Monthly Archives: October 2006

Tengku Ismail and His ‘Tuan British’

Tengku Ismail and His ‘Tuan British’.

By Farish A. Noor.

In a country like Malaysia where politicians and political parties
suffer from a myriad of hang-ups about the past, it is easy to
understand how and why so many political parties claim that they have
been part of the national struggle for independence and development all
the time. Just a few months ago we were treated to yet another open
discursive conflict between the ruling conservative parties and the
Islamic opposition party over the thorny and embarrassing question of
which side was the first to launch the campaign for independence.

In the midst of this hullabaloo and furore, one only hopes that the
politicians themselves would turn to the history books for a while.
There they will come face to face with some painful realities that some
of them may find difficult to stomach. For like it or not, the fact
remains that the political parties and organisations that led the way in
the struggle for independence in Malaya happened to come from the
(secular) Left. Among the first political parties to be formed in the
country (both legally and illegally) were the Parti Kebangsaan Melayu
Malaya (PKMM) and the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). These parties had
their origins in other informal activist groups like the Kesatuan Melayu
Muda (KMM) and the various trade unions and workers movements that
sprang up during the 1930s.

The arriviste conservative parties that came on the scene later were not
only much smaller and loosely organised, many of them were in fact led
by the local royalty and aristocratic elite who were themselves very
much beholden to the British colonial government.

The fact that many of the local Malay elite were working hand in glove
with the British should not come as a surprise to us. It must be
remembered that under British rule, the self-serving feudal political
culture of the Malay royalty and aristocracy was allowed to develop and
prosper in many ways. In 1915, for instance, the Majlis Ugama Kelantan
(Kelantan Board of Religious Affairs) was formed in the Sultanate of
Kelantan. It came into being thanks to the initiative of the
conservative Kelantanese elite led by the Majlis Ugama’s president, Haji
Nik Mahmud who wished to gain some control over religious affairs in the
state. But dominated as it was by the Kelantanese elite, the Majlis
Ugama Kelantan soon became a tool for aristocratic patronage and
dominance. It focused its attention mostly on tax and revenue
collection, via zakat contributions.

The Majlis Ugama Kelantan fulfilled some of its traditional duties as
patron and benefactor to Muslim concerns (like building mosques, suraus
and religious schools), but its real aim was the perpetuation and
reproduction of aristocratic power. It built a school for the (male)
children of the Kelantanese elite, based on the model of British
colonial schools. This was so that the children of the elite could later
proceed to British colonial schools and then enter the British colonial
civil service. The dominance of the Majlis Ugama was resented by
ordinary Kelantanese, who began to support the Ulama and the radical
nationalists instead. Similar attempts at institutional reform in the
other Malay kingdoms like Trengganu and Johor only ended up serving the
interests of the ruling elite.

In both British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, the conservative
Islamists and traditionalist elite proved to be useful to the colonial
regimes. It was not only the Malay Sultans and the Indonesian Priyahi
nobles who lent their support to the colonial establishment: the
Islamists of the conservative-traditionalist camp did so as well. The
Nahdatul Ulama of the East Indies, for instance, had gone as far as
proclaiming the Dutch colony as part of Dar’ul Islam, on the grounds
that the welfare of the Indonesian Muslims was catered for and they were
being ministered by (Dutch-approved) Ulama and Penghulus who enforced
the Shariah. While the traditional Malay Ulama of British Malaya never
went as far in their support of the British colonial government, they
did play an active role in trying to curb the critiques that were
increasingly being directed towards the traditional feudal elite by the
radical vernacular Malay press.

In both of these colonies, the forces of conservative and traditional
Islam provided additional bulwarks for the colonial governments against
the growing tide of anti-colonial nationalism that was slowly developing
among the radical vernacular intelligentsia. The Malay and Indonesian
aristocratic elite’s support for the colonial powers were recorded on
many an occasion. In 1939 the various conservative and traditionalist
Malay organisations and movements held their first annual nation-wide
Congress in Kuala Lumpur. The congress was chaired by the conservative
Malay leader Tengku Ismail bin Tengku Muhammad Yasis himself (who was on
the editorial board of the Malay newspaper Majlis). At one point Tengku
Ismail spoke to the assembled audience thus:

‘Pemerintah Inggeris itu adalah seumpama air. Orang2 tidak mengambil
berat akan air kerana dimana2 ada air, tetapi kalau seorang sampai ke
suatu padang pasir, air tidak ada, maka baharulah orang mengerti
bagaimana baiknya, pentingnya dan mustahaknya air. Begitulah pemerintah
Inggeris itu, andai kata kalau dia pergi dari kita, barulah kita rasa
bagaimana baiknya pemerintah Inggeris itu kepada bangsa kita’.

