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Thursday, February 22, 2007


Bernama: Instilling Nationalism Through Jawi

By Melati Mohd Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Feb (Bernama) -- The Jawi script is very much a Malay heritage. It was once held in high esteem by the Malays who practised this calligraphic style in their writings that fanned nationalism across the archipelago, but it is fast forgotten now.

Jawi (Malay words written in Arabic calligraphy) was widely used, especially during the golden era of the Malay Sultanate of Melaka, from as early as the 15th century not only in matters relating to religion but also in all administration and cultural affairs.

Malaysians today have taken the Jawi script for granted and are probably not aware that up to the 1960's Jawi was widely used in the Malay language.

The Jawi script also played a significant role in fanning Malay nationalism and the struggle for independence with the emergence of countless periodicals and newspapers using the Jawi script as early as the 19th century.


The writer was overcome by nostalgia upon reading the Utusan Zaman newspaper dated Sept 1, 1957 (6 Safar, 1377).

'Merdeka', 'Merdeka', 'Merdeka' in Jawi were splashed across the front page accompanied by a prominent picture of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj at the independence proclamation ceremony.

Under the sub-title "Upacara Yang Bersejarah Dan Mengharukan Sekali, Meriah Dan Penuh Dengan Kegembiraan" (A Historic, Poignant and Grand Ceremony Filled With Joy), the significance of the proclamation of independence for The Federation of Malaya was highlighted.

The same edition's front page also published the content of the Proclamation of Independence signed by Tunku Abdul Rahman as the Prime Minister of The Federation of Malaya.

The proclamation states: Commencing on Aug 31, 1957, based on the agreement signed between the Queen and the Sultans of the states of Malaya, the Malay states of Johor, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu and Perak and also states previously known as the Straits Settlement of Melaka and Penang, should become a new federation known as The Federation of Malaya.

The proclamation of independence of The Federation of Malaya itself was prepared in Jawi.

Utusan Zaman was the Sunday edition for Utusan Melayu and both were very influential newspapers back then and solely used the Jawi script.

Utusan Melayu was first published in Singapore on Nov 7, 1907. The first edition of Utusan Melayu in Malaya was published on May 29, 1939 under the leadership of the late Yusoff Ishak (who became the President of Singapore from Dec 3, 1959 to Nov 23, 1970). Utusan Zaman began publication on Nov 5, 1939.

Important treaties between the Malay Sultans and the Portuguese, Dutch and British were also executed in the Jawi script.

Among these treaties was the Pangkor Treaty of 1874, which paved the way for British intervention in Perak.

Besides these documents, correspondence between the two parties were also conducted in the Jawi script.


The Jawi letters have been in existence in the Malay archipelago for centuries. It shares a strong bond with the Arabic script, which made its way to the Malay archipelago together with Islam, disseminated by Muslim traders and missionaries of Arab, Indian and Chinese origins in the 7th century.

Prior to the Arabic script, the Malays were using the "rencong (sharp-pointed) script" written on bamboo stems and leaves. This was followed by the "kawi" and "palava" writings, both of Indian origin.

With the coming of Islam, the Malays tried to use the palava or kawi characters to write about Islam, but both were unsuitable as they could not properly pronounce the verses of the Quran and Hadis.

"The situation prompted the Malays to experiment with Arabic characters. Hence, the Jawi script is truly the creation of the Malays even though it is based on the Arabic script," said Dr Hashim Musa, former lecturer with Universiti Malaya's Malay Studies Academy who has written a book, "The History of the Development of the Jawi Script".

He said the Malays eventually included several letters to conform with the Malay syllables, which are 'che', 'nge', 'pa', 'ge' and 'nye'. The letter 'vi' was later introduced in the 1990's by the Malay language custodian, Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.

The earliest evidence of the existence of the Jawi script was the discovery of inscriptions on a stone dated 702H (1303 AD) and according to Hashim, Sanskrit words could still be seen on the inscribed stone.

But the modern day Jawi script is due to the initiative taken to systematise the Jawi script by none other than Zainal Abidin Ahmad, the leading Malay literary figure or better known as Pendeta Za'ba, who produced the "Daftar Ejaan Melayu Jawi-Rumi" (Jawi-Roman Spelling Register), which he worked on in 1938 and only printed in 1949.


The dawn of the era of periodicals and newspapers written in Jawi began as early as the 19th century. It started with "Jawi Peranakan" published in Singapore in 1876, which became the first Malay newspaper in Malaya.

This was followed by various publications. Among the prominent ones besides Utusan Melayu and Utusan Zaman were Melayu Muda, Melayu Raya, Pelita Malaya, Perkhabaran Dunia, Perubahan Baharu, Saudara, Suara Melayu, Warta Kinta, Warta Malaya and Warta Negara.

Among the popular magazines that used the Jawi script was the well-known "Majalah Guru" (Teacher's Magazine), a voice for the Malay teachers who were the writers as well.

Teachers in those days played a crucial role in spearheading the independence movement through the publications where apart from articles related to the issues of the day, they also carried short stories and poems.

According to notes in the second edition of the Catalogue on Malay Magazines and Newspapers produced by the Malaysian Archives, Majalah Guru was published in six stages. This magazine was printed in Jawi from Nov 1, 1924 to Jan 1, 1950 and was continued in the Romanised edition until the end of 1968.

Another magazine, which was equally inspiring, was Warta Ahad that started publication in Singapore on May 5, 1935 by Warta Malaya Press Ltd. Its editorial line-up included Datuk Onn bin Ja'afar and Abdul Rahim Kajai.


Utusan Melayu was synonymous with the Jawi script. Its prominence before and after independence was undeniable. It's a pity that this newspaper's strong influence slowly diminished when Romanised writing became dominant especially after the declaration of the 1963 Official Language Act.

Former editor-in-chief of the Utusan Melayu Group Tan Sri Mazlan Nordin, when met recently at a forum here, stressed that Utusan Melayu played a very influential role in the rise of Malay nationalism.

He said, among others, Utusan Melayu forged the voice of the Malays to stand up against the Malayan Union and the Malayan Communist Party.

Mazlan, who was the editor-in-chief of Utusan Melayu from 1973 to 1982, said the newspaper also helped to champion the rights of the Malays who were being marginalised.

"In that respect, we must remember the role of Utusan Melayu and the Jawi script and also the other newspapers such as Warta Malaya and Majlis. We must be grateful to these Jawi newspapers for their significant role, especially on the road to independence," he added.


One of the independence figures from Melaka Datuk Wira Borhan Md Yaman also spoke highly of the dignified role of the Jawi-scripted Malay newspapers such as Utusan Melayu, Utusan Zaman and Warta Ahad (magazine) in instilling the spirit of independence.

"A lot of articles were written on current issues such as poverty and the backwardness of the Malays, besides analysing education matters and calling on all Malays to unite.

"The writings also touched on how inferior the Malays were under colonisation compared to their fate during the glorious days of the Melaka Sultanate. Those brilliant writers then were not adequately paid but they continued writing for their own satisfaction and for their sheer concern for the nation and race," said Borhan after recalling the great names such as Pendeta Za'ba, Pak Sako (Ishak Haji Muhammad) and Keris Mas (Kamaluddin Muhamad).

Another Jawi script advocate, Muhammad Mokhtar Taib or better known as Pak Matlob, shared Borhan's views.

"The newspapers highlighted the despondency of the people under colonisation and also the many weaknesses in society. Generally, the Malays at that time had only primary-level education and were only eligible to become office boys or clerks," said Pak Matlob who received the Exemplary Teacher Award on May 16, 1998.

According to Pak Matlob whom the writer met after the launching of a campaign to promote Jawi, here, recently, the critical writings became a push-factor for the Malays in their quest for independence and in the defence of their dignity.

"In those days, the Malays lacked self-esteem. The gap between those living in the villages and urban areas was glaring. The Malays then were mostly fishermen and farmers.

"Poverty was a big issue and the Malays realised that they could only change their fate through independence," said Pak Matlob who has penned numerous books for various levels, especially on the Jawi script.

Among the writers he admired was his own teacher from the Sultan Idris Teachers Training College (SITC), the late Ahmad bin Abdullah who wrote under the name of Ahmad Bakhtiar.

"His writings were sincere and in most of them he compared the life of the Malays with others', in a way to stimulate thinking," he said.

The Jawi script has indeed contributed immensely to the political and mental development of the Malays. Hence, it's only apt that the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry revive its glorious days. -- Bernama

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Faces of Terengganu

Check out my new mini online gallery. It's actually just a minor revamp of the old website though, nothing much. The first page is about our field trip to Terengganu during my uni days. But don't expect frequent update there. hehe :p
The Shins - Turn on me

Monday, February 19, 2007


The World is Flat and Globalization

I'm currently half way finishing off reading 'The World is Flat', a book written by award winning author, Thomas Friedman. It has been on my to-buy booklist since early last year and only managed to buy it few weeks ago. But anyway, it's all good. It's such a coincidence too that bits of the things that were written in the book are somehow related to my current job industry - Ajax, VOIP, etc. I'm not going to write much about the book though, but all i can say is that it is highly informative. If you want to get a glimpse of how globalization and the flat world works, then this book is a must.
Before reading this book, I had never thought that America too is under threat of globalization (after all they're the one who started it) - like the threat of losing traditional middle class jobs being outsourced to China and India; because I used to believed that globalization is basically just a one way street, meaning, from West to East, ie Western multinationals exploiting third world nation's natural resources, cheap labor force and such.
I like one section in the book on 'India versus Indiana: Who is Exploiting Whom?' where Tom posed an intesting question to ponder on;

..are those Indian engineers now exploiting the people of Indiana by offering to revamp their ... for much less money than an American consulting firm? Or were the people of Indiana exploiting those cheaper Indian engineers? Who is exploiting whom in this story?

With whom does the traditional Left stand in this story? With the knowledge workers from the developing world, being paid a decent wage, who are trying to use their hard-won talents in the developed world? Or with the politicians of Indiana, who wanted to deprive these Indian engineers of work so that it could be done, more expensively, by their constituents?

"Professor Sandel argued that what I called collaboration could be seen by others as just a nice name for the ability to hire cheap labor in India. You cannot deny that - when you look at it from an American perspective, But that is only if you look at it from one side. From the Indian worker's perspective, that same form of collaboration, outsourcing, could be seen as another name for empowering individuals in the developing world as never before.."

That particular case became a hot political issue a few years back between the so-called champions of free trade Republican and the pro-labor Democrats. To me, to put it in simple words of what the Indian consulting firm did, they beat the Americans at their own game. Same thing like what Indian steel giant, Lakhsmi Mittal did in Europe. Globalization is no more a one-way street. Yes. But, although I like and agree much of what being written in that book, I'm certainly not an advocate of free trade and open market, as what Tom self-declared in his book. There are things which I believe the government need to have a hand in business and trade. I believe in a controlled capitalism system. Not to be confused with a socialist type state-controlled economy. Or whatever term you wish to name it. For instance, China is no longer considered as a Communist state, as they are already extremely embracing capitalism now, or as what they call it the Chinese style political economy.
A totally open and free market system would only bring disaster to developing countries. There is absolutely no such thing as an absolute free trade, even the champions of free trade in America still practices protectionism, while at the same time demanding poorer countries to open up their market and lower their tariffs. A clear double standard! Well, not much of a surprise coming from America.


Hamas-Fatah dan Persetujuan Mekah

Satu analisis menarik daripada Zin Mahmud, wartawan Utusan tentang isu perbalahan Hamas-Fatah di Palestin yang berakhir dengan termeterainya Persetujuan Mekah yang dicetuskan oleh Raja Arab Saudi, Raja Abdullah. Walaupun masih banyak lagi usaha yang perlu dilakukan untuk memastikan hubungan baik Hamas-Fatah, tapi sedikit sebanyak dengan adanya persetujuan ini yang menggariskan beberapa aspek penting perkongsian kuasa dan penubuhan kerajaan campuran di Palestin akan dapat memberi sinar harapan baru kepada rakyat Palestin dalam merintis jalan damai. [baca lanjut..]
Suka saya memetik sebahagian tulisan beliau yang mengulas dari aspek sejarah negara Palestin yang telah diceroboh;

"..Hakikatnya walaupun Palestin tidak mengiktiraf Israel, tetapi rejim Zionis sudah menguasai Palestin. Begitu juga walaupun Israel tidak mengiktiraf Palestin, kerajaan Hamas sudah dipilih rakyatnya.

Bagi mereka yang menjunjung sejarah, Israel sememangnya tidak boleh diiktiraf. Tanah-tanah Israel itu adalah milik kedaulatan Palestin. Britain yang menguasai Palestin selepas kejatuhan Khalifah Uthmaniah ekoran Perang Dunia Pertama memegangnya sebagai mandat, iaitu amanah. Maka secara demokratik, ia perlu mengembalikannya kepada rakyat Palestin. Apabila rakyat Palestin mahukan sebuah negara merdeka dan berdaulat, maka itulah yang patut diwujudkan.

Tetapi selepas Perang Dunia Kedua, Britain menyerahkan mandat itu kepada Zionis untuk dijadikan Israel. Ia merupakan suatu pengkhianatan dan adalah zalim untuk sesiapa mengiktiraf Israel. [..]"

Sunday, February 18, 2007


The Shins, Arcade Fire and etc

Hooray, another new set of mass download via torrent during the past week! I think I seriously in need of an external hard disk. About 46.6% from my 150mb of harddisk space is used for my mp3 storage and I have only about 3.3% free space left. heheh :p

The Shins - Wincing the Night Away (2007)

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion
Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
Bloc Party - A Weekeend In The City
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Some Loud Thunder

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

The Shins - Turn on me

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Harry Lee, Tunku Abdul Rahman dan A. Samad Said

Semalam saya sempat menonton dokumentari, 'History of Singapore' di Astro. Ia adalah dokumentari 3 episod yang disiarkan tiga hari berturut-turut di Discovery Channel bermula Selasa lepas. Dalam siri kedua dokumentari tersebut,semalam, ada satu babak yang menarik perhatian saya, iaitu petikan video Lee Kuan Yew sewaktu kempen pilihanraya 1959. Apa yang menariknya? Lee Kuan Yew, atau Harry Lee (nama beliau sebelum menyertai politik), berucapdi atas pentas dalam Bahasa Melayu.. di hadapan ribuan rakyat Singapura yang majoritinya bukan Melayu. Antara petikan ucapan beliau yang sempat di dengar, di awal ucapan beliau, "Saudara, saudara..." "Merdeka! sekali lagi semangat.. Merdeka!"
Terharu mendengarkan ucapan beliau dalam bahasa Melayu, walaupun dapat mendengar beberapa patah cuma. Sesuatu yang sangat jarang hendak ditemui di mana-mana majlis (melainkan majlis kerajaan) walau di Malaysia sekalipun sekarang ini. Roh Bahasa Melayu kini umpama dicabut secara perlahan-lahan, semakin dipinggirkan, tidak lagi menjadi bahasa ilmu. Adakah Bahasa Melayu di abad 21 ini hanya layak sebagai bahasa perbualan, bahasa kedai kopi semata-mata?
Esok pula jam 8.30 malam di RTM - wawancara bersama Perdana Menteri Malaysia pertama, Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman. Wawancara ini dirakam pada tahun 1985, lima tahun sebelum beliau meninggal dunia. Inilah juga kali pertama rakaman ini disiarkan kepada umum.
Musykil juga, kenapa sebelum ini rakaman video itu tak pernah disiarkan?
Satu-satunya buku bertulisan jawi di rak buku saya, '13 Mei:Sebelum dan Selepas' tulisan Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman masih lagi belum di baca..Bila agaknya entah.
Petang tadi pulak beli buku terbaru karya SN A. Samad Said, 'Dari Salina ke Langit Petang' (Wira Bukit,2007) di Ujanailmu.
Sebuah buku autobiografi Pak Samad, yang mana menurut beliau;
Buku dari abad lalu..
"'Dari Salina ke Langit Petang' adalah satu-satunya buku saya yang tidak diulangcetak selama dua dekad. Sebagai sebuah autobiografi seni ia menekuni jalan awal saya ke dunia kesusasteraan sejak dekad lima puluhan abad lalu. Hampir tidak ada yang disembunyikan di sini sehingga jika seseorang rajin dan tekun menelitinya, ia akan sekali lalu dapat menyerapi dunia seorang sasterawan yang seniman dengan segala rahsia kehidupan dan seninya.
Dalam buku ini secara tekun saya cuba menjejaki kembali tapak-tapak awal saya meredahi ? dan kemudiannya melestarikan ? dunia kehidupan dan seni. Sejak awal seorang ibu menyuapkan nasi ke mulut anaknya dengan iringan kisah Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup membawa kemudiannya kepada anak itu sendiri mencari dan memilih pula bahan-bahan bacaannya, segalanya dirakamkan semesra mungkin dalam 'Dari Salina ke Langit Petang'.
..Selama dua puluh tahun buku ini terbengkalai secara "sia-sia". Kini ia mendapat nafasnya kembali. Dan memang pun saya berharap buku yang tertulis dalam abad lalu ini akan lebih bererti kepada pembaca dan penulis abad ini."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Tun Dr. Mahathir on leadership..

Petronas Twin Towers
..Petronas Twin Towers (one of the most important legacy of Tun Dr. Mahathir)
[Sony Erricson k750i.06-Feb-2007.8.05pm]
"I think if you want to develop a developing country, you need a real sense of direction. If somebody doesn't give you a sense of direction, everybody would be going all over the place and nothing could be done.

When you give direction, that direction may be wrong; but if you don't give direction, some of the things they do will be wrong. If you are going in 10 separate ways, nine of them would be wrong. It is far better to give direction, and if it is wrong, well, as you go along, you correct it.

When I decided to build a national car, people said it was 'stupid' - You are a Third World country, how can you build a car?' Well there were problems along the way, but as you go along, you solve [them]. That's what leadership is all about! If you don't know how to solve problems, then you shouldn't be a leader."
~Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Taken from Off The Edge magazine (Feb2007:issue26).

Other quotable quotes from Tun Dr. Mahathir in this blog;
Tun Dr. M on Srebrenica
Tun Dr. M on the US presidential elections
Tun Dr. M on 'trusting your memory'
Agh, damn it, I wanted to go to the War Criminal Forum, in PWTC! but that means I will have to skip work for that, which is.. not quite possible. Sigh.

Monday, February 05, 2007


The Mufti of Perlis on NST

Young, dynamic and outspoken Perlis Mufti, Dr. Asri Zainul Abidin, writes about the general misconception about Malay and Islam, following the outgoing debate on the media of the need of the Chinese Muslim community to build a Chinese mosque.

IN my observations, among the serious misunderstandings involving religion is the use of the term "Malay" as synonymous with Islam and "Chinese" with infidel.

There are Malays who describe a new Muslim convert as masuk Melayu (becoming Malay) or sometimes say that he is "not Muslim but Chinese!" For them, the Chinese represent the infidels and Malays embody the Muslims.

To make matters worse, some Malays label the converted Chinese as mualaf and, more disparagingly in the northern Peninsula dialect, Mat Loh.

Malays assume they are the only pure Muslims, although Chinese Muslims may have stronger faith.

To some Malays, Chinese Muslims are not authentic and are seen merely as hitchhikers.

However, many Chinese who have converted to Islam are more pious, while many Muslim-born Malays are of questionable devotion. Malay attire such as kain pelikat, baju melayu and samping are not the garments worn by the Prophet.

But Malays perceive their clothing as Islamic because it is from Malay culture.

Islam does not impede a culture which is not against its teachings. In the past, Malays perceived the use of chopsticks as wrong because it was associated with Chinese culture.

Actually, there is no difference between eating with one’s fingers or using cutlery, or chopsticks. The Prophet called on Muslims to invoke Allah’s name, use their right hand and only eat permissible food.

The Prophet once told a young Umar Abi Salamah when the latter was about to eat: "Dear child, say Allah’s name, eat with your right hand and consume what is close to you." (Hadith of al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Malays will normally
ask Chinese Muslims to change to Arabic names, as if the name Ah Chong, Ah Seng, Lim or Koh would mean they were unIslamic.

Maybe because such names do not sound Arabic, the Malays feel awkward about them.

Sadly, the Malays do not feel the same way about names such as Awang, Leman, Seman and others which are not Arabic either. In reality, there are many Malay names which do not have any meaning in Arabic and some have bad meanings if they are translated.

Still, it is all right for the Malays because they are, after all, Malay names.

Again, are Malays Islam and Islam Malays? The Prophet did not ask those who embraced Islam to change their names as long as they did not have bad meanings.

For instance, the name Umar was used during the pre-Islamic Jahiliyyah period and remained when the person became a Muslim.

I do not stop any Chinese Muslim from changing his name, especially if the new name will make him feel closer to the Muslim community.

Still, they must be given the choice to do so. If the changed names only make non-Muslim Chinese afraid of embracing Islam and fearful that their families will disown them, is it wrong for them to maintain their Chinese names?

If Awang can keep his name, why not Ah Chong?

An assumption that Islam mirrors Malay characteristics has dire consequences in many areas, especially when some Malays themselves act against the teachings of Islam.

Fortunately, most Malays still adhere to the teachings of Islam.

A strong faith is the saving grace in the hereafter.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that many Malays practice syirik (polytheism) and ridicule Allah’s commandments and the Sunnah (teachings of the Prophet).

These Malays are only Muslim in name.

From the perspective of history, the majority of the Chinese in Malaysia are non Muslims. The call of Islam does not seem to reach them. Perhaps this is because the
Malays have not effectively imparted the correct form of dakwah (missionary work).

Instead, many Malays portray an attitude that is against Islam.

Although the Malays can discuss many things with the Chinese, including the political party they should vote for, the Malays do not seem capable of presenting the greatness of Islam and inviting the Chinese to follow their religion.

Since many Malays contradict the teachings of Islam, the majority of the Chinese have misconceptions about Islam or abhor the idea of embracing Islam.

Islam is against negative traits such as laziness, apathy, envy and the like. Unfortunately, many Malays possess such attributes.

For instance, many Malay students are left behind in their studies. If they are set against the Chinese, either at school or university, many of the Malays will lag.

Also, most Malays are not interested in acquiring true Islamic knowledge. They would rather listen to Israiliyyat stories (derived from the Bible and Jewish folklore, used to help "fill in" the details especially when the passage is a narrative piece, which were traditionally deemed helpful or at least not harmful but could cloud the meanings of the Quran), fables and advice which are not founded in the Quran and Sunnah.

They prefer easy instruction without research and thought. At public libraries, the number of Malays using these facilities is still small. Chinese students diligently acquire knowledge, whereas many of their Malay counterparts are distracted by other things.

Some Malay parents will seek out blessed raisins and water for their children just before sitting for examinations to bring on good results. In the end, only those who study hard will excel, not the ones relying on blessed raisins and water.

The non-Muslim Chinese will reject Islam when they witness the Malays’ dependence on such practices but still fail to do well in their examinations.

Academically strong Muslims will not rely on water that was blessed with the Surah Yassin (one of the most important chapters in the Quran). Previous generations excelled because they stressed the importance of knowledge and were sincere in their efforts to acquire it. They were not merely focused on getting a certificate. Such qualities led to the creation of a powerful civilisation of knowledge in Islam.

Sometimes we as Muslims should praise the Chinese. Their children can still do well in their undertakings with neither high education nor paper qualifications. They either inherited the skills from their parents or from practical learning. Many successful Chinese businessmen are masters in their respective fields without having official paper qualifications. This trait is highly regarded by Islam. The religion urges its followers to rely on Allah and to increase their knowledge. In Surah Taha (verse 113) God says: "(Say Muhammad) Oh Lord, increase my knowledge."

Based on what I have mentioned above, how can the Malays bring the non-Muslim Chinese closer to Islam and convince them that Islam has shaped the Malays to become noble human beings? The Chinese businessmen are better managers and portray strong positive traits compared with their Malay counterparts — to the extent that many Malays have more confidence in Chinese businessmen than their own. Where are people like Abd al-Rahman bin Auf, a Muslim role model of doing business? Maybe the Chinese, the majority of whom are non-Muslims, have a keener insight into Abd al-Rahman’s business acumen than the Malays.

There is much else that I can say, to the point that I am inclined to think that if the Malays were not Muslim, there would be little else they can be proud of. If the Chinese can receive Islam in its true form, they will have much to offer.

See his ceramah videos posted on youtube as well. ;)

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Quote of the week

"The government is careful in spending money because it has very little money. It(the plane) was not bought by the government, it was bought by somebody else. That somebody else is 100 percent owned by the government," he added.

