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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

If I am the Prime Minister, I will…

Being Prime Minister is actually a big deal. In the fuzziness of the current situation, many things must be done. Actually, when I am on that position, I, legally speaking, can only control the executive field of the State. While there are three more field that holding different type of power in this country which is Legislation, Jurisprudence and Religious Affair.

So, first and foremost I will clean the cabinet that I’m leading from any misused or unsupervised power that they can use. To do this, I must select the trustworthy person that suits to seat on chair. By the theory, I will promote toward the nation about the principle in selecting the leader. Basically, it will be based on four characteristics which are Knowledgeable, Trustworthy, Capable and Responsible. Those characteristics of leadership are not only agreeable universally but also can be taken from the Revelation.[1]

Then, when all cabinet are filled with the capable one, it will be easier to proceed to the next step, which is the reformation of the system within the state itself. This must be done for the sake of people itself. But first, I must educate the peoples and also the elites about the principles and ethics in politic. This is crucial, as Prof. Tariq Ramadan had taught me, that the politics and ethics must not be separated.[2] The ground of the ethical framework on the politics can be built from universal agreement and also religions in this country. For that, the intellectual all around this country must then united and come to each other to discuss on this matter.

Then, the reformation on the practice of separation of powers on the executive, legislative, jurisprudence  and religions affair should be taken. The gist is which somehow to prevent the abuse of power of someone that holds that particular power on the state. It also to ensure the things can be properly put on its proper place, as mention by Syed Naquib Al-Attas, when he referring on the meaning of justice.[3] The Revelation also asks the believer to put the burden to whom is capable on, whom are adept on that trust.[4]

The reformation also should include the empowerment of human dignity of the peoples that live in this state. “Karamatul insan” or human dignity is one of the major themes in Holy Book.[5] Base on that reason, the empowerment must be taken seriously. This human dignity, for me, is including the equality, right and freedom of the peoples. For equality, God has extrinsically call upon the believers to treat peoples equally, as all the people are same and no status differences can be taken except by mean of God-Consciousness (Taqwa) which God alone can only judge it. This logically make the current system that is based on feudalism spirit, especially when it comes to monarchy system, are ultimately not valid in Islamic principle itself. To quote what Fethullah Gulen, one of the prominent Islamic intellectual in Turkey, has stress in his book, “The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, did not claim kingship, and his four immediate political successors followed his example. Kingship appeared when people grew remote from the Islamic spirit, and eventually this digression became a vehicle for oppression and despotism”.[6] Therefore the monarchy system must gradually abolish for the sake of justice, principle of Islamic political and people in this country.

Other than that, I would like to advocate the idea of new political framework that empowers the new development of strong civil society. Civil society can be define as, “the idea of a part of society which has a life of its own, which is distinctly different from the State, and which is largely in autonomy from it. Civil society lies beyond the boundaries of the family and clan and beyond the locality”.[7] This civil society can be the third force that can provide and conduct the mechanism of the check and balance toward the government and also help the government on the betterment of the state. For that, I will create the conducive atmosphere and let the society being independent to conduct what they believe. I also will refrain the government to taking side on any type of civil society, thus making the government being neutral but supportive on that field.  This is important as we live in the pluralistic society and we must have to respect and do justice regardless any colours, religions and races.[8]

As mentioned before, I must start educate the peoples on how they’ll conduct their political attitude. The education itself is one of the most powerful factors on developing the best nation. The policy of national education system should be reform to ensure that the culture of knowledge can be implementing to all people in this state. First, I would like to ensure all people in this country can get a proper education. This is because the acquisition of knowledge itself is something that primary in human rights. Islamic tradition also includes the protection of ‘aql as one of the five primary goal of the Shariah. One of the notable Islamic intellectual, Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, makes it’s clear that, to prevent one from being stupid or uneducated is also a protection toward human intellect faculty.[9] Also, the mastery of various science and skills is something critical, especially in the developing country like Malaysia.

To reform the education system, I must make it by mean of deliberatively and participative between all citizen, especially the academicians on how and what knowledge that we must promote. When we see from today perspective, the education system only acted as a factory that focusing on building the working class people. There is no more creativity; critical thinking and the philosophy of knowledge and education itself are seemed faded. Students are pushed to be exam-oriented. Their goal when graduate is to get a nice job, high salary and have a safe position. This is merely not humanistic; rather it is totally based on materialism worldview that poisons our mind. For that, I will make sure that the new system will suits the purpose of education, which is the “recognition and acknowledgement, progressively instilled into man, of the proper places of things in the order of creation such that it leads to the recognition and acknowledgement of the proper place of God in the order of being and existence”.[10]

On the economy field, basically I will start to rethink of our current economic policy that merely based on neo-liberal capitalism principle. It is such a shameful if we keeping stuck in this despotic system, which later will devastate this country. This policy is generally based on free trade, privatization of natural resource and basic human need, export-based economy and deregulation. This type of economic style only tenses the corruption and inequality in the economic field within this nation. God has condemn to whom that monopoly anything.[11] The circulation of wealth should be more inclusive and not only accumulate within the rich peoples. As for that reasons, I’ll start to encourage more socialistic economic policy which is more Shariah-friendly rather than keep the continuity of the despotic capitalism system.

The last but not least is the promotion of the new culture in the country. I would never imitate what our past leader had done especially when concentrating on the shell rather than the essence of the developed country. We can see in the past that our leaders tend to imitate the outer appearance of developed nation, but not the essence and progressive culture of it. For example, they built the high tower and many luxurious places just to show how “success” Malaysia is. This is just the act of buying the “ornament of success”, which is not the content or gist of the successful nation itself. As for that, I will implement the new culture which not actually the new one, but more progressive and based on the common shared values that upheld by all various societies within Malaysia. I’ll appoint the culture that based on knowledge, justice, liberty, pluralistic and progressiveness. This is important because we live in pluralistic society which upheld the zeitgeist of the new political era that more progressive than what in the past had. All this are compatible with the root of Islamic tradition itself.  With this development of the culture, the civil society that desirable and the success nation can be built. Together we create the “new we”.

[1] Holy Quran 12:55, 28:26
[2] On his speech entitle “Islam, Democracy & Human Right” at Penang, 17 July 2012.
[3] On his lecture entitle “Happiness & Justice” at UTM Kuala Lumpur, 23 February 2013.
[4] Holy Quran 4:58
[5] Holy Quran 17:70
[6] M. Fethullah Gulen (2005), The Pearl of Wisdom. New Jersey: The Light Inc., p.90
[7] Edward Shils (1992), “The Virtue of Civil Society”, Government and Opposition, vol.26, no.1, p.3.
[8] Holy Quran 5:8
[9] Yusuf Al Qaradawi (2006), Fiqih Maqshid Syariah. Jakarta: Pustaka Al-Kauthar, p.29
[10] Syed Naquib Al-Attas (1985), The Concept of Education. ISTAC, p.18
[11] Holy Quran 59:7

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