South-East Asia to become global economic focus

Wang Gungwu (王赓武王賡武Wáng Gēngwǔ; born 9 October 1930), CBE,[1] is an Australian historian of overseas Chinesedescent.[2] He has studied and written about the Chinese diaspora, but he has objected to the use of the word diaspora to describe the migration of Chinese from China because both it mistakenly implies that all overseas Chinese are the same and has been used to perpetuate fears of a “Chinese threat“, under the control of the Chinese government.[3] An expert on the Chinese tianxia (“all under heaven”) concept, he was the first to suggest its application to the contemporary world as an American Tianxia.[4]

In an insightful and captivating lecture, famous academic Prof Wang Gungwu shares his findings and predictions on China and South-East Asia. 

A BRIGHT and promising future is in store for South-East Asia with global economic shifts to China and India, said internationally renowned historian and specialist on East Asian and Asean affairs Prof Wang Gungwu.

Prof Wang, chairman of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, made this bold prediction in a recent public lecture: “South-East Asia will become more central if the economic power moves from the Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific.”

“The centrality of South-East Asia, by being located between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, means that more and more countries will pay attention to this region. Its position will become very, very different indeed,” he said.

 Maritime trade will be the main force driving the shifts, added the respected academic in his 90-minute evening talk on “Great Powers in South-East Asia and the Fall and Rise of China” organised by the Institute of China Studies of Universiti Malaya and sponsored by Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd.

Among those in the audience were the Sultan of Perak Sultan Dr Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah, Malaysia-China Business Council chairman Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, UM lecturers, alumni and his former students.

After taking the attentive audience through world history, Prof Wang said the great powers laying their hands off South-East Asia with decolonisation was a great help to China.

“It takes away the major neighbouring threat (of the West) from the coast,” said Prof Wang.


Passage to success: China has used the sea to transport goods cheaply and further, leading to a remarkable economic transformation. — AFP

Passage to success: China has used the sea to transport goods cheaply and further, leading to a remarkable economic transformation. — AFP

He said that the whole of Asia has to be economically transformed, with the rise of China and India’s recent economic emergence, coupled with the tremendous economic power of Japan.

“That means the centre of economic dominance is shifting from the Atlantic (which dominated the world for 200 to 300 years) to the Indo-Pacific. I stress on Indo-Pacific rather than Asia Pacific because I want to emphasise the maritime nature of a global open market economy.

“For China, its whole economic development depends on being able to at least kick the sea open for itself.”

Due to its centrality, South-East Asia is going to be important and strategic for everybody, not just China, he declared.

Hence, there is greater pressure on the 10 member states to make Asean really work.

“If the 10 can really work together, think as one and speak as one, it will benefit everyone,” he said.

He observed that while Asean is one of the most successful regional institutions of today, it is still very much a “talk shop” and “has a long way to go” as it lacks a single common purpose.

Asean, with 600 million people that account for 9% of the world’s population, has a combined GDP of about US$2.5 trillion (RM11 trillion) .

In his lecture, Prof Wang talked at length about the features of the Roman Empire, feudal empires, commercial empires and national empires, as well as the various factors that caused China’s downfall before its recent rise.

China’s failure to understand the international law formulated by the West and the importance of maritime power, as it faced the western colonial powers which sailed to Asia to conquer territories and expand their empires, had led to its downfall.

The Middle Kingdom under the Qing (Manchu) Emperor was dismembered by civil wars between warlords, the emergence of new political parties Kuomintang and Communist Party of China (CPC) and the rapid expansion of the Japanese empire.

Concentrating on fighting intruders on land in the 19th century, the Chinese had no naval power to fight the westerners, which resulted in the British taking over Hong Kong and five treaty ports.

“All the time, China was only devoting a small part of resources to defend its coast. It did not recognise the importance of the navy and that the global open market economy was really maritime economy, which was dominated by the maritime trade and defended by a powerful navy,” Prof Wang said.

While CPC leader Mao Zedong did a “fantastic job” in unifying China’s one billion people, he almost destroyed it by reducing the country to great poverty and disarray with the Great Leap Forward.

It was Deng Xiaoping who laid the foundation for the rise of China. When he came into power, he saw the importance of economic development. He opened up the coastal areas and “let the sea be the guide in the future economic development.”

Deng was instrumental in China’s participation in the international system, joining the United Nations and sending his best talents to learn diplomatic and maritime affairs to deal with the world.

China has since developed what the French, British and Japanese had succeeded in the past, using the sea to transport goods cheaply and further.

As a result, this has led to a remarkable economic transformation in China as seen today, Prof Wang said.


Spotted in his usual traditional baju Melayu and songkok, Salleh Yahya (right in photo), a heritage activist from Tanjong Tokong, told Malaysiakini, “I am here to see the government-in- waiting.”
Salleh, a retired teacher in his 60s, said he harboured much hope in Harapan but the coalition needs to reach out to the Malays in the rural areas to explain to them why they should vote for the opposition and not BN.
“The sad part is Malays in the rural areas are sometimes disillusioned, as they feel that this new Harapan government will be no different from BN.
“The policies involving their social economic lives, land, and housing have not changed, people are still struggling and are being asked to vacate their homes for development,” Salleh decried


RAMAI antara kita tidak sedar meskipun tahun ini genap 60 kita merdeka, namun laut milik kita masih ‘dijajah’ nama Laut China Selatan.

Sebaliknya, tiga negara jiran kita telah pun ‘memerdekakan’ lautan mereka daripada ‘penjajahan’ nama Laut China Selatan ini iaitu Vietnam yang menggunakan nama Laut Vietnam Timur, Filipina (Laut Filipina Barat) dan terkini Indonesia yang memperkenalkan nama Laut Utara Natuna bagi menggantikan nama Laut China Selatan di Zon Ekonomi Ekslusif (EEZ) masing-masing.

Berdasarkan gabungan faktor geografi, sejarah, sosiologi, ekonomi, dan geopolitik, saya mencadangkan agar nama ‘Laut Malaysia Raya’ diangkat menggantikan nama ‘Laut China Selatan’ yang sudah sekian lama ‘menjajah’ perairan kita.

 Sebagaimana yang ditegaskan sarjana Alam Melayu dari Jerman, iaitu Profesor Emeritus Hans Dieter-Evers, dari perspektif geografi, Malaysia sememangnya ialah sebuah negara maritim dengan garis pantai sahaja sepanjang 4,675km, dengan 63 peratus sempadan kita ialah sempadan maritim, mengunjur sejauh 480,000 km persegi pentas benua.

Langkah penukaran nama lautan ini bukan sahaja mendatangkan manfaat besar dari segi geopolitik, bahkan juga manfaat ekonomi dan pengukuhan dalam proses pembinaan negara bangsa.  Hal ini terbukti apabila penukaran nama Laut China Selatan di ketiga-tiga negara jiran kita ini memberikan isyarat yang cukup jelas akan wilayah Zon Ekonomi Eksklusif mereka agar tidak dicabar oleh China.  Dalam masa yang sama, semangat patriotisme dan nasionalisme rakyat dapat diperkasakan.

Secara tersiratnya, langkah penukaran nama laut kita juga tidak boleh dipandang enteng dek munculnya pelbagai ancaman luaran.  Antaranya ialah kes petikaian atau pencerobohan kapal milik China di wilayah Zon Ekonomi Ekslusif kita.

Sebagai contoh, arus kebangkitan aset-aset ketenteraan China jelas terbukti dengan ekspedisi pertama seberang laut kapal induk pesawat udara China iaitu Liaoning yang mampu mengangkut pesawat pejuang dalam jumlah yang cukup besar.

Malah, tidak terhenti di situ, China bahkan kini giat membina dua kapal induk buatan tempatan mereka sendiri yang bakal memperkuatkan kehadiran tentera laut mereka (PLA-N) di seluruh pelosok dunia kelak.

Penubuhan pangkalan tentera China yang pertama di luar negara iaitu di Djibouti baru-baru ini juga menunjukkan wujudnya komitmen angkatan tentera China di peringkat global yang akan meningkat secara berterusan.

Hakikatnya, meskipun China masih dalam proses untuk meningkatkan taraf angkatan tentera laut mereka daripada status ‘Green Water-Navy’ menjadi ‘Blue Water-Navy’, namun mereka jelas tidak bertangguh lagi membina pelbagai pulau buatan dan kelengkapan ketenteraan mereka di kawasan laut yang menjadi pertikaian seperti mana yang dilaporkan secara berkala oleh Transparency Maritime Initiative (TMI).

Sebagaimana amaran Thucydides dahulu kala, “mereka yang kuat akan melakukan segala kekuasaannya, manakala mereka yang lemah hanya mampu menderitai kelemahannya”.

Dari perspektif dalaman pula, peristiwa yang terjadi pada 2016 perlu diambil iktibar.  Apabila keputusan Mahkamah Timbang tara Tetap antarabangsa (PMC) yang menolak tuntutan Sembilan garis terpecah oleh China ke atas seluruh Laut China Selatan diumumkan, seorang warga kita telah mengeluarkan kenyataan bahawa ‘Laut China Selatan adalah milik China’.

Peristiwa ini membuktikan masih wujud persepsi bahawa lautan kita adalah milik China, termasuklah dalam kalangan warganegara kita sendiri.

Kebetulan, tahun ini juga menandakan genap 50 tahun usia Pertubuhan Negara-negara Asia Tenggara (Asean).  Maka dalam rangka memperkukuhkan integrasi Komuniti Asean yang giat direncanakan, langkah saling mengiktiraf nama lautan di wilayah EEZ milik anggota Asean boleh diambil.  Maka, langkah memperkenalkan nama ‘Laut Malaysia Raya’ ini meletakkan laut kita sebaris dengan Laut Vietnam Timur, Laut Filipina Barat, dan Laut Utara Natuna yang bebas daripada ‘Laut China Selatan’.

Perlu ditegaskan bahawa cadangan penukaran nama ‘Laut China Selatan’ kepada ‘Laut Malaysia Raya’ atau dalam Bahasa Inggerisnya ‘The Greater Malaysian Sea’ ini tidak bermakna kita mengambil langkah konfrontasi dengan Beijing.

Sebaliknya, semangat saling menghormati kedaulatan dan rentas peradaban itulah yang diutamakan.

Ini laut kita. Ini Laut Malaysia Raya.

Abdul Muein Abadi, Penulis ialah Pensyarah Program Sains Politik Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)




Akal Perempuan Menurut Hamka

KETIKA menafsirkan surah al-Nisa’ ayat 11 tentang pembahagian warisan antara laki-laki dan perempuan, Hamka menolak pendapat sebahagian mufassir yang mengatakan perempuan lebih lemah akalnya dibanding laki-laki.

Menurut Hamka akal mereka sama-sama memiliki kekurangan. Kesempurnaan pemikiran akan wujud jika seorang lelaki dan perempuan saling bertukar fikiran dalam menyelesaikan suatu masalah. Untuk mendukung pernyataannya ini, Hamka memberi contoh peranan Ummu Salamah dan Khadijah terhadap kejayaan Rasulullah SAW. Tidak mungkin seorang yang lemah akal, emosional dan tidak kuat mentalnya (penilaian yang sering dikatakan kepada perempuan) mampu memberi jalan keluar untuk mengatasi kesulitan serta memberikan ketenangan dan kekuatan kepada orang lain, seperti yang dilakukan Ummu Salamah dan Khadijah. Hamka menguraikan sebagai berikut:

“Kita melihat pada setengah tafsir, ahli-ahli tafsir itu mengeluarkan pendapat bahwa hikmah bagian laki-laki dua kali dari perempuan ialah karena akal perempuan itu kurang; akalnya hanya separuh laki-laki. Alasan itu kita bantah keras. Karena kalau kita pelajari dengan seksama, nyata sekali bahwa akal laki-laki dan perempuan, kedua-duanya itu sama-sama kurang. Barulah akan cukup kalau kedua akal itu digabungkan. Pengalaman-pengalaman di dalam rumah tangga yang bahagia membuktikan bahwa kerapkali ternyata seorang suami tidak dapat mengambil keputusan yang tepat sebelum mendapat petunjuk dari isterinya. Isteri pun kerapkali salah mengambil keputusan karena tidak bermusyawarah dengan suaminya. Dalam Perjanjian Hudaibiyah jelas sekali, bahwa nasihat Ummu Salamah-lah yang melepaskan Rasulullah SAW dari kesulitan.

Pada tahun keenam hijriah, Nabi Muhammad SAW dan kaum muslimin akan melaksanakan ibadah haji. Ketika tiba di Hudaibiyah, rombongan Nabi Muhammad SAW dihalang oleh kaum musyrik Quraisy. Mereka menghalang kedatangan Nabi untuk menunaikan haji pada waktu itu. Lalu terjadilah perundingan antara kedua belah pihak dan menghasilkan sebuah perjanjian yang dikenali dengan perjanjian Hudaibiyah. Nabi SAW menerima perjanjian tersebut walaupun jika dilihat secara zahirnya ia sebagai sikap mengalah kaum muslim kepada kaum musyrik Quraisy, dan kelebihan perjanjian itu dilihat dimiliki oleh musyrik Quraisy. Akibat perjanjian tersebut pelaksanaan ibadah haji ditangguh hingga tahun depan dan menyebabkan kaum muslimin yang pada waktu itu sedang bersemangat untuk menunaikan haji harus kembali ke Madinah.

Untuk itu, Rasulullah SAW memerintahkan mereka bertahallul dan menyembelih (membayar dam dengan menyembelih). Para sahabat yang pada dasarnya tidak setuju dengan perjanjian tersebut kelihatan enggan melaksanakan perintah tersebut, sehingga Rasulullah SAW hampir saja marah karena perintahnya tidak dipatuhi. Pada saat penting itulah isterinya yang ikut pada waktu itu, Ummu Salamah, menarik tangan Rasulullah SAW ke dalam khemah untuk meredakan kemarahannya. Ummu Salamah menyarankan agar Rasulullah memulai sendiri bertahallul dan menyembelih (dam).

Ummu Salamah berkata: “Janganlah engkau marah ya Rasulullah. Engkau mulai saja sendiri. Segera sekarang juga engkau keluar, engkau gunting rambutmu, engkau sembelih binatang dammu kemudian lepaskan pakaian ihrammu.”

Tanpa berbicara lagi. Rasulullah SAW melaksanakan nasihat Ummu Salamah. Para sahabat yang melihat hal itu segera mengikuti perbuatan Rasulullah SAW, sehingga semuanya berjalan dengan lancar.”

Hal ini menunjukkan bahawa bukan hanya lelaki yang membela dan melindungi perempuan, tetapi juga sebaliknya, dapat dilihat dalam rumah tangga Rasulullah dengan Khadijah. Ketika Rasulullah SAW ketakutan sewaktu menerima wahyu pertama kali, Khadijah memberi kepercayaan kepada Rasulullah. Sikap dan kepercayaan yang telah diberikan Khadijah itu sangat besar ertinya dalam membangkitkan jiwa Rasulullah untuk memikul tanggung dan tugas yang dibebankan Allah SWT kepadanya. Bahkan pada tahap selanjutnya, seluruh harta bendanya dikorbankan untuk mendukung cita-cita suaminya, Rasulullah SAW.

Menurut Hamka, lelaki dan perempuan sama-sama memiliki kekurangan. Oleh kerana itu di antara mereka terdapat saling melengkapi. Laki-laki dengan segala kelebihannya melengkapi kekurangan perempuan, dan perempuan dengan segala kelebihannya melengkapi kekurangan lelaki.

Dalam penafsirannya terhadap surah al-Nisa’ ayat 11, Hamka mengatakan lagi sebagai berikut:

“Kita sendiri sebagai laki-laki ada cacatnya. Seorang yang belajar dari pengalamannya dapatlah meyakinkan, bahwasanya dua raga dan jiwa yang telah dipadukan oleh akad nikah, sama-sama dalam kekurangan. Yang satu akan mengimbuhi.”

Tulisan Ahmad Almeseiry Fhadrul Irwan ini ada di dalam Lalu Aku Hidup Sebagai Apa?


Muhyiddin: No more seat negotiations with PAS

The Star OnlineD. KANYAKUMARI · Jul 19, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan is no longer negotiating about seats contested in the next general election with PAS, said Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“They have shown no interest in working with Pakatan Harapan so we have to just leave it at that,” he said at a press conference on Wednesday.

He added that Pakatan Harapan is ready for the next general election even if it is called tomorrow.

“It can be tomorrow or it can be next year, the most important thing is that you must be ready and we are,” said the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president.

However when asked if seat negotiations within Pakatan Harapan had been resolved, Muhyiddin said such negotiations were still ongoing.

On another matter, Muhyiddin said there is no confusion over the leadership of Pakatan Harapan.

“Be it Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, their positions all serve a purpose.

“Their duties are clear and we work as a team. For us internally, it is not confusing,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the leadership was decided by consensus among component parties.

“All our suggestions were considered and the presidential council made a decision, one that was accepted by all,” he said.

Last week, Pakatan Harapan announced that Anwar would be its de facto leader, Dr Mahathir its chairman and Dr Wan Azizah its president.


Turkey Leaks Secret Locations of U.S. Troops in Syria

Ankara has long been angered by the alliance between Washington and Kurdish factions. But a new report exposing secret American bases is a dangerous way to strike back.

ISTANBUL—In the latest display of Turkish anger at U.S. policy in Syria, the state news agency has divulged the locations of 10 U.S. military bases and outposts in northern Syria where the U.S. is leading an operation to destroy the so-called Islamic State in its self-styled capital of Raqqa.

The list published by the Anadolu news agency points to a U.S. presence from one end to the other of the Kurdish self-administration region—a distance of more than 200 miles. The Anadolu news agency even listed the number of U.S. troops in several locations and in two instances stipulated the presence of French special forces.

Turkey has openly criticized the Trump administration—and the Obama administration before it—for relying in the battle against ISIS on a militia led by Kurds affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. A separatist movement now at war with Turkey, the PKK has been listed by the U.S., EU, and Turkey as a terror organization.



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informs the press about his meeting with V4 – Visegrads countries prime ministers, Bohuslav Sobotka (not pictured) of Czech Republic, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (not pictured), Beata Szydlo (not pictured) of Poland and Robert Fico (not pictured) of Slovakia in the main hall of Pesti Vigado Cultural Center during a joint press conference in Budapest, Hungary, on July 19, 2017.
As part of a landmark Hungary visit, Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu meets leaders of the so-called Visegrad group, whose nationalists stances have increasingly placed them at odds with the rest of the EU. / AFP PHOTO / PETER KOHALMI (Photo credit should read PETER KOHALMI/AFP/Getty Images)

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