Tun Dr.Mahathir, in his usual sarcastic views, was replying a comment made by Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi when he denied the government bought the RM200 million jet.

"Why do we (the government) have to buy aircraft? If we buy, we have to undertake repairs and expend on many other things. "If is preferable to lease, and when there are repairs to be made, the lessor has to provide a replacement aircraft for our use," he told reporters on Monday. Abdullah had pointed out that Penerbangan Malaysia stood to gain from the lease, just as it earned from the lease of aircraft to MAS.

Let's have a look at Dato' Kadir Jasin's analysis on this issues. Read up his blog for more details.

1. PM kata kerajaan tak beli tapi sewa;
2. Yang beli adalah Penerbangan Malaysia Berhad (PMB);
3. PMB adalah anak syarikat milik penuh Khazanah Nasional Berhad (KNB);
4. KNB dimiliki kerajaan melalui Menteri Kewangan Diperbadankan (MKDp - Minister of Finance Incorporated);
5. Pengerusi KNB adalah PM;
6. Menteri Kewangan adalah PM;

The interesting thing about this issue is that, it was first brought up in the internet by bloggers, not from the mainstream medias. And I think that shows how greatly the influence of blogs in Malaysia. This is the second time in which the government replies from an issue that came up from blogs. The previous was the controversial RM3 million Turkish yacht. One issue after another, Pak Lah's credibility as Prime Minister is slowly crumbling.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Mat Salleh, The Man Who Antagonised The British

"That night he (Mat Salleh) and his wife fled. He did not die here. The one died here is not Mat Salleh but his deputy. My grandmother stated that my grandfather himself saw Mat Salleh making his escape.

"However, my grandmother did not reveal where Mat Salleh died," said Petrus to Bernama.

Another interesting piece of historical finding. So Mat Salleh didn't get killed and managed to escape? I hope Petrus grandmother's version of story is reliable enough to convince local historian and the public.

By Nashir Mansor (via Bernama)

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 31 (Bernama) -- Till today nobody knows the fate that befell Datu Muhamad Salleh Datu Balu a.k.a Mat Salleh after he led an uprising against the British in Tambunan near here more than 100 years ago.

According A.R Dunlop, the man who led the British North Borneo Chartered Company's (BNBCC) troops during the assault on Mat Salleh's fort in Kampung Tibabar, Tambunan, 81 km from here, he died there after a bullet hit his temple.

Dunlop who later became a historian stated in his records that the incident occurred on 31 January 1900.

Though more than a century has passed, Petrus Podtung Kuyog, 73, from Kampung Tibabar, the grandson to one of Mat Salleh's followers, begged to differ on the fate that befell the warlord.

Petrus asserted that he could clearly recall the accounts narrated by his grandmother, Giok, on Mat Salleh's fate.

"That night he (Mat Salleh) and his wife fled. He did not die here. The one died here is not Mat Salleh but his deputy. My grandmother stated that my grandfather himself saw Mat Salleh making his escape.

"However, my grandmother did not reveal where Mat Salleh died," said Petrus to Bernama.

Petrus stated that his grandfather Panjuran Bungkahou was one of Mat Salleh's faithful followers involved in the skirmish with the Sikh and Dayak soldiers of BNBCC. In the incident Panjuran was shot on the right toe.


Mat Salleh and his followers were hunted down by the BNBCC troops following the murder of two Dayak businessmen in Mat Salleh's settlement in Sungai Sugut.

Mat Salleh who was to succeed his father as the head of Sungai Sugut settlement, however denied that he was behind the murders. It was believed that his followers were involved.

Being the head of the settlement his father collected taxes from traders who came there to trade and at the same time protected the local traders from being exploited. But Mat Salleh and his followers were unhappy that the poll tax and the boat tax on local traders plying Sungai Sigut imposed by BNBCC diminished the rights of the locals.

When attempts by Mat Salleh and his followers to meet Governor Charles Vandelleur Creagh in Sandakan over the murder and the tax were rejected by the company, Mat Salleh was left dejected and knew that the company was up to something.