Even by the standards set by the other anglophiles and sycophants of the
conservative camp, Tengku Ismail’s laudatory paean to the virtues of his
colonial masters must have staggered some of the members of the
audience. The radical Malay nationalist Ibrahim Yaakob who was also
present at the gathering as an observer noted that at least a couple of
the leaders of the Malay leftist camp were so staggered by Tengku
Ismail’s shameless toadying that they were reduced to silence for once.

Like their Indonesian counterparts, the conservative Malay elite made up
of aristocrats and members of the royal families such as Tengku Ismail
were quite open about their support of the British colonial government
at the time. The Malay organisations that had sprung up between 1938 and
1939 were all led by conservative members of the traditional ruling
elite who were themselves wary of the growing influence of Communism,
Socialism and Islamic reformism within their midst. Worse still was the
prospect of being abandoned by the British colonial rulers in the event
of war breaking out and Britain being defeated by Japan.

At the 1939 Congress the Persatuan Melayu Selangor (PMS- Selangor Malays
Organisation) led by Tengku Ismail made it clear that they were fully
behind the imperial government of Britain in the event of war breaking
out in the Pacific. When the British colonial government began rounding
up radical Malay activists like Ibrahim Yaakob prior to the Japanese
invasion of Malaya, hardly a word of protest was uttered by the
conservative nationalists. In fact, they expressed their determination
to support the British even stronger: Apart from agreeing to contribute
to the ‘Lady Thomas Patriotic Fund’, the PMS also suggested that a
‘Spitfire fund’ be established to help Britain pay for more fighter
planes in order to help defend the mother-country of the Commonwealth.
The other conservative Malay organisations agreed with this proposal,
but their efforts came to naught as the Japanese blitzkrieg across
Southeast Asia came so fast that the only planes that were airborne in
time were the Japanese Zeros.

The big break for the Malay conservative elite came in the post-war
years when a state of national Emergency was declared in the country
between 1948 to 1960. It was during this time that the PKMM, the Malayan
Communist Party and country’s first Islamic party the Hizbul Muslimin
were effectively wiped out, thus opening the way for the rise of UMNO
and the MCA. Those conservative leaders who rule the roost should always
be reminded of the simple fact that their own position and standing in
the country today is due to a number of variables that were outside
their control. Had the war ended a different way, or had the radical
nationalists been given a chance to defend themselves against the
security apparatus of the British colonial government, Malaysia’s
history might have been more than a bit different than what we know


Dr. Farish A Noor is a Malaysian political scientist and human rights
activist. He is currently researching the topic of Islamist political
movements in Southeast Asia, and writing a book on the Malaysian Islamic
party, PAS.¬† ‘The Other Malaysia’ tries to unearth and bring to the fore
aspects of Malaysia’s past and present which have been relegated to the
margins of public discourse and collective memory. It hopes to open our
eyes to the fact that the realities of today are not always fixed,
permanent and irrevocable. There will always be an ‘Other’ Malaysia that
serves as an alternative to the present.

This article appeared on Malaysiakini on 27 May 2000

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Posted by on October 25, 2006 in kemerdekaan


Perlembagaan – Satu Sorotan Ringkas

Perlembagaan atau di dalam bahasa Inggeris “Constitution” adalah sistem yang kebiasaannya dicatatkan sebagai undang-undang yang meletakkan syarat dan prinsip bagaimana sesebuah organisasi atau badan politik ditadbir. Bagi sesebuah negara, ia merujuk kepada Perlembagaan Negara yang menghuraikan prinsip asas politik dan memberikan kerajaan kuasa dan tanggungjawabnya.

Perlembagaan juga wujud di dalam sesuatu pertubuhan samada pertubuhan politik, kumpulan sekerja mahupun syarikat dan badan sukarela. Kebiasaannya, kesemua perlembagaan menyatakan secara khusus kuasa yang berada pada sesebuah pertubuhan dan ruang lingkup kekuasaannya. Istilah “ultra vires” digunakan apabila kegiatan sesebuah persatuan itu melampaui batas yang telah ditetapkan oleh perlembagaannya.

Sebagai contoh, persatuan pelajar tidak boleh melibatkan diri dengan kegiatan yang tidak membabitkan urusan pelajar. Sekiranya hal ini berlaku, ianya akan dianggap “ultra vires”.

Di dalam sejarah Islam, Perlembagaan Madinah (Medina Constitution) merupakan perlembagaan terawal yang dimeterai oleh Rasulullah SAW pada tahun 622 Hijrah apabila baginda tiba ke sana ketika berhijrah keluar dari Mekah.

Di dalam sejarah politik Malaysia, terdapat 3 perlembagaan pertubuhan yang penting untuk dikaji oleh pembaca iaitu Perlembagaan Malaysia, Perlembagaan Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu atau UMNO dan Perlembagaan Parti Islam SeMalaysia atau PAS. Ketiga-tiga perlembagaan ini mempunyai kaitan secara langsung dengan pengamalan Islam di dalam konteks kenegaraan.


Perlembagaan Malaysia (Constitution Of Malaysia) berasal daripada Perlembagaan Persekutuan Tanah Melayu yang diisytiharkan pada 27hb Ogos 1957. Perlembagaan ini dibuat oleh Suruhanjaya Reid di England. Oleh kerana itu, Malaysia turut menerimapakai konsep kenegaraan yang di amalkan di Westminster termasuklah dasar Sekular (Secularism).

Dasar ini sebenarnya telah mula diamalkan di Tanah Melayu seawal tahun 1874 melalui Perjanjian Pangkor yang ditandatangan oleh Sultan Abdullah (Sultan Perak) dengan Residen Inggeris bagi Negeri-Negeri Selat, Andrew Clerk. Kandungan penting di dalam perjanjian itu ialah “Residen Inggeris akan menasihati Sultan (dan Sultan mesti megikuti) dalam semua hal mengenai pentadbiran negeri kecuali mengenai Agama Islam dan adat istiadat Melayu.

Dasar Sekular dapat dilihat di dalam Perlembagaan Malaysia Fasal 3.1. dan 4.1.

Fasal 3.1. menyebutkan “Agama Islam adalah agama resmi Persekutuan”.

Islam yang dimaksudkan di sini merujuk kepada upacara seperti soal keraian, nikah kahwin, cerai, rujuk, pembahagian harta dan seumpamanya.

Fasal 4.1. pula menyebutkan “Perlembagaan ini adalah undang-undang tertinggi bagi persekutuan dan mana-mana undang-undang yang dibuat selepas daripada hari Merdeka, yang bertentangan dengan perlembagaan ini, maka setakat mana pertentangannya di situlah terbatalnya undang-undang itu.”

Fasal 4.1. secara jelas menafikan undang-undang lain termasuklah undang-undang yang berdasarkan al Quran dan Hadis. Sebagai contohnya, undang-undang jenayah. Antara undang-undang jenayah yang disebutkan di dalam al Quran adalah berkenaan dengan jenayah mencuri yang jika sabit kesalahan, boleh dikenakan hukuman memotong tangan si pencuri. Walaubagaimanapun, undang-undang ini tidak dimasukkan ke dalam perlembagaan. Oleh itu ia secara langsung terbatal. Implikasi dari hal ini memungkinkan berlakunya percanggahan aqidah kerana sebagai seorang Muslim yang komited, seseorang itu wajib meletakkan undang-undang berdasarkan al Quran dan hadis mengatasi undang-undang yang lain.

Tun Mohd Suffian, tokoh hakim negara, pernah menyebutkan,

“Saya suka menjelaskan bahawa negara ini bukanlah negara Islam sebagaimana yang difahamkan secara umum. Kita cuma memperuntukkan Islam sebagai agama resmi negara”.

Pemimpin UMNO meneguhkan kenyataan ini melalui kenyataan yang tersiar di dalam akhbar Utusan Melayu (yang dikuasai oleh UMNO) pada 10hb Oktober 1980 yang berbunyi,

“Pemimpin UMNO hendaklah memberitahu rakyat dengan berani dan tegas bahawa perjuangan UMNO adalah perjuangan nasionalisme yang progresif sifatnya. UMNO mesti berani berkata bahawa UMNO tidak bercita-cita untuk menukar perlembagaan dengan undang-undang Islam.”

Seterusnya, ruangan “Rencana Pengarang” akhbar tersebut melanjutkan hal ini dalam tulisannya bertarikh 30hb Oktober 1980 yang berbunyi,

“Sebenarnya Kerajaan adalah sebuah kerajaan kebangsaan yang sama sekali tidak berjanji dengan rakyat negeri ini untuk menjalankan Hukum Islam yang berdasarkan al Quran dan al Hadis”

Jelas di sini bahawa pakar perundangan dan parti yang memerintah Malaysia mentakrifkan Islam sebagai satu upacara rasmi kerajaan malah tidak mempunyai niat untuk meminda peruntukan perlembagaan terhadap undang-undang Islam yang lain seperti yang termaktub di dalam al Quran dan Hadis.


UMNO ditubuhkan pada 11hb Mei 1946 di Johor Bahru. Ia ditubuhkan semata-mata untuk menentang Malayan Union yang mengancam kedudukan dan kuasa orang-orang Melayu serta Raja-raja Melayu.

Fasal 3 Perlembagaan UMNO menyatakan bahawa

“UMNO adalah parti politik yang progresif yang berjuang menurut lunas-lunas demokrasi dengan tujuan menghasilkan cita-cita kebangsaan.

Mendukung Perlembagaan Malaysia, perlembagaan negeri-negeri dan mempertahankan prinsip-prinsip yang terkandung di dalamnya, terutama mengenai agama rasmi, kedaulatan Raja-raja Melayu, Bahasa Kebangsaan, Hak-hak asasi dan orang-orang Melayu dan Bumiputera.

Berikhtiar bagi mengawal, memelihara dan mengamalkan pemerintahan demokrasi”.

Melalui perlembagaan pertubuhannya, UMNO mengetengahkan konsep Nasionalisma (Nationalism) yang meletakkan perjuangan bangsa Melayu mengatasi perjuangan yang lain di samping mempertahankan konsep Sekularisma yang tercatat di dalam Perlembagaan Malaysia. UMNO juga mengambil pendekatan  pragmatik (pragmatism) di mana konsep-konsep semasa seperti Islamisasi dan Islam Hadhari diperkenalkan kepada masyarakat oleh pemimpinnya.


Di peringkat awalnya, PAS ditubuhkan sebagai Persatuan Islam SeTanah Melayu pada 23hb Ogos 1951. Ia dianggap sebagai lanjutan daripada pergerakan Hizbul Muslimin yang diharamkan British pada tahun 1948. Kewujudan PAS merupakan langkah pemimpin Islam di Tanah Melayu yang mendapati UMNO, setelah ditubuhkan pada tahun 1946, tidak berhasrat untuk membawa Undang-undang Islam ke dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan Tanah Melayu.

PAS berpegang dengan Surah Al Maidah ayat ke 54 yang menyatakan sekiranya sesuatu kaum itu berpaling dari agama, ALLAH akan mendatangkan kaum yang lain untuk memperjuangkan agamaNYA. Dengan ini PAS menganggap pendaftarannya sebagai sebuah pertubuhan politik pada tahun 1955 sebagai satu usaha Tajdid, iaitulah usaha pembaharuan untuk menyingkirkan fahaman Sekularisma dan Nasionalisma.

Fasal 2.1 Perlembagaan PAS menyebutkan,

“Dasar PAS ialah Islam”

Manakala Fasal 2.2 menyebutkan,

“Tujuan PAS adalah untuk memperjuangkan wujudnya di dalam negara ini masyarakat dan pemerintahan Islam yang terlaksananya nilai-nilai hidup Islam dan hukum-hukum yang menuju keredhaan ALLAH SWT”

Seterusnya Fasal 3 menyebutkan,

“Adapun hukum tertinggi di dalam perjuangan PAS ialah Kitabullah, Sunnah Rasul, Ijma’ dan Qias, yang terang dan nyata dengan tertakluk pada hukum tertinggi itu kekuasaan PAS adalah dipegang oleh Majlis Tertinggi Syura Ulama'”

Sebagai membuktikan komitmennya terhadap cita-cita Negara Islam, PAS telah menerbitkan dokumen bertajuk Dokumen Negara Islam ( The Islamic State Document )


Prof Said Hawwa menulis di dalam bukunya “20 perkara yang membatalkan aqidah” meliputi perkara berikut:

Perkara 4 – Menggubal undang-undang mengikut kemahuan manusia, bukan mengikut ketentuan ALLAH, yang bererti bahawa perbuatan itu melawan ALLAH, kerana ALLAH sajalah yang mempunyai hak menentukan undang-undang bagi kehidupan manusia.

Perkara 6 – Menjalankan hukum yang lain daripada hukum ALLAH SWT atau tidak merujuk kepada hukum ALLAH SWT dalam sesuatu perkara.

Perkara 9 – Menghina sesuatu Kitab atau sunnah, atau menghina orang alim (ulama) yang menegakkannya, atau mempersenda-senakan hukum-hukum daripada ALLAH atau syiar-syiar daripada syiar Islam.

Perkara 11 – Tidak beriman dengan sumber-sumber hukum daripada al Kitab dan as Sunnah.


Kepentingan Perlembagaan kepada sesebuah entiti ibarat kepentingan ikrar syahadah bagi seseorang individu. Sebagai seorang Muslim yang komited, seseorang itu perlu jelas dengan konsep Demokrasi, Sekularisma dan Nasionalisma. Sekiranya kefahaman ini tidak jelas, dibimbangi ia mengakibatkan seseorang itu buta perlembagaan dan berlarutan dengan aqidah yang pincang.




3) Perlembagaan Malaysia

4) Perlembagaan UMNO

5) Perlembagaan PAS

6) Utusan Melayu (Malaysia)

7) Said Hawwa, “Al Islam – Syahadah dan Perkara Yang Membatalkannya”

Catatan Tambahan :

Isu kandungan Perlembagaan berkenaan istilah “Negara Islam” (Islamic State) merupakan satu isu yang hangat yang bukan sahaja melibatkan orang-orang Islam malah ia hebat diperkatakan di kalangan bukan Islam. Umpamanya, Akhbar The Sun menyenaraikan 90 artikel popular yang menyebut tentang “Islamic State” dan sebahagiannya adalah seperti berikut:

Search Results For “islamic state”

90 articles found

No. Headline

1. A lot of hot air over one word [94.7%] (a-lot-of-hot-air-over-one-word.pdf)

2. How Karpal forced a point [91.1%] (how-karpal-forced-a-point.pdf)

3. Sisterhood in Islam [91.1%] (sisterhood-in-islam.pdf)

4. Writing the Malaysian story [90.1%] writing-the-malaysian-story.pdf)

5. Ours is a hybrid system [86.5%] (ours-is-a-hybrid-system.pdf)

6. Upholding our secular constitution [86.5%] (upholding-our-secular-constitution.pdf)

7. Will ‘New PAS’ see real reforms? [86.5%] (will-new-pas-see-real-reforms_.pdf)

8. Chan: Karpal has lost credibility to talk about Islamic state [86.5%] (DOWNLOAD PDF)

9. Poll shows 73% think we are Islamic state [85.1%] (poll-shows-73pc-think-we-are-islamic-state.pdf)

10. Article 11 roadshow forum in Johor Baru to go on this Saturday [85.1%] (article-11-roadshow-forum-in-johor-baru-to-go-on-this-saturday.pdf)

11. Spotlight on religious freedom [85.1%] (spotlight-on-religious-freedom.pdf)

12. The path towards a true Islamic state [85.1%] (the-path-towards-a-true-islamic-state.pdf)

13. Address Islamic state issue objectively: Kit Siang [85.1%] (address-islamic-state-issue-objectively_-kit-siang.pdf)

14. PM: Amendment to indicate Islamic state not necessary [85.1%] (pm_-amendment-to-indicate-islamic-state-not-necessary.pdf)

15. Umno, PAS in ‘balancing’ act [85.1%] (DOWNLOAD PDF)

16. Indonesia’s open take on Islam [83.5%] (indonesias-open-take-on-islam.pdf)

17. MP’s statement derogatory and insulting [83.5%] (mps-statement-derogatory-and-insulting.pdf)

18. Of PAS, present and future [83.5%] (of-pas-present-and-future.pdf)

19. Working towards religious understanding [83.5%] (working-towards-religious-understanding.pdf)

20. On PAS and women [83.5%] (on-pas-and-women.pdf)

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Posted by on October 18, 2006 in perlembagaan