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Sunday, January 31, 2021

No Moral Compass

 Here is a report in The Star about an online panel discussion on corruption. Two of the speakers were Tan Sri Johan Jaafar and Dato Wong Chun Wai. Both Johan and Chun Wai are friends of mine, we served together for four years on the MACC's Advisory Panel.

Corruption pandemic infected our country 
only vaccine is good moral values
panel discussion on combating corruption
Tan Sri Johan Jaaffar, Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub, Datuk Wong Chun Wai 

only way to solve it was through rakyat
people also corrupt because they allowed it to happen
in the system, in govt, in corporate sector
high time people own up, do something to break chain
collapse of moral values of M'sians because "we allowed it"
must change our attitudes toward corruption
bring back value system 50 or 60 years ago 
Hussammuddin called all political party members to change leaders

Johan said corruption was like cancer 
eats away at everything we believe in
people become indifferent 
indifference breeding ground for corruption 
heading toward serious problems in the future.
transparency, integrity, value systems taken for granted

Wong said corruption involved taker but givers also responsible
when police ask you how to solve problem and you say I'll pay... problem starts
people fed up with corruption and also with issues being politicised
Wong urged public to come together and combat corruption


My comments :  Corruption, stealing, murder, rape, lying, cheating, dishonesty are all symptoms. They are symptoms of a breakdown in a society's value system.

Good values. What are good values? What are the practical causes and effects of "good values" or the lack thereof?

Lets say a man has four concubines. Or four mistresses. He can "maintain" his four concubines / mistresses. Is that a good thing to do? Does that represent good values? 

What are the practical effects of having four concubines ? Economically and materially the man may be able to maintain his four concubines, give them food, shelter, provide for any children that he may have with his four concubines. He can even leave aside sufficient amounts of wealth and money for his concubines and all his children. All that can be done. This has happened before.  

But does that create an upright society that is good? For certain the concubines will be at loggerheads with each other and their children may end up quarreling and fighting with each other over who is more worthy of being the offspring of the father. This too has happened and happens until today in "plural" households.

Now what if the man can get a piece of paper which says that he has "married" the four women? He actually has four wives now. They are not concubines or mistresses. Does the morality of the situation suddenly shoot up to the sky now?

Does that suddenly create an upright, "good" society? For certain the four wives will be at loggerheads with each other and their children may end up quarreling and fighting with each other over who is more worthy of being the offspring of the father. This too has happened and happens until today.

So what exactly are good moral values? In my view there is a simple method of finding out. The answer to the pudding is always in the eating. So just see what are the effects - positive and negative - of any particular behaviour of a society. 

If a particular behaviour or norm of a society causes harmony, well being, happiness and overall good in the society then that norm has a good moral value. 

If a particular behaviour or belief causes unhappiness, disruption and poverty or backwardness in a society then that norm has a negative moral value. Alway look at the practical effects. 

There is no point saying 'Oh but if we do this we will go to our version of heaven, we will be in nirvana, will be reincarnated as high value race horses, bla bla'.  Do not waste time. 

You cannot create chaos, confusion, stupidity, mayhem, poverty and backwardness in this life as a pre-condition or pre-qualification to somehow get magically rewarded in an afterlife.   You need serious psychiatric counselling.

So what if your belief system is the problem? Your religion is a belief system. Your traditions and culture unique to your race or unique to the place where your race or community came from can be a belief system. How your mother and father brought you up can be a belief system (regardless of what race or religion they belong to). You may be a member of an NGO, a society or a political party that may have also provided you with a belief system. So what if your belief system is the problem?

The following article, which is a tad long and written in Malay, went super viral about two weeks back. If you have not read this, do try. This article is written by Dr Rozhan Othman, an academic at a local university.

For quick reading I have truncated the article and I have some comments at the end. 

https://malaysiadateline.com/paksaan-sengketa-dan-agenda-islam-yang-terpesong




Tidaklah keterlaluan untuk mengatakan agenda “negara Islam” lebih banyak memberi kekecewaan kepada mereka yang menaruh harapan padanya. 

Antara inisiatif paling awal guna idea “negara Islam” pada kurun lalu ialah penubuhan Pakistan.

  • Revolusi di Iran juga menggunakan label “negara Islam”. 
  • Demikian juga rampasan kuasa di Sudan yang membawa agenda Islam. 
  • Pemerintahan Taliban di Afghanistan juga mendakwa “negara Islam”.
bolehkah kita berbangga dengan pencapaian negara-negara ini? 
Pakistan dikenali dengan pergolakan politik, rampasan kuasa tentera berulang kali.
Walaupun beragenda Islam rasuah berleluasa, penindasan wanita terusan 
Adakah ini sifat sebuah negara Islam?
  • Iran mengutamakan agenda syia`ahnya. 
  • Ia sanggup menindas rakyatnya. 
  • Rasuah dan pencabulan hak asasi manusia berleluasa.

Di Sudan, Jeneral Bashir akhirnya dijatuhkan oleh rakyat sendiri
Tindak-tanduk Sudan di Darfur tidak boleh dibanggakan
Taliban pula terkenal dengan sempit dan bengis.

  • Bashir dipenjara atas rasuah selepas pemerintahan selama 30 tahun.
  • Bagi umat yang waras dan rasional adakah ini manifestasi terbaik Islam?
  • Persoalan ini perlu dihalusi untuk mengelak ulangi kesalahan yang sama
Penulisan ini menganalisis apa yang dianggap agenda Islam
ciri utama ialah kesemuanya ambil pendekatan paksaan (coercive approach)
Undang-undang digunakan untuk memaksa Islam ke atas masyarakat
Ini dilakukan dengan guna kuasa tentera, polis.

  • Pelaksanaan Islam sebegini sering mempunyai percanggahan
  • non Muslim diberitahu Islam hormati kebebasan agama 
  • tetapi mereka dipaksa mematuhi arahan mengekang kebebasan agama mereka
  • Hudud dikatakan menjamin keadilan tetapi pilih bulu berlaku
kita (perlu) soalkan pendekatan paksa ini
tiada bukti Rasul / sahabat mengintip, memeriksa cara pakaian wanita 
Mereka tidak meneliti status halal makanan, pinggan, periuk, kuali 
wujud golongan bukan Islam di Madinah 
ada sahabat masih tinggal sama ibu-bapa yang belum Islam

  • Rasul serta muhajirin bukan kuat dari segi ketenteraan
  • Oleh itu, baginda tidak berupaya memaksakan apa-apa
  • Rasul tidak mempunyai kuasa undang-undang memaksa orang 
Rasul dan muhajirin tidak memiliki kekayaan
penduduk menerimanya bukanlah kerana manfaat ekonomi 

  • kenapa penduduk menerima Rasul 
  • kita perlu meneliti apa dilakukan baginda sebagai pemimpin 
baginda mendamaikan sengketa lama
Baginda (tidak) guna pecah-dan-perintah (divide and rule) 
Baginda (tidak) menyemai kebencian untuk mendapat sokongan
baginda tidak mengambil semua pendekatan ini. 
Baginda tidak guna Islam untuk menekan, menyisihkan bukan Islam

  • baginda mewujudkan piagam inklusif (constitution) sebagai kuasa penyatu
  • Baginda isytiharkan “umat yang satu” (one people) 
  • antara golongan berbeza agama dan bangsa 
  • Islam rahmat kepada seluruh alam 
  • bukan rahmat untuk orang Islam sahaja
baginda jamin kebebasan beragama
baginda beri hak bukan Islam tadbir agama mereka
Baginda melibatkan mereka berunding isu-isu masyarakat

  • pendekatan Rasul mendamaikan, bukan melaga-lagakan
  • menyatukan Islam dengan bukan Islam 
  • bukan wujudkan jurang antara mereka
  • menjaga kepentingan semua penduduk bukan Islam sahaja.
Yang ditekankan baginda bukan “ketuanan” dominasi golongan lain
baginda bina kredibiliti menjaga kepentingan semua pihak
non Muslim menerimanya kerana keyakinan bukan kerana dipaksa

  • Pendekatan mendamai bukan melagakan perlu agar Islam jadi jurubicara semua 
  • melagakan, benci, bermusuh, kekuasaan, dominasi bertentangan dgn Rasul
  • bersengketa dan memaksa terpesong dari landasan baginda

gerakan Islam (semasa) bawa mesej negatif dan regresif 
hilang kredibiliti walaupun penyokong tegarnya teruja

  • di Malaysia Islam perlu jadi jurubicara semua rakyat
  • Islam hanya kredibiliti apabila membela seluruh masyarakat 
  • dan bukan untuk golongan Islam sahaja
oleh *DR ROZHAN OTHMAN dr_rozhan@yahoo.com. 
mantan Prof UTM – Malaysia Japan International Institute of Technology (MJIIT)

My comments :

My view is this. All this is wasting time. There is no universal 'agama'. The agama is permanently split into sects. The sects have existed for over 1200 years and will never go away. So choosing the agama really means choosing a sect.

And because the agama is so divided, there is no intellectual or academic scholarship. There cannot be. There is no such thing. Any so called religious scholarship can only study, research and be called scholarship INSIDE its own sect.

I knew a friend who was a religious researcher at a government university. He would help do research, write papers etc. He would be told to strictly remain within the boundaries of sectarian scholarship - dont rock the boat. That is not scholarship. That is propaganda.

So what values or morality can we expect from religious scholarship other than sectarian propaganda? That is why religion has failed and will continue to fail.

There is no universal good or universal morality that can be garnered from religion. Dont believe me? Listen to this guy:




He says a man can have four wives and an unlimited number of concubines. 
You want to talk about religion, I am quite sure he can produce his references and his religious authorities.
I will need to comment on this video in some detail some day soon. 
So religion is not the source of universal morality or universal good.
We really have to keep religion where it belongs - OUTSIDE the public domain.

We have no choice. We must turn to the Islam of science. Science is Islamic. Reason, rational thinking, common sense, evidence, questioning, asking WHY - that is the islamic method.  Yes and no force. 

And does it produce good for the human race? The entire human race. That shall be the criteria for determining morality and values. 

If you have unlimited number of concubines does it produce good for the human race? That sort of questioning and thinking processes. 

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

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