Policy Recommendations

IAIS works to provide pragmatic advice based on sound knowledge regarding issues facing Islamic societies and governments. Here are excerpts of policy recommendations from research articles in our Journal Islam and Civilisational Renewal.

Vol. 9 No. 1 January 2018

Policy Recommendations from the ICR 9.1 (January 2018)

  1. Religion and State are Twin Brothers: Classical Muslim Political Theory, Muhammad Khalid Masud
  • Current analyses, Muslim and Western, do not take the history of Muslim political pragmatism into consideration. Some modern Muslim political thinkers have been so fascinated with the idea of the state that they have not hesitated to equate religion with it, to collapse the boundaries between religion and politics. Muslim societies must avoid this trap, however. In recent history, it has led to the rejection of democracy and the promotion of totalitarian ideology.
  • Ijmaʿ, which played the important role of building social consensus in classical Islamic legal theory, has been ignored. Today the concept of sovereignty floats ambiguously between the political and the religious, between the sovereignty of state and the sovereignty of God, as represented by the religious scholars as non-state actors. This state of ambiguity has blurred common agreement about the rule of law, as well as the concept of law, and must be overcome.
  • Muslim polities must distinguish between the objectives of politics and other foundational ideas, such as basic governance, basic rights, rule of law, authority of the state, administration of justice, and equality before the law. The latter are universal and common to all human societies and accepted by all religions. Cultural, ethical and religious values should be employed to realise and support these foundational ideas.
  • Legal and social change cannot be effectively introduced by enforcement of law. The concept of ijmaʿ, as consensus of public opinion, must be institutionalised in universities and research institutes through discursive methods, including debates, public awareness and critical analytical studies.
  1. Takaful Retirement Annuity Plan in Malaysia: A Proposed Model, Mohammad Mahbubi Ali, Lokmanulhakim Hussain and Faisal Haroon Zai 
  • Recommends an active role for the government in providing the instruments and infrastructure that would support the existence and the development of the plan. One of the initiatives would be the issuance of long-term or perpetual government sukuk.
  • Further studies may survey the commercial viability of the proposed model by gathering views from practitioners and experts. In addition, it is suggested that further research should explore and compare various retirement products across jurisdictions, considering the fact that this study relies heavily on the Malaysian setting.
  1. Cryptocurrency as an Alternative Currency in Malaysia: Issues and Challenges, Sheila Ainon Yussof and Abdullah Al-Harthy 
  • Firstly, a dual currency system should be introduced in Malaysia whereby a specially designed national cryptocurrency would co-exist and complement fiat money (Malaysian ringgit).
  • Secondly, the national cryptocurrency should be placed under the control of the Central Bank of Malaysia for greater oversight of the financial system. The transactions should be made speedily and cheaply, even across borders.  This would be in line with the goal of central banks around the world to replace cash with electronic payments.
  • Thirdly, the concept of a dual financial system, as legally recognised by the Central Bank of Malaysia Act, 2009, should be extended to digital currencies, where Shariʼah compliant cryptocurrency would be offered alongside conventional cryptocurrency.
  • Fourthly, the Shariʼah compliant cryptocurrency should be backed by gold, as gold is historically more resilient than any fiat money, particularly in times of economic instability. Regulators should examine Onegram, a recently launched Shariʼah compliant cryptocurrency, and produce our own unique Shariʼah compliant national cryptocurrency.
  • Fifthly, regulators need to design a new legal and regulatory architecture or reform existing financial architectures to accommodate new forms of money and payment systems as fintech is the prime mover for financial institutions to modernise.
  • Lastly, greater regulation of cryptocurrency in the form of new legislations and guidelines should be balanced out in such a way that productive innovation would not be stifled. The regulatory framework should satisfy both interests: public security and productive innovation.
  1. Child Custody (Hadanah) in Islamic Family Law: An Anatomy of Women’s Rights in Nigeria and Malaysia, Hakeem Ijaiya and Hakeemat Ijaiya 
  • There should be strict adherence to the ideals of hadanah as laid down in Shari’ah.
  • The courts should comply strictly with the orthodox Islamic law materials when deciding custody cases.
  • The Maliki position in which hadanah terminates at puberty for male children and marriage and consummation for female children should be adopted in Nigeria.
  • The recently codified family law in Malaysia should be amended to remove the provisions that discriminate against married women on the issue of child custody.
  • Enlightenment programmes in the form of seminars, conferences and symposiums should be organised to sensitise women to their rights to seek legal regress in court when their rights to custody are threatened.
  • All forms of discrimination against women should be eliminated, with equal treatment being given to them, like their male counterparts.
  1. Preservation of the Environment by Smart Energy Consumption, Shahino Mah Abdullah 
  • Keep the balance of natural ecological systems. The Earth is an idealenvironment for life not only because of its distance from the Sun, in the ‘habitable zone’, but because its atmosphere contains greenhouse gases that keep the planet’s temperature within the range suitable for living things. It is our responsibility as ‘Stewards of the Earth’ to take care of this environment so that its quality can be maintained. God assigned man to keep the natural balance, as mentioned in the Qur’an: “He has raised the heaven high and set up the measure, that you may not transgress the measure. So weigh all things fairly and fall not short of the balance” (Q. al-Rahman 55:5-9).  Therefore, humankind should now consider their activities, especially those related to carbon emissions, that are in turn leading to the greenhouse effect, global warming and, finally, climate change.
  • Create effective waste management systems. Industrial processes and fossil fuels are the highest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions. While both are important for worldwide development, they release too much greenhouse gas. In order to curb this issue, good waste management systems must be utilised. These will include the filtration of hazardous gases, deadly chemical compounds, and other harmful elements so that they will not escape into the open environment. Waste management systems can be included as a mandatory requirement before the approval of any carbon emissions related human activities.  In Islam, avoiding waste and extravagance is necessary, as mentioned the Qur’an: “God loves not the prodigals” (Q. al-Aʿraf 7:31).  This is in line with the act of moderation (wasatiyyah) that encourages human beings not to allow wastage in their daily lives.
  • Strong enforcement   of   environmental   quality   monitoring.  The  authorities   must   monitor   the   implementation   of   each   mandatory  requirement e.g.  waste management systems, as mentioned above. At the same time, immediate action must also be taken before any environmental issue becomes serious. If the action is a bit late, it might result in environmental degradation, as well as financial loss. Informers can also assist the authorities and receive a special reward if their information is proven correct. A whistleblower could play an important role in revealing the identities of offenders, if there are leakages and/or corruption involving the authorities. The offenders must be sentenced to a fine or imprisoned or both. These effective actions are meant to be a lesson, not only for offenders, but also for the general populace about the importance of a healthy environment.
  • Compensation to offset social losses. Most energy-based developments involve large land areas, especially in rural regions. This often involves the   displacement of local residents.  Reasonable compensation is very important for such displaced peoples, to help them continue a better life in a new area.  The compensation must also include comfortable housing units, amenities and financial support in order to facilitate the transfer of these people. In fact, Islam has underlined the principle of fair compensation between fellow human beings, the Qur’an saying: “Woe to those who deal in fraud, those who take the full measure when they receive from others  but give less when give them in measure or weight” (Q. al-Mutaffifin 83:1-3).
  • Supporting a new source of income. The source of income for most relocated villagers will be affected after they move to a new location. For example, those who previously practised fishing or agricultural activities would see their income immediately stop if the new resettlement area was either far from the sea or had no suitable land for farming. Developers are therefore encouraged to prioritise job opportunities for qualified local people.  In order to increase their chances of getting a job, additional training can be conducted for less qualified people so that more of them can be absorbed into the workforce. This mechanism might be achieved by the intervention of the state government in giving support to this measure through special employment agreements in order to create more job chances for those who have been resettled.
  • Transition to renewable energy. The transition to renewable energy resources is very important as we cannot keep relying on finite fossil fuels. Renewable energy is not only replenishable, but it is also free from carbon emissions and therefore environmental friendly. Most developed countries have started this transition measure from conventional to renewable power sources and, interestingly, some of the poorest countries in the world (Members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum) also aim to transition to total utilisation of renewable energy in just a few years. Malaysia could be one of these countries; the transitional plan can be included in the next budget allocation as part of the country’s Transformation Plan towards a nation with developed status.
  • Prioritising renewable energy sources. Currently more than 80 percent of energy production in Malaysia is based on fossil fuels. Less than 5 percent is renewable energy. Solar energy is the most suitable renewable power source for the country, since Malaysia has a consistent day duration with more than four hours of sunshine a day, on average. As the country is considering reducing oil dependency, solar power is in a position to constitute the next dominant energy resource. Thus, the implementation of solar power harnessing technology is highly recommended and can be included in the national renewable energy policy as one of the country’s energy resources in the future. 
  • Benefit from being an investor in the power production sector. Malaysia has grown into one of the world’s most prominent solar equipment manufacturers, being the third largest producer after the European Union and China. However, because the quality of the solar panels produced here is mostly quite high, they are used in developed countries rather than in Malaysia itself.  Consequently, the carbon emissions from these companysʼ factories will only add to Malaysia’s carbon index. Nevertheless, Malaysia can actually benefit from most of these solar manufacturing companies; We can purchase solar power equipment at a cheaper price as the cost of transportation within the country will be very low. Besides, the government can also agree to purchase a number of panels or a complete set of power systems through the production agreement and policy between the company and the country.
  • Benefit from the Malaysia-China relationship. China is well known for providing cheap goods throughout the world. Recently, Malaysia has strengthened its relationship with China through cooperation and collaboration in various sectors. Most of the projects the two countries have been involved in so far have aimed at providing good infrastructure for the people in Malaysia. There is also a need, however, for a project focused on renewable energy, that could guarantee benefit, both  for the people and the environment. Through the strengthened Malaysia-China relationship, the government is in a position to request a supply of economical renewable power systems from Chinese manufacturers. China could also provide quality panels and power storage facilities at competitive prices.
  • Encourage clean energy. It is not only the responsibility of utility companies to make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable power sources; it is also the responsibility of each member of society. In order to reach these individuals, the government should give encouragement by providing education, training, and support.  Above all, government initiatives could be implemented to prioritise renewable energy. There are various types of small renewable power systems, such as solar power packs, available in the market that could replace conventional fossil fuel power generators.  An instalment payment system can be given to rural people and small entrepreneurs to facilitate their adoption of such power packs.
  • Recognition of Green Projects. In order to further encourage companies and people to move towards green activities, recognition (e.g. certificates or awards) from the authorities can be given as a token of appreciation. Government recognition is very useful for these institutions (companies and agencies) as well as individuals as it supports their activities in the future by building public confidence. It can be proof of a standard of quality, demonstrating that their project has fulfilled green development criteria. With this recognition standard, more people will be motivated to move towards sustainable development.  Consequently, efforts to inculcate sustainable practice in all human activities could be achieved.
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