Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Anwar Ibrahim, PKR, PAS must provide 'leadership' and direction in this 'Allah' issue. Silence is not an option.

How many Gods are there? There is only ONE God, and I believe that that all Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and many others believe in the same ONE God.

Is there a Jewish God, a Muslim God, a Christian God...? I do not think so...there is only One God. Hence, I wonder what all this commotion is about 'Muslim God', Christian God, etc..

In Malaysia, some have suddenly taken the position that only some can call God, Allah? Who are mere mortals to make such proclamations and decisions - it is a matter for God. If God has dictated that he should be called 'Allah', then we should all be joyful and happy that others, not from from religious communities, is also referring to God Almighty by this name.

The Pahang State Anthem, and many other state anthems uses the term Allah, and as a Pahang citizen, when I sang this song, I was calling on that one and same God.... If there is now to be a Muslim God, Christian God, etc...and these Gods have different names... then I have been sinning all these while...whenever I sang my state anthem, for it has always been a tenet of my faith that there is only ONE God, and my faith clearly states that , '"You shall have no other gods before Me.".

Ya Allah Yang Maha Kuasa

Lanjutkan usia Ke bawah

Duli Yang Maha Mulia

Dirgahayu Darul Makmur

Aman dan bahagia sentiasa

Ya Allah selamatkan ke bawah

Duli Raja kami

Why now are some saying that I cannot call God, 'Allah'? So, when I sing my State anthem, am I refering to some other God not my own?

It is sad that the UMNO-led BN government has today made this an issue, when it never was an issue.

Confusion that it will cause to Muslims - Why? We are talking about matters that happen within the Christian religion are we not. We are not talking about acts of trying to convert Muslims here, for if this happens then take action against the persons doing so...irrespective of whether they are using the word 'Allah' or not.

Remember 'Divide and Rule' was started by the British colonialist. It was also used by the Japanese when they occupied Malaya, and it was used by the UMNO-led BN for the last 50 plus years to keep Malaysians divided and weak. Continuously, the emphasis have been on the differences of ethnicity and religion. There is little that has been done to erase all these 'divisive elements' and start treating us as Malaysians.

With the break-up of UMNO, and the formation of Semangat 46, in the late 80s, here were moves to try to remove some of these 'divisive elements'. People started talking about the fact that there rich Malays, Chinese and Indians, and the fact that there were poor Malays, poor Chinese and poor Indians and this 'change' in perspective was because Tengku Razaleigh (Ku Li) and Semangat 46 (together with the opposition parties) were saying so...and this sentiment and perspective trickled down to the masses. [Prior to this, the perspective was that the Chinese were rich and the Malays were poor and oppressed...of course the Indians and other minorities were a non-issue.]

Then, pro-divide and rule elements started with the notion of 'Malay Supremacy' (Ketuanan Melayu), promoting a perspective that there were superior and inferior ethnicities... This went against not only the universal principal, but also most religions and faiths, that promoted the understanding that all persons are equal....and created equal.

After the expulsion of Anwar Ibrahim from UMNO, and the formation of Parti Keadilan (now Parti Keadilan Rakyat), again we arrived at a position that was anti-'divide and rule', and anti the understanding that one ethnic group was superior to another. PKR was a multi-racial...multi-religious party, and all Malaysians were equal members of the said party - no superior no inferior. PKR filled a void in Malaysia, and many Malaysians welcomed this party, joined and supported this 1Malaysia party...truly Malaysian party. PKR broke the myth that Malaysians needed and accepted only ethnic/religious based political parties. [Of course, we must not forget that there always had been multi-racial multi-religious political parties in Malaysia like the DAP, Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM), Gerakan, PPP, PKM, etc - but unfortunately none of these parties were perceived by the masses as being multi-racial multi-religious - thanks also to the propaganda by the UMNO-led BN that sought to paint these parties as being 'Chinese parties' or 'Non-Malay parties', and it worked as not many Malays joined these parties, until PKR came into the picture]. PAS's changes also helped, i.e. the increased number of women candidates, the formation of PAS Supporters clubs (including the placement of non-Muslim PAS candidates), the toning down on that 'Islamic State' rhetoric. Remember, that in 2004, in my opinion, it was that strong 'Islamic State' positioning of PAS that resulted in great losses for the Opposition PAS (and PKR that stood with it). DAP, who dissociated from that coalition, did OK.

In 2008, it was this 1Malaysia perception of the Pakatan Rakyat that saw it making a 'big win' in the General Elections - breaking for the 2nd time in Malaysian history the UMNO-led coalition of parties two-third majority in the Dewan Rakyat, and also managing to win in 5 States. The victory in Selangor, Penang and Perak (and near victory in Negeri Sembilan) was significant given the fact of the multiracial...multi-religious composition of the electorate in these states.

To counter the trend in Malaysia, we see UMNO and pro 'divide and rule' components attempts to rejuvenate division. Recently we saw that 'Malaysia is an Islamic State', 'Malay Supremacy'[Ketuanan Melayu], 'Allah is a word exclusive for Muslim usage', 'Syariah Law versus Civil Lae, etc issues being raised. It seems that UMNO today seems to want to emerge as not just the party for Malays but also Muslims. UMNO wants to regain Malay Muslim support by becoming  the party that defends not only Malay rights, but also Muslim rights. PAS, perceived to be the Defender of Musims for so long, if they are not strong may be lured into this battle of minds to show who indeed is the biggest defender of Muslims (and Malays) - and we have seen how this has affected PAS.

Other measures that seem to be adopted by the UMNO-led BN government has been the National Service Program (which I believe also has similar objectives to the BTN programs),  the RELA, etc - In some other post, I would elaborate but not now.

After the recent High Court decision that clearly stated that the word Allah is not exclusive to Muslims, there has been a lot of reported outcry and protest from certain quarters, including the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional government Ministers and some Muslim organisations. But, what really is the position of the majority of Malaysians?

Many Malaysians, especially Muslims, are waiting for leadership but alas Anwar Ibrahim and PKR is silent. PAS the party, and its main leadership, too has been rather cautious. They seem to be waiting to see what the popular Muslim sentiments are, possibly then to echo it for fear of losing its Malay/Muslim support. This is not leadership. If Anwar, Hadi and Nik Aziz expresses a different position from that of UMNO and the UMNO-led BN government, I am sure that waiting Malaysian Muslim populace will follow the lead. The time to be clear and vocal is now...today, not later for longer they wait, the minds of the people will be convinced by the voices that now appear in mass media.

Leadership means taking a stance on issues, and in this particular issue the people of Malaysia, particularly the Muslims, want direction and guidance from their leaders in PKR and PAS and DAP of Muslim faith.

What are you waiting for Anwar Ibrahim? What are you waiting for, PKR? What are you waiting for PAS? Are we to assume that your silence indicate that you are having the same position as the current UMNO-led BN government in this issue? A leader has to take a stand, and lead - and not wait to sense popular feelings and then echo this. It is no use to later on come and say that you had a different position, and you expressed it 'privately'. Anwar told us that he was against the use of the ISA during Operation Lallang(1987), and later on the Arqam leaders but alas at that point in time he was totally silent as far as most Malaysians were concerned.Is he doing the same now with regard the 'Allah' issue? We certainly do not want leaders of this kind - all too eager to take popular positions, but afraid to take a stance on controversial issues.

The High Court has made a decision. There is no stay order, and as such until the appeal is heard, the High Court's decision stands...The dispute is essentially between the Government of Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur Roman Catholic Archbishop. The Minister concerned is the Home Minister. It is really odd that other Ministers (and Ministries) are getting involved, and now JAKIM 's Director General is giving directives. Announcements about decisions to appeal should have come from the Home Minister (or alternatively the Prime Minister, and maybe the Deputy Home Minister).

Directives or Orders or 'threats' by any Minister or Department DG that goes against the court order is wrong, and I believe it may be contempt of court. If the Government of Malaysia wishes to stay the effects of the order, the proper thing to do is to apply for a stay order. Now, will the AG  (or the court) commence contempt proceedings against this DG in Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), that is if the Star report is accurate? In Malaysia, an appeal does not operate as a stay - there must be a separate application to the court for a stay order.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) has told Kuala Lumpur Roman Catholic Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam not to allow the use of the term “Allah” in any publication while the Government appealed the High Court’s decision.

Jakim director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said the case was not final.
“The sensitivities and dignity of Muslims under the Federal Constitution must be taken into consideration. We are together responsible in denying space to extremists in the respective religions,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Wan Mohamad said incidents in India involving Hindu extremists burning churches and mosques should serve as a lesson to preserve religious harmony in Malaysia. “Islam as the Federation’s official religion must be upheld and respected by all. Similarly, the Yang Dipertuan Agong as Head of State must be obeyed by all.

“I advise all parties to uphold the spirit of the Constitution in Malaysia. Islam is the official religion of the country which is enshrined in the Constitution even if you do not practise it,” he said.

He also reminded Muslims that “Allah” referred to the one Muslim God, despite the views of those in other religions.

Religious groups are hoping that the developments surrounding the usage of the term “Allah” by the Herald will not spark off any dispute.

Buddhist Chief High Priest of Malaysia Ven K. Sri Dhammaratana Nayaka Maha Thera stressed that it was important to maintain peace among the country’s multi-religious society without hurting the feelings of other communities.

“We must be fair to everybody because the majority of Malaysians are Muslims. We must be considerate to them,” he said yesterday.

Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia secretary-general Tan Hoe Chieow said the people should accept the High Court’s decision in good faith.

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism president Rev Dr Thomas Philips said he respected the Home Ministry’s move to appeal against the High Court decision.

Malaysian Gurdwaras Council president Harcharan Singh said the issue should not be politicised. - Star, 5/1/2010, Jakim: Don’t use term while appeal is taking place

No comments: