Wednesday, 13 January 2010

When "Reason" is Abandoned .....

"Having failed in its shortcut to an economic miracle, ....
(clamouring for issues and a new agenda to perpetuate their greed and envy)
they now choose to preach intolerance, “arabisation”,
and religiosity in the name of God,
to further isolate, and “drug into a stupor”
a beautiful people that was once open to change.
~"Where is the Spirit of Merdeka?"

Article 11
1.Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and, subject to Clause (4), to propagate it.
2. No person shall be compelled to pay any tax the proceeds of which are specially allocated in whole or in part for the purposes of a religion other than his own.
3. Every religious group has the right -
(a) to manage its own religious affairs;
(b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes; and
(c) to acquire and own property and hold and administer it in accordance with law.
4. State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
5. This Article does not authorize any act contrary to any general law relating to public order, public health or morality.

Article 153
1. It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
~ The Federal Constitution of Malaysia

"the word 'Allah' has been used continuously in the printed edition of Matthew's Gospel in Malay in 1629, in the first complete Malay Bible in 1733 and in the second complete Malay Bible in 1879 until today in Perjanjian Baru and Alkitab"
~Pastor Jerry W.A Dusing @ Jerry W.Patel

Today, Malaysian Insider reports that a Johor church ninth hit. The office of the lawyers representing The Catholic Herald has been broken into and vandalized.

The way I see it, the source of today's conflict is :- Mahathir. Recent events have "MAHATHIR" written all over it.
He was well-known for his ability to impose his "violent" will through violent and unconstitutional laws- apparently for national security & stability- so as to create a docile and mindless citizenry. Of course - it was also a way to generate a generation of incompetents and sycophants at his disposal, through his politics of fear and patronage.
It was during his time (in his efforts to emasculate the media) that the draconian Printing Presses and Publications Act 1986 was formulated- In the Gazette PU (A) 15/82 and the circular KKDN. S.59/3/6/A dated Dec 5, 1986, the use of the words “Allah”, “Baitullah”, “Solat” and “Kaabah” was exclusive to Islam.
His methods and laws had set a precedent for violence among the peaceful people of Malaysia. But of course - "The state calls its own violence- law, but that of the individual- crime"- so said Max Stirner.

We know that, "Violence is the last resort of the Incompetent" - and so it came to pass that houses of worship became targets of these incompetents - a church scorched and others (including a Gurdwara) vandalized. Any attempt at reasoning with the government was simply futile - as All Jazeera says "Malaysia still dodging the issue". Even though the government banned the use of "Allah" by non-Muslims in 1986, the churches refrained from court action for more than 20 years because of assurances from two prime ministers. But of course they claim that they would rather talk, than take it to court (after having appealed the High Court decision, that is).

After the High Court decision (which has since been stupidly appealed by the Govt - possibly to destabilize the Selangor PR govt- instead of bringing it to the negotiating table) recently, the Sultan of Selangor had joined in the fray, by saying that "Allah" is for Muslims only. It appears to be questionable that the Sultan does have such an authority- as Aziz Bari said (MalaysiaKini). He said, "the sultan can use his discretion to safeguard and protect Islam, but it is also linked to Islamic law as defined in the Quran and by the edicts of Ulamas. .... it is pretty clear that the use of Allah by Christians has some basis in the Quran."

Then of course we had a self proclaimed Christian from Sabah (who is actually an Umno lackey), who requested that the church and Christians at large to give up their rights to thugs - in the name of "harmony". This he shamelessly does, when PAS - an Islamic Party - supports the legitimate use of "Allah" in the Bible and in worship, and asks that Christians keep up the fight!! Meanwhile, Najib has gone around dishing out RM500k to the scorched church to buy their goodwill (after giving tacit support to rile up sentiments?) and express sympathy!

To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason
is like administering medicine to the dead.
- Thomas Paine


The voice of reason is stifled while the Federal Constitution is trampled upon, so that the mindless may rule based on "sentiments and sensitivities" - whatever that means (probably "whims and fancies", actually). Reason or Rule of Law means little to those in Umno who pretend to "defend Race & Religion" (in this case) - while probably knowing little about either.
For better or worse - since "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable", what can we expect the end result to be?

Such is the result of Mahathirism.
Today in Malaysia, we're actually talking about a revolution - a peaceful psychological revolution against the dictates of Mahathirism which has brought us to the brink of anarchy under the Umno regime. It has been a fermenting for some time now, and today, it has blown its lid.
Considering the events that have transpired over the last 30 yrs in the corridors of power, it appears that that is what certain quarters are working for - unwittingly or otherwise- in the interest of holding on to power through sectarian hegemony.

Y0u don't don't need to be a historian or a political scientist to know the direction we're headed under the Umno regime. With foreign investments faltering (we're second from bottom in Asia since Najib's administration) and the coffers drying up, they'll be looking for more "manufactured" crises and scapegoats to divert the attention of the people from the real factors that impoverish the country.
With the executive being almighty, the judiciary emasculated and the law-enforcement agencies in their pockets - nothing is going to stop them from picking on the next vulnerable target.

The shameless hypocrisy shown by the Najib administration in recent days, reminded me of the opening words to Bob Dylan's Positively 4th Street .... - some nerve he has!!




How (once again) Mahathir Fits in the "root cause" .....

PMs assured Christians of use of "Allah"

13 Jan 10 : 8.00AM

By Ding Jo-Ann

PETALING JAYA, 13 Jan 2010: Even though the government banned the use of "Allah" by non-Muslims in 1986, the churches refrained from court action for more than 20 years because of assurances from two prime ministers.


Council of Churches of Malaysia general secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri told The Nut Graph that Christian leaders were assured that "Allah" could be used, as long as it was limited to within the Christian community. This was in spite of a 1986 government gazette and 1988 state enactments that declared the words "Allah", "solat", "ka'abah" and "Baitullah" as exclusive to Islam.

"(Former Prime Minister Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad's) position was if Christians use the word 'Allah' among ourselves, sell our bibles in Christian bookshops, and indicate it's a Christian publication, then that was fine," said Shastri.

"Mahathir and [Tun Abdullah Ahmad] Badawi both assured the Christian community that it would not be an issue [using 'Allah'] within our community."

Shastri said although they did not agree with the government gazette and state enactments, the church refrained from legal action in the interest of national harmony because Mahathir had said the issue was sensitive.

Shastri stressed that Christians did not use "Allah" to slight Muslims. Rather, "it's part and parcel of our spiritual and devotional life," he said.

Issue not new

Shastri also said it was unfair to describe the issue of Christians using "Allah" as new, as some have claimed.

He explained that Christians have been encountering intermittent problems for the past two decades, such as Bahasa Indonesia bibles being held at customs, or the occasional compact disc being confiscated.

The items however, were usually released on a case-by-case basis after the prime minister's intervention, he said.

Shastri said this understanding with the government broke down when Catholic paper Herald was banned from using "Allah" by the Home Ministry in their Bahasa Malaysia publication in 2007.

"The Herald had no other choice. The only way open was to take the matter to court," he said.

Challenging the state

Andrew Khoo, lawyer and legal adviser to the Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia, said the 1986 gazette should have been challenged when it was first issued.


But Khoo noted that it was usual for such issues to have been discussed privately and resolved quietly, which could also explain the delay in legal action being taken.

"Perhaps we were satisfied with the then prime minister's assurances," Khoo said.

Khoo added that in 1988, there was no desire to confront the issue by suing the government in court.

This reluctance was in the wake of Operasi Lalang in 1987, where more than 100 people from civil society, including church members, and opposition leaders were detained without trial under the Internal Security Act. The crackdown was followed by the removal of Lord President Tun Salleh Abas in 1988.

With regard to the 1988 state enactments on the use of "Allah", Khoo said no one had been prosecuted thus far.

"The enactments can't be challenged unless there's a prosecution," Khoo said.

He noted that the preamble of the Selangor enactment states that the law intended to "control and restrict the propagation of non-Islamic religious doctrines and beliefs among persons professing the religion of Islam."

"Although the section [on the use of 'Allah'] is very wide, the preamble sets the context," said Khoo, adding that the imposed condition, while not ideal, was workable.

The Picture of Political Evolution

Malaysia’s political parties take new hues

Spiritual leader of PAS and Menteri Besar of PAS-controlled Kelantan, Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, visits with the Father Simon Yong from the Roman Catholic SFX church in Petaling Jaya, Selangor two days ago. — Picture by Jack Ooi

By Maznah Mohamad

SINGAPORE, Jan 13 — In Malaysia’s current political climate, it is no longer possible to distinguish Islamic radicals from Islamic moderates. Despite official boasting about the country’s diversity and commitment to pluralism, Islam and the government have essentially merged.

Over two decades, the government led by the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) has invested enormous resources in building up a network of Islamic institutions.

The government’s initial intention was to deflect radical demands for an extreme version of Islamic governance.

Over time, however, the effort to outdo its critics led Umno to over-Islamicise the state.

Umno’s programme has put syariah law, syariah courts, and an extensive Islamic bureaucracy in place. The number of Islamic laws instituted has quadrupled in just over 10 years.

After Iran or Saudi Arabia, Malaysia’s syariah court system is probably the most extensive in the Muslim world. The accompanying bureaucracy is not only big but also has more bite than the national Parliament.

Islamic laws are based on religious doctrine but codified and passed as statutes by state Parliaments. Not much debate attends their enactment, because a fear of heresy keeps most critics from questioning anything deemed Islamic.

While Umno still trumpets its Islamic advocacy, the party is facing difficult choices, particularly as it wishes to maintain foreign investment in an increasingly polarised environment.

For example, Minister for Home Affairs Hishammuddin Hussein recently held a press conference to support Muslims who demonstrated against the construction of a Hindu temple in their neighbourhood.

The protesters paraded a severed, bloody cow’s head in the street, then spat and stomped on it. This was an offence to Malaysia’s Hindus, who consider the cow a sacred animal.

Just a week earlier, a young mother by the name of Kartika was sentenced by Malaysia’s Syariah Court to six lashes of the cane and fined after she was caught drinking beer at a hotel.

Although the sentence was still in limbo, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin publicised his acceptance of the punishment by inviting the official floggers to his office to demonstrate how an Islamic caning is carried out.

They used a chair as a mock target, and left the minister satisfied that Islamic caning can be appropriately used as a punishment for women.

Ironically, Hishammuddin is far from being an Islamic hardliner. The son of Malaysia’s third prime minister and a cousin of the current Prime Minister, he is widely considered to be modern, moderate and cosmopolitan.

The true hardliner is Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the Menteri Besar of Kelantan state and also the spiritual leader of Malaysia’s largest Islamic party, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

But Mr Nik Aziz opposed the anti-Hindu protest, and went so far as to say that anti-Muslim protesters in Britain were more civilised in their approach.

Hence, it is no longer accurate to think of PAS as a fundamentalist party and Umno as moderate.

Party strategies are leading them in unexpected directions. Umno’s radical turn is being matched by PAS’ attempts at moderation. PAS is aiming for the most unlikely of voters: non-Muslims, who account for 40 per cent of Malaysia’s population and are increasingly alienated from Umno.

Umno, meanwhile, is intent on dividing the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat, of which PAS is a member. Led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, the alliance has picked up political momentum since making real gains in the last general election.

Concerned by its losses, Umno has staked a claim to be the defender of Islam in Malaysia.

The ‘cow head’ protest, which was led by Umno members, was an example. The formula is simple: portray Islam as being threatened by infidels, and then have Umno ride to the rescue of the besieged Muslim community.

The caning of Kartika, on the other hand, was not an example of political manipulation, and for this reason is perhaps even more worrisome. Her sentence was roundly supported by modernist Muslim intellectuals, who insisted that the punishment was justly applied and cannot be questioned because it had divine sanction.

These are not politicians, but former idealists who are happy that their goal of Islamicising the state is being realised. Most are anti-Umno and support PAS.

As a result, Umno finds itself squeezed between an Islamic lobby that presses for greater ‘Talebanisation’ of the country, and the rising voices of international critics, who cannot be ignored, because the party needs both radical supporters and foreign investors to stay in power.

Balancing these two constituencies is becoming increasingly difficult for Umno.

But the opposition will also be forced to figure out the role of religion in Malaysia, if ever they get an opportunity to form a government.

A young Islamic radical, Datuk Seri Anwar, used to ask: How does one Islamicise government? Now he has to figure out how to govern one. — The Straits Times