Oh Dear, Darwin Banned in Malaysia


banthisbook-blog

(What is the criteria to ban a book? What constitute a great endangerment of public harmony? It gets rather ugly when a book is banned just because it goes against one’s personal values and beliefs. Cartoon source: http://www.incidentalcomics.com)

Still saying that the implementation of hudud will not impact the non Muslims? Well, think again.

This little revelation hardly made front page but it had left me with mixed feelings:-

According to the Home Ministry’s website, there are a total of 1,532 banned publications, with the most recent publication to face the government’s wrath being, inexplicably, a comic entitled Ultraman: The Ultra Power.

While the very act of banning books cannot possibly be justified, there is another trend that makes even less sense. There appears to be certain books that are banned only in the Malay language, while there are no restrictions whatsoever on their English versions.

One such example is the seminal book, The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, which is available for sale at many bookstores in Malaysia. However, its Malay translation, Asal-usul Spesies, is listed as a banned book under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1982.

Charles Darwin’s famous book is not the only publication to suffer such a fate. One other example is Karen Armstrong’s Islam: A Short History, which is freely available at bookstores and university libraries in Malaysia, while Sepintas Sejarah Islam, the Malay translation, is also listed as a banned book.

In the last Parliamentary session, I submitted a question on The Origin of Species, enquiring why the Malay translation of the book is banned while the English version is allowed.

According to the written reply by the Home Minister (see attachments), the book is banned because it “endangers public harmony.” Explaining further, the Minister also states that the “translated book depicts a view of the origin and creation of species that goes against Islamic teachings and is in contravention of the Islamic Materials Censorship Guidelines as well as the beliefs of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah….”

Meanwhile, the English version is allowed because the Home Ministry has “not received any complaints regarding the existence of any infringements of Islamic aspects…” according to the very same guidelines by Jakim.

The explanation by the Home Minister not only makes absolutely no sense, it is also a veritable insult to the intelligence of Malaysians. How can the same book be considered a public danger and against Islamic teachings in one language, but perfectly acceptable in another?

Worse, is the Home Minister also effectively telling Malaysians that knowledge is reserved only for those who are English-literate? Is a Malaysian who can only speak and read in Malay considered not mature enough to make informed decisions? As most people who fall into the latter category are Malays, the question then arises whether there is a deliberate policy to keep Malays ignorant.

Not only is such discrimination abominable, it is also ineffective because books and knowledge can be easily accessed and obtained on the Internet.
Therefore, I call upon the Home Minister to lift restrictions on the sale and distribution of all publications, and to immediately end the intellectual persecution of Malaysians.

Zairil Khir Johari
Member of Parliament for Bukit Bendera
DAP Assistant National Publicity Secretary

(Source)

Banning a book because it upsets certain section of the people is nothing new in this country. And we are not alone on this.

But the thing is, is the book banned on very valid reasons or we ban a book because we don’t understand the subject matter and do not know how to react to it positively? The fact that translated book that has nothing to do with religion is banned in Malaysia on excuse of religion shows how far we are in terms of critical thinking and how much we are exposed to the real world affairs. If that is the case, it sets a dangerous precedent and what happens if other religion resort to the same measures. Hindus don’t eat beef so should they call for a total ban of cow meat into the country? That would be silly, right?

Now, before anyone comes along and say that why the non Muslims are worried about this as the English version is readily made available, think on the long term impact of simply banning Science related books just because it goes against the teaching of Islam

You still remember this?

Parent’s Action Group for English (PAGE) is not giving up on its campaign to get the authorities to allow science and mathematics to be taught in English (PPSMI). Its president, Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim, said the lingua franca of science is English, which is also the language of the internet.

“The government cannot expect students to switch to English (in international fields) effortlessly after learning maths and science in Malay for so long. “Students should start learning science and maths at kindergartens so that they won’t be faced with the problem of language transition to English later,” she said.

(Source)

Mind you, this affects both Muslim and non Muslim students. The shortcomings of teaching science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia instead of English has been numerous, from the lack of teachers able to read and speak proper English (some people simply fear the language and take no initiative to learn) to the lack of reading & technical materials in Bahasa Malaysia (once again, it goes back to non having enough competent people to translate the existing books) and it has come to a point where even the Old Man was restless:-

“The Government is focusing too much on Bahasa Malaysia. The Malays, however, are not experts in science and technology. This kind of knowledge comes from the West and the information is mostly in English,” he added.

Noting that the Government had instead followed the advice of National Laureate Datuk A. Samad Said by reverting to teaching both subjects in the national language, Dr Mahathir said this would only hamper the country’s development.

“He (Samad) only knows about Bahasa Malaysia. He is not a Science man. I am a Science man and I can still speak in Malay,” he pointed out, adding, “This is why I keep talking about it.”

(Source)

Thus, putting the science books (even though translated) under the scrutiny of the religious people will only make things worse. Don’t they know that water and oil will never mix? Same goes for science and religion. In the end, does anyone really cares if the country would be a loser at the end of the day?

As I had said earlier, this leaves me with mixed feelings. I don’t know whether to be angry or feel pity on the fact that one of the more famed books in the study of evolution gets banned just because it does not “conform” to Islamic teachings and it endangers public harmony. What constitutes endanger public harmony anyway? I know a couple of things that also endanger public harmony but nothing had happened.

To some of us, the theory of evolution may just be science fiction but it is also not a myth too. After all, one cannot dismiss the fact that all living creatures and plants in this world is subjected to the process of evolution one way or another.

It was the same case when Galileo came out to tell that the Earth revolves around the Sun and not the other way around. Despite proof, the religious dunggus were only interested on Galileo’s blood (well, not really but he was kept under house arrest nonetheless). At the end of the day, the mainstream science will never conform with religion – there will be some give & take here and there but no one from either side of the view will come and admit that the other view is absolutely right.

This is one reason why you should not mix religion and politics together – you will end up getting dumb decisions. Today they ban the translated The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin but tomorrow, who knows, they may just ban all other translated science books. And once that is done, still unsatisfied, they will even then ban the English books. And the there is no prize for guessing who would be the biggest losers at the end of the day. What then the students would be using for cross reference?

So don’t be surprised, one way we will wake up and realized that the “science” books allowed and available are those written by a small time preacher from a small village deep in Taliban lands and it will anything but science.

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Hudud: 1 country, 2 sets of laws?


2 laws

(Should Islamic law take over precedent over conventional law if the conventional already exist and been applied by the courts of the country? The same case for hudud now. Why not improve on the existing laws and enforce it instead of bringing in another set of law that does not apply to all? Why reinvent the wheel? Cartoon source: The Net)

The issue of hudud have been in the news lately and there have been plenty of statements made in public and by various parties including politicians from both side of the fence, supporting for or opposing the implementation of hudud.

Before anyone starts to jump up & down and argues that the non-Muslims should stay out of it and keep their silence on the issue of hudud since it will only be imposed on the Muslims and nothing further than that, let’s clear our minds for a moment and let’s try to understand why there have been so much objection, noise and comments by the non-Muslims on something that does not affect them in the first place.

An article by Mariam Mokhtar over at FMT may explain this further. It makes a lot of sense and shows that we have a long way to go before we can implement something called hudud which at the end of the day, will affect us all – both Muslims and non Muslims.

Reject hudud before it destroys our lives

How often have Muslim clerics, the National Fatwa Council or the Islamic institutions spoken against corrupt and immoral leaders? How often have they highlighted the injustices, in particular the deaths in custody or the murders of people who are linked to the echelons of power? When did they last criticise people who openly abuse power?

Those of us who oppose hudud do so not because we are anti-Islam but because we do not trust the people who will implement hudud. In Malaysia religious and controversial topics like hudud elicit six responses, all of them unsatisfactory.

First: Those who hate Umno Baru will say, “Bring it on! We want to see hudud being used on Umno Baru ministers and politicians. Let us see how they will cope without limbs!”

This is just wishful thinking. Thinking without any rationality does not help the debate on hudud. No-one in the Umno-Baru elite has been punished for the thousands of injustices perpetrated today, from rapes of maids to “rasuah”, or theft of taxpayers’ money to the taking of lives by powerful people.

Criminals escape punishment not because we have insufficient laws, but because the laws are not enforced and our judiciary is corrupt to the core. Umno-Baru ministers have always escaped punishment. Who honestly thinks that hudud will escape manipulation?

Second: Those who propose the implementation of hudud claim that hudud will result in a crime-free (or relatively low crime) state. Wrong! Which nation under hudud has a low crime rate, negligible rape and no corruption? PAS Kelantan cannot perform miracles.

Corrupt leaders and institutions thrive because the systems to check them, have failed. They fail because the people who should be enforcing them are not trustworthy or have a secret agenda. Once we start to administer laws without fear or favour, crime rates may drop.

Third: If you are a Muslim and you oppose hudud, it means that you are going against Islam. Nothing could be more insulting to any decent God-fearing Muslim. Islam encourages the acquisition of knowledge and encourages debate, but Malay Muslims appear reluctant to engage in intelligent discourse. Why?

In Malaysia, Malay Muslims accept archaic laws or traditional thinking and beliefs without question. Last month a retired judge criticised the presence of large statues at the entrance to the Batu Caves and in Penang. In Egypt, the land of 95% Muslims, few worry about the presence of the Sphinxes.

Kartika Dewi Sukarno was charged with drinking beer in a public place. She was treated like someone who had committed a heinous crime, like murder. The Muslim clergy wanted to make a showcase of her, by punishing her with whipping even though civil laws prevent women from being whipped, in Malaysia.

Soon after, three women were whipped in secret, for having extramarital sex. No details are known of the men. The government was afraid of a backlash like the Kartika case. The three women and Kartika were punished, whereas well-connected people who drink freely, and fornicate in five-star hotels and exclusive clubs in Kuala Lumpur escape scot free.

Fourth: If you are a non-Muslim and you made your views known about hudud as any responsible Malaysian would, some Muslims will attack you and say, “You have no right to comment. You are not even Muslim.”

Another response might be, “You have nothing to fear as you are not Muslim. Hudud will not affect you.” Wrong again! A woman was charged in Penang under syariah law even though she was not a Muslim.

In a recent child conversion case, the father kidnapped his son, even though his former wife, a Hindu, had been given custody of their child. There have been other miscarriages of justice when bodies have been snatched and taken for “Muslim” burial.

Who says that non-Muslims will not be affected by Muslim laws? Hudud will creep into your lives, sooner or later.

Fifth: Some Muslims will say that it is God’s law and Muslims must abide by it. As we have seen, civil or syariah laws have been manipulated by evil, unscrupulous and corrupt men, to suit their own selfish agendas.

One girl I know, was forced into marriage because her neighbour, whose advances she had rejected, accused her of having sex with her boyfriend. She is now a sad divorcee with children, and she freely admits, “We were forced into marriage to avoid humiliation for both our families. We married to avoid a prison sentence, but still had to pay a fine.

“The neighbour was wrong to accuse us and call the moral police. He wrecked our lives. Eventually, we had children and I had to stay at home to look after them. I regret ending my studies and I think my boyfriend resented me. We were both young, but we were wronged.”

Another woman was set up by her husband. He wrongly accused his first wife of infidelity so that he could marry a younger woman. He beat his first wife and she left him. He refused to grant her a divorce, and he will not help with the upkeep of the children. He married in southern Thailand and simply paid a nominal fine, when he returned to Malaysia, for failing to register the marriage and for not seeking the permission of his first wife.

Syariah failed both these women and one doubts if hudud would reduce the discrimination against women, the poor and the marginalised. Several homosexual Muslim men and women lead secret lives in Malaysia or have emigrated. What would happen to them under hudud? Aren’t they God’s creatures, too?

The sixth response is apathy. Yours! The Allah case has divided this nation, because a few men held their tongues. They were afraid to go against one man who had a personal agenda against another party. Speak out now, before hudud destroys our lives.

(Source)

Firstly, there is a valid reason why the non-Muslim are very concerned with the idea of hudud. Yes, it only applies to the Muslims for now but once this is in place and implemented wide spread, what is the assurance that it will not be expended to cover the non-Muslims as well – all in the name of standardisation and to weed out double standards?

It will never happen, you say? Well, think again:-

The drama unfolded when Takiyuddin questioned Md Alwi’s statement to the press outside the House on Wednesday that the PAS-led Kelantan government was inconsistent in banning gambling but allowing non-Muslims to consume and sell alcohol. Takiyuddin said the government had never condoned alcohol consumption in Kelantan as it was against Islamic teachings.

Later, at a press conference outside the house, Md Alwi clarified that the Kelantan government practised double standards. “If they had banned gambling activities they should also ban alcohol consumption for both Muslims and non-Muslims,’’ he said.

(Source)

And this:-

PAS Kelantan State Government should rescind the ban of liquor sale by the Tanah Merah district council ordering coffee shops and restaurants to stop selling alcoholic drinks, including beer and stout and issue a similar directive to all local councils in the state.

It has been reported that the directive, contained in a letter dated August 8 and signed by council secretary Ruslan Hassan was hand-delivered to several Chinese-owned coffee shops and restaurants in the district, giving them a grace period of 15 days to clear their stocks.

(Source)

And this:-

Hair dressing salon operators are learning the hard way that gender segregation rules in Kelantan apply to non-Muslims as well. They have had to pay many summonses for allowing their female workers to cut the hair of non-Muslim male patrons, which they thought was permissible. E-Life Hair Salon manager Ong Lee Ting said she had settled 11 summonses since she opened for business in KB Mall in 2010.

Gender segregation is among the controversial regulations imposed by the PAS state government, which insists that the rule be also observed at supermarket check-outs. The last time Ong went to the local council office to pay a compound, she was told that the licence for the salon would be revoked because of the many summonses issued to the operator.

However, council secretary Mohd Anis Hussein said: “As long as they (the salon owners) pay the compounds, they will be allowed to operate.”

(Source)

And lately this:-

Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) officers allegedly asked two non-Muslim students questions about the Islamic faith as part of a scholarship interview in Sarawak over the weekend.

The students were left speechless after being asked to name the prophets of Islam, the rukun (precepts) of Islamic prayers, and their opinion on the controversial hudud law, among others.

They are now afraid that their inability to answer the questions would affect their applications for university scholarships under the Indigenous People’s Trust Council.

(Source)

What will happen if a Muslim and non Muslim been caught under the same crime? Will they be treated under a different justice system with 2 different outcomes – one jailed for x number of years and another with his limbs amputated? For how long you expect them to be treated under a different justice system with 2 different outcomes before someone comes up and claims double standard and asks for both to have their limbs chopped off?

There are already some morons in this country calling fellow Malaysians infidels just because some of us profess to difference religion and insists on overriding everyone to come up on a Islamic state (where they were all these years when Malaysia is branded as a country with multiple race, religion & culture?). Yes, now they will say that it applies only for Muslims but in the near future, what’s stopping them from asking why the “minority infidels” are not subjected to the same law of the “majority. It is only fair, right? I am sure even then they will chant the mantra “don’t let ‘infidels’ decide on hudud”

Secondly, even though one may argue that hudud only applies to the Muslims, it is part and parcel of the Islamic teaching and is needed to curtail the escalating crime rate, the thing is why we need 2 sets of laws in this country that only creates sheer confusion to all Malaysians – both Muslims and non Muslims alike.

Just take a look at the case of S. Deepa who had won the custody of their two children at the civil High Court, only for someone to come along and kidnap her son:-

The police will not investigate a Muslim father accused of abducting his six-year-old son despite a civil High Court awarding custody to the Hindu mother, the country’s police chief said today. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the father, a Hindu-turned-Muslim who now goes by the name Izwan Abdullah, had also won custody at the Shariah High Court.

Jelebu district police chief Setapa Yusof was reported by The Star daily earlier today saying the police were unable to take action due to the two conflicting court orders.

“As far as we are concerned, we cannot investigate Izwan for abducting his son. We have to respect and obey the orders issued by both courts,” he told The Star yesterday.

(Source)

In the above case, S Deepa does not have any recourse in the Syariah Court simply because she is not a Muslim (thus the case should not have gone to the Syariah Court in the first place) Where is the fairness when only one appears before the court and argues the case. And despite the High Court order came after the Syariah Court’s order and thus should in effect supersedes it (by this definition that the Syariah Court being an inferior court to the High Court) and makes S Deepa the legal guardian of the children, the police had decided upon themselves to say that both orders are valid and both has custody to the same child. So it has ended of who kidnap who first and the police had to look the other way in this case?

But you cannot blame them too – the confusion is there and the Government is keeping its silence on the matter and yet to come out to state the obvious. There is no clear precedent from the various court cases as well. After all, when the Parliament amended the Article 121 of the Constitution that created the Syariah Courts, it is unlikely it wanted the newly created Syariah courts to be in direct conflict with the existing civil courts.

Let’s set aside the issue of confusion for a second and look into the urgency and effectiveness instead.

The thing is, there NEVER been an issue of a serious lack of laws and rules in this country to cover the various offences. We made a wise move by adopting the Englishman’s law (or rather Indian & Australian penal codes) when we got our independence from the British. At least we did not had to create it from the scratch. We did not drop it despite it was the law of a “coloniser”. And despite having the Muslims as the majority back then, we did not opt to instil the Islamic law and choose to do what the Arabs did or go on own way. And over the years, we have repealed some laws, enacted some new ones and strengthened some of the existing ones.

We have always done that and the law had always worked to ensure fair play, justice, better protection and deserving punishments. So why now, there is an urgent need bring in the hudud laws? What is the shortcomings in the civil law that cannot be improved and can only be rectified by implementing hudud laws? And how one can say that hudud will be more effective in curtailing the crime rates than the conventional criminal laws? We need the promoters of the hudud laws to further clarify this. Perhaps they will argue that by chopping one’s hands, this guarantees the criminal will not be able to steal again. Ya, it makes sense but what happens if this person is found guilty due to an error by the witness or framed by someone else or a loophole in the law and only later after various appeals and perhaps new evidence, he was found to be innocent? Can he get back his hands?

Why not instead focus on the current shortcoming of the current civil law? And a large aspect of it boils down to the enforcement of the law. In some cases, a severe case of double standards and selective enforcement of the law. After all, these days, one wrong Facebook post of a politician’s wife could get the police to drop everything and swiftly arrest you. But the similar thing happens for the opposition MP (an elected one), nothing really moves. If the matter is something petty, then why the swift action on former’s case? And if it is the law, then why no action on the latter’s case? You see my point here? If the punishment is not severe enough, why not just amend the existing laws and impose a higher jail terms or whipping by the cane?

As a nation, we are already blundered big time many times over by having different economic policies to different sectors of Malaysians and different education system and political preference based on race, religion and culture, why  strive to disunite the nation even further by having different set of laws for different class of Malaysians? Still striving for developed nation status by 2020? Throw in the lack of enforcement and selective enforcement into the wood works and it will only be bad news for the country. Is this what we want at end of the day?

The non Muslims, frankly speaking, are not against hudud if it is implemented for the Muslims only and it is done fairly and without any bias but unfortunately, they have seen enough to know that it will not be the case. They are wary of the warning – hudud will creep into your lives, sooner or later. They are wary of the overzealous officials in enforcing the Islamic laws and this spilling over to affect the non Muslims (there already too many examples in the state of Kelantan, the very place they want to introduce the hudud laws). They are wary of the those entrusted with the necessary authority to be fair and unbiased when judging the law and applying it in the most equitable way to all Malaysian (such in the case of S. Deepa).

So just, prove to us that it only will apply on Muslims and hudud is being implemented only because there is a serious shortcomings in the current civil laws and we will stop worrying and make a big fuss about it.

Be Outraged But Be Fair Too


ISStoonFNL0924.jpg.cms_

(It is not confined to Islam and Muslims alone. Everyone has a right to protest and be angry if anyone belittle and insults one’s beliefs & faith but there must be a sense of reasonableness and fairness too. Have you done the right things and be fair to others? Image source: http://www.powerlineblog.com)

And whilst I am “enjoying” an assassin-free, revenge shooting news in the morning away from home, here’s something to lighten up your weekend. No matter how far you can be from the beloved “tanah air”, you always be reassured of unfiltered comedy from fellow Malaysians to keep you laughing, at least at the state of the nation that it has come to.

Read this:-

The Malay Consultative Council (MPM) has come to the defence of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in the controversy over his comment on the video showing dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof washing her animals.

MPM chief Hasan Mad said he accepted Muhyiddin’s claim that he had accused “certain parties” instead of “non-Muslims” of having belittled Muslims and their beliefs. Hasan said Muhyiddin’s critics were trying to provoke racial hatred and called on them to desist.

He told a press conference that Muhyiddin, by virtue of his position in government, had the right to issue a warning against those inciting racial disunity. Last week, DAP made a police report calling on the authorities to investigate Muhyiddin for sedition following the publication of reports quoting him as saying non-Muslims were insulting Islam.

Taman Segamat DAP chief Yew Jar Haur, who lodged the report, said police should be as quick to arrest Muhyiddin as they were in arresting Maznah. Muhyiddin has since then clarified that he has been misreported in the media, stating that he had not specifically targeted the non-Muslims, or Maznah.

However Hasan said Muhyiddin had a duty to issue warnings against attempts to belittle and insult Islam, alleging that this was becoming a trend in Malaysia. He said he had proposed to the government to set up a rehabilitation centre for Malaysians caught in attempts to spread religious or racial hatred. This would be better than using the court system against offenders, he added.

Hasan announced that MPM had formed a task force to look for seditious tendencies in the speeches and remarks of figures from the parliamentary opposition. “At the same time, we also urge the opposition leaders to come forward and work together in creating peace, stability and harmony within the country,” he added. The task force has 12 permanent members, including retired politicians, policemen, judges and businessmen.

(Source)

Apparently whilst the rest of the country (amidst the various shootings) has been spending the month of Ramadan in patience and full of reverence and minding their own business, there have been attempts to belittle and insult Islam. And apparently too, such belittling and insult had become a “trend”. And when a politician was reported – opps, sorry, was misquoted to have blamed this new “trend” on the non-Muslims, it has been all easily accepted and forgiven.

And if the same politician now accuses “certain parties” instead of “non-Muslims” (or even Maznah) of having belittled Muslims and their beliefs, then who are these mysterious “certain parties” then? Why these people have not been named and hauled up for sedition?

Oh wait, they did – no doubt that some of them like the 2 sex-bloggers have indeed been hauled up for their insensitive and disrespectful gesture against the religion & culture but does this one or two rare moment “sheer dumbness” can readily be deemed as a “trend”? And since this notion of belittling Muslims and their beliefs somehow escalated with the video of the dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof (a Muslim herself) bathing her dogs on Raya, it’s best to ponder on Captain D.Swami’s “To All Dicks Out There” post:-

Chetz is a good person and she has never, not once, said anything against her faith and religion. To think that a harmless video made over three years ago is being dredged up now, makes one wonder why? Why now? And is the video so offensive that it warrants death threats?

And on a larger scale, this:-

Days after the Miss Malaysia World 2013 beauty contest debacle broke, it was the turn of dog lover, Maznah Mohd Yusof to face the wrath of the sanctimonious men from the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi). Maznah is correct to stand her ground. She has done nothing wrong. Rational thinking Muslims were not insulted.

Jawi claims that there is a long-standing fatwa against the participation of Malay girls in beauty contests. Most people are not aware that a fatwa is just an opinion or guide, to how one should lead one’s life as a good Muslim. Only under syiah rule can a fatwa become a law, without first being debated in, and enacted by parliament.

This ban may have instilled a bitter resentment in Malays, just as the deep sense of betrayal in the non-Malays over the race-based policies they face in everyday life.

(Source)

Coming back to Maznah’s case, this in fact warrants the question who is really belittling the Muslims and their belief? Maznah or the sick & short minded people who dragged the 3 years old video from no-where into the limelight and making a mountain out of a molehill? Are they using the religion as a basis for something more sinister? After all, it is well know that treading on something sensitive as religion, culture or race will make anyone to lose their sense of intelligence and reasonableness.

What have been done so that there is very little room for anyone to belittle the Muslims and their beliefs? MPM is proposing that the government to set up a rehabilitation centre (I hope it will be a place of education and enlightenment and not a place of brain-wash and forced feeding) for Malaysians caught in attempts to spread religious or racial hatred. They claim that it would be “better” than using the court system against offenders. To be fair, that is a very good idea but why it sounds like it is another excuse to be unfair and as a tool to prosecute the non-Muslims and the oppositions?

And why set-up a task force to look for seditious tendencies in the speeches and remarks of figures only from the parliamentary opposition? What about the BN parliamentary members and politicians themselves? Are you saying that the “other” side has not been guilty of having the same seditious tendencies in the speeches and remarks of figures all these years? You only need to dig Dr M’s past statements up to get a truckload of seditious remarks. Why wasn’t a similar task force set up back then? So why the sudden biasness? After all, seditious tendencies in this country fly both ways and no matter who uttered it or in which manner it was uttered, seditious statement is seditious nonetheless – even the person is DPM.

It is indeed a comedy when you think about it. Have a good weekend and enjoy the back to work after holiday rush next week.

Did You Get The Message?


“If we have listening ears, God speaks to us in our own language, whatever that language is.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Read these posts first:-

(I have said this before and I will say it again – all you need is mutual respect on each others beliefs, culture and religion and we can get along just fine no matter what happens. Image source: http://www.ausgamers.com)

Read this:-

The 25-year old youth is being probed under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act and Section 298 (a) of the Penal Code for deliberately making statements to hurt the religious sentiments of another. Gopinath was alleged to have insulted Islam last week, which prompted several social media users to create the ‘Kami Benci Gopinath Jayaratnam’ page. The page currently has 5,529 followers.

Yesterday, Gopinath’s home in Taman Klang Jaya was attacked by several men, who destroyed furnitures and damaged his car. No one was injured in the attack as Gopinath and his family was not at home.

A group calling itself Jemaah Fisabilillah Klang said it masterminded the attack and even posted on the Kami Benci Gopinath Jayaratnam’s page that they would track down Gopinath’s family.

(Source)

And missing from the police’s list was this:-

A few years back, Shah Kirit was caught when his video came out in the public. In the video, he was speaking in a closed forum ridiculously explaining and insulting Hindu religion to the core and making sexual remarks about Hindu gods.

When the video came out, Shah Kirit apologized to the public, and despite numerous police reports against him, he was never caught. Tell me my Muslim brothers, if someone is to insult your religion like in this video, will you ever forgive him?

(Source)

It is claimed that there are about 4,200 different religion in this world.

When it comes to religion, some people sometimes (some all the time) do not keep in mind that the issue itself is very sensitive and in the history of mankind, minor sparks (cartoons included) have caused violent demonstrations, major conflicts and tragedies. And it sometimes creeps into absurdity too – no, not the religion itself but on how weak some a##holes conduct themselves with the religious issues (the fact that it is creeping to the young minds seems to be worse of the worse). Just imagine if each followers of the 4,200 religion start to hurl damaging statements at each other.

(Eddie Griffin’s simple and yet powerful message when it comes to religion – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Think about it for a second. Does it make a lot of sense than some religious zealots shouting that my God is better than your God? )

The law concerning religion hatred and slurs no doubt has to be fair and need to be enforced fairly on all who insult any religion but at the same time, let’s ask a more serious personal question – how will one attacking another’s faith & beliefs makes one own religion look and sound better?

Does your own religion (any religion) or your karma get cookies points whenever you “score” an insult on another’s religion? Absolutely not! Your religion (or faith or belief, whichever you want to name it) or your karma scores cookies points (if any) when you talk well about your own religion and do not make any cross reference to others and in the end, walk the talk. Do goodness to others, do charity to the well-deserving, do sincere kindness to all regardless of race & culture and at the end be humble.

But once you start to insult others (no matter was the excuse is), the situation can quickly escalate to worse and before you know it, it will be a tit for a tat. One insult another’s religion, the person insults back (without thinking much) and others gets angry (often in high emotion) and goes to do more damages and this goes on and on. When does this madness stop? What happens when there is no else to be insulted?

After all, what is religion and what is the underlying message?

To many it means many things but the underlying message has to be something positive, laced with love for fellow human and mutual respect and I know that no religion in this world will profess its followers to say anything and act in bad faith or bad intention. No religion in this world had professed that you need to kill or harm others in order for you to spread the religion. Whatever you say or do is between you and God and not to be manipulated to be imposed on others.

This is one of the reasons I don’t usually go to temples – the only time I am “forced” to go is when my wife wants to go too (or when I know I can get good parking spots). My reason of going to temples is simple – I am going to have my moment with God in an atmosphere that is calm, peaceful and conducive. I want to have a heart to heart talk with Him. If I am going to a place that is crowded with people, the queue (in front of the altar) is long & you have wait your turn, waiting hours (for prayers) are long due to the crowd, impression that my prayers becomes “invalid” because I don’t say or do something prescribed by the priests or the priests are more interested on how much collection that is coming for the day (usually during the “special” prayers), forget about it – I rather stay and pray at home. I know God can hear me even though I don’t say anything or I don’t chant anything that sounds exotic. At the end of the day, it is just between me and Him.

