Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Remarks in Ramadhan on a Matter of Regime Change

Turmoil is now the key word in Malaysia. It is ideological, economic, social, cultural and religious conflicts from the turnings of the marionettes plaguing the nation into becoming yet another country in the world that’s stricken.

When cleavages occur in those five areas of society it is in the order of history to demand of such a society for liberty, equality, fraternity or let the nation die - ou la morte!

Old institutions have been replaced in the transition from the agricultural society to the industrial. New institutions have been mauled by power and corruption.

Islam Unbecoming

Islam had been stifling for ages in the Malay world. It kills ideas and initiatives. Books deemed disagreeable by the mullahs were and are still banned.

We were born a democracy with rights. But in the 54 years that have passed we have instead been laden by dozens of draconian laws in addition to the Islamic baggage, making the country more of a dictatorship by the ruling elite.

In the long playing contest for resources deduced by a couple of thinkers into a Clash of Civilizations, Malaysia has finally come to read positive after the Muslim authorities insist on passing more humiliating laws and regulations in recent years.

These demanded Muslims must attend one-day courses before they can marry, the course worth currently RM80 each. Those who have divorced must undergo a course for three-months and pass an examination on how to conduct a lasting matrimony before they would be allowed to marry again. But you are free to marry four wives at any one time. Try thinking.

Trouble is about shift-workers and the likes of lorry drivers who must lose job or income to attend the courses. When asked, religious administrators simply say as they do about the punitive laws of Islam, i.e. you don't have to worry if you don't break the law. So, don't divorce, ever! Try thinking!

The Malays who had built great empires in the Hindu-Buddhist period and reputed to have produced more than 70 percent of the world GDP in those times had been reduced to patented subjugates under an Islam that enriched the Arab and Gujerati traders.

Industrially, since the arrival of Islam, the Islamised Malays in the whole of the peninsular produced not much more than the rehal (Quran stand) and the tombstones. Do you need Islamic law and judiciary to protect and enhance that?

Why did the Malays faithfully subscribe to such an innane religious regime will remain a question few can claim to have half of an answer. Said Professor of Education, Isahak Haron, more than 90 pefcent of the Malays do not understand what they recite in their daily prayers which they do in Arabic.

But that does not answer the tolerance to abuse of such order.

People who stood up have been made to face wild allegations, like former Mufti of Perlis, Dr. Mohamed Asri, who was reported to the National Security Council as someone with links to terrorists. Is that enough to put the Malays down to the ground in an infirm obeisance forever?

In the meantime Malay society has transited into a gender roles reverse. Women account for about 70 percent of enrolments in colleges and universities suggesting Malay men should be getting ready to become house-husbands, something unthinkable to conservative Muslims

Christians are denied the right to distribute Malay translations of the Bible or the Gospels, the whole of which is available in the Internet in Indonesian, making it a lot of ado over actually nothing.

Christians are also legally forbidden from using an assortment of words including the Name of God, “Allah”, and the word “Qur’an”.

The Christian-Muslim clash has now become critical, coming in the guise of an interaction of forces gilded from the plebeian and leading to the making of religious corruption, conceit and deceit to sustain a rotting regime of crony capitalism and shared power.

It is a parody of the truth and of justice. This is an indictment, recalling Mukhtar Lubis in his Senja Di Kota Jakarta (Twilight Over Jakarta).

The result is distrust, distaste and disillusionment, a riot of strong colors that brings in alienation and a certain social breakdown.

In the ensuing anomie is a curious phenomenon. Youths, especially Malay youths, splash acid on people, blinding some and disfiguring the faces of many. It is a clear sign of social disintegration.

Some Malays had been in the habit of poisoning friends and strangers during the colonial era, like there was little other means to secure their self-esteem that has been dying under the colonial yoke. It was called santau and which began reappearing about a decade ago.

Then, year after year when the success had changed the skyline of
Kuala Lumpur and Umno delegates would be housed in the four and five-star hotels to attend the party general-assembly, these leading lights of the Malays would vandalize the rooms leaving behind carnage. It was obviously to inform how they feel about the opulence.

From 2004 Umno delegates in the party supreme council elections openly sold their votes.

The corruption in the party had gotten to its core.

The mischief had been afoot once again. These are behaviors of social disintegration we are talking about.

The Malays became divided and in a forum on 23 August 2011, the well-known Mufti of Perak, Tan Sri Harussani, straightforwardly said there were three reasons the Malays were divided, (i) Prime Minister Najib’s government is weak, (ii) the government is without integrity and (iii) the government is corrupt.

Financial Turmoil

In the face of the financial and economic turmoil that is expected to reach deeper than ever in 2012, nothing is there to guarantee Malaysia a safe passage through the turbulence.

The wakes of the American currency and financial crises and the European sovereign funds crises have started to impact. The morrow is in a very dark cloud.

A divided house as dreadful as this cannot, by any fluke, hold the house of cards before a gale. But what’s coming is a super typhoon.

Prime Minister Najib’s mega projects are now surrounded by high food prices, a property bubble that cannot last a year before it bursts and it litters the streets with instant bankrupts and the critical loss of confidence in the custodians of the law and of order.

In a Malaysian society that is divided into two sets of laws and judiciaries – the secular and the Islamic - it will, as a necessity of history, cause widespread confusion and needlessly enlarging the middle ground with the bewildered.

Alienation is not a new tune to hum. It was sang aloud in the social dances of numbers written down as The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fannon in about the middle of the 20th century and by Victor Hugo, as Les Miserable, a century earlier.

These books were necessary readings in the book-lists that issued from the desk of Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Bin Hussain, who was architect of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in the early 1970s.

The NEP aimed to eradicate poverty and to restructure society to make it possible for the diversity in Malaysia to finally blend into a single identity, a single people, sharing a common heritage and aiming for a common destiny.

But if in Hugo’s Les Miserable the financial crisis Louis XVI caused had turned French society into a simple parasitical state in which the Church, the Nobility and the Workmen made the rest of the people pay for their sustenance and expenses, the same parasitic syndrome of a house divided by an artificially constructed social stratification recurs right here in Malaysia in the 21st century.

The difference is in the fact that in the present phenomenon some make it outright brigandage and these blatantly loot.

It is not about the predatory of colonial regimes. It is a looting by the dint of a capricious alchemy of power and quick riches obtainable by the application of corruption, conceit and wanton abuses by the natives upon their own kinds.

More and more people do not and cannot see eye to eye with the Muslim authorities. In numbers we are easily more than 70 percent of the population. This will surely lead to a final breakdown of Malay and Malaysian societies.

In the constitutional, institutional, cultural, structural and religious conflicts values have and continue to grow upside down, beginning at the top and rotting at the core.

Politicians took over water catchments in the hills to build palatial holiday villas. Others of lesser quantities showed their privileges by having the authorities convert parts of playing fields or recreational reserves into plots for residential bungalows.

In banks the small persons will have to wait six months for a loan of RM 2,000 to be processed and approved knowing a single loan of RM400 million had been approved in a day and by a phone call from the politically weighty.

Unpaid, the RM400 million is mysteriously written off, the latest such maneuver amounting to RM 13 billion, a tidy sum, of course.

In the society it’s not what you know but who you know that counts. Meritocracy becomes blankly a wasting humor. The people feel themselves betrayed.

In that setting sun 85 percent of projects meant for the poorer among the Malays and the Bumiputeras (natives) leaked into the hands of non-Malay tycoons and entrepreneurs. Most Malay contractors and licencies simply sold off contracts and licences given to them.

In the meantime predominantly Malay bureaucracy had long been purchased and the policies of Tun Razak bent beyond breaking point, bastardized, as it were, into a mad mongrel.

Money did not flow downwards. Most of it kept going up, up and away, like the takeoff of Captain Marvel and then some of it may come back to go sideways.

In the industrial and cosmopolitan transition some young workers working away from home and living 20 to a small house became pregnant and threw newly born babies alive into rubbish bins or left them to die under bushes.

The Muslim community bore no compassion for the unmarried mothers. It was adultery conclusively proven by the delivery of the little lives and the mothers must be punished.

The fathers got away, adultery being a crime that must be seen by four immaculate male witnesses or no crime had taken place in Islamic law.

Monseigneur, thiz iz impozzibly wicked!

Senor, vive le difference! It is the way of Almighty God.

It iz clever of you not to menzion the name of Allah, Monseigneur.

I know my world Senor. Here in Malaysia I, as a servant of the Church, a servant of the people and of God, am forbidden by law to use the Name “Allah” and a host of other Islamic terms including “Qur’an”, “Jannat”, Hadith etc. etc..

Monseigneur, you are lucky. Elzewhere in the world you can get yourzelf a death penalty for menzioning the same words. They will charge and sentence you to death for blasphemy!

Senor, you have endangered yourself for to tell me that, and I am a Christian, you may be hanged for the same offence you warn me of.

It is Catch 22 and yet, in the frothing of the lark a Malay doctor having marital problems sent his children for safe-keeping to the Christians several days ago. He will not trust the Muslim half-way houses, if there are any, that is.

He can be put in jail for three years or fined RM5000 or be punished by both for doing what he did.


A Christian woman had been sentence to death in Pakistan for blasphemy. The Governor of Punjab, a Muslim who stood up for her, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards.

A Christian member of President Asif’s cabinet (Christians form the largest minority in Pakistan. They are 1.6% of the population or 2.8 million souls in 2008) had also been killed.

It has been a stretch of worldwide high and deadly emotions.

An attack on the Coptic Church in Alexandria killed 21 on the eve of the New Year (2011).

Four months before a church in Baghdad was the target. It is happening where Jews, Christians and Muslims share the same shrines of the Abrahamic religions and could be seen praying side-by-side and together even.

In Syria the writer had found himself praying side-by-side with a Nestorian (Suriani) woman at the sepulcher of Prophet Zakaria in Allepo (Halab). It’s the same Zakaria who was guardian and master of the occultation of Mary, Mother of Isa (Jesus).

At the mosque of Yunus (Jonah) in Nineveh (Mosul, Iraq) there would be Jews, Christians and Muslims praying under the same roof.

The Marionettes

But now the marionettes are dancing to a different tune in the game of numbers (see Deuteronomy). The reaches of the game had lanced Indonesia in Maluku, in Jakarta and in Poso (Sulawesi).

In Mindanao the fighting had started more than 300 years before, during the colonization by the Spaniards. It continued sporadically from that time and will not end given the scanty peace efforts and the new religious zeal.

The present stretch of religious violence worldwide had been triggered from the event of September 11 in New York.

Then, as it seemed possible that the torments and the lamentations of September 11 will soon disappear, the world was bloodied beyond the recognition of the mind by a Norwegian.

He said he belonged to the Knights Templars.

Salahuddin the Great routed them a little distance from Nazareth during the Crusades. One escaped.

Religions should have been, at least from the beginning of the 21st century, better equipped with the open-mind. But that has been rendered futile apparently. Only do not give up! We still have President Obama in the US as a moderator.

Les Morte

A nation and society cannot survive serious cleavages occurring in the fields of politics, economics, culture, demography and religion all at once.

If it is agreed Malaysia has gotten there, while the powerful would wish to suspend Parliament and use the Emergency Ordinances to rule by decree, the route out of it is to resume the revolutionary cry for Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, ou le morte (or death)!

Change will have to be prescribed urgently. The ruling Barisan Nasional will possibly lose all states in the peninsular other than Pahang, Johor and Melaka.

The rest depends on the peoples of Sabah (32 ethnic groups) and Sarawak (30 ethnicities), who have become more important than ever before.

Prepare to incubate the new Malaysia with every tribe and every occupational group represented as a beginning of proportional representation, a means to secure freedom and fairplay. This is a democracy with a Bill of Rights. Adios Amigo! --- a. ghani ismail, 23 August, 2011


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