Archive for the ‘Ethics, Morality and Patriotism’ Category

‘Integrity, political will key to tackling corruption

Wednesday, January 30th, 2019
The government must address issues pertaining to integrity to fight corruption, says Transparency International-Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar. Pic by NSTP/ZUNNUR AL SHAFIQ

KUALA LUMPUR: The government must address issues pertaining to integrity to fight corruption, says Transparency International-Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar.

“Sometimes, you can have the best plan, drafted by experts, but if those who are in charge of procurement or financial related activities have no integrity, there is no point in having the best plan,” he said today.

“I have always pointed out that we must address the issue of integrity first. If we can rectify the integrity problem, we do not need a complicated plan.”

From 2013 to May last year, Akhbar said 55.2 per cent of corruption convictions involved young adults.

He said a scientific study was needed to identify the root cause of the integrity problem; whether it was parenting, upbringing, social economy or education.

He lauded the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP), but said its implementation was more crucial.

He said the previous government had implemented various plans to eradicate corruption, and yet corruption was still on the rise.

“We had the National Integrity Plan and the Government Transformation Programme to fight graft.

“Nonetheless, the rate of corruption is still high. It shows that all those programmes have failed.”

He said strong political will was needed to ensure the success of NACP

“I think we already have it. Our prime minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) is very concerned about corruption.

“The ministers must also do the same by showing a good example through their leadership at their own ministries.”

Akhbar said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had done its job well.

“They investigate without fear or favour, which is good.”

However, Akhbar said public support was lacking.

“We need full support from the public to fight corruption, particularly in willingness to forward information to MACC,” he said.

Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism executive director Cynthia Gabriel also stressed the importance of political will.

“It’s the first time Malaysia has a roadmap to reduce corruption.

“We congratulate the government on this first and important step.

“But, to make it work, the government needs to show tremendous political will to adopt zero tolerance to graft,” she said.

On Tuesday, Dr Mahathir launched NACP as a warning to all to steer clear of graft.

He said the fight against corruption would involve not only bringing offenders to justice, but also ensuring that mistakes were not repeated.

He also vowed that stern action would be taken against those involved in graft, which included the practice of civil servants being paid to provide special treatment to certain individuals, or looking the other way when wrongdoings were committed.

By Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi.

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Let knowledge of Islam be the foundation of living

Thursday, December 13th, 2018
(File pix) Muslim engineers and scientists repurposed the astrolabe to determine prayer times and the ‘qiblah’, the direction that Muslims should pray to.

THE repurposing of the astrolabe in the eighth and ninth centuries to determine Muslim prayer times (waqt) and direction (qiblah) is an example of Islamic ingenuity (hiyal) in solving problems encountered when performing religious obligations.

It shows that through their worldview, Muslim engineers and scientists had developed solutions to problems related to elements that concerned the community.

The works of Muslim engineers and scientists who repurposed the astrolabe, such as Banu Musa in the ninth century, were fitting examples of how the worldview of Islam and the appreciation of science as a study of signs of God (ayatu’llah) promoted the advancement of science and technology, which benefited not only Muslims, but also the world.

Although the origin of the astrolabe was Greek, it has gained the emblematic status of technological advancement in the Muslim world that just by invoking its name conjures up the picture of Islam and its adherents.

Prophet Muhammad’s exhortations, such as to maintain cleanliness and to place premiums on water as the primary cleaning agent, have always been at the centre of their design consideration. For example, Banu Musa and the 13th-century successor, Al-Jazari, who focused on facilitating the transportation and dispensation of water, took them seriously when devising their ingenious mechanical devices.

Muslim scientific and technological activities should let us realise that the civilisational aspect of Islam is able to perfect what it inherited, and endow what it made with beauty. Such is the case with the astrolabe—its image popularly adorns the cover of books discussing Muslim advancements of science during what orientalists refer to as the “Golden Age” of Islam.

Indeed, science and technology are useful to mankind. However, it is also important to realise that it is the human being who is giving the value of utility based on his experience, as well as his education, in the knowledge of virtues and morality.

In his book Tinjauan Ringkas Peri Ilmu dan Pandangan Alam (A Brief Examination of Knowledge and Worldview), Muslim thinker Professor Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas alluded science and technology to the metaphor of the knife — their oldest, simplest and closest application as a tool that is indispensable in today’s modern-day living — that can be used for either good or evil.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance for society to produce from within it good men who will ensure that science and technology are used for good.

With its ever-changing values and redefinitions, science and technology cannot, and should not, be made the supplier of our moral compass; rather, right and complete knowledge of our religion must be made the foundation of living because it is the one that evaluates life.

So it is clear that it is the human being who needs to be educated with good values supplied by religion as a source of worldview, but there is a need to extend the question on much more complex technology, given that our lives today have grown more in complexity that necessitates the proliferation of more laws to rectify social, economic and political disharmony.

Today, our ability to resolve crises has not surpassed our tendency to cause them, despite scientific and technological advances. For this reason, we need to re-examine our concepts and notions of technology. Our worldview, ethics and epistemology are determinants in the conception, implementation and deployment of science and technology. For Muslim scientists and engineers, these are supplied by their understanding of Islam.

For Muslims, watchfulness and vigilance must be exercised against purposeless materialism resulting from a false sense of the greater abundance of physical means at the expense of time, as well as excessive enjoyment of the present that impedes worship and contemplative life.

By Muhammad Husni Mohd Amin

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Respect civil servants, don’t harm them – Dr Wan Azizah

Thursday, November 29th, 2018
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail arrives to launch the 2018 National Planning Congress organised by the Malaysian institute of Planners. NSTP/ Halimaton Saadiah Sulaiman

KUALA LUMPUR: Civil servants should be respected and not be harmed while performing their duties, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

The deputy prime minister said it was the responsibility of everyone to protect public servants including members of the security forces

“We have to protect our civil servants and whoever is working for the public, including firemen,” she told reporters after opening the 2018 National Planning Congress organised by the Malaysian institute of Planners here today.

She was commenting on the case of Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim, 24, who was critically injured after he was reportedly beaten during the rioting at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in USJ 25, Putra Heights.

Adib was believed to have been hit by a group of rioters during a fire-fighting operation near the Hindu temple in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The fireman is now under the care of doctors at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur.

Describing the case as a serious crime, Dr Wan Azizah said she would be visiting Adib at IJN tomorrow.

“This is a real crime and now he is fighting for his life. Insya-Allah (God willing) I will see him tomorrow,” she said.

Roting at the temple early Monday morning and the early following day ,was believed to be linked to dispute over the relocation of the temple.

By Bernama.

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Relearn value filial piety

Sunday, November 25th, 2018
It is important to instil filial piety in the younger generation. FILE PIC

MORE often than not, we hear stories of senior citizens being abandoned by their children and relatives, left to fend for themselves or forced to live in a welfare home

In Malaysia, senior citizens are defined as those aged 60 years and above, according to the definition made at the World Assembly on Ageing 1982 in Vienna, Austria.

As a senior citizen, I am left bereft after reading stories of the elderly who are neglected, especially those who still have children or relatives. It shows a lack of filial piety, which, in the Chinese community, refers to the important virtue and primary duty of respect, obedience and care for one’s parents and elderly family members.

At programmes that I have attended around the country, many senior citizens express sadness that their children or relatives do not visit or call them.

This is not something new — as the former chairman of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital Board of Visitors in the 1990s, I’ve handled many such cases.

At that time, I had to get funds from the private sector to help settle the medical, food and laundry bills of about 12 senior citizens who were abandoned at the hospital.

Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre geriatric specialist Dr Hazlina Mahadzir recently said a special act should be introduced to safeguard the wellbeing of senior citizens and those who’ve been abandoned by their children and relatives.

She said failure to visit or give proper attention to their elderly parents could be considered neglect and subjected to legal action to prevent children from forgetting their filial duty.

I never imagined that we would need such a legislation but the negative development in recent years may justify such a drastic action to stop the problem from worsening.

We are proud of our eastern culture that teaches the young to be polite and respect the elderly, but such noble values are diminishing.

Many people think that if parents can be charged for abandoning their children, the same should be taken against children who neglect their parents.

We must remember that our parents — those still with us — are prone to accidents or become victims of crime. They can have mental health problems such as depression and senility.

This is serious given the fact that Malaysia will be considered an ageing nation when seven per cent of its population will be 65 years and older by 2030

Since the cost of living is expected to increase in years to come, it is important to provide a safety net, including allowing senior citizens to work.

The government could emulate the approach taken by advanced countries, which offer financial incentives to employers who hire or retain older workers and subsidise their job training.

The country must have a comprehensive social security programme since studies show that the retirement income of elderly people is inadequate.