Let’s not escalate the seeds of disunity in the country further with attacks on each others religion & faith (we do not add this to the on-going delicate racial issue). Don’t be dumb, don’t be naive too – the world is not made of one race or one religion. There are millions of people in this world who practice a different faith from you and for them, their religion is true and well. If you don’t agree with this, well it is just too bad. Spending time and resources to claim the other religions are false and untrue is pointless and a gross waste of time. The sooner you appreciate the situation, the sooner we put aside the difference and be true to our own faith.

Remember, the underlying message of the day is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and not “my religion is better than yours”.

Here We Go Again!


I really wonder whether we will ever cross the finishing line to be a developed country if highly political and seditious matters are played on public grounds on regular basis, turning one Malaysian against another based on hearsays, political hidden agendas and highly charged emotions.

(It is ok to fight for one’s religion and beliefs but it should be a fight for the betterment of the mankind and not be used for political means. Image source: http://sathyasaibaba.wordpress.com)

It used to be the crosses on some cookies or the logo on a famed football club or “Christian” names on some schools.

Frankly, I do not know which of this is more serious – a sickening criminal who been going around splashing acid on innocent people whom victims included young students and a year old baby OR the rumors that has been going on that there are certain people in this country wanting to make Christianity as the official religion of this country.

In the case of the acid splasher, the frightening thing of the matter has been this – about 20 people has been splashed with acid todate (one with severe burns that almost blinded her left eye) but the police yet to gain any lead to catch this maniac. Unfortunately the attention of the nation as at now seems to be lying on the other case of stupidity in the horizon. It is rather reckless of the mainstream media to have published this news which even if it is true in one’s wildest imagination, should have been left to the police to investigate and prosecute.

There is a danger that whoever reads the unsubstantiated story in the newspaper may construe it wrongly and may make decisions based on emotions rather than informed facts.

Still remember the 9 churches which were burned down last year over the “Allah” fiasco? Despite having a court order granting the use of the word “Allah” and that too after 2 years legal due process, Malaysia ended seeing the uglier side of religion extremists. After all, no one in their right mind and with strong religion convictions would burn down another’s place of religion.

The parties involved have denied the allegations and even called the reporting as “playing dangerous politics”. Now both sides have made police report and the police will soon have to use it’s already stretched resources to investigate this – valuable resources that could have been better utilized to do other things such as catch the acid splasher. But what happens if the police have investigated and that the claim by the newspaper is not true. Then what happens – will the blogger and the newspaper who published the allegations be made responsible for their actions?

Let’s trace back to 2006 where there was allegations via SMS in the State of Perak that 600 Muslim students is going to be converted into Christianity – apparently started by the Mufti of Perak himself based on hearsays. No doubt, pandemonium broke out and the church was soon surrounded by angry Muslim protestors. Thankfully the police was at hand to keep things in control and in the end, the SMS was found to be untrue. The Mufti disclaimed responsibility by saying he relied on someone else for the source of the allegations and he did not really investigated the truthfulness of the allegations but continued to spread the news to others. Read further here.

There seems to be a similar chain of events here – allegations made and picked up by someone who deemed to have some sense of responsibility (in this case, Government controlled mainstream media).

But the question that arises – can Christianity really be made as the national religion as claimed by the newspaper? Is it really that easy to change the constitution? Can the Christians gain enough seats in the Parliament to even have the votes to make the change? The truth of the matter is it will not happen – not now and certainly not in the near future. Islam will remain the national religion of Malaysia and everyone including the Christians has acknowledged this.

Malaysiakini as mentioned in LKS quotes:-

Renowned constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari has dismissed Utusan Malaysia’s article on a supposed conspiracy to make Christianity Malaysia’s official religion as “ridiculous”.

“Constitutionally it is just illogical. It cannot happen, just impossible. Even if Pakatan controlled hundred percent of the Dewan Rakyat.

“Remember that the Senate which has similar powers to the lower house when it comes to constitutional amendments, is not under their control as some of the senators belong to Umno-BN.”

He argued that technically the upper house can block the amendment passed by the Dewan Rakyat. Abdul Aziz contended that the provisions on the subject matters – monarchy, Islam and the Malays – are simply beyond the ordinary political process.

So, even if there were calls for change of the national religion and to have a Christian PM as purported by the newspaper – it is not going to happen for a fact. Christians simply do not have the numbers to make it happen (remember there is still the Buddhists, Hindus and others that they need to content with). So, why the big concern of this in the newspaper and in the blogsphere? Why now?

At this juncture, I have to agree with the former PM’s contention that the current Federal Government has gone weak. But I disagree that the Government is weak due to not having the two-third majority. It is certainly not. It is weak because it failed to act on both ends – act against accusers who spread lies and allegations and act fast against the accused and investigate the truthfulness of the allegations. It has become a Government who put their foot down for the wrong reasons.

Certainly somewhere in our journey after gaining our independence 54 years ago, we have gotten our priorities wrong. No wonder we still have a maniac with acid on the loose. I pray that sanity will soon return to our “Bolehland” in the next few days.

Read Also

Islam Under Attack? What about Christians?

Where have we gone wrong?

1Malaysia Deepavali?


This year, I “celebrated” my Deepavali overseas again due to work assignment – I am kind of getting used it (that is worrying).

(Still the best Deepavali ad ever! It was funny, direct to the point and made us think for a second on the meaning of Deepavali)

An interesting letter on this year’s Deepavali’s ads:-

The TV advertisement of 1Malaysia promotion by Finas in RTM/TV3/Astro during Deepavali this year is inundated with encouraging religious conversion of Hindus to Islam. It shows how a Hindu youth married to Muslim girl can still celebrate Deepavali with his parents.

The boy’s family is initially hostile to his Muslim conversion but accepts him after the birth of his children. Anyone who marries a Muslim in Malaysia must convert to Islam and this fact is hidden in this advertisement. This deliberately hiding of facts is mischievous and misleading to the Hindu viewers.

It leads the viewers into the belief that religious conversion may be hostile in the beginning but will be accepted upon the birth of children into the family. Finas is silently misleading Hindu youths into religious conversion as part of the 1Malaysia campaign.

The girl who is married to this convert refuses to eat food cooked by Hindu family until she is assured that the food is cooked by another Muslim. This episode only depicts that the Hindus are inferior to Muslims that they can’t eat food cooked by Hindus… not halal I suppose.

(Source)

I did not have the chance of seeing Deepavali ads over our local TV until I saw one from Finas that shows the above mentioned ad on the night I came back to Malaysia.

At first I thought Finas was doing a fast “Yasmin Ahmad” like ad (we miss her a lot) but in the end, I did not understand the message that the ad was trying to portray. Perhaps to show that the neighbour is kind enough to come to the rescue by making “halal” breakfast for the Indian family on Deepavali first morning? Perhaps it is a message of understanding and forgiveness – after all, the family is “reunited” after the birth of the first grandchildren? Perhaps it is a new concept of movie making in 1Malaysia and that is why I am a bit lost on this (perhaps it was the jet-lag too).

Seriously whilst I am all out for Bangsa Malaysia and don’t mind on the issue of a convert wanting to be with the family for Deepavali (ya, forget that the conversion issue is in a big mess in Malaysia but seriously, in the ad, it was touching), the ad could be done with better storyline .

Why show that the girl refuses to eat until it was assured that it was not cooked by the in-laws? What happen to the concept of open house in Malaysia? What happened to trusting each other? No one brought their own food to open house before. Instead of being an ad with a good message, it ended up as being an insensitive, message between the lines ad.

I just wonder, don’t we have any better story for Deepavali ads? Or whatever talent we had, died with the demise of the late Yassim Ahmad?

Read Also

10 Reasons to Celebrate Deepavali

Man U & Islam


(The famous Red Devils’ logo – Image source: http://www.montrealgazette.com)

First it was the cookies, and then it was on yoga and now the football shirts? It looks like we have highly paid (with our money) civil servants with too much free time at their disposal.

I am not a Muslim and do not wish to indulge with any guidelines that may be issued by the authorities for the Muslims in Malaysia but then again, certain guidelines given does put Malaysia and Malaysians as whole in a strange, strange situation in the eyes of the international community.

Manchester United football shirts have been banned in parts of Malaysia because the image of the famed red devil is forbidden in Islam.

Muslim leaders ruled that images on football shirts of crosses, alcohol brands and devils are an insult to Allah and should not be worn.

Manchester United is a hugely popular brand in the Muslim-majority country and the club’s summer tour last year included two games against a Malaysia XI played in front of capacity 40,000 crowds.

Other football shirts deemed unacceptable include Brazil, Portugal, Serbia, Barcelona and Norway because their crests all carry images of a cross. “There is no excuse for wearing such garments because it means, as a Muslim, you are idolising the symbol of another religion,” said Datuk Nooh Gadot, the Mufti of Johor state.

The Mufti of Perak, Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria, said that Muslims wearing such football shirts “leads to a path of sin”.

(Source)

I believe that at end of the day, it all depends on how strong is your belief. As my Muslim friend once said – it is between you and God and not on what others says as right or wrong.

I have friends who have done all kind of nonsense in their life and yet, at the end of the day, their belief in their religion is strong as ever. They are kind, unbiased, helpful, forward thinking and rationale.

And speaking on Manchester United (sorry, I am not a fan, he he), they have “been” in Malaysia for almost 20 years now and no one spoke of anything till now. So, what prompted the latest guidelines on the football shirts?

It does get strange, does it?