Mat Salleh was proven right when on 29 August 1895 the company sent troops to Pulau Jambongan to arrest him on allegations that he created a ruckus in Sandakan.

Mat Salleh's village was attacked, robbed and the houses razed with many of his personal belongings confiscated. Nevertheless, Mat Salleh managed to escape and BNBCC offered a $500 reward for anyone who captured Mat Salleh, dead or alive.


Following the incident, Mat Salleh declared a war on the company and launched a series of attacks on the company's interests in Ulu Sugut between August 1895 and September 1896. Mat Salleh and his followers attacked and destroyed a settlement in Pulau Gaya on 9 July 1897.

However, the odds did not favour him in Ranau where he was defeated on 5 January 1898. After a peace negotiation in Palatan, Ulu Menggatal, with William Clark Cowie, BNBCC's Managing Director in London, Mat Salleh agreed to retreat to Tambunan and he set up his base there.

During the negotiation Mat Salleh is said to have told Cowie: `At any rate, you will have to admit that your company cannot prevent us from dying for what we think as our rights.

However, peace was short-lived when BNBCC decided to set up its administration centre in Tambunan, a move that violated the agreement reached between Mat Salleh and Cowie.

According to available historical facts and the verbal accounts handed down by Petrus' grandmother, Mat Salleh declared that he was the sole ruler of Tambunan and with the backing of the majority of the Dusun Tagas people he revolted against the British authority.

Tregonning K.G in his book `Under The Chartered Company Rule' (1958), stated that Mat Salleh had more than 1,000 followers from the Dusun community and 300 from the Bajau when he set up forts in several locations in Tambunan. Among Mat Salleh's followers were Mat Sator, Mat Daud, Kamunta, Santara and Langkap but their details remain sketchy.


According to Petrus, when Mat Salleh and his followers first reached Kg Tibabar, he was well received by the villagers who were unhappy with the tax imposed by the British company.

It was compulsory for the villagers to pay a poll tax of $1.50 that according to Petrus is equivalent to RM1,500 today. The villagers were against the tax as it involved a hefty sum.

Mat Salleh and his followers made their way into the hearts of the villagers by showing high respect to the villagers.

He is said to have met the village head beforehand, but it could not be ascertained what transpired in their meeting, before setting up fort in the village.

"When Mat Salleh arrived here, he met with the village head and asked for permission to set up a fort. The kampung folks must have agreed. How can an outsider set up a fort here if the villagers did not agree to it in the first place," asked Petrus, describing Mat Salleh and his followers' arrival as related by his grandmother.

Though the Tambunan dwellers at that time were not adherents of any faith and knew that Mat Salleh is a Muslim from the Suluk and Bajau ethnicity, they received him with an open heart.

The support from the Kadazandusun, especially from the Dusun Tagas sub- ethnic group in Tambunan, is nothing new for Mat Salleh because he also enjoyed their support previously when he set up forts in Sungai Sugut and Ranau.


According to Petrus, he too believes like what his grandfather said that Mat Salleh did not die at his stronghold. Had not Mat Salleh escaped from the village, the villagers would have fought along with him until the end.

"The villagers knew that he was fighting for their rights. He himself was not in favour of the poll tax imposed by the British. He also wanted to defend the rights of the indigenous people," said Petrus. Mat Salleh's struggle and valour, and the fact that the different ethnic groups united under him, is something that Petrus will never forget in this life.

Historians like D.S Ranjit Singh described Mat Salleh as an exemplary figure for the coming generations due to his courage and the principles he espoused.

Though there is no official record on what happened to Mat Salleh after the Kampung Tibabar confrontation, the only reminder of his legacy today is the memorial in this village built to honour him.


Lima Tahun

shahnon's weblog version 3 (2002)
..weblog version3 (Dec 2002)
Today marks the fifth anniversary of my online presence on the world wide web. I still find it amazing how fast time flies by. It all started with just a personal website back in February 2002 and in September of that same year I started to blog, manually. You name it, I've tried most of the popular free web hosting services back then, from tripod to geocities to pitas blog and finally, blogger and my own domain name.
Farhan, sambung la tulis blog balik. hoho.
These are few interesting quotes on 'time' which I found on the web;
"There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time." ~Napoleon I, Maxims, 1815
"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." ~Carl Sandberg (


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