Thursday, June 08, 2006

What can we expect from Electricity Review

Title: What can we expect from Electricity Review?
That the vertical structure from power producer, distribution/power line company, and retail market would be better carved up. Corporations could be set up to produce power, just like what current IPP is doing now. These power producers, would sell their power generation in an electricity market whereby retail power companies would buy them to sell to ordinary power consumers, companies that uses electricity and ordinary people. Transmission and distribution company, the middleman in the electricity market charge a certain amount per kwh to the final electricity user and a fixed supply charges, for the cost of power infrastructure like power lines.
TNB as a national transmission and distribution company could be carved up into smaller companies, say TNB One as a national transmission company and smaller distribution retail companies in every States. One for Kedah and Perlis, another for Pulau Pinang etc.
Retail power companies and large power users can bid for the lowest price electricity on offer in the electricity market. The electricity market is open for business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It so happen that power consumers uses less power in the middle of the night and the wee hours of the morning, so power at these times should be cheaper if the market is efficient. Retail power companies could install dual electricity meters to household, meters that recognise consumption say between midnight and 5am. Then consumption at these hours could be charged at lower rate.
The unfair agreement between TNB and IPPs could be declared null and void by law. Now IPPs will have to sell to retail electricity companies in the electricity market that has been set up. If big electricity users like Perwaja want to buy electricity in the market, they could. IPPs could also sell electricity to neighbouring countries, provided there are transmission lines and they are willing to buy.
As for current unfair agreement between TNB and IPPs, I would suggest that TNB seek redress in court. From newsmedia report for the past few days, Tan Sri Ani Arope said that the agreement between TNB and IPP were made under DURESS. TNB was not allowed to negotiate on the price of electricity it paid. There are cases in commercial law whereby the aggrieved party can seek redress, if it can be proven that the agreement was made under duress and unfair.
Noor Yahaya Hamzah

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tenaga should seek redress

In New Zealand, (I cant give any other example, Britain, USA or Europe, I am not familiar with their commercial law) if the contract is made under DURESS (as I understand this case is) the aggrieved party can seek redress, even at a later date.
What say you legal eagles in this group?
If Datuk Ani Arope read this, is there possibility for him to appear as main witness?
Someone could, even without Tenaga, because we rakyat have shareholding in Tenaga, seek redress and take this matter to court.
Imagine the repecussion to IPP’s share price, the overpayment in IPP power payment etc. It could make YTL and Genting a bit poorer.

Mahathir blamed for giving one-sided contracts to IPPs
It's all fixed up, Tenaga was forced to accept the deals: ex-Tenaga chief

Business Times

THE former chief of Tenaga Nasional has blamed former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad for the one-sided contracts awarded to the country's independent power producers (IPPs), with the national power company being arm-twisted to accept onerous terms.

It was alleged that Tenaga did not negotiate with the IPPs but was made to deal with the country's Economic Planning Unit (EPU), which comes under the PM's Department.

'It was all fixed up. They said this is the price, this is the capacity charge and this is the number of years. They said you just take it,' Ani Arope said in an interview with The Star newspaper.

Asked how the Malaysian model of IPPs was created, Mr Ani, who headed Tenaga from 1990 to 1996 when the first agreements with the IPPs were negotiated, replied tersely: 'Ask our previous prime minister.'

Fed up with frequent outages and the nationwide blackout in 1992 which brought the nation to a standstill, Dr Mahathir essentially ended Tenaga's monopoly as the sole power generator in the country and his administration forced Tenaga to buy power from the IPPs to help avoid another crippling blackout.

But Tenaga was also forced to buy from the IPPs excess power it did not need.

It was thought the IPPs would provide a greater balance to the power sector but it is unclear why they were given such generous terms even though initial set-up expenses would have been costly as borrowing costs then were around 10 per cent.

Having amortised its assets, Mr Ani said Tenaga could have produced electricity at far lower costs than the IPPs. But although it had the plans and credit standing in the early 1990s to build additional power plants, the EPU wanted to privatise the power plants and to license the IPPs.

Hence, Tenaga was told to surrender its land by the EPU, which oversees the nation's development, economic strategies, and the redistribution of wealth policy.

According to Mr Ani, an IPP had agreed to accept 2 sen (S$0.008) less per unit for power generated, but EPU threatened to take the contract away unless the IPP increased its price.

He claimed Tenaga officials were 'harassed, humiliated and talked down' during the negotiations and that when he refused to sign the contracts, he was later 'put out to pasture'.

It is unclear why Mr Ani chose to speak up only now.

As promised him, Dr Mahathir steered clear of politics after stepping down as prime minister in 2003. But he has been increasingly vocal and critical of his own hand-picked successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, after the latter did not show the same commitment to a few of his pet projects.

The feisty former strongman is unlikely to remain silent on Mr Ani's claims, which cast him in a bad light.

Malaysia has not raised electricity tariffs in nine years, and Tenaga only received government approval for an average 12 per cent hike from June 1.

The debt-laden power company had long complained that its revenue was insufficient to meet its annual 'capacity charges' of over RM3 billion to the IPPs as well as maintenance and infrastructure costs.

Indeed, Tenaga's cash flow would remain in negative position, its profits notwithstanding.

IPPs were mostly awarded 21-year concessions; first-generation IPPs got the best deals, their internal rate of return exceeding 20 per cent.

Although less lucrative, second-generation IPPs still managed returns of 13-15 per cent.

Malaysia's excess capacity is currently a hefty 40 per cent.

Energy, Water and Communications Minister Lim Keng Yaik said recently there would be no new IPPs for West Malaysia.

Bursa Malaysia-listed Malakoff is building two third-generation plants.

Mr Ani maintained the way the IPP contracts were awarded was 'morally wrong and not fair'.

'This job is an amanah (trust). I do not want somebody to come and urinate on my grave. In the Malay culture, that is about the worst insult they can do to a man,' he said.

Ani: TNB got a raw deal
The Star

WHEN the Government decided to approve the request from Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) to raise electricity tariffs, the plight of the national utility took centre-stage. Naturally, the knee-jerk reaction among consumers was not favourable. The 12% rise in tariffs appears to have re-ignited the debate on how good the going is for independent power producers (IPPs) at the cost of the national utility’s cashflow. The imbalance between the generation side of the business and that of transmission and distribution has put a strain on TNB. To understand the privatisation of the power generation sector, one needs to take a look back in history to understand that the country's IPPs came about as a result of the Government's effort to address the issue of stable power supply after the landmark 1992 blackout. Lending a historical perspective to the issue of IPPs is former TNB executive chairman Tan Sri Ani Arope, who headed the national utility from 1990 to 1996. It was during his tenure that the first generation IPPs were created. StarBiz deputy news editor JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU has the story.

STARBIZ: What happened after the first major blackout in 1992?

Ani: TNB had plans in place to pump out more energy by building plants in Pasir Gudang and Paka. Financing was no problem and our credit standing was very high. We had the land acquired and were ready to move in and plant up.

But we were told by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) that it had its own plans. We cautioned EPU that if those plants, which would take two years to complete, were not built, Malaysia would get another major blackout. When you have a place with 250 engineers, it does not make sense to say (the blackout) is because of poor planning. But the EPU said it had its own plans and we were told to surrender the land.

Then it surfaced that it wanted to privatise the power plants. I am not anti-IPPs per se. It is good to have other players but it has to be done fairly. It has to be fair to the consumers, not just TNB, which is a conduit. TNB, because of the electricity hike, has been treated as the whipping boy. The focus should be on the consumers.

When the generous terms were given to the IPPs, all my other peers around the world asked what was happening. They said they would like to have a share in the IPPs. They said (the contracts to IPPs) were “too darn generous.'' (The terms) were grossly one sided.

How was the Malaysian model of IPPs created?

Ask our previous Prime Minister.

How was the process of negotiations with IPPs conducted?

There was no negotiation. Absolutely none. Instead of talking directly with the IPPs, TNB was sitting down with the EPU. And we were harassed, humiliated and talked down every time we went there. After that, my team was disappointed. The EPU just gave us the terms and asked us to agree. I said no way I would.

What about the pricing and terms of the contracts?

It was all fixed up. (They said) this is the price, this is the capacity charge and this is the number of years. They said you just take it and I refused to sign the contracts. And then, I was put out to pasture.

Why did you disagree with the terms?

It was grossly unfair. At 16 sen per unit (kWh) and with the take or pay situation, actually it was 23 sen per unit. With 23 sen, plus transmission and distribution costs, TNB would have had to charge the consumer no less than 30 sen per unit. If mixed with TNB’s cost, the cost would come down but that was at our expense because we were producing electricity at 8 sen a unit. We can deliver electricity at 17 sen per unit.

And then there is a capacity charge. Nobody produces excess electricity like Malaysia and it goes to waste because there are no batteries to store that power. TNB only needs a reserve of 15% to 20%.

TNB was producing electricity at 8 sen a unit. What should have been the right price for IPPs to sell to TNB?

Twelve sen. They could not beat our price as we had already amortised our assets. But for the new guys or even ourselves to come in then and (having) to meet interest charges and to make a small profit, it would cost 12 sen a unit.

This was what we told one IPP. The IPP agreed to it but the EPU said that unless the IPP raised its price, the contract would not be given to the IPP. So he got it for 14 sen per unit.

And then, there is the cost pass-through. If the price of fuel went up, the extra cost is passed through to us. And in other words, it is passed on to the consumer.

Under what terms would you have agreed to the IPPs being set up?

Have an independent buyer for the electricity and in one way, let TNB come in and bid for the plants. Get other people to come in. Get a commission to see (to) our needs and TNB can be one of the producers.

It is argued that the IPPs' contracts are too lucrative but there are IPPs in other countries in Africa or Asia that have better terms.

There are IPPs charging 50 to 60 US cents per unit but they use diesel. Take our own situation and compare oranges with oranges. Then it is fair. Do whatever is fair.

How were you affected by the process of awarding the IPP contracts?

I felt sick. It was morally wrong and not fair. If it is legal and not fair, I will not do it. If it is fair and illegal, I still won’t do it. It has to be legal and fair.

We work for the consumers, workers and shareholders. TNB is morally obligated to these three, but the consumers come first, otherwise we won’t be around. It is then the workers and the shareholders.

When I said that, they said ‘Dia ingat bapak dia-punya’ (He thinks this is his father’s company). This job is an amanah (trust). You are entrusted with this responsibility and you carry it out to the best of your ability. I do not want somebody to come and urinate on my grave. In the Malay culture, that is about the worst insult they can do to a man.

Do you think you did the right thing by not signing the agreements?


How should a contract with the IPPs work?

In Australia, they call the IPPs and ask “what is your price''. They will pay the IPP that offers the best price. What they could have done is to throw the net wider and ask everybody (if they) are good, it would be awarded to them. But in our case, the contracts were ready-made and we were asked to sign.

What is your view on the impending renegotiation with the IPPs?

It has to be legal and fair. If we were to negotiate unfairly and illegally, the whole world will be looking at us and they will say “don’t sign anything with Malaysia because if things go against the country, the Government will void the agreement”.

We have to look at this very carefully.

But what we can do now is to say, can we bring down the capacity charge. Anything above the 15% reserve margin, we will call for bids.

The second thing is that the IPPs would have by now paid up their whole capital investments in their plants and it is all gravy (or profit) from now. Could we not bring this down a bit? Instead of paying a small amount to (a special fund), why not increase the (payment) for future planting up? In that manner, we can control the price of electricity. Otherwise, it's going to escalate.

Who in your opinion should get involved in the negotiations?

The consumers should be there. For me, you should get a very independent body. Then, you can bring in TNB, the IPPs, the consumers and Energy Commission. But these bodies and consumers should not make a judgment.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Al Halal wal Haram fi Islam

In the past, back before the eighties, the rule for Muslim marriages were simple. I remember an old Malay film starring Zaiton whereby a couple wanted to get married, but didnt get the blessing of her parents. So they went to the Kadi's office, and the Kadi called in her father to the office to give away the bride, the marriage was solemnised there and then.
These days, if you are a Muslim couple and want to get married, not only you have to get permission from both set of parents, (sure 99% get their parents permission and blessings) but also:
1. If any one of the bride or groom is from outside the district, he or she need to have a written permission from his original district Kadi.
2. Both bride and groom must pass tests set by the Religious Dept. Not simple test, mind you, test of basic knowledge of Islam.
3. Both bride and groom must attend marriage and family course set by the Religious Dept in their district.

Add to these things, the groom has to save money for some years to pay for the bride's dowry. Some states is more expensive than others. I have heard that the going rate in Kedah is RM10000 to RM15000, while RM5000 is common in Selangor. Small wonder young people couldnt afford to get married.
Add to these barriers, the Malay society frown upon women who married below their station in life. Women are expected to marry up, not down. Then men are supposed to pay for the maintenance and needs of his wife, such rules as a wife's money is her own, while a husband has to pay for everything, food, lodging, children etc. Working class Malay men cant afford to get married until late 30's.

Still, that should not distract us from the fundamental rule. In Islam, men can have up to four wives, if he can afford them. Misyar is just a technicality. If the wife is rich and willing to forgive her husband about monetary maintenance, is there anything wrong with it? Didnt the Prophet had a rich wife Siti Khadijah?
Make the marriage rules simpler, as long as its within the boundaries. Do husband need to ask permission from current wife/wives before taking on another? Not during the Prophet's time, so why do we impose such rules in some states?
Do people have to attend marriage courses before their big day? Why is it compulsory? Why dont we just encourage them, and leave it at that.

Zainah Anwar has a point in saying that some men are not marriageable. They are poor, unemployed etc.
Malays as a society still has feudal thinking, view each other according to bloodlines (keturunan), status (pangkat) dan wealth (harta). That Hindu past still there, even after 600 years of Islam.
Beware of the wrath of Allah for the people who "menghalalkan yang haram, dan mengharamkan yang halal".

Let me remind myself especially the 6 tenets of Iman. In this case, in this case 'Believe in Quran' and 'Believe in Rasul, the Prophet'. It is written in the Quran that Muslim men are allowed up to four wives. No more than that. Those who oppose this, means that he or she opposes the Quran.If the misyar marriage is within the scope of legal marriage, done just like any other legal Muslim marriage, then there is nothing wrong with it.

If andartu unmarried women looking for husband is the problem, simply dismantle those rules and regulations that has been erected as barrier for people to get married. Set up marriage market like in Yemen and Morocco if you have to. After all marriage and family is encouraged by the Prophet.

Zainah Anwar on Friday: It's men who are the surplus goods
02 Jun 2006
Zainah Anwar

FOR every 100 women who are not married in Malaysia, there are 130 unmarried men. It is men who are surplus goods on the marriage market in this country, not women.

So how does nikah misyar as proposed by certain quarters help to solve the purported social problem of unmarried women and divorcees? This is a solution in search of a problem.

Check the 2000 survey on never married population aged 15 years and above issued by the Statistics Department. The problem in Malaysia is not just a surplus of unmarried men. The bigger problem is likely to be that many of these unmarried men are actually unmarriageable.

The misrepresentation of social problems to justify men's lust for multiple sexual partners is not a new tactic. This reminds me of a similar ruckus some 10 years ago when certain religious figures justified polygamy because there were purportedly 14 women to every one man in Malaysia! Yet another misconceived social ill that needed to be solved by extending men's privileges.

Any right thinking person would immediately conclude this as an impossibility unless Malaysia practised male infanticide or sex-selective abortion as in certain Asian countries against female foetuses. The Statistics Department corrected this gross error. And yet the media, and radio DJs for years, went on quoting this statistic to justify polygamy. And it even spread to Indonesia with advocates of polygamy there using the same women to men ratio!

The fact is there are slightly more men than women in Malaysia, and this is considered normal. Women exceed men only in the 65 years and above age group because women live longer. So if sex ratio is the justification for polygamy, then men should only be allowed to marry the surplus women in that age group.

The bigger concern in Malaysia is the seriously disproportionate sex ratio of unmarried citizens. Almost a third of men are surplus goods on the marriage market. This is not difficult to explain. A country that practises polygyny (one husband, many wives) will skew the marriage market. All things being equal, when one man marries two women, he deprives another man of a chance at marriage. When he marries three women, two other men are deprived; when he marries four, three other men do not marry.

So the problem does not lie with women, but with men who want to marry more than one wife in order to legitimise their lust for multiple sexual partners. It is not just women, but other men are also discriminated in the hazardous practice of polygyny.

The problem in Malaysia is compounded because we are still a traditional patriarchal society where women are expected to marry up. Thus men with money, education and skills will get their choice of women. Men with little money, education and skills are more likely to remain unmarried because society disapproves of women who marry men "beneath" them, and some of our religious leaders believe it is haram for men to be househusbands.

Unless this social value changes given the reality that women are increasingly better educated than men, and that there are men who are happy and willing to be househusbands, the opportunities for marriage for men, and women, will decrease further.

We all know what happens in societies where men outnumber women disproportionately; where unmarried men are actually unmarriageable because they are poor, unskilled and uneducated. They form an underclass with no strong social bonds who are more likely than other males to turn to vice and violence.

So if the logic of misyar marriage is to be offered as a solution, then the specific problem that it should address is really the surplus of unmarried and unmarriageable men. The outcome then is to legitimise sex among single men and women who for whatever reason are not able to marry, not because they don't want to ?but because they cannot afford it, because the women earn more than men and therefore are not sekufu (of the same class and background), because it is haram for men to be househusbands. It could be a workable, satisfying relationship between two willing partners who could still choose to marry when circumstances change.

But of course we know that in practice, misyar marriage more often than not leads to abuse and exploitation of women. In many cases, it is nothing more than legitimised prostitution.

In poverty stricken Muslim communities, rich Gulf Arab men are known to fly in, contract a misyar marriage in order to have legitimate sex with young girls, pay money to the girls, or more likely to the parents who sold their daughters to these old men, and then fly out until the next visit, and the process repeats itself. Indonesia is already one target country of such marriages.

The practice actually allows men to have sex with women without feeling guilty that they have committed the sin of zina. In research done in some Arab countries, most of the men in misyar marriages are already married. Often they are men on vacation or are working abroad, or in a different city, who have left their wives and children behind.

Is it any wonder that women and many fair-minded men are up in arms against the legitimisation of this practice? It reeks of deceit and adultery, two ingredients that will doom a marriage.

The discussion on misyar marriage raises the issue why society goes into a panic over unmarried women. Why not over unmarried men? Has anyone done a survey comparing the socio-economic status of unmarried men and women and their levels of well-being?

Look at the single women around you. They are more likely to be better educated, financially independent, happier, responsible citizens and loving family members than unmarried men.

If you put together the statistics of young unmarried men in drug rehabilitation centres, juvenile homes, prisons, criminal gangs and those out in the streets aimlessly, you get a vivid picture of the underclass being formed. The solution is not to get such men married off, but how do we change our upbringing and education of boys to turn them into responsible citizens and caring family members, and attractive to women.

If our society continues to believe that polygamy is a man's right, that men must always be leaders and be superior to women, men must always be providers, that being a househusband is haram, then the statistic for an underclass of unmarriageable men in this country is likely to grow.

In the past, women needed to marry in order to survive. But today, when women are educated and financially independent, being a wife is no longer the one ticket to happiness and well-being. You can actually lead a full and happy life without marriage.

In fact, in a society where religion is used to justify a man's right to four wives, to demand obedience, to beat his wife, to get sex on demand, to divorce his wife at will, marriage for many Muslim women, is an inherently high-risk and unstable institution. And now a proposal to legitimise illicit sex through legal action, specially for married men with unmarried women!

Is it any wonder that the divorce rate among Muslims is many times higher than non-Muslims? And yet our leaders wring their hands when women are marrying late or not at all, when they are having fewer children, or not at all. The criticism is always on women, as if the fault lies with them. The focus is on preserving marriage as an institution, no matter what, rather than building strong, happy, healthy and lasting relationships.

The reality is that increasing numbers of women, while still believing in marriage, reject the traditional model of the man being leader and provider to whom obedience is due, while the woman is the subservient and inferior other half who is on 24/7 duty as wife, mother, cook, cleaner, nurse?and for many, a co-provider as well, without whose income the family cannot survive.

We all believe in family. Let's get real in analysing why families break down, why women marry late, if at all, why there are many more unmarried men than women, why men are unmarriageable, instead of offering unwanted solutions to misconceived problems.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pros and Cons of Gold-based Currency

Title: Pros and Cons of Gold-based Currency.
Someone forwarded this article regarding gold-based currency, as suggested by Kelantan Government last month. Not surprising, Kelantanese always like gold.
The previous centuries, as far as the written history is recorded, currencies were always based on gold and/or silver. But it all stopped in 1973, the end of Bretton Woods Agreement. That fateful day in 1973, during the presidency of Richard Nixon, USA stopped paying what it owes to foreigners according to the exchange rate fixed to the weight of gold.
Under the Bretton Woods system, currencies of the world were pegged to the weight or value of gold. The pound sterling, US dollar, German mark, Italian lira etc.
So these countries export and import among each other, and when paying each other, they use gold eventually, because their currencies are fixed to gold. But some countries cheat, to make their country more competitive against the others, they devalue their currency. Say instead of 10pound sterling buys 1 ounce of gold, they devalue to 12pound sterling buys an ounce of gold. Then overnight goods in Britain become cheaper than other countries. So foreigners buy more British good, British manufacturers and producers more competitive and export up. With export higher, income and employment also higher.
What happened before 1973 was that USA stuck to its US dollar peg to gold, while other countries devalue their currencies whenever their competitiveness been eroded, i.e. when their current account in sizeable deficit. So that time US current account was in huge deficit, if they used all the gold in reserve at Fort Knox, probably not much left. Nixon didn’t have much choice but to devalue and unpeg the dollar. That’s the end of Bretton Woods.
Now we are discussing the merit of gold dinar…..
Lets start with the cons.
1. Every single dinar is backed by its equivalent value in gold, weight of gold. So before we print another dinar, we must buy another dinar worth of gold. And where on earth do we store these gold? Gold is a resource metal, its used in electronics (highly conductive) aside from its uses in jewellery. If we hoard a large amount of gold, what do you think happen to the price of gold?
2. Continuing from above, the price of gold skyrocketed higher, and the value of our dinar is higher. All other currencies that are not gold-based would devalue and become more competitive. Our export would be lower as the country become less competitive, with the unpleasant side effect of higher unemployment, less income etc. Would anyone want to buy our products/produce if it’s too expensive?
3. Keeping money or gold under the pillow is unproductive. Not to mention the safety hazard, if bad people knows... Your mind would be preoccupied the amount of gold you have under the pillow that you would neglect your duties..
In this article below, the Mufti of Johor Datuk Noh Gadut did suggest that every Muslim household keep 20 gold dinar (20 times 4.25 grams of gold) as savings. Looks like this Mufti is out of touch with his people. Well maybe Johoreans are that rich. If he is so rich, he should have spent more on charity and help his people, instead of hoarding the gold under the pillow. How many people have that much money?
So what are the pros?
Government cant simply print money to plug the budgeted income less expenditure deficit. So there will be no more inflation. If the government have income this year of RM20 billion from taxes, tariff and income charges, it can only spend that much, no more. Yes it can borrow from the financial market, but it will have to pay it back with interest. The exchange rate will be stable.
This will bind the government to fiscal responsibility. No more printing money.

Dinar Emas Agen dan Strategi Penyatuan Umat Islam


Prof. Madya Dr. Zuhaimy Hj. Ismail
Jabatan Matematik
Fakulti Sains
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

Hampir semua peperangan dan kekacauan yang berlaku sekarang ini ada melibatkan orang Islam. Umat Islam dibunuh dengan kejamnya di Bosnia di depan mata kuasa dunia, di Chechnya umat Islam diburu dan dibunuh, di Afghanistan umat Islam dilagakan untuk berbunuh sesama sendiri. Kini hampir seluruh umat Islam di dunia kini merasakan mereka ditindas dan dipermainkan oleh Amerika Syarikat dan koncu-koncunya. Perkosaan bumi Pelestian dan Iraq dengan pembunuhan yang mencecah beratus-ratus orang tidak kira bayi atau orang tua. Kekejaman ini tidak lagi mendapat perhatian mana-mana pihak. Persatuan Bangsa-bangsa Bersatu (PBB) yang seharusnya memasti keamaan di ketepikan dan dianggap seolah-olah sudah tidak relevan lagi. PBB ditubuhkan dengan objektifnya hanyalah untuk menyelesaikan masalah yang ditimbulkan oleh orang Yahudi di Eropah. Dalam tahun 1948, PBB telah mengambil tanah bumi Pelestin bumi umat Islam dan mencampakkan manusia bermasalah di Eropah itu ke sana, selepas itu kita dapati PBB tidak relevan lagi. Statistik atau rekod kegagalan PBB bertambah satu demi satu - kegagalan PBB di Bosnia, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Indonesia dan banyak lagi. Dunia kini merasakan kuasa barat yang diketuai AS telah membawa dunia kepada kancah peperangan (pepertual warfare) dengan penaklukan Afghanistan, Iraq dan memerangi penganas Taleban dan Al-Qaedah. Atas nama memerangi pengganas, akaun simpanan sesebuah negara atau pertubuhan akan dibekukan sekiranya ada sahaja tuduhan bahawa kononya terdapat wang yang memasuki atau mengalir keluar dari akaun yang mereka sangsi. Sesungguhnya hipokrasi ditahap tertinggi sedang di amalkan oleh Amerika Syarikat dan koncu-konconya. Sekiranya umat Islam terus bergantung kepada AS, kita seolah-olah menyerahkan leher kita untuk disembelih. Umat Islam mesti mencari jalan untuk bersatu. Selagi umat Islam mengharapkan pertolongan selain daripada Allah s.w.t. dan sesama umat Islam selagi itulah kita akan di perbodohkan. Kita umat Islam di Malaysia mampu memulakannya – mengetuai OIC dan kearah menggunakan dinar emas dan dirham perak bagi perdagangan antara umat Islam. Semua yang berlaku sekarang ini semuanya di atas restu Allah s.w.t dan tidak boleh diambil ringan.

Malaysia selaku ketua negara-negara Islam telah mengambil inisiatif untuk menyedarkan dunia bahawa kezaliman Yahudi di Pelestian dan keganasan di Iraq tidak boleh diteruskan. Malaysia selaku tuan rumah telah memanggil mesyuarat negara OIC untuk membincangkan isu di Pelestin dan Iraq pada 19 April 2004 di Putra Jaya. Mesyauarat ini telah berjaya mengeluarkan dua deklarasi mengenai Iraq dan Pelestin. Cuma agak mendukacitakan hanyalah bilangan negara yang turut serta dalam persidangan ini hanyalah sebanyak 13 negara daripada 52 negara OIC (25% kehadiran sahaja). Apakah isu kesengsaraan rakyaat Pelestin dan Iraq tidak penting bagi umat Islam dari negara lain? Apakah umat Islam tidak boleh bersatu? Apakah isu masjidilaqsa bukan isu agama? Mungkin juga isu umat tertindas sudah menjadi sesuatu yang sudah lapok!

Apakah kita sudah tidak kesah dengan kezaliman tentera Israel yang menggunakan peluru getah dengan sengaja menghalakan tembakan dan membutakan satu atau kedua-dua mata kanak-kanak Pelestian antara usia enam bulan ke lima belas tahun. Tahukah kita hospital di Pelestin sudah kehabisan mata palsu. Lebih dahsyat lagi mereka terpaksa menghantar kanak-kanak untuk bertempur dengan tentera Israel dengan membaling batu. Yang lelaki lain pula menggantungkan bom dan meletupkan diri dan membunuh wanita dan kanak-kanak Israel. Ke mana hala tuju umat Islam?

Kesengsaraan dan kekalahan umat Islam yang belaku berkurun-kurun lamanya telah membuka satu era yang penuh dengan azam untuk mengembalikan kegemilangan yang pernah kita kecapi di Baghdad, Andulusia dan Istanbul. Masalah yang dihadapi oleh umat Islam sejak seratus tahun yang lalu sering dilihat dalam bentuk Islam tradisi (Islam awal) dan Islam di zaman moden. Jika kita mengambil pendirian kepada Islam asal yang mengikut tradisi awal, kita akan di labelkan sebagai kolot dan tidak mengikut perkembangan zaman dan cuba untuk membawa umat Islam ke zaman silam dan mundur. Jika kita menyokong pemodenan, ini bermakna kita menerima sistem demokrasi yang diwakili parti politik, dewan persidangan dan parlimen, kenegaraan dan institusi mega yang terkandung dalam se sebuah negara. Masalah yang timbul akan dikategorikan sebagai masalah politik dan kita akan meniru cara orang barat mengatasi masalah kita. Kesan mengikuti kaedah barat adalah kita akan menentang kepimpinan dengan alasan untuk mendapat kebebasan bersuara dan sejarah menunjukkan pejuang Islam di Mesir menentang Saddam, di Syria menentang Assad dan seterusnya. Negara seperti Bosnia, Algeria dan Kashmir mengharapkan kemerdekaan, tetapi apabila Iran memperolehi kemerdekaan kita dapati negara itu dijadikan sebuah republik, mereka menubuhkan sebuah pemerintah berparlimen, mengubah nama polis perisikan, mencetak wang kertas, menubuhkan bank pusat yang seiring dengan Bank Dunia dan IMF, meneruskan penyeksaan banduan dan menghantar duta ke PBB. Paten inilah yang diikuti diseluruh dunia. Umat Islam mahukan penyatuan dan mahukan agen penyatuan bukan dengan meniru cara barat dan mengubah nama sahaja.

Untuk menamatkan kesengsaraan dan pengaiban umat Islam kita mungkin dan dirasakan tidak memerlukan jihad dalam bentuk jihad tradisi (ini hanyalah suatu pendapat sendiri) tetapi harus berjuang untuk terus mentaati Allah s.w.t., menegakkan kembali zakat - rukun Islam yang roboh, penghapusan riba, mengadakan sistem matawang yang berteraskan dinar dan dirham untuk umat Islam, mengembalikan pasar di mana umat Islam boleh berdagang dengan menggunakan wang dinar emas dan dirham perak. Semua ini akan secara beransur-ansur membebaskan umat Islam daripada bergantung kepada sistem ekonomi berteraskan riba. Kita umat Islam harus tahu bahawa wang kertas AS dan mana-mana wang kertas di dunia ini tidak lagi disandarkan dengan emas. Wang kertas tidak ada nilai intrinsik.

Isu penyatuan umat Islam adalah agenda utama sekarang ini. Negara-negara Eropah mula membuat penyatuan bangsa-bangsa Eropah melalui pengenalan dolar Euro. Proses untuk mengadakan dolar Euro ini mengambil masa lebih daripada 15 tahun, iaitu proses untuk menyatukan ekonomi negara yang berbagai etnik, agama dan adat. Pada 2 januari 2001, Eropah mempunyai matawangnya sendiri. Bangsa Eropah telah boleh bersatu dengan menggunakan satu unit matawang kertas tanpa sandaran sebagai agen pertukaran. Umat Islam juga perlu bersatu di bawah matawangnya sendiri yang jauh lebih mantap daripada apa yang digunakan di Eropah. Dolar Euro walaupun tidak serupa dengan dolar Amerika, tetapi kedua-duanya sama iaitu wang kertas yang tidak mempunyai nilai intrinsik. Manakala dinar emas adalah matawang yang berasakan kepada emas tulin 22 karat seberat 4.25 gram setiap dinar. Umat Islam tidak perlu mengambil masa selama 15 tahun untuk memperkenalkan dinar emas kerana semua manusia tahu akan nilai yang ada pada emas. Kaum Cina, India dan Melayu di Malaysia memang mengetahui tentang bernilainya logam yang dinamakan emas dan pemantapan kesatuan bangsa di Malaysia boleh dilakukan dengan penggunaan dinar emas. Di Dubai sebuah pasar telah ditubuhkan oleh pihak pemerintah di mana pengunjung boleh mendapatkan dinar emas dari wakala di luar pasar dan menggunakannya di dalam pasar itu. Sekiranya ini telah berlaku di negara itu, negara kita juga boleh dimemulakan. Mungkin dilakukan secara kecilan dahulu misalnya di pasar-pasar peladang dengan infrastruktur yng telah ada.

Umat Islam tidak mungkin dapat bersatu dengan menggunakan pendekatan politik. Di Indonesia sahaja terdapat berpuluh-puluh parti politik dan masing-masing mengatakan pegangan mereka benar. Umat Islam tidak dapat bersatu di atas nama bangsa dan etnik komuniti kerana perbezaannya begitu besar atau terlalu banyak. Tetapi kita tahu bahawa semua manusia saling memerlukan antara satu sama lain dan manusia perlu berdagang, mendapatkan perkhidmatan dan pertukaran hasil yang diusahakan. Ekonomi baru diperlukan dimana hasil yang diusahakan ditukar dengan barang yang bernilai juga dan bukan dengan wang kertas janji sahaja. Wang dollar Amerika atau dollar Euro tidak mempunyai nilai jika dunia menyatakan tidak mahu lagi dolar AS. Pemilik wang kertas dolar AS tidak mengikuti (mengekori) wang kertas dan pemilikan tidak mengikuti wang kertas sama ada jarak atau masa. Disebaliknya dinar emas dan dirham perak masih mempunyai nilai wlaupun setelah dicairkan atau dipindahkan ke luar negara. Kita tidak boleh katalah yang sama dengan wang kertas Rupiah. Wang Rupiah tidak laku di German, di Perancis dan London.

Tahukah kita semua bahawa Bank Dunia dan IMF adalah pendokong wang kertas dolar AS. Sesungguhnya telah tercatat dalam carta (Charters) Bank Dunia dan IMF) dan dalam semua perjanjian telah menetapkan bahawa segala urusan perdagangan tidak boleh menggunakan emas. Mengapa perkara kembalinya kepada penggunaan dinar emas sangat ditakuti sehinggakan perlu dicatat dengan jelas dalam charter kedua intitusi perbankan dunia ini. Apa yang mereka mahu selindungi? Umat Islam harus tahu perkara ini. Umat manusia semuanya tertipu dengan wang kertas yang dicetak tanpa sebarang sandaran.

Cuba kita masyarakat di Malaysia (dinar emas bukan milik umat Islam sahaja) ini mengambil langkah untuk menyimpan setengah dinar setiap bulan. Jika ada 10 juta rakyat Malaysia yang membeli emas, jadi jumlah dinar yang diperlukan adalah 5juta diperlukan untuk menempa dinar emas oleh Malaysia setiap bulan. Ini bersamaan dengan 21,250,000 gram emas diperlukan setiap bulan atau 255,000,000 gram setiap tahun. Jika ini diulang di beberapa buah negara OIC, kita dapati permintaan emas akan terus meningkat dan harga emas mengikut ukuran dolar akan terus meningkat. Kuasa membeli wang dolar AS akan menyusut dan pada waktu itu kita akan dapati mereka memerlukan lebih banyak kertas untuk membeli minyak kelapa sawit, getah dan kereta yang dikeluarkan dari negara ini. Jika harga emas tidak di kawal harganya oleh lima agensi yang menetapkan harga emas dunia sekarang ini, sudah tentu harganya dalam dolar AS akan terus meningkat.

Sebenarnya emas 4.25gram tetap tidak berubah tetapi kuasa membeli dolar AS akan terus menyusut. Yang berhormat Datuk Shaykh Noh bin Gadut, Mufti Negeri Johor pernah menyarankan supaya umat Islam di Malaysia ini menyimpan 20 dinar emas di setiap rumah dan mengeluarkan setengah dinar setelah cukup haulnya. Ini cadangan yang amat baik. Jika kita umat Islam memulakan pembayaran zakat menggunakan dinar emas, hantaran masa kawin menggunakan emas, simpanan untuk naik haji juga disimpan dalam dinar emas dan memberi hadiah hari jadi kepada isteri juga dinar emas, sudah tentu kita akan dapati kekayaan sebenar akan berada di tangan umat Islam. Kalau kita tidak melakukan usaha ini - siapa lagi? Jadi umat Islam boleh menggunakan dinar emas sebagai agen dan strategi penyatuan ummah.

Negara-negara Islam selalu di manipulasikan matawang dan sistem ekonomi mereka dipinjam dari barat. Sudah pasti sistem ekonomi yang mereka reka dan amalkan, mudah sahaja ditipu helah dan dimanipulasikan demi memastikan komoditi dari negara dunia ketiga terus mengalir bagi memastikan standard penghidupan mereka di barat terus tinggi. Dinar emas boleh menyatukan umat Islam dan digunakan sebagai penghalang daripada aktiviti serangan ekonomi yang pernah kita alami.

Secara strateginya umat Islam melalui OIC boleh memulakan penggunaan dinar emas dalam perdagangan antarabangsa antara dua atau tiga negara. Walaupun kita dengar cerita mengenai Malaysia dan Iran sudah mula menjalankan perdagangan menggunakan dinar emas sebagai pembayaranya, tetapi sejauh mana kejayaan atau kegagalanya diberitakan. Malaysia mengharapkan negara OIC dan yang lain dapat menggunakan dinar emas dalam perdagangan dua hala bagi meningkatkan lagi perdagangan antara negara-negara Islam. Apabila ini berlaku, umat Islam tidak lagi bergantung kepada dolar AS yang tidak bernilai dan tidak stabil ini. Malaysia mengharapkan supaya penggunaan dinar ini menjadi amalan perdagangan antara negara-negara OIC dan umat Islam mengunakan dinar emas untuk membayar zakat, menyimpannya sebagai harta, menggunakannya sebagai hadiah dan sebagainya.

Kita mesti berjuang untuk terus membuat perubahan dari wang kertas ilusi kepada dinar emas yang bernilai intrinsik. Untuk mengubahkan norma penggunaan wang kertas kepada dinar tidak sukar. Yang menjadi sukar adalah kerana kita menyatakan bahawa menggunakan dinar emas itu sukar. Sesuatu perubahan itu memerlukan pengorbanan dan kecekalan, apa yang kita gunakan sekarang ini adalah suatu tabiat atau habit. Dulunya kita gunakan dinar emas, kini setelah sekian lama dipaksa menggunakan wang kertas ke atas kita lama kelamaan ianya menjadi satu tabiat. Penggunaan dinar emas pada mulanya akan nampak janggal tetapi setelah ianya diterima dan digunakan oleh masyarakat umum, dinar emas pula akan menjadi perkara biasa dan wang kertas menjadi janggal. Sesungguhnya penggunaan wang kertas yang janggal iaitu kita menukar sesuatu yang bernilai dengan sesuatu yang tidak ada nilai intrinsik. Peluh kita di bayar dengan kertas yang tidak mampu menyimpan nilai mengikut masa.

Di Malaysia terdapat beberapa institusi kewangan yang berusaha untuk mengembalikan dinar emas dan dirham perak. Setiap institusi beroperasi secara bebas antara satu sama lain. Walau bagaimanapun dinar emas dan dirham perak boleh dijadikan agen penyatuan umat Islam. Kesukaran melakukan perubahan daripada penggunaan wang kertas kepada dinar emas adalah disebabkan ramai diantara kita umat Islam berpegang kepada cara pemikiran atau teori ekonomi barat. Pendidikan barat yang kita terima sering mempengaruhi cara kita berfikir, iaitu suatu pemikiran yang agak rejid mengikut struktur permikiran berlandaskan konsep tesis dan anti tesis. Untuk menukar kepada penggunaan dinar emas kita terbawa memikirkan tentang logik cukup atau tidaknya emas, emas berat untuk dibawa atau AS akan merosakkan sistem yang akan dibangunkan. Kita harus memikirkan cara pengenalan yang boleh melepaskan daripada terus dimanipulasikan oleh sistem ekonomi yang berteraskan riba. Kita umat Islam mesti menggantikan sistem riba dengan sistem yang pernah digunakan oleh Rasulullah dan para sahabah dan mengelak diri kita dan umat kita daripada diperangi Allah dan RasulNya terhadap pengamal riba. Di atas kesedaran ini umat Islam boleh mengambil langkah stretegi untuk mengembalikan penggunaan dinar emas.

Isu Mishar

Title: Isu Mishar
Seorang teman menulis begini:
Kasilah itu alim ulamak explain itu misyar(oma) dulu. Itu alim
ulamak arif itu Al-bab ugama, hukum-hakam,perlaksanaan dll . Ini bab
kena faham betul2 supaya kita tak tergelincir dan jatuh itu lubang
yang gelap dan menghukum sesuatu yang kita pun tak pasti. Ramai anti-
auntie polygamy sudah tergelincir aqidah sebab menentang hukum
polygamy....kalu jealous, irihati, sakit hati itu sama pompuan lain
itu lain cerita, ini boleh kasi ubat.

Kalu baca itu kisah nabi, isteri nabi Muhammad pun serahkan giliran
pada itu isteri2 muda dgn rela hati. Siti Khadijah pun berkorban
harta-benda , jiwa raga utk suami sampai habis harta dunia. Ini
contoh wanita (ummul mukminin) yang banyak iman dan dapat suami Nabi.
Yang dapat suami punya nafsu macam babi tu, jangan bagi satu sen
pun...nanti makin banyak pulak dosanya dan dosa pada wanita lain.

Soal nafsu, soal tak suka, benci, rasa mual dll...ini sumua soal
peribadi. Soal lelaki gatal, miang, gelojoh, dll ini pun soal perbadi
lelaki dan bukan semua lelaki ada itu macam. Yang macam-macam ada
tulah yang problem banyak sikit...Tapi jangan lupa, isteri macam2
ada/mengada pun problem jugak.....

Harap anti-auntie Misyar tarak marah dgn itu Misyar kalu ianya
merawat dan menyelesaikan masalah sosial (yg genuine) seperti dgn
hukum polygamy. Kalu itu suami tarak adil, auntie2 jangan bimbang
sebab Allah akan mengadili setiap mereka di Yaumul Mahshar......Nanti
orang akan tanya, itu siapa punya suami yang masuk neraka sebab tarak
adil sama mereka punya Mishar/isteri ????....Ooooh, itu Anti auntie
Misyar punya suamilah !

Malu di dunia tapi jangan malu di akhirat

Konsep kahwin misyar disalaherti..., kata Dr Zuhdi
Muhammad Razif
May 30, 06 5:19pm

Pencetus polemik 'kahwin misyar', Prof. Datuk Dr. Mahmood Zuhdi Abd Majid mendakwa perdebatan mengenai konsep perkahiwnan berkenaan sudah menyeleweng jauh dari konsep dan tujuan asal cadangan beliau.

"Perdebatan kahwin misyar ini sudah jauh menyeleweng, ia penuh dengan prejudis dan pandangan-pandangan yang melampau.

"Lelaki dan perempuan nampaknya menjadi emosi ketika membincangkan isu ini. Sepatutnya kita menjadi orang yang sanggup mendengar dan bersabar dalam membincangkan isu ini. Mana tahu mungkin ada kebaikannya,"ujar beliau ketika dihubungi hari ini.

Dr Zuhdi yang merupakan pensyarah di Jabatan Fiqh dan Usul di Fakulti Pengajian Islam, Universiti Malaya mahu semua pihak yang berminat dengan isu tersebut, supaya kembali menghayati apa sebenarnya yang beliau sarankan.

"Konsep kahwin misyar yang saya maksudkan ialah perkahwinan antara perempuan yang berpendapatan tinggi dan berpangkat dengan lelaki yang lebih rendah pendapatannya. Saya tidak galakkan mereka duduk berasingan selepas berkahwin.

"Dalam perkahwinan itu pihak perempuan bersetuju suaminya yang berpendapatan rendah tidak menanggung nafkah zahirnya, memadai memberikannya kasih sayang, menjadi pemimpin keluarga dan menunaikan tanggungjawab yang lain.

"Saya tidak kata lelaki lari daripada tanggungjawab sebagai suami. Peranan sebagai suami tetap diteruskan, anak-anak terus diberikan perhatian.Cuma suami diringankan tanggungan dari aspek kewangan, itupun selepas ada persetujuan bersama," jelas beliau.

Menurut beliau, kawin misyar juga tidak bererti suami melepaskan terus tanggungjawab menyara keluarga.

Bukan untuk berpoligami

"Atas persetujuan bersama, suami berkenaan menyara keluarganya mengikut kemampuannya dengan dibantu oleh isterinya yang berpendapatan lebih tinggi,"jelasnya lagi.

Malah, katanya, ikatan suami isteri yang bermula dengan perkahwinan misyar juga boleh ditukar menjadi perkahwinan biasa jika ditakdirkan selepas berkahwin mereka, pekerjaan dan pendapatan suami bertambah baik.

Beliau juga menegaskan, saranannya juga tidak menyentuh soal poligami kerana beliau menyarankan wanita berpangkat dan berada berkahwin dengan lelaki berpendapatan rendah, bukan berkahwin dengan suami orang.

"Saya rasa sudah sampai masanya masyarakat kita berhenti memandang serong pada perkahwinan tidak sama taraf atau tidak sekufu. Kita perlu berlaku adil pada wanita-wanita yang sanggup berkahwin dengan lelaki yang lebih rendah pangkat atau kedudukannya,"ujar beliau.

Menurutnya lagi, soal konsep perkahwinan misyar disalahgunakan juga tidak timbul kerana dalam perkahwinan biasapun banyak berlaku penyelewengan.

"Saya menyetujui konsep kahwin misyar ini kerana saya lihat ia mampu mengatasi masalah andartu atau ibu tunggal yang semakin ramai. Saya tidak nampak bagaimana ia menjatuhkan martabat wanita kerana semua dibuat atas persetujuan bersama,"tambah beliau.

Dr Zuhdi juga menjelaskan, perkahwinan misyar juga tidak akan menimbulkan masalah pengabaian tanggungjawab terhadap anak-anak, harta sepencarian dan soal faraid kerana semua hukum itu telah termaktub dalam al-Quran dan perlu dipatuhi oleh pasangan suami-isteri.

Seorang lagi teman menulis:
Tidak salah misyar kalau isteri redha. Susah nak cari isteri yang redha
dengan apa yang ada pada suami. MAlah kalaulah isteri redha nak beri
suami duit, why not? Bukankah redha-meredhai antara suami dan isteri boleh
membahagiakan rumahtangga. Tak semua hak itu wajib dipertahankan. Ada
hak itu tak wajib dipertahankan malah sunat dan boleh pula dikorbankan.

Dan Seorang teman di negara Dubailand menulis begini:
Actually, the basic principle, mis-yar is halal. As polygamy is. The problems when these halal matters are abused. We have wajib, harus, makruh, halal, haram for appropriate thingies.

Mis-yar issue could be a way for the local media to sway people from real issues on the ground. Inflation, crime rates, corruption at the high places, police brutalities, decline of standard in education, employment etc which affecting all of us as the normal citizens of milizia.

Me not worried much about mis-yar (or misha not married yet, is she not?), it is a legal contract between two willing parties. So be it. Redho-meredhoi, bahagia dunia dan akhirat.