NILAI, October 03, 2018 – Assoc Professor Dr. Zulkifli Hassan, outgoing Dean of Faculty of Syariah and Law (who has been appointed the new IIUM Deputy Rector for Student Affiars & Alumni) moderated USIM – ARMM Roundtable Discussion on ‘Peace, Tolerance and Countering Violent Extremism’ in conjunction with the International Attachment Program for ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman and team.The experts contribution came from Dato’ Dr. Nasharudin Mat Isa, President & CEO of Wasatiyah Centre for Peace; Senior Assistant Commissioner Zaidi Hamid, Prison Policy Division, Malaysia Prison Department; Assoc Professor Dr. Mohd Mizan Mohammad Aslam, Universiti Malaysia Perlis & Director of Malaysian Research Institute Strategic Studies (MyRISS); and Assistant Commissioner of Police Azman Omar, Intelligence/Operations (E8), Special Branch Division, Royal Malaysian Police, Bukit Aman Headquarters.
Considering Mindanao’s positive progress of govenance with the signing forward of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), it is essential to maintain the momentum of peace and development by establishing a lasting institutional mechanism to insure a continuous coordinative and integrative process in formulation and implementing Mindanao-wide, inter-regional development plans, programs and projects for maximum impact and benefit. In this exposition, ARMM Regional Governor Hataman has the pure, enlightened words of intelligence and humanity – coming from a man who loves Bangsamoro and Mindanao with all his heart, mind and soul. Mindanao is especially with vast natural resources, large pool of talented people originating from diverse ingenious cultures, a geo-strategic position astride the great routes of Asia-Pacific in the global economy with the definite rise of China which will distrupt the future of intra-Asean relationship.
ARMM team accompanying the Regional Governor comprised of Cabinet Assistant Secretary Datu Aleem Guiapal; Executive Director, Bureau of Public Information, Datu Amilbahar Mawallil; Program Manager, AMIN Anak Mindanao Foundation, Ms. Ara Belleng; President of Maarif Foundation USA, Mr. Yavuz Orta and CEO Sejahtera Leadership Initiative (SLI) & Honorary Secretary, Malaysia-Philippines Business Council (MPBC), Dr. Haji Zulkifly Baharom.
AMIN Anak Mindanao, since its birth in 1997 remained consistent in its cause for Mindanao and its people. It works for Islamic communities, people’s political participation, economic inclusion, human rights, women and youth empowerment, anti-racial discrimination, environmental protection and sustainable peace.
At the Roundtable, USIM delegates were represented by Dr. Nisar Mohammad Ahmad, Director, Alumni and Career Cente; lecturers from Faculty of Shariah and Law, namely: Dr. Mariam Tagotanao, Dr. Norfadhillah Mohamad Ali, Dr. Hendun Abd Rahman Shah, Dr. Abidah Abdul Ghafar and admin support staffers.
In his opening remarks, ARMM Regional Governor Hataman said, “We in Mindanao have long been acquainted with terrorism. Our citizenry, in fact, have been among its first victims in the post-Cold War era. We are always under existential threats to our way of life with price of prosperity that our common people have to pay is to experience hell on earth over and over again, particularly for the innocents, the women, the disadvantaged, and young children who are always the first casulties of conflict and violence.
In any peace effort, our leaders must focus on the long-term – the strategic vision of sustainable peace and development which requires whole-hearted dedication and continuing commitment. We have known war for decades, the foremost realization of Justice is winning Peace.”
United Nations (UN) has yet to define the word ‘terrorism’. However in all fairness this Roundtable has agreed that “Terrorism is the classic weapon of the weak. Its object is not to defeat a government or its military or police, but to gain political and psychological advantage to effect socio-economic change – regardless of its cost in human life. In many parts of the world, terrorism has deepened the suffering of communities, worsened social inequities, and treatened the promise of peace, humanity and compassion. Going forward, ARMM and USIM with its partners need for deepening multilateral collaborations in research and training.”
The Philippines National Government and ARMM had faced tremendous obstacles in its effort to fight extremism – yet, they have been unwavering in their efforts to win the battle for hearts and minds. This Roundtable gives an opportunity to reflect on what can be accomplished by thoughtful, meaningful and effective multilateral actions. The most heartening resolution was the pledge made by USIM, Wasatiyah Centre for Peace, MyRISS, Royal Malaysian Police and Malaysian Prison Department to collaborate with ARMM in sharing ideas, research and regular dialogues on reforms to address the root causes of the armed conflicts and social unrest especially among the young people. In creating positive climate for peace, the need is deradicalisation initiatives for ideological detainees through structured reconciliation, reintegration and rehabilitation programs. Peace is no longer just a concern of governments but the people agenda.
Dr. Zulkifly Baharom
CEO Sejahtera Leadership Initiative