No To Mahathir As OIC Head: Filipino Scholar

ILOILO CITY, Philippines, September 30 ( - A Filipino Muslim scholar claimed that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has a hidden agenda in hosting the 10th Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit.

Professor Daim Abadi of the Bangsamoro Strategic Research Center based in the southern Philippine city of Zamboanga claimed that “the current Malaysian leadership has apparently offered to host the highest level OIC meeting not without a hidden agenda of its own.”

He implies that Mahathir, who is scheduled to step down from power at the end of October, would push his bid to succeed Abdelouahed Belkeziz as the OIC Secretary General during the summit. Belkeziz would end his four-year stint next year.

In a letter dated 19 September 2003 sent to the OIC Secretary General titled “Why Alatas, Not Mahathir?” Abadi said, “It is no secret that Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has always wanted to surpass the historical prowess and greatness of the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who succeeded also to become the first OIC Secretary General.”

A copy of the letter was sent to September 30.

The 10th OIC Summit is scheduled to be held from 11-18 October at the Putrajaya Convention Center in Malaysia’s new administrative center Putrajaya.

Abadi said since Mahathir became Malaysia’s ruler in 1981, he “catapulted himself to make a difference for Malaysia with his grand vision 2020. He has credited himself with the country's mega projects, such as the Petronas twin towers, Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Subang, Putrajaya Administrative city in Sepang and the massive Langkawi island development.”

‘No to Mahathir’

But Mahathir is not suited for the post, said Abadi. “Without him knowing it and notwithstanding the awesome mass propaganda dished out by Malaysia's major mainstream print-air media to project him a leader of integrity,” Abadi said, Mahathir has been dubbed also by some Malaysians as "Mr. Mega Commissioner" and "Mr. Ten Percent."

Abadi, who appears to be anti-Mahathir, further said Mahathir’s tools are his positions as both Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the government as well as President and Treasurer of the ruling party United Malay National Organization (UMNO).

He further claimed that “some big-time Malaysian businessmen, when usually drunk, have been heard to deride and curse him, if not his front man, for demanding 20 percent share for bigger companies operating in Malaysia.”

He continued, “It is of common knowledge in Malaysia that Dr. Mahathir's weakness is his fatherly love for his son, Mazlan, a big-time gambler but serving a board of director for 99 companies operating in Malaysia.

“It is no wonder then that the Malaysian leader, who has written a book on Islam and always prides himself a resourceful speaker about Islam on global forums, has been seen drinking wine in the company of his closest political colleagues and contemporaries.

“Amongst segment of the Malaysian youth, the belief is that Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir has greatly divided the Muslim Malays for resorting to Machiavellian tactics to ease out UMNO leaders, who have refused to tow the line to bail out the bankrupt businesses of his son.”

He cites what he termed “framed-up charges” against the former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the “unceremonious sacking” of the former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin as examples of Machiavellian tactics.

“On direct orders from Dr. Mahathir, Anwar was to be jailed while Tun Daim was to be held under house arrest, rendering the judiciary system in Malaysia a mockery of the highest order.”

Abadi stressed “the Malaysian leadership can never be morally-bound to lead the Islamic ummah (nation). Thus, for the sake of the international Islamic community, Dr. Mahathir and his kind should stay within the confinement of Malaysia's Genting Highlands in Pahang to enjoy more of casino and wine-drinking life.

“After all, while the Mahathir government stamped approval and supported casino gambling in Malaysia, the un-Islamic idea never did convince Singapore's former Prime Minister Lieu Kuan Yew to open up a single casino in the island state to safeguard the morality of the people.”

‘Exceptional leader’

Abadi said what is needed by the Islamic ummah under the present leadership of the 57-nation OIC is an “exceptional leading force to reckon with the fast changing challenges of the day.”

“Because the world today is tragically embroiled in excessive violence engendered by double standard revengeful American policies to supplant another classical empire to dominate global riches cum affairs, the OIC leadership needs today a strong-willed genuine peacemaker! Rather than a pliant sycophant or any up-coming hypocritical Muslim pseudo-leader!”

Abadi pointed out that the “OIC today needs revitalization if only to save itself from being a toothless and ridiculed ‘factory of resolutions and communiqués’ for the sake of the colonized and oppressed segment of the Islamic ummah, most particularly the Palestinians. Otherwise, it has no moral issue to exist.”

He asks, “Thus, after the African and Middle Eastern Muslim luminaries have made their mark and worth in the OIC leadership for the past years, who can next befittingly, decisively and uncompromisingly succeed to lead the OIC from amongst the Asian Muslim leaders?”

Abadi said Asia has produced leading Muslim thinkers deeply-attached to the OIC, including Mahathir, former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, former Indonesian Foreign Minister Syed Ali Alatas, former Bangladeshi Supreme Court Chief Justice Dr. Mohammad Mohsin and the Bangsamoro leader Prof. Nur Misuari.

However, he said Mahathir is not the right choice. It is also impossible for other remaining world-renown Asian Muslim leaders Anwar, Mohsin and Misuari to be tapped to become the next OIC Secretary General “due to their inaccessibility.”

He pitched there's only one worthy candidate that the Asian Muslims can be proud of and relied upon to work for the interest of the downtrodden and oppressed Islamic ummah.

“Truly gifted with humility and sincerity to serve his fellow Muslims, he is the peace activist as well as Indonesia's finest statesman, former Foreign Minister Syed Ali Alatas. Surely, the global Islamic community can now breathe a sigh of relief and fondly hope that the OIC under his moral stewardship will be a far cry from the past.”

The OIC Secretary General heads the OIC General Secretariat. He is appointed by the Foreign Ministers Conference for a period of four years renewable once only. He is assisted by four Assistant Secretaries Generals.

As the highest authority of the General Secretariat and subsidiary organs, the Secretary General is responsible to the Conference for their work and submits reports to the Conference on the execution of his duties.

It is the first time the OIC Summit is hosted by a Muslim country in the Asia Pacific region.

The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is an international organization established in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco on Sept 25, 1969 (12 Rajab 1389H) to pool together the resources of Islamic countries in promoting their interests and to consolidate their efforts to speak with a single united voice in advancing the peace and security of the Muslim world.

The headquarters of the OIC is in Jeddah and the organization which now comprises 57 member states and three observer countries, aims to continuously secure the progress and well being of their people and Muslims worldwide.

The principal objectives of the OIC are to strengthen Islamic solidarity among member states, to enhance co-operation in the political, economic, social, cultural and scientific fields, and to safeguard the dignity, independence and national rights of all Muslims.

As part of its continuous efforts to provide a strong common platform for the exchange of views, insights and ideas among member states, the OIC holds a summit once every three years to seek solutions to the problems confronting the Muslim world and to promote greater economic growth.

This year's summit is particularly significant in the light of reconstruction efforts in post-war Iraq, the persistent aggression of Israel against Palestine and the still unresolved Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Summit will begin with Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on October 11, 2003, and followed by the Preparatory Meeting of Foreign Ministers from 13 - 14 October 2003. The official theme of the 10th OIC Summit is "Knowledge and Morality for the Progress of Ummah".  - 03.10.2003

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