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Nov 21, 2017

3/11/17 TODAY POVERTY ....tomorrow miseries, what needed?

I was born to a "poor" society in the 1960s. In those days, poverty was never a great issue. Though we were poor, we have enough, plenty indeed. We have no issue of homeless. There are plenty of opportunities to build homes all over. There was no issue of we can't find a site to build home. There were plenty of building materials around. There was no issue of we don't have enough food. Food were abundant all over. The forest, the river, the sea all over have stock of good foods. Definitely we don't have the finest clothing, but we were never dressless. There are abundant cheap but long lasting kain belacu and kasa clothing materials around. No doubt, there are incidences of bad health. I used to have malaria and real hot fever, but there were always ways and means among the local to resolve the matter. There were abundant herbal and traditional medicine knowledge among us. Sickness normally can be managed quite easily. We then even enjoy lots of holidays, we have so much free entertainments. Almost anything surrounding us were matters to be enjoyed. The flood, the fire, the forest, the rivers, all sort were element of excitement. There were no issue of lack of entertainment. Education and skills development were also of no issues. We can have good great education from our elders. Every evening our homes were packed with kids learning on how to recited Al Quran. Formal British-based education was also quite available. Even the elders would gather around to learn so many Islamic culture and tradition. Our parents were great skill developers. They taught us on how to survive and their lives were a real showpiece on how to live to a good great society. Safety and security were also not the main issue. People worked together to provide safety and security. Our lives in those days indeed was very peaceful and harmony. At times of needs and miseries,  no one will abandon us. All will came in handy to our needs. Thus the so called poverty in 1960s, at least in my Kampung and Simunjan district, was not a bad thing. I indeed feel blessed for being poor originally. Our environment nature despite being seen cruel at those time, but to me those harsh nature had turned many to be great except many are not thankful.

(2) Let me term, the 1960s and before as Yesterday Poverty. Yesterday poverty, if so exist, indeed it is a self inflicted, except among the handicaps. Any hardworking person will enjoy decent lives then. Everybody was endowed with great access to their basic requirement. It was a matter of will, that could take a person be either sufficient or living in poverty.

(3) Poverty in the 1940s-1960s indeed had given birth to many great guys. Most of the Malaysian great guys in the 1970-90s were the descendant of the then poor. In the Islamic Renaissance in year 610, indeed poverty had given birth to many great people such as Muhammad SAW, Umar Al Khataab, Ali Abi Thalib, and even Umar Abdul Aziz and many other great Islamic scholars. But today, as I see and feel it, poverty will be a very scary issue. In Islam, I began to appreciate Allah the Al Mighty great wisdom to document poverty as one of His prime concern in the Al Quran. In Islam, our belief, the Al Quran will only perish at the Last Day (Dome Day), thus it signifies the concern over poverty will never be something that we can proudly declared as thing of the past or what today being proclaim as zero poverty.  My interpretation of the Al Quran poverty concern is that poverty will continue to exist to the Day of Judgment (Dome Day). What its entails is that poverty will comes in different forms base on timing and circumstances. Poverty of 2010-2020 definitely will be different from poverty of 2021-2050 and so on. Indeed I can see the Al Mighty great wise of Allah, He sustains poverty to judge whom among us are piety great guys or otherwise. Adhuha is among His great Surah to remind Muslim on this.

(4) I have been going around as free person in the Country since 2012. The term free meaning I can see, feel and appreciate things around me with no certain rigid norms to govern me. I'm free to see things from a free lance perspectives. From 1986-2011, I have been seeing poverty as the issues of 1960s and thus being devising and deploying socio-economic development policies and strategies accordingly. In those days, I saw poverty as an issue of physical circumstances. In those days, people as I said in para (1), we were not really poor. We indeed are in plenty yet in miseries. We were in miseries due to the circumstances, ie nature. The nature of the day was we were lacking of infrastructures, utilities, amenities and worst unifying productive governance system. We then worked hard to provide all those, to bridge people to the new lives. But, despite there had been impressive progresses made, the efficiency of all such efforts I would say was tarnished and even failed due to rampant power abuses and corruption. Yesterday half cooked unfinished jobs, had driven to the emerging of today poverty and miseries. Let me term the prevailing poverty syndrom as Today Poverty.

(5) Before going into the today poverty let me presented to you at least my 1960s poverty in plenty's experience while we reside at Kampung Sedilo, Simunjan ie a mere 3-4 minutes drive from today Simunjan town. In those days, it took me an hour or more to walked from home to School at Kampung Kelaka, Simunjan. I need to walked through a bushy and muddy foot path, and at water tide period, I needed to swim across many streams that cut across my way to school. I remembered, in those days, we lived in a big on stilt wooden home. The roof was made of zinc. We have large sitting room and kitchen. But we have only one bedroom ie previously was my dad-mum, but as I grew up, the room became mine and my elder brother. Easily the guestroom could accommodate 60-70 people at any time. At today standard, our home, probably is a bungalow. At anytime, we always had guests from either our relatives and friends side from down river of Batang Sadong or even dad's Iban friends from Sadong upriver. We never missed to have guests coming from many places year through. All of our guests were not well-to-do people. Most of us were at par, socio-economically. They came by sampan and sometimes we visited them also on sampan. Definitely some were much poorer then us. My family had no problem to accept and host lots of them. We shared whatever we had. I love rearing kampung fowls. I enjoyed sharing roasting them with our guests. My dad and mom loved farming and gardening. We shared whatever we harvested or planted with so many friends of passers by. Our grand parents loved fishing. We have plenty of fresh and salt water fishes especially prawn to share. Our spirit was sharing. Other neighbors were similar in nature.  Not only we shared foods and goods, but to certain extend, neighbors won't mind to help taking care of their neighbors' children. Baby sitting had never being an issue. In essence, we have plenty, we shared, we have no problem of sharing of what we have then. In 1960s, at least to my observation and experienced, we were 'poor' people with full of affection to our surrounding population. We care to care for the others it the true sense of caring. Most accept no reward. Just watch this Malay movie Nujum Pak Belalang as a depiction on how people of yesterday resolve their poverty issues

(6) Interestingly, yesterday poverty had giving birth to today 'prosperity and success' through the development of high level of humanity values. Yesterday poverty had given birth to lots of hard working, diligent, smart and societal concern guys. The issue now at hand is the sustainability of such values. The spirit of obligatory caring, I doubt is sustaining what more to say flourishing in these days.

(7) In the 1960s, our poverty level, thought not explicitly said so, indeed was a phenomena of poverty in plenty except with least or no monetary value. In those day, we saw wealth not in the real monetary term. Wealth mostly measured by one's having and generosity. Definitely even in yesterday, there were some exceptional stingy people, but in general the successful some were very generous. They were generous for their success was attributed by the support of the many. Vis: the yesterday Village Head was normally a very successful and generous person. He made to the ladder of leadership for the helped of many and he never forgotten to return their support. In those day, personally I enjoyed or felt honored to be poor for being poor then we were indeed very happy and really enjoying great living values. The 1960s poverty gave us sense of values and respect. Most importantly, yesterday poverty took us closer to Allah. We then had greater faith in Allah. Allah then made us better survivor, better human being, at higher humanity values. We then always bersyukur.

(8) Yestyerday, the poor and the having, they exist in symbiosis. One complementarying the others. Thus their existence sort of in the blessing of Allah, such they are in great harmony.

(9) Today, in this Country, I began to observed and sense, a different kind of poverty.  The profiles, causes and effects are totally scary and different from the 1960s. Nonetheless, cynically I could say the  1960s and today poverty were the caused of situational. In the yesterday poverty the situational factor was nature, yet in today poverty, the key contributing factor remains as a factor of 'nature' as well. But yesterday nature and today's, I dare to say, the yesterday was Allah made nature, yet today is made by the hands of Allah-made factor. In the simplest sense, today poverty is man-made phenomena. In the words of Nelson Mandela, today poverty is the result of injustice deed of man.  It took among the most victimized men, to say in a way such to be truly understood by today men especially their caliphs, yet I doubt they understood Mandela to his deepest soul.

(10) This writing is a manifestation of my deepest worry on the fate of the Malays socio-economic standing in particular in accordance to what Islam is saying "poverty or hunger will lead people to kufur". Kufur here is not literally meaning being idolater but more moving toward deviance of honoring justice. But, definitely, on the extreme side, such kufur will lead man to hypocrisy and spreading to Islamic number one enemy ie syirik. Definitely, syirik then will lead us back to the values of Jahilliah of the 1,400 years ago Quraish of the Mecca. Thus, my particular concern of the Malays socio-economic status is by reason, in this Country, the urbanization phenomena among them is the highest. The Malays are the fastest urbanized population of the Nation. Such economic phenomena, unfortunately is happening at time of the worst national political turbulent. Politic which suppose to be the art of caring for the people, yet today politic is about abusing the people. Today's politic doesn't lead to the empowering of the people. Today's Malaysian politic doesn't fit well into the wave of the Malays urbanization process. Especially today the Malays politic will entrap them into a deeper poverty syndrome. Politically and economically, today Malays are on the loosing game.

