Monday, 12 November 2012

Spare us the sham diatribe

  • Mariam Mokhtar
  • 12:15PM Nov 12, 2012
Faith, like strength, comes from within. When opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar made reference to the Quranic verse which states that there should be no compulsion in religion, Umno politicians, with feigned indignation, projected themselves as defenders of the faith. Cranked-up by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian, the nation became fired up with what Nurul did, or did not say.

NONETo claim that all Umno politicians are illiterate would be wrong; but their refusal to participate in intelligent discourse leaves one with the following conclusions; Umno think debates will fuel heresy, that to express an opinion is treacherous and to be sceptical is a sin.

Umno politicians are trying their utmost to discredit Nurul, