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Monday, August 31, 2020

Is Malaysia Truly Merdeka Or Is It A Country With Two Systems?

Yes, Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! But after 63 years of Merdeka we still live in a country that is not truly free. And we are not truly free because the politicians are not sincere and are gutless. They are scared of addressing the ambiguity in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution.

NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
I was one of those blessed enough to witness Merdeka in the making as I lay down on the grass in Lake Gardens on the slopes of where the Lake Club sits to enjoy the fireworks display, the first time Malaysians have ever seen such a spectacle, unless you wish to include the Japanese bombings of 1941.
I was born in Surrey, the “upmarket” area in the suburbs of London, but had sailed over to British Malaya a year before Merdeka. Our first home was in Clifford Road behind where the Tugu Peringatan now sits. Hence Lake Gardens was within walking distance of our family home.
Parliament House was not yet built, and on its site stood my grandfather’s home, which the government acquired and demolished to make way for the new Parliament building. Even a Governor was not given any special treatment in those days and if the government wanted your land they would take it.

63 years of Merdeka and the confusion still remains

Anyway, losing your home to make way for the new Parliament building was a small sacrifice to make for the sake of the country. At least you can claim you sacrificed something for parliamentary democracy.
As Malaysians celebrate the nation’s 63rd anniversary of independence or Merdeka today, we overlook one very important aspect of what Merdeka means. Merdeka is more than just the end of colonialism and the achieving of self-rule. It is also about freedom, equality, justice, and the removal of the shackles that enslaved Malayans for more than 1,000 years.
But are Malaysians truly Merdeka? That all depends on your interpretation of Merdeka. What does Merdeka really mean, plus what does it mean to you? Are we able to define Merdeka?
One very important ingredient of Merdeka is the Federal Constitution. The Federal Constitution is what defines our Merdeka, and that document spells out our rights. Without rights, there would be no Merdeka and we would be no better than slaves under a colonial regime that treats its subjects as its property.

Parliament has still not addressed the ambiguity in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution

But the Federal Constitution of Malaysia is a document which is full of ambiguity and contradictions. A written constitution is supposed to clear up confusion and spell out what should be. Instead, the Federal Constitution of Malaysia creates more confusion than it clears up.
Let us take just one example. Is Malaysia a secular state or is Malaysia a theological state? No one seems to know. So, for 63 years we have been arguing this issue with no end in sight.
According to DAP, Tunku Abdul Rahman once declared that Malaysia is a secular state. Is that true: in the sense did the Tunku say this and, if he did, was he right?
But the Federal Constitution of Malaysia says Islam is the religion of the Federation. What does that mean?

DAP says Malaysia is a secular state

Some have interpreted this to mean Islam is the “official” religion of Malaysia. The Federal Constitution of Malaysia does not say Islam is the “official” religion of Malaysia. It says Islam is the religion of the Federation.
So, what’s the difference between “Islam is the official religion of Malaysia” and “Islam is the religion of the Federation”? And does this mean Malaysia is a secular state or does it mean Malaysia is a theological state?
I would love to hear the views of the ex-Mufti of the Federal Territory, Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri, who is now the Minister for Religious Affairs. An ulama’ or religious scholar is supposed to be truthful and is supposed to fear God, not man. However, most Malay ulama’ are scared of telling the truth. They are scared of losing their position and salary if they speak the truth.
So, is Malaysia a secular state or is it a theological state? Or is Malaysia a country with two systems: one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims?
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia is ambiguous on this point. Hence, we have two systems, one for Muslims and another for non-Muslims.

Is it one country two systems or is Malaysia a secular state?

But DAP says Malaysia is a secular state. How can that be because in a secular state you do not have religious laws whereas in Malaysia we do? But then Malaysia is not a theological state either because the religious laws apply only to Muslims and not to non-Muslims, like in other theological states like, say, Afghanistan.
Yes, Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka! But after 63 years of Merdeka we still live in a country that is not truly free. And we are not truly free because the politicians are not sincere and are gutless. They are scared of addressing the ambiguity in Malaysia’s Federal Constitution.
And because of that we have a polarised Malaysia that will remain divided between Malays and non-Malays and Muslims and non-Muslims, until one day when a civil war breaks out. And a civil war is no longer a matter of if but when.

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