Friday, December 14, 2007

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Internal Security Act

1. Introduction

While the lifting of the 1948-1960 State of Emergency signalled the substantive defeat of the communist insurrection, never-the-less the government, on the basis of Article149 as amended, proceeded to enact the 1960 Internal Security Act (ISA). Rather than being merely an extension of the 1948 Emergency Regulations, regarded as extraordinary measures which automatically lapsed on an annual basis, the ISA was a permanent law, and gave the Executive sweeping powers including the ability to deprive a person of his or her liberty indefinitely without trial solely for ‘preventive’ reasons, and to prohibit meetings, ban publications and exclude books and periodicals.

The ISA’s preamble referred to a situation in which ‘action has been taken and further action is threatened by a substantial body of persons both inside and outside Malaysia cause a substantial number of citizens to fear, organised violence against persons and property; procure the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of the lawful Government of Malaysia....' ( emphasis added).

In the first instance, therefore, the authorities justified the ISA as necessary to effect the ‘mopping up’ of the communist guerrilla threat or, in the mid-1970s, to check a feared resurgence of armed insurgency in the context of communist advances in Indochina. Additionally, for many years the government asserted that the underground tactics of the proscribed Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and its suspected infiltration of various front organisations could only be effectively countered through the use of the ISA. However these justifications became progressively weaker over the years - and lost all credibility with the signing of a formal peace treaty with exiled remnants of the CPM in Thailand in 1989. In recent years the government has evoked the memory of the 1969 ethnic riots and emphasised the maintenance of inter-communal harmony as a justification for maintaining the extraordinary powers extended by the ISA. However this position has been increasingly open to question as inter-communal tensions have receded in the context of sustained economic growth and increased prosperity.

In 1996 the government, indicating that the scope and frequency of ISA detentions had waned, announced that there were no longer any ‘political’ ISA detainees, and that all the remaining ISA detainees, reportedly numbering fewer than 230, were held for offences involving identity paper forgery and the ‘smuggling’ of illegal migrant workers. The last six remaining communist detainees were reported to have been released in 1995.(18)

The Internal Security Act (ISA) remains the core of the permanent, arbitrary powers to detain without trial available to the Executive. The arrest of Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters under the ISA in late 1998 shows the potential for this restrictive legislation to be used at any time against anyone for the peaceful exercise of their human rights.

As with other restrictive laws in Malaysia, the ISA, through a series of amendments, has incrementally extended Executive powers, while stripping away the judicial safeguards designed to protect against their abuse. Now, once a person is detained under the ISA, he or she has no effective recourse to legal protection, nor any opportunity to establish their innocence of the accusations levelled against them. As such the ISA is contrary to fundamental principles of international law, including the right to liberty of the person, to freedom from arbitrary arrest, to be informed of the reasons for arrest, to the presumption of innocence, and to a fair and open trial in a court of law.

The broad terms of the ISA fail to provide any precise definition or criteria for determining which individuals pose a danger to state or public security. The Executive has been given permanent, unfettered discretion to determine, according to their subjective interpretation, who, what and when a person or activity might pose a potential threat to the wider national interest, national security or public order - and to order indefinite detention without trial.
Beyond the violation of basic rights experienced by particular individuals, the ISA has had a wider, intimidating effect on civil society, and a marked influence on the nature of political participation and accountability in Malaysia. The ISA has been used to suppress peaceful political, academic and social activities, and legitimate constructive criticism by NGOs and other social pressure groups. It limits the political space for important debates on issues of economic policy, corruption and other social challenges.

Amnesty International has repeatedly called for the repeal of the ISA, or, at the very least, for its amendment to bring it in line with international standards. For over twenty years the organisation has called for the immediate and unconditional release of scores of ISA detainees whom it considered to be prisoners of conscience held solely for the peaceful expression of their political or religious beliefs. It has called for those other ISA detainees who may have advocated or been involved in violence to be either granted a fair, speedy and open trial, or else released. The organisation has also raised persistent serious concerns about patterns of grave ill-treatment, at times amounting to torture, of those detained under the law.

The authorities have continued to defend the ISA in recent years, arguing that it is used less and less against ‘political’ figures, but that it remains an essential deterrent to maintain stability in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society. Various reform proposals have been aired by ministers, including, in February 1996, potential amendments that would define offences to be covered by the Act (espionage, incitement to racial and religious hatred, economic sabotage and falsifying identification and travel documents). However such reform proposals have not been taken forward.

2. The Powers
(A) Detention Orders
Under the terms of Section 8 of the ISA the Minister of Home Affairs (Interior Minister) has the right to have any person detained if he is satisfied that the detention is necessary to prevent the person from,

‘s8(1) ...acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof...’ The Minister is empowered to ‘make an order’ directing that person to be detained for any period not exceeding two years. The detention order may be renewed indefinitely.

(B) Warrantless Arrests: The 60-day Interrogation Period
Additionally, Section 73(1) of the ISA allows the police to arrest without a warrant and detain pending enquires, for a period of up to 60 days, any person ‘in respect of whom [the police officer] has reason to believe,

"a) that there are grounds which would justify his detention under Section 8; and b) that he has acted or is about to act or is likely to act in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof."

Any person arrested in this manner may be held for up to 60 days if an officer above the rank of Deputy Superintendent reports the circumstances of the arrest and detention to a police officer designated by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), and if that officer deems that the inquiries cannot be completed within 30 days.

Since the initial powers of arrest can be exercised lawfully by any police officer without a warrant, the potential for abuse of police powers, especially by the Special Branch (security police) is largely unrestricted. If, after 60 days, the police choose not to submit grounds to the Minister, and a detention order is not issued, the detainee is released.

(C) Restriction Orders: The Denial of Rights of Association, Expression and Movement
Additionally, under Section 8(5) of the ISA the Minister may impose on any person in respect of his activities, freedom of movement, or places of residence or employment, a restriction order containing any of the following restrictions and conditions;

"b) for prohibiting him from being out of doors between such hours as may be specified in the order...;

c) for requiring him to notify his movements in such manner at such times and to such authority or person as specified in the order;
d) for prohibiting from addressing public meetings or from holding office in, or taking part in the activities of or acting as adviser to any organization or association, or from taking part in any political activities; and
e)for prohibiting him from travelling beyond the limits of Malaysia or any part thereof specified in the order..."

Restriction orders, covering a period of up to two years, may be renewed indefinitely.

(D) Controls on Printing and Publications
Additionally, Section 22(1) empowers the Minister to ban the printing and circulation of publications that are deemed prejudicial to security and public order. He may do so if he finds that the publication,"

f) contains any incitement to violence;
g) counsels disobedience to the law or any lawful order;
h) is calculated or likely to lead to the breach of the peace, or to promote feelings of hostility between different races or classes of the population; or
i) is prejudicial to the national interest, public order, or security of Malaysia.

(E) Mandatory Death Penalty: Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives
Section 57 of the ISA prescribes a mandatory death penalty for certain offences to be tried in court,

"(1) Any person who without lawful excuse, the onus of proving which shall be on that person, in any security area carries or has in his possession or under his control -
a) any firearm without lawful authority therefor: or
b) any ammunition or explosive without lawful authority therefor,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall, on conviction, be punished with death."
(see page 26: Nallakaruppan case)

3. The Safeguards
After arrest by police, the authorities have no legal obligation to inform individuals held under the ISA of the allegations against them until the end of the 60-day investigation period. During this period detainees are held incommunicado, mostly in solitary confinement. Especially in the first weeks of detention access to legal counsel and to family members is denied - though family visits may be permitted during the later stages of police custody.

The failure to notify detainees of the reasons for their detention and the denial of access to their families and lawyers is in contravention of international standards, including the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.(19)

(A) The Advisory Board.
After a maximum of 60 days detention, the Minister is required to sign a detention order, having referred to police reports, including findings of interrogations, which he may or may not take into account. The detainee has the right to see a copy of the order, along with a statement of the grounds on which the order is made and the allegations of fact on which the order is based.

Article 151 of the Constitution requires that any law sanctioning preventive detention should contain provisions which allow the detainee the opportunity to make representations to an Advisory Board, made up of three members appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (advised by the Cabinet), and including a judge or retired judge. This is reflected in the provisions of the ISA (s.11). Under a 1989 amendment the provision (s.12.1) that the Advisory Board had to make a recommendation within three months of a detainee’s representation was altered to allow undefined periods before recommendations had to be made to the King. Having made a recommendation the Advisory Board is required to review the detainee’s case every six months. This practice reportedly has often not occurred.

Under the ISA, unlike under the 1948 Emergency Regulations, the Advisory Board does not have the power to order the release of a detainee, but can only make recommendations for release or continued detention to the King at his discretion. The decision of the King is final and cannot be called into question by any court.

The effectiveness of the Advisory Board as a safeguard against abuse of ISA powers is further weakened by the fact that past judicial rulings have held that the vagueness or insufficiency of the allegations of fact on which the grounds for detention are based cannot render a detention order unlawful. To a great extent the assessment of the grounds for detention by the Advisory Board is influenced by the findings and recommendations of the police Special Branch, at times based on confessions extracted during prolonged and aggressive interrogation, often involving ill-treatment amounting, at times, to torture (see page 27). Given these circumstances a number of ISA detainees have refused to participate in the Advisory Board review process.

(B) Judicial Review: Rendering Habeas Corpus Ineffective
The writ of habeas corpus is a key safeguard, recognised in international law, upholding the right of liberty of the person by ensuring the legality of administrative detention through a judicial review and determination. Article 5(2) of the Constitution reflects Principle 32(1) of the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, which states:

‘A detained person or his counsel shall be entitled at any time to take proceedings according to domestic law before a judicial or other authority to challenge the lawfulness of his detention in order to obtain his release without delay, if it is unlawful.’

In Malaysia a series of progressively restrictive legislative amendments, parallelled by judicial rulings interpreting these laws, have rendered the writ of habeas corpus essentially meaningless in relation to ISA detainees.

Malaysian judicial rulings and case law have established the principle that once the Minister determines the necessity to detain a subject pursuant to a valid detention order, the courts cannot ‘go behind’ that order, i.e. the courts cannot and will not question the basis for detention. This applies when grounds for detaining a person adduced in court are not the same as those contained in the original detention order. Thus, the subjective finding of the Minister cannot be challenged unless it was given male fide - in bad faith(20). The onus of proving improper motive or male fides on the part of the authorities lies on the detainee.(21)

The scope of judicial review, including habeas corpus, was weakened further in 1989 when Parliament passed amendments to the ISA that prevented acts of the Minister taken under the ISA being brought into question by the courts. Section 8B(1) as amended read,

"There shall be no judicial review in any court of, and no court shall have or exercise any jurisdiction in respect of, any act done or decision made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Minister in the exercise of their discretionary power in accordance with this Act, save in regard to any question on compliance with any procedural requirement in this Act governing such act or decision."

Dr Mahathir said only the government was able to determine, from information it received, what action was necessary to preserve the country’s stability and security and that,

"It is not appropriate for us to follow the practice in other countries where courts play an interventionist role in substituting the decisions of the Executive as this is against the concept of ‘separation of powers’ between the Executive and the Judiciary. "(22)

In December 1997 two Muslim academics, Professor Lupti Ibrahim and lecturer Fadzullah Shuib, who had been detained the previous month under the ISA because of the practice of their Shi’a faith (see page XX), had their habeas corpus petitions upheld after the court recognised a procedural error - a copy of the ISA police detention order had not been dated. The two were immediately re-arrested on leaving the court house and returned to detention under a new ISA order.

The only previous effective application for habeas corpus had been that of Jamaluddin Othman who was arrested in October 1987 (Operation Lallang) and served a two-year detention order for alleged involvement in a plan to propagate Christianity among Malays. The grounds for detention stated only that the respondent had participated in Christian meetings and seminars, and in October 1988 the High Court ruled that the Minister has no power under the ISA to deprive a person of his constitutional right to profess and practice his religion (Article 11). The ruling was upheld by the Federal Court.

4. The Detentions

(A) 1960 - 1980
The first two decades of the ISA were marked by the campaign against the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) and their suspected sympathisers. However the use of the ISA went beyond suppressing communist insurgency and their supporters and extended to a far broader spectrum of political activity in Malaysia. The use of the ISA in this period was extensive: the number of people arrested and detained under the Act rose from 1119 between 1960 and 1969, to 1713 between 1970 and 1979.(23) Detainees included hundreds imprisoned for peaceful political activity with periods of detention ranging from a few months to up to 12 years.(24)
During the 1960s the principal multi-racial left-wing party, the Labour Party of Malaya, which mainly recruited from among the Chinese working-class, was weakened by a series of ISA arrests, as was its initial partner in the Socialist Front opposition alliance, the Party Sosialis Rakyat Malaysia (PSRM). By 1978, of the approximately 100 ISA detainees at the Batu Gajah detention camp, at least 22 were Labour Party activists arrested in the mid- and late 1960s. Additionally, during the 1963-5 Confrontation with Indonesia, opposition party members, particularly those belonging to the Socialist Front, were subject to arrest. The government, dominated by UMNO, claimed that most of the detained members of the Socialist Front were communist sympathisers.

In the aftermath of the 1969 racial riots the leader of the ethnic Chinese based opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) Lim Kit Siang was detained under the ISA in 1970. In 1976, amid factional tensions within UMNO, six senior politicians, including two government ministers, two DAP parliamentarians, and the PSRM chairman, were arrested. Police stated the men had been detained,

"...because of their involvement in the activities of the Communist United Front or in activities which could be regarded as assisting the advancement of the Communist United Front, whether directly or indirectly, deliberately or unknowingly".

In 1971 the ISA was amended to allow the detention of anyone perceived to be a threat to the essential services and economic life of the country. The Socialist Front was active in a resurgence of trades union activities, and party members and unionists were vulnerable to ISA detention. One trade unionist, Chang Ben San, was held for nine years after being arrested in 1969. In February 1979 22 members of the Airlines Employers Union (AEU) were detained under the ISA after a pay dispute at the state-run Malaysian Airline System (MAS) had led to a work to rule and a government order to deregister the union. The police announced that the unionists were being held to prevent them continuing to act in a manner ‘prejudicial to the maintenance of an essential service’. They were released in April 1979 but the de-registered union became defunct. (see page 52, Trades Union Act)

In 1974 amid increasing student protests in Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere, in solidarity with evicted Malay urban squatters and impoverished farmers in Baling in the north of the Peninsular, the authorities arrested over a thousand students for illegal assembly on university campuses and at the National Mosque. Over 20 students, academics and government critics were also arrested under the ISA in late 1994, including University of Malaya Professor of Anthropology Syed Husin Ali, who was detained for six years, and also then President of the Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM), Anwar Ibrahim, who was held for 22 months.(see page 48, Universities Act)

In 1976, in a move that was to have a long-lasting effect on press self-censorship in Malaysia, Ahmad Samad Ismail, the managing editor of the New Straits Times (NST) newspaper, and Samani Mohd Amin, News Editor of Berita Harian, were arrested under the ISA, allegedly for involvement in a communist subversion plot to weaken the belief in religion among Malays and convert them to communism.

(B) The 1980s and Operation Lallang (October 1987)
When Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad took office in 1981 there were indications of a more liberal approach by the authorities toward peaceful dissenting activity. In 1982 Amnesty International welcomed the release of at least 168 ISA detainees during the Mahathir premiership.

The apparent decline in the number of ISA arrests during the 1980s raised hopes that the government might rely less on the ISA, but these proved illusory. In April 1987, against a backdrop of a sharp economic downturn and bitter factional divisions within UMNO, Prime Minister Mahathir only narrowly survived a leadership challenge by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in party elections. Tengku Razaleigh’s defeated faction appealed to the courts to declare the results void citing voting by ‘false’ delegates and alleged vote-buying. The High Court ruled that failure to register a number of UMNO branches, as required under the Societies Act, made UMNO an illegal organisation and that no new elections could be held until lawfully constituted organisations were created.

Amid this political crisis, Dr Mahathir, citing signs of rising ethnic tensions,(25) ordered the launch in October 1987 of Operation Lallang (‘Lallang’ means weed). In this operation 106 people across a wide political and social spectrum were arrested under the ISA, accused of provoking racial and religious tensions. Those detained included 15 members of PAS, DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh and seven other DAP parliamentarians, two PSRM leaders and 16 members of the Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition. Other detainees included trade unionists, Chinese educationalists, Islamic teachers and Christian church and community workers and activists. At least 40 of the 106, none from the BN, were given two-year detention orders, and were adopted by Amnesty International as prisoners of conscience. The last detainees to be released, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang, and his son parliamentarian Lim Guan Eng, were set free in April 1989, several months after the other remaining Lallang detainees. Attempts to question the validity, through judicial review, of the Executive’s grounds for the detention of individual Lallang detainees had proved almost completely ineffective.

(C) The 1990s
With the release of the final Lallang detainees in 1989, the numbers of political ISA detainees continued at low levels during the early 1990s. However the ISA continued to be used periodically against political and religious activists and other individuals regarded as a potential threat to national security or to the national interest. For instance, in 1991 Sabah Chief Minister Joseph Pairin Kitingan’s brother, Jeffrey Kitingan, and six other members of Bersatu Sabah Party (PBS) were detained under the ISA for alleged involvement in a plot to withdraw Sabah from the Federation.

Al Arqam
The Muslim Al Arqam group, a mystical Sufi sect derived from within the Shi’a tradition, had an estimated 10,000 members and over 100,000 followers in Malaysia by the early 1990s. The group ran a extensive network of schools and communes, and had broad business interests. In 1994 the government accused Al Arqam of preaching ‘deviationist’ Islamic teachings and made charges, never substantiated, that the group was training over 300 ‘holy warriors’ in Thailand for presumed use against the state. In justifying its suppression officials stated the sect not only posed a threat because of ‘deviationism’, but also because it was ‘developing in isolation from the mainstream of Malaysian society’.(26)

In August 1994, after the National Fatwa Council (the highest authority on Islamic law in Malaysia) ruled that the teachings and beliefs of the group contravened Islamic practice and tenets, the government declared Al Arqam unlawful under the Societies Act (see page 45). Some 150 members were subsequently arrested as a result of the banning, but were released on bail.Seven senior members were detained under the ISA, including Al Arqam leader in exile Ashaari Muhammad, who had been handed over to Malaysian police by the Thai authorities in September 1994. In October 1994 Ashaari announced the disbanding of Al Arqam, saying that he had accepted the charges of ‘deviationist’ beliefs while discussing religious issues with police during his detention. Amnesty International declared the detainees possible prisoners of conscience held solely for the peaceful expression of their religious beliefs. The organisation’s concerns about possible ill-treatment of the Al Arqam detainees were confirmed when, during Anwar Ibrahim’s trial in November 1998, a Special Branch officer stated that ‘turning over’ techniques had been used against Al Arqam detainees.

All the Al Arqam ISA detainees were subsequently released, though most were subject to orders restricting their freedom of movement and association. In mid-1996, 18 former members of Al Arqam were detained under the ISA, and nine were served two-year detention orders on suspicion of attempting to revive the movement. All were subsequently conditionally released.

The minority Shi’a Muslim community in Malaysia is estimated to number approximately 2000 people scattered through the country. In November 1997 ten Shi’as, in various locations, were arrested under the ISA. Amnesty International declared the detainees to be prisoners of conscience, held solely for their peaceful activities and religious beliefs, and called for their immediate release.

Government minister Abdul Hamid Othman stated that such use of the ISA was appropriate as ‘religious disharmony is a national threat which places the country’s political and economic development at an unsafe position’. The detainees were reportedly placed under pressure in detention to renounce their beliefs and underwent ‘Islamic faith rehabilitation courses...aimed at making self-evaluation as a Malaysian Muslim citizen holding to the Sunni sect teachings’.

Three were released, subject to restriction orders, in early 1998, but seven, including Professor Lutpi Ibrahim, professor in Islamic studies at the University of Malaya, Fadzullah Shuib, lecturer at Mara Institute of Technology, Syed Sulaiman bin Syed Hassan, Zainal Adam, Said Muda, Ustaz Abdul Hassan and Che Kamarulzaman Che Ismail remained in detention. Six of the detainees were released in stages from late October 1998. The last Shi’a detainee, Che Kamarulzaman Che Ismail, was reported released in early 1999. All the men are reported to remain under restriction orders.

Other ISA arrests and threats
In December 1996 following the breakup of an international NGO forum on East Timor (see page 57), and a proposal by local NGOs to hold a ‘Public Tribunal’ forum to discuss alleged abuses of police powers (see page 47), Prime Minister Mahathir accused the NGOs of including ‘leftists’ and ‘traitors’.(27)

The Home Ministry threatened to detain participants of the proposed forum on policing under the ISA, forcing its cancellation. Dr Mahathir, commenting on the proposal, warned that the authorities might be ‘forced’ to use the ISA if the situation got worse, and that the ISA could not be abolished because of the existence of such ‘irresponsible people’.(28)

In April 1998, two Acehnese were arrested under the ISA for allegedly instigating riots in immigration detention camps in March, when large numbers of Indonesians from Aceh province tried to resist forcible deportation to Indonesia. One of these men was released after being detained incommunicado for 60 days without charge or trial, while the other, Razali Abdullah, was ordered detained for two years. He was released in January 1999.

In August 1998, four people were detained under the ISA for allegedly spreading false rumours, by forwarding messages through the Internet, of ethnic riots in Kuala Lumpur. They were charged in September under the Penal Code (s505b) for circulating statements likely to cause alarm, punishable with up to two years in jail, a fine or both. The accused pleaded not guilty, and the trials are continuing.

Additionally in September 1997, as the Asian financial crisis intensified, government officials threatened to use the ISA to detain local financial traders suspected of ‘economic sabotage’ by aiding foreign financial speculators to sell off stocks and the ringgit. No arrests took place.

(D) 1998: Arrest of Anwar Ibrahim, His Political Associates and Other Reformasi Supporters
Anwar Ibrahim with his wife, Dr. Wan Azizah© Reuters 1999

From Anwar Ibrahim’s detention under the ISA on 20 September 1998 until early 1999, Amnesty International recorded at least 27 other people arrested under the ISA. All are reported to have been released before the end of their 60-day interrogation period, and were not served detention orders and transferred to Kamunting detention camp. Some however, including Anwar Ibrahim, either remained in detention or were subsequently re-arrested, under separate criminal charges.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad dismissed Anwar Ibrahim from his posts as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister on 2 September 1998. The next day the police announced publicly that Anwar Ibrahim was under criminal investigation, and lodged at the High Court a number of affidavits alleging that Anwar Ibrahim had been involved in acts of sexual misconduct, tampering with evidence, bribery and threatening national security. The Attorney-General stated that, subject to investigations, Anwar Ibrahim could be held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) or charged under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the Penal Code, the Women and Girls Protection Act or the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Despite the threatened criminal charges facing him, public rallies in support of Anwar Ibrahim and of reformasi gathered momentum. On 20 September Anwar Ibrahim led some 35,000 demonstrators through the streets of Kuala Lumpur and called on Prime Minister Mahathir to resign. Later that night Anwar Ibrahim was arrested at his home. He was initially told he would be charged under the Penal Code s377B (see page 65), but a few hours later was informed he was detained under the ISA.

Subsequently, from 21 to 29 September 1998, police detained under the ISA 16 of Anwar’s political associates who were perceived to have potential political influence within UMNO and the wider Malay community, especially the Islamic student movement. The detainees included UMNO National Youth chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Negri Sembilan state UMNO Youth chief Ruslan Kassim; leaders of Muslim youth organisations, including Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM - Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia) president Ahmad Azam Abdul Rahman and National Muslim Students Association president, Amidi Abdul Manan. Additionally, Kamarudin Jaafar, the head of the Institute for Policy Development (IKD), a think-tank closely linked to Anwar; Professor Siddiq Baba, Student Affairs Rector at the International Islamic University; and Zulkifli Nordin, a member of Anwar’s legal defence team, were detained. Shaari Sungip, president of the Islamic NGO Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM), was detained on 13 October. Of this group all had been released by early November.

ISA arrests continued in October and in the following months, and appeared to expand from an original core of Anwar supporters to those who were suspected of organising the wider reformasi movement or coordinating the continuing reformasi demonstrations. They included UMNO Youth Culture Committee secretary Lokman Noor Adam and UMNO member Mohammad Khair Noor, arrested on 24 October, and UMNO member Abdullah Rasid Ahmad, arrested in 25 October. On 22 November, as he was being released from remand custody following his arrest for alleged illegal assembly on 15 November, Fadhillah Abu Bakr was detained under the ISA on suspicion of organising demonstrations. Similarly, businessman Monashofian Zulkairnan was arrested on 4 December under the ISA as he left a magistrate’s hearing after six days remand custody for alleged illegal assembly. In February 1999 a computer technician, Shaharudin Abdul Kadir, was reportedly arrested under the ISA on suspicion of links to the reformasi movement. Police are reported to have removed computer disks and hardware from his residence at the time of detention.

All of the above are reported to have been released from ISA detention before the end of the 60 day interrogation period, but some faced further charges. ISA detainee Lokman Noor Adam was released on 18 December, but re-arrested and charged in May 1999 with alleged refusal to disperse from an illegal assembly on 17 October 1998. If found guilty he will prohibited from holding any office in a political party or registered society, (see page 45 - Societies Act, and page 63 - Prosecution of Demonstrators).

On 23 September Anwar Ibrahim’s wife, Dr Wan Azizah, was served an ISA restriction order prohibiting her from holding gatherings in her home, speaking in public or carrying out political activities. Apart from family members, press and those with signed invitations, visitors were barred from entering her house and police roadblocks temporarily erected near her residence (see also page 39, Sedition Act). The government also issued a blanket ban against all demonstrations supportive of reformasi, and in late October officials warned that anyone attending an illegal assembly could be arrested and detained under the ISA. Demonstrations, however, continued.

Sunday, December 09, 2007



Sebuah stesen radio Jerman, DW, edisi Indonesia, pernah mengutip pandangan saya sewaktu stesen TV al-Jazeera bercadang membuka pejabatnya di Kuala Lumpur. Transkrip laporan radio itu diterbitkan di laman web DW pada 3 April 2006. Teks lengkap seperti di bawah:

Stasiun televisi Arab Al Jazeera yang bermarkas di Doha, Katar, akan memulai siaran internasionalnya, pertengahan 2006.

Rencana perluasan stasiun televisi Arab Al Jazeera menjadi stasiun internasional dengan bahasa Inggris mengundang kontroversi. Tapi, sejumlah pengamat media menilainya positif. Ada pandangan, sebagai stasiun siaran yang mengudara dari sebuah negara kecil di Timur Tengah, Al Jazeera tidaklah dibebani tekanan untuk menyiarkan berita dari perspektif tertentu. Seperti yang diungkapkan pengamat media TV Indonesia Veven Wardana:

Veven Wardana: “Munculnya siaran Al-Jazeera diharapkan dapat menjadi penyimbang perspektif. Jadi anggaplah siaran saat ini lebih banyak dari perspektif ’barat’, Al Jazeera ini dari sisi yang berbeda, sehingga dapat memberi informasi beragam bagi publiknya.”

Masalahnya, di Timur Tengah, Al Jazeera justru bermasalah karena pemberitaannya dinilai bias. Stasiun televisi yang berdiri tahun 1996 itu awalnya dielu-elukan sebagai tonggak kebebasan pers di Timur Tengah. Tapi, karena pemberitaan yang dinilai provokatif, misalnya saat meliput perang Irak, atau pemberitaan yang terlalu kritis terhadap pemerintah sejumlah negara Timur Tengah, Al Jazeera berulang kali dikecam dan bahkan menghadapi ancaman pembredelan. Wartawan Malaysia Fathi Aris Omar menilai, kontroversi bias media adalah hal yang wajar:

Fathi Aris Omar: “Semua media ada kepentingan dan kecondongan masing-masing, walau idealnya semua media harus objektif, harus fair dan balanced, namun dalam media bisnis hal itu sudah diperhatikan dan diperhitungkan.”

Saluran berita Al Jazeera International akan menyiarkan berita 24 jam sehari, 12 jam dari Doha, Katar dan masing-masing empat jam dari studio di London, Washington dan Kuala Lumpur.

Menurut Nigel Parsons, redaktur pelaksana Al Jazeera International, Kuala Lumpur terpilih sebagai lokasi studio regional karena di sana tersedia banyak tenaga kerja berbahasa Inggris dan biaya pengoperasian terhitung murah. Tapi, dapatkah Malaysia mentolerir standar jurnalisme ala Al Jazeera? Malaysia punya reputasi buruk dalam pengawasan ketat terhadap media. Tentang ini, Fathi Aris Omar:

Fathi Aris Omar: “Misalnya CNN, ada beberapa pengalaman, laporan-laporan CNN itu disensor atau dipersulit penayangannya, khususnya saat krisis politik beberapa tahun lalu.”

Menurut Fathi Aris Omar, selama pemberitaan Al Jazeera tidak menyentuh politik domestik atau kebijakan dalam negeri Malaysia, kemungkinan besar siaran Al Jazeera tidak bermasalah. Lebih-lebih karena Al Jazeera seakan muncul sebagai tandingan bagi dominasi media barat. Siaran perdana Al Jazeera Bahasa Inggris yang akan berlangsung pertengahan tahun ini, diperkirakan mencapai 30 sampai 40 juta rumah tangga di seluruh dunia. (reu/zer)


Al-Jazeera bukti kebebasan akhbar negara: Zainuddin
19-05-2006 08:14:25 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Pembukaan hub Al-Jazeera International untuk rantau Asia di sini membuktikan keyakinan dunia kewartawanan antarabangsa terhadap kebebasan media di negara ini, kata Menteri Penerangan Datuk Zainuddin Maidin.

Zainuddin berkata beliau dimaklumkan Al-Jazeera sebelum memilih Malaysia sebagai satu daripada lokasi untuk empat hubnya telah menjalankan kajian yang mendalam di beberapa buah negara.

"Akhirnya mereka memilih Kuala Lumpur atas pelbagai sebab termasuk kebebasan akhbar, kestabilan ekonomi dan politik dan lain-lain lagi," katanya kepada pemberita selepas menerima kunjungan Pengarah Urusan Al-Jazeera Network Wadah Khanfar di pejabatnya di sini hari ini.

Turut hadir pada pertemuan itu ialah Pengarah Berita Al-Jazeera International Steve Clark, wakil mereka di Malaysia Sohaib Jassim, Pengurus Besar Bernama Datuk Syed Jamil Syed Jaafar dan Setiausaha Bahagian Perhubungan Awam Kementerian Penerangan Resat Salleh.

Zainuddin berkata: "Al-Jazeera merupakan satu agensi berita bertaraf dunia yang setaraf dengan CNN dan BBC dan pembukaan pejabat mereka di sini merupakan sesuatu yang positif untuk negara kita."

"Walaupun mungkin mereka akan melaporkan perkara yang baik ataupun buruk, tetapi apa yang lebih penting bagi negara kita ialah wartawan asing akan bertugas di negara kita, dan ini akan membantu mereka untuk memahami Malaysia yang sebenarnya," katanya.

Zainuddin berkata, Malaysia mempunyai banyak perkara yang positif termasuklah dalam soal keharmonian antara kaum, kebebasan beragama, pembangunan ekonomi dan juga masyarakat, dan semua itu menjadi tarikan kepada agensi berita itu untuk datang ke sini.

Katanya, pembukaan pejabat di Kuala Lumpur bukanlah suatu perkara yang remeh tetapi sebaliknya memerlukan perbelanjaan yang besar, dan tentunya pihak terbabit tidak akan datang ke sini kalau tidak mendapat maklumat yang menyakinkan.

"Pembukaan ini juga secara tidak langsung mampu untuk merealisasikan hasrat kerajaan untuk menjadikan Kuala Lumpur sebagai hub media dan menambahkan lagi jumlah media asing yang beroperasi di negara ini," katanya.

Al-Jazeera International dijangka akan memulakan operasinya di Kuala Lumpur bulan depan dan akan menyiarkan berita terutamanya mengenai Malaysia, empat jam sehari.

Berita dalam bahasa Inggeris itu akan dipancarkan dari Kuala Lumpur ke ibu pejabat Al-Jazeera di Doha sebelum dipancarkan ke seluruh dunia.

Zainuddin juga berkata, Al-Jazeera telah menawarkan untuk memberikan latihan kepada para wartawan Malaysia di pejabat mereka di sini dan beliau telah menerima tawaran itu dengan baik.

Katanya latihan itu mampu untuk meningkatkan lagi pengetahuan para wartawan tempatan serta mampu membantu memperbaiki lagi mutu penulisan dan laporan yang dibuat oleh mereka.

"Al-Jazeera mempunyai ramai wartawan daripada pelbagai bangsa dan keturunan yang mempunyai pengalaman luas dalam liputan berita, saya percaya latihan yang ditawarkan ini adalah berlainan daripada apa yang diadakan di negara ini.

"Ini secara tidak langsung tentunya akan membantu meningkatkan lagi keupayaan wartawan-wartawan di negara ini," katanya. BERNAMA

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sumbangan ayam Pahang kepada kajian virus dunia

HIV, the only retrovirus that most people have heard of, has caused more than twenty-five million deaths and infected at least twice that number of people since the middle of the twentieth century, when it moved from monkey to man.

It may be hard to understand how organisms from that same family, and constructed with the same genes, could have played a beneficial, and possibly even essential, role in the health and development of any species.

In 1968, Robin Weiss, who is now a professor of viral oncology at University College London, found endogenous retroviruses in the embryos of healthy chickens. When he suggested that they were not only benign but might actually perform a critical function in placental development, molecular biologists laughed.

“When I first submitted my results on a novel ‘endogenous’ envelope, suggesting the existence of an integrated retrovirus in normal embryo cells, the manuscript was roundly rejected,’’ Weiss wrote last year in the journal Retrovirology.

“One reviewer pronounced that my interpretation was impossible.’’ Weiss, who is responsible for much of the basic knowledge about how the AIDS virus interacts with the human immune system, was not deterred.

He was eager to learn whether the chicken retroviruses he had seen were recently acquired infections or inheritances that had been passed down through the centuries. He moved to the Pahang jungle of Malaysia and began living with a group of Orang Asli tribesmen.

Red jungle fowl, an ancestor species of chickens, were plentiful there, and the tribe was skilled at trapping them. After collecting and testing both eggs and blood samples, Weiss was able to identify versions of the same viruses.

Similar tests were soon carried out on other animals. The discovery helped mark the beginning of a new approach to biology.

“If Charles Darwin reappeared today, he might be surprised to learn that humans are descended from viruses as well as from apes,” Weiss wrote.

[Teks lengkap di sini, halaman 2 perenggan terakhir]

>>> Bacaan lanjut yang sangat menarik "Darwin’s Surprise: Why are evolutionary biologists bringing back extinct deadly viruses?" (By: Michael Specter. New Yorker, 3 Dec 2007)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Turun ke jalan


Jalan raya adalah sejarah politik dan kebrutalan. Di sanalah kekuasaan dikukuhkan. Tapi di sana pula kekuasaan disanggah. Di tahun 1966, di Jakarta, para mahasiswa ”turun ke jalan”, sebuah istilah yang kini masuk ke dalam kamus politik Indonesia, dan sejak itu aksi yang serupa berkali-kali terjadi, menjatuhkan rezim Soeharto, menggagalkan rancangan undang-undang ini dan itu. Selamanya dengan korban: ada yang mati ditembak, remuk dipukuli, ada bangunan yang dirusak. Ketika kota bertambah penting dalam percaturan politik, jalan raya jadi arena tersendiri. Di sana mereka yang ingin mengubah kehidupan menemukan pengeras suara alternatif, ketika forum yang tersedia (parlemen, mahkamah, media) tak punya sambungan lagi dengan orang ramai.

Jalan raya adalah sejarah politik.

Di Indonesia, cerita ini dimulai di tahun 1808. Untuk persiapan perang, Daendels membangun ”jalan raya pos” sepanjang 1.000 kilometer antara Anyer di Jawa Barat dan Panarukan, kemudian disambung sampai Banyuwangi di Jawa Timur. Ia, seorang opsir tinggi kerajaan Prancis, yang diangkat Maharaja Louis Bonaparte untuk memegang kekuasaan di Jawa, berencana membuat infrastruktur militer buat memperlancar gerak pasukan. Ia harus menghadapi serbuan Inggris.

Dengan tangan besi, Daendels memaksa agar proyek itu rampung dalam setahun. Ribuan orang di Pulau Jawa mati karena dikerahkan untuk kerja rodi. Pemberontakan timbul tapi ditindas. Kita tak akan melupakan kekejaman itu—seraya memanfaatkan hasilnya. Jalan yang disebut Daendels La Grande Route itu kini sebuah monumen tentang kekuasaan yang efektif dan brutal.

Jalan raya adalah sejarah politik dan kebrutalan. Di sanalah kekuasaan dikukuhkan, seperti dilakukan Daendels dan para penguasa di abad ke-20 dan 21. Tapi di sana pula kekuasaan disanggah. Di tahun 1966, di Jakarta, para mahasiswa ”turun ke jalan”, sebuah istilah yang kini masuk ke dalam kamus politik Indonesia, dan sejak itu aksi yang serupa berkali-kali terjadi, menjatuhkan rezim Soeharto, menggagalkan rancangan undang-undang ini dan itu. Selamanya dengan korban: ada yang mati ditembak, remuk dipukuli, ada bangunan yang dirusak.

Ketika kota bertambah penting dalam percaturan politik, jalan raya jadi arena tersendiri. Di sana mereka yang ingin mengubah kehidupan menemukan pengeras suara alternatif, ketika forum yang tersedia (parlemen, mahkamah, media) tak punya sambungan lagi dengan orang ramai.

Tema ini tak cuma ada dalam cerita Indonesia. Sejak jatuhnya monarki di Mesir, sejak Nasser memimpin, di Timur Tengah para analis politik selalu memasang radar mereka ke arah ”the Arab streets”. Kata ”streets” di sini sama dengan ruang tempat rakyat berdesak-desak, bersua, bertemu, mendengar, bicara, bergembira, marah, benci, tentang segala sesuatu yang menyangkut negeri mereka, bangsa mereka, kelas mereka. Mereka tak membentuk partai, tak berwujud ”NGO”. Tapi mereka sebuah faktor yang tak dapat diabaikan. Di Arab Streets, tak ada tempat bagi para politikus di parlemen yang bukan dipilih, juga bagi kepala negara yang kehilangan legitimasi. Revolusi bisa meletus dari kawahnya.

Sejarah politik tentu saja tak hanya terdiri dari kejadian yang gemuruh dan spektakuler. Asef Bayat mengamati satu gejala dalam politik Iran yang tak banyak dilihat. Dalam Street Politics: Poor People’s Movements in Iran (terbit di tahun 1997), ia menyebutnya the quiet encroachment of the ordinary. Dalam uraian Bayat, proses itu tak punya dampak politik yang langsung. Tapi masuknya kaum miskin dari pedalaman ke Teheran, yang sering tak mendapat tempat dalam lapangan hidup dan percakapan, diam-diam adalah sebuah perubahan tersendiri. Para penguasa yang di atas tak dengan sendirinya guyah. Tapi di bawah, tulis Bayat, ”praktek yang sehari-hari dan bersahaja itu mau tak mau akan beralih ke ranah politik.”

>>>> Teks lengkap dan lebih asyik di blog Caping (Catatan Pinggir)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Pramoedya: Sejarah, Novel dan Politik Pembebasan

Forum Pramoedya: Sejarah, Novel dan Politik Pembebasan
Tarikh: 24 November 2007 (Sabtu)
Masa: 8 malam
Tempat: Dewan Perhimpunan Cina Selangor, Jalan Maharajalela, Kuala Lumpur

Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006), merupakan sasterawan Indonesia yang terkenal di mata dunia. Beliau telah menghasilkan lebih 50 karya dan diterjemahkan dalam 41 bahasa asing.

Beliau merupakan tokoh penulisan yang berhaluan kiri, karyanya menyampaikan pemikiran progresif yang menentang penjajahan dan pemerintahan zalim. Karyanya yang mendapat sambutan hebat termasuklah Bumi Manusia dan Anak Semua Bangsa, yang ditulisnya semasa dalam penahanan di Pulau Buru.

Pramoedya pernah ditahan selama tiga tahun pada zaman penjajah, setahun semasa pemerintahan “Orde Lama” Soekarno dan 14 tahun semasa pemerintahan “Orde Baru” Soeharto. Beliau ditahan selama 18 tahun secara total.

Beliau ditahan pada masa Orde Baru bersama ribuan orang atas tuduhan memihak kepada Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI). “Had Pramoedya Ananta Toer been a Soviet dissident he would have received the Nobel Prize, but his status as a literary master is secure and, unlike some Latin American contemporaries, he remained unapologetic throughout his life.” - Tariq Ali

Ahli Panel:

Topik: Sejarah dalam Tangan Pramoedya: Revolusi belum selesai

Max Lane, seorang penulis, penyelidik dan penterjemah yang berasal dari Australia. Beliau mempunyai pengalaman lebih 36 tahun bekerja di Indonesia, Singapura dan Filipina. Hasil kerja beliau terbaru adalah penterjemahan karya Pramoedya, Arok Dedes, ke dalam bahasa Inggeris, Arok of Java. Beliau juga banyak menulis tentang pergerakan masyarakat di Indonesia, termasuklah buku terbaru beliau, Bangsa Yang Belum Selesai: Indonesia Sebelum dan Sesudah Suharto.

Topik: Politik anti-perkauman Pramoedya

Sumit Mandal, penyelidik di Institut Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa (IKMAS) UKM

Anjuran: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) & Community Development Centre (CDC)
Masuk: Percuma

Sebarang pertanyaan sila hubungi pejabat PSM (03) 22 74 77 91 atau Chon Kai 019 566 95 18

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yang 'setan' dalam diri sasterawan

Milan Kundera, novelis yang terkenal dan 'ganjil' itu, bingung memikirkan bagaimana seniman Perancis boleh mendukung kezaliman politik di (bekas) negaranya sendiri, Czechoslovakia.

Penyair yang dikaguminya Paul Eluard secara terbuka dan megah mengalu-alukan tindakan pemerintah Prague yang mengirim seorang seniman republik tersebut ke tali gantung.

Kata Kundera: This episode (I wrote about it in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting) hit me like a trauma: when an executioner kills, that is after all normal; but when a poet (and a great poet) sings in accompaniment, the whole system of values we considered sacrosanct has suddenly been shaken apart.

[Terjemahan: Episod ini (saya tulis hal ini dalam The Book of Laughter and Forgetting) menyentak saya seperti satu trauma: Apabila seorang algojo membunuh, hal ini tidaklah terlalu menghairankan; tetapi apabila seorang penyajak (apatah lagi seorang penyair besar) menyanyikan sokongannya, seluruh sistem nilai (benar-palsu, baik-buruk) yang kita anggap mulia tiba-tiba rebah berkecai.]

Kejadian inilah, antara sebab, beliau mengarang novel Life is Elsewhere (1970), karya tentang Jaromil, penyair muda yang berjiwa muda dan sarat kespontanan dan ghairah hidup. Namun di lehernya terjerut bayang-bayang kawalan si ibu (Maman namanya), sang setia yang tertipu suami sendiri yang tergila-gilakan cewek Yahudi.

Jaromil, yang idealis dan pro-ideologi kiri lama, ingin menerbitkan sajak-sajak lirik sebagai simbol keghairahan mudanya yang spontan dan 'jiwang' tetapi tidak menyedari bahawa politik anutannya itu telah menghalangnya. Paradoks jiwa.

Jaromil, anak muda yang sakit, ada waktunya kejam dan melalui lidah Kundera, kita mengenali wataknya: "But his [Jaromil's] monstrosity is potentially contained in us all. It is in me. It is in you."

[Terjemahan: Tetapi kesetanan dia [Jaromil] ini mungkin juga tumbuh di dalam diri kita. Di dalam diri saya. Di dalam diri anda sendiri.]

Kundera, ganjil juga, tidak mahu seratus peratus menyalahkan sistem politik komunisme. Dia malah berhujah, ideologi itu sekadar menolong mencetuskan jiwa jahat dan rakus manusia seperti Jaromil (yang seperti kita juga!), penyair muda yang menikam dari belakang kekasihnya sendiri semata-mata, konon, mahu mempertahankan kepentingan negara dan ideologi anutannya.

Seniman, penulis kreatif dan pemikir – pada mata Czeslaw Milosz – bukanlah makhluk agung; jauh sekali nabi-nabi atau orang suci. Mereka ini pernah mengirim manusia ke penjara dan tali gantung; malah menolong membersihkan darah-darah dan dosa-dosa di tangan si diktator.

Milosz (baca: Miwas) pemenang Nobel sastera 1980, seumpama Kundera, sedar manusia seni seperti mereka boleh berbuat apa sahaja, menjadi malaikat atau syaitan, nabi dan algojo. Pilihlah, kita mahu menjadi apa?

Dalam karya besarnya The Captive Mind (1953), selepas lari dari Poland, sebuah lagi negara yang menjadi korban di tangan komunisme selepas jenuh bergelut menentang Hitler, Milosz mencatatkan semua bentuk kekejian kaum seniman, sasterawan, budayawan dan intelektual.

Mereka boleh berbuat apa sahaja – termasuk membunuh, bukan sahaja kerjaya, tetapi jasad! Kerjaya rakan-rakan sendiri yang sama-sama berjuang menjadi porak-peranda, prasangka berkembang biak, demi mendaki tangga-tangga kerjaya di sebuah negara tidak demokratik.

Nilai baik atau buruk, semangat setiakawan, hancur.

Yang masih jujur, harus menelan ludah kebenaran di halkum sendiri; hilang rasa yakin untuk terus hidup bersama sebagai kelompok pemikir yang sedar dan ada harga diri – semata-mata kerana, memang, politik sudah menjadi terlalu sempit dan kesetiaan pada Negara (baca juga: ideologi) harus mutlak.

Milosz melarikan diri ke Amerika Syarikat tidak lama selepas tamat Perang Dunia kedua, kemudian menerbitkan karya kreatifnya itu. Dia sudah tidak sanggup berpura-pura bertemankan takiyyah (istilah Milosz, ketman) – satu-satunya semangat palsu untuk bertahan hidup.

Sama seperti gambaran Kundera, semua watak dalam catatan 'minda terpasung' Milosz seakan-akan ada di tengah-tengah kita, di kalangan sasterawan, seniman, ahli akademik, pemikir dan wartawan kita.

Ngeri, walau tanpa komunisme, negara kita berjaya membiakkan kaum intelektualnya seburuk Poland dan Czechoslovakia. "But his [Jaromil's] monstrosity is potentially contained in us all. It is in me. It is in you."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fiqh Perempuan

Pada mulanya saya sangka buku Fiqh Perempuan yang diharamkan. Tetapi tidak pasti buku Fiqh Perempuan yang mana satu kerana judul lengkapnya dan nama pengarangnya tidak diberikan dalam berita tersebut.

Isnin lalu, Bahagian Kawalan Penerbitan dan Teks Al-Quran di Kementerian Keselamatan Dalam Negeri mewartakan perintah larangan itu menurut Seksyen 7(1) Akta Mesin Cetak dan Penerbitan 1984.

Kemudian, seorang teman KsJT menyebutkan pengarang tersebut, seorang kiai dari Indonesia, yang pernah saya temui di Petaling Jaya beberapa bulan lepas. "Husein Muhammad," katanya.

Lalu saya pun menyemak semula judul buku tersebut. Rupa-rupanya buku ini Fiqh Perempuan: Refleksi Kiai Atas Wacana Agama dan Gender telah disaran untuk dilarang oleh Jawatankuasa Penapisan Bahan-bahan Penerbitan Berunsur Islam (dipengerusikan oleh Harussani Zakaria) sejak Jun 2005.

Dan memang pengarangnya KH* Husein Muhammad !!! Buku ini terbitan LKiS Yogyakarta, pada 2001.

Setahu saya buku yang sama diterbitkan kembali dengan judul Fiqh Wanita: Pandangan Ulama Terhadap Wacana dan Gender. Dan penerbitnya, tidak lain dan tidak bukan, Sisters in Islam (SIS). Lihat di sini (no 19).

Alamak, macam mana Zai?

* KH ertinya kiai haji

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Jihad Terlarang: Cerita dari Bawah Tanah

Mataharitimoer: Jihad Terlarang Adalah Pergulatan Pribadi Saya

Saya trauma dan sakit hati melihat elite pergerakan saya yang mengatasnamakan Islam demi kepentingan sendiri. Mereka melakukan banyak tindakan yang merusak citra Islam, dan NII sudah menjadi momok yang menakutkan bagi setiap orang. Mereka menganggap kelompok merekalah yang representatif terhadap kebenaran, terhadap Islam. Mereka sulit menerima kritik dan lebih mengandalkan kekerasan ketimbang dialog.

Dianggap ”murtad” dari pergerakan Negara Islam Indonesia (NII), Mahataharitimoer justru menunaikan janji untuk menerbitkan sebuah novel otobiografis yang menggugah. Dalam Jihad Terlarang, Cerita dari Bawah Tanah (Kayla Pustaka, 2007), ia mengungkapkan pergulatan batinnya ketika masih menjadi aktivis pergerakan. Berikut wawancara Novriantoni dari Jaringan Islam Liberal dengan Mataharitimoer tentang novelnya dan suasana inside NII, di Radio 68H Jakarta, 29 Agustus lalu.

Bung MT, judul novel Anda, Jihad Terlarang, cukup provokatif dan merangsang rasa ingin tahu. Apa sesungguhnya yang mendorong Anda menulis novel ini?

Selama kurang lebih sepuluh tahun saya aktif di sebuah pergerakan Islam garis keras. Tapi setelah itu saya berpikir, apakah pergerakan yang saya ikuti ini benar dasar-dasar perjuangannya? Kenapa mereka begitu mudah mengkafirkan orang—bahkan orangtua kita sekalipun—jika tidak bergabung ke dalam gerakan ini? Itu ditambah lagi banyaknya friksi di tubuh pergerakan yang saling sengketa.

Akhirnya, saya memilih keluar. Tapi keluarnya pun tidak mudah. Terjadi konflik batin yang berat dan panjang. Kalau keluar, berarti saya murtad, tidak lagi dianggap Islam. Belum lagi tekanan dari teman-teman yang bertahun-tahun jalan bersama saya. Mereka tahu ke mana saja saya ngumpet. Tapi pada akhirnya, sebuah kondisi memaksa saya harus pergi. Tapi ada hal penting yang ingin saya lakukan setelah keluar. Saya harus menceritakan semua ini kepada semua orang, agar mereka tidak terjebak seperti saya. Itulah sebabnya mengapa saya menulis novel Jihad Terlarang ini.

Spesifiknya, pergerakan apa yang Anda maksudkan?

Kebetulan yang saya ikuti adalah gerakan NII, Negara Islam Indonesia.

Kenapa dulu Anda tertarik mengikuti pergerakan NII?

Saya masuk pergerakan ini ketika saya mengikuti sebuah organisasi remaja masjid. Di situ saya mengikuti pengajian-pengajian yang rutin diadakan seminggu sekali. Pengajian itu memberikan wawasan baru pada saya yang kala itu masih SMA kelas satu. Pengajiannnya pun berbeda. Zaman dulu, kita tahu, yang namanya ngaji ya umumnya membaca Alquran saja. Tapi kok pengajian ini lain?! Di sana saya diajari sejarah Islam dan tafsir-tafsir Alquran; hal yang tidak saya dapatkan sebelumnya. Nah, saya merasa ada hal baru di sana. Saya merasakan sebuah dunia yang baru sama sekali.

Apakah itu sangat memukau bagi orang yang punya hasrat besar untuk belajar Islam seperti Anda?

Sangat memukau! Pada saat itu rekrutmen belum terjadi. Mereka (para perekrut anggota baru NII) masih dalam tahap melakukan pengkondisian pemikiran melalui materi-materi pengajian.

Proses perekrutan Anda sendiri bagaimana?

Ketika beberapa kali pengajian berlangsung, diam-diam para pencari bakat dari belakang memperhatikan anak-anak yang potensial untuk direkrut. Biasanya anak-anak yang berpikiran kritislah yang dibidik. Nah, saya termasuk anak yang mereka inginkan. Ketika sasaran sudah ditentukan, mereka melakukan pendekatan persuasif kepada saya. Sering saya dikerubung oleh tiga orang langsung untuk dipersuasi. Dari sana saya diarahkan untuk menjadi kader yang militan.

Anda dibidik karena dinilai cerdas dan kritis. Mengapa kecerdasan dan kritisisme dijadikan kriteria utama dalam melihat calon target?

Mereka memang mencari kader yang cerdas dan kritis; sosok-sosok yang ingin mengetahui sesuatu yang baru, yang selalu tidak puas dengan tatanan lama. Di samping itu, ia harus memiliki antusiasme perjuangan terhadap agamanya. Ia diharapkan bisa menjadi kader potensial ketika sudah tergabung dalam pergerakan.

Setelah direkrut, apakah anda lantas merekrut yang lain juga?

Ya, selalu begitu. Setiap orang yang telah bergabung selalu mempunyai target. Dalam satu bulan, target bisa mencapai puluhan orang. Semua kader diwajibkan untuk berdakwah fi sabilillah. Rekrutmen adalah dakwah mereka yang paling nyata.

Kalau Anda ingat-ingat lagi, apa rahasia masih terus eksisnya pergerakan ini sampai sekarang?

Sistem kerahasiaan organisasinya begitu kuat. Para kader tidak pernah mengetahui siapa pemimpin di atasnya. Pergerakan ini menggunakan sistem sel atau multilevel marketing. Saya sendiri tidak pernah tahu siapa pemimpin-pemimpin utama di atas saya. Yang saya kenal hanyalah nama-nama samaran. Fakta inilah yang membuat gerakan ini terus eksis sampai hari ini dan cukup aman. Terbukti aparat tidak pernah bisa menghabisinya.

Setiap organisasi yang militan biasanya punya ideologi untuk mengukuhkan militansi para anggotanya. Apa ideologi yang memompa semangat bertindak dalam organisasi Anda?

Ada sebuah kalimat yang selalu menjadi ruh bagi semua aktivis NII. Kalimat itu adalah lâ ilâha illalLâh (tiada tuhan selain Allah). Kalimat tauhid itulah yang memompa kita untuk senantiasa berjuang mewujudkan hukum-hukum Allah dalam kehidupan kita. Jika kita tidak melakukannya, berarti kita belum berjihad. Semangat seperti itu didukung oleh buku-buku yang memang direkomendasikan para atasan. Salah satunya adalah buku yang berjudul Tauhid, karya Ismail Raji Al-Faruqi.

Lalu, apa misi tertinggi untuk mewujudkan keyakinan semacam itu?

Misinya adalah mendirikan negara Islam di Indonesia. Tanpa negara Islam, kita dianggap masih hidup dalam kekafiran. Sebab hukum yang dipakai di negara kita bukan berasal dari Alquran dan Sunnah Nabi. Dan ketika kita belum memiliki kekuatan untuk mewujudkannya, maka negara tersebut berwujud dalam bentuk sebuah gerakan ”negara” di dalam sebuah negara.

Jadi Anda dan teman-teman pernah merasa seperti berada dalam sebuah pulau terpencil, dengan ideologi tertentu, tapi masih dalam negara bernama Indonesia, ya?

Ya, benar. Dengan begitu kita langsung bisa menarik garis furqan (pembedaan) bahwa kita adalah warga negara Islam sedangkan orang lain bukan. Dan yang bukan warga negara Islam harus kita ajak untuk memasuki negara kita.

Bagaimana pergerakan Anda menilai orang yang sudah puas dengan NKRI yang berdasarkan Pancasila dan UUD 1945?

Kita menggagap mereka belum mendapatkan hidayah. Dan dalam kepala para aktivis (NII) hanya ada dua jalan: Islam atau kafir. Tidak ada jalan tengah. Kalau bukan Islam, ya kafir. Mereka kita anggap masih hidup dalam zaman jahiliyah. Orang-orang yang kita anggap kafir itulah yang menjadi target dakwah agar memasuki negara Islam kita, dan keluar dari kekafiran.

Mengapa para kader NII begitu militan?

Pembinaan yang dilakukan pergerakan ini sangat intensif. Seminggu sekali pasti ada. Tujuannya untuk mengubah cara pandang kita tentang Islam dan negara. Dulu, militansi ditambah juga oleh sikap rezim Orde Baru yang sangat represif terhadap para aktivis Islam. Jilbab dilarang, pengajian-pengajian dikontrol, dai-dai kritis ditangkap. Suasana seperti itu justru mempertebal semangat kita untuk melakukan perlawanan dan menjadi aktivis yang militan. Perjuangan semakin menarik karena banyak tantangannya.

Apa momen-momen dramatis yang sering Anda alami?

Kita selalu berhadapan dengan intel. Hampir setiap mau melakukan aktivitas, ada saja rasa waswas: apa nanti saya tertangkap atau tidak? Pada saat itu banyak sekali penangkapan, penggerebekan, terutama terhadap orang-orang yang berkelompok untuk melakukan diskusi agama.

Apa hubungan Anda dengan NII KW-IX? Apakah anda kenal tokoh-tokoh seperti Panji Gumilang, Abu Bakar Ba’asyir, Abdullah Sunkar, dan Ajengan Masduki?

Kami dulu kebetulan tidak berada dalam sistem KW (Komandemen Wilayah). Sistem KW itu sudah lama bangkrut. Jadi kami tidak menyebut satuan kami dengan istilah itu. Hanya orang-orang yang memang masih belum mendapat informasi yang up to date-lah yang masih mengunakan nama KW. Kelompok kami tidak tergabung dalam KW-IX. Kami mempunyai sistem sendiri yang berbeda dengan sistem KW. Cara-cara kami pun tidak sekeras seperti yang sering muncul di media-media.

Apa pendapat Anda terhadap perjuangan sejumlah kelompok Islam yang targetnya hampir mirip NII, tetapi metode perjuangannya lebih lunak, seperti partai, organisasi atau kelompok yang memperjuangkan syariat Islam di Indonesia?

Saya keluar dari NII dalam keadaan yang tidak fresh. Saya keluar dengan sebuah trauma yang mendalam. Hal itulah yang membuat saya skeptis terhadap gerakan Islam yang misinya serupa dengan NII, baik itu partai politik maupun ormas keagamaan. Saya ingin membebaskan diri dari organisasi apa pun yang semacam itu.

Trauma apa yang Anda rasakan?

Saya trauma dan sakit hati melihat elite pergerakan saya yang mengatasnamakan Islam demi kepentingan sendiri. Mereka melakukan banyak tindakan yang merusak citra Islam, dan NII sudah menjadi momok yang menakutkan bagi setiap orang. Mereka menganggap kelompok merekalah yang representatif terhadap kebenaran, terhadap Islam. Mereka sulit menerima kritik dan lebih mengandalkan kekerasan ketimbang dialog.

Apakah anda tidak cemas terbitnya buku ini dicurigai sebagai propaganda intelijen?

Pada saat awal-awal penulisan Jihad Terlarang ini, saya sempat berpikir, jangan-jangan saya nanti dianggap sebagai kaki-tangan intel. Tapi sekarang saya berani menjamin, sampai detik ini saya belum pernah berhubungan dengan intel. Buku saya itu sekadar curahan hati saya, berdasarkan kejadian-kejadian nyata yang pernah saya alami dulu. Jihad Terlarang adalah pergulatan pribadi saya. Tidak melibatkan pihak mana pun.

(Sumber asal: Jaringan Islam Liberal 2 Oktober 2007)

Mahu jadi pengganas?

What Makes a Terrorist
By Alan Krueger

The (November/December 2007)
Filed under: World Watch, Public Square

It’s not poverty and lack of education, according to economic research by Princeton’s ALAN KRUEGER. Look elsewhere.

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, policymakers, scholars, and ordinary citizens asked a key question: What would make people willing to give up their lives to wreak mass destruction in a foreign land? In short, what makes a terrorist?

A popular explana­tion was that economic deprivation and a lack of education caused people to adopt extreme views and turn to terrorism. For example, in July 2005, after the bomb­ings of the London transit system, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, “Ultimately what we now know, if we did not before, is that where there is extremism, fanaticism or acute and appalling forms of poverty in one continent, the conse­quences no longer stay fixed in that continent.” The Archbishop of Canterbury, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, King Abdullah of Jordan, Elie Wiesel, and terrorism experts like Jessica Stern of Harvard’s Kennedy School also argued that poverty or lack of education were significant causes of terrorism.

Even President George W. Bush, who was ini­tially reluctant to associate terrorism with poverty after September 11, eventually argued, “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.” Laura Bush added, “A lasting victory in the war against terror depends on educating the world’s children.”

Despite these pronouncements, however, the available evidence is nearly unanimous in rejecting either material deprivation or inadequate educa­tion as important causes of support for terrorism or participation in terrorist activities. Such explana­tions have been embraced almost entirely on faith, not scientific evidence.

Why is an economist studying terrorism? I have two answers. First, participation in terrorism is just a special application of the economics of occupational choice. Some peo­ple choose to become doctors or lawyers, and others pursue careers in terrorism. Economics can help us understand why.

The second answer is that, together with Jörn-Steffen Pischke, now at the London School of Economics, I studied the outbreak of hate crimes against foreigners in Germany in the early 1990s. Through this work, I concluded that poor economic conditions do not seem to motivate people to par­ticipate in hate crimes.

The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre’s yield of cotton. He calculated the correla­tion coefficient between the two series at –0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower. A pair of psy­chologists at Yale, Carl Hovland and Robert Sears, cited Raper’s work in 1940 to argue that deprivation leads to aggres­sion. People take out their frustrations on others, the researchers hypothesized, when economic con­ditions are poor.

While this view seems intuitively plausible, the problem is that it lacks a strong empirical basis. In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic condi­tions and lynchings in Raper’s data.

Raper had the misfortune of stopping his anal­ysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic condi­tions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added.

In 1997, Pischke and I, writing in the Journal of Human Resources, studied the incidence of crimes against foreigners across the 543 coun­ties in Germany in 1992 and 1993. We found that the unemployment rate, the level of wages, wage growth, and average education were all unrelated to the incidence of crimes against foreigners.

With evidence from hate crimes as a background, next turn to terrorism. Terrorism does not occur in a vacuum. So to start, I considered evidence from public opin­ion polls, which can help identify the values and views of those in communities from which terror­ism arises.

The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project conducted public opinion surveys in February 2004 in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey, involving about 1,000 respondents in each country. One of the questions asked was, “What about suicide bombing carried out against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq? Do you personally believe that this is justifiable or not justifiable?” Pew kindly provided me with tab­ulations of these data by respondents’ personal characteristics.

The clear finding was that people with a higher level of education are in general more likely to say that suicide attacks against Westerners in Iraq are justified. I have also broken this pattern down by income level. There is no indication that people with higher incomes are less likely to say that sui­cide-bombing attacks are justified.

Another source of opinion data is the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, headquar­tered in Ramallah. The center collects data in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. One question, asked in December 2001 of 1,300 adults, addressed attitudes toward armed attacks on Israeli tar­gets. Options were “strongly support,” “support,” “oppose,” “strongly oppose,” or “no opinion.”

Support turned out to be stronger among those with a higher level of education. For exam­ple, while 26 percent of illiterates and 18 per­cent of those with only an elementary education opposed or strongly opposed armed attacks, the figure for those with a high school education was just 12 percent. The least supportive group turned out to be the unemployed, 74 percent of whom said they support or strongly back armed attacks. By comparison, the support level for merchants and professionals was 87 percent.

Related findings have been around for a long time. Daniel Lerner, a professor at MIT at the time, published a book in 1958 called The Passing of Traditional Society in which he collected and analyzed data on extremism in six Middle Eastern countries. He concluded that “the data obviate the conventional assumption that the extremists are simply the have-nots. Poverty prevails only among the apolitical masses.”

Finally, the Palestinian survey included ques­tions about whether people were optimistic for the future. Responses suggested that, just before the outbreak of the second intifada, the Palestinian people believed that the economic situation was improving—a judgment consistent with the fall­ing unemployment rate at the time. The intifada, then, did not appear to be following dashed expec­tations for future economic conditions.

Public opinion is one thing; actual participation in terrorism is another. There is striking anecdotal evidence from Nasra Hassan, a United Nations relief worker in the West Bank and Gaza Strip who described interviews with 250 militants and their associates who were involved in the Palestinian cause in the late 1990s. Hassan concluded that “none of them were uneducated, desperately poor, simple-minded, or depressed. Many were middle class and, unless they were fugitives, held paying jobs. Two were the sons of millionaires.”

Claude Berrebi, now of the RAND Corporation’s Institute for Civil Justice, wrote his dissertation at Princeton on the characteristics of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip who were involved in terrorist activities. For example, he compared suicide bombers to the whole male pop­ulation aged 16 to 50 and found that the suicide bombers were less than half as likely to come from families that were below the poverty line. In addi­tion, almost 60 percent of the suicide bombers had more than a high school education, compared with less than 15 percent of the general population.

