Monday, 9 April 2012

Zakiah Koya

Zakiah Koya. 2000. “Malaysia’s ‘Longest’ Political Detainee [Kamarulzaman Teh]” November 2.

Khatijah Sidek

Publications on Khatijah Sidek:

1. Khatijah Sidek. 2001. Memoirs of Khatijah Sidek: Puteri Kesatria Bangsa. Bangi: Penerbit UKM.

2. Khatijah Sidek. 1995. Memoir Khatijah Sidek: Puteri Kesateria Bangsa. First printing. UKM Bangi.

Available via Interlibrary Loan from UKM library

3. Jendela Selatan, Bil. 7, Disember 2003/Syawal-Zulkaedah 1424. This copy of Jendela Selatan was provided by En Aris bin Abdul Aziz, Johor (deceased on 8 March 2012).

Khatijah bt Sidek was featured in Jendela Selatan, Dec 2003. 
Khatijah bt Sidek as featured in Jendela Selatan, Dec 2003.
Khatijah bt Sidek
Khatijah was featured at a blog which described her as the first Wanita UMNO. Some reports said she was the third Wanita UMNO.

Khatijah Sidek was born in 1918 in Pariaman, West Sumatra in Indonesia. She was the youngest of ten siblings and the only girl. Her birth was as a result of her mother's long prayers for a girl after she had nine boys. As such, she was termed anak niat or anak nazar.

She was from a Minangkabau family that followed the matrilineal heritage system of the family's wealth. It should be noted that this kind of tribal practice of inheritance is against what Islam defines under the Islamic system of inheritance called the faraid.

She was against polygamy. However, in 1948, Khatijah bt Sidek married to Dr Hamzah bin Mohd Taib, an early Malay doctor from Johor, as his second wife. It was Dr Hamzah's second marriage. At the time of their marriage, Dr Hamzah was Naib Yang Dipertua Lembaga Kesatuan Melayu Johor. She assisted with activities of the LKMJ's lady's wing. She established HIMWIM which was active in Singapore and Malaya. HIMWIM advocated for better social status of women who were like her - as second wife. Khatijah was arrested under the Emergency Act, for two years - from the end of 1948 to early 1950. Khatijah had three children with Dr Hamzah, the eldest was a girl born while she was under detention.

After she was freed, she joined UMNO in 1953 as the first leader of its women's group. She fought for the equal status of man and women at the Persidangan Agung UMNO in 1953. She wanted women to be allowed to vote, and for better representation of women at the national level. As such, she became a controversial political figure, against a conservative male-dominated UMNO leaders. To UMNO, she painted a picture that was misaligned against UMNO's aims.

In 1956, Khatijah suggested to establish Kesatuan Wanita but this suggestion was not supported by Ibu Hajjah Zain who advised Khatijah to be patient and support the nationalistic goals of UMNO.

PAS President, Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmi invited Khatijah Sidek into joining PAS. Khatijah joined then Parti Islam Se-Tanah Melayu in October 1958. She won the elections for PAS in 1959, and served PAS as its Ahli Dewan Rakyat for Dungun in Terengganu for one term (1959-64).

When she served as the first Wakil Rakyat Muslimat PAS and Ketua Dewan Muslimat PAS (1964-65), again Khatijah faced the conservative men and became a controversial figure. She blamed the party's attitude which was state-based, then under Dato' Asri bin Haji Muda. She was an Indonesian and serving in Terengganu.

In 1964, Khatijah was appointed as Pesuruhjaya PAS Negeri Johor. In this way, PAS flung her out of Terengganu and Kelantan which were PAS domains and strongholds. In the 1964 general elections, Khatijah lost to Dato' Dr Ismail bin Dato' Abdul Rahman (an early Malay doctor) for the Johor Timur constituency which she represented.

After Dr Burhanuddin al-Helmi passed away in 1969, there was no support for Khatijah's efforts and she sadly left PAS. She contested as a free agent in the 1969 general elections for Kota Bharu Hulu constituency against Dato' Mohammad Asri bin Haji Muda but lost. Following her loss in the 1969 general elections against PAS, Khatijah kept away from politics but was not oblivious to political changes and progress.

The 13 May incidences ensued two days following the 1969 general elections. The elections were on 11 May 1969 and the bloody racial masacre started on 13 May 1969, after the election results were out. At the time Tun Abdul Razak bin Datuk Hussein was the second prime minister and Dato' Dr Ismail bin Dato' Abdul Rahman was the deputy prime minister. Following the 13 May incidences, changes were instituted by UMNO in many areas including economy, education and social, in order to strengthen Malay stronghold.

Seeing the changes in UMNO, Khatijah re-applied to join UMNO and was accepted in 1972. She was fifty-four and aging. She was not so active in politics as before. She later passed away in 1982 at age sixty-four.

Making Sense of Malaysia

Donna J. Amoroso. Review Essay / March 2003. Making Sense of Malaysia

Amoroso, Donna. 1998. “Dangerous Politics and the Malay Nationalist Movement, 1945-47.” South East Asia Research 6, no. 3 (November).

Islam in Malaysia

Azmi AZIZ & SHAMSUL A. B. The religious, the plural, the secular and the modern: a brief critical survey on Islam in Malaysia. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Volume 5, Number 3, 2004.

This is my comment on how Islam came to be in our country:

There are 2 sides to the coin. With regard to who or what brought Islam to southeast Asia, we have 2 contrasting ideas and both can be true.

  1. One school says the traders were Muslims and they came to trade as well as spread Islam.
  2. The other school says the Sufi people came and spread Islam. Sufi is a diverse group but they share some common practices and also have dissimilar practices. The Sufi are rich people (millionnaires and billionnaires). There is no such thing as a penniless Sufi.

Having come this far in life and meeting so many Muslims from the 4 Schools and a number of Tariqats, I will conclude that both Muslim traders and Sufi people came to our Malay lands. The traders got busy trading but did not lose track of their daily prayers and rites and kept as close as possible to their Sufi brothers. In the meantime, the Sufi brothers also had their own businesses, maybe selling Quran and Islamic books as well as items and clothes. They have strict routines which they must stick to and missing any procedure means they will need to catch up before proceeding. As the Muslim traders and Sufi brothers prospered, they constructed mosques and started religious teachings for young children. These early stage of Islamic teaching at the mosques is called madrasah. We still see some of these early madrasah today. In Kelantan, madrasah is pronounced as malassah, which is a bit dangerous because wrongly pronounced, it can be malas-lah! The lower madrasah is madrasah ulum and the higher one sanawi? Now, since the area was still largely Indian and Hinduism prevailed, the learned among the early Muslim traders and Sufi Sheiks travelled many places to spread Islam. They also served as tutors to the Hindu royalties. The Hindu royals denounce their Hindu faith and converted to Islam. Their consorts and children followed suit too. Thus, the sultanate converted from a Hindu Sultanate to a Muslim Sultanate. A lot of things had to transform and change - laws, marriage, names, living quarters, trade, etc. Now that the State is Muslim, the populace also followed suit and embraced Islam. Thus, the Malay lands transformed from the originally Hindu-strong land to an Islam-backed land. A few things did not change though - the name of our country, honorifics and name prefixes. Also our preferences for colours did not change much. We still prefer brightly coloured clothes of the Indians and we revere the yellow colour as our royal colour.

The process of transforming from an Indian land to a Muslim land is ongoing and will continue for many more hundreds of years. We cannot expect people to easily give up the practices, cultures and traditions of their ancestors. Even the Diffusion of Innovation Theory tells us that some may be quick to react positively and change to conform but there will be many who still do not want to change their old ways and move out of their comfort zone. Thus, we see many waves of Muslims, and changes in the clothes, appearances and the way they greet and speak. A lot of Arabic words and phrases have crept into Malay speech and soon, many will be speaking and writing Arabic. Children nowadays rush to go to Islamic classes in blue jeans, dress and a scarf. It looks odd dressing up children that way but that is the gradual process of change. Soon we will see the jubah and then the black jubah and that will revert to mini-skirts once again. So what we see of Islam today is that the people are still learning and adapting, to what is perceived and believed as correct in Islam. We will often find people and hear those who say exposing aurat is haram, and on the other hand find that there are clergy Muslims whose wives are happy walking in public and working without a scarf or shawl to cover the hair and breasts. So transformation means different things to different Muslim people and therefore we see a lot of variations, both in thought and physical appearance. There is a lot more to the essence of Islam than just thought and appearances. I tend to like the story of a non Muslim warrior who killed 99 Muslims and after he killed the 100th Muslim, and heard his sister reading the Quran which melted his heart and he converted to Islam. Isn't that great? So Islam is about becoming a better person (Surah at-Taubah). And I like this phrase of becoming a better person because it has a lot of bearing on Human Development and Human Resource Training.