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HOW THEY PROSTITUTE ISLAM FOR POLITICAL GAINS

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on August 13, 2009

MALAYSIA TODAY

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So, what is the issue here? Is the issue Islam? Is the issue about eradicating sin? Is the issue about not allowing vice in Malay neighbourhoods? Is Umno outraged that beer is being sold in ‘Malay’ Shah Alam? What is really the issue?

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

There is a controversy sweeping Selangor state. Well, actually there are many controversies sweeping the state. But this particular controversy I am talking about involves the matter of the confiscation of beer.

As explained by the EXCO Member in charge of local government, Ronnie Liu, the confiscation was a mistake, an error of judgment of sorts, and the beer was ultimately returned to the owner the same day with an apology attached.

Furthermore, explained Ronnie, you need a licence to sell liquor. But beer does not come under the classification of liquor. So you do not need a licence to sell beer and therefore the government can’t confiscate beer even if the premises that is selling it does not have a liquor licence. This is not the law that Pakatan Rakyat made. This is the law that the Barisan Nasional government made.

But Umno is not about to allow the matter to end there. They want to organise a protest demonstration and they demand that PAS join them in this demonstration as proof that the Islamic party is committed to its Islamic agenda. Basically, Umno wants to pressure the Pakatan Rakyat state government into reversing its policy on ‘allowing’ beer to be sold in Selangor and it wants PAS to unite with Umno in propagating this stand.

The impression being created is that Umno is opposed to beer being sold in Selangor. But only today is it opposed to the sale of beer. For 51 years, when Selangor was under Umno, it was not opposed to the sale of beer. It is only opposed to the sale of beer now that it no longer rules the state.

Hasan Ali, the man behind the secret talks with Umno soon after the 8 March 2008 general election, has of course jumped onto the bandwagon in ‘defence’ of Islam. He wants Selangor to ban the sale of liquor and beer in the state, or at least in Malay-majority neighbourhoods or townships like Shah Alam.

That is all well and fine. I am certainly in support of eradicating immoral activities. And I will support not only Muslims but also Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and whatnot to see this happen.

But this is not what is behind the brouhaha. The issue is not about eradicating vice. It is about trying to embarrass the Pakatan Rakyat state government and in the same process create a rift between PAS and its other partners, DAP and PKR.

First of all, how would we define Malay-majority townships? What percentage of the population would have to be Malay before it is classified as Malay-majority neighbourhoods or townships? Malays make up about 51% of the population of Selangor. So would that particular neighbourhood or township have to have at least a 90% population to be classified as Malay-majority? Or is 70% a more realistic percentage since it would be almost impossible to find a township with a 90% Malay-majority population?

TO READ MORE : http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/25592/84/

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BROKEN PROMISES: THE MALAYSIAN CONSTITUTION AND MULTICULTURALISM

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 23, 2009

An  enlightening  article by By Dr. Azmi Sharom.

“Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.”

“The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?”

Malaysia Today –

In 1835 Malays made up nearly 90% of Malaya’s population. In 1947 this number was closer to 50%. Therefore during a time when Malayan political consciousness was awakening (the 1946 British introduction of the Malayan Union which effectively placed the entire peninsular under direct British rule galvanised what can be described as the Malayan left and the forefathers of the current ruling elite), it could hardly be described as homogenous.

The 1957 Federal Constitution of Malaya reflected this change in the personality of the country.  It was and is a strange creature that combines liberal democratic ideals and what can only be described as racially based preferential treatment. It also has elements of religiosity (the establishment of the scripture based Islamic law as the personal law for Muslims for example) which appear to contradict Article 4 of the constitution which reads:

“This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”

Race and religion litter the document in a way that scream “different treatment for different people”; a situation, which a mere 12 years after the excesses of Nazi Germany and nine years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (a United Nations document which Malaysia as a prospective new member would have to respect) would seem out of place with the growing zeitgeist of the time. However, considering the socio political situation at the time, with an indigenous population feeling overwhelmed both in numbers and in economic disparity, the nature of the constitution can be accepted as an understandable compromise.

Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.

The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?

This paper will examine the issue on two main grounds that the author believes lie at the crux of the problem facing plurality in Malaysia, race and religion.

Religion

Article 3 of the constitution reads:

“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”

Does this phrase mean that Malaya was to be an Islamic state? The answer is clearly in the negative for two main reasons. Firstly one has to look to the Reid Commission Report and it states that the Alliance (this were the three political parties that made up the Malayan government at the time, the United Malay National Organisation, the Malayan Indian Congress and the Malayan Chinese Association, UMNO, MIC and MCA respectively) upon examining the draft constitution had this to say:

“The observance of this principle…shall not imply that the State is not a secular state” [Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission page 73].

It is very clear therefore that Malaya was not to be an Islamic state. This is not an assertion made by the Reid Commission, it is an assertion made by the very people who were to become the government of the newly independent nation. This statement combined with Article 4 which places all laws in the country under the overarching principles of the Constitution means that to claim Malaya was meant to be theocratic in any way is disingenuous.

The contention that Malaya is a secular country is further strengthened by the decision of the Supreme Court (the highest court in the land – now known as the Federal Court) in the case of Che Omar Che Soh [1988] where it was held that secular law governed the nation and Islamic law was confined only to the personal law of Muslims. Article 3 was taken to mean that as far as official ceremonial matters are concerned Islamic form and rituals are to be used.

With regard to religious freedom Article 11 is explicit: “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and subject to clause 4 to propagate it”. Clause 4 allows the state governments (and the federal government in the case of the federal territories) to control the propagation of religion to Muslims. This is not limited to non Muslim propagation to Muslims; it includes Muslim to Muslim propagation as well.

Harding suggests that “…the restriction of proselytism has more to do with the preservation of public order than with religious priority” [Law, Government and the Constitution in Malaysia page 201]. He argues that even states like Penang which does not have Islam as its official religion has laws regarding propagating religion to Muslims therefore there can’t be an assumption that Islam is deemed superior in some way. If we were to work on this premise, then it would appear that this limitation, as restrictive as it is, does not actually stop individuals of any faith from choosing their religion.

This can be seen in the Supreme Court decision of Minister of Home Affairs v Jamaluddin Othman [1989]. In this case a Muslim convert was detained under the Internal Security Act. It was held that such a detention has to be made for the purpose of national security. The conversion of this individual does not breach national security and furthermore his detention was in breach of his freedom to choose his religion as enshrined in Article 11. Thus, although the propagation of religion to Muslims is restricted, their freedom to choose their religion would appear to be not.

READ MORE HERE

Khairy condemns actions of two Al Islam journalists

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 16, 2009

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

Khairy appalled and offended by the Al-Islam reporters. – Picture by Danny Lim

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin became the first Umno leader to speak out against the two Muslim journalists who went undercover to two Catholic churches, describing their action as “appalling and offensive.”

His latest blog posting blasted the Al Islam journalists for pretending to be Christians and taking part in its rituals — receiving and spitting out the Holy Communion wafer for photographs — saying their action was unacceptable even by a Muslim such as himself.

The pictures of the crushed wafer were published alongside the article in the Al-Islam magazine.

Khairy’s posting makes him the first Malaysian-Muslim politician to speak on the issue which has upset many in the Christian community. The two journalists were investigating reports of mass conversions at the two churches.

“I have no reservations whatsoever in condemning this instance of unethical journalism, grounded in both disrespect and ignorance,” said Khairy.

“The Islamic virtues of empathy, respect and tolerance were obviously absent in both the journalists and the magazine’s editorial team that sanctioned the publishing of the article and the methods employed to gather information,” he added.

Khairy, who is also the MP for Rembau, further said those behind the fracas should imagine what they would feel if Christians were to do the same thing, going to a mosque pretending to worship as Muslims and then making a mockery out of their religious practice.

“I suspect Al-Islam failed to consider the fact that the gravity of their own actions were similar to this hypothetical situation where the sanctity of the Muslim place and act of worship are violated,” commented Khairy.

This incident plus the recent arrest and overnight detention of nine people who were allegedly on a conversion mission at Universiti Putra Malaysia have made many people doubt the sincerity of the 1 Malaysia concept.