Jitka Malecková and I performed a similar study of militant members of Hezbollah, a multifaceted organization in Lebanon that has been labeled a ter­rorist organization by the U.S. State Department. We were able to obtain information on the biogra­phies of 129 deceased shahids (martyrs) who had been honored in the group’s newsletter, “Al-Ahd.” We turned translations by Eli Hurvitz at Tel Aviv University into a data­set and then combined it with information on the Lebanese popu­lation from the 1996 Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs Housing Survey of 120,000 peo­ple aged 15 to 38.

These deceased mem­bers of Hezbollah had a lower poverty rate than the Lebanese population: 28 percent versus 33 percent. And Hezbollah members were better educated: 47 percent had a secondary or higher education ver­sus 38 percent of adult Lebanese.

This is also the case, apparently, with al-Qaeda. Marc Sageman, a forensic psychiatrist and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) case officer, has written a book titled Understanding Terror Networks. He found that a high proportion of mem­bers of al-Qaeda were college educated (close to 35 percent) and drawn from skilled professions (almost 45 percent). Research on members of the Israeli extremist group, Gush Emunim, that Malecková and I conducted, also pointed in the same direc­tion. Perhaps most definitively, the Library of Congress produced a summary report for an advi­sory group to the CIA titled, “The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?” which also reached this conclusion—two years before 9/11.

Why are better educated, more advan­taged individuals more likely than others to join terrorist groups? I think of terrorism as a market, with a supply side and a demand side. Individuals, either in small groups or on their own, supply their services to terrorist organizations.

On the supply side, the economics of crime suggests that people with low opportunity costs will become involved in terrorism. Their costs of involvement are lower—that is, they sacrifice less because their prospects of living a rich life are less. In other domains of life, it is those with few oppor­tunities who are more likely to commit property crime and resort to suicide.

However, in the case of the supply of terrorists, while consideration of opportunity cost is not irrel­evant, it is outweighed by other factors, such as a commitment to the goals of the terrorist organi­zation and a desire to make a statement. Political involvement requires some understanding of the issues, and learning about those issues is a less costly endeavor for those who are better educated. I argue that better analogies than crime are vot­ing and political protest. Indeed, better educated, employed people are more likely to vote.

On the demand side, terrorist organizations want to succeed. The costs of failure are high. So the organizations select more able participants—which again points to those who are better educated and better off economically.

One of the conclusions from the work of Laurence Iannaccone—whose paper, “The Market for Martyrs,” is supported by my own research—is that it is very difficult to effect change on the supply side. People who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause have diverse motivations. Some are motivated by nationalism, some by religious fanati­cism, some by historical grievances, and so on. If we address one motivation and thus reduce one source on the supply side, there remain other motivations that will incite other people to terror.

That suggests to me that it makes sense to focus on the demand side, such as by degrading terrorist organizations’ financial and technical capabili­ties, and by vigorously protecting and promoting peaceful means of protest, so there is less demand for pursuing grievances through violent means. Policies intended to dampen the flow of people willing to join terrorist organizations, by contrast, strike me as less likely to succeed.

The evidence we have seen thus far does not foreclose the possibility that members of the elite become terrorists because they are outraged by the economic conditions of their countrymen. This is a more difficult hypothesis to test, but, it turns out, there is little empirical sup­port for it.

To investigate the role of societal factors, I assembled data on the country of origin and tar­get of hundreds of significant international terrorist attacks from 1997 to 2003, using infor­mation from the State Department. I found that many socioeconomic indicators—including illiteracy, infant mor­tality, and GDP per capita—are unrelated to whether people from one country become involved in terrorism. Indeed, if anything, measures of economic deprivation, at a country level, have the opposite effect from what the popular stereotype would predict: international terrorists are more likely to come from moderate-income countries than poor ones.

One set of factors that I examined did consis­tently raise the likelihood that people from a given country will participate in terrorism—namely, the suppression of civil liberties and political rights, including freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, and democratic rights. Using data from the Freedom House Index, for example, I found that countries with low levels of civil liberties are more likely to be the countries of origin of the perpetra­tors of terrorist attacks. In addition, terrorists tend to attack nearby targets. Even international terror­ism tends to be motivated by local concerns.

Additional support for these conclusions comes from research I conducted on the nationalities of foreign insurgents in Iraq. Specifically, I studied 311 combatants, representing 27 countries, who were captured in Iraq. Although the vast majority of insurgents are native Iraqis, motivated by domestic issues, foreigners are alleged to have been involved in several significant attacks. I looked at the char­acteristics of the countries insurgents came from, and, importantly, of the countries with no citizens captured in Iraq. It turned out that countries with a higher GDP per capita were actually more likely to have their citizens involved in the insurgency than were poorer countries.

Consistent with the work on international terrorist incidents, countries with fewer civil lib­erties and political rights were more likely to be the birthplaces of foreign insurgents. Distance also mattered, with most foreign insurgents com­ing from nearby nations. The model predicted that the largest number of insurgents—44 percent—would have emanated from Saudi Arabia, a nation not known for its protection of civil liberties but with a high GDP per capita.

The evidence suggests that terrorists care about influencing political outcomes. They are often motivated by geopolitical grievances. To under­stand who joins terrorist organizations, instead of asking who has a low salary and few opportunities, we should ask: Who holds strong political views and is confident enough to try to impose an extrem­ist vision by violent means? Most terrorists are not so desperately poor that they have nothing to live for. Instead, they are people who care so fervently about a cause that they are willing to die for it.

Alan Krueger is the Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Princeton and has been an adviser to the National Counterterrorism Center. This article is adapted from his new book, “What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism,” which is based on the Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures he gave at the London School of Economics in 2006. Copyright © 2007 by Princeton University Press. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cepat, tepat & tanpa kekerasan!

Journalists attacked by riot police
Chua Sue-Ann ( 10 Nov 2007)

A number of journalists covering poll reform group Bersih rally today were kicked and beaten by riot police as they sought to disperse protesters at the Masjid Jamek area.

Chaos erupted at around 2.30pm as riot police fired a torrent of chemical-laced water and discharged a volley of tear gas canisters at more than 2,000 people.

In the melee, members of the press, both local and foreign, were not spared.

A female journalist, who declined to be named, said she was hit with a baton by a police officer who was trying to drive away the crowd.

“He hit... my buttocks and he was telling me ‘Go, go, go, like I’m some donkey’,” she decried.

Another journalist, who also requested anonymity, reported being kicked twice by the police - on his back and his thigh.

He ticked off the authorities for using “unnecessary force” against the journalists. “I’m surprised at the brutality of the police.”

The duo were among five journalists who were standing behind police lines before they were suddenly assaulted by about 10 police officers.

One of them, a female journalist from a local newspaper, was injured by the beatings.

A policeman kicked her neck as she lay on the ground, refusing to stop despite pleas from the other press members.

It is also claimed that Federal Reserve Unit officers attacked a Swedish journalist with their shields, while two others are said to have received injuries as a result of being targets of a tear gas canister and the water cannon.

>>> Journalists attacked by riot police
>>> Polis tidak guna kekerasan – Musa (Utusan
>>> Zainuddin tolak dakwaan al-Jazeera polis bertindak keras (

Friday, November 09, 2007

Generasi Net

Umno diajak fahami, dekati 'Generasi Net'

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno disaran mengambil langkah proaktif dengan lembut dan mesra bagi mendekati generasi baru orang Melayu yang semakin berani mempertikaikan kerajaan dan mempersoal kaum mereka sendiri.

"Sebilangan dari generasi ini (golongan terpelajar kelas menengah) mempunyai daya fikir yang berbeza, cita-cita politik yang berbeza, pandangan terhadap nilai-nilai kemelayuan yang berbeza," kata Pertubuhan Alumni Kelab-kelab Umno Luar Negara dalam satu rumusan yang diedarkan kepada media hari ini.

Rumusan keempat 'Menghadapi Kebangkitan Generasi Baru' itu merupakan satu daripada lapan resolusi Seminar Agenda Melayu ke-3: Melayu 2057 anjuran pertubuhan itu pada Ahad lalu.

"Generasi Net" yang ditaktif oleh pertubuhan itu antaranya mempunyai ciri-ciri "berfikiran kritis, berani berpolemik tentang kedudukan bangsa, berpartisipasi dalam dunia demokrasi dengan bertanya ke mana haluan negara, mempersoalkan apakah yang telah dilakukan pemimpin dan sentiasa menilai sama ada Ahli Parlimen dan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri membuat kajian dan kerja rumah sebelum berbahas."

Menurut resolusi itu lagi, generasi baru yang aktif menyebar dan mendapat maklumat melalui alam siber seperti melalui kumpulan komuniti penulis blog, Youtube, Myspace dan Friendster memerlukan kebijaksanaan kepemimpinan Umno dan kematangan berpolitik parti itu.

Menyedari realiti baru tersebut, pertubuhan itu menggesa Umno mengambil langkah "mengadakan pertemuan berterusan (didik dengan mesra) agar mereka dapat diasah untuk menjadi pemimpin masa depan yang cemerlang".

Langkah itu juga diambil, kata pertubuhan itu lagi, agar Generasi Net "mengenal realiti politik dan kemudiannya ikut serta mempertahankan kredibiliti Umno" dan strategi ini akan menjadi "aset penting mengekalkan orang Melayu sebagai bangsa penentu pada 2057."

Di sidang media itu, timbalan pengerusi pertubuhan tersebut Datuk Mohamad Rais Zainuddin berkata pihaknya sedang merangka satu pelan sebagai panduan untuk bangsa Melayu bagi memastikan hak dan keistimewaan mereka di dalam negara ini terus terpelihara.


Coretan di atas tadi berita yang saya sediakan untuk mStar Online. Apakah anda boleh bersetuju dengan analisa Pertubuhan Alumni Kelab-kelab Umno Luar Negara?

Jika bersetuju, apakah anda senang dengan pendekatan yang disarankan itu?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bahasa, wacana dan kuasa

[Asalnya terbit pada 25 September 2006]
Untuk dibahaskan kepada yang berminat, silakan ...

Diri seseorang, medan bahasa, wacana, struktur dan kuasa sebetulnya berada dalam satu jaringan yang kompleks. Semua kita dibesarkan dalam lingkungan yang membentuk diri kita (istilah 'habitus' di sisi Bourdieu). Lingkungan itu tidaklah 'satu' tetapi pelbagai 'medan' atau ruang sosial. Namun, medan dan diri kita ini dibentuk oleh permainan bahasa dan wacana.

Bahasa dan wacana sebagai pengetahuan, telah distruktur oleh kumpulan-kumpulan dominan. Misalnya, bahasa rasmi dan juga beberapa sistem negara yang kuat pengaruhnya ke atas individu – sekolah dan media. Dalam ungkapan Louis Althusser, alat-alat ideologi negara (ISA atau ideological state apparatuses).

Pengaruh kumpulan-kumpulan dominan ini terlalu kuat sehingga, jika anda membaca buku The Politics of Misinformation (2001) karya sarjana komunikasi politik Murray Edelman, anda cenderung 'kecewa' dan 'patah hati'!

Kumpulan-kumpulan dominan berjaya mencipta 'kesedaran palsu' (memakai pandangan Marxis) bukan hanya di kalangan kelompok elit tetapi juga massa, termasuk mereka yang cuba menentang keburukan sistem tersebut. Pandangan Edelman ini tidak jauh bezanya dengan Yuri M Lotman dalam 'Dialogue mechanism' (buku Universe of the Mind: A semiotic theory of culture, 1990).

Bagi Lotman, kepintaran memerlukan kepintaran yang lain untuk menghidupkannya. Ertinya, seseorang yang bodoh akan cenderung 'bodoh' jika tidak menumpang (atau membuka diri) kepada kecerdasan wacana tertentu dalam proses wacana.

Massa yang terpengaruh dengan sesuatu wacana dalam pasar idea ini, menurut Bourdieu, tidak menyedarinya. Malah mereka cuba untuk mempelajarinya sebagai modal dalam proses menyertai pasar tersebut. Misalnya, dengan memasuki sistem persekolahan dan universiti.

Seseorang yang tersingkir dari universiti, bukan sahaja gagal menguasai sejumlah bahasa (sebagai modal) tetapi tertinggal dalam persaingan (atau gagal bertutur menurut tuntutan sesuatu 'medan idea') untuk mobiliti sosial. Dengan modal itu, seseorang yang berjaya, boleh menukar modal simbolik (sijil pendidikan) itu kepada modal ekonomi (gaji, misalnya).

Dengan itu, kita menggunakan bahasa-bahasa dominan ini untuk menyampaikan fikiran kita – dengan tidak menyedari bahawa kita terbelit dengan politik wacana yang datang bersamanya. Memang begini, kerana bahasa sifatnya awam, dan jarang sekali percubaan mensubversifkan bahasa berjaya jika struktur kuasa yang sedang bermain dalam masyarakat gagal kita kuasai.

Bahasa, pada Bourdieu, sentiasa ada hubungan kuasa – dan salah, bagi dirinya, pandangan aliran strukturalisme seperti Noam Chomsky atau Ferdinand de Saussure yang cuba melihat bahasa pada isi kandungan (dalaman) bahasa semata-mata. Ahli sosiologi Perancis ini cuba merumuskan 'teori tengah' antara objektivisme (strukturalisme) dengan subjektivisme (aliran pasca-modenisme atau pasca-strukturalisme).

Dalam proses berbahasa itu, kita semua dipengaruhi dan mempengaruhi struktur pasar bahasa (atau, pasar wacana) tersebut. Kita lihat tafsir Bourdieu tentang bahasa: “Language is not only an instrument of communication or even of knowledge, but also an instrument of power. One seeks not only to be understood but also to be believed, obeyed, respected, distinguished. Whence the complete definition of competence as right to speak, that is, as right to the legitimate language, the authorized language, the language of authority. Competence implies the power to impose reception.”

Bahasa, bagi sarjana ini sejenis 'keganasan simbolik', bukan sahaja alat komunikasi tetapi juga alat kekuasaan oleh pemakainya dengan proses pembezaan (diskriminasi) dengan kelompok-kelompok lain seperti proses ‘rites of passage’ (misalnya berkhatan, dalam budaya Melayu) dalam banyak budaya.

Dalam bukunya Language and Symbolic Power, Bourdieu menunjukkan bagaimana bahasa berjaya mempengaruhi jasad seseorang sehingga mencipta semacam 'kegagapan' ke atas seseorang di luar medan bahasa (di luar kelas sosialnya). Medan dan pasar bahasa digunakan dengan maksud yang hampir sama dalam teori Bourdieu.

Akibat tekanan itu, individu melakukan banyak 'pembetulan' sewaktu menggunakan bahasa – misalnya memperbaiki sebutan, ungkapan, tatabahasa dan teori yang 'betul' dengan kehendak pasar (medan) sesuatu kelompok, selalunya dominan. Sungguh menakutkan memikirkan hal ini.
Saya sendiri pernah menjadi 'korban' kepada proses ini – setelah lama tidak menulis kepada akhbar Utusan Malaysia (1996) dan Berita Harian (1992-93). Sewaktu saya cuba menulis kembali kepada mereka, antaranya artikel 'Ruang awam untuk sasterawan' (Mingguan Malaysia, 8 Jun 2003), saya terpaksa mengedit hampir 10 kali (sejenis swasaringan atau self-censorship agar serasi dengan bahasa dan gaya akhbar tersebut!)

Barulah saya sedar bahawa bahasa saya telah beranjak daripada 'bahasa (dan pemikiran) arus perdana' akhbar harian (awal 1990 hingga pra-Gerakan Reformasi) kepada 'bahasa politik baru' (yang cukup bebas dan anjal – juga sarat 'emosi') era laman-laman web Reformasi (1998-2000). Bahasa laman web ini, kemudiannya, menjadi beban pula sehingga saya meninggalkan Malaysiakini (akhir 2001) dan mula menulis untuk kolum ini (pertengahan 2002).

Sewaktu bertugas dengan Malaysiakini (2000), saya pernah mengkritik bentuk-bentuk wacana dan kualiti hujah laman-laman web reformasi, Harakah dan Utusan Malaysia (khususnya 1998-2000) kerana memaparkan sejenis 'budaya dan bahasa politik' yang buruk dan tidak mencerahkan akal.

Gejala sedemikian, saya perhatikan, telah terlalu kuat mempengaruhi pengucapan politik kita hingga saat ini, misalnya lihat (milik satu kawasan PAS di Terengganu) dan juga wacana-wacana dalam blog-blog milik individu-individu yang percaya pada idealisme Islam.

Bahasa dominan ini rupa-rupanya menyimpan 'kejahatan', atau 'keganasan simbolik', tersendiri seperti saya alami dalam fasa-fasa tertentu, misalnya lebih 10 tahun dalam gerakan pelajar dakwah (mulai 1983). Bahasa di sini bukan ayat dan karangan tetapi 'wacana', pemikiran atau 'paradigma' kumpulan. Kumpulan-kumpulan sosial (atau 'medan' dalam teori Bourdieu) sentiasa melakukan kejahatan ini, rupa-rupanya!

Tidaklah menghairankan apabila forum dan diskusi kita, termasuk di kalangan aktivis, jarang mahu disertai peserta-pesertanya. Begitu juga surat pembaca untuk penerbitan berbahasa Melayu (yang pernah saya sertai). Rupa-rupanya ada proses 'menggagapkan' orang ramai akibat penggunaan wacana yang tidak demokratik yang sudah terlalu jauh berkembang dalam masyarakat kita.

Pandangan orang ramai dianggap tidak perlu dirujuk dan akibatnya masyarakat mematikan keghairahan bersuara. Jika ada, mereka terperangkap pula dalam bahasa politik kritis (seperti mereka kenali daripada akhbar pembangkang dan ceramah politik). Orang ramai terlalu daif untuk menentang 'bahasa buruk' yang sedia ada dalam budaya politik kita, manakala aktivis politik (termasuk cerdik pandainya) gagal memperkasakan kita semua ke arah memantapkan 'bahasa baru' politik antikerajaan.

Hishamuddin, sebelum ditahan ISA pada April 2001, sering bercakap kepada kami tentang keperluan 'mendemokratikkan wacana' kerana wacana, menurut Michel Foucault, datang bersama kuasa. Tokoh pasca-modenisme ini menyarankan kesetaraan wacana. Tidak hairan, selepas dibebaskan, Hishamuddin menulis menggunakan bahasa 'pop' anak muda – mungkin untuk mendemokrasikan wacana kepada sasaran baru pembacanya itu.

Dalam artikel dua tahun lalu, saya menyebut: “Pembodohan membentuk budaya bersama atau sejenis social conditioning; yakni, rasa tidak perlu berhujah, berbeza pandangan, mempertikaikan sesuatu maklumat yang disogokkan atau mencabar kelaziman serta ‘tradisi’.

“Ia mematikan keghairahan berfikir, serta menumpulkan minda, mula-mula secara kolektif, kemudian secara peribadi. Mula-mula di kalangan pengikut kelompok, kemudian kepada penentangnya dan akhir sekali di kalangan pengikut penentang itu sendiri. Pembangkang kemudiannya mewarisi pembodohan yang tidak disukai itu.”

Saya masih mempertahankan tesis di atas; cuma sekarang saya sedar bahawa pembodohan itu rupa-rupanya diakibatkan oleh dampak buruk bahasa dan wacana politik dan kebudayaan kita.

Tulis saya lagi: “Aktivis dan pemimpin pembangkang juga gagal melihat serta membedah sesuatu yang lebih abstrak daripada tindakan politik, kenyataan pemimpin kerajaan atau perundangan. Soal nilai, budaya atau ‘ikatan seni’ yang mengawal minda, gelagat, minat atau naluri bangsa ini gagal dibedah siasat.

“Jika ada, itu semua teori yang dilontar semula daripada buku-buku; bukan kefahaman mereka yang asli tentang negara ini. Saya tidak fikir mereka faham dan saya tidak nampak mereka sedar bahawa inilah kelemahan asasi mereka dalam perlawanan dengan Barisan Nasional dan institusi-institusinya. Bagi saya, ini semua akibat-akibat nyata ketumpulan minda.

“Malah, ada di kalangan mereka bersikap anti-ilmu; tidak tahu meletakkan hubungan antara ‘teori’, ‘kritik’, ‘konsep’, ‘kajian’, ‘idea’, ‘falsafah’ atau kegiatan ‘intelektual’ dengan gerak kerja perjuangan.

“Sering kita dengar, dengan nada jengkel atau sinis, “awak kritik saja, memang mudah”, “kita tidak perlu intelektual yang pandai berteori” atau “teori banyak-banyak pun tidak guna, yang penting pelaksanaan”. Sedarkah mereka nada seumpama ini lahir akibat pembodohan?”

Keadaan ini diburukkan lagi oleh kegagalan cerdik pandai kita untuk menyediakan wacana tanding antara bahasa-bahasa politik pembangkang (khasnya PAS) dengan kerajaan (khasnya Umno).

Oleh kerana sudah membudaya kerendahan wacana dan pendangkalan hujah dalam bahasa politik kita, maka setiap orang nampaknya ingin keadaan sedia ada ini dikekalkan. Sekiranya ada usaha untuk membuka 'bahasa baru' dalam wacana politik kita, pembuka 'bahasa baru' itu akan 'didesak' oleh khalayak kita agar menurunkan 'bahasa baru' itu dan sesuai dengan kelaziman minda mereka (selama ini).

Lotman, dalam bukunya itu (hal. 143), menyebut: “Dialogue presupposes asymmetry, and asymmetry is to be seen first, in the difference between the semiotic structures (languages) which the participants in the dialogue use; and second, in the alternating directions of the message-flow. [...] But there is another condition necessary for dialogue: namely the concern of both participants for the message and their capacity to overcome the semiotic barriers that must inevitably arises.”

Sedutan artikel saya 'Politik dan kejahatan berbahasa' (, 8 Ogos 2005)