The Return of the Johorean Who Believes In Malay Tsunami: Dr Maszlee Malik

Dr. MM has thrown caution against all winds anyway. “Benar tetap benar”. What is true shall always remain true. Thus, armed with his years of teaching good governance, Islamic jurisprudence, and siyasah (politics in Arabic), skills which he acquired in International Islamic University, as well as University of Jordan and Durham University in England, Dr. MM have let it be known that he is ready for the challenge ahead.

Dr. Mazlee Malik (here on Dr. MM), would have been your usual academic, stuck in academia, for speaking too bluntly, or, mouthing platitudes to protect his rice bowl. Doing the latter would have qualified him as the norm of the norm in Malaysia: “cari makan”.

Doing the latter, too, would have excused his choice, of not diving into the public arena, as A. Samad Said, the National Literary Laureate once said, that when trapped with the mentality, to “cari makan”, Malaysians find themselves lacking the courage to do anything else——even to change the country when the country is heading towards the gutter.

Dr. MM, an assistant professor of Political Science, with fluent grasp of English, Arabic, and indeed, Malay, his own native tongue, must have gone through what several academics and NGO activists have gone through in recent years. He finally decided that enough is enough. He could no longer stomach the grand larceny that is happening across Malaysia, which has invariably made us a international laughing-stock. It’s not surprising that he joined others who abandoned the life of comfort and certainty and joined Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan.

Whilst Bersatu may be a beleaguered party, which the Registrar of Societies, threatening to ban and block it from being the locomotive of Pakatan Harapan, Dr. MM has thrown caution against all winds anyway. “Benar tetap benar”. What is true shall always remain true.

Thus, armed with his years of teaching good governance, Islamic jurisprudence, and siyasah (politics in Arabic), skills which he acquired in International Islamic University, as well as University of Jordan and Durham University in England, Dr. MM have let it be known that he is ready for the challenge ahead.

Ready, not for his personal benefit, as the decision to join the opposition is always associated with risk, potentially even physical harm and constant tirade of verbal abuses, but for the country, invariably, his faith in Islam.

As a leading Muslim academic, who has conducted himself well and in a dignified manner in International Islamic University Malaysia, all Dr. MM needed was time. Just teach and write, wait for his turn to be an associate, then full professor, even a deputy rector, or, the rector even, provided he retained his golden silence.

Yet, the price to pay, in joining Bersatu, invariably, Pakatan Harapan (the Alliance of Hope), would now be steep. If Pakatan Harapan fails to overcome the incumbency of Prime Minister Najib Razak (hereon Najib), Dr. MM would be faced with early termination of his academic contract, which would then left him all exposed to fend for himself and his family.

But Dr. MM, as his numerous students who have studied and worked with him before, would vouch, is Dr. MM. Just as gold is gold, Dr. MM has the uncanny ability to convert his wide range of social scientific and linguistic skill sets into a simple axiom: how to govern a country well?

Dr. MM’s intellect will now undergo what Carl Von Clauwitz, author of the,”War and Strategy,” called ‘friction’. Each of his ideas on good governance, whether in textual and practical form, would have to be submitted to intense debate within Bersatu and beyond. Nor would this be abnormal, as ideas, according to the late civil right advocate, Martin Luther King, must essentially undergo the needed “tension in the mind,” to render a word, or, a complete sentence, more complete—–even if it remains imperfect.

Dr. MM has not just joined partisan politics, but a democratic process of his country, and his own self introspection. In this vein, Dr. MM will come out triumphant regardless of the outcome of the impending 14th general election. He will emerge from the end of the tunnel, a better, and sharper, thinker, indeed, a leader. As long as he knows how to adapt Islamic ethics to co-exist neatly with democratic forms of governance, Malaysia will prevail—-and prosper—-together with Dr. MM.

Demi agama, bangsa dan negara; for religion, race and country. In the case of Dr. MM, he has to guide others balance all three, just as he has found the balance himself. From his numerous academic works, it is clear that he can achieve them, and help others to reach what Maslow called “self-actualisation,” too. When this is achieved, Malaysia too will fulfill its true potential as a powerful economic and soft power, both in areas touching on Islam and democracy, as well as ethical management of the market economy, which is increasingly global, even as Malaysia is wallowing in close to RM 1 trillion worth of national debt.