- After the Good Start, Let’s Do it Right
- Dirty tactics they play on social media
- Dirty tactics they play on social media
Posted: 17 Nov 2013 09:21 PM PST
Kee Thuan Chye
Two months ago, I wrote in this column about the issue of English and asked whether our government would give the language the importance it deserves and get our students to learn it wholeheartedly. Since then, we've heard the good news that the Government has decided to make English a must-pass subject at the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations from 2016.
This is a good start. At the very least, it sends out the message to students to take the language seriously when at present many of them don't. The official sanction should also get things rolling and prompt education planners to prepare for the 2016 target. It may be only three years away, but a short deadline can sometimes be as effective as a longer one, if not more so. It's all about having the will to do it. And speaking of will, students are more likely to find the will to improve their English when they are pushed to do it than when they are led to believe that English is irrelevant to their daily lives or even harmful to their own culture and identity.
Posted: 17 Nov 2013 08:28 PM PST
Posted: 17 Nov 2013 03:11 PM PST
Campaigning via social media has arrived in PAS but not everyone is happy about the way it has been used to accuse certain leaders in the run-up to the PAS election.
Joceline Tan, The Star
IT is strange but true – Karpal Singh has joined the fray in the PAS election campaign.
The DAP chairman has drawn a barrage of attacks from PAS politicians for his view that race and religion-based political parties and groups are not in the national interest. Karpal, who is famous for his "over my dead body" stand against hudud law, has always had a testy relationship with PAS but he was merely speaking his mind.
However, PAS politicians were not letting him off, especially with the PAS election just days away.
The most vocal voice from PAS on this has been Dr Raja Ahmad Yaakob, a young politician from Perak who is going for the deputy Youth chief's post. The issue has been like a ripe and delicious mango dropping onto his lap. He has weighed in on Karpal and they have resorted to calling each other "liar".
Dr Raja Ahmad had been struggling in his campaign because his rival, Mohd Khalil Abdul Hadi, is an ulama figure and the eldest son of their party president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang. But the Karpal issue has given his campaign the oomph! that he needs.
Dr Raja Ahmad is the running mate of Suhaizan Kayat, who is vying to be the next Youth chief. Both of them belong to the Erdogan group whereas their rivals are backed by the ulama group.
The Erdogans, as the professionals and activists in the party are known, have often been accused of being the tali barut or lackeys of their DAP and PKR partners.
In defending the party against Karpal, Dr Raja Ahmad is basically saying that he is no apologist or lackey and that he will criticise DAP and Karpal if he has to.
The issue of hudud law for Kelantan has also been a godsent issue for some of the candidates. Hudud law is an ultimate goal of PAS and it would be a dream come true for them if Kelantan takes the lead in implementing it.
Even the Sunday weekend became a campaign issue for some. At present, only Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu have a Friday weekend. Some candidates have urged the Friday weekend be implemented nationwide so that Muslims can perform their Friday prayer obligations without hassle.
But nothing has been as controversial as the way some of the party's young Turks have taken the campaign to Facebook and blogs.
Top party leaders are quite alarmed that some of the campaigners have adopted the dirty tactics used in the general election against Umno.
These include attacks and character assassination via blogs, Facebook and SMS. Deputy president candidate Mohamad Sabu has been the target of an SMS campaign claiming that he has Syiah links although he has denied it.
"There is a lot of fitnah on the Internet. But we should not be swayed if we follow what we have been taught in Islam," said former Wangsa Maju PAS chief Dr Rayney Ali.
PAS information chief Idris Ahmad has asked party members not to believe everything they read on the Internet. But if people could actually believe that Bangladeshis came to vote in the general election, there is no reason to think they will not believe some of the things being said about their own party election.
There is no denying that negative campaigning has made its debut in PAS. Party members have been both appalled and intrigued by some of the stuff posted on several Facebook fan pages that were obviously set up to campaign on behalf of the ulama group.
These Facebook accounts have been promoting the cause of the ulama candidates which is fine. The disturbing part is the way they have targeted the Erdogans, implying that they have caused the party to lose sight of its Islamic state agenda.
The Erdogans have also been painted as "parasites" and kambing hitam (black sheep) who have compromised the party's Islamic agenda for short-term political gains. They have also been accused of kow-towing to DAP and PKR.
For instance, a trip that one of the Erdogans took in a private jet with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was held up as proof of his divided loyalty.
Those behind the Erdogan-bashing campaign have mocked the Erdogans for making empty promises. They are demanding answers for the proposed RM27mil party headquarters in Putrajaya. The project was launched by Hadi in 2008, the foundation stone laid by Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat but until today, there has been zero progress.
Even Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa, an ulama who is part of the Erdogan group, has not been spared. He has been labelled a "liberal Muslim", which, by the way, is not a compliment for any Muslims.
Have those campaigning on behalf of the ulama candidates gone too far in their tactics and allegations?
Academic Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, who wrote a thesis on the PAS ulama leadership, said the tradition in PAS is that those who campaign too much will lose and those who have been working for the party and get along with the members will do well.
"The dirty campaigns via Facebook will not have much impact on the outcome of the party elections. If at all, it will backfire. However, the healthy culture of debate among the candidates is really good and needs to be continued as it will enable members to vote in a more informed way," said Dr Kamarul.
But the negative campaign tactics has come under fire from Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad.
Khalid, who is seen as a leading Erdogan, has lashed out at those behind the campaigning as "stupid" and for misleading the delegates and causing a rift in the party.
Khalid asked delegates at the muktamar to vote for status quo if they want the Pakatan Rakyat coalition to survive. He said the agenda of the pro-ulama group is to take PAS out of Pakatan and if their candidates win, they will want to review ties between PAS and Pakatan.
The jury is still out there as the most intense election campaign in the history of PAS draws to a close.
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