Non-governmental organisations should be set up to care for senior citizens, especially those who suffer from illness. We need to help them remain in the community by providing daycare centres and day hospitals, social clubs, rehabilitation, counselling and advice centres, volunteer schemes and home nursing.

The “home-help volunteer” programme under the Welfare Department, for example, helps to solve problems of senior citizens in their neighbourhood. The volunteers visit the senior citizens at least three times a month, as well as monitor their health and social development.

The aim is to ensure that they have a quality life in their twilight years.

The most important thing for us is to practise noble values, including respecting and caring for the elderly. Filial piety must be instilled in the younger generation.


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RM7.35bil Samurai bond to fund education, transport sectors, not repay national debts, says Kadir.

Sunday, November 11th, 2018

PETALING JAYA: The RM7.35bil Samurai bond issuance, which the Japanese government has offered to guarantee, is not intended to repay Malaysia’s existing debts, says Datuk A. Kadir Jasin.

The Prime Minister’s media adviser said the money raised will be used to fund the education and transportation sector and visit exchanges between Japan and Malaysia.

He said if there is confidence in the government owing to its excellent economic achievement records and sound administration, this will enable it to secure loans domestically and from abroad.

Instead, if a country had a poor track record or if the government had ulterior motives in taking up loans such as seen in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, then it would be harder to secure loans domestically and internationally.

“If under the old government we secured huge debts in dubious ways especially from China, now we managed to get a special loan with a low-interest rate,” he wrote in his capacity as National Journalist Laureate in his column in Sinar Harian published on Sunday (Nov 11).

He said that the government may borrow domestically or from abroad at a lower interest rate to repay the debts left by the previous administration.

“Considering the financial situation of the government that is ridden with debt and liabilities of more than RM1tril, restructuring of loans is one of the challenging duties in the financial and economic administration in the next coming years,” he wrote.

In June, Malaysia asked for a yen loan during Dr Mahathir’s first meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe to help resolve the government’s debts.

By Fatimah Zainal
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Asia’s largest zoo croc injured by stone-throwing Chinese tourists

Saturday, November 10th, 2018
A group of overexcited Chinese tourists threw stones – as well as a 17cm-diameter rock – at Asia’s largest crocodile in captivity on Monday, injuring the reptile. – NSTP FILE PIC

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of overexcited Chinese tourists threw stones – as well as a 17cm-diameter rock – at Asia’s largest crocodile in captivity on Monday, injuring the reptile.

The tourists – a family of laughing adults and children – reportedly wanted to make the 1,250kg African crocodile move, as they were initially sceptical that it was real. When it reacted, they were thrilled and began taking pictures, and possibly videos.

According to the South China Morning Post, the family persisted in throwing projectiles at the 5.8-metre animal despite objections from fellow tourists and visitors at the Xiamen Central Africa Zoo in Fujian province on Nov 5.

But when the 37-year-old male crocodile named Xiao He began oozing blood from three cuts it incurred from the largest rock thrown at it, the tourists fled.

The zoo’s manager was immediately notified, and staff rushed to treat the crocodile using special medicine shipped in from Taiwan, the South China Morning Post reported.

Since news of the incident broke, social media users have been scathing over the tourists’ cruelty, as well as the example the adult members of the group had set for the children


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Malaysia to Look East on education: Dr M

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

TOKYO: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malaysia will continue the Look East Policy and further enhance it.

The Prime Minister said Malaysia also hoped for greater cooperation from Japan, especially in education.

He said he believed that it is was the Japanese culture and value system that contributed to Japan’s recovery after the war (World War Two) and ability to develop very fast to catch up with western developed countries.

“This time under the Look East Policy, we will be looking at the whole Japanese system of education, right from kindergarten to higher education,” he said at a joint press conference with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, here, Tuesday.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir and Abe had a delegation meeting at the Japanese Prime Minister’s Office.

Dr Mahathir is on the second day of his three-day visit to Japan

Dr Mahathir said he also welcomed a proposal that JR Kyushu Railway Company would be looking into the transportation problem of Malaysia and to help Malaysia and advise on how to run the national railway.

He said during the meeting, both sides were very concerned about natural disasters which seemed to befall countries facing the Pacific.

” We are not able to extend much help but I hope we can do something to mitigate the disaster occurring in Japan and countries facing the Pacific.

“We are also concerned about the situation in East Asia. We are aware of the threats posed by North Korea. We feel that the best way to handle this problem is to have contact with them, which Malaysia has done.

“We believe if Malaysia and Japan work closely together we maybe able to influence the course of the development in this area. So that all countries here will experience peace and stability,” said Dr Mahathir

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir was conferred the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers” by Emperor Akihito of Japan. The conferment of Japan’s highest award follows the huge contributions by the Prime Minister in strengthening bilateral ties.

The conferment ceremony was held at the Imperial Palace here at 9.45am local time (8.45am Malaysian time). The order is the highest award to be conferred upon foreign statesmen for their contribution towards the bilateral relations between their respective countries and Japan, as well as their contribution to the region.

Dr Mahathir is the third leader from Asia conferred the prestigious award after former Singapore Prime Minister the late Lee Kuan Yew and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

He is on a three-day working visit to Japan since Monday.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the conferment of the country’s highest award is because of Dr Mahathir’s various services for over many years in advancing relationship between the two countries.

“Prime Minister Mahathir, please accept my warmest congratulation on the conferment of the “Grand Cordon of the Order of the Paulownia Flowers”. Under the Look East Policy put forward by the Prime Minister who is a long time friend of Japan and (had) visited Japan more than 100 times, students and trainees in excess of 60,000 have come to Japan for the last 36 years,” he said in his joint press conference with Dr Mahathir.

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Religious tolerance key to world peace

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
(File pix) The Palace of Peace and Accord in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana. AFP Photo

WITH so many chaotic things happening every day in this world, it is extremely easy to think that there is little hope left for mankind.

But unbeknownst to many of us, the agenda for world peace is being actively worked on and advocated. In fact, it is revisited, polished, updated, and reinstated every three years when religious leaders from different faiths and countries meet and engage with each other in interfaith dialogues at The Congress of Leaders and Traditional Religions.

I had the pleasure of attending the latest edition of the congress, which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan.

In essence, this year’s session was no different than the first one in September 2003. Everyone, from rabbis and muftis to monks and priests, found pleasure in each other’s company as they worked together on figuring out what world peace truly means and how to achieve it.

But what makes the sixth installment of the congress notably distinguishable from past editions is in the way that religion as a world view was translated into practice; every edition runs its own theme.

The 2015 edition of the congress, in particular, had witnessed lengthy discussions between religious leaders and political figures, that culminated in the establishment of peace-ruling standards and even the creation of Astana’s glorious Palace of Peace and Accord.

Naturally, this year’s session built on where participants had left off three years ago, with a special focus on how religious communities can face issues of global security, changing geopolitical landscape, extremism and terrorism, and the unique challenges and responses they entail.

In hindsight, the narratives that I had gleaned from my time at the congress confirmed what I have long suspected: that religious tolerance is our only way to world peace.

In this technologically savvy era, religious faith faces a number of challenges, one of which is the decline in numbers. But the reduction in number of believers is not that drastic a fall.

Research done by demographers Conrad Hackett and David McClendon in 2015 showed that only 16 per cent of the world population (which today stands at 7.7 billion people) consider themselves “unaffiliated”; the rest of the world still resort to one religion or another to act out their belief systems.

What this tells us is that most people have always believed, still believe, and will likely continue to believe inahigher force that powers us all into being. Now to come back to why I believe world peace may not be as elusive as the sceptics may think. The rationale behind it is actually logical.

That all of us, no matter how different our skin colours, socioeconomic status, and belief systems are from each other, live on the same planet called earth is very telling of that singularity which we, in each of our unique ways and methods, believe in.

This force that binds us all comes in various names — Allah, God, Yahweh, Brahman, and many, many more.

We are the same in our humanity, even if our deliveries are different. There are so many interpretations and modes of worship of the Divine. And we have many languages to communicate and map our meanings. Some of us have found a way to truly fathom why we are all here. Some are just happy to know that they are here.

To each his own.

If the togetherness is the best that we can get right now, then it’s high time to make full use of it. Any disharmony that exists is not the result of our religious differences, but our inability to live in peace.


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Dr M: Good knowledge and good character should go hand-in-hand.

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

PETALING JAYA: The national educational system needs to teach students good values and characters beyond imparting knowledge, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“I feel some attention should be given in school from kindergarten to university on discussions about good moral values,” said the Prime Minister during a dialogue with students at Toyo University in Japan on Wednesday (Nov 7).

Dr Mahathir, who is on a three-day working visit to Japan, said education systems have become knowledge specific to make students job-ready, but lacked focus in moulding students’ character.

“If a student has good knowledge, but has bad character, the knowledge would not benefit the community,” Dr Mahathir said.

He said children should learn from an early age that that taking what does not belong to them is bad, but returning the item to the owner is good.

Without naming anyone, Dr Mahathir said some countries have used education as a form of indoctrination.

“I have seen one country at least where young people as young as six years old were taught to adore the leader and think of him as a God who can do no wrong,” he said.

He said the end result is an oppressive regime and government.

“It will make the people suffer and the government will fail,” he added.

Dr Mahathir arrived at Tokyo on Monday (Nov 5) for a three-day working visit.

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No excuse for MPs to skip parliament

Monday, November 5th, 2018
Attendance by members of parliament should be compulsory because Parliament is not only a place for debates, it is also an institution where laws are passed, amended and repealed. FILE PIC

DEAR Yang Berhormat, I remember going to school almost every day because my mum would give a lecture on how school attendance mattered, whether or not you learn.

When I was in Form Six, I even received a certificate at the end of the year for having a 99.9 per cent attendance in class, which was a big deal because the school appreciated the attendance of students, especially those who made an effort to come.

This was one of the traits we learnt at home and in school.

Things changed a little during university, where I would sometimes skip a few classes due to student council commitments, but that didn’t mean I never attended classes at all.

I definitely made an effort to attend them. Attendance contributes to our final results.

The fear of not getting these extra marks from attendance is constantly there nagging at us.

Why am I saying this? This is because a few of our members of parliament (MPs) recently said attendance in Parliament is not a big issue.

As a Malaysian citizen, I feel that the presence of an MP in Parliament is important as I would like to see him talk about issues and address problems in his constituency in Parliament.

It is the responsibility of each MP to represent the voice of the voters in Parliament as it is the national legislative body of the Malaysian government.

Besides, Parliament is not only a place for debates, it is an institution where laws are passed, amended and repealed.

Parliament sessions also examine government policies, approve government expenditure and taxes tabled in a budget. Such is the importance of Parliament, and here we have some of our MPs who are ignorant about their role as parliamentarians.

I believe that every single person has been taught about the importance of attendance from our school days right up to university, and as we become adults, attendance at work is also important.

Imagine employees telling their employers that their attendance at work doesn’t matter at all and they would like to show up at work whenever they want. There will definitely be chaos.

I understand that some MPs have their own commitments either as a minister or deputy minister, and some might even have commitments in their constituencies, but that does not mean that they can neglect their representation or responsibility to attend Parliament sessions regularly.

The practice of the previous government, which may have not looked at attendance in Parliament as a priority, should be changed in this new era of “Malaysia Baru” and the current MPs from the government coalition shouldn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

The MPs should be reminded that the people are indeed watching their every move and some are even watching the Parliament session every day just to make sure that their MPs are representing their voices

MPs should be a good example to our young, especially to those who are in school. Imagine a situation where students would one day turn around and actually say that their school attendance is no longer a priority because even our MPs are not prioritising their attendance in Parliament. So, why should they even bother?

Remember that the political culture in Malaysia has changed since the historic election in May as the political awareness among citizens, especially youths, has increased significantly.

This complacency about attendance in Parliament could be resolved via a new law that should be implemented stating the minimum number of days that an MP should be present while Parliament is in session, present a show cause letter if they are absent and pay a hefty fine if they are unable to justify their absence.

Most parliaments impose some formal “Rules of Attendance”, either at plenary sittings and committee meetings. Some countries have incorporated the “Rules of Attendance” in their constitution or legislation, or usually in the Standing Orders of Parliament.

In many countries, the rule of “Compulsory Attendance” by members is enforced. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, compulsory attendance is not enforced in countries like the United Kingdom and absence from plenary sittings and committee meetings entails no penalty or action on the MPs.

However, the attendance in the “Opposed Private Bill Committee” is compulsory. Besides the UK, even the United States Congress does not take formal attendance.

But two countries following the British parliamentary tradition, Canada and Australia, have introduced the rule of “Compulsory Attendance”.

Members who fail to attend parliamentary sessions without a “valid reason” would face a penalty. In addition to Canada and Australia, the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag also require its members to participate in the assembly’s proceedings.

France, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Jordan, Poland and South Koreaare among many other countries with “Rules of Attendance” for members in their assembly.

By Aaron Denison.

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