Another case which has left many Christians upset is the swift legal action taken against the Catholic Church for using the word “Allah” in their newspaper. “Allah” in Arabic simply means god but many Malaysian Muslims believe that non-Muslims should not be allowed to use the word.

THE MANY HUES OF MALAYSIAN POLITICS

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on July 4, 2009

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

GREEN is for the Islamic Party, PAS, whose politics are founded on religion. A dangerous mix indeed. Politics concern the outer world and religion the inner.

Ideally the inner and outer ought to be aligned and in dynamic balance. But who determines the parameters of inner space, the dimensions of belief and faith? A panel of ulamas (spiritual leaders)?

There have been many theocratic nations that have lasted hundreds, even thousands of years. Ancient Egypt flourished for millennia and it was a civilization built around the concept of the Pharaoh as a divine manifestation. Tibet was for centuries essentially a lamacracy ruled by lamas with the Dalai Lama as titular head. Constantine and, later Charlemagne, tried to establish a Holy Roman Empire with Roman Catholicism at its core. Salah ad-Dīn Yusuf ibn Ayyub aka Saladin had the same vision of conquering the world for Islam. America under the Neocons may be said to have been the reincarnation and modern manifestation of a 4,000-year-old dream of a Unified Judeo-Christian World.

READ MORE HERE

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Najib tries unity gambit, again

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 24, 2009

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak appeared to play the religious and race card today when he appealed to PAS to reconsider the proposal for a unity government with Umno.

The Umno president also dismissed the notion that a unity government would fly in the face of his 1 Malaysia concept, even though a number of non-Muslim groups, including political parties in his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, have expressed concern.

But he appealed to PAS to act in the name of Malay and Muslim unity.

“PAS should not let politics prevent it from doing something which is beneficial for Malay/Muslim unity,” he told reporters at a public function today when asked to comment on how many Malay groups had been disappointed with PAS for rejecting a unity government with Umno.

On Monday, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders rejected Umno’s unity government proposal, and proclaimed all issues surrounding the fiasco which brought the fledgling opposition coalition on the brink of collapse resolved.

Instead, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the de facto PKR leader, said the alliance of PAS, PKR and DAP would focus on their preparation for the next general election and a potential takeover of the federal government.

PAS continues to be in turmoil over the unity government proposal which not only affected ties with its political partners but has caused friction in the party as well.

Sensing the weakness in the opposition alliance, Umno has moved in an attempt to cause further division in PAS and in PR by pressing ahead with the concept of Malay and Muslim unity.

Today, Najib said that any move to strengthen Islam should be encouraged, in what was an obvious move to appeal to the concept of Islamic brotherhood within PAS.

The prime minister believed, however, that the country’s multi-racial nature would not be affected by a more united Malay-Muslim community.

“Just because there is a unity government does not mean the non-Muslims will be neglected. They will still have a role.”

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Nik Aziz: Okay for unity talk on Islam only

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 22, 2009

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

KOTA BARU, June 21 —PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said today any talk on unity government should be pursued through a proper channel and the talk should revolve on Islamic issues and not the Malay.nik-aziz32

“It cannot ignore decisions made at PAS meetings and it should not be decided at one’s whim and fancy.

“If one wants to pursue the unity story, let them table it to the PAS Central Committee first, have it deliberated at the state level and then bring it up to the opposition alliance. Now the opposition alliance is angry with us,” he told a news conference at the mentri besar’s official residence here today.

Denying that he is a headstrong person, Nik Abdul Aziz, who is also Kelantan mentri besar, said instead he was ‘istiqamah’ (steadfast) in pursuing the truth.

He said he had opposed the unity talk proposed by PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as he stuck by the decision made at the party’s muktamar in Ipoh last year when it had agreed to go along with the opposition alliance.

“Some people had labelled me as a stubborn person because I do not accept the unity government. Let me tell you that I am not stubborn but I am being istiqamah.

“Stubborn means being adamant in defending what is wrong. When we know something is wrong but we will not back down, that is stubborn. But when we know what is true, what is right, that is istiqamah.

“So if there are certain quarters in PAS, who want unity with the opposition pact and at the same time they want unity with Umno, then it spells trouble. Do not do that,” said Nik Abdul Aziz.

He said he had yet to meet PAS Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa and the later had also not contacted him to resolve their disputes over the unity talk.

Nik Abdul Aziz, who had urged Nasharudin to resign as PAS president and Member of Parliament for Bachok and join Umno if he persists the unity government agenda, said he would attend a meeting with Abdul Hadi and Nasharudin along with other PAS leaders tomorrow to trash out their differences.

On Umno Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement that Umno and PAS should start their relations anew, Nik Abdul Aziz said Umno should apologise to PAS first. – Bernama

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Bullshit Muslims in bullshit Malaysia

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 17, 2009

FROM  MALAYSIA TODAY

Not only is it impossible for non-Muslims to get attracted to Islam if Malays are taken as the ‘perfect’ example of what Islam is, it is even difficult for Muslims to remain Muslims when you look at the conduct of Malays.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Cubaan Bunuh Diri Isteri Raja Petra

Akibat tekanan yang di hadapi dalam hidupnya Marina Lee Abdullah isteri Raja Petra Kamarudin hampir membunuh diri minggu lepas, ini di ceritakan sendiri oleh seorang nurse di SJMC Subang Jaya kepada det.

Sudah la si suami ghaib entah kemana dan sekarang ni di buru polis, anak kesayangan pula terlibat dalam berberapa kes samun dan rompakan bersenjata.

Marina Lee Abdullah di masukan ke SJMC minggu lepas kerana pendarahan yang teruk di pergelangan tangan kirinya di percayai dia mengelar pergelangan untuk cuba menamatkan riwayat hidupnya.

Sekarang ini menurut nurse yang memberi maklumat kepada det, marina sudah beransur sembuh dan sudah keluar dari sjmc dan berada di rumah kakaknya di Ampang.

Itulah pengajaran yang di berikan Allah apabila si suami yang tak ada kerja lain asyik suka memfitnah orang dan akhirnya keluarga porak peranda.

Posted by darul ehsan today (det) at 7:47 PM, Monday, June 15, 2009

TO READ MORE PLEASE GO TO :  http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/23284/84/

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Kuan Yew on the resurgence of Islam in Malaysia and Indonesia

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 16, 2009

FROM THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

SINGAPORE, June 16 — Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew yesterday related an encounter with women clad in black from head to toe in the swimming pool of his hotel in Kelantan to show how a society’s culture changed with rising religiosity.

He said the Singapore Government had seen the change in its two closest neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia, where more Muslims were now praying five times a day and covering themselves.

The government’s concern is not with specific developments in either of these countries, but with the broader and longer-term trend of Islamic resurgence, he said.

He traced the resurgence to the influence of the oil states, in particular Saudi Arabia for the Sunnis and Iran for the Shi’ites, which have set their more austere versions of Islam as the “gold standard” for other Muslim countries to follow.

Lee visited the Kelantan state capital, Kota Baru, on Sunday. The north-eastern state has been governed by the Islamic-based opposition party PAS since 1990.

While there, he went swimming in the hotel pool and saw some women clad in

black.

“So I stopped at the pillar and went back, but Dr Ng was bolder. He swam into their midst and they waved at him and said: ‘Oh, you’re from Singapore.’

“They were clad, I suppose, in specially made swimsuits, showing only their faces, wrapped up to their wrists and ankles,” he said.

Education Minister Ng Eng Hen accompanied Lee to Kota Baru.

While in Kota Baru, Lee met PAS spiritual leader and Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

PAS is part of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance, which won more than a third of the seats in Malaysia’s federal Parliament in last year’s general election.

Lee asked Nik Aziz what PAS’s attitude to Singapore would be if the opposition party were to take over the federal government one day.

The Mentri Besar said he would treat Singapore as he treated the Chinese and Indians who live in Kelantan.

The Chinese in Kelantan can own land and rear pigs, even though the animals are considered unclean by Muslims.

Lee also spoke to Datuk Husam Musa, Kelantan’s Executive Councillor in Charge of Finance and an up-and-coming PAS leader.

Husam told the Minister Mentor that Islam treats all human beings as equal.

“Then he says: ‘Well, we hope one day you will accept Islam as a part of your religion, and we will cooperate’,” Lee said of his conversation with Husam.

“I told him that the Chinese have had their Muslims since the invasion of Genghis Khan… and they’re still not converted, so we left it at that.”

PAS president Datuk Hadi Awang had earlier told Lee that support for the Islamic-based opposition party would grow.

Hadi told Lee that urban Malays no longer believed they were the beneficiary of the “Malay rights” that Umno championed. Instead, they now saw “Malay rights” as a slogan by which the Umno warlords become richer. — The Straits Times

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Snapshots of the Islamic world

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 14, 2009

TIMES ONLINE

After 9/11, Iranian-born photographer Abbas began a seven-year odyssey around Islamic countries. His striking images and diary chronicle the spread of a new orthodoxy, from African ports to the beaches of Asia

 

Abbas385x185_572205a

(Abbas/Magnum)

 

 Martin Fletcher

He calls himself Abbas, nothing more. His photographs are black and white – “Colour is a distraction,” he says. His art has won him international renown, but he avoids discussing himself because he considers that a distraction too. “I like to talk about my photographs,” he protests during a telephone interview from his home in Paris.

So we move on quickly to his startling new book, In Whose Name? The Islamic World After 9/11, a collection of 173 photographs taken during 7 years of travels in 16 Muslim countries after the terrorist attacks of 2001.

The pictures show a huge range of lives being lived across the Muslim world – children playing on streets in Zanzibar, artists at work in Iran, pilgrims in Mecca, football on the beach in Yemen. But they also show victims – witting and unwitting – of violence, of religious orthodoxy. They show young men maimed in religious conflicts, mourners, graves, women and girls vanishing behind niqabs and chadors, newly liberated Shi’ite men in Iraq flagellating themselves, a man and boy fashioning a satellite dish from tin cans in Kabul, a young girl hauling gravel from a Bangladeshi river.

In the travel diary that accompanies the pictures, Abbas explains, “I was born in a Muslim country and was steeped in its culture, which helped to form the person I am: this voyage was something I owed myself.” Now a non-believer, he laments what he sees as the “intellectual stagnation” of Islam, the “arrogance” of a religion that welcomes converts but considers it lawful to behead apostates, the way many of its followers are locked in the past. At one point he discovers the writings of Henri Michaux, a Belgian: “At last I’ve found a traveller… who doesn’t feel compelled to like the inhabitants of the countries he visits.”

Abbas’s argument is not with Islam, but with the Islamists – the political ideologues who have hijacked the faith, and the jihadists who use it to justify their violence. He decries the “creeping Islamisation” he found in almost every country – the building of ever more mosques, the relentless covering up of women, the censorship, the ever louder cries of muezzin calling people to prayer.

On an Indonesian beach he photographed women and children bathing fully clothed where they used to wear swimsuits: “Here we have an entire nation turning its back on its natural element, the tropical ocean, and adopting the customs of an imperialism derived from the desert.”

These are symptoms of a more worrying phenomenon, Abbas believes. “What Islamists have lost in terms of military effectiveness – and they’re relentlessly hounded by all the states – they gain daily through the spread of Islamic influence and ideas.” Muslim governments may be cracking down on the jihadists, but they are losing the battle for their peoples’ hearts and minds. Most are appeasing, not confronting, the Islamists in their midst, he says. “Many states are encouraging this Islamisation. Why? Because they think if they can ride the tiger they’ll be safe. They forget that’s what Pakistan did for many years and now the tiger has turned against them.”

They should be waging intellectual war with the extremists, challenging their self-serving interpretations of the Koran, he argues. “It’s not just fighting the jihadists – that’s simple. You catch a few guys, you put them in prison, you kill them – that’s easy. But fighting an ideology which draws its justification from what you all believe, which is the Koran – that’s more difficult.”

Abbas was briefly held captive by militiamen in southern Iraq, but declines to discuss his experiences: “The work is enough, no?” The only picture of himself in the book shows his face in a car mirror with a camera obscuring it.

For the record, he was born in Iran 65 years ago, and emigrated to France with his parents while still a boy. As a young photographer he covered the wars in Biafra and Vietnam. Later he worked in other hotspots – Bangladesh, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Cuba, Chile and South Africa. More recently he has spent years at a time working on photographic essays – on Mexico, the Iranian Revolution and, from 1987 to 1994, on the resurgence of Islam.

He was in Siberia, photographing shamans for a book on animism, on September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Centre was destroyed 13 time zones away.

Three days later, on television, he saw a young British man of Pakistani origin yelling, “This is how every Muslim should die,” as he left a London mosque. A year later he visited Ground Zero and saw a cross that workmen had erected from steel beams salvaged from the rubble. It was, he says, “as if the workers who erected it wanted the world to know that it is not only their country that has come under attack but also their culture, their religion and their civilisation”.

At that point Abbas abandoned his animism project to try to answer the more pressing question: how would the umma – the world community of Muslims – react to the jihadists in their midst? The answer, he suggests, is that too many people are burying their heads in the sand.

Abbas expects In Whose Name? to be banned, officially or unofficially, in many Muslim countries. That is sad, he says. “My book is not meant for the West. I am telling Muslims, even intellectuals, to wake up. They are the ones who should read this book and look at the photographs.”

PHOTO GALLERY – JOURNEY INTO  ISLAM

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6480271.ece?slideshowPopup=true&articleId=6480271&sectionName=Faith

 

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Can we ever rise above race and religion?

Posted in Uncategorized by malaysiasms on June 12, 2009

THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

James Chin
JUNE 12 — It has been said a million times, race and religion dominate Malaysian lives. Everything political in this country is somehow connected with race and/or religion. In the past two decades, things that were once non-political are now caught up with race and religion. I can’t remember the last time a public issue was looked at from a Malaysian perspective. Three recent items really spooked me into thinking that we have now reached the height of looking at every issue through the prism of race and religion.

The first item came from Bernama, about a well known Malaysian who will graduate with a philosophy degree from Oxford University. We should all be proud that a fellow Malaysian is able to pursue a PhD from one of world’s top universities. But guess that this DPhil said: “There have been very few Malaysians who made it to Oxford, fewer still who obtained DPhil and even fewer among them are Malays.” Why does it matter that a Malay obtained a DPhil from Oxford? Did Oxford check the Malay quota before awarding the DPhil to him? Can an Oxford DPhil be so uneducated that he has to spin a racial angle on this newly acquired DPhil? I really hope he was misquoted because if he was quoted correctly — God help us — even an Oxford DPhil living in Britain cannot escape this racial disease.

You really have to wonder about the standard of academics in Malaysia when a senior academic can come up with such a remark: “The boldness of non-Malays of late is beyond control and if left unchecked can destroy the nation.” This sort of race baiting by people who are supposed be the smartest in the nation really makes me wonder if there is any hope for the intelligentsia in this country. It is almost fashionable to be a racist nowadays. There is no shame in being a racist. How can there be shame when Utusan prints racists’ statements on a daily basis? Racism is now the norm after years of indoctrination by political parties and newspapers like Utusan. In fact people think there is something wrong with you if you are non-racial.

The second is PAS’s recent resolution that Sisters in Islam should be banned for allegedly promoting liberal Islam and, worse, not understating Islam at all. PAS asked the National Fatwa Council to investigate and hopefully ban the NGO. An MP from PAS’s ally PKR rubbed it in and equated the SIS with a sewerage company. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not agree with SIS but defends its right to have its say. SIS is made up of highly-educated Muslim professional women, and if they can’t take part in a debate on Islam, then who can? Nowadays, the moment you mention the word “Islam” it’s like walking in a minefield. Only the extremists are allowed their say while everyone else has to shut up.

In today’s Malaysia, you simply cannot talk rationally anymore. You can be accused of being a racist or chauvinist at any time. Worse, you can be accused of being anti-Islam or a traitor. There is no avenue for an intellectual debate since the extremists make the loudest noise. The “silent majority” remains silent.

I want to end this short commentary by quoting directly from a reader who wanted to rebut Dr Mahathir’s claim that he cannot speak for the Malays lest he be accused of being a racist. This letter writer is typical of today’s generation where racism is “on” 24 hours a day, seven days a week because we cannot move beyond 1970. The sad truth about Malaysia today is that both are right. Dr Mahathir is right and so is the letter writer.

By Dr Mahathir Mohamad on June 10

DISHONOURING UMNO

1. Why is it that when I defend Umno or the Malays I am labelled a racist but not when others speak up for Chin Peng?

2. If speaking up for the Malays is considered racist then are the Malays to be denied their right to speak for themselves?

3. Liberalism is fine but it should not benefit only certain people and not others. By definition not benefiting certain people contradicts the very concept of liberalism.

4. I really don’t think openly slugging it out on racial issues in Malaysia is healthy. But if that is what Malaysians want then they should be prepared to slug and be slugged.

By GreatGooner on June 10

Well Tun, the answer is simple.

Communism is an ideology that transcends race. China is NOT the only communist country in the world. Rashid Maidin was a Malay and he supported the Communist efforts.

When you talk about Malay rights, you do not transcend race. You bring it to the fore. The idea that one race should be promoted at the expense of others is an idea that is NOT agreeable to ANYONE. Which is why so many Malays get all worked up at the prospect of a DAP government. They are afraid that the Chinese will promote only themselves.

I think this is paranoid behaviour. DAP has shown willingness to work with other races. Karpal Singh is not Chinese, yet he is a party leader. So is his son. PKR, for all their criticisms, have got non-Malay members and supporters, because they are attracted to an idea of fighting for issues that transcend racialist divides.

When you talk of Umno and Malay rights and this outdated Social Contract (a vague notion to begin with), you marginalise all other Malaysian races because you focus ONLY on the needs of one race. Surely these exclusionary views based on race have no place in modern society. Even the US, for the flak it gets on racial issues, has made tremendous strides forward in civil rights. Obama is the first black president. Only 40 something years ago, blacks were being hosed down in the streets.

It has been 52 years since independence, Tun. Maybe at some point at the beginning, the Social Contract made sense due to the struggles of the Malays in gaining independence (although I would argue this was also a multiracial effort). It has been 52 years, and Malaysia has got to where it is now, whether you like or not, through the combined efforts of the Malays AND non-Malays (as Umno likes to classify us). Surely 52 years is long enough that the Malays can acknowledge the efforts of the non-Malays and make us feel that this is our home too. Because it is! Don’t call us Pendatang or whatnot. Don’t tell us that we are still second-class citizens who have to pay more for houses and be second or third preference for scholarships and university places, because we are not of a certain race. That is racism.

It has been 52 years. Let us move on and make policies that transcend RACE and focus more on SOCIO-ECONOMIC standing. Malays are no longer poor across the board. There are very rich Malays, the same way there are very rich Chinese and Indians. And there are poor Malays, Chinese and Indians. If we focus our policies on pulling up the poor (regardless of RACE) then surely everyone wins.

But no, Umno wants to talk about Malay rights and its other racist policies. Meritocracy goes out the window. What about getting a fair go? You often mention that “Melayu mudah lupa”. If Umno’s racist policies continue for much longer, the Malays may “lupa” that in a globalised economy, everything is based on merit and competitiveness. For 52 years, every other race in Malaysia has had to become competitive and survive on merit, EXCEPT for the Malays — because Umno’s policies have fostered this behaviour. For the sake of the Malays and the non-Malays, racialist policies must go.

Let’s start talking less about Malay rights and more about human rights.

Of course, I think Umno finds it easier just to stoke the fires of Malay nationalism. It has kept them in power all these years. Why change that for something that may actually do some good?

James Chin is a Malaysian academic. The views expressed here are his own and do not reflect the views of institutions he is associated with. He can be contacted at
Jameschin1@gmail.com

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