Pantun Balasan

Berpuisi Di Waktu Petang

Wahai tuan yang disanjung tinggi,

Dengan rendah diri hamba mengaku,
lembu di pandang suci oleh segolongan;
Tetapi di sini mahupun di benua sana,
tidak mungkin ia dijadikan tuhan.

Keganasan di sana memang meluas,
kerana ugama keluarnya akal;
Betulnya ada apabila tuan mengenang,
sati amalan karut yang mesti dipersoal.

Budaya kasta patut dikeji,
kerana menindas persamaan insan;
Hakikat manusia sememangnya begini,
orang di hina mengikut keturunan … mahupun pegangan.

Annai dan thambi tidak bersyukur,
hamba memohon ampun maaf;
Tapi hamba meminta izin ingin tahu,
adakah bersyukur itu kerana kesamaan taraf?

Tuan meluaskan ufuk pembacaan Islam begitu sejagat,
sambil berfatwa secara tempatan;
Saya menyeru semua yang bukan,
jaga hati si pemankin kemanusian.

Namun, tuan yang disanjung tinggi,
benarkan hamba memberi pandangan;
Lebih baik Tuan berpuisi di waktu petang,
selepas kenyang bersarapan.

Contemporary Warriors (2)

new-chief cropGord Hill is a Warrior with a pen.This is an image he uses to address the nexus economic and legal realities of native Canada. He addresses the goal of the state to assimilate Indigenous peoples, via the conversion of reserve lands to private property under the pretext of creating economic self-sufficiency.  ‘Self-government’ agreements come with development contracts and treaty agreements remove the natives from the ambit of the Indian Act and change their reserve lands to private property. Hail to the Chief Executive Officer – Cash is King!!

This is a reposting of my post from Dec 1 2015

New LNG Vote

In October 2016 APTN Investigates aired ‘Lelu Island: A Resistance’, a documentary by Rob Smith. It investigates how the Lax Kw’alaams community vote against the Petronas LNG project was overturned in a new vote organized by a new band council. According to APTN 8,000 members voted out of 3,600 band members. The question on the ballot was one authorizing continued negotiations, including the arguably of concluding those negotiations. It did not specifically present the deal and seek categorical approval from the community for the project. Here is the ballot question as presented on APTN. “Provided the environment is protected, do you support council concluding agreements to maximize benefits for the Lax Kw’alaams members and continue discussions with governments and proponents to achieve successful outcomes for the Lax Kw’alaams”. Aboriginal Peoples Television Network is a Canadian broadcast and Category A cable television network established with government support in 1992. APTN has a national broadcast licence.

BC LNG Update


As the BC election campaign progresses towards the May 9th polling date, there are suggestions that the governing Liberal Party is suffering of the consequences of premier Clark’s seemingly unfulfillable promises of an LNG economy for the province. The sudden change in market conditions caused major projects to withdraw and today there is only one major project, the Petronas led Pacific NorthWest LNG investment, that still might go ahead. It is clear, however, that Petronas cannot withstand the risks in the wider LNG future alone, as there are reports that it has offered a $1 billion stake in another gas project to Shell, ExxonMobil, Thailand’s PTT Exploration & Production and Japanese firms. This has no direct bearing on the BC situation but it is an indication of the sensitivity of the LNG giant to the current market conditions. Meanwhile, auguring well for BC LNG and the Provincial Liberals, the Lax Kw’alaams, Metlakatla and the Kitselas First Nation have all signed benefits agreements in the context of the Pacific NorthWest LNG project. Opposition by hereditary chiefs led by Yahan Wesley notwithstanding, first nations stakeholders have been signing on to the project, steadily shifting from the earlier refusal of offers of compensation. Of anecdotal interest is the fact that Malaysian leaders of the Pacific NorthWest LNG management team, who have thus far been behind the scenes, have started appearing in the BC media  – Standing on the extreme right at the rear is Pacific NorthWest LNG chief operating officer and former Head of LNG Projects for PETRONAS, Wan Badrul Hisham.

Hudud 6: Jurisdiction

In 1988, an amendment was made to Article 121(1) of the federal constitution with the result that the High Court no longer derived authority from the constitutional itself, but from such “powers as may be conferred by or under federal law”. The significance of this amendment is that the separation of powers is diminished as the judiciary has been rendered subservient to parliament. Further, in another amendment made that year, a new clause (1A) was inserted into Article 121 that stating that “The courts referred to in Clause (1) shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts.” Regardless of the merits or demerits of this new autonomy of Sharia in Malaysian state law, it seems clear that the civil courts now can not interfere in matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the syariah courts. As Shanmuga Kanesalingam notes however, a problem  seems to have arisen where the federal judges have been asked to rule on situations in which  the syariah courts  may have overstepped their boundaries. The current interpretations of Article 121(1A) reveal the judges of the civil courts understand that they can no longer intervene. This disavowal of the judges of their own authority leaves a lacuna of justice at the boundary of muslim/ non-muslim interactions in contemporary Malaysian life. A category of such cases is the Syariah dissolution non-Muslim marriages registered under civil law in situations where one spouse had converted to Islam, with implications for the status of children of those marriages. Indeed, in such cases, the orders of the Syariah courts are being enforced  against non-Muslims. While it is debatable whether non-muslims have the locus standi to speak on justice for their muslim peers of the increased punitive powers brought by the law presently making its way through parliament, it is absolutely clear that all Malaysians should raise questions and concerns about such increased powers in the light of the federal judges abrogation of their own authority at the interstices of muslim/ non-muslim relations in our country.




Intervention 1: Boundaries

During his artist talk at the Singapore Biennale, S. Chandrasekaran took a blood oath that he would not perform again until his disallowed piece, about the use of Indian convict labour in the building of Singapore, was realized. Jee Leong Koh speculates in his blog that this restriction might have been due to issues around the containment of contemporary foreign workers, rather than the officially stated ‘religious sensitivities’. This is a plausible interpretation but I wonder if the explanation is simpler. Perhaps, despite recently commandeering a slice of the global art market, Singapore is not ready for such contemporary forms of expression as public body piercing and existential pain. Indeed, the impasse may be that of a clash of aesthetic norms,  on the one hand the Western, now global, performance idiom and on the other, the local decorum around ritual acts. Whatever the reasons, the fact is that the work was rendered inert and presented as an installation titled Unwalked Boundaries. Following Chandran’s oath, a curator came forward to present the Singapore Biennale’s perspective on the matter, triggering a barrage questions from the audience on their role in censoring the performance. This is where I intervened, noting that members of the audience were missing the nuance and import of Chandran’s gesture. The artist had eloquently eschewed just such an inquest by stating that what was important to him was WHEN and not WHY! His concern was with when his performance might happen, not why it had not happened. Indeed, Chandran’s action was not a protest but a discrete and incremental commencement of the performance itself. I entreated all present to savour the elegance of Chandran’s action. This was the first of 5 interventions. It was reported by Reena Devi in her piece on the event in Today.

Hudud 5: Not Hudud

The so called Hudud Bill is in fact a private members bill aimed at amending the Sharia Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 so as to enable Islamic courts in Kelantan to enforce higher penalties for Islamic offences listed under state jurisdiction in the Federal Constitution (art.74, sched. 9. List II). Clearly, as Rosli Dahlan and  Fawza Sabila Faudzi argue with cited authorities, “Syariah law is only applicable to Muslims and only as personal law, with provision for certain offences against the precepts of Islam.” Arguably, ‘Hudud’ is a misnomer for a bill that seems to be about enhancing the Shariah court’s power to punish  and not about increasing the ambit of the offences under sharia jurisdiction. Nevertheless, such Sharia punishments are presently limited to jail terms of three years, whipping of six strokes, or fines of up to RM5,000 and so this amendment, which in its original form did not specify or limit the new punishments, has the potential to significantly raise the impact of Sharia in the administration of Malaysian society. In its present amended  form, the  proposed bill now limits the punishments to 30 years jail, RM100,000 fine and 100. When the bill was initially proposed, Khalid Samad of Parti Amanah, believed that it was unlikely to pass or even to be tabled. At that time, he seemed to be suggesting that the lack of consideration and granularity in this proposed legislation was an indication that the Bill was not conceived as a serious instrument of administration but as rhetoric for the upcoming general elections. Indeed, we should be reading this bill closely, in relation to the current state of Islamic legislation and practices, rather that in terms of utopian or dystopian projections of Hudud.