Monday, February 1, 2010



Instead of flooring Najib Tun Razak’s One Malaysia in the attempt to sabotage Malaysian racial harmony, it is Anwar Ibrahim that’s down, his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) gasping for breath in the aftermath of the Christian demand to call the Trinitarian Godhead and the figure of Jesus Christ by the name of Allah.

The caper that has caused the desecration of several churches and mosques in the country would go down in history as a crude attempt to cause sectarian riots.

While it will be seen as a Christian oversight of fundamental Malaysian goodwill, the fact Anwar had quickly given his approval to the Church’s right to use the simple word has caused a net loss of respect and confidence in the man who had once led the country’s Muslim youths and gained for himself an image as a peerless leader.

As the excitement settles after the rabble aggressions on churches, mosques and one Gudhwara (Sikh Temple), Anwar is seen going on a road-show dropping the name of Yusuf Qaradhawi to support his position that the Christians should be free to use the term “Allah”.

It is inane. The trouble that brewed is not about the freedom to use that term “Allah”, which means “The God”, or simply the one God.

Anwar and the Christian Church must know the trouble stems from the constitutions of both the Federation and of the states and not in any Christian-imagined “Muslim Terrorism” that has been oppressing and persecuting Christians in Malaysia the way some would like the world to believe.

The constitutional “Islamic laws” are, in fact, Undang-Undang Raja (The King’s Law) issuing from the division of powers that was carried through from the British Intervention beginning in 1874.

Religion and Malay Customs became the sole prerogative of the Malay rulers and it was this power division that was drawn by a series of Acts and constitutional amendments into the serious complication that gave Malaysia two sets of laws and two judiciaries, one for the Malay-Muslims and the other for everyone.

Hence, there are laws and there are institutions that separate the Malays from other Malaysians by religious identities. These would need to be reviewed and possibly revised before One Malaysia would be realizable.

Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, or anyone else as premier, would need a little time to bring these incongruent matters to focus.

Needed is a panel of experts empowered to slap the Reid’s Commission and Constitution on the surgical table and to work on the body of histories in them until we can breathe easy and aspire towards a smoother passage to change, modernization, development and integration as we get ready for the Asean Union.

Anyone with a meager reading of politics and administration can tell that no central government can work with a given set of powers that can intervene and intercept the chain of command.

What had happened in several states at the end of the previous premier’s tenure was a loud distress signal that the central authority had been intercepted after several Menteri Besar (Chief Ministers) were chosen by the rulers (monarchs) who set aside Abdullah Badawi’s (Pak Lah) choices for the CEO in three states.

The central leadership and authority so weak, the state authorities worked overtime to display their extraordinary powers and the result is the renewed and wonderful assertiveness in the tug-of-war between the states and the center.

The religious departments grabbed bodies of dead converts, hold for years in rehabilitation centers young Muslims who ate in public during the fasting month (Ramadhan) or who were caught buying lotteries, and whipped or sent to prison those caught drinking beer.

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the failed dictator, had tried to place the state’s power over religion under a federal umbrella. He hoisted a federal Islamic Fatwa Council and then pushed through the constitutional amendment we know as 121. 1(A) in 1988.

That amendment effectively turned Malaysia into a nation of two sets of laws and two separate judiciaries, his daughter, Marina, once ranted at as leading to apartheid.

Mahathir and his minions had agreed it would need a “strongman” to run a Malaysia that’s ridden by such a nasty manner of divide-and-rule, himself averse to being called “dictator”, but happy with the nom de guerre of “strongman”.

But he was not altogether strong. Over and over again during his tenure the Press had to blitz against the actions of the religious departments to warn the religious authorities of what can lie ahead should they persist to satisfy their appetites for power by abusing civil and human rights.

In Malaysia the constitution does not allow the Malays the right of conscience. A Malay is not even allowed to marry outside his district of domicile. He must attend a day’s course on marriage for RM80 before “qualifying” to be married. Saying in court he is no longer a Muslim will put him into custody for contempt of Islam.

These are not Islamic laws. These are issued from the powers of the Raja (monarch) and it needs to be known that in some understandings of Islamic Law (Shariah), the laws of the monarch (hukum raja) are accepted as a legitimate component of the Shariah as are customary laws (hukum adat).

The Malaysian Archbishop should have known this before he applied to the court for redress against the ban on using the word “Allah” for the Christian God.

It isn’t at all a Christian-alone fight. It should never have been a Christian-alone struggle.

As Lim Kit Siang had observed, the Muslims themselves are oppressed by these laws. Pas lawmaker, Khalid Samad, described them as “out-of-date”.

What would be the effects of these laws and regulations when Asean becomes a Union? Are the religious authorities in the states and in the Federal Territories serious about imposing these laws in an Asean Union which will be reality by or around 2025?

It had been indeed a crude attempt to sabotage Malaysian racial harmony, and at a time when Malaysia lost RM 115 billion in her foreign reserves within a few months, her exports marginally receding and internally the government had had to apply austerity that cut 30 percent of departmental budgets in some cases.

Anwar's Sodomy II Trial begins tomorrow.

The events could not have chosen a worse time to happen. But somehow the people stayed calm and composed through the spate of church and mosque desecrations. There was no tension at all wherever I went. There were merely expectations.

Anwar Ibrahim, who was prompt in his approval of the Christian caper, was soon in dire political distress. It is about this person that a lot of people are talking, mainly wishing to see the end of his political career and the demise of his party, the PKR.

It is certain a lot of people have had enough of Anwar’s wanderings in a wilderness of his own making. Anwar is mainly and essentially a rabble-rouser, they say.

The man had hallucinated about taking over the federal government by September 16, 2008 and today, which is the 1st of February 2010, it looks possible it is his party that shall soon lose three Members of Parliament in a beginning of total recall of a party born as a living dead in 1999.

Should it happen, the Barisan Nasional (BN) would only need eight more to regain the two-third majority in Parliament that Pak Lah caused the coalition to lose on 8 March 2008.

In Penang PKR lawmakers are taking on the Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng, which can lead to the breakdown of the Pakatan. ----a. ghani ismail, 1st Feb. 2010

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