Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Author

I was born in Malacca on 15 October 1958, the third of seven siblings. I was brought up by my paternal grandmother in our heritage home in Banda Hilir, Malacca till age 5. I attended three primary schools, first Sultanah Asma Primary School in Alor Star (Std 1-3), second Tanjung Aru Primary School in Jesselton, Sabah (Std 3-5) and third Zainab Primary School in Telipot, Kota Bharu, Kelantan (Std 5-6). I attended three secondary schools, first Zainab Secondary School in Telipot (Form 1), second Malacca Girls' High School (Form 2 & 3) and third Tunku Kurshiah College, Seremban, Negeri Sembilan (Form 4 & 5). I went to California at age 17. My academic qualifications are BA Microbiology with Distinction (1980) and BA in Chemical Sciences (1980), MSc Biochemistry (1982) and PhD (Medical Physiology)(1990). 

At my first university, California State University, Chico campus (CSUC), I created two personal records. In 1976, I was the youngest ever to have broken the American Chemical Society (ACS) record for scoring the highest marks in an ACS US-nationwide Chemistry entrance exam. The following year, in 1977 (in my second year), I was offered my first job (as Math tutor) by the Mathematics Dept. Job offers in Mathematics never stopped coming. I was also offered to attend Rochester University at the advice of my Chemistry professor.

At my first graduate institution, the University of California, Riverside campus (UCR), I was invited to join the Physics Dept, Standford University at Palo Alto. 1n 1981-2 when I was 22-3, I wrote my first Chemistry textbook when studying for my Graduate Exam in Biochemistry (unpublished & handwritten in pencil). I invented my first prototype DNA/RNA vertical electrophoresis unit in 1981-2 (still have it) whilst in California, before Biotechnology came to Malaysia. I was advised to remain in the US and become a US citizen.

At my second graduate institution, the University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Crawley, Perth campus, I made one personal record. In 1989, I submitted the best PhD thesis in Physiology/Medicine. That PhD thesis became a resource book for further biotechnology research for many other Australian researchers.

Back on home ground, I introduced computerisation for clinical laboratories in November 1990. Today, almost all clinical labs in Malaysia are adequately computerised. I have yet to address the issue of a nationwide ICT network for health, medicine and teaching. I had given a keynote address on Biotechnology and Bioinformatics which moved research in that direction. I have worked in many research disciplines and in administration. I am now in ICT, especially in e-learning and I am involved with applications for off-shore medical programs. I do database design (functional requirement document, FRD) for free consultancy. 

In my spare time, I usually cook, read and listen to the news. I'm married and have six grown-up children, two sons and four daughters. My eldest daughter is married (she's in Aeronautical Engineering at UPM). My elder son is an accountant in Cheras. The rest are still studying - second daughter is studying Medicine in Bangalore, younger son is studying Multimedia at KUIS, a daughter in Form 5 and the youngest daughter is in Standard 6.

Historically and socially, I am a Jawi Peranakan. I am descended from the Hadrami Arabs of Malacca who married to the Chinese Muslims at the time of Princess Hang Li Po. I am also descended from the Sindhi male lineage from my Penang grandfather who married my Ceylonese Burgher grandmother who came to Malaya from Ceylon. I am therefore a heavy mix of the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, the Orient and with traces of Caucasian. I am grouped as a Malay in Malaysia but mistaken as a Chicano and grouped as a Hispanic in California! I am Filipino to the Filipinos (Mahal kita!), Indian to the Australians (G'day mate!) but 'orang luar' to the Kelantanese Malay. This is my wonderful background and I am thankful for what I am.

Search for the remaining early Malay doctors

Search will continue for these early Malay doctors. Please contact me directly by e-mail (scroll down the right panel).

1.  Dr Abbas bin Alias - completed research; published
2.  Dr Samsudim Cassim - incomplete research
3.  Dr Abdul Samat bin Pagak - incomplete research
4.  Dr Nizamuddin bin Ahmad - incomplete research
5.  Dr Abdul Ghani bin Mohammed - completed research; unpublished
6.  Dr Mohamed Salleh bin Haji Abdul Hamid (Johor) - incomplete research
7.  Dr Syed Mahmood bin Abdul Rahman Alkuds - incomplete research
8.  Dr Kandati bin Seka - incomplete research

Definition of "Malay" in "The Early Malay Doctors"?

Suggestion by Dr Mohamed Tahir, Singapore (29 March 2011):

"With regard to "Malay", I think you should use the definition of Malay as in the Malaysian constitution - article 160. Though this was enacted later than the early doctors it can still be applied for your purpose. The article defines a Malay as a citizen who professes to be a Muslim, habitually speaks the Malay language, adheres to Malay customs and is domiciled in Malaya or Singapore.
If you just use ethnic or "pure" Malays, then you won't have much of a list."

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Chapters in TEMD


These research was begun in November 2002 and has lasted till today. There were altogether 52 early Malay doctors between 1910 and 1957, inclusive. These doctors included medical doctors, dentists and homeopathy doctors. Most of the medical doctors had received their medical education at the King Edward VII Medical College in Singapore, before the University of Malaya was established and the medical faculty was relocated to Malaya in 1960. A few other medical doctors had studied medicine at the University of Hong Kong, not of their want, but they were stranded in Hong Kong due to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1941. The dentists graduated from the King Edward Dental College and from the University of Melbourne. The homeopathy doctors graduated from India and Singapore but the programme was in German. The German Consulate-General office was opened in Singapore in 1892, so homeopathy was the in-thing there then, and the British-backed Federated Malay States Government Medical Institution was not opened till much later, in 1905. All our doctors returned to Singapore and Malaya to serve upon graduation. Some went on to further their studies when the Queen's Scholarship was made available to  very bright Malays. From my research on this topic, I would conclude that all the early Malay doctors were  highky disciplined and the best doctors British Malaya and the Federation of Malaya ever had. They were highly respected by their respective societies. They were the hallmark of Malay endeavours in medicine. May we always remember them all.

Inclusion criteria
Correct name & identity of doctor
Some amount of biography (limit max. 10 A4-pages)
Citation available in published records/literature
Portrait photograph available (other photos are a bonus)
Contact person available

Exclusion criteria
Name is uncertain
Identity is uncertain
No portrait or photo for positive identification
No biography
No contact person, relatives, friends or alumni

These chapters are ready for submission
These chapters are ordered according to the doctors' date of graduation. In this way chronology becomes evident as one reads beginning with the first chapter on the list, to the last chapter on the list. If they are ordered alphabetically, then nobody knows which one should come first and chronology is lost.

1.   Dr Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Razak
2.   Dr Pandak Ahmad bin Alang Sidin
3.   Dr Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail
4.   Dr HS Moonshi
5.   Dr SM Baboo
6.   Dr Ismail Ghows
7.   Dr KM Ariff
8.   Dr Ali Othman Merican - to separate into 3 chapters, including 1 for each son
9.   Dr Hamzah bin Taib
10.  Dr Husin bin Mohamed Ibrahim

11.  Dr Abdul Wahab Khan bin Mohamed Lal Khan - still to add info/photos from Rahmat
12. Dr Mustapha bin Osman - MMA helped, obtained contact with relatives, completed biography
13. Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos
14. Dr Abdul Ghani bin Mohammad
15. Dr Megat Khas bin Megat Omar
16. Dr Mohamed Said bin Mohamed
17. Dr Awang bin Hassan
18. Dr Mohamed bin Mohamed Ibrahim
19. Dr Amir Burhanuddin Al-Helmy - can't locate family members
20. Dr Abdul Karim bin Nawab Din - completed biography

21. Dr Mohamed Din bin Ahmad
22. Dr Sulaiman bin Mohd Attas
23. Dr Abdullah bin Ahmad
24. Dr Nuruddin bin Mohd Salleh
25. Dr Mohamed bin Taib
26. Dr Latifah Bee Ghows - re-do chapter after splitting her father's biography from hers
27. Dr Ismail bin Abdul Rahman - completed biography
28. Dr Salma bte Ismail - short biography; try get more info from Dato Zakiah's husband
29. Dr Abdul Wahab bin Mohamed Ariff - completed biography, info from his wife
30. Dr Abdul Aziz bin Omar - completed biography, met his eldest daughter's family

31. Dr Omar bin Din - wife still alive; got family and alumni contacts, completed biography
32. Dr Abdul Majid bin Ismail - interviewed and obtained complete biography
33. Dr Syed Mohamed Alwi Alhady - completed biography, contacted by his daughter
34. Dr Abu Bakar bin Ibrahim - need to redo & add info after splitting Tan Sri Salma's biography
35. Dr Syed Mahmood bin Syed Hussain Jamalullail - short bio
36. Dr Carleel Merican - re-do after splitting chapter into 3
37. Dr Mohamed Noor bin Marahakim
38. Dr Ruby Abdul Majeed - brief bio, daughter is writing her memo
39. Dr Ahmad Ezanee Merican - contacted wife and relatives, completed biography
40. Dr Mohammad Noor bin Nordin - contacted eldest and youngest daughters, completed biography

41. Dr Ariffin bin Ngah Marzuki - contacted wife and youngest daughter
42. Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad - old & new photos from Arkib Negara Malaysia
43. Dr Siti Hasmah bt Mohd Ali - wedding & family photos from Arkib Negara Malaysia
44. Dr Raja Ahmad Noordin bin Raja Shahbuddin - interviewed him, wife and son. Contacted relatives. Complete biography.
45. Dr Ungku Omar bin Ungku Ahmad - contacted his youngest daughter. Completed biography

KIV these chapters
Search will continue for these early Malay doctors:
1.  Dr Abbas bin Alias (completed biography)
2.  Dr Samsudim Cassim (biography is already in a published book)
3.  Dr Abdul Samat bin Pagak (no further family contact; incomplete biography)
4.  Dr Nizamuddin bin Ahmad (reason - no family contact; no biography)
5.  Dr Abdul Ghani bin Mohammed (completed biography)
6.  Dr Mohamed Salleh bin Haji Abdul Hamid (Johor) (incomplete biography)
7.  Dr Syed Mahmood bin Abdul Rahman Alkuds (Johor) (incomplete biography)
8.  Dr Kandati bin Seka (Singapore) (no family contact)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Definition of "Malay" in "The Early Malay Doctors"?

Question 1: Are you Malay? Answer: No! I'm Jawi Peranakan.
Question 2: Explain yourself.
Assignment: Sila terangkan maksud "Malay" di dalam judul bakal buku anda.

Malay = an umbrella term

"Malay" Dari Perspektif/Kaca Mata Orang Melayu

(1) Dari segi pakaian lelaki
Orang Melayu menganggap merekalah yang paling Melayu (very Malay).
Orang Melayu melihat merekalah yang paling Melayu (so Malay).
Orang Melayu lelaki memakai kain pelikat (pulicat, pulikat) yang ditenun oleh orang India (Malay men wear Indian cloths).
Orang Melayu lelaki tetap menganggap mereka Melayu walaupun mereka memakai kain pelikat setiap hari walhal kain berkenaan berasal dari India dan digunakan di kalangan orang India (Malay men regard themselves as Malay eventhough they wear the Indian cloth, kain pelikat)

(2) Dari segi pakaian wanita
Wanita Melayu memakai baju kurung. Kain baju kurung mereka ialah kain bercorak daripada Korea. Ramai juga yang memilih untuk membuat baju kurung daripada kain sari. Kain sari digunakan oleh wanita India untuk memakai sari. Ikatan kain sari sama dengan ikatan kain baju kurung wanita Melayu, cuma ropol kain sari lebih banyak. Jika wanita Melayu menggunakan kain sari untuk membuat pakaian baju kurung, adakah mereka menjadi India? Ketika bilakah wanita Melayu itu "Malay" dan bilakah ia dianggap "Indian" atau "non Malay"?

(3) Dari segi makanan
Makanan orang Melayu pada zaman 50-an hingga 70-an ialah nasi putih. Jarang ditemui nasi briyani. Orang Melayu makan nasi briyani ketika tertentu, ia bukan makanan harian. Sekarang, tahun 2007 hingga kini, orang Melayu suka makan nasi briyani. Jika diberi pilihan, orang Melayu akan memilih untuk makan nasi briyani dan ketepikan nasi putih. Mengapa ini berlaku? Ia berlaku sebab orang Melayu tertarik dan gemar memakan masakan India. Adakah orang Melayu dianggap "Indian" sebab mereka menjamu nasi briyani?

(4) Mutually exclusive & mutual exclusiveness
Boleh tak orang Melayu tergolong dalam lebih daripada satu kumpulan etnik? Boleh, jika mereka tidak kelihatan berapa Melayu apabila berada dalam kelompok Melayu. Tidak, jika mereka tidak banyak berbeza dari orang lain dalam kelompok mereka. Pernahkah terjadi kepada anda, anda tidak sesuai dikategorikan sebagai "Malay" walaupun anda "Malay"? Pernahkah anda temui orang "Malay" yang anda sendiri tersalah anggap ia orang "Indian" atau "Chinese" walhal ia memang keturunan Melayu? Mengapakah ini boleh berlaku?

(5) Genetik orang Melayu
Orang "Malay" berpunca daripada pelbagai keturunan dan datang dari pelbagai pelusuk dunia. Boleh dikatan tidak ada seorang pun masa ini yang boleh menganggap dirinya sebagai "100% Malay" sebab penyelidik masih belum mampu membuat fingerprinting bagi mempastikan seseorang itu "Malay". Adakah kita perlu mentakrifkan "Malay" setiap kali kita ingin menggunakan perkataan "Malay"? Mengapakah perkataan "Malay" menghantui kita semua sejak ia wujud? Mengapa kita amat menggeruni akan perkataan "Malay" yang bukan kita cipta? Mengapa harus kita hiraukan/ambil pusing tentang perkataan "Malay"?

(6) Takrif "Malay"
Siapa di antara kita boleh dianggap "Malay" dan siapakah yang "non Malay". Dari perkahwinan campur, maka timbullah istilah "Peranakan" (hybrid). Orang Melayu di selatan Malaysia menggunakan perkataan "Peranakan" bagi semua kelahiran campur (general term). Peranakan Melayu-Cina ialah Baba (lelaki) dan Nyonya (perempuan). Orang Melayu di utara Malaysia menggunakan perkataan yang sama tetapi disesuaikan dengan warna kulit dan keturunan. Maka lahirlah perkataan Peranakan Keling bagi Melayu-India. Peranakan Cina tidak timbul sebab orang Melayu jarang mengkahwini orang Cina (masalah babi dan samak etc). Peranakan orang putih digelar Serani dan banyak berlaku di negeri sebelah pantai barat Semenanjung Malaysia. Di pantai timur Semenanjung Malaysia, orang Melayu memilih untuk mengkahwini orang Cina atau orang Arab. Jika perkahwinan berlaku antara pasangan Melayu dan Arab, maka timbullah perkatan seperti "Tok Sheikh" dan "hidung Tok Sheikh" etc walhal mereka adalah orang Arab keturunan Melayu/Melayu keturunan Arab dari segi baka. Jika perkahwinan berlaku di antara pasangan Melayu dan Cina, maka timbullah perkataan seperti "mu'allaf", "Melayu celup", "masuk Melayu", "dah Jawi", "Cina Islam" etc.

(7) Apa erti "100% Melayu"?
Terdapat banyak perkataan & frasa baru dalam pertuturan masyarakat kita hari ini. Ada yang tidak enak didengar berhubung perkahwinan campur, dan tak kurang juga yang memberi konotasi negatif walhal mereka pendukung kuat agama suci  Islam yang diperturunkan kepada manusia oleh pencipta kita, Allah SWT. Perkataan "Malay" tidak seharusnya bermakna dan merujuk kepada "orang 100% Melayu" kerana ia tidak pernah wujud. Tambahan, para saintis Melayu kita masih tak dapat mempastikan siapa "the first Malay" dalam konteks penentuan baka Melayu. How can we be so sure that we know who the first Malay was?

(8) "Malay" sebagai perkataan perpaduan
Bagi saya sebagai penulis buku TEMD, "Malay" ialah perkataan yang sesuai digunakan bagi menunjukkan kesatuan/penyatuan/perpaduam di antara kaum etnik pelbagai yang beragama Islam, tidak kira mereka daripada apa kaum/bani/kongsi pun. Jika dilandaskan kepada agama Islam, istilah "Malay" masih benar and betul, iaitu kesatuan/penyatuan/perpaduan kaum yang berbeza tetapi agamanya tetap satu iaitu Islam. If I weave in the political definition of "Malay" into this proposed book, it will tear our social fabric apart and that is what I consider "a book fit for the tong sampah". Kita tak boleh menulis tentang rakyat kita dan pada masa yang sama mengguriskan hati mereka. Bak kata pepatah, "You don't kill your own child"!

(9) "Malay" seharusnya Muslim dan bersatu
In this regard, the book title is correct and appropriate. "Malay" means all Muslims - people who live and eat  with their right hand as Muslims do, regardless of skin colour, creed, background, societal status etc etc. Using skin colour or looks to decide on a person's ethnic origin is unscientific, unethical and should be stopped because we tend to be misled and go overboard, which gets us into the realm of "riak wa takkabur". "Malay" is only a term for classifying Muslims as one in this country only. "Malay" is a uniting term, and not a term that refers to the fragmented society with which the Muslim people have to live with in this country. Kita tak boleh dikira sebagai Melayu jika kita sentiasa berfikir untuk berpisah dan bercakaran antara satu sama lain. Sebaliknya, kita harus berfikir kita Melayu sebab kita sentiasa ingin bersatu dan hidup aman dan damai sebagai kaum Melayu yang berdisiplin and tinggi marwahnya sebab kita semua orang Islam dan berpendirian sebagai Islam.

(10) Hikmah tentang perkataan "Malay" 
"Malay" itu orang Islam dan Melayu itu sekumpulan daripada orang Islam. Ada banyak lagi kumpulan yang bukan Melayu tetapi tetap tergolong sebagai "Malay" di negara kita. Perkataan "Malay" diwujudkan untuk memudahkan pengurusan orang-orang beragama Islam ketika era penjajahan British. Ini kesan daripada sejarah negara kita. Kita sebagai orang Islam seharusnya tinggi kemampuan berfikir. Orang Islam tinggi akalnya dan tidak tunduk kepada benda-benda yang memecahkan masyarakatnya. So a good rethink is needed if you really want to read and understand why and how I have written this book. Also, you may want to study sufism before you decide to even read this book. You have to be a good Muslim to understand this book.

Also see:

Friday, 18 March 2011

Dr Amir Burhanuddin Al-Helmy - Mengenali

This text is reproduced from Ikhwan Hafiz blogspot, which was taken from another site.

Knowing Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy
(Mengenali Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy)


In Malaysian history, the name of Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy is hardly ever seen and known. His contributions, works, ideas, thoughts and many more are being kept silence. But lately Alhamdulillah, many scholars are giving much emphasize and doing research about Dr. Burhanuddin and his associates. The role played by Dr. Burhanuddin during pre-independent, during and post independent are very significant and should be noted by all people in Malaysia particularly because the truth should be presented in a very decent way. Moreover, when we look thoroughly about his ideas, writings, and activism, there are three major themes which he tried to emphasized and achieved. According to Kamarudin Jaafar, the major themes of Dr. Burhanuddin are: (1) Islam, (2) Malay Nationalism, and (3) Independence (Kamarudin Jaafar 2000: 9). It is obvious that the education of him as well as the family background of him had a great influence and impact upon him.

In this short and brief explanation about Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy, in the first chapter I will present details about his life background. It is important for any individuals to know the background of a person so that we could make a fair judgment and understands the environment that he lived in. For the case of Dr. Burhanuddin, his backgrounds of life are very interesting and amazing to learn.

For the second chapter, I will focus and try to elaborate the role of Islam in his political activism, thoughts and some of his writings. He played and important role in many political parties like Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM), Majlis Agama Tertinggi Se-Malaya (MATA), Hizbul Muslimin, PUTERA-AMCJA, Parti Rakyat Malaya (PRM), Parti Islam Se-Malaya (PAS) and many more. Moreover, it should be noted that Dr. Burhanuddin wrote many books about his ideas compared to his counterparts who probably never wrote at all.

In the third chapter, I will draw some major conclusion about Dr. Burhanuddin and some analysis about him overall.

Chapter 1

A Brief Background of Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy
Dr. Burhanuddin real name is Burhanuddin bin Haji Muhammad Nor. He was born in Changkat Tualang, Kota Bharu, Perak on the 29th August 1911. Some scholars said that he was born on 26th November 1911 (Ramlah Adam 1999: 124). His father, Haji Muhammad Noor worked as a farmer and was a very pious man. It is reported that Haji Muhammad Noor lineage was from a royal family of Sumatra. He was also a student to a prominent religious leader in Makkah and Sheikh Mohammad Khatib Minangkabau (M. Fuzi Omar 2005: 290). Dr. Burhanuddin received the title of ‘al-Helmy’ which means a person who is gentle, tranquil and never angry because of his late father was referred also as ‘Abi Halim’ by his friends due to his kindness, softhearted and calm person. Apart from the title of ‘al-Helmy’, Dr. Burhanuddin was also referred as ‘Pak Doktor’ by many people due to his profession as a homeopathy doctor. Dr. Burhanuddin mother’s name was Sharifah Zahrah binti Habib Osman. She was from a mixed parentage of Malay-Indian Muslim and she was also regarded highly in her society.

His parents played an important role in shaping the mind Dr. Burhanuddin in the early stage of his life. He was brought up in an Islamic ambiance by his own parents, since his father was a very pious man. He received his formal education in Sekolah Melayu Behrang Ulu, Sekolah Melayu Bakap until standard three and then moved to Sekolah Melayu Kota Bahru. He realized his true potential and tendency to learn religious knowledge compared to other knowledge. After he finished his Malay School education, in 1924, he was sent to Sungai Jambu, Sumatra to learn Islamic knowledge. It should be noted here that in 1924, while he was at the age of thirteen years old, he made his first contact and learned with several religious Kaum Muda (Reformist group). He was indeed had been touched and influenced by the movement of Kaum Muda and later on, shaped his thought and action. He explained this when he said:
“When I was learning in Indonesia, I was able to learn the Dutch language and my religious teachers were those of Youth Faction who had the progressive understanding of Islam. From then, my thought was formed after receiving the modern explanation and approach.” (Burhanuddin 1949:37)

After he completed his studies in Sumatra for two years and master the Dutch language, he went back to Tanah Melayu to futher his study in Sekolah Pondok located at Pulau Pisang, Jitra, Kedah. He didn’t stay long in the Sekolah Pondok because he felt that the teaching methodology of Sekolah Pondok didn’t suit his style and he was uncomfortable with it. Immediately his father transferred him to Madrasah al- Mashor al-Islamiah, Pulau Pinang in 1927. He was only sixteen years old when he was admitted to Madrasah al-Mashor in 1927. At this period of time, he was able to master Arabic language within a short period of time.

In 1928, he went to India to further his studies and to gain experience by doing expedition. Dr. Burhanuddin was exposed to the Independence movement made by Mahatma Gandhi and other prominent individuals like Pandit Nehru, Mohd Ali Jinnah and many others while his staying in India. It can be said that the exposure he experienced in India, had made him aware and realized the importance of independence when he came back to Tanah Melayu. He obtained a degree in homeopathy at Ismaeliah Medical College, New Delhi. His passion of knowledge is very fascinating. He was able to master some languages like English, German, Dutch and French while he was studying in India. Apart from that, he also learned about psychology of teaching, metaphysics, spiritual knowledge, philosophy and comparative religion (M. Fuzi Omar 2005: 291). It is also reported that he did his Ph.D dissertation in Aligarh Muslim University and after completed his studies, he traveled to Middle East Countries and came back to Tanah Melayu in 1935 (he was only twenty four years old).

In his return to Tanah Melayu, he taught Arabic at Al-Junid Arabic School in Singapore and during this period, he was also an editor to a magazine called Taman Bahagia. Within just one and half an hour of the first publication, he was jailed for a period of six months. The British regime in Tanah Melayu felt that his writing could initiate some unwanted behavior among the Malays during those times. After he had been released, in 1939, Dr. Burhanuddin and with a help of Dr. Rajah, opened homeopathic clinics in Singapore and Johor Bharu but lasted only in 1942.

Dr. Burhanuddin was also active in Jam’iyyah al-Islamiyyah Singapore, as its Secretary. In 1937, he represented his organization in a debate with the traditional ulema at Sri Cemerlang Palace, Kelantan. The issue that was to debate was about dog saliva. He went to Kelantan with Haji Abbas Mohd Taha who was the Grand Judge of Singapore (Kamaruddin Jaafar 2000: 17).

It should be noted that during the Japanese occupation in Tanah Melayu, Dr. Burhanuddin was appointed as an advisor of the Malay Custom and Culture by the Japanese. Because of his high position, he used his authority to protect and assist a well-known Islamic religious school, which can be considered important in the development of history of Tanah Melayu (Malaysia) which is Ma’ahad al-Ehya as-Sharif, Gunung Semanggol Perak. As regard to this religious school, Dato’ Onn Jaafar, as the President of UMNO always referred Ma’ahad al-Ehya as-Sharif as a threat (danger) from the mountain (Ramlah Adam 2004: 323).

Chapter 2

The Role of Islamic Values in His Political Activism, Thoughts and Writings

In one of the research made by Professor W.R. Roff, he focused three elitist groups that tried to initiate nationalism sentiment. One of the groups is the Islamic reformist (Arab educated), radical intellectual (Malay educated) and the Malay administrators (English educated) whereby the majority of this group is from Malay aristocrats and Royal family (W.R. Roff 1975: 268). Roff argued that the system of education produced the three types of elitist group But in the case of Dr. Burhanuddin, it is hard for us to identified to which group he belongs too. This is because of his attitudes and political participation which involved two major streams of Malay nationalism which are Islam and so called ‘leftist’.

Dr. Burhanuddin joined Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM) in 1939. He was introduced by Mustapha Hussain but he did not participated very actively in this organization. According to Ramlah Adam, the main reason why the young Malays established KMM is because of their high political awareness (Ramlah Adam 2004: 3). But in 1940, many of KMM leaders were under arrest by the British regime like Ibrahim Haji Yaacob, Sutan Djenain, and Ahmad Boestamam which eventually disabled the movement of KMM.

During the Japanese Occupation in Tanah Melayu, he was appointed as the ‘Advisor on Malay Custom and Culture’ which was located in Taiping, Perak. This position of him can be considered the highest ranking officer for Malays. The interesting part is that, he managed to organized two Islamic congress during the Japanese Occupation and prepared whatever it may seem necessary for independence of Tanah Melayu. He was also able to protect and assist Ma’ahad al-Ehya as-Sharif, Gunung Semanggol Perak from any harm made by the Japanese soldiers.

Kesatuan Rakyat Indonesia Semenanjung (KRIS) was established by Onan Siradj and Ibrahim Yaacob in 1945 after the Japanese regime had abolished KMM. KRISS received its main support from the Japanese regime and give independence to KRIS.

It can be said that Dr. Burhanuddin role in Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) is the most interesting part in his political activism. Many members of PKMM were from KMM and supported the idea of Melayu Raya/Indonesia Raya. Apart from that, many of its leaders are associated to the communist. Even though there are some true facts about the role of communist and socialism in PKMM, but Dr. Burhanuddin was able to neutralize these elements and have strong in his idealism and action.

Dr. Burhanuddin became Parti Islam Se-Malaya (PAS) members on 14th December 1956 and became the President of PAS on 25th December 1956. He was approached by some PAS leaders like Haji Hassan Adli and others and guarantees that the leadership of PAS will be trusted to Dr. Burhanuddin (M. Fuzi Omar 2005: 300). Under the leadership of Dr.Burhanuddin, the popularity of the party became famous and being accepted by the Malays as well. In 1956 and 1959, the seat of presidency was being contested and Zulkifli whom opposed him in the presidency post. No doubt that Dr. Burhanuddin personality, appearance and attitude had won the heart of many PAS members and thus elected him as the new President of PAS.

Thoughts and Writings of Dr. Burhanuddin al- Helmy

When discussing about Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy, the theme of Islam is very apparent in his daily life. He wrote many books about politics, Tasawwuf and medicine. Compared to his counterparts in politics during his period, it is obvious that Dr. Burhanuddin wrote many books, wrote his own speeches and spread his own thoughts to the masses. Among the famous books that he wrote is Sejarah Perjuangan Kita, Falsafah Kebangsaan Melayu, Ugama dan Politik dan Ideologi Politik Islam.

In his book (Sejarah Perjuangan Kita; published in 1946) in chapter VI, he quoted many verses from the Quran. This means that his worldview is based on Islam and he is trying as best as he could to spread the message of Islam. He emphasized a lot about faith, body, nation and territory. All of these elements are interrelated and vital to the Malays. We must get independents first in order to established Islam system of life. If we do not get independent, we do not control our country, it is useless to promote the message of Islam. He also added that politics should be compatible to Islam, and not Islam should be compatible to politics.

In his another book entitled Falsafah Kebangsaan Melayu, he gave emphasize on the topic of “Kebangsaan Dalam Islam”. He wrote:

“Islam memandang kebangsaan itu sebagai suatu alat bukan tujuan. Kebangsaan hendaklah mengambil tempat yang sederhana dan bulat sebagai suatu lambang yang boleh menarik dan menyatukan suatu bahagian tenaga untuk mencapai cita-cita mulia yang besar dan abadi, sebagimana Islam memandang dunia bukan tujuan tetapi hanya satu alat atau tunggangan yang menyampaikan ke akhirat”. (Burhanuddin 1954)

It is clear that Dr. Burhanuddin viewed nationalism as not an end but as a medium to the hereafter. And even he stated that nationalism he perceived is very wide and not rigid compared to others understanding of nationalism. But in the end, Rustam A. Sani argued that nationalism movement in Tanah Melayu as a movement of ‘failed nationalism’ because it is not based on Malay itself.

Chapter 3


Dr. Burhanuddin major theme is always been Islam. In his early childhood until he holds the post of President of PAS, the political journey of his is always interesting. In his message to the masses, he gave many examples from Quran, hadith and even some historical settings which are relevant to the subject. Ahmad Boestamam in his one book also acknowledge to role of Islam in Dr. Burhanuddin thought. He never gave up easily even though he was capture, tortured, harsh criticisms and accusation, but he never gave up hope easily and perceived it as a challenge from Allah S.W.T.

From what I could understand, he showed a good living example between Islam and politics. In every political organization he joined and even any movement, his manifestation of Islam is always noticeable. Some would say that KMM is based on true nationalism ideology but Dr. Burhanuddin joined and assist the organization. Some even labeled PKMM as communist and socialist party but when we looked deep through, I would say that it is not true. Dr. Burhanuddin role in these various organizations had a huge impact on Tanah Melayu political atmosphere be it in pre-Independence or post-Independence. Last but not least, I would like to quote few words of Dr. Burhanuddin which I found it very touching and interesting;

Di atas robohan kota Melaka
Kita bangunkan jiwa merdeka
Bersatulah Melayu seluruh baka
Membela hak keadilan pusaka

(Kota Melaka, 1946)


1. Ahmad Boestamam, Merintis Jalan Ke Puncak, (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Kejora, 1972)

2. Kamaruddin Jaafar, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy, Pemikiran Dan Perjuangan (Kuala Lumpur: IKDAS, 2000)

3. Mohd Fuzi Omar, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy: Political Activities and Ideas, in Zeenath Kausar (edt.) Contemporary Islamic Politcal Thought, A Study of Eleven Islamic Thinkers (Kuala Lumpur: Reseach Centre, IIUM, 2005)

4. Ramlah Adam, Sumbanganmu DiKenang (Kuala Lumpur: DBP, 1999)

5. Ramlah Adam, Gerakan Radikalisme di Malaysia (1938-1965) (Kuala Lumpur: DBP, 2004)

6. Rustam A. Sani, Ke Mana Nasionalisme Melayu? (Kuala Lumpur: R Publishing Services, 2004)


Research By:
Akmal Hisham Abdul Rahim


Dr Amir Burhanuddin Al-Helmy - Pejuang Kemerdekaan

Teks berikut diambil daripada blogspot berjudul "Cetusan Jiwa Merdeka" yang dikendalikan oleh Ikhwan Hafiz, bertarikh 2 September 2009.

Pejuang Kemerdekaan - Dr Burhanuddin Al Helmy

SEMINAR Pemikiran Prof Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy (ada yang baca; Al-Hulaimy) pada 2 Ogos lalu di Muzium Shah Alam anjuran Ummah Centre didedahkan betapa fakta sejarah negara ini, banyak sudah dipertikaikan kesahihannya.

Tokoh yang menyebutnya bukan sembarangan. Beliau adalah pakar sejarah negara, Prof Emiritus Tan Sri Dato' Khoo Kay Kim. Menurutnya, dengan sebab itu, tindakan segera perlu dilakukan demi membenarkan semula fakta sejarah untuk generasi baharu.

Itulah antara lain yang dapat saya quotekan.

Salam seminar itu diperkukuhkan dengan fakta yang dipersetujui semua pihak bahawa Prof Dr Burhanuddin Al-Hulaimy adalah tokoh pejuang negara yang mewaqafkan dirinya untuk kemerdekaan negara dalam TIGA zaman, sebelum, semasa dan selepas. 
Berikut adalah sebahagian artikel yang aku tulis untuk sebuah akhbar bulanan untuk edisi September:-

Seminar Pemikiran Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy
SHAH ALAM: Sudah sampai masanya pejuang-pejuang kemerdekaan yang banyak memberikan sumbangan tenaga, masa dan pemikiran mereka pada satu masa dahulu diberikan pengiktirafan berbentuk anugerah negara.

Meskipun ada di kalangan mereka berjuang di haluan lain di dalam menggembleng kesedaran rakyat negara ini di dalam usaha dan sanggup bangun memperjuangkan hak rakyat di dalam mewujudkan sebuah negara merdeka.

Tokoh-tokoh itu termasuk Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy Mohd Noor yang banyak memimpin persatuan yang semuanya menuju ke arah kemerdekaan negara termasuk akhirnya menjadi Yang Dipertua PAS ke-3 pada 25 Disember 1956, Ibrahim Yaakob (Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM), Ishak Haji Mohamad yang memimpin Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) dan Angkatan Pemuda Insaf (API) dipimpin oleh Ahmad Boestamam.

Perkara ini ditegaskan oleh Pengarah Ummah Centre, Haji Ir Izham Hashim ketika berucap dalam Seminar Pemikiran Dr Burhanuddin Al-Helmy pada 2 Ogos lalu di Dewan Muzium Selangor, dekat sini.

Ir Izham juga berharap ada usaha dilakukan untuk mendapatkan kembali wang pencen Dr Burhanuddin sebagai bekas Ahli Parlimen Malaysia Kawasan Besut yang dinafikan sehingga kini termasuk menobatkan beliau sebagai tokoh pejuang kemerdekaan negara yang terlibat selama tiga dekad, sebelum, semasa dan selepas merdeka memertabatkan agama, bangsa dan negara.

Ucaptama seminar itu telah dilakukan oleh Exco Kerajaan Negeri Kelantan, Dato’ Husam Musa sekaligus merasmikan seminar serta menyempurnakan pelancaran Ummah Centre sebagai sebuah NGO bebas yang menjalankan kajian menerusi pusat keceriaan ummah.

Turut menyampaikan pandangan di dalam seminar itu adalah Dato’ Kamaruddin Jaaffar, Tan Sri Prof Khoo Kay Kim, Dr Dzulkifly Ahmad, Haji Azmi Abdul Hamid, Prof Madya Saliha Haji Hassan, Haji Khalid Samad dan Saudara Muzammil Mohd Nor.

Majlis itu juga diserikan dengan kehadiran isteri Dr Burhanuddin, Puan Che Suri Haji Yahya, adiknya, Haji Norbit dan anaknya sendiri, Saudara Nouxman dan Haji Shukri serta menantu dan cucu-cucu beliau.

Menurut informasi yang diketengahkan di dalam seminar ini dinyatakan kelahiran Gopeng, Perak pada 1911 berketurunan Minang hasil kongsi hidup Haji Mohamad Noor yang berasal dari Batu Sangkar, daerah Tanah Datar, Minangkabau Sumatera dan telah datang ke Perak pada tahun 1908 manakala ibunya, Sharifah Zaharah Habib Osman berasal dari Melaka.

Pada 1934, beliau melanjutkan pelajaran di Universiti Aligarh, New Delhi, India sehingga mendapat PhD di dalam bidang falsafah dan sastera, merupakan seorang yang lemah lembut sehingga digelar Al-Helmy dan disenangi banyak pihak.

Dr Burhanuddin merupakan anak Malaysia pertama terlibat di dalam menyatakan sokongan kepada perjuangan umat Islam Palestin di mana beliau berbuat demikian dalam usia 24 tahun semasa dalam perjalanan pulang dari India.

Beliau juga adalah Pengasas Perubatan Homeopathy Malaysia termasuk banyak menulis buku mengenai pengubatan tanpa dadah itu. Menjadi Penasihat Hal Ehwal Islam & Adat Istiadat Melayu ketika Pendudukan Jepun pada 1942 hingga1945 dengan tujuan untuk menjaga kepentingan sekolah-sekolah agama ketika itu.

Pada 1950, beliau ditahan British kerana terlibat dengan Rusuhan Natrah di Singapura, 1956 menyertai Persatuan Islam Se-Tanah Melayu (PAS), dipilih sebagai Yang Dipertua Agung PAS ke-3 menggantikan Dato' Dr Haji Abbas Alias dan 1959 memenangi Kerusi Parlimen Besut, Terengganu Pada Pilihan Raya Umum 1959.

Dari 1964 hingga 1969, Dr Burhanuddin ditahan di bawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) kerana kononnya menjadi agen Indonesia dan terlibat dengan kegiatan menentang penubuhan Malaysia dan 10 Oktober 1969, beliau meninggal dunia akibat penyakit lelah dan juga kesan seksaan yang beliau terima semasa dalam tahanan ISA.


Dr Amir Burhanuddin Al-Helmy

Teks ini diambil daripada artikel "Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy (1911 – 1969)" di dalam risalah "Biodata 5 Tokoh PAS" yang ditulis oleh Shaari Sungib, muka surat 31-40.

Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy (1911 – 1969)

Latar Belakang
Amir Burhanuddin bin Ungku Muhammad Nor dilahirkan pada 28 Ogos 1911 di Changkat Tualang, Perak. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy mendapat pendidikan awal di kelas Al-Quran dan agama dan sekolah Melayu. Dia dihantar ke Sekolah Agama Sungai Jambu, Sumatra Barat pada tahun 1924 hingga 1926. Pada tahun 1926, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy meneruskan pelajarannya di Pondok Pulau Pisang, Jitra, Kedah. Seterusnya dari situ ke Madrasah Al-Masyhur Al-Islamiah, Pulau Pinang hingga tamat kelas senawi pada tahun 1934.

Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah mendapat biasiswa seorang hartawan India Muslim dari Pulau Pinang untuk melanjutkan pelajarannya di Aligarh University. Di universiti tersebut Burhanuddin Al-Helmy mengambil bidang sastera dan falsafah. Beliau dianugerahkan PhD daripada Aligarh University, India.
Sekembalinya dari pelajarannya di India dan pengembaraannya ke Palestin dan Turki, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy kembali bertugas sebagai guru bahasa Arab di Sekolah Arab Al-Juned, Singapura.

Ketika di Singapura, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy belajar ilmu perubatan homeopati daripada Dr. Rajah dan beliau telah berjaya mendapat ijazah daripada Ismailiyah Medical College, Hyderabad, India. Dengan kelayakan ini, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah membuka sebuah klinik di Johor Bahru dan sebuah lagi klinik di Jalan Picitan, Singapura.

Seorang Aktivis Dakwah dan Politik
Pembabitan awal Burhanuddin Al-Helmy:
· Penerbit majalah Taman Bahagia, Singapura
· Penyunting majalah Kehidupan Dunia Akhirat, Singapura
· Ahli Persatuan Jama’atul Islamiah
· Ahli Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM), 1939
· Penasihat Adat Istiadat dan Kebudayaan Melayu semasa pendudukan Jepun

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· Pemimpin Kesatuan Rakyat Indonesia Semenanjung (KRIS), 1945
· Ketua Umum Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM), 1945
· Pengerusi PUTERA-AMCJA, 1947
· Ahli Jawatankuasa Perhubungan Bangsa-bangsa Asia, 1947
· Ahli pengasas PEPERMAS, 1947
· Ahli pengasas MATA, 1947
· Ahli pengasas Hizbul Muslimin, 1948
· Wakil Malaya di Persidangan Afro-Asia Bandung, 1955
· Jurucakap Barisan Kebangsaan Melayu, 1955
· Melancarkan penubuhan Parti Rakyat Malaya, 1955

Pengaruh Awal Pemikiran
Semasa belajar di Jambu, Sumatera Barat (1924-1926), Burhanuddin Al-Helmy berada di bawah asuhan Haji Nuruddin, anggota Sarekat Islam Indonesia. Di samping itu guru-guru yang mengajar dan mendidik beliau di sana terdiri di kalangan aliran Kaum Muda.

Semasa di Madrasah Al-Masyhur Al-Islamiah, Kepala Batas, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy juga terdedah dengan pemikiran Kaum Muda. Aliran inilah yang telah menyalakan semangat anti-penjajah dan prokemerdekaan dalam diri beliau.

Semasa belajar di India pula pada tahun 1928, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy mengikuti pergerakan Mahatma Gandhi serta berkenalan dengan Mohd Ali Jinnah dan Pandit Nehru dan pemimpin-pemimpin kemerdekaan India yang lain. Selepas tamat pelajarannya di Aligarh University, India Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah mengembara ke Palestin dan Turki. Beliau mengikuti perkembangan umat Islam di sana.

Ketika di Singapura, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah bergiat cergas dalam pergerakan-pergerakan Islam di pulau tersebut. Beliau menerbitkan majalah Taman Bahagia yang bercorak anti-British yang akibatnya dia ditahan oleh pihak British di sana. Selepas itu, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy terus bergiat pula dengan persatuan Jama’atul Islamiah dan menjadi penyunting majalah Kehidupan Dunia Akhirat.

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Ditahan dan Merengkok dalam Penjara
Selepas tamat pelajarannya di India, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy mengembara ke Palestin dan Turki. Semasa di Turki belaiu ditahan kerana terlibat dalam gerakan anti-British di sana. Ketika di Singapura pada pertengahan 1930an, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah menerbitkan majalah Taman Bahagia yang bercorak anti-British. Satu jam selepas edisi pertama majalah ini diterbitkan, beliau ditahan oleh pihak British. Beliau dipenjarakan selama enam bulan. Terdapat juga catatan yang menyatakan beliau dibebaskan selepas membayar wang ikat jamin sebanyak $1,000.

Pada tahun 1950, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah ditahan oleh British akibat Peristiwa Natrah. Dia dituduh terlibat dalam demonstrasi menentang keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Singapura yang membenarkan Natrah (Maria Hertogh) dipulangkan kepada keluarga asalnya di Belanda. Dia telah dipenjara selama satu tahun. Namun, terdapat juga catatan yang menyatakan beliau dipenjarakan selama tiga tahun di Singapura ekoran peristiwa tersebut, iaitu dari dari tahun 1950 hingga 1952. Terdapat catatan yang peristiwa Natrah itu hanya sebagai alasan bagi pihak British menahan Burhanuddin Al-Helmy.

Sebenarnya Burhanuddin Al-Helmy ditahan oleh British kerana semasa Darurat pada 1948, beliau menyeru secara terbuka orang Melayu jangan menyerang kaum gerila Cina yang berjuang melawan British di dalam hutan. Peristiwa Natrah hanya dijadikan alasan oleh pihak British. British tidak boleh menahan Burhanuddin Al-Helmy yang bergiat masa itu di Singapura kerana pulau tersebut tidak tertakluk kepada undang-undang Darurat yang hanya dikuatkuasakan di Semenanjung Tanah Melayu.

Burhanuddin Al-Helmy menentang penubuhan Malaysia pada tahun 1963. Ini menyebabkan dia ditahan di bawah ISA pada bulan Januari 1965 kerana dituduh terlibat dalam kerajaan buangan di Riau, Indonesia. Burhanuddin bin Al-Helmy jatuh uzur semasa dalam tahanan. Pada bulan Mac 1966, beliau dibebaskan bersyarat dan dikenakan sekatan kawasan. Di antara syaratnya adalah beliau tidak dibenarkan melibatkan

- muka surat 34 -

diri dalam politik. Syarat tersebut ditarik balik hanya pada 22 September 1969.

Tokoh Perjuang Kemerdekaan
Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy adalah antara tokoh ulung perjuangan kemerdekaan. Beliau bergiat cergas dalam KMM dengan tujuan menentang penjajahan British. Semasa pendudukan Jepun, Burhanuddin Al-Helmy dan beberapa orang rakannya mengambil strategi licik. Ini diungkapnya sebagai: "Maka ahli-ahli kebangsaan Melayu kiri telah mengambil langkah Musa dalam istana Firaun. Ada yang tinggal di dalam, ada yang tinggal di luar mengambil bahagian di hutan di rimba jadi anti-fascist ada yang menjalankan gerakan rayap – semut api – harimau dan sebagainya”. Dengan sokongan pihak Jepun, beliau bersama-sama Ibrahim Yaacob memimpin KRIS membuat persetujuan dengan Seokarno dan Mohd Hatta di Taiping untuk mengisytiharkan kemerdekaan serentak di Tanah Melayu dan Indonesia pada 17 Ogos 1945. Tetapi Jepun menyerah kalah pada 14 Ogos 1945. Seokarno meneruskan rancangannya mengisytiharkan Indonesia merdeka dari Belanda pada 17 Ogos 1945. Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy tidak dapat berbuat demikian memandangkan perkembangan yang amat berbeza di Tanah Melayu ketika itu.

Selepas Jepun berundur, PKMM ditubuhkan sebagai satu kesinambungan daripada KMM. Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy menjadi Ketua Umum PKMM yang pertama. Semasa diadakan kongres PKMM ke-2 di Melaka pada Disember 1946, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah disambut hebat oleh pelbagai lapisan kaum di sana. Dalam ucapan tersebutlah Burhanuddin Al-Helmy melafazkan pantun pusakanya yang terkenal:

Di atas robohan Kota Melaka;
Kita Dirikan Jiwa Merdeka;
Bersatu padulah segenap baka;
Membela hak keadilan pusaka.

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Pembabitan Burhanuddin Al-Helmy dalam PUTERA, PEPERMAS, MATA dan Hizbul Muslimin sepanjang tahun 1947-1948 adalah juga dengan tumpuan menyemarakkan perjuang mencapai kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu. Di antara kemuncak perjuangannya menuntut kemerdekaan adalah apabila Burhanuddin Al-Helmy sebagai pengerusinya telah menerajui Sepuluh Dasar PUTERA-AMCJA beserta bendera merah putih duabelas bintang kuning sebagai melambangkan Malaya Merdeka. Pembabitannya melancarkan Parti Rakyat Malaya sebaik sahaja Ahmad Boestamam dibebaskan dari penjara pada tahun 1955 juga adalah dalam konteks menuntut kemerdekaan Tanah Melayu. Pada masa itu politik kiri adalah bermaksud anti-British. Mereka yang mengambil sikap no-cooperation terhadap penjajah British di anggap sebagai ”kiri”. Sedangkan mereka yang bersikap cooperation seperti UMNO, dianggap ”kanan”.

Menyertai dan Memimpin PAS
Ketika PAS ditubuhkan pada bulan Ogos 1951, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy masih dalam tahanan penjara di Singapura. Apabila Yang Dipertua Agung Pas yang pertama, Ustaz Ahmad Fuad melepaskan jawatannya pada tahun 1953 tugas memimpin PAS diambilalih oleh Dr. Hj Abbas Alias. PAS di bawah kepimpinan Dr. Abbas tidak begitu lama, iaitu hanya selama 3 tahun 2 bulan sahaja. Ini adalah disebabkan Dr. Abbas tidak dapat bergerak aktif kerana masih terikat dengan jawatannya di dalam perkhidmatan kerajaan, iaitu sebagai seorang pegawai perubatan.

Angkatan muda dalam PAS pada masa itu yang antaranya terdiri daripada Ustaz Othman Abdullah, Ustaz Hasan Adli, Ustaz Abdul Wahab Noor dan Mohd Asri Muda telah mengadakan mesyuarat tidak rasmi berhubung dengan jawatan utama PAS. Mereka bersepakat bahawa tidak ada orang yang lebih tepat memimpin PAS pada masa itu selain daripada Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy. Ketika itu, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy hanya bergiat cergas mempromosi Parti Rakyat Malaya di seluruh Tanah Melayu. Ini bermakna, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy tidak ada sebarang jawatan dalam mana-mana parti politik.

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Pada bulan Disember 1956 satu perwakilan yang terdiri daripada Ustaz Abdul Wahab Noor dan Ustaz Baharuddin Latiff telah diutus bertemu Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy. Beliau bersetuju untuk menyertai PAS. Terdapat juga catatan yang menyatakan bahawa tugas ini dilaksanakan oleh Pesuruhjaya PAS Johor, Hj Said Abdul Hadi yang diamanahkan oleh Ustaz Hasan Adli untuk mendapatkan persetujaun bertulis daripada Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy dan meminta beliau mengisi borang PAS. Walau bagaimanapun, sebelum itu pun memang sudah terdapat persetujuan tidak rasmi di kalangan mereka bertiga agar Ahmad Boestamam menerajui Parti Rakyat Malaya, Ishak Haji Muhammad (Pak Sako) menerajui Parti Buruh dan Burhanuddin bin Al-Helmy menerajui PAS. Jadi pelawaan daripada pemimpin-pemimpin PAS kepada Burhanuddin Al-Helmy adalah tepat pada masanya. 

Demokrasi dalam PAS 
Setahun sebelum Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy menyertai PAS, beberapa orang pemuda juga telah pergi ke Kuala Kangsar untuk bertemu dengan Prof Zulkifli Muhammad. Tujuan mereka adalah untuk mempelawanya menyertai PAS. Prof Zulkifli Muhammad menjadi calon PAS dalam pilihanraya 1955.

Dalam Muktamar PAS ke-5 pada 25 Disember 1956, terdapat dua pencalonan bagi jawatan Yang Dipertu Agung, iaitu Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy dan Prof. Zulkifli Muhammad. Daripada kawasan-kawasan Prof Zulkifli Muhammad mendapat pencalonan yang lebih banyak daripada Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy. Keadaan ini adalah disebabkan terdapat ahli-ahli PAS pada masa itu yang bimbang dengan latarbelakang politik Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy sebelum menyertai PAS. Sebahagian ahli PAS lebih selesa jika PAS dipimpin oleh Prof Zulkifli Muhammad memandangkan beliau seorang tokoh muda yang sangat karismatik dan pernah belajar agama di Mesir. Dalam pemilihan jawatan tertinggi PAS dalam Muktamar ke-5 itu, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah berjaya menewaskan pencabarnya, iaitu Prof Zulkifli Muhammad.

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Pertandingan bagi jawatan tertinggi parti di antara kedua tokoh besar ini menunjukkan kematangan ahli-ahli serta amalan dan suasana demokrasi dalam PAS sejak awal-awal penubuhannya. Muktamar seterusnya memilih Prof Zulkifli Muhammad menjadi Timbalan Yang Dipertua Agung PAS. Gabungan mereka berdua inilah yang terus memantapkan PAS. Selepas diberikan amanah memimpin PAS, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy menunjukkan betapa gigihnya beliau melaksanakan tugas tersebut. Pimpinan Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy dalam PAS adalah yang paling lama jika dibandingkan dengan tempoh beliau berada dalam mana-mana parti terdahulu yang disertanya. Malah hayatnya ditutup dalam PAS. Bahkan pada zamannya juga PAS berkembang dengan luasnya. Tugas memimpin PAS dilaksanakan oleh Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy walaupun sebahagian dari tempoh ini dilaluinya semasa menjalani penahanan dan sekatan tanpa bicara di bawah ISA.

Seorang Demokrat Berperlembagaan
Selaras dengan dasar PAS mengambil bahagian dalam pilihanraya untuk mendapatkan suara rakyat bagi mengukuhkan perjuangan Islam, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah menjadi calon PAS dalam pilihanraya 1959. Beliau menang dan menjadi wakil rakyat Pas bagi kerusi Parlimen Besut, Terengganu. Pada masa itu sistem pilihanraya Dewan Undangan Negeri dijalankan mengikut negeri ke negeri. Negeri paling akhir selepas Terengganu adalah Kelantan. Dengan sistem seperti ini, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy dan pimpinan PAS telah menyusun tenaga kerja jentera PAS dipindahkan dari satu negeri ke satu negeri. Di Dewan Undangan Negeri Terengganu, PAS menang 13 daripada 24 kerusi dan berjaya membentuk kerajaan negeri di Terengganu. Manakala di peringkat Parlimen pula, calon-calon PAS menang empat kerusi, iaitu Ustaz Hasan Adli di Kuala Terengganu Utara, Khadijah Sidek di Dungun, Harun Pilus di Terengganu Tengah dan Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy di Besut.

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Dengan kemenangan ini, PAS di bawah pimpinan Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy menggunakan kempen ”Kalau di Terengganu PAS boleh menang, kenapa Kelantan tidak?” Ternyata taktik ini berkesan sekali sehingga memenangi 28 daripada 30 kerusi Dewan Undangan Negeri dan berjaya membentuk kerajaan di Kelantan. PAS juga memenangi sembilan daripada sepuluh kerusi Parlimen di Kelantan. Dalam konteks yang lebih luas, Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy juga telah mempertahankan amalan demokrasi di atas dasar Perlembagaan yang sedia ada. Di atas sebab itu beliau menentang penubuhan Malaysia. Baginya, penubuhan Malaysia adalah bertentangan dengan konsep Persekutuan yang memberi ruang yang luas bagi pembangunan setiap negeri di bawahnya. Menurutnya, dengan wujudnya Malaysia, maka ”mahu tidak mahu Kelantan menjadi satu bahagian di bawah kekuasaan Malaysia”.

Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy mahu kerajaan Pusat bersikap lebih demokratik dengan merundingkan penubuhan Malaysia dengan kerajaan negeri terlebih dahulu. Di bawah pimpinannya, kerajaan PAS Kelantan telah mengheret isu Malaysia ke mahkamah bagi mendapatkan injuksi penanguhan pembentukan Malaysia. Ternyata pendekatan dan ketokohan Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy serta pemimpin-pemimpin PAS yang lain pada masa itu amat diterima rakyat, khasnya di kalangan kaum Melayu. Kejayaan PAS dalam pilihanraya 1959 juga membuktikan PAS adalah sebuah parti politik dan gerakan Islam yang bersedia memanfaatkan saluran sistem demokrasi yang bersesuaian dengan Islam bagi tujuan memajukan Islam, rakyat dan negara. Di atas kejayaan ini, kerajaan Perikatan menggunakan taktik kotor untuk menghalang kemaraan PAS di bawah pimpinan Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy. Satu langkah licik telah digunakan untuk menghalang Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy daripada mempertahankan kerusi Parlimen Besut.

- muka surat 39 -

Dalam pilihanraya 1964, Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya telah mengisytiharkan Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy tidak layak bertanding kerana telah didenda sebanyak $25,360 oleh sebuah mahkamah atas satu kesalahan teknikal dalam sebuah syarikat perniagaan. Sumbangan kepada Gerakan Islam Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy adalah seorang pemimpin politik Islam yang mendahului zamannya. Beliau adalah seorang yang progresif, realistik, berpandangan global serta sentiasa bertindak berpandukan prinsip-prinsip Islam. Beliau progresif kerana beliau menolak sebarang bentuk dan unsur kolonialisme. Motivasi utama dalam perjuangan politiknya dalah untuk memerdekan rakyat Tanah Melayu – bahkan seluruh bumi Asia – daripada penjajahan, sama ada penjajahan dari Barat mahupun dari Timur. 

Beliau realistik kerana belaiu sentiasa bersikap terbuka dan bersedia bekerjasama dengan mana-mana pihak – parti politik bukan Melayu atau bukan berasaskan Islam – yang memiliki cita-cita dan tujuan yang sama, iaitu untuk sama-sama mencapai matlamat perjuangan membebaskan rakyat daripada penjajahan. Dari satu sudut Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmi adalah seorang ahli politik yang bersikap praktikal dan realistik kalaupun tidak pragmatik. Pendekatannya terbuka. Pengalaman silamnya sebelum menerajui PAS yang sentiasa bersedia bekerjasama untuk mengejar cita-cita bersama - iaitu kemerdekaan – telah berjaya menempatkan PAS dalam kancah arus perdana politik negara pada masa itu. PAS dilihat ada kelainan tetapi tokoh PAS ini tidak lain dan asing bagi mereka yang sama-sama mahu mengejar cita-cita kemerdekaan.

Pakatan politik yang diwujudk

an olehnya dengan parti-parti bukan Melayu dan bukan berasaskan Islam telah melonjakkan PAS sebagai sebuah parti yang berjuang di atas satu ideologi yang jauh lebih jelas daripada UMNO. Kelainan inilah yang sebut oleh pimpinan PAS hari ini sebagai aqidah perjuangan. Dalam bahasa Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy ia disebut sebagai ideologi perjuangan.

- muka surat 40 -

Ini kerana pada masa pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO terperangakap dengan persoalan politik perkauman dan perjuangan kebangsaan yang sempit, PAS di bawah pimpinan Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy berjaya meyakinkan rakyat bahawa akar umbi masalah rakyat Tanah Melayu adalah warisan penjajahan yang berupa penindasan ekonomi dan politik serta sistem kapitalis global yang menindas dan memperhambakan pribumi tanah jajahan. Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy juga mendedahkan kepincangan masyarakat apabila sejumlah elit politik pribumi bersekongkol melindungi dan mempertahankan penindasan sistem penjajah ini.

Karya dan Penulisan
Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah menghasilkan buku yang bercorak politik antaranya:
• Perjuangan Kita, 1946
• Falsafah Kebangsaan Melayu, 1947
• Agama dan Politik, 1954,
• Ideologi Politik Islam, 1957

Namanya Diabadikan
Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy meninggal dunia pada 25 Oktober 1969 berpunca daripada serangan lelah. Sebenarnya Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy telah jatuh sakit semasa dalam tahanan ISA. Ketika beliau dibebaskan dengan sekatan kawasan pada tahun 1966, penyakitnya masih belum sembuh. Namanya diabadikan di sebuah sekolah di Taiping dan nama jalan di Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Damansara, Selangor. Beliau dianugerah pingat emas Commander of World Order of Human Merit daripada I’Ordre Universal du Merit Human, Geneva pada 15 November 1959 di atas sumbangannya dalam pembangunan perubatan homeopati.

Source: Shaari Sungib. "Dr. Burhanuddin Al-Helmy (1911-1969)". In: Biodata 5 Tokoh PAS. pages 31-40.

Note: The text above is reproduced verbatim, but with some editing for retaining names in the source language and is modified into smaller paragraphs for more pleasant web reading. Khadijah bt Sidek is Khatijah bt Sidek in other accounts.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Pilgrimage and take-off from Ghat Leboh Aceh

While driving around to locate Masjid Lebuh Aceh, I had come into Ghat Leboh Aceh, an empty road surrounded on both sides by dilapidated buildings, godowns? I took two snapshots of the buildings where we had made a u-turn. 

Today, I took a close look at the walls of the buildings and the bricks used for the walls. I had visited Masjid Kapitan Keling earlier on 18 November 2008. I noticed that the way the bricks were arranged in the walls of the 'godowns' at Ghat Leboh Aceh were the same as for the open-roof mausoleum in the grounds of Masjid Kapitan Keling, adjacent to Bangunan Nordin. Bangunan Nordin was named in honour of Kapitan Keling's younger brother, Nordin.

 Dilapidated buildings at Ghat Leboh Aceh in Penang, 2011. Courtesy of Faridah Abdul Rashid.
Mausoleum at Masjid Kapitan Keling in Penang, 2008. Courtesy of Faridah Abdul Rashid.

Ghat Leboh Aceh begins at Masjid Leboh Aceh and ends at the jetty where boats once docked. This place was once a busy place for pilgrims to prepare for their epic voyage to the holy land. "Ghat" is a landing place.

An important note about this area is that steamers (kapal wap) were used to take the pilgrims to Makkah and back. Health inspection of these steamers and areas surrounding the jetty would be crucial. I have not read accounts of the health inspection at this place. The steamers were owned or rented by rich Malays of Arab descent.

The steamers were not local and therefore had belonged to other countries. China had owned most of the steamers. From China's medical history, plague was the most difficult to stop and many died of the disease. Since the steamers had plied between Japan, Borneo, Singapore before coming to Penang and sailing forth toward India and beyond, plague was an important disease to tackle. The steamers needed to be checked for rats and all the travellers had to be inspected by medical doctors.

An early Malay doctor, Dr Mohamed Ibrahim bin Shaik Ismail had written in his autobiography in Who's Who is Malaya 1925 (by Julius Fisher) that he had served on the steamer SS Sealda.

There is however, a book published that covers the pilgrims, their living quarters, activities in this area but not the health aspects. This book is "Straits Muslims: Diasporas of the northern passage of the Straits of Malacca" (2009) edited by (Prof Datuk Dr) Wazir Jahan Karim.

Page 78 mentions that around 1821, a wealthy Singapore Arab merchant, Sayyid Ahmad Alsagoff (otherwise known as Sayyid Ahmad bin 'Abd al-Rahman al-Saqqaf) had purchased two steamers, Sri Mekah and Sri Juddah, to serve the people of Sumatra and Penang. He also had chartered ships which then plied and dominated the Jeddah-Singapore pilgrimage sea route. [A photograph of the later Alsagoff brothers was supplied by Dr Mohamed Tahir Ahmad Ibrahim for inclusion in TEMD. The same photo of 1932 had a 37-year old Dr HS Moonshi in it.]

Page 80 mentions it took 13 days to sail from Penang port to Jeddah (this is only the onward leg). In another account of 1963, Dr Che Lah bin Md Joonos had mentioned (to me) that it took 3 months  (but he did not specify) . This "3 months" could be the total time for the onward leg, performance of the hajj rites and the return leg?

History of Singapore

This is probably the best write-up on the history of Singapore so far:

I still find that people don't write well about a place or country, and I get terribly upset when I read what people write about places. However, there are good write-ups in some blogs by both tourists and locals. There is one blog by an Australian from Darwin who visited Singapore with his wife and his write-up tells of a down-to-earth travelogue, with travel tips on bus travels. There is Feliza Ong who wrote about her trip with her wonderful friends to the Central Civil Defence (fire brigade) in Singapore.

Before tourists decide to visit a country, they usually buy up books and read up about possible places they wish to visit, and they also check-out related blogs. So blogs are important. I do the same - check everything to the minute details. What frustrates me is people don't write fully about things they know or experienced when they visit a place, eg a park or museum, or when they go on a river cruise.

Even though today is unlike the times before Merdeka, and almost every piece of information is online, there's nothing like writing well about a topic to give insight to other readers. We have been too dependent on professional journalists, authors, and the like to write of interesting places for us. These are brief and times have changed. The bloggers are their own journalists and authors today. I feel it is high time that the global public respects bloggers for bringing events and interesting sites to the fore but bloggers must try to do proper reporting, just like other professionals have done for other mass media.

I would call upon everyone to write and write as best as they can about places they have visited and what their experiences were. There's no point putting up a photo or an image of Merlion in Merlion Park, Singapore without describing what "merlions" are all about and what they mean to the Singapore community. The "merlion" maybe a symbol but it seems detached when nothing much is written about its origin and myth.

I would rather like to hear something like this about Merlion even I have not visited Singapore since from 1968/9....

"Singapore, a legendary name fused from two Sanskrit words, singa (lion) and pura (city) has a long history dating back to the times of the Indian empires of .... Previously known as "Tumasek" (literally 'water land' or 'water-logged land'), this name could have referred to the mangrove trees that once grew along its coast, thus making its coastal areas swampy. Since early travel routes from the nearby islands to Singapore was by sea, the swampy coastal areas were met first upon arrival in Singapore, and thus could have given Singapore its "Tumasek" name. The name, Singapura, is more recent historically but significant for in early maps by well-known cartographers, Singapore was presented by a small red dot.  Declared a republic following its cessation from Malaysia on 9 August 1965, Singapore developed very fast and surpassed all its neighbours to become a focus of modern trade, attracting some of the biggest investments by multinationals. Though modern and fast developing, Singapore is abreast in preserving its history and culture. Merlion is a symbol of Singapore's modernity and rich cultural blend. Merlion is a hybrid structure comprising a lion's face fused with a mermaid's body (mermaid + lion = merlion). This structure was chosen for tigers once roamed the island and the mermaid is symbolic for the beauty of its clean waters which befits mermaids...." 

When written as above, I would want to visit Singapore right this instant! Same thing with "Little India" and all the other places. When you write, please do include the beauty of a place and its people, the ambiance etc. Most people write about the architectural grandeur and that can be very dry when other pages write the same thing.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Singapore's Medical History

"My Busy Body Corner" blog written in 2010 provides an account of Singapore's old medical, dental and nursing buildings, and what happened to them.


Betel nut vs Areca nut | Sirih pinang | Sirih junjung | Tepak sirih (Part 1)

The betel vine (pokok sirih) is a hardy vine with dark green leaves (daun sireh) shaped like hearts. The leaves are often confused with that of the pepper vine (pokok lada hitam). The leaves are crushed in water and the water is used as antiseptic for cleaning skin infections and grazes, and usually for cleaning the private parts following maternal delivery (giving birth) in addition to salt soaks. The leaves are also used in making a wedding gift (sirih junjung) to mark a virgin bride (anak dara). Without the sirih junjung, it is generally taken that the bride is not a virgin (bukan anak dara).

Sireh emas or the golden betel vine with young betel leaves (light green). This variety has red stems and is prized for its bactericidal properties. The leaves are either chewed as a pastime or offered to visitors to chew. The leaves are crushed in water and used for bathing to cleanse the skin and private parts following maternal delivery (mandi selepas bersalin). This betel vine was photographed in the author's backyard. Courtesy of Faridah Abdul Rashid,
The areca palm grows quite easily in dry sandy soil, not necessarily by the sea or on seaside lands. It is a tall palm with smaller and shorter fronds than the coconut  palm/tree or the date palm. The areca fruit is small like the size of an individual oil palm fruit. Unlike the oil palm fruit, the areca fruit does not grow in clusters. Like the coconuts and dates, the areca fruit appears as a single fruit on an individual stalk, and many stalks are attached to a bigger bunch. One bunch may contain 4-6 areca fruits. The areca nut is a smooth nut inside a stiff shell after dehusking (removal of the stiff fibres). When cut, the cross-section is a mosaic of white flesh and red-maroon streaks. I have not tasted the areca nut so I cannot tell you what it tastes like.

Areca palm with areca fruit in bunches (foreground). A laichi tree appears in the background. These trees were photographed in the author's garden at home. Courtesy of Faridah Abdul Rashid,
Buah pinang for which Penang was named. This is the areca fruit, inside it is the areca nut.
Dehusked areca nut
Areca nut after dehusking

Usage in the literature and frame of reference
Old books written during British colonialism in Malaya had used the term betel nut producer or trader, which I think should be corrected in books published today. The term "betel nut" is incorrect and a misnomer. The correct terms are "areca nut" and "betel leaves".

Trade commodity
In early trade within the Malay states and extending to her neighbours, the islands of Sumatra and the Philippines, the Indian subcontinent, countries surrounding the Indian Ocean, and countries of  Indo-China, there was one commodity that stood high above all others, that was, betel nut (more correctly, areca nut). 

Habitual eating
The areca nut is sliced thinly and wrapped in betel leaves, along with a dab of slake lime and sometimes with added tobacco and spices for added taste. Most communities eat it daily and serve it to visitors in a specific tray called tepak sireh. Refusing to eat it when it is served is not an offense. 

Icon of Malay weddings
The tepak sireh is now used as a wedding icon on modern Malay wedding invitation cards. However, it should be noted that the bronze tepak sireh is found is many countries where the Hindu faith once dominated. It is not solely Malay and should not indicate Malayness.

Habitual eating, health and undesirable effects
The folks who occasionally chewed areca nut and betel leaves generally have good oral health. However, prolonged use have been connected to oral cancers.  As I recall in Penang General Hospital circa 1976, one oral cancer case was so severe that an afflicted elderly Indian lady was crying in pain even while she was waiting in the hospital lobby for the nurse to call her name. It was very sad just watching her cry in pain and in vain. From my mother's experience having watched her father tendered to Indian patients, she said that the Indian lady's case was a terminal one. I don't know what became of that Indian lady.

Useful pages on areca nut: