Monday, January 18, 2010

A Malaysian Dilemma

Hantu Laut

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is on the threshold of his biggest challenge so far.The 'Allah' controversy has given him huge setback for his 1 Malaysia concept.

Up till the inter faith crisis broke the news he has recovered some lost ground and moving into positive territory until the explosive issue of the use of 'Allah' by Christians blew wide open the Pandora's box.

If anything to go by, the controversy has not endeared all Muslims toward UMNO.Far from it, the issues have actually split the Muslims right down the middle and inflicted deep fissures in the hearts and minds of non-Muslims particularly Christians.PAS, took a mollified approach to the issue saying Christians are allowed to use it.

A double-whammy for the ruling party which could have been avoided if more care had been taken in handling the case without resorting to judicial proceedings.Being the bigger person Najib should have called for dialogue with the Christians brothers to reach an amicable solution.Instead, the government used strong arm tactic to deal with the problem.If he had stood his ground against the opportunists and war lords in his party and give what best for the people he wouldn't be in such a malady.All his efforts of bringing Malaysians together again is going up in smoke.

The days of gung-ho politics are over.No matter how bitter the pill is it's time to embrace the wishes of the masses.The politics of cowing and emotional manipulation are long gone.Many Malaysians,disillusioned with the arrogance of the powers that be, now believe changing of the guards seems to be the only solution.

The 'Allah' issue has given Pakatan a big boost in supports, especially, from non-Muslims.Depending on the outcome of the court case it would galvanise further support in the event the Court of Appeal reverses the High Court's decision.

PAS played the political card well in the hope of luring supports of non-Muslims.Whether Muslims support PAS blessing to allow Christians to use 'Allah' is yet to be seen.PAS using the Islamic badge but are prepared to take the secular road whenever it suits its political agenda could be counter productive.

Flip-flopping on the issue has worsen the situation.The announcement by Minister in the PM's Department Nazri Aziz telling East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak that they need not worry because they are allowed continued usage of 'Allah' has backfired.Christians from both sides opposed the sweetener offered to East Malaysians only.They say either all or nothing.The Islamic Development Department(JAKIM) joins Christian leaders in rejecting the proposal and wanted the ban to cover whole nation.

I believe JAKIM is under the PM's Department.It seems the left hand and right hand are not in sync and going in different directions.How the hell was Nazri allowed to make such announcement without consultation with JAKIM, to save the government the embarrassment of being seen as incompetence and flip-flopping on the issue. Was it a Cabinet decision or was it loose-cannon Nazri pandering to East Malaysians.

I am afraid the premature announcement by Nazri backfired, instead of pacifying the East Malaysians, the fiasco has further damaged Najib's effort to integrate Malaysians.


Can Najib hold the fort? Can he rail off the opportunists and war lords in his party and those who believe thuggery,intimidation and use of force are the remedy to the party's misfortunes.

As the matter is crucial to peace and harmony and cause for great concern for all Malaysians the court case should be expedited to settle the case once and for all.


Those who doesn't learn from history learned nothing.Najib should take a leaf out of the history books of the Philippines and Indonesia.The waves of people's power grew on discontentment and would be unstoppable when it comes.

Before finishing this article, I was watching the debate on the 'Allah' controversy on Al Jazeera 101 East comprising Khalid Samad of PAS, Marina Mahathir and Yusri Mohamad of some Islamic Youth Association.

I am afraid Yusri Mohammad's argument was, I wouldn't say in too many words,unconvincingly feeble.


13 comments:

SM said...

HL,

Just because PAS wears the "badge of an Islamic Party" does not mean that they have to be "extremists" (your comments on PAS seem to "hint" that they should have backed the call for the ban of the word Allah on Malaysian Christians).
I mantain that Najib had a chance of putting a stop to this right at the beginning. When the Muslim NGOs (or was it the NGOs & not UMNO?) decided to protest, he (& his Home Minister cousin) should have said "NO" (as they always do whenever the Opposition want to protest). Again, by saying he was powerless to do anything about those protests (come on lah he's the PM!), he actually "told them" (whether true or not will always be a specualtion now)that they can do what they want!
Now, you get that good Nazri entering the fray & shooting his mouth off on one hand & then those bigots in JAKIM on the other hand...a few years ago when the Inter-faith Council wanted to have an inter-faith dialogue, UMNO were strongly against it...now they want to have a dialogue?!
Is Najib in control or what?!

Y1 said...

Thanks HL. Allow me to comment on what you think about PAS' take on this issue....

"PAS played the political card well in the hope of luring supports of non-Muslims.Whether Muslims support PAS blessing to allow Christians to use 'Allah' is yet to be seen.PAS using the Islamic badge but are prepared to take the secular road whenever it suits its political agenda could be counter productive."

PAS has announced their decision based on the Quran. They have not argued on law, culture, history or sentiments. They based it purely on Islam. That is why as a non Muslim I find it fascinating. Here we have a Party based purely on Islam being magnanimous whereas UMNO is supposed to be the leader for all Malaysians floundering on trying to champion Islam and bending to the voices of the vociferous that could turn violent.

As a non Muslim, I am beginning to respect/admire PAS' stand. Whether it is political suicide for them or the gathering of force for it to rise to power is at the moment unknown. They have dared to risk it all by this stand.

SM said...

HL,

I think Y1 summed it up pretty well concerning PAS.
In fact, from the many articles & comments in your Blog, even you & Brother Eddy do not support the ban that UMNO is trying to impose (!) on the Non-Muslims.

eddy said...

Bro, my internet connection is not so good tonight, I think my previous comment just got lost in cyberspace if it reached you please delete it and replace with this comment:

I watched the Al Jazeera interview too Bro, and I thought the lady interviewer with her impeccable English outshone all three of them Marina, Khalid and Yusri. Actually I think all of them were not able to clearly argue their point of view with Khalid the most annoying with his pesky remark about what would PAS had done if they had the power to decide on the issue, with the benefit of hindsight anybody can bullshit, Khalid proved that very well. Al Jazeera should have invited a Rep of the Muslim Lawyer Association, A renowned Christian from Sarawak or Sabah who could have given a better insight of the dilemma now facing us Malaysians.

In fact PAS's official view on the ALLAH issue is just political gamesmanship, in fact since PAS had not abandoned their objective of forming an Islamic State, Hj Hadi's statement is nothing more than an erectile dysfunction response more in keeping with the views of their current bedfellows PKR and DAP. Views designed to appease the non Muslims especially Christians to gain whatever voting support they can possibly collect from this “ALLAH” issue. The real PAS opinion can be read from the opinions of its Mursyidul Am, Spiritual Leader Tok Guru Nik Aziz and his Deputy Harun Din who declared that “ALLAH” can only be used by Muslims.

Before anybody starts to label Muslims who are strongly against non-Muslims using the word “ALLAH” as bigots and other disparaging labels which is cruel as it is uninformed, please read the following articles:

by Dato' Sak ..The Pathologisation of the Muslim Mind at http://sakmongkol.blogspot.com/

and

by a Ceylonese Lawyer..ALLAH-Truth, Honesty and Motives at http://jahaberdeen.blogspot.com/2010/01/allah-truth-honesty-and-motives.html

Everybody by now would have guessed pretty accurately that PKR, DAP and PAS stand on the ALLAH issue is never about solving the issue but rather to capitalise politically on the issue. DAP especially and PAS with PKR are just doing what they are masters at “menangguk di air keruh” and looking at maximum mileage especially with the Sarawak State Election this year. I may be wrong but I observed politics in Sarawak are a lot more complicated than many Peninsular race based parties like to think as politics there are never really about race or religion. It remains to be seen how the wily old fox Taib Mahmud deal with the “ALLAH” issue which will make or break BN control in Sarawak.

I for one hold to Najib's view very earlier on when the Judge made her oral decision and that everybody to keep calm and wait for the Appeal by the Government. I think we all, including that shoot from the hips minister Nazri heed the advise to keep calm and keep quiet. As such I strongly agree with Bro HL that the Appeals on the ALLAH issue be heard as soon as possible.

Purple Haze said...

I agree with Eddy that we should all wait for the Court of Appeal to hear the case and make a decision.

We should all remember that this is a legal issue relating to the issuance of a publishing licence. This is not about a new publication. The Herald was granted a licence many years ago, albeit with conditions imposed. As far as I know, they have complied with those conditions, since no one has indicated otherwise.

So, when the Minister of Law puts his foot in mouth (as usual), he forgets that the aggrieved party has the recourse of going to court since the appeal to the Home Ministry was rejected without any reason.

The High Court judge's 57 page judgement spells a lot of facts that the general public did not seem to be aware of. It was certainly an eye opener for me.

My hope is that the Court of Appeal makes its decisions based on law and not on language, culture and religious grounds.

The Malaysian Constitution is to protect the rakyat and not to advance any single entity's agenda to the detriment of others.

The govt leadership could have taken proactive steps to defuse this situation but sadly, it has escalated. Either they lacked strategic thought or perhaps, this is a step to something more sinister ?

SM said...

Gents,

If & when it goes to the Court of Appeals, the High Court Judgement will be overturned!
Anyone wants to place a bet against that?
Come on lah, we've seen it time & time again. When the High Court rules against the wishes of the Government (i.e. UMNO), the COA will overturn the judgement. That's why Mr Powerless PM wanted to wait for the COA (he alreday knew the outcome).
This opinion is based on historical fact & not a figment of my imagination.

Hantu Laut said...

eddy,
I agree with you.All mediocre.What surprised me none of them were good listener, all talking at the same time and not waiting for their turn to speak.Certainly,not meaningful debate.

Y1 said...

Quote from Eddy:

"In fact PAS's official view on the ALLAH issue is just political gamesmanship, in fact since PAS had not abandoned their objective of forming an Islamic State, Hj Hadi's statement is nothing more than an erectile dysfunction response more in keeping with the views of their current bedfellows PKR and DAP. Views designed to appease the non Muslims especially Christians to gain whatever voting support they can possibly collect from this “ALLAH” issue. The real PAS opinion can be read from the opinions of its Mursyidul Am, Spiritual Leader Tok Guru Nik Aziz and his Deputy Harun Din who declared that “ALLAH” can only be used by Muslims."

Since their collective statements on the name 'Allah' PAS have been consistent as Samad's. If Eddy is right then we non Muslims have been taken for a ride. But if Eddy is wrong he is clutching at straws. I need more convincing than labeling and name calling. Surely you can do better than this Eddy.

Just read today in the Star that the Sabah Council of Churches reaction to Nazri's personal opinions. The saga has a long way to go still. Sigh.

eddy said...

Bro Y1,

Haron Din is Timbalan Mursyidul Am of PAS, you can view the Haron Din interviews about the ALLAH issue where he said it could not be used by Muslim.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N06ntSLtb_4

and here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osgzleoEUN8

an insight to PAS confusion is reported here:

http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/6sez/Article/

its the NST so I leave it to you to believe what you want to believe or whether PAS has taken many non muslims or even muslims for a ride. As far as I know only Khalid had come in to strongly support Hj Hadi's "PAS official" statement on the ALLAH issue. Even PAS vice President has kept quiet.Haron Din and Nik Aziz too.(In Malay politics being quiet more often than not means not agreeing)

Meanwhile many voters in Shah Alam who voted for Khalid to become MP was very unhappy with Khalid's stand in fact if a vote is retaken for the Shah Alam constituency many here thinks that Khalid will lose big time.Definitely next GE he will have to be moved somewhere else if PAS wants to retain the Shah Alam seat.

Yes Y1, this awful saga will not end quickly, its a matter of faith which defies our humble human logic.

eddy said...

Bro SM, belum cuba belum tahu,

Anyway though seemingly convincing to the layman, her judgement would have been more impeccable and complete if she had allowed the intervention of legal representatives of the Majlis Agama Islam of the relevant states who are representatives of the Sultans and Raja-Raja Melayu and also the Malaysian Muslim Chinese Association to give their arguments as well.

Then again like my learned friend alway say: hindsight is an exact science.

Y1 said...

Thanks Eddy, for the heads up.

The NST article is not conclusive yet and confusing. Haron Din could not be contacted by NST. I think more need to be said by PAS. I await more revelations of PAS's position. Apart from taking from you that silent means disagreement in Malay politics.

The videos, are there any time line apart from the date of it being posted? That would throw some light as to how it gel with PAS' official statement and we shall gauge whether PAS is simply taking us all for a ride.

It would be interesting to hear how Haron Din will reconcile his stand with PAS's stand.

SM said...

Gents,

I thisn Harun Din's stand was "opposed" to PAS' stand on this issue.
I guess he can take an opposing stand to the Party he belongs to.
The important point is that PAS debated on it & offically made their stand known.

Bor Eddy,

I agree..."belum cuba belum tau"...that's why I want PR to take over the Federal Government in the next GE!

Y1 said...

Eddy sir, I found this article from PAS's Dzul Ahmad illuminating, explaining the rationale for both.

http://themalaysianinsider.com/index.php/opinion/dzulkefly-ahmad/50428-pas-ulama-stance-on-allah-2-sides-of-the-same-coin

One is inclusive and one exclusive. If this is true, PAS is either split or if the majority view prevails in coming out with the official statement, PAS is claiming the inclusive ground, which I am more comfortable with. Unless as you suspect that PAS is simply opening a trap for us to enter into. This inclusive view do offer and can lead to greater opportunity for Islam Dakwah movement, for greater number of conversions of the East Malaysian natives into Islam. Which is no bad thing in Islam's point of view. I wonder why some Muslim is so hesistant about that.

Since two General Elections ago, when PAS were nearly wiped off by the hope of Badawi's new broom, I noticed that PAS has become less of an extremist party. Unless it is all a charade to lead us into doom.

I reserve my judgment for now.