Wednesday, October 26, 2011


The certificates of the Excellent Teaching Awards
Thanks God that all ISDEV lecturers have won Excellent Teaching Awards for the 2010/11 Academic Session. For each course they were teaching, students gave them a thumb up hence a high mark that became the basis for the Awards. I myself got three Excellent Teaching Awards for three courses I was teaching. So was Dr Fadzila Azni Ahmad and Dr Zahri Hamat, followed by two Awards for Dr Zakaria Bahari and one Award for Dr Mohamad Zaini Abu Bakar for two and one courses they were teaching respectively.

The Awards, presented by Vice-Chancellor Professor Dato' Omar Osman at the School of Social Sciences Workshop on Saturday 15 October 2011 at Batu Feringghi Park Royal Hotel, were definitely well-deserved. All of us at ISDEV were working so hard to ensure the quality of our teaching through an approach we called 'Heart-to-Heart Approach', so as to create a caring and loving teaching-learning atmosphere that is conducive for the production of excellent and well-behaved students. The results are self-explained; so far eight graduate students of ours have won various awards, from at the level of ISDEV to the levels of USM and Malaysia.

While thanking God so much for the accomplishments, I think that it is still not sufficient for a real excellent accomplishment. Although all of us were bestowed with the Excellent Teaching Awards, none of us received an Award for Top 10 KPI Contributors that were also given away at the occasion.

I realised then that we were thus far busying concentrating on teaching and ensuring the high quality of students, but forgetting to somehow working for our own other KPI. Of course it is a sacrifice on our part, but definitely it is much better if all ISDEV lecturers could accomplish both, the high quality of teaching and the high KPI.

Our ISDEV next move therefore is to increase our research, publications and networking, as well as to speed up the completion of study of our graduate students. These are achievable, InshaAllah, as all are already in ISDEV pipelines at the moment. We would be likely to be granted with a nearly RM 1 million grant in the form of Research University Team, publishing articles in various journals and a total of at least 20 books with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), signing MoU with DBP, Walailak University of Thailand, and Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Universiti Sultan Sharif Ali of Brunei Darussalam (as an addition to the existing MoU with two universities in Norway, four universities in Indonesia, and one with IBS Books Sdn Bhd, as well as to continue strengthening the networking with institutions affiliated to ASEAN Muslim Research Organisation Network (AMRON) of which ISDEV is the co-founder institution), and graduating 13 Master students and at least five PhD students in the coming few months.

May Allah SWT guides and helps ISDEV in realising such a plan by easing us at ISDEV in accomplishing them accordingly, InshaAllah.

L-R: Myself, Associate Professor Dr Abdul Fatah Che Hamat and Dr Zahri Hamat at the Social Sciences Workshop
All spouses were allowed to come to the Social Sciences Workshop. With my wife during a dinner at Batu Feringghi

Friday, October 21, 2011


Definitely, I am not the only one. There are a lot of people who spend their nights from hotel to hotel as what I have to do for the last two days. Last night I was at the Carlton Holiday Hotel in Shah Alam, Selangor and tonight I am at the Park Royal Hotel in Batu Feringghi, Penang. Next month and the following months until February next year, apart from the hotels in Malaysia, I will be in a few other hotels abroad, InshaAllah: in Nakhorn si Thammarat (Thailand), in Bandung (Indonesia), in Doha (Qatar), and in Vancouver (Canada). These are what have been already committed in my work schedules.

Carlton Holiday Hotel, Shah Alam, Selangor
Park Royal Hotel, Batu Feringghi, Penang
I was in Shah Alam last night to help Selangor Zakat Council (LZS) to draw an action plan for an effective zakat distribution in the state. Together with me were Professor Dato' Hailani Muji Tahir and Associate Professor Dr Sanep of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Tuan Syed Ghazali Wafa of ANGKASA. I proposed an action plan for zakat organisational empowerment through localisation approach that involves decentralisation and popular participation.

Localisation here simply means collecting zakat locally and distributing it to the local asnaf. This definitely needs decentralisation of power and decision making process as well as the participation of the local masses. Tuan Syed Ghazali Wafa proposed a new form of zakat calculation by taking into consideration both the nisab and had kifayah. Associate Professor Dr Sanep proposed a new kind of educational assistance through zakat, changing it from the present scholarship to educational loan (Qardul Hasan), to be managed by profesional body such as the scholarship section of the Yayasan Selangor.

R-L: Associate Professor Dr Sanep, myself, Ustaz Farid of LZS, Prof Dato' Hailani, and Tuan Syed Ghazali Wafa discussing about the action plan

Now, after flying back to Penang by 1355 flight this afternoon, I am at Feringghi Park Royal Hotel to attend the School of Social Sciences' Workshop beginning tomorrow morning till Sunday. It is actually a rather relax Workshop cum family gathering, with a little programme related to devising strategy and implementation of KPI by Professor Abdul Karim Alias and academic staffs' promotion briefing by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Ahmad Shukri Mustapa Kamal. Our new Vice-Chancellor Professor Dato' Omar Osman too will be here to give away prizes to Top 10 KPI contributors and Excellent Lecturers of our School. i-Pad2 will be given to us in the afternoon, followed subsequently by a briefing on its usage. The occasion will end up with a dinner tomorrow night.

Another note: On the flight back to Penang this afternoon, I was sitting beside another Minister. This time was Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon, the former Penang Chief Minister and currently Gerakan Party President-cum-Minister at the Prime Minister's Department. As usual, I took the opportunity to talk about politics, especially about his political leadership that at the moment seems to be challenged by some individuals in his own party Gerakan as well as by mainstream newspapers like the Star and Utusan Malaysia. He was very frank explaining all about it, including about his frictional relationship with the present Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. But above all, he created a personal touch by trying to memorise my name, sending regards to my wife who was his students in the 70's at USM, and introducing me to a drink in the flight called Ginger Ale as well as ensuring that it is halal.

Monday, October 17, 2011


The collection of 19 book titles proposed by ISDEV for publication by DBP
A day after INGRAW11, on 14th October 2011, I flied to Kuala Lumpur to attend a meeting at Dewan Bahasa dan Pusataka (DBP). The main aim was to submit a collection of 19 titles of books by ISDEV members agreed to be published by DBP, while the main agenda of the meeting was on a plan to sign a MoU with DBP at a (USM medical academic) book launching occassion sometimes in December this year.

The 19 titles of the books were originated from two workshops. The first was the workshop on manuscript acquisition organised by the School of Humanities and DBP on 24-25 May 2011, while the second was on book titles' revision organised by ISDEV and DBP on 22 September 2011. The titles were presented and approved by DBP officers during the second Worskhop. The launching of the books is expected to be held at the end of next year, InshaAllah.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Alhamdulillah, the 6th ISDEV International Graduate Workshop (INGRAW11) was held successfully on 11-12 October 2011 at the University Conference Hall. The ISDEV annual event organised with the co-operation of Institute of Graduate Studies saw the presentation of a total of 77 papers presented in seven concurrent sessions during the one and a half day Workshop, and the involvement of about 100 participants. All papers were commented by solicited commentators with respective specialisations.

As usual, I felt honoured to be invited once again for the sixth time to deliver a keynote address at this Workshop. This year I insisted on the need to liberate graduate research on Islam and Muslims from eurocentric paradigm, farmework, assumptions and theories.

Eurocentric here goes beyond the geographical boundaries per se, to encompass Americans and Australians  (now called neo-Europeans) who share the same language, culture, belief, traditions, lifestyle, et. cetera. I highlighted the danger of academic neo-colonialism/imperialism undertaken for instance by a handful of (Western) European ministers in 1999 in `internationalising European dimensions' through the creation of European Higher Education Area (EHEA) by the Bologna Process (arising from the Magnus Charta Universitatum), which now has been signed by 46 countries. So is the danger of the Eurocentric religio-group 10/40 Window which aims to out-reach the more than 4.4 billion `unreached and unevangelised' people living in the so-called 10/40 area of the world, including the Muslims, Chinese, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews and anamistic.

Lastly, I stressed on the nature of a liberated graduate research on Islam and Muslims which dismantles the Eurocentric thinking and ideologies, to emerge from within Islamic philosophical and epistemological underpinnings itself, moulded by Islamic authentic teachings.

May Allah SWT allows the address to penetrate across the mind and hearts of the Workshop participants, InshaAllah.
With the solicited commentators (l-r): Dr Irsyad from Universitas Sumatera Utara (USU), Dr Ahmad Azrin Adnan from Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), and Dr Warjio from Universitas Medan Area (UMA) - all ISDEV alumni

Saturday, October 08, 2011


Hardly a week after his appointment as the new Vice-Chancellor of our Universiti Sains Malaysia, Professor Dato' Dr Omar Osman requested me to be his representative at an International Conference on Islamic Leadership at Royale Chulan Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. The Conference, held on the 4th till 5th October 2011, was co-organised by the Higher Education Leadership Academy (AKEPT), Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), and International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM).

Appreciating the VC's trust as well as indicating ISDEV's support to the University's new administration,  I rescheduled my hectic workloads and flied off to Kuala Lumpur within the short notice of the VC's office. Moreover, the chance to serve the University on behalf of the VC is not necessarily frequent. As far as I could remember, previously I used to have such a chance only twice, the first to a Conference in Aceh and the other to a Conference in Johor Bharu. Even so, it did not come from the real (former) VC himself; it came from the Acting VC - the former from Dato' Professor Idiris Salleh and the later from Professor Asma Ismail, who as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation)  were given the tasks, coincidently, of the real VC when he was away. But this time to the Islamic Leadership Conference in Kuala Lumpur, it was from the real VC himself - the new VC!

The results from the deed done in good faith were incredible. Apart from enjoying the discourse at the Conference especially from the talk by our former Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak and former Malaysia's Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (the only thoughtful talks as compared to the `nothing new' and rather boring talks of the other speakers), I also experienced fascinating encounters. On the early morning flight to Kuala Lumpur, I was together with our Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Asma Ismail, while on the flight back to Penang the next day, I was sitting beside the Minister for International Trade and Industry Dato' Seri Mustapha Mohamed.

Both encounters provided me with a chance to discuss with them on various matters - with the former on the possibility of upgrading ISDEV to a Centre of Excellence and with the latter on various contemporary political issues as well as on personal life.

In addition, while I was at the Conference , I was also blessed by Allah SWT with a luxurious room at the prestigious Royale Chulan Hotel provided by the Conference organiser (as I was the representative of the VC). In between the Conference programmes too I managed to visit my eldest brother at Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia who is having a treatment for an illness. Alhamdulillah.

L-R: Myself at the Conference, the organiser (a lecturer of USIM), and a participant from Nigeria
My room at Royale Chulan Hotel
The Royale Club at the 5th floor of the Hotel where our breakfast is served separately from the normal hotel guests
The brochure of the Keynote Address by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad