Monday, May 22, 2006

Husam Musa, a dinar for your thoughts!

I am not sure what the PAS government in Kelantan is up to, in its proposal to introduce the Islamic dinar and dirham currencies.

Senior PAS official Husam Musa said the currencies would first be introduced in the Islamic system of pawnbroking, the Ar-Rahnu. He said the gold and silver coins could be used to pay civil servants as an alternative to the national ringgit currency. According to Islamic law, the dinar measures 4.25 grams of gold, while the dirham is 3.0 grams of pure silver.

Islamic law? Or is it just an Arab form of currency. Sometimes PAS members find it hard to distinguish between Arab practice/culture and Islamic teachings (which admittedly had its genesis in an Arab environment). That’s why we see some of them wearing clothing more suitable for the drier desert environment.

Husam said at a seminar on Islamic banking and finance: "If there is no problem with the Ar-Rahnu, there is a possibility that it can be implemented in other sectors."

Is there a problem with the Malay ringgit? The ringgit has been with us for eons. Why bring in Arab currency now? It gives us the impression, rightly or wrongly, that PAS leadership prefers to be Arabs rather than Malaysians?

Husam proposed that the Kelantan state government would introduce the new currency within three months. He wanted the dinar to be used as a state official currency to pay civil servants.

But he said: "The state government employees can choose either to be paid in dinars or ringgit." In that case, why bother then with the dinars?

Husam Musa, please tell us how does this system of dual currency, in a confusing offering of both Malay and Arab denomination, assuming it would even be permitted, promote the higher cause of Islam?

I am afraid PAS has become like UMNO, fiddling around with the inconsequential, instead of aiming for the more important issues of erasure of corruption, misogyny (gatal-ism) and intolerance, and to promote compassion, equality (even for women) and justice.

Of course the PM shot it down, warning that state governments cannot issue their own currencies. Everyone including Husam knows state governments can’t do that. That would be like declaring Kelantan as an independent nation.

So what is Husam up to do, if not grandstanding? Has it been a cheap ploy to fortify his Islamic credentials or was it to apply Islamic pressure on the UMNO-led government, reigniting the holier-than-thou insurrection?

I must say that I am disappointed with such a peripheral issue coming from a man like Husam Musa, from whom I expect better. I was hoping for high level PAS policies on matters of anti-corruption, accountability, transparency, inclusiveness and a vision of a fair, equal and just society, regardless of race, creed or religion – basically a vision of a golden Malaysian caliphate.

If this is the sort of PAS’ policy mentality that we can expect, I’ll be less sympathetic to its role in Malaysian politics.


  1. But I do like Arab culture...

    I like to watch and be entertained by belly-dancing....

    Is that Arab enough?

    Belly dancing.... I mean I like to put/slip up some dinars in the dancers' belts.......

  2. I have nothing against Arab culture, especially belly dancing and its renown hospitality for strangers. My point is why substitute Malay or Malaysian culture with Arab culture when there is nothing, even Islamic aspects, to be gained?

  3. it's not necessarily about being Arabic. It could be about the gold standard.

    I've commented the matter from economics and legality POV if you're interested on it.

  4. Great stuff, earth, but I doubt Husam Musa was following your thoughts.

  5. perhaps. We'll never know what's going on inside PAS' head.

    But if the reason as stated by yours, it would be wise to point out to PAS politicians that the word dinar didn't originate from Arab/Islam but rather from the (infidel? LOL!) Roman. Dinar is a corruption of denarii or denarius (yeah, I'm a fan of HBO's Rome).

    And then maybe they would stop talking about dinars.

  6. No choice.. Finally I need to agree with Ktemoc. Why need to promote Arab culture to inhibit PAS more islamic from others. Why need to introduce Dinar or whatever currency to show that PAS practice perfect Islam than others. I'd like to say this guy (Husam) was off-railed from reality of globalisation. Presently World was trying to achieve a single currency to avoid manipulation but this "Tok Syeikh" move it backward. I'm Kelantanese PAS hardcore member but really regret He come out with this issue.. Just hope there is another side of story about this issue which not fully covered by mainstream media..

    "" Ahli PAS""

  7. I think the point that is missing is, where are the gold going to come from and how are they going to sustain the confidence in their dinar keeping the value. If they are using it as a vehicle for "simpanan nilai", then it's basically like a mutual fund - things that must be backed by something valuable and subjected to public's perception and confidence.

  8. The Malays be they UMNO or Pas are too stupid to value their own culture. Just let them rot.

  9. My dear chap, just try and control your vitriol - you're welcome to discuss but why show your hatred.

  10. It is not hatred. The Malays are the only race in Malasia who are abandoning their own culture. If that is not stupidity, tell me what is?