Last Sunday, 24th of July, I had attended a discourse entitled "Wacana Menuju Malaysia Sejahtera: Dilema Survival Politik Melayu-Islam dan Perpaduan Bangsa (Towards a Prosperous Malaysia: Malay-Islam Dilemma in Political Survival and Race Solidarity)" at Goodhope Hotel, Skudai, Johor. It was organized by Persatuan Professional Islam Anak Johor (PPIAJ) and Persatuan Amal Perubatan Ibnu Sina Malaysia (PAPISMA). The panelists were Prof. Madya Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, Prof Madya Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah, Lokman Nor Adam (UMNO youth EXCO), YB Dato' Kamaruddin Jaafar and YB Dato' Paduka Haji Husam Musa. However, Dato' Paduka Haji Husam Musa was not able to attend. Prof. Madya Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and Prof Madya Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah had both presented their paper works.
I will only write about what Prof. Madya Dr. Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin and Prof Madya Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah had explained during their speech and their paper works. I will try my very best in summarizing it concisely. The reason that I won't write about Lokman Nor Adam and YB Dato' Kamaruddin Jaafar is because I didn't really understand, sorry :( and they were speaking about lots of controversial content without presenting any evidence in hand.
The Malays Privilege: A Discussion from the Perspective of Maqasid al-Syari'ah by Prof Madya Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin
First off, we should understand that politics in Islam is not a specific form of ibadah(worship) like solat, fasting and etc that cannot be changed. Politics is something that moves and changes based on the well being of human beings. Therefore, the Prophet Muhammad s.a.w did not leave any details about politics, instead, he had only imparted the general principals.
Article 153 states the details of the Malays Privilege. This allocation can be seen from 3 aspects:
1) It can be seen as a form of racism
2) It can be seen as a way to respect or be courteous to the original indigenous of Malaysia. This is similar to affirmative action. The basis of affirmative action is not to oppress but to promote equal opportunity.
However, questions now arise. Does this privilege brings justice to the community or vice versa? Does the necessity in tackling social imbalance relates to the race or economy background?
Islam and Race
1) No one can determine his/her race before he/she is born. Therefore, we cannot blame or despise anyone because of his/her race.
"O people, your Lord is One. Know that there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab or of non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black or of a black over a white, except through consciousness of Allah (taqwa)." (Reported by Ahmad and al-Baihaqi)
If a slave is appointed over you and he conducts your affairs according to the Book of Allah, you should listen to him and obey (his orders)." (Hadith Muslim)
However, we cannot practice ‘asabiyyah. 'Asabiyyah means racism or sectarianism that leads to oppression.
“Whoever goes to a battle because of rayah ‘immiyyah (banner of blindness) and calls for ‘asabiyyah or gets angry because of ‘asabiyyah then his death is of jahiliyyah (state of ignorance)." (Reported by Muslim)
Banner of blindness is a metaphor for a group of people who get together for a cause that is not known whether it is worthy or evil but merely on the basis of fanaticism. Therefore, not only a racial political struggle can be 'asabiyyah, but a struggle in the name of Islam if it is fanatic and denies the truth only because of the decision of the party, can also be named as 'asabiyyah.
Issues about the Malays Privilege
After understanding the above discussions, the below questions must be answered:
1) Has the Malays Privilege brings benefit; or loss?
2) Has the Malays Privilege brings justice; or tyranny?
Where is the Institution of Zakat and Wakaf?
We have collected zakat that might reach 1 billion a year or more. Same goes to wakaf and the likes. Why won't Muslims use this advantage of zakat and wakaf in developing our economy?
This paper work does not decide whether the Malays Privilege is against syarak or not; instead, it concludes that a provision fund is allowed in order to ensure the stabilization of races and religions in this country. However, the provisions must be checked from time to time so that the provisions do not defy any main principals of the maqasid in Islam that is justice and well being.
The Solidarity of Malay-Islam in Malaysia: Malay-Islam Dilemma in Political Survival from the Perspective Perception and Media, its Future Lies on the Youths? by Prof Madya Dr Abu Hassan Hasbullah
It's not wrong to say that the Malays-Islam of today are becoming ultra-materialism and ultra-hedonism. Patriotism too has been lost. This is because today's youths are reluctant to understand and contemplate about national issues.
One of the reason behind the lost of patriotism is because Malays-Islam are irked by the extreme nationalism that has always been propagated by the politicians. They are also unable to see any figure that can contribute towards brilliance, equality and leadership in order to improve the conditions of the Malays. There is no trust between Malays-Islam in transferring knowledge, experience and authority. Apart from that, Malay-Islam still holds on an outdated believe; that is fanaticism to a certain political party or idealism up to the point that they ignore acts such as corruption, chronism, misuse of power and the likes. The Malays-Islam still have the attitude of jahiliah: slander, hate, sedition and etc.
According to the study performed by Zentrum Future Studies Malaysia on "The Trust of Comparative Media Content" among respondent 21-40 years old during the research period of 2008-2010, traditional media (conventional medias such as The New Straits Time, Utusan Melayu, etc) and television (TV3 news, RTM news, etc) shows high content in accusation, incitement and slander in comparison to new medias (internet, non conventional medias) that shows a higher content in truth, fairness and openness. Therefore you can conclude that the result of this study is definitely worrisome. [I'm sorry, I can't scan and put on the chart tha states these facts because the chart in the paperwork given is not clear. However, you can view a similar study done by Prof Abu Hassan on 2008 at this link. View page 58]
In thinking of the generation of today, the youths, they are the ones who are able to study from the many confusions and mistakes made by the past generations. Therefore, they should feel compelled to not again fall into the same trap. It is from this context that a Malay-Islam movement by youths specifically must be uphold and strengthen. In short, the youths are the prime candidate in building a better nation filled with the wonders of innovation and a true way of life.
In order to achieve this ambition, this paper work presents a number of strategic planning that can be applied:
1) Rekindled the youths movement that has long been in stagnation.
2) Reorder back the disorientation in the youths' association in the process of organization at the level of development and empowerment.
3) Foster again the youths' and Islamic spirit in race and nation.
4) Spread collective consciousness about the meaning of struggle(perjuangan)
After all, the youths are the ones who understand the most about this era. They are the ones who are growing up in it.