Artikel

No matter age or gender, our brains remain the most super computer of all

By LARRY HYPES
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

August 07, 2009 03:04 pm

Although I have had several chest x-rays since my heart surgery, I have yet to get a photo taken of my head. No doubt the doctor would find nothing of interest there. Yet it is a fact that although we talk of the heart’s importance, it is still the brain which regulates what goes on everywhere else in our bodies.
Did you know that your brain weighs about three pounds? For the ladies, your brain reached that size about age 11, while we fellows had to wait for full brain maturity until we were almost 15 years old, according to researcher Lori Oliwenstein. She says that men have a brain somewhere around 10 percent larger than women, probably only because men tend to be larger. I am sure there are plenty of arguments going on about how much wasted space there is many male brains but we won’t get into that discussion here.
Oliwenstein, however, notes that the brains of women tend to have more space between the neurons, which means a great many more connection possibilities. There are at least a couple of areas in the female brain which favor the development of language skills and the ability to use spoken words. (If you think I am going to go off on a discussion about how women are just born to talk more, you are mistaken!)
Emotionally, according to Oliwenstein, there are some other significant differences in a large portion of the population. For example, women as a group are more likely than men to suffer clinical depression. Men, on the other hand, seem to develop the characteristics of autism more frequently.
As an English teacher/newswriter, I am fascinated with the studies relating to brains and the language. Jeffrey Kluger’s book “Simplexity” is a fascinating case study of language tendencies. He begins by saying there is no good reason for us to talk at all and that we begin our lives as non-lingual people. That changes rather quickly and before we are 2 years old, most of us can say at least 50 different words and we know the meanings of at least 100 more. Within another year, we have about 1,000 words in our vocabulary and after we have reached the advanced age of 6, almost all of us have some 6,000 words as a part of our vocabulary.
For those of you who are “educated” in the subtleties of the language, your store of information is almost always in excess of 50,000 words and related expressions. Kluger explains, in case you wondered, just how it happens that babies can progress so rapidly through their language skills. It just so happens that small children have brains that can make approximately 15,000 connections between each neuron while we adults can only get about 10,000 connections from our gray matter. Parents of “gifted” children have long known that the high-speed brains of many elementary-age boys and girls can learn a language or two or three much easier than if the language instruction begins at the teen level. I wonder how foreign language teachers feel about that?
Another interesting study involves the need for the brain to sleep and/or rest. Some people can get by with four hours of sleep per night while many seem to require as many as 10, according to a report by Christine Gorman. It probably also matters very much to a great many people about the time they get that sleep. In the heyday of the Pocahontas coalfields when the mines were running three 8-hour shifts, the “regular” guys worked during the day and then there was the odd second shift, which ran from late afternoon until midnight followed by the “hoot owl” third shift were miners worked as the rest of the normal world slept. Beginning with the day shift, where the largest numbers of workers were employed, the number of employees usually gradually declined as the hours wore on. According to the scientists, that may or may not have improved the quality of the work for those who kept the traditional day hours.
Studies show that people who learn a task at the next day after a good night’s sleep are 40 percent more accurate and 20 percent faster when reproducing that information on tests than the people who learned the task in the morning and then were tested later in the day. That might explain why some first period classes don’ t perform like the evening groups although many teachers want to work with students before afternoon drowsiness sets in. Oh, well.
For those of us on the way to gray hair, wrinkles and increasing physical problems, there may still be some hope left between the ears, however. Kluger writes that until just the past few years it was believed that brains “maxed out” in efficiency at about age 40 and by around 70 were often relics of their former selves. Now, scientists are finding out that brains of those between 35-65 years old are often much more nimble and adaptable to change than was previously believed. The ability to deal with frustration and not allow interference into thinking processes seems to be much stronger in the older population.
While the brain may have lost something in some ways, the older generation has seemingly found methods to get greater performance out of what remains of that amazing three-pound computer right behind the eyes. Hooray for us.
Now, where did I put those car keys?
Larry Hypes is a teacher at Tazewell High School and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph.

Copyright © 1999-2008 cnhi, inc.

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Speech by Anwar Ibrahim at “Business Opportunities in the Muslim World” Conference in Washington DC, June 26 2009.

Ladies and Gentleman, respected guests from the White House, State Department and other agencies, Friends and colleagues from the United States and throughout the Muslim world.

I must apologize to the organizers and to the guests attending today that I cannot be with you in person.

I have fond memories of the time I spent in Washington DC teaching at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins University, and this visit would have offered a much anticipated opportunity to visit friends and colleagues.  However, as you may know, I have a rather difficult time dealing with the Malaysian Courts. No matter how we demonstrate their inadequacies in trying to prosecute against me they remain relentless in their resolve to inconvenience me. Consequently, I must make a series of previously unscheduled appearances in Court this week and for that reason I cannot join you in person today. I would like to thank the organizers for accommodating and facilitating this last minute request to speak remotely and thank those who made this possible on such short notice.

It is common knowledge that the powers that be are on slippery ground, but they remain firm in their conviction to send me back to jail no matter what it takes. The stakes are high, so high indeed that we are once again witnessing the emasculation of the judiciary at the hands of the Executive. It is clear that the strategy is to have me incarcerated in order to stem the tide for greater freedom and democracy but I can say for sure that they are mistaken. You can put me behind bars but you can’t stop the historic progress of the Malaysian people in their march towards freedom and democracy.

May I begin by saying that commerce and enterprise have been one of the primary mechanisms through which the Muslim world has engaged its neighbors to the East and West.  Muslim traders and businessmen were among the primary agents of what we can accurately describe as globalization in the early centuries of the advent of Islam.  While these early Muslims were possessed of a certain zeal to spread their newfound faith, one cannot deny the skill with which new trade routes were established to connect the rapidly growing empire.  Ibn Saghir observed that as early as the middle of the 8th century faraway outposts on the edge of the Sahara were trading regularly with merchants from Basra, Kufa and Khorasan – at that time this distance was nothing short of epic.  I would mention further that Ibn Saghir also noticed the regular interactions between Muslim and Jewish traders at the time.  Southeast Asia is a telling example of a faraway land populated with diverse religions that was transformed into a major hub of Islamic civilization, not by military confrontation but rather through trade, commerce and the peaceful proselytizing of sufi saints.

The great European trading cities like Venice were frequent ports of call for traders from the Muslim world and great cities like Cairo and Istanbul were places of frequent mixing and intermingling.  The focal point of the Muslim world and its spiritual center, Mecca, was as much a place of spiritual repose and retreat as it was the meeting point for caravans from East and West.  Once a year this gathering would become the locus of exchange of goods and ideas and news and information from all points in the Muslim world and beyond.

Amidst the commercial activity were profound exchanges of philosophy and metaphysics and debates that cross and intersected religious divides. President Obama, in his historic Cairo speech earlier this month, alluded to the intellectual indebtedness of Europe to the Muslim world. There is no doubt that Renaissance Europe owes much of its antecedents to the transmission of knowledge in Muslim Spain and North Africa in the cities of Toledo, Granada and Fes – which themselves represented a thriving economy as well as a pre-Columbian conduit for exploration to the New World.

This historical legacy underscores the need for a forum such as this in which views can be expressed with forthrightness and sincerity. Our goal is in clear sight.  What is past is passed and we need not spend too much time looking to the mistakes of previous administrations.  Our objective today is to consider the historical moment in which we live – a global recession of epic proportions; a Muslim world in transition and flux, and an American administration truly committed to engagement and understanding.

Credit is due to President Obama for his efforts to begin a rapprochement with the Muslim world.  His initial pronouncements to close Guantanamo Bay, end the war in Iraq and assert his administration’s efforts towards a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were received with cautious optimism.  The address in Cairo along with his visit to Turkey in April asserted his belief that America and the Muslim world can be partners not only in ensuring greater security but also in pursuing a common agenda. We are not talking about merely tolerating the differences in culture and religion or merely respecting the divergent views and perspectives but this is a common agenda defined by common and shared values of freedom, human rights and the pursuit of a meaningful and purposeful livelihood. In this agenda, there should be no color bars, no geographical boundaries and no linguistic and religious divide.

Nevertheless, reality does bite hard – and the administration has faced obstacles in each of these major endeavors. Skeptics will be quick to point out that thus far everything has been mere rhetoric. They say this administration won’t be much different from the previous. However, we say that it is premature to draw conclusions on eventual outcomes.

As a matter of fact, I remain optimistic that if America can find credible partners in the Muslim world with which to pursue this agenda the possibilities for charting a new course are immense.

The recession which has spread around the world has highlighted the fundamental weaknesses inherent in our traditional financial systems.  The ripple effect of the collapse on Wall Street last fall with economies around the world has also laid waste to the notion of firewalls protecting certain areas. It is true that the decoupling school of thought was fast becoming the new mantra of progress particularly for the emerging markets until of course the financial meltdown jolted everyone back to their senses. But we should not look at this financial crisis only in a negative light. On the contrary, it is abundantly clear that the ties that bind people around the world are strong and can be harnessed even during these contractionary times.

Promoting stronger commercial relationships between these two worlds must be punctuated with an unrelenting commitment to good governance and transparency.  It is not simply the realm of government to achieve these objectives.  In fact, no matter how much governments impose legislation on ethical practices, these rules only have a transformative impact on the way business is done if there is a competitive advantage to be gained.

Rather it is increasingly part of the competitive forces driving investment and strengthening shareholder value to engage in responsible business practices.
Saudi Arabia and Jordan have taken a lead in this respect, commissioning intensive research into responsible competitiveness within their own kingdoms. Other Muslim countries ought to consider similar strategies in their efforts to attract investment from abroad that is increasingly concerned with issues such as climate change, sustainability and fair labour practices.

Underlying these responsible practices are credible institutions which adhere to the rule of law and nurture the development of healthy and vibrant civil societies. For businesses to operate efficiently courts must only be impartial and fair but must also be seen to be so in their adjudication of disputes.  For corruption and the abuse of power, be it corporate or government, the media must be free to report and analyse the actions of those who wield power.  Free and fair elections are only the starting point for democracy; as fundamental as they are, they are just one piece in a larger puzzle.  This means that governments in the end must reflect the hopes and aspirations of their people.

Thank you.

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Ucaptama Ketua Dewan Muslimat PAS Pusat

di Muktamar Muslimat PAS ke-49, 5hb Jun 2009

Ahmad Tajdid
Sun | Jun 07, 09 | 12:56:14 pm MYT  HarakahDaily.Net
Segala puja-puji bagi Allah Tuhan yang Maha Mengatur dan Menguruskan seluruh alam. Sesungguhnya dengan izin dan inayahNya jua kita dapat bertemu dalam Muktamar Dewan Muslimat PAS Pusat kali ke 49 ini.

Kepada semua, saya mengalu-alukan kehadiran dan keterlibatan dalam menjayakan muktamar ini. Marilah kita bersama-sama menjadikan muktamar kali ini sebagai wadah kepada muslimat untuk menaiki mata tangga perjuangan yang lebih tinggi. Moga segala penilaian, teguran, pandangan dan idea-idea baru yang dijana akan membakar lebih marak api kemaraan muslimat di dalam perjuangan ini.

MENYEMARAKKAN KEMENANGAN

Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud;

“Pergilah kamu beramai-ramai (untuk berperang pada jalan Allah), samada dengan keadaan ringan (dan mudah bergerak) ataupun dengan keadaan berat (disebabkan berbagai-bagai tanggungjawab); dan berjihadlah dengan harta benda dan jiwa kamu pada jalan Allah (untuk membela Islam). Yang demikian amatlah baik bagi kamu, jika kamu mengetahui.- at-Taubah: ayat 41

Sidang muktamar yang dihormati sekalian,

Alhamdulillah kita memanjatkan kesyukuran kepada Allah Ya Malikul Mulk, Tuhan Yang Memiliki seluruh kerajaan di mukabumi ini. Allah yang telah memberikan kekuasaan dan kerajaan kepada gabungan Pakatan Rakyat melalui pilihanraya baru-baru ini di negeri-negeri Kelantan, Kedah, Pulau Pinang dan Selangor serta seketika di Perak sebelum dirampas dengan rakus oleh Barisan Nasional dengan mengenepikan suara rakyat.

Sejarah telah melakarkan satu lagi keajaiban Allah s.w.t. yang mana gabungan Pakatan Rakyat merupakan parti-parti politik yang serba kekurangan telah dapat memenangi hati rakyat bagi membela nasib mereka dan menentukan halatuju serta masa depan negara. Jauh berbeza dengan gabungan Barisan Nasional yang tanpa segan silu menggunakan seluruh jentera kerajaan negeri dan pusat untuk kepentingan mereka bagi mempertahan kuasa.

Sesungguhnya fenomena ini jelas menunjukkan kepada kita bahawa arus kehidupan rakyat yang semakin berubah dan matang, mahu memilih jalan hidup yang berteraskan kepada kebenaran dan keadilan sejagat yang sememangnya menjadi tuntutan Islam. Walaupun dicurahkan dengan segala bentuk kebendaan, ianya sudah tidak mampu memikat hati rakyat yang semakin sedar dan bimbang bahawa negara kita sedang menuju ke arah kehancuran.

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Secara sedar ataupun tidak, kita berhadapan dengan satu peradaban jahiliyyah yang berteraskan kapitalisma berdasarkan amalan riba� dan segala rupa bentuk materialisma yang mengakibatkan berlakunya penindasan dan kezaliman. Satu peradaban yang dilihat sekarang telah menghasilkan kepincangan sistem kekeluargaan, pendidikan, ekonomi, sosial, dan perundangan. Ataupun boleh dikatakan seluruh sistem kehidupan sudah menampakkan tanda-tanda ke arah kehancuran.

Dalam keadaan kegusaran dan kebuntuan ini, kita lihat manusia mula tercari-cari jalan keluar dan mula mendekati Islam sebagai jalan penyelesaian kepada seluruh kepincangan dan kehancuran ini. Sememangnya Islam sebagai satu cara hidup telah pun menjanjikan kesejahteraan kepada kehidupan manusia sejagat.

Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud;

�Sesungguhnya Allah menyeru (manusia) ke tempat kediaman yang sentosa dan Dia sentiasa memberi petunjuk hidayahNya kepada manusia yang dikehendakiNya (menurut undang-undang dan peraturanNya) ke jalan yang betul dan lurus (yang selamat itu).� – Yunus: ayat 25

Oleh itu bermula dari kemelut ini, marilah kita bertekad untuk mengambil kesempatan yang datang ini untuk terus menyemarakkan kemenangan agar usaha-usaha dakwah dan pengislahan atau reformasi masyarakat dapat kita lakukan dengan lebih berkesan.

MENGUKUHKAN KESATUAN FIKRAH & AMAL

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Kita insafi bahawa kemenangan yang dianugerahkan Allah s.w.t. ini menuntut kita mengisinya dengan kebenaran dan keadilan Islam. Tuntutan perjuangan memerlukan kepada pengorbanan yang hebat. Juga keutuhannya memerlukan kesatuan fikrah dan amal yang jelas serta berterusan seperti ditunjukkan oleh para Nabi, Rasul dan seluruh pejuang Islam dahulu sehingga kini.

Usaha-usaha bagi mengukuhkan kesatuan fikrah dan amal adalah satu kemestian bagi jamaah Islam. Ianya dapat memastikan kesinambungan perjuangan dan tidak lari dari landasan sebenar. Muslimat PAS sendiri terdiri daripada pelbagai golongan termasuk ulama�, profesional, aktivis dan suri rumah yang menjadi �grassroot� kepada perjuangan ini. Kepelbagaian latarbelakang muslimat ini merupakan pelengkap kepada kekurangan setiap pejuang yang akhirnya akan melahirkan satu saf muslimat yang dinamik umpama sebuah bangunan yang tersusun kukuh.

Kejelasan aqidah dan prinsip perjuangan merupakan teras dan dasar kepada kepelbagaian ini. Justeru akhirnya akan membawa kepada kemantapan dan kecemerlangan. Perbezaan pendapat dan pendekatan merupakan sifat kreativiti Allah Ya Musowwir dan Ya Khaliq. Allah s.w.t telah memberikan sifat tersebut kepada manusia agar manusia menjadi kreatif dalam usaha-usaha kembali kepada Allah s.w.t. dengan mengadun-jalin pelbagai idea dan pendekatan.

Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud:

“Sesungguhnya Allah mengasihi orang-orang yang berperang untuk agama-Nya dalam barisan yang teratur rapi, seolah-olah mereka sebuah bangunan yang tersusun kukuh.� – As-Saf: ayat 4

Oleh itu perbezaan-perbezaan yang wujud harus diterima sebagai kepelbagaian teknik dakwah yang harus merangkumi pelbagai jenis mad�u atau sasaran dakwah.

Dewan Muslimat PAS sentiasa menerima dengan terbuka kepada sesiapa sahaja yang ingin menggabungkan diri dalam perjuangan ini dan bersedia menerima teguran, pandangan dan pendapat demi kecemerlangan perjuangan.

MUSLIMAT BERINTERGRITI & BERPERANAN SEBAGAI DA’I KEPADA MASYARAKAT

Bagi memastikan kesatuan yang kukuh di kalangan jentera muslimat, usaha-usaha ke arah melahirkan muslimat yang bercirikan kepada muhajidah, berilmu, beriman, beramal, bertaqwa, beristiqamah serta berperanan sebagai da�i pada masyarakat mestilah dipertingkatkan.

Untuk itu, Dewan Muslimat Pas akan terus memberikan komitmen kepada usaha-usaha pembentukan kepimpinan dan amilin yang profesional melalui penubuhan akademi naqibah. Harapan kita ianya akan dapat mendidik dan melahirkan saf kepimpinan yang mampu memimpin wanita di semua peringkat, serta menjadi amilin yang mampu menyerahkan seluruh jiwa dan raga untuk perjuangan suci ini.

Mudah-mudahan dengan itu kita para pendokong Muslimat akan termasuk di dalam golongan mereka yang berjual beli dengan Allah SWT.

Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksudnya;

“Wahai orang-orang beriman, mahukah Aku tunjukkan perniagaan yang boleh menyelamatkan kamu dari azab seksa yang tidak terperi sakitnya? Iaitu kamu beriman kepada Allah dan Rasul-Nya serta kamu berjuang membela dan menegakkan agama Allah dengan harta benda dan diri kamu, yang demikian itulah yang lebih baik bagi kamu, jika kamu hendak mengetahui (hakikat yang sebenar).� – as-Saf: ayat 10 � 11

PERANAN MEMANTAPKAN AKHLAK MASYARAKAT

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Dewan Muslimat PAS di semua peringkat hendaklah sentiasa memberikan komitmen yang berterusan bagi membawa masyarakat kepada berkeperibadian dan akhlak yang tinggi dan terpuji. Muslimat adalah agen perubahan bagi kemantapan kehidupan masyarakat dalam semua aspek kehidupan. Sewajarnyalah berbekalkan dengan pentarbiyahan tenaga para dai� dari kalangan muslimat ini serta kesatuan fikrah berupaya menarik minat masyarakat ke arah matlamat yang diidamkan.

Muslimat menekankan akhlak terpuji di dalam semua aspek kehidupan termasuk aspek ekonomi, pendidikan, kekeluargaan, perundangan, kesenian, sukan dan sebagainya. Akhlak terpuji yang dibawa oleh Islam ini adalah seperti nilai-nilai jujur, amanah, bertanggungjawab, hormat menghormati, bantu-membantu, prihatin dan seumpamanya.

Sifat-sifat ini telah ditunjukkan oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. adalah merupakan keperluan manusia sejagat.

Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud:

“Dan tidaklah Kami mengutuskan engkau (wahai Muhammad) melainkan untuk menjadi rahmat bagi sekalian alam.� – al-Anbia: ayat 107

Begitu juga seluruh manusia menolak keperibadian buruk yang akan merosakkan kehidupan seperti rasuah, penyelewengan, amalan riba�, mementingkan diri sendiri, kezaliman, penindasan dan seumpamanya.

Di dalam usaha-usaha kita membina masyarakat berakhlak, Dewan Muslimat PAS ingin menegaskan bahawa ummat Islamlah sewajarnya menjadi contoh teladan kepada masyarakat keseluruhannya. Tanggungjawab ini terpikul berat ke atas bahu Muslimat PAS.

Muslimat PAS harus berbeza dengan wanita yang tidak menjalani proses tarbiyah yang lain. Jika tidak akan jadilah keadaan sebagaimana perumpamaan yang menggambarkan keadaan �ketam yang menyuruh anaknya berjalan betul�.

Islam telah diturunkan sebagai satu cara hidup yang merangkumi seluruh aspek kehidupan manusia. Ummat Islam mesti kembali kepada cara hidup Islam dan meninggalkan cara hidup jahiliyyah yang dibawa oleh penjajah. Cara hidup yang kuat dipengaruhi oleh penjajah ini telah menyempitkan Islam sebagai hanya satu agama ritual dan telah diwarisi serta membelenggu ummat Islam hingga kini.

Umat Islam harus mengembalikan sistem perundangan Islam, pendidikan Islam, perubatan Islam, kekeluargaan Islam, ekonomi Islam, kesenian Islam dan sistem kerjaya yang berlandaskan Islam. Kembali kepada satu sitem hidup Islam sebagai ad-Deen – “Islam as a way of life� satu kehidupan yang diredai oleh Allah SWT.

Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud:

�Wahai orang-orang yang beriman, masuklah kamu ke dalam Islam (dengan mematuhi) segala hukum-hukumnya dan jangan kamu menurut jejak langkah syaitan, sesungguhnya syaitan itu musuh bagi kamu yang terang nyata.� – al-Baqarah: ayat 208.

Dewan Muslimat melalui program penerangan, kebajikan, perundangan akan terus memberikan komitmen yang sangat tinggi bagi membawa masyarakat Islam khususnya di Malaysia ini kembali kepada cara hidup Islam dalam semua aspek kehidupan. Tidak lupa juga kita mendokong usaha-usaha Nisa� memperkenalkan dan memikat para remaja kita ke arah cara hidup Islam yang syumul.

Membawa masyarakat keluar daripada kemelut kehancuran institusi keluarga

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Dewan Muslimat PAS sangat prihatin terhadap masalah yang menimpa institusi keluarga khususnya umat Islam. Kadar perceraian yang tinggi dan sangat mencemaskan menunjukkan penyakit yang kronik sedang menimpa institusi keluarga.

Dewan Muslimat ingin menegaskan bahawa institusi keluarga mestilah kembali kepada peranannya yang asal iaitu melahirkan dan membina ummat yang memperjuangkan kehidupan yang diredai oleh Allah SWT.

Hari ini kita dapati matlamat perkahwinan bukan lagi untuk membina keluarga yang menjadi batu-bata masyarakat yang kukuh. Malang sekali ianya seolah-olah telah menjadi tempat dimana dunia dan wang ringgit menjadi matlamat sehingga melupakan tanggung jawab isteri, suami untuk memberi kasih sayang dan mendidik anak-anak.

Kekusutan hubungan suami isteri yang sangat mencemaskan ini, akhirnya membawa kesan negatif kepada anak-anak. Akibatnya anak-anak terabai dan membawa mereka kepada gejala sosial yang melalai dan merosakkan mereka.

Menyedari akan hakikat ini, Dewan Muslimat perlulah mengembelingkan tenaga bagi membuat program-program kesedaran dan pengisian rohani bagi membawa mereka kembali kepada fitrahnya yang asal dan akhirnya akan membawa kepada keharmonian rumahtangga.

MENGUBAH MINDA WANITA MALAYSIA

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Wanita Malaysia perlulah dibawa ke arah mencapai kecemerlangan dunia dan akhirat. Sebahagian mereka perlu mengubah minda sedia ada yang selama ini dibelenggu dengan pelbagai kepercayaan dan prinsip yang negatif, akibatnya mereka mundur dari segala aspek.

Kekurangan ilmu tentang kehidupan termasuk perundangan, hak-hak wanita, pendidikan dan ekonomi menjadikan masih ramai wanita Malaysia hari ini hanya mampu mengikut arus dan tidak mampu berfikiran kritis, proaktif dan inovatif. Usaha-usaha perlu kita lakukan bagi membawa wanita kepada kecemerlangan serta mampu memilih yang benar dan yang salah.

Tegas Allah SWT pada firman-Nya yang bermaksud:

“Katakanlah adakah sama orang-orang yang mengetahui dengan orang-orang tidak mengetahui? Sesungguhnya orang-orang yang dapat mengambil pelajaran dan peringatan hanyalah orang-orang yang berakal sempurna.� – Az-Zumar: ayat 9

Pemikiran negatif yang berpada dalam �zon selesa�, takut untuk mencuba perkara baru, takut gagal, takut mengambil risiko dan tidak mampu menempuh ujian dan dugaan dengan penuh ketabahan menjadikan ramai kaum wanita Malaysia khususnya wanita Melayu hanya menjadi pengguna, tetapi tidak mampu mencipta produk baru dan pendekatan baru.

Masalah ini ditambah lagi dengan sikap malas, suka mencari jalan pintas, suka bergantung kepada orang lain dan tidak mahu berusaha. Akhirnya masih ramai wanita-wanita ini tertipu dengan pelbagai tipudaya skim cepat kaya dan seumpamanya.

Oleh itu, Dewan Muslimat perlulah memberikan komitmen yang tinggi melalui pelbagai program penerangan. Sasarannya adalah termasuk wanita bandar, luar bandar, warga emas khususnya wanita Melayu. Usaha-usaha ini bagi mengubah minda mereka daripada berfikiran negatif dan statik kepada pemikiran positif dan dinamik yang akan menggerakkan perubahan di dalam masyarakat.

MENGUASAI POLITIK NEGARA

Politik negara kita hari ini telah dicemari dengan pelbagai amalan rasuah, penyelewengan dan ketidakadilan. Ramai ahli-ahli politik di negara ini telah dilabelkan oleh sebahagian besar rakyat sebagai perompak harta negara, yang mana mereka menggunakan kedudukan dan kuasa untuk mendapatkan keuntungan dan wang ringgit bagi kepentingan diri.

Kesibukan mencari ruang-ruang kepentingan diri menyebabkan kurangnya masa untuk memikirkan pembangunan negara dan kepentingan rakyat. Sekiranya ada yang mengkritik dan membangkang, maka pelbagai tindakan politik akan dikenakan sehingga ramai yang terpaksa berdiam diri walaupun nampak penyelewengan yang jelas di depan mata mereka.

Namun begitu, PAS dan parti-parti rakan dalam gabungan Pakatan Rakyat tidak pernah gentar dengan ugutan dan tindakan mereka. Kebenaran dan keadilan terus dilaungkan dan ditegakkan. Dewan Muslimat ingin menegaskan kepada semua aktivitis PAS dan Pakatan Rakyat bahawa kami sentiasa memberikan sokongan padu dan akan terus bersama walau apa dugaan sekalipun yang akan mendatang.

Dewan Muslimat akan bersama menyumbangkan usaha-usaha yang telah dirancang oleh PAS Pusat dalam agenda membawa ciri-ciri Islamiyah dalam berpolitik dan bernegara. Sesungguhnya kesyumulan Islam hanya dapat dinikmati melalui amal yang berterusan bukan sekadar retorik sahaja.

Jika tidak terjadilah suasana seperti UMNO yang mengagungkan Islam sebagai satu tamadun lampau yang dapat dilihat kesyumulannya hanya pada lipatan sejarah dan juga pada lembaran kertas kitab-kitab yang tersusun baik di perpustakaan.

PERANAN MUSLIMAT DALAM PENGGUBALAN UNDANG-UNDANG & HALA TUJU NEGARA

Dewan Muslimat PAS tidak ketinggalan memainkan peranan dalam penggubalan undang-undang negara. Muslimat yang diwakili oleh beberapa orang tokoh Muslimat yang menjadi Ahli Dewan Negara (Senator), Ahli Parlimen dan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) yang terus menerus memperjuangkan kebenaran dan keadilan, membela mereka yang tertindas serta mereka yang menjadi mangsa politik Barisan Nasional.

Peranan muslimat dalam menentukan hala tuju negara akan semakin terserlah dengan lahirnya tokoh-tokoh muslimat di kalangan pengamal undang-undang, pengamal perubatan, ahli-ahli akademik, ahli-ahli perniagaan dan pemimpin masyarakat.

Dewan Muslimat mengambil kesempatan ini mengucapkan jutaan terima kasih kepada semua cendikiawan muslimat yang sanggup mengorbankan status dan jawatan mereka demi perjuangan.

MENYOKONG KONSEP KERJASAMA POLITIK

Dewan Muslimat juga menyokong sepenuhnya setiap keputusan Majlis Syura Ulama� dalam menangani cabaran politik tanah air seperti konsep Tahaluf Siyasi dan sebagainya.

Dewan Muslimat sangat menghargai semangat kerjasama yang ditunjukkan oleh rakan-rakan daripada parti-parti PKR dan DAP yang menghormati Islam yang diperjuangkan oleh PAS. Harapan kita persefahaman dan semangat setia kawan ini dalam gabungan Pakatan Rakyat dapat diperkukuhkan lagi.

Dewan Muslimat juga sangat menghargai sumbangan ahli-ahli Kelab Penyokong PAS yang telah banyak membantu PAS terutama di dalam pilihanraya-pilihanraya kecil. Sokongan padu mereka ini membuktikan PAS telah mampu menunjukkan keperibadian yang dapat diterima oleh semua pihak termasuk dari kalangan bukan Islam.

MEMBINA GENERASI PELAPIS NEGARA

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Sedarilah bahawa terlalu ramai para remaja telah rosak aqidahnya, yang memerlukan sumbangan kita untuk membawa mereka kembali kepada fitrah asal sebagai seorang hamba Allah s.w.t. Banyak pihak hari ini lalai dan leMAka tidak menyedari akan perancangan musuh Islam yang menyerang secara gerak saraf dengan menghantar hiburan, pelbagai jenis dadah yang merbahaya dan merosakkan kesihatan, arak, budaya rempit, lepak dan sebagainya sebagai senjata bagi menghancur masa depan generasi muda kita.

Malah mereka yang dihantar untuk pemulihan ke pusat-pusat seranti semakin bertambah dari hari ke hari. Agenda pemulihan ini amatlah sukar dan kurang berkesan serta memakan belanja yang sangat besar. Sesungguhnya cara Islam yang mengutamakan pencegahan adalah lebih berkesan dan terjamin kejayaannya.

Proses kehancuran ini dipercepatkan lagi dengan internet yang telah disalahgunakan untuk menyebarkan bahan-bahan lucah dan perkara-perkara mungkar. Pihak yang bertuhankan wang ringgit ini telah menggadaikan masa depan generasi muda demi kepentingan mereka sendiri.

Dewan Muslimat bersama Nisa� sentiasa memberikan komitmen yang tinggi bagi mendekati para remaja bagi memujuk mereka kembali kepada cara hidup Islam. Nisa� telah mula memantapkan jenteranya melalui pelbagai unit yang sesuai dengan jiwa remaja termasuk unit dakwah, kaunseling, kebudayaan dan sukan bagi menyediakan diri sebagai rujukan kepada para remaja yang bermasalah dan kehilangan panduan hidup.

Dewan Muslimat PAS juga menyedari akan fungsi cendikiawan muda terutama dari kalangan mahasiswa yang seharusnya memainkan peranan penting di dalam membawa para remaja kembali kepada Islam. Keupayaan minda dan intelek yang dikurniakan Allah SWT harus digunakan untuk memikirkan pelbagai pendekatan dan teknik bagi menarik kembali mereka yang telah terpesong ke jalan yang lurus.

Dewan Muslimat PAS juga mendesak pemansuhan akta AUKU yang telah mematikan sifat kritis dan kreativiti mahasiswa yang akhirnya melahirkan ramai mahasiswa yang jumud, beku dan tidak prihatin terhadap segala permaslahan masyarakatnya.

Dewan Muslimat PAS sentiasa memberi komitmen untuk membawa mahasiswa kepada hala tuju yang sebenar iaitu sebagai pemimpin masa depan yang akan menggunakan seluruh kekuatan intelek yang dikurnia Allah s..w.t bagi merancang masa depan negara. Seterusnya memainkan peranan membawa negara ke arah kecemerlangan dunia dan akhirat.

SOKONGAN GENERASI MUDA

Dewan Muslimat PAS merasa sangat terharu dengan perubahan yang ditunjukkan oleh generasi muda di dalam beberapa pilihanraya-pilihanraya kecil baru-baru ini. Walaupun dalam keadaan keperibadian yang tidak sepenuhnya Islam, mereka masih yakin untuk menerima PAS sebagai satu wadah untuk mengubah nasib mereka.

Ini menunjukkan generasi muda sudah sedar akan kerosakan dan kehancuran yang sedang mereka alami dan ingin kembali ke pangkal jalan bersama-sama dengan PAS dalam gabungan Pakatan Rakyat.

Dewan Muslimat PAS ingin merakamkan jutaan terima kasih di atas sokongan yang padu yang diberikan oleh generasi muda hari ini. Marilah sama-sama kita berganding bahu melakukan sesuatu untuk memberi kesedaran kepada semua generasi muda di Malaysia ini dan membawa mereka kembali ke jalan fitrah asal mereka.

MUSLIMAT & AGENDA KEBAJIKAN

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Di dalam kemajuan negara yang dibanggakan oleh kerajaan BN, sebenarnya masih ramai lagi rakyat yang dhaif, tertindas, teraniaya dan yang tidak cukup keperluan hidup dan masih memerlukan bantuan. Perbezaan antara golongan kaya dan miskin sudah mulai menampakkan jurang yang sangat besar.

Ini adalah kerana sistem zakat kerajaan BN hari ini tidak mampu melaksanakan fungsinya secara berkesan. Ditambah lagi dengan situasi ekonomi berasaskan kapitalisma dan materialisma yang semakin lumpuh, bilangan rakyat miskin akan meningkat hari demi hari.

Dewan Muslimat PAS juga menyedari bahawa rakyat negara ini bukan sahaja miskin harta, tetapi juga miskin agama. Jentera kerajaan BN yang ditugaskan memberi ilmu agama kepada rakyat tidak mampu melaksanakan tugasnya dengan baik. Islam hadhari yang diperjuangkan kerajaan BN tidak menampakkan sebarang kesan dalam membawa rakyat kembali kepada Islam sebagai satu cara hidup.

Mewujudkan pusat khidmat bersepadu (One Stop Center)

Menyedari akan situasi rakyat yang semakin kronik, Dewan Muslimat PAS telah memberi komitmen yang tinggi selama ini terutama bersama negeri-negeri Pakatan Rakyat dan NGO yang memperjuangkan kebajikan rakyat dalam membantu golongan miskin, tertindas, teraniaya dan kurang upaya mengikut keupayaan yang diberikan oleh Allah s.w.t.

Dewan Muslimat juga sedang berusaha untuk menubuhkan Pusat Khidmat Bersepadu (One stop center) di semua peringkat bagi membolehkan masyarakat berbilang kaum datang untuk mendapatkan pelbagai khidmat mengikut kemampuan PAS.

Ketrampilan muslimat sebagai rujukan masyarakat

Bagi memberikan pelbagai perkhidmatan alternatif kepada masyarakat, sudah tentulah Muslimat harus menyediakan jentera kebajikan yang ramai dan berkebolehan serta mempunyai ketrampilan bagi membolehkan muslimat menjuarai kerja-kerja kebajikan dan pembelaan.

Oleh itu Dewan Muslimat PAS menyeru kepada semua ahli muslimat agar menyediakan diri dengan pelbagai kebolehan dan kemahiran agar kita boleh memberi sumbangan melalui pusat khidmat ini. Dalam masa yang sama, Dewan Muslimat juga menyeru seluruh muslimat yang bekerjaya yang mempunyai ilmu pengetahuan dan kemahiran dalam pelbagai bidang untuk turun padang bersama seluruh jentera muslimat bagi menghulurkan bantuan kepada golongan yang memerlukan.

�PAS FOR ALL� mempertegaskan PAS sebagai wadah pilihan ummah

Sidang muktamar yang dikasihi sekalian,

Alhamdulillah, agenda �PAS FOR ALL� telah banyak menarik minat pelbagai golongan untuk mendekati PAS. Walaupun selama ini PAS sememangnya sentiasa bersikap terbuka, namun dengan penekanan ini, PAS telah mampu dilihat sebagai wadah pilihan untuk pelbagai golongan dan kaum bagi memperjuangkan hak masing-masing.

Sifat keterbukaan, kerendahan hati dan keikhlasan pemimpin dan ahli-ahli PAS telah mampu meningkatkan kepercayaan pelbagai golongan untuk menjadikan PAS sebagai wadah perjuangan pilihan mereka.

Dewan Muslimat PAS bersama dengan seluruh jentera PAS dalam kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat berusaha untuk memberikan komitmen yang tinggi dalam menunaikan hasrat ahli-ahli Kelab Penyokong PAS khususnya dan seluruh rakyat yang memerlukan bantuan.

MANSUHKAN AKTA RIMBA ISA

Dewan Muslimat mengulangi ketegasan bahawa akta rimba ISA ini mesti dimansuhkan segera. Kami amat bersimpati di atas penderitaan yang terpaksa ditanggung oleh isteri-isteri dan keluarga mangsa ISA. Mereka yang tidak berdosa ini tersepit dan dizalimi oleh tindakan zalim kerajaan yang memenjarakan suami-suami mereka tanpa bicara dan tanpa peluang membela diri di mahkamah terbuka.

Sesungguhnya tiada penjara tanpa bicara dalam Islam. Keadilan Islam memberikan hak kepada yang dituduh untuk membela diri. Firman Allah SWT yang bermaksud:

�Wahai orang-orang yang beriman jadilah kamu orang yang benar-benar penegak keadilan, menjadi saksi kerana Allah biarpun terhadap dirimu sendiri atau ibu-bapa dan kaum kerabatmu, jika ia kaya ataupun miskin, maka Allah lebih tahu akan kemaslahatannya, maka janganlah kamu mengikuti hawa nafsu kerana ingin menyimpang dari kebenaran, dan jika kamu memutar balikkan (kata-kata) atau enggan menjadi saksi, maka sesungguhnya Allah adalah Maha Mengetahui segala apa yang kamu kerjakan.� – an-Nisa�: ayat 135

MEMPERTAHANKAN KEMENANGAN DI MANEK URAI

Kita melihat senario yang amat ganjil sekarang dimana BN yang diterajui oleh UMNO begitu �phobia� dalam menghadapi pilihanraya kecil di Malaysia. Terutamanya di kawasan dimana kedudukan Pakatan Rakyat adalah kuat dan dapat menyaingi BN.

Berbagai helah akan dicari dengan memperalatkan SPR dan menggunakan mahkamah untuk mengelak berlakunya pilihanraya kecil. Sehingga kini dengan izin Allah s.w.t. BN telah kalah berturut-turut di Permatang Pauh, Kuala Trengganu, Bukit Selambau dan Bukit Gantang dengan majoriti yang besar. Sesungguhnya mereka merancang dan Allah s.w.t juga merancang. Akhirnya BN menarik diri dari bertanding di Penanti.

Setelah dengan rakus merampas kerajaan Perak, kini BN terdesak dan mencari helah supaya tidak berlaku pilihanraya kecil di seluruh negeri Perak. Kita tetap mengulangi desakan rakyat agar mereka diberikan hak memilih kerajaan Perak yang mereka inginkan. Tiada pilihan lain bagi penyelesaian kemelut di Perak hanyalah sebaik-baiknya mengada pilhanraya bagi rakyat memilih kerajaan yang mereka yakin dan sokong sepenuhnya.

Kini kita diuji pula dengan kekosongan di DUN Manek Urai, Kelantan. Walaupun dikatakan bahawa Manek Urai adalah kubu kuat PAS, tetapi kita mestilah bersiap siaga bagi mempertahankannya.

Muslimat akan mempertingkat usaha-usaha ke arah mencapai kejayaan yang cemerlang di Manek Urai. Tidak lupa juga doa dan munajat yang berterusan dipohonkan terhadap Allah s.w.t agar kemenangan berpihak kepada kita.

PENUTUP

Marilah kita meneguhkan parti kita dengan ciri-ciri Islamiyah ke arah penghayatan Islam yang syumul dalam mentadbir dan mempertahankan negeri-negeri Pakatan Rakyat.

Usaha-usaha mengekal keyakinan serta melipat gandakan sokongan rakyat bukan Islam yang kita dapat selama ini, mestilah dipergiatkan. Seharusnya Kelab Penyokong PAS diberikan peranan yang lebih besar bagi meraih dan mengekalkan sokongan mereka terhadap parti kita.

Marilah kita memohon kepada Allah s.w.t agar melempahkan rahmat dan keampunanNya kepada kita dan saudara-saudara kita yang telah mendahului kita menemuiNya.

Akhir sekali, marilah kita dengan segala rendah hati memohon agar Allah s.w.t memberkati Muktamar Dewan Muslimat PAS Pusat kali ke 49 ini, supaya berjaya menjana rumusan dan tindakan susulan yang matang.

Saya mengajak Muslimat sekalian bersama-sama melaksanakan aspirasi MUKTAMAR DEWAN MUSLIMAT PAS PUSAT KALI KE-49 ini dengan tema:

“MENYEMARAK KEMENANGAN, MENYATU RAKYAT�

Sekian. Wabillahi taufiq wal hidayah. Wasalamu�alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! - tajdid_

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Pimpinan Sejagat Yang Mendengar, Berorientasikan Rakyat
Oleh Rozaini M R

Amanat Harapan Rakyat merupakan suatu suntikan yang memperingatkan aktivis parti bahawa pembudayaan politik baru masih belum sempurna dalam amalan politik Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

Kita berterusan diperingatkan bahawa politik baru yang ingin diketengahkan oleh KeADILan adalah berpaksikan politik untuk semua, di mana para pemimpin yang berasal dari bangsa-bangsa yang berlainan memperjuangkan hak semua kaum tanpa berkecuali.

Ia perlu dipamerkan dengan jelas menerusi bicara dan tindakan; dalam perlantikan jawatankuasa-jawatankuasa di semua peringkat – MPT, negeri, bahagian, cawangan dan dalam semua bidang-bidang yang berkuasa diurus oleh para pemimpin.

Ia juga perlu dipamerkan dalam setiap masalah yang timbul dan penyelesaiannya.

”Keadilan” bukanlah sesuatu yang disebut-sebut untuk sedap didengar tetapi sewajarnya harus dihayati oleh setiap aktivis dan pemimpin KeADILan.

Keadilan yang hakiki sekaligus menolak Gutter Politics atau Politik Durjana – kerana Politik Durjana adalah sebahagian dari ketidakadilan oleh ahli-ahli politik durjana yang tiada pantang larang, etika atau nilai yang dikehendaki oleh agama sebagai panduan berpolitik. Apa yang utama ialah mencapai hasrat untuk kekal berkuasa dengan apa cara sekalipun – tidak kira sama ada cara itu menjatuhkan imej atau maruah orang lain tanpa hak, bahkan sanggup melakukan pembunuhan juga. Panduan Politik Durjana hanyalah berdasarkan apa yang tersemat di hati dan diingini oleh ahli-ahli politik durjana yang akan melahirkan warga politik yang durjana juga. Kedurjanaan akan mewarnai suasana dan persekitaran di mana anak-anak, harapan masa depan kita, berlegar dan mendapati contoh-contoh kehidupan mereka.

Budaya politik Umno-BN yang senantiasa menghasut kelompok untuk memecah-belahkan rakyat mestilah dijauhi, bahkan ditolak sama-sekali dan dicantas ke akar umbinya.

Para pemimpin yang berfikiran waras dan bertenang tanpa melibatkan emosi yang memesongkan wajarlah menjadi agen dan anasir yang senantiasa membawa kelompok dan rakyat jelata kepada landasan kebaikan dengan kesepakatan. Kedua-duanya – kebaikan dan kesepakatan, akan melahirkan perkongsian yang harmoni antara kaum dan menghalang pra-sangkaan dari menular dalam masyarakat. Prasangkaan adalah hasil dari hubungan antara kaum yang buruk dan berpecah-belah. Amatlah penting bagi para pemimpin untuk memiliki kemahiran mendengar yang adil dan berkecuali agar sentiasa berupaya membawa kelompok dan rakyat kepada landasan kebaikan dan kesepakatan.

Kepimpinan politik sedemikianlah yang disanjung rakyat – sejagat, mendengar dan berorientasikan kepentingan rakyat.

Tetapi kepimpinan politik sedemikian tidak lahir secara kebetulan. Ia adalah natijah daripada suatu bentuk pendidikan minda dan emosi yang disertai oleh pengalaman ujian yang menekan kehidupan ahli-ahli politik.

Politik baru yang diidam-idamkan memerlukan keazaman politik yang lebih besar dan bukannya setakat mengiyakan dan mewar-warkannya.

A Betrayal of People’s Trust in Perak

by Dr Toh Kin Woon
3 State Assemblypersons from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the Perak State Legislative Assembly have resigned from their respective parties. 2 of them resigned from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) while the third left the Democratic Action Party (DAP). According to the Deputy Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, these 3 will be ‘Barisan Nasional (BN) friendly’ independents in the State Legislative Assembly. By this is meant that they will support the BN, even though they are ‘independents’. Their so-called independence is not so independent after all! Meanwhile, the State Assemblyperson from the constituency of Bota, who earlier announced his resignation from UMNO to join PKR, has now returned to UMNO. With these shifts, the number of seats held by the PR has now been reduced from 31, all popularly elected by the people in the last General Election, to 28. The BN still keeps its original 28, with the remaining 3 having declared themselves as so-called independents.

His Majesty the Sultan’s Decision
Confronted with this new balance of forces, the Menteri Besar (MB) from the PR has rightly called on His Majesty the Sultan of Perak to dissolve the Assembly so that fresh elections can be called to resolve the impasse.. But His Majesty rejected the MB’s call. Instead, he has consented to appoint a leader of the BN, which has all but one of its assemblypersons from UMNO, to be the new MB. In fact, the new MB has already been sworn in. This decision of His Majesty the Sultan is likely to cause widespread frustration and disappointment among his subjects in Perak and people in the rest of the country. If public opinion polls are anything to go by, an overwhelming majority of the people would like fresh elections to be called. They would like the power to decide who, from which political party, should represent them in the State Legislative Assembly, be returned to them. By not giving the royal assent to dissolve the Perak State Legislative Assembly, as requested by the Menteri Besar from the PR, His Royal Highness has denied the people their right to choose their representatives to the Assembly. Some legal experts have also argued that the MB from PR cannot be asked to step down until a motion of no-confidence has been passed in the State Legislative Assembly against him and his government. Many precedents have confirmed this legal view.

Why Such Misdemeanour among the Party Hoppers?
Hopping from one party to another, dubbed as turncoatism in the Philippines, has happened frequently in Malaysia. Often, those who jump from one party to another do not have the decency to resign to allow for by-elections to be called. Perhaps, they are discouraged from doing so as the law in Malaysia does not allow a sitting member of the legislature who resigns to contest an election until 5 years later. But by not resigning his or her legislative position after quitting the party under whose banner a state assemblyperson was elected, he or she has committed several major errors. One is to betray the trust of the people who elected him or her. The other is to deny the people’s right of evaluating the action of the legislator and the party that enticed him or her over, as well as who should represent them in the legislature. Often, some legislators forget that the legislature they sit in is called in some countries as the House of Representatives, that is, they are representatives of the people. But, why do some legislators hop from one party to another, one might ask? One is political opportunism. They jump because of pecuniary gains offered by the party, usually the ruling or would be the ruling party, should he or she cross over to it. The party that lures them to cross over might have promised them a high position in the government or even lots of cash. It could also be that their shift of allegiance is the result of a bargain not to pursue an action against the hopping legislator, who has been charged or is under investigation for a criminal offence. Some hop because of irreconcilable differences with some of their old party leaders. These differences could be personal, or due to the hoppers being by-passed for senior positions in the government. There are the odd cases, however, of people leaving because they could no longer agree with the political principles, positions and practices of their colleagues in the party from which they have resigned. These people leave their party over principles and not for opportunistic or personal reasons.

The Essence of Democracy
Among the reasons, it is the party hopping for personal monetary or political gains on the part of the hopper, and gaining state power on the part of the party that lures them over, that is most despicable. People generally despise such behaviour, both on the part of the party that lures the hoppers and the hoppers themselves. What has happened in Perak was a case of the BN luring a few PR State Assemblypersons to cross over to its fold in order to gain control of the state government. This is clearly a very undemocratic way to gain power, for democracy, in its classical meaning, is “rule by the people”. In an effort to explain how it is technically possible for the people to rule, Joseph Schumpeter came up with his pathbreaking empirical and procedural definition of democracy, or more precisely the democratic method, as “that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote.” So seeking the people’s votes or support to gain state power is the key essence of democracy, and not by way of luring elected representatives to jump ship.

How Can We Stop Unprincipled Party Hopping?
Luring is one thing. The legislators targeted must not be so easily lured. One way to achieve this is for political parties to strengthen their political programmes and ideology and take steps to ensure that their members, especially those who seek elected legislative office, not only subscribe but are committed to them. A good example of a party with a strong ideological base is PAS. We may not agree with its ideology, but it has to be acknowledged that all who have joined PAS are committed to fighting for the party’s cause. This explains why the PAS government managed to survive in Kelantan, despite having the slimmest of slim majority of only one during the latter part of its tenure from 2004 to 2008. I am sure attempts must have been made then to get a few of its state assemblypersons to leave, yet none of the PAS representatives took the bait. This was because they were all ideologically committed to the cause of PAS. To reduce crossovers, political parties must, therefore, have a strong ideology, which must then be inculcated in the party’s leaders and members. The socialist parties of yesteryears used to have a strong ideological base, too. Party members chosen to contest for elections must also have strong ethics and morals. If they have, they will know that betraying the party for opportunistic reasons is both immoral and unethical, even if it is not yet illegal. Another way is to have an anti-hopping law, which makes party hopping illegal. This is not likely as long as the BN is in control of the Federal Government. Still another way is for the people to send a strong message of disapproval to the party that has frustrated and denied them their choice of the party or coalition they have elected to govern. The BN has, in this instance, denied the people of Perak their choice of PR as the party to govern them. The BN must be told in no uncertain terms that this action is undemocratic, unethical and immoral. Those who have jumped and betrayed them for personal gains must also be rejected. I am sure and confident that this is what the people are going to do and will do in the next General Election.

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Keynote Address at Plenary Session of the US-Islamic World Forum, Qatar

“Common Challenges: Addressing Together Emerging Global Issues”, Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s keynote address at Plenary Session of the U.S.-Islamic World Forum, 14 February, 2009, Four Seasons Hotel, Doha, Qatar.

Much has already been said about the past — the missed opportunities and the broken promises of a country that many in the Muslim world hold in high esteem.

Our deepest fears were abated with hope that the Obama administration would honour the promises of a new agenda to re-engage with America’s friends and foes around the world in the interests of greater peace and in the pursuit of justice and liberty.

We see a president committed to the values of freedom and democracy, a president who believes that the critical issues dividing the United States and the Muslim world can be resolved not through fiery rhetoric and bellicose language but by positive engagement in a language of mutual respect.

The new administration in its infancy has made some significant moves already to answer those calls for change. A tangible end to the Arab-Israeli conflict is not yet visible, however, the appointment of George Mitchell as Middle East envoy is a welcome step, as is the anticipated withdrawal from Iraq, a rethinking of the approach in Afghanistan; an admission that Guantanamo Bay is a betrayal of America’s principles; and clear statements against the use of torture. Even the mention of a hadith in a speech by Obama that as humans we ought to be guided by the universal truth that no harm should be enacted upon a person that one would not want foisted upon oneself struck a chord in the Muslim world.

We hope that in the new administration we find a more credible partner – both in resolving the most vexing political and security issues of our time, but also in pursing an agenda for sustainable economic development.

Poverty remains a key issue across Asia, the Middle East and much of Africa and provides a meaningful context in which to pursue a common agenda. Such an agenda would bring great benefit to millions subsisting on just a few dollars a day. In the context of the global recession there are clear avenues for cooperation to stimulate growth that could revive ailing economies including those in the developing world, and ameliorate its global negative impact.

Muslim countries cannot be mere bystanders in this era, nor can they place all their hopes on the possibility of a sea-change in American foreign policy.

No edict of the United States would change the state of affairs unless we witness real progress in ensuring that governments in the Muslim world are more responsive to the aspirations of their people and fulfil their legitimate expectations.

We need look no further than Indonesia – which in 1998 made the unprecedented peaceful transition from military authoritarianism to democracy. This happened virtually overnight and without the intervention of a single foreign soldier. No less significant is Turkey, which now stands as perhaps the most mature Muslim democracy in the world.

But these examples are too few, and in between is a sea of unfreedom, which has bred, among other things, poverty and radicalism.

If we can expect a certain rapprochement from the United States – the question remains: will the United States find credible partners in the Muslim world? Do they have a credible partner in us?

The fact remains that issues of governance and accountability still loom large, continuing to cast doubts upon the legitimacy of ruling elites. In this regard, reform is no longer an option. There must be firm resolve borne out of the efforts of leaders and with the support of institutions of civil society to bring about the right changes.

The clamour for change among Muslims has not abated. Nevertheless in the Muslim world the past notion of the United States promoting democracy has been a tale of selective ambivalence, if not outright hypocrisy. We saw that in Algeria in 1991 and again more recently in Palestine. In other countries democracy is championed insofar as elections may take place – irrespective of the conduct of those elections. These are in fact sham democracies. The underlying undemocratic characteristics are scarcely impacted – tightly controlled media with blatant bias, rigged elections, oppressive treatment of opposition parties and a judiciary under siege. This is not an academic issue. Where I come from, this is a stark reality.

Muslims must be committed to change. The question that remains is how can we proceed? Firstly – real engagement must be inclusive. We should not start by building a wall around ourselves, setting preconditions, and prejudging groups and parties. These impediments only serve to strengthen old prejudices and further sow suspicion and doubt. Fruitful engagement must proceed from the premise that no nation (including America), no region (including the Arab world), and no culture or religion (including Islam) has a monopoly on the values of freedom, justice and human dignity. These are indeed universal principles that we all share.

Thank you.

———————————————————————————————-

Berikut adalah teks untuk perbahasan di Sidang Khas Parlimen mengenai konflik Israel-Palestin:

“Remember the solidarity shown to Palestine here and everywhere… and remember also that there is a cause to which many people have committed themselves, difficulties and terrible obstacles notwithstanding. Why? Because it is a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights.”

–Prof. Edward W. Said (1935-2003)

Seorang ibu menangis tiada henti, meratapi kematian tiga orang anaknya yang menjadi mangsa pengeboman Gaza pada Sabtu, 27 Disember 2008 lalu.

Keganasan Israel itu telah mengorbankan dengan serta-merta 230 kematian dengan kira-kira 800 lagi cedera parah. Pengeboman bertalu-talu selama sepuluh minit itu telah dirancang untuk menghasilkan kerosakkan dan kematian yang maksimum. Bom-bom telah dilepaskan di kawasan-kawasan yang padat penduduk, dikala rakyat Gaza sedang sibuk mengurus tugasan harian mereka, anak-anak dalam perjalanan kembali dari sekolah dan ke kelas-kelas waktu petang, pejabat pula penuh dengan para pekerja dan orang ramai memenuhi jalanan kerana sesuatu keperluan.

Satu setengah juta rakyat di Gaza telah diperdayakan oleh Israel sehari sebelum keganasan itu berlaku dengan pembukaan laluan ke kawasan Gaza yang membawa masuk bantuan kemanusiaan setelah Gaza dikepong dan penduduk Gaza hampir kebuluran, seolah-olah keamanan akan berterusan buat beberapa lama lagi.

Setelah pengeboman yang pertama, Gaza menerima padah yang lebih hebat dari jet-jet pejuang F-16, helikopter yang membawa senjata dan bom, kereta kebal, kenderaan bersenjata buatan Amerika yang sehingga kini mencatatkan hampir 2000 kematian dan beribu-ribu lagi cedera parah. Beribu-ribu mayat bergelimpangan di jalanan dengan anggota-anggota badan yang entah ke mana.

Gambaran yang menyayat hati ini tidak akan lenyap kerana konflik Palestine-Israel telah berlarutan lebih lima dekad dan tiada nampak penyelesaiannya. Jelas sudah bahawa Israel akan berkeras sehingga seluruh Palestine dikuasai di bawah telunjuk Israel.

Lebih parah bila Palestine tiada sokongan yang benar-benar boleh membela Palestine. Negara-negara Arab yang utama dan OIC berdiam diri, hanya melihat segalanya – bisu, pekak dan buta, seperti kenyataan Dr Syed Ali Tawfik al-Attas, Pengarah IKIM .

Tidak perlulah mempertikaikan sangat soal Presiden Obama yang juga membisu dan tidak mendengar jeritan rakyat Palestine yang tersiksa dan teraniaya kerana bangsa Arab dan sebahagian umat Islam juga bersikap seperti Presiden Obama dalam isu pengeboman Israel ke atas Gaza.

Apa yang sedang dan akan berterusan berlaku adalah usaha yang tiada henti Israel untuk menguasai seluruh kawasan yang dahulunya Palestin.

Dalam mempertahankan kedudukan masing-masing, oleh Zionis Israel dan Palestine , terlalu ramai nyawa yang telah terkorban dan akan terkorban – nyawa-nyawa manusia tidak ada nilainya sama sekali dalam percaturan politik dalam konflik Palestin-Israel. Itu adalah pertanda kemusnahan terhadap nilai-nilai kemanusiaan yang harus dipegang utuh oleh mana-mana pemimpin di dunia ini dalam usaha menyelamatkan umat manusia, nyawa, keturunan, dan harta-benda mereka.

Keadaan sebenarnya sudah tidak terkawal kerana tiada yang ingin mengawalnya.

Perkiraan politik dalam konflik Israel-Palestin telah melenyapkan rasa belas kasihan kepada anak-anak dan mereka yang lemah; kapal dan kapalterbang perang sewenangnya memusnahkan tempat-tempat awam, hospital, sekolah, masjid, kediaman dan melumpuhkan kemudahan bekalan air dan letrik.

Dengan izin Tan Sri Yg di-Pertua, it is the death of humanity. Terbungkamnya kemanusiaan, bila kehebatan teknologi dan ketenteraan satu bangsa digunakan untuk melumpuhkan segala keupayaan bangsa lain yang ternyata lemah. Dan keadaan sedemikian hanya ditonton tanpa bicara dan tiada tindakan sepakat yang segera untuk memberhentikankannya oleh mereka yang berkuasa di dunia ini.

Tan Sri Yang di-Pertua, apakah yang boleh dibuat oleh Malaysia ?

Apakah yang belum dibuat oleh negara-negara di dunia sebelum ini untuk mencari jalan penyelesaian konflik Israel-Palestine ini?

Segala keganasan yang dirakamkan adalah seperti ritual yang akan berlaku berulangkali di masa-masa mendatang.

Apakah daya masyarakat dunia untuk menundukkan kezaliman yang ditunjukkan oleh Israel ke atas Gaza yang lemah? Dengan izin, The Arab and international responses to the killings can only serve as a reminder of how ineffectual and irrelevant, if not complacent their timid mutterings are, kata-kata dari Ramzy Baroud, penulis dan editor PalestineChronicle.com. Yang sangat menghairankan lagi ialah bila Penguasa Palestin, President Mahmoud Abbas, telah menyalahkan Hamas di atas keganasan Israel, kerana tidak menepati perjanjian gencatan senjata! Tidakkah dia tahu bahawa Hamas telah memberhentikan dengan izin, suicide bombing sejak 2005? Dan Israel pula tidak mengendahkan langsung kerjasama yang diperlukan dalam membawa masuk bahan-bahan keperluan, makanan dan perubatan kepada rakyat Gaza sehingga mereka mengalami kekurangan bahan-bahan tersebut? Dan Israel juga telah melancarkan serangan di awal Disember, bertindak di atas alasan bahawa mereka menerima maklumat mengenai kononnya, ada misi rahsia Hamas?

Tan Sri Yang di-Pertua

Sekali lagi apakah yang boleh dibuat oleh Malaysia?

Kedegilan Israel dengan disokong oleh AS dan kuncu-kuncu mereka akan melebarkan dan memastikan kesinambungan keganasan dan perlanggaran terhadap Hak-Hak Asasi Manusia dan Konvensyen-Konvensyen Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu dalam konflik Israel-Palestin.

Begitu juga tiada apa-apa yang konkrit yang boleh diharapkan dari negara-negara Arab dan OIC.

Malaysia wajar memimpin, sebagai sebuah negara Islam, proses menyelesaikan konflik Israel-Palestin.

Cadangan menwujudkan blog anti-Zionis perlu diwujudkan segera haruslah diambil serius. Malaysia wajar segera merapati dan menggabungkan negara-negara yang vokal dalam hal soverignty dan Hak Asasi Manusia seperti Venuezuela, Indonesia, Turki, Thailand dan lain-lain dalam usaha mewujudakan blog anti-Zionis itu.

Negara China dan Rusia juga seharusnya segera diajak bersama.

Malaysia harus berada dengan izin, di frontline memberi penekanan politik di peringkat antarabangsa dan dengfan izin, regional dalam menangani konflik Israel-Palestin.

Malaysia boleh juga memainkan peranan menggabungkan badan-badan bukan kerajaan seluruh dunia yang menentang kezaliman Israel.

Pemboikotan barangan Amerika oleh gabungan anti-Zionis dikala negara itu sedang mengalami kemelesetan ekonomi yang teruk akan memberi kesan yang hebat dalam memberi tekanan terhadap AS untuk lebih adil dan tidak tunduk kepada dengan izin, lobby Israel.

Tumpuan ekonomi dan hubungan dagangan pula dialihkan kepada pakatan lain seperti European Union.

Rakyat Malaysia tentunya menyokong usaha yang sudah sekian lama tertunda ini.

Apa yang diperlukan sekarang ialah kesanggupan politik untuk melaksanakannya.

Zuraida Kamaruddin
Ahli Parlimen Ampang
merangkap Ketua Wanita KeADILan
12 Januari 2009

Berikut adalah tajuk dan artikel asal yang telah diterbitkan dalam majalah The Parliamentarian 2008/Issue Two – Malaysia, sempena Persidangan ke-54 Ahli-Ahli Parlimen Komenwel di KLCC, Kuala Lumpur Ogos 2008 lalu (tajuk yang dikemukakan dalam majalah tersebut ialah Gender Mainstreaming in Politics – Promoting female Parliamentarians’ contribution in the decision-making process; muka surat 25 – 28):

CONSOLIDATING GENDER FRAMEWORK

IN MATURING MALAYSIAN POLITICS

- The View of a Non Status Quo

by

FUZIAH SALLEH & ROZAINI MR

54th Commonwealth Parliamentarians Conference

Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

ABSTRACT

We dream together for a free, safe and democratic country where women, children and families are able to feel safe and public safety is ensured. Government of the day is expected to be transparent, free of corruption, and thoroughly people-oriented in approach and governance. Establishing that vision requires that everyone involved in policy making maintains a mindset where gender framework is firmly engraved. This paper aims at discussing the current situation of gender mainstreaming in Malaysia and hence to discuss further on consolidating measures to overcoming it.

1.0 INTRODUCTION

Gender Mainstreaming or rather the lack of it has affected women’s lives and will continue to do so, here in Malaysia, as well as in other parts of the world.

Gender mainstreaming is not about women competing for power with men but an effort to explain the conditions and needs of 50% of the world population in its proper perspective. The policies regarding war, social development, education, health, children and a host of other vital human aspects and of human endeavour which gravely affects families and public in general were previously discussed without the proper perspective and inputs by women. Women certainly needed the right leadership from among themselves and to be strategically allied and active in ensuring their voice and concerns turned to actual policies that upheld justice in all its respect.

The United Nations Development Programme has defined Gender Mainstreaming as:

“…a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of…the policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated.”

The failure of gender mainstreaming would cause discrimination, lack of gender sensitivity and produced gender blindness that could devastate human dignity and integrity

In addition, the failure of gender mainstreaming in the Malaysian society has produced an unending unsatisfactroy outcome in the number of gender insensitive policy makers within the Malaysian Government. That state of affairs had prolonged gender issues and needs, to be largely ignored, misunderstood or simply not understood at all (Salleh, 2007).

The success of gender mainstreaming on the other hand would witness an immediate increase in overt participation of women within the country’s political structure and democratic process, as intended by the Dasar Wanita Negara. Such is the single objective measure of the successful consolidation of the gender framework in Malaysian politics. However, such aspiration would begin with the first milestone that must come from within party politics. Successful galvanization of gender framework within the party would certainly progress beyond party politics, particularly when the party became the chosen government by the people (Selangor experience).

The Selangor Government had elected three women in the State Government Cabinet, known as State Executive Committee Members. Between them the hey held seven portfolios. Another State Asembly Woman was elected Deputy Speaker of the State Assembly. The outcome of the results and appointments within the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Government were the result of continuous party grooming of the women politicians. The positions given to them were based on their merit and proven record within the past eight years of political involvement; some of the elected women EXCO were involved for longer duration, in other women organisations as social activist.

2.0 GENDER CONTOUR IN MALAYSIAN POLITICS

The current Malaysian Parliament is seriously under-represented by women, where only about eleven per cent of those elected from the Lower House were women – eleven (11) from the Opposition and the rest (13) from the ruling party.

Although there is a higher percentage of women actually contested as party candidates in the last General Elections, women generally have greater difficulty in achieving success in the polls.

In the Upper House however, the number of women senators appointed are fifteen in total number (out of 57), which is about 28.07%.

The percentage for Cabinet Ministerial positions is similar. Currently there are only two full ministers out of 25 Cabinet Ministers.

The New Straits Times, March 28, 2008 stated that “Women command 10.81 per cent of the 222 parliamentary seats and 7.92 per cent of the 505 state seats, but that is only about one per cent more than in the 2004 polls, and still far from the 30 per cent target set in the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

The world average for women’s political participation is 16 per cent.”

Such low representation of women in politics proclaimed a breach of democratic principles as 50% of the country consisted of women.

Sharizat Abdul Jalil, (June 2007) the former Women Minister admitted this under representation of women; when Shahrizat, who was also Wanita Umno deputy chief at that time, said women representation at decision-making level was extremely unsatisfactory. She noted that 9.6% of members in Parliament were women, 25% in the Dewan Negara, 6.9% in state assemblies, 12.5% in local authorities while 7.6% were board members of companies in Bursa Malaysia.

“‘We have a government policy (that 30% of decision-making positions comprised women). We must remind them (the Government) and talk about it so that they won’t forget. There must be an increase in the percentage from time to time,” said Shahrizat -at a briefing for some 700 participants, including Umno information chiefs.

Shahrizat also affirms that the current state of affairs was not due to discrimination, but rather lack of affirmative action by those in power.”

(The STAR, June 24th 2007)

It is an undeniable fact that women, who comprise 50% of the world’s population possess immense resources in experience, competence and knowledge, which were imperative elements in any decision making process, particulaary that which shaped the country’s future. Women’s involvement thus made democracy more inclusive.

It was also an acceptable fact that women more often than not gave fresh perspective or put a diverse set of opinions at the decision making process. In that respect, a maturing political nation should ensure a representation of a wide spectrum reflecting the nation’s interests and concerns. Women were usually apt in that respect, for they promote alternative and diverse set of opinions.

Women, being care givers become natural earnest promoters of building peaceful and stable societies. They tended to give more relevance to and gave proper thought and emphasis to address important soccio-economic issues that may be usually ignored.

Thus it can be extrapolated that an establishment of a critical mass of women parliamentarians involved at the highest level of decision making in policy development would mean that women and children’s interest will be protected. Related legislations and laws protecting them could also be assured.

Despite all these however, the representation of Women in policy making continue to remain low. What is the obstacle faced by women and what could be the fundamental reason for this phenomena?

Ballington and Karam,(2005) reported that “…among the political obstacles that women face, the following feature prominently:

  1. The prevalence of the ‘masculine model’ of political life and of elected government bodies;
  2. Lack of party support, for example, limited financial support for women candidates,limited access to political networks,and the more stringent standards and qualifications applied to women;
  3. Lack of sustained contact and cooperation with other public organizations such as trade (labour) unions and women’s groups;
  4. Lack of access to well-developed education and training systems for women’s leadership in general, and for orienting young women towards political life; and
  5. The nature of the electoral system, which may or may not be favourable to women candidates.”

Some have survived the onslought through gathering a team, consistent and continuous training and getting resources, but the path for women in politics does not get any easier.

3.0 GENDER MAINSTREAMING- A MALAYSIAN EXPERIENCE & PERSPECTIVE

The plan for action in Dasar Wanita Negara, the blueprint for Policy on Malaysian Women describe the vision as being :

To support and promote women’s participation in the lawmaking and executive levels in Parliament, the State Assemly , Local Government and other bodies.”

Although there had been various machanism llike the Gender Focal Point and the Cabinet Committee on Gender equality the quantitative target for women’ political involvement were still off the target of crittical mass of 30%. This dismal representation of women in the various levels of decision making is a collective responsibility of men and women and signals the failure of the government’s gender mainstreaming.

At the same time, gender insensitivity or gender blindness kept occuring, even within the august House of the Parliament. Sexist remarks used to be part and parcel of the parliament session (Star Online 13 May 2007)

The Malaysian Women Ministry on the other hand claimed that:

· Malaysia had produced a blueprint National Policy on Women which aspired to help Malaysian Women faced their challenges through education and eradicate poverty (1985)

· The Malaysian women’s status became the main objective in the 6th Malaysian Plan (1991-1995) when a special fund was created for women development and became an impotant step toward women’s empowerment. The following Malaysian Plans gave due attention to the Malaysian women’s needs and developed their status within the community.

· In 1995, the Malaysian government had introduced the UN Convention related to eradication of discrimination against women (CEDAW)

· In 1995 the government had created the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and it was given the mandate to facilitate women’s issues and elevating the Malaysian women’s status.

· The Malaysian Constitution was ammended in August 2001 to prevent any form of discrimination based on gender in any law.

· In accepting the terms of the 4th Beijing Platform and the United Nations

World Plan of Action for Women (1995), the Malaysian government had

promised to

i) improve the national machinery for women development

ii) increase the involvement of women in the decision making process

iii) reinforce and protect the rights of women in health, education, and

social harmony

iv) overcome legal challenges and gender discriminatory practices

Other tactics and plan of action employed by those conscientious with gender-oriented politics in ensuring successful participation of women in the country’s democratic process were varied; notably:

· The use of intensive and extensive networking among women politicians within and outside the country and with other civil society organisations,

· Constituency building

· The establishment of inter-party women politician front

· Promoting human rights education

· Promoting gender sensitivity and gender awareness programs

· Continuing skill building and support for women candidates and women in public office

· Using advocacy as a tool and advocacy training as a means to understand and challenge inequitable societal structures

· Creating forums for women to exchange ideas and reflect on their experiences

These were serious plans of actions, which however still failed in producing the desired results Again we should ask ourselves, what was the reason for such non-performance?

I would conclude that that the major contributing factors to the lack lustre interest of Malaysian women in politics were:

· Lack of political will at the implementation stage by the present malaysian government

· Technical Incompetence : lack of ability in delivering expectations of the National Policy on Women

· Failure of gender mainstreaming

· Failure of educational system : failure to educate about gender

· Imbalanced development program

4.0 POLITICAL CHANGE MECHANISM

Party politics is said to be the symbol of patriachy as much aggressive compettition for power occurred within it. That put off many women from entering party politics for women are known to have far less political ambition.

Political parties’ main objective was always to win as many seats as posssible during elections. So, the priority was to draw on conventional values in ascertaining candidates – patronage relationships, and tokenism for women candidates. The absence of a conscious vision about gender-centric politics would naturaly spell disaster for women’s participation in party politics thus everything beyond that. Political party must be in the forefront of early efforts to realize the betterment in women’s representation in Parliament as the decision making body of the policies affecting the nation and country.

Drawing from personal political experience, women would have to assert change from within themselves initially, and only then would they be able to develop their political savvy potential and filling political positions first within the party and later outside it.

A conscious effort and plan must be in place to groom and produce quality women politicians that would be instrumental in together shaping the aspired government of the day – transparent, free of corruption, and thoroughly people-

oriented in approach and governance. Political parties need thus to allocate handsome resources, particularly in research and development to ensure a politically savvy pool of women policy makers.

It is an unfortunate phenomena, but women would have to galvanize themselves the establishment of a gender framework through gender mainstreaming within party politics before it got to be mainstreamed over the larger public. The success of gender mainstreaming would almost ascertainly ensure the required represention in vital decision making bodies in the country, particularly at the parliamentarian level.

There is an urgent need, too that gender mainstreaming include strategies to diminish power as a value in itself, so that women might be equal to men by competing not within power structures but by expressing their virtues. The idea of a balanced society, nuturing society, promoting civic consciousness, etc should become central virtues which were usually promoted more by women than men. The community at large generally expected women to champion women’s causes, However many men nowadays are ready and willing to back women up through party structure as well as other set up.

The Political Change Mechanism within the party must be a powerful lobby and possess the required competence both in training and persuasive ability to maintain the priority of gender mainstreaming in all situations and conditions. The success of the Mechanism should later be documented and shared among all women politicians regardless of political party adherence.

Women Parliamentarian Caucuses were an expansion of gender mainstreaming and in itself a gender mainstreaming mechanism within the House of Parliament. It called for a concerted effort that transcended political differences – for issues of justice were issues that touched the human heart.

5.0 TOWARDS A GENDER ORIENTED MALAYSIAN POLITICAL LANDSCAPE

The precondition of active gender mainstreaming needed to be undertaken relentlessly so that gender and related issues were understood by society, thus making huge inroads possible for women representation in Parliament and other decision making bodies at all levels throughout the country. .

Serious efforts must be made with regards to gender sensitisation programmes training. Capacity building and competency development should be a core trust of our country’s strategy in achieving Gender Mainstreaming objectives. The strength of competence can never be ignored at any time. The basic charcteristic of a Parliamentarian is that she is competent to carry out her responsibility to the utmost as member of Parliament. That underlined again a conscious vision and effort to ensure the emergence of such political women figures (http://www.accessdemocracy.org/library/2209_wp_chang_leadership2007.pdf).

Galvanizing gender framework within Malaysian politics also required extensive use of the media and information technology. The support from the public and public machinery could be quickly gained had gender mainstreaming in Malaysia made full use of the information, communication and technolgy sector.

5.0 CONCLUDING REMARKS

The obstacles women faced made the path to a critical mass of women representation in Malaysian politics a long, tedious and arduous one, and it could only be achieved with women overcoming their political handicap, proper training, numerous sacrifice by themselves and their family members as well as the support of political parties.

Earnestly speaking, we await to see gender mainstreaming being revitalised throughout the Malaysian society and thus we would hope to see a more gender-people-centred government that would engage in non-partisan politics befitting wholly and completely for the welfare of the nation. That called for a relentless political will, high technical competence, an in-depth culture of gender sensitivity and responsibility among policy makers as well as within their own political organisations. I truly believe that when THERE’S A POLITICAL WILL, THERE’S ALWAYS A WAY!

Bibliography

Ballington, J. and Karam A. (2005). Women in Parliament: Beyond Numbers, International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. Stokcholm, Sweden

Chew, P G L. Gender And Power. http://www.ehomemakers.net/en/article.php?id=998

Hassan, S. 2004. Women in the 2004 Malaysian General Election. http://pssmalaysia.tripod.com/articles/index.htm

Jasin, K. A cautionary tale of two coalition. Malaysian Business. Pp 6-8,

April 16 – 30 2008

Mayer, K. and Carey S. Do Women and Organizational Politics Mix?(n.d.a)

http://www.politicalsavvy.com/docs/genderandpolitics.html

Ministry of Women, Family and Community development, http://www.kpwkm.gov.my/Bm/pfl_kpwkm_pelantindakan01.asp?%E1%E6%F0%ED%E9%DE%F6=&%E3%E9%DE%F0%E5%F6=&%ED%E3%E9=%ED%E3%E9%DC%E8%ED%F4%E8%EA%DC%E9%DE%F1%DE%EF%DF%E2%E9%DE%E8%DE%EB%E4%AB%DE%F0%ED&%ED%E3%E9%AD%AF=&%ED%E3%E9%AD%B0=%AE

Ibid. Dasar Wanita Negara

Macova, M. Rivalry leads to fewer women in politics, survey says, December 14, 2007

http://aktualne.centrum.cz/czechnews/clanek.phtml?id=516578

NATIONAL Democratic Institute. http://www.accessdemocracy.org/library/2209_wp_chang_leadership2007.pdf

Qardhawi, 1996. Fiqh Keutamaan. Hexa Print Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Sg Petani, Kedah, Malaysia

Salleh, and Mohd Talha. (2005), Women’a Participation in Democratic Process: The driving force in developing an excellent Ummah, Kuala Lumpur, International Muslim Women’s Union Seminar

Salleh, F. (2007). Ucapan Dasar Ketua Wanita KeADILan. Agenda Pemberdayaan Wanita Malayia. Seremban (Policy Speech by KeADILan Women Chief) , Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/5/13/parliament/17710944&sec=parliament

Salleh, F. Mothers’ Day Speech, A Contemporary Gallery of a Mother’s Love, May 13, 2007, http://fuziahsalleh2.wordpress.com/category/perutusan/

STAR online; Looi, E. Sunday May 13, 2007. Sexist remarks becoming the norm?

STAR online, Need for more women rep, June 24, 2007, http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2007/6/24/nation/18118519&sec=nation

UN Security Council Resolution 1325, http://www.peacewomen.org/un/ngoadvocacy/1325Tools/checklist.pdf

World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report 2007,

http://www.weforum.org/pdf/gendergap/report2007.pdf

Ibid. Press Release, Nordic Countries Top The World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index, November 8, 2007

Malaysian Women Ministry. Wanita Malaysia, (n.d.a.)

http://www.unicef.org/malaysia/msl/support_6118.html

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