MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


                                                                                                                                     KKLIU 1211/2017
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Monday, July 31, 2017


A worker cleans an Islamic plaque of calligraphy saying "Mohammad" on the morning of Eid al-Fitr in a mosque in Kota Bharu, in Malaysia's northeastern state of Kelantan in this January 8, 2000 file photo. Calls by Malaysia's Islamist opposition party for strict Islamic law that includes amputations and stonings is symptomatic of a drift to more conservative Islam in politics and could further strain relations in the multi-ethnic country. REUTERS/Staff/Files (MALAYSIA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION POLITICS)
The nature of psychological compulsion is such that those who act under constraint remain under the impression that they are acting on their own initiative. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that he is a victim. To him the walls of his prison are invisible, and he believes himself to be free. That he is not free is apparent only to other people. His servitude is strictly objective.”
– Aldous Huxley
When Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says, “Children are born like white cloth but it is the parents who stain the cloth,” all I can think of is this passage from the good book.
“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” –  Ezekiel 18:19-20 (ESV)
(Like Dr King Schultz in ‘Django Unchained’, I’m sorry. I couldn’t resist).
Let me be very clear. When the home minister asks Muslims to unite “opposing anyone challenging decisions by the National Fatwa Committee” – which in this case is the Court of Appeal – he is inviting Muslims to commit treason and sedition. Here is a high-ranking member of Umno asking Muslim Malaysians to rally around an Islamic bureaucracy and disregard the secular laws of the land. This is a member of parliament asking Muslims to ignore the civil law in this country and place Islamic edits over the laws that every Malaysian is subjected to.
Does this sound like every other nut job extremist group out there to you? It sure does to me.
However, what have we learnt from the behaviour of these Muslim servants of the state? Until he was compelled to, the inspector-general of police (IGP) chose to disregard the law of the land because in his opinion, it conflicted with an order from the syariah court. The National Registration Department (NRD) – a civil institution – meanwhile chooses to ignore yet another court ruling and carry on as if it is beyond the jurisdiction of the law of the land.
This is just another example of how some Muslim politicians and bureaucrats are eroding secular laws in this country. This is just another example of what “Islamic” justice is. So, does anyone really believe that we should give Islam a chance, as how PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang pleads?
Secular (civil law) is our law. More importantly, all are equal before it – okay, this point is open to debate when it comes to issues of class, religion and race – but superficially we are all supposed to be equal before it. For Islamic potentates bent on cultivating compliance in their voting base, this is a prime example of demonstrating superiority over everyone else.
Secular laws, in the nomenclature of Islamic demagogues (and I would argue that any politician who uses religion as a means of vote-getting is a demagogue), are “liberal” laws which are supposedly against Islam and the denial of which demonstrates the primacy of Islam.
When Islamic extremists attack secular laws, they are in reality attacking us. We are under attack because secular laws are all that non-Muslims have. These laws are the final authorities on how we conduct our affairs socially, politically and economically. If someone because of their religion is above the law, then we have to reconcile this fact that every time we deal with that person, we will always be at a disadvantage because the laws that apply to us do not apply to him or her.
Weapon of the strong
However, what is even more troubling is that the Umno executive has openly interfered in our supposedly independent judiciary on behalf of non-Muslims when it suits its election strategy.
Here is what I wrote earlier – “In my opinion, the central issue is how Islam has been weaponised in this country (and many parts of the world) by the state. This is not a legal issue but a political issue. Nowhere is this clearer in a constitution that privileges one community over the others. Nowhere is this clearer when on the eve of an important election, the head of a ruling coalition makes it clear that he will use his influence – influence that I may add is supposed to be anathema to an independent judiciary – to correct a grave injustice that was the Rooney Rebit case.”
But what do the Muslim politicians in Pakatan Harapan have to say about this flagrant call of sedition against the state? I can cite numerous examples where they have claimed that the Najib regime will not honour the democratic process – a secular instrument, by the way – and how the Najib regime has “corrupted” numerous “Malay” institutions.
However, when it comes to championing secular laws, Muslims opposition members remain strangely quiet. Apparently, they do not want to jeopardise the Muslim vote. Sometimes I wonder what is the straw that breaks the camel’s back when it finally becomes unprofitable (politically speaking) for non-Muslims to continue buying this horse manure that opposition Muslim politicians have to be given leeway when it comes to Islamic issues because the opposition needs the Malay/Muslim vote.
In a piece where I argued that Islam is used as a weapon against non-Muslim politicians, I wrote:
“We are constantly told not to interfere in the affairs of Muslims even though these issues affect us as Malaysians. Hadi and most Muslims politicians in this country will never sign a document that pledges that non-Muslims will not be affected by Islamic law. They will never moot such legislation. They will never debate such legislation and they will most probably use the security apparatus of the system to crack down on such speech or proposals.”
Seeing as how no Muslim politician would ever make such assurance in writing – they would probably make it verbally because words mean nothing when it comes to politicians – here is another idea I have – why doesn’t Umno create legislation that clearly articulates that Muslims are not bound by civil law? We already have the home minister encouraging Muslims to unite against such laws and an IGP who has demonstrated that he does not think (initially) he was bound by such laws.
In fact, if a study is carried out, I am sure that there we would discover numerous other examples where the idea of religious supremacy has trumped secular equality. Why not create legislation that once and for all asserts the primacy of Islam over secular law?
This way Muslims will not be confused as to the role and primacy of their religion. This way Umno can cut funding to outsourced Islamic groups whose agenda is to “defend” Islam. This way the civil courts would not have to worry if their decisions are carried out by Muslims agents of the state because if they contravened or conflicted with Islamic edicts then the law is clear.
After all, as former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad in the Court of Appeal, as related by Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram, accepts as “the truth and nothing but the truth” that “a Muslim would not tell lies.”
Remember when I said that I would rather live in a kleptocracy than an Islamic state (as always, your mileage may vary); well, living in a kleptrocratic Islamic state just plain sucks.
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

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