CHINA & MalaySIAN CHINESE SHOULD WORRY: HOW LONG BEFORE GREEDY NAJIB & CO START TO PESTER BEIJING FOR MORE MONEY – WHAT IF THEY USE ULTRA-MALAYS TO TRIGGER BLOODSHED IF CHINA SAYS NO?
On Friday 4 November, some 20,000 marchers gathered in Jakarta to demand that the city’s Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, who is known as Ahok, be jailed for blasphemy.
While campaigning for the gubernatorial election next February, Ahok had said that it was stupid for some Muslims to assert that Islam demanded that they select a Muslim leader against a non-Muslim contender. Ahok is a Christian. Some conservative Muslims groups got angry and accused him of ridiculing the Quran. That’s when they organised the protest and demanded that Ahok be jailed.
Fortunately the police and the military issued a joint statement to say that they were steadfast in ensuring peace and would uphold law and order—anyone who violated their orders would be dealt with firmly. The protesters were peaceful until towards the end of the day, when those who had been sponsored by Ahok’s political opponents to come from afar became angry when they were not paid for their trouble. They burned cars and smashed buildings in the vicinity in the process.
Many political analysts were quick to describe the incident as a sign of increasing conservatism in Indonesia. I don’t worry at all about the rise of a Taliban-like Islam in Indonesia because their pesantren, or village religious schools, have been in existence for more than 300 years. This is where Indonesians are taught the true knowledge and spirit of Islam.
They do not learn about Islam from the Saudis or from unemployed graduates of Islamic studies. They learn their religion from their elders and respected Imams in their villages. These preachers do not work for the ruling political party or get paid by the political apparatus of the ruling party, like ours do here in Malaysia. They are genuine religious preachers who have consistently rejected extremism and violence in Islam for over 300 years.
Of course out of 250 million people, there will be a few who are like our Red Shirts, i.e. marchers for hire. But what impressed me most about the Jakarta incident was the calm and collected response from most of the city residents. They did not panic or do anything to aggravate the situation. They believed that the security forces would act professionally and would not take sides.
The Police did not disappoint them and acted firmly by using water cannons to disperse the rampaging mobs. They did their job to protect residents and their property. Law and order was restored because the security forces acted without bias or took sides.
When I refer to “law and order” I am talking about the assurance that a country’s security and law enforcement agencies will apply the law without favouring any party. Do we have that assurance in Malaysia? In the event that Jamal and Co. start rampaging through our streets as they keep threatening to do, will they be treated just like any other offender of public order?
In truth, I have little confidence in our security forces. I find the way our Inspector-General of Police has acted as unbecoming of a law enforcement officer. It’s embarrassing that we are now not only poorer as a country, but that we also have a low-grade IGP.
I have more faith in China’s Ambassador to Malaysia, who took a stroll in Petaling Street last year the day before a scheduled Red Shirt rally to implicitly tell Putrajaya that China had invested a lot in the country and would not sit idly by whilst threatening behaviour filled the streets.
In fact, the only good thing we got from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s extraordinary deals with China is the renewed and strong interest that China would have in our country’s peace and stability. Malaysia is slightly safer now that Beijing has a bigger stake!