It is heartening to know that you are missed. Some friends asked me why I stopped writing. They said they had missed reading articles by Mat Baim. In fact, my last article appeared in the Weekend Bulletin on July 14, 2012.
The truth is that I was busy doing something else that was consuming my time. Fortunately, I was able to spare some time during the long weekend break (in view of Hari Raya Aidiladha public holiday) to write.
After going through past editions of the Borneo Bulletin, I found something that caught my eye in the October 10th edition, where a reader questioned why some basic points about the Malay Islamic Monarchy (MIB) philosophy were not found in the 'MIB Book V' issued by the Curriculum Department and why a 'Tahun 7' (Year 7) book on "moral" was termed "MIB".
That brought a response from a "Dr" saying that the 'Menengah IV' (Form 4) book had said it all (October 13th edition of the Borneo Bulletin).
However, I thought that the "Dr" had missed the point raised by the writer.
The writer was, in fact, asking why those basic points were not in the 'Menengah V' (From 5) book.
The reply from the Curriculum Department, which was published in the October 17th edition, was interesting enough.
But if the intention of the Curriculum Department was to prepare an MIB curriculum for a particular "class" (year), it would be helpful to have an "introduction" at the beginning of the chapters to say so rather than plunging straight into the subject matter. By doing so, readers will be able to understand that the contents in the book are intended for students of that year.
Whilst not wanting to join in on the debate on the subject but bearing in mind that MIB is hoped to carry us into the future (to forever be an MIB nation), I wonder how much relevance the curriculum would have to prepare the future generations in facing the real challenges that lie ahead. I sincerely hope so.
To me, MIB is about the survival of the nation - the survival of the Malay race, the Islamic religion and thus the Monarchy.
Let me take an example. The other day I was chatting about land in Brunei with a friend, who recalled how it was when Brunei was under colonial administration. Back then, the economy was agriculture-based. Rubber was grown with export in mind.
According to him, the British administrators offered land to whoever wished to grow rubber trees. But because the Malays then were not educated, they failed to realise the value of land. As a result, none took up on the offer. But some Chinese did, and they got acres of land - not five or ten, but hundreds! Now that rubber is no longer grown, the lands will surely be utilised for something else for their advantage if they applied to change the land condition. Of course, not much can be done by the authorities to reclaim the land.
Another thing that was brought up was concerning land belonging to locals, where ownership changed hands through "PA" prepared by lawyers; a reflection of our self-interest in getting short-term gains, not knowing that in the long run we are the losers.
The two cases are examples of how large chunks of our land are in the hand of foreigners. Not the fault of foreigners of course! It is our own fault for not being knowledgeable on such matters.
Patriotism is an example of MIB. Patriots will fight to keep their land intact. The question now is: "What is the relevant authority going to do so that similar cases do not happen again?" They can do two things: (1) Educate the public; and, (2) Enact certain laws and regulations. If they have done something then they have done a patriotic act. That is MIB.
Take another example: Consultants.
A number of people, including myself, questioned why there is a dearth of local consultants in the country and why must consultancy jobs be given to foreigners.
I was told the story of a local bank requiring a consultancy job. A local consultant offered to do the job for a sum of $2 million. It was turned down with the excuse that the local consultant wasn't good enough. In came a foreign consultant with a 10-million-dollar offer. Surprisingly, the offer was accepted! However, I was informed that the appointed consultant is now facing difficulty in finishing the job!
Many years ago we appointed a foreign consultancy firm to solve traffic flow problem in the capital which resulted, among other things, in a one-way traffic flow along some streets. We may recall a U-turn at an area near the present Jubilee Park. I recall some of those in the consultancy firm were just fresh out of the university/college!
Okay, let us accept the notion that the locals are not good enough at the moment. So, what is the authority in charge of manpower planning in the Public Service going to do about it to make consultants out of the locals, so that in the future we have our consultants in all fields?
Let us instil the culture of being proud to have our own consultants. Let's remember that there are verses in the Al-Quran to remind Muslims not to appoint the Christians and the Jews as their advisers!
Recently, a water tank (of which the construction was just completed) collapsed. What caused it to collapse? I believe an understanding on the subject "metallurgy" may hold the answer. Are there among us who went to university to study "metallurgy"?
The relevant authority must therefore be proactive and patriotic enough to prepare a roadmap for human resources development of the Malays. Anyone, whether in the public or private sector, who wishes to pursue higher education, must be given a chance.
This is going to take time. But if we were to survive in the future, we have to do it; otherwise the Malays will be left behind. It is heartening to note the administrative powers are at the moment in the hands of the Malays. But the future is a long time.
If we were to survive in the future, we must be masters of all the undertakings in the country and there must be a sufficient number of experts such as economists, doctors, lawyers, engineers and town planners, some of whom can be consultants. That's MIB.
Then there is the case of making sure all food products sold in the country are halal.
Someone wrote in the paper (October 3rd edition of the Borneo Bulletin) asking if marshmallows sold in the supermarkets are halal. The Public Relations Officer of the relevant Ministry, in his reply (October 24th edition of the Borneo Bulletin) revealed the shortcomings of the Ministry. Just because there are only two officers in the Section is not an excuse to not do much more. For example, they could issue a Newsletter, even once per month, to inform the public which products are halal rather than the public asking all the time. Bearing in mind products sold in the supermarkets are increasing every day and that some of the products come in packets with foreign writings (not even an English word to be read)!
To advise the public to be mindful of what they consume is not the answer for the Halal-Haram Section because it has an obligation to carry out a "Fardu Kifayah" duty for the nation.
Whatever happenned to the plan to build a dedicated halal test lab which appeared in the papers soon after the Golden Churn episode around September 2011?
We should remember that Allah the Almighty has ordered us to consume only halal food. I believe the Halal-Haram Section was created to ensure the "halalness" of products sold for public consumption. It should therefore be proactive and make every effort to carry out its duty. That's MIB.
Islam tells us to be charitable and to take care of the welfare of the "rakyat". We are proud to see an "increase" in charities shown by various agencies and institutions to help the less fortunate among us.
This is the month of Zulhijjah, the month for doing the "Sunat Mu'akad" sacrifice. In the past we imported (shipped) the animals from overseas. They may or may not have come from our ranches there (if we have any). But how sure are we of the security of supply? What would happen if something untoward was to happen to the ship? Wouldn't it be better if we have our own ranch locally?
That will ensure security of supply as well as self-sufficiency. Has the relevant authority ever considered this? This is an example of taking care of the welfare of the "rakyat" and that is MIB.
One of the basic requirements of a person is to have a home. So the long-term project of the relevant authorities would be to build enough houses for every family. But the houses under the government projects are getting smaller and smaller.
There are three things the Malays want of a house to be called a home: it has three bedrooms (for the parents, for the male children and the female children), it has enough space to receive guests for "suka duka", and it has a bathroom big enough to do cleansing of the dead.
The last requirement is the last thing in the mind of the planners.
What can be done to solve the problem if bigger houses cannot be built to keep the cost down? Possibly a "suka duka" hall to include a place for cleansing the dead to be built in every housing area. That is taking care of the welfare of the "rakyat".
To take care of the welfare of the "rakyat" is to make them satisfied and be gratified. On the other hand if the "rakyat's" welfare is not taken care of they might become unsatisfied and ungratified: they will become restless. Restlessness can affect peace and security of the nation, which in turn can retard development.
We shouldn't be too worried by the high cost, after all our wealth that we derive from our soil whether on shore of offshore comes from Allah the Almighty and it is to be spent wisely for the welfare of the "rakyat".
In Surah Al-An'am, Verse 132, Allah the Almighty says: "And to Allah belongs all that in the heavens and all that is on the earth. And Allah is ever All Sufficient and Disposes of Affairs."
We must have faith that Allah the Almighty will provide for us as long as we spend the wealth in His way. Of course we have to be prudent and spend wisely. The Al-Quran said those who are extravagant are friends of Satan.
Allah the Almighty provides to whom He pleases. But as long as we keep our faith in Allah the Almighty and practice His Directions and Commands, He knows that we are upholding the religion, Islam, He will help us with our provisions. Therefore if we are true believers, have faith in Allah the Almighty.
Allah the Almighty says in Surah Mohammad, Verse 7, of the holy Quran; "O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm."
There had been a number of directions set by His Majesty to uphold Islam; the Syariah Law, compulsory Islamic education, and recently the direction to temporarily close shops during the times when the Friday prayer is held.
But these are efforts directed by the Monarch himself to uphold Islam.
The question is what are the leaders of the Public Service doing to come up with proposals for similar directions? The Administration should therefore come up with a blueprint with proposals how Islam should be upheld. To do so they must be able to sit down together and make agreements by "masyurah". If a decision has been reached, then they must "bertawakkal" to Allah the Almighty.
To be able to do so, we must have capable leaders full of vision, leaders who show authoritativeness, leaders full of integrity, leaders who have experience and are respected by others. We hope they can come up with ideas that will uphold the teachings of Islam to ensure the survival of the Malays and the Monarchy.
They may need to study the MIB curriculum that is being ingrained into the minds of students, some of whom will become future leaders, to ensure that they are of the right kind.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin