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What does Amanah bring to the table in Harapan?

Mohamad Sabu  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | Islam has a ceremonial but important role in the Constitution of Malaysia. Indeed, Islam should be everywhere, not as an imposition, but rather, as a concept of justice, to showcase the shortcomings of the entire political system.

It is clear that the political system in Malaysia has become stunted and undeveloped. Laws like Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) that were repealed have not produced the desired effect or outcome of lowering tensions in the country.

Instead of making Malaysia more democratic, the country has backslid into authoritarianism once again, with every general election since 2008 favouring the opposition parties, only to see them getting the popular votes, but not the necessary seats to form even a simple majority government of 112 seats.

If democracy is not functioning well - and it is not - then powerful and fair political discourses are needed to make up for the gaps. This is where Islam has a role to play. Since the dawn of time, Islam has always focused on ethics, justice and good governance.

This is where Amanah can be most useful, too. To remind Muslims and Malaysians alike that the country is falling, and without a decisive victory to the opposition front, the rot that has set in will consume the country from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) right down to the land offices in the states that form the Federation of Malaysia.

Indeed, unbeknown to many, the land office has the right to give away various lands across the states in Malaysia. Ideally, the land can be given away for economic and agricultural purposes.

But how the parcels of lands are given away depends on the PMO's economic and political vision across all thirteen states that formed the country. Without a corruption-free vision, Malaysian land will end up being sold and given away without any merits.

Indeed, Bandar Malaysia was sold to 1MDB for a nominal price. When 1MDB is stuck with a debt of RM 42 billion or more, Chinese companies from mainland China came riding in like the white knight to save 1MDB and the prime minister.

Meanwhile, closer to home, the Felda land on Jalan Semarak in Kuala Lumpur, too, was transferred to a private developer under suspicious circumstances for RM270 million, when the four parcels of land were reportedly worth close to RM 1 billion. Felda announced in January that it had regained the land.

Separation of party and state

In Islam, what belongs to the state and, indeed, what belongs to the individuals are clearly separated. The demarcation is meant to prevent corruption.

When Khalifah Umar (may he be blessed) ceased his official duties in the evening, invariably, to write his personal correspondence, he would snub out the candle provided by the government first. The latter was paid from the taxes of the people, Khalifah Umar affirmed. Therefore, he did not have the right to burn a candle that belonged to the state. He would then use his own personal candles to complete his own letters.

This is how strict classical Islam was, and should be, when it comes to battling corruption - an outright separation of the party and the state. If the boundaries between the party and the state are clearly set out, no religious or political parties in Malaysia should be abusing their positions once they are in government or positions of authority in any form.

Amanah is part of Harapan to enhance the role of Islam, democracy and good governance. But it doesn't want to make itself the one and only voice on these issues. Therefore, Amanah is all in favour of building consensus, agreeing to disagree, and expressing its voices and values clearly so that all parties and individuals are kept on their toes to separate what is the party and the state.

More importantly, a systematic and serious solution should be created to prevent corruption from taking hold across the country and the states. Land, one of the most precious commodities, must be used to generate strong and sustainable economic growth, without which land could be given away without deep forethought.

Indeed, the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) and International Coordination Unit (ICU) have to work hand-in-hand to give the country a strong blueprint, so that land cannot be given away without a strategic blueprint, or even for free.

Amanah, based on its previous experience in PAS and Pakatan Rakyat, is here to help Harapan become even more transparent and accountable.

But before Amanah can reach such a position, it is good that Amanah draws heavy support from the voters to give it even more encouragement and positive reinforcement to do the right thing for Malaysia and Malaysians.

MOHAMAD SABU is president of Amanah.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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