(11) In today poverty, our poverty paradigm is of two points of direction. The first and the most dangerous is poverty of humanity. Poverty of humanity to my definition are those who care least or worst to be indifferent for his society well being. Poverty of humanity leads people to wanting to enjoy sort of unlimited personal prosperity. In the economic sense, their Utility Function is never optimizing. Their Utility Function seeming to grow by exponential rate ie never achieving the optimum as it should be. In the morale sense, their greed surpass their demanded fair judgment. To them, fulfilling their wants is absolute. They need not have to care for others. In Islam, they are those who never bother to understand far from practicing zuhud. This humanity poverty is a norms among the few yet they are the most powerful. They made their advantages to the most disadvantages of the far majority others. They are willing to scavenging onto others, if so is the best way to take all for themselves. To them, their today existence is thing that they must enjoy to the optimum, in excess even. There is no such thing as, caveatting today luxuries, as a saving to the best reward hereafter. Cash is the King, with cash even Heaven living can now be bought over, there's no need to wait for Hereafter. Too long awaiting. This group of pure capitalist theologists though small in membership, yet the culture is spreading like Hell Fire.

(12) Unfortunately, the the greedy among the Malays is on the uprising. Greed not only spreading and rooting fast and deeper not only among the real elites but even there exist elites among the have not. At the political level, even to the governing machinery's (public, semi public and private) almost all are acting very indifferent to the need to serve the rakyat to the best prerequisite of Allah demand. Huge profit earning has becoming everybody KPI. In short I dare to say, the Malays is going fast into a corrupt civilization.  Corruption is a mass cultural adoption in all levels of the current Malays social structures.

(13) The second one is the poor which is the resultant of the first. Today poverty is made by the the human greed. Their number is increasing. This group of today poor are really 180 degree different from the yesterday poor. The today poor are in the trap of accessibility. They can't have good access to affordability. They have great difficulty to access affordability. They can't afford to have sufficient access to their basic needs. Their basic needs are expanding. Worst, the standard level of their basic needs had changed with the tickle of time. Today time is no more a tick of a clock, but time now is a divine digital passing. Today clock is no more the type which we can unwind, today time is the passing of the digital second. Past is past, there is no turning back. So much so, time is an essence. This second phenomena leads people to miseries. Thus, the two poverty that we are having now, as I said, is on the antagonistic points of direction. They are 180 degrees in difference course of direction and action. The co-existence of both, believe me, will take the Nation to perish. Indeed today, the parasitic existence of both is on the uprising.

(14) In today, poverty is no more a blessing symbiosis. The greedy-stingy is treating the existence of the poor as nuisance and thus should be eliminated by mean of negligent. They are the pariah to die at the course of times. They are treated as the useless segment of the societies. Their presence are mere parasitic. Without the poor, they believe they would be enjoying much advanced and luxury living. They will not be taxed to care for the poor. Such thinking is cropping heavily into our present modern elites Malays societies. Lu lu, gua gua is now a life struggle philosophy of the Malays. No more such as bulat air kerana pembentung, bulat umat kerana maufakat. Fighting for one's survival and or luxuries is becoming the wide spread norm of the day.

(15) Corrado Gini (1912) was smart enough to come up with the Gini equation, to indicate the wild growth of the emergence of today poverty. Gini coefficient indicates Income disparity. The larger the coefficient, meaning the worst the gap. The Income gap in Malaysia is widening for the worst. The rich are fighting among themselves to be richer, while the poor are hopeless. Though there suppose to be a Pareto equation as a correction mechanism to Gini Coefficient, nonetheless it seem the Pareto concept on human satisfaction optimization seem to collapse. People never stop wanting more for more. Despite the Gini index for Malaysia had improved progressively from about 0.5 in 1960s to about 0.4 in 2000s. For about 40 years struggled, we only managed to reduce our Gini coefficient to 0.1 points? What a very inefficient efforts that we had made? I have a gut feeling, our Gini coefficient is now on the rising again. Nonetheless due to our economic and political structure, the Income Gap narrowing efforts though had made some progress, but such is not a reflection of improving quality of lives gap. It sound funny, in Gini sense, but such is the truth. We are nothing better to the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. The song of "the poor becoming much poorer" is not to many concern. Most are now concern about personal gain. Gone the day of cooperation, "socialism". Cooperation in its traditional sense had collapsed. People are no more interested to succeed collectively. Sharing of success is being redefined to a mere personal joy celebration, sharing of benefit is far from today norms. Even, the hardcore Socialism and Communism in their true political concept had collapsed. Society and community are matters of the past. Sort of go to hell with the society or community, what matter is me become today survival slogan.

(16) Interestingly we are now happy for being able to extend BR1M to 6,320,769 recipients (2017), such is equal to 20 per cents of our total population ie household heads indeed. The number is growing, and indeed there are mounting demand so that the threshold of BR1M to be increased yearly. What a "socialist state" are we? Indeed I'm sad to hear and see this country feel proud for being able to provide BR1M ie one-and-the only on earth! How many households are there in Malaysia. Assuming we take household size of five, therefore, there are about 6,000,000 households or household heads. Today, there sort of 1.7 per cents households under poverty in Malaysia. Thus 1.7 per cents of those should amount to about 102,000 households. This figure doesn't match with the BR1M statistic. BR1M is also given based on household. So why the different and what does it signifies?  Is our Gini coefficient really comforting? Or is our Gini being skewed for its own reason? The missed match makes thing looks really puzzling? Or is the formula which was developed in 1912 still of dynamic in nature? If not, then Gini should be revised. Equally applicable to the Pareto concept, for as far as my theological knowledge said, man in its origin, despite all the blessing awarded to him, he yet needed more and more.

(17) Today live style is about individual gain, the real adoption to the value of the survival of the fittest. Everybody almost to the greed of expanding personal gain to no limit. The theory of ideal Utility Function seem also is collapsing. Probably today Utility Function is a function of inverse ie exponential function rather an optimizing one. People are fighting to take themselves to the highest personal gain score. In so doing the man-made factors to inequality come fast coming into the game play. The worst of such is corruption. Corruption is becoming the new Malaysian public and corporate culture. Go to hell with integrity. With corruption as the best mean to succeed, there then come the factors of abused of authorities, cronyism and nepotism. Indeed the worst humanity sickness is greed. But in the Islamic sense, the worst is riak or show off. Riak or show off character is strongly associated with the liking to ego massaging. Thus, to me riak indeed is closer to egoism in its social sense. Psychologically, Islam indeed had definitely identified the true root cause of humanity issue ie riak. If ones is having the character of riak, egoism indeed he will take by all means to honor his riak, egoism. It is nothing difficult to see the strong correlation of riak, egoism to the habit of corruption, cronyism and nepotism.

(17b) A depiction of riak, egoism not too difficult to comprehend. Say two neighbors. Both were good friends. Both worked hard and succeed to their own level. As time past by, both have lesser time to meet and befriend as in the past. Time changed their way of lives. Slowly, without conscious, they began to develop a friendship barrier. Over time it then turned to distancing or worst sense of inferior or superior. That is there then riak, egoism crop in. Their past struggle for the community may now turned to be nothing-but-me-myself. Their success is no more a matter to be shared, but now being seen as their personal achievement, a reward of their great intelligent and hard works. The factor of Allah's attributes is diminishing. In the Islamic sense, wealth, kids and or wife changed a person from being humble to riak, egoism. Thereon his struggle for myself will never stop. Society or the miseries of the others is not his concern. His everyday lives is about how much the best must he made for himself. This kind of personality is growing in the Malaysian societies, all but nothing, for they did not comprehend well their pledge of their Syahadah.

(18) In today living environment, everything is easily monetized. There is monetary value to almost anything and everything. Even there is value to urinate. There is no more such as free urinating place.  Thus today living is all about must have money. Without money people can't have what they needs or worst wants. Cash (money) is King is something that people need to accept as fact of today lives. Everybody must do their very best to make as much money as possible. Everybody need to be very creative on how to make money. Make money. How and what is the moral values of making as much money, such is not important. Making as much money has turned to be the moral value and probably the only, that people of today is concern about. Thus, even the Country must also worked hard to make easy money. Taxes is the best instrument for a Country to make money. But unfortunately, once taxed, the huge income gain not necessarily landed into the  welfare of the majority, except most goes into the pocket of some few smart immoral fellows.

(19) Today, in this Country, with our present political and humanity values turmoil, we are indeed making easy for the majority of our population to be seriously falling into the deep trench of poverty. In the club of GST-based nations, there is nothing that could be enjoyed as free. All are taxed, either direct or indirectly. People Income are viciously discounted along their longer chain of goods and service exchange lines, yet their saving is not generating favorable gains. Worst in a Country whereby our economic
system is skewed dichotomy, such makes things worst by virtue of a wide opening for goods and services prices exploitation. Even worst with our key factor to modern price control mechanism ie the price of fuel is on the loose running. Internationally, our moral images is really hard to defence to be good, thus we are facing an international moral deficit which is translated into bad governance, thus bad investment climate which gives Ringgit a value blow.  True enough the World Bank is concern of our National Income Sources as our petrol-based is diminishing, thus is very in support of GST implementation. But GST which is implemented with the element of greed and riak are flourishing, definitely, even GST will never resolved our poverty issues. Our poverty will be uprising and enlarging as proven by the need of BR1M and alike. Without our deep thinking, the notion of GST as messiah to our huge debt problem being implemented along the rampant sickness of corruption and riak, we indeed as Allah had warned walking to the path of deep dark ravine.

(20) The Muslim and Malays, as a society, it is fundamental that they must have a caliph, leader. In the eyes of the West, caliph system is unacceptable. Such thinking is well understood. Who on earth will like the system of their opponent? Islam is a Western opponent, thus for them not to like Islam should be well understood. But caliph system is not
as not democratic as the West had bench marked upon. Today West probably is looking at the caliph system as a hereditary governing system. Such was and never the practices of SAW and his four great disciples. Hereditary leadership was the idea and practices of the later rulers of the Muslim world.  The true caliph system as set by Islam was manifested in the deed of Muhammad SAW and later his close four prime disciples. Muhammad SAW and his great four disciples, they were not only the true caliph of the Ummah but they were also a good great caliph of their households. In practice, SAW practiced the best leadership by example (practices) both as the household head and the State figure. Neither his deed in any one of it, differ or contradict the others. He treated his position as household head and State figure as an integral function of his pure submission to Allah. Thus his leadership conviction was nothing but in the piety (Iman) and welfare (taqwa) of the Ummah. So much so from his early  very disadvantage position, Muhammad SAW and his disciples then could make Islam as the forces being recognized to this day. The purist pratitioner of Islam at its advanved stage I would say was Umar Abdul Aziz, whereby at his time he reversed the earlier Ummayad practices to the way of Muhammad SAW so much so, he then managed to bring the segmented Muslim to one whole State and most profounding was he managed to eliminate poverty in just two years of his administration.

(21) Muhammad SAW, his four great disciples and later pursued by Umar Abdul Aziz, even Sallahuddin Al Ayubi had proven a true caliph whom practiced the true teaching of Islam will not only made them great, but most important their greatness was measured by the glory of their people and the State. In the eyes of Muhammad SAW and definitely Islam, one's glory is not about oneself, but of his best contribution in the making of his societies and Nation. Allah had made it clear, one's position hereafter, is not honor to oneself but attributed to his Iman (piety) and deed (taqwa).

(22) Thus I have a very strong conviction that, today poverty just as the yesterday poverty could only be resolved if and only if, man comes back to be in great humanity, al insan kamil. People must care for people. Leader must care for the rakyat. The rakyat welbeing is their paramount responsibility. Muslim leaders must recourse back to the SAW's caliph characters. In essence, today Muslims especially the Malays must reversed to truly Islamic adeen. Why do we need to make millions or billions Ringgit and spend all for ourselves? Don't we realize, our opportunity of making such huge money is nothing but to the sacrificed of so many? Accordingly, such so many that are willing to serve us to make the best amount of money or wealth were due to many more whom are willing to sacrifice onto them without our knowledge. Thus, it is very true as Allah had said, "In your earning, there is others share in it". Let us be a caliph that enjoy making money for reason that we then will also be enjoying managing it for the best interest of the Ummah and Islam. Allah I perceived, He as caliph, He enjoys creating so much things, surely for His joy but most important is for the good great of His mahluk. Why are we not emulating Him to gain His very best blessing? It is indeed stupid and stingy for us not to do so?

(23) Therefore the solution to today poverty is to ensure we are having lots of truly Islamic caliphs in our political system, governance, private sector, societies and definitely at the households level. It takes a leader to change the course of an entity. So much so, we must be serious in building good great leaders. In the day of SAW, he did this by meant of having his madrasah. Muhammad SAW strengths development started with his madrasah ie the Nabawi Masjid. There then he taught and coached his people to be leaders, his governors, khadi, Imams, etc, thus in today, I believe our educational system need a major overhaul to develop not only good great caliphs but great piety and taqwa Ummah. Our today human (Malays) resource development must be gearing in making man with the Islamic soul. We need to build what I called as the pools of the Islamic Professionals. These are the people not only technically skillful but most important they are humble and just.  Our Muslim professionals must be equipped with strong total Islamic values. Indeed every Muslim must be an Islamic Professional. I strongly believe this can be done, if we dare to take a move. In Shaa Allah I'll make serious effort to moot this idea to the State and at Universities level.

Kuching, Sarawak
21 Nov, 19 Dec., 2017


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