desperation-say-a#sthash.i6QXe0ag.dpuf

Read this too…

Najib’s open admiration may spark exodus of Malay youths to join Islamic militant group Isil

Full article: http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=308762:najibs-open-admiration-may-spark-exodus-of-malay-youths-to-join-islamic-militant-group-isil&Itemid=2#ixzz35dSdTkYY
Follow us: @MsiaChronicle on Twitter
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) holds a weapon while another holds a flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak surprised many when he said that Umno members could emulate the group. – Reuters pic, June 25, 2014.A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) holds a weapon while another holds a flag in the city of Mosul, Iraq. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak surprised many when he said that Umno members could emulate the group. – Reuters pic, June 25, 2014.Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call to party members to emulate a terrorist organisation showed his desperation amid waning support for Barisan Nasional, say political analysts.They said that the statement, made to Umno members on Monday night, might further damage his moderate image which he is taking pains to present to the international stage, as well as Malaysia’s reputation as a moderate Muslim country.While they noted that the prime minister is not supporting militancy, they were surprised that Najib had named the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), the militant al-Qaeda splinter group which recently took over the Iraqi city of Mosul, and whose alleged supporters were recently arrested by Malaysian authorities.‎“It does show a certain sense of desperation on Najib’s part that whatever reforms he wants to push through, it is not carried out because the expected followers are not behind him,” ‎said Dr Ooi Kee Beng (pic, left), the deputy director of Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies‎.”While ‎the moderates in Umno are waiting for him to come out with clear reform agenda for the next four years, it seems he’s waiting for his followers to lead.

“There seems to be a waiting game between the prime minister and moderates in his party.”

At a dinner to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Cheras Umno branch on Monday, Najib said party members should emulate Isil as they were able to defeat an Iraqi force although they were outnumbered.

“Whether we agree or not is another matter, the group Isil with the strength of just 1,300 people, can defeat an Iraqi army of 30,000 soldiers, until four, five generals with three, four stars ran for their lives, jumped out the window at night,” Najib was quoted as saying.

Observers ‎felt he made such a statement out of desperation especially since support for his ruling coalition BN and his lynchpin Malay party, Umno, has been waning, as reflected in last year’s May 5 national polls, where the coalition lost a further seven seats to Pakatan Rakyat (PR), despite Umno adding nine more parliamentary seats due to rural votes.

Ooi said Najib’s remarks will definitely leave international observers confounded.

“It’s a bit scary. It shows that he is not on top of his game.

“What does he want from this? There is no election around the corner,” he added.

Analyst Khoo Kay Peng (pic, right)  did not mince his word, saying it was the “most stupid statement” made by a Malaysian head of state.

“It is unbecoming of the prime minister. He has totally lost it,” said Khoo.

He said Najib could have given the examples of other innovative and moderate movements.

“On one hand, we have Malaysian police trying to stop our citizens from joining Isil, ‎on the other, we have the prime minister encouraging his members to emulate the bravery of the militant group.

‎”Is the prime minister encouraging Umno members to join the missions there?” he asked, adding that Najib should have spoken out against such militant organisations undermining an elected government.

“He represent all Malaysians. The image of Malaysia as a moderate Muslim country will go down the drain.”

Ibrahim Suffian (pic, left), who heads pollster Merdeka Center, said Najib’s statement would create a negative perception towards the country especially in the wake of several religious and racially-charged issues.

“It is tough to put his statement in context, it will cause negative perception at the international level‎,” said the Merdeka Center executive director, who agreed that Najib could have cited other examples without involving militants.

Ibrahim said as the chief administrator, Najib should not only place importance on political influence just to gain Malay support.

‎”He is a politician, he might have his own reasons for saying that. I think at this juncture, he really needs Malay support especially since the Federal Court decision,” he said, referring to Monday’s Apex court decision upholding the ban on the word “Allah” in Catholic weekly Herald.

“He may be using this to strenghten Malay support.”

‎Professor James Chin of Monash University Malaysia, expressing surprise that Najib used Isil as an example, however, believed the latest storm would not affect his image.

But Chin said it does not augur well for the premier to use such a poor example.

“It is extremely unwise for a political leader to suggest that such group should be emulated,” he added. – June 25, 2014.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/najibs-call-on-umno-members-to-emulate-terror-group-shows-desperation-say-a#sthash.i6QXe0ag.dpuf

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