Port Dickson:The gateway to a new Malaysia, strategic importance of Anwar
The blue print of Port Dickson has been scripted, by the corporate sectors and strategists, as this is written. As and when Anwar Ibrahim becomes the new Member of Parliament on October 13, Air Asia plans to make good on its vision to capitalize on Port Dickson’s proximity to KLIA Airport in Sepang to make it simlar the Jumeirah Shopping Mall in Dubai.
Jumeirah, which is also a beach front location, has provided the generic outline of how Port Dickson can be transformed, invariably, into a commercial hub and leading tourist destination.
With Ali Baba and other commercial e-giants like Amazon.com and JD.com ready to compete with each other in the E Digital Free Trade Area in Sepang, the commercial synergy from the confluence of various trade streams is bound to be phenomenally high. Port Dickson can be the gateway to a new Malaysia. There are, however, other dimensions at work.
Anwar Ibrahim has always peddled the concept of working closely with the civil society, what he once called “Islam Madani”a vigorous, dynamic and civilized Islam.
Such concepts, to be sure, have been explored by ancient Islamic scholars like Ibn Al Farabi, who once spoke of an idealized version of the “Virtuous City” or “Society”.
In such a city, the rights of the people would be respected, without any 0exceptions, but the spiritual and material needs of the residents would also be protected, and further promoted. It is like a proverbial ladder to heavenly bliss, while based on earth.
Perhaps Port Dickson, with the consent of the local rulers and nine Orang Besar in Negeri Sembilan which effectively means 9 states or 9 constituencies can work together with Anwar Ibrahim and the civil society to produce something akin to Darul Al Madaniyaah one day: elegant, poised, and respectful, of the Adat Perpatih of the local Minangkabau traditions too, where women and men are mutually empowered.
While the expression “Al Madaniyaah” appears to be Arabic, it merely means the “civil” or “civilized” abode of peace. The geneology of urbanization in Islam is deep.
Since the days of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), many forms of cities have sprung up.
Be it Mecca, Medina, or, Marrakesh in Morrocco, or, Majorca in current Spain, the thought given making a society efficient, clean, and symmetrically aligned with the universal principles of Islam or Islam as compassion to all has been an on going process.
Occasionally, instead of a city, which is a complex and longer human endeavor, the process has been minituarized into a university.
Thus during the first tenure of Tun Dr Mahathir, Anwar Ibrahim whom at one stage was the Minister of Education, helped Malaysia to create the International Islamic University.
Not satisfied with this achievement, Anwar Ibrahim also created ISTAC or International Institute of Islamic Civilization and Malay World, whose earlier focus was on the works of Imam Ghazali. The current efforts at IIU and ISTAC appears more inclined to engage the rest of the Nusantara.
Nothing has to be cast in stone, since the by election will only be held on October 13. The will of the people of Port Dickson needs to be completely respected, as this is a by election that was called soon after the first one in May 9th.
A good leader is one who is capable of listening to the people. During the time of the earlier righteous caliphs, for example, Khalifah Abu Bakar, Umar, Osman and Ali, were superb at canvassing the views of the people first; as was the practice of the Prophet.
The first address of Abu Bakar, when elected as the caliph to succeed the Prophet, had him affirming that the “people had the right to challenge him, if he happened to err on any issues”. Thus, the (democratic) ethics of Islamic political theory were born, according to Professor Ahmet Davutoglu, the former Prime Minister of Turkey, with whom Anwar Ibrahim is well acquainted too.
Anwar Ibrahim, in other words, can propose various modalities to work with the people, and it is up to the rulers and people of Port Dickson to tell him if he is in the right direction.
In public health care, Anwar Ibrahim can look into the demography and distribution of various hospitals, perhaps even build a new one to cater to the needs of the soldiers and veterans, since there is already one in Terendak Camp in Malacca.
Come what may, the stronger the majority of Anwar Ibrahim in the by election on October 13, the more stuffings he will have to convince his colleagues and friends in the government and corporate sector that Port Dickson has what it takes to change.
Cities are transformed by the people. Democracy is there to help it along. Ethics are there to elevate all to a higher level. Granted that the political career of Anwar Ibrahim has seen the highs and lows of everything, he knows what are the starry alignment to guide him, and what are the grouses and gripes of the people in the streets to keep him grounded too.
In this sense, Anwar Ibrahim can change Port Dickson, and Negeri Sembilan, which is barely an hour away from Putrajaya, can be further enhanced and transformed into a top tourist destination and an abode of common Malaysian welfare and Minangkabau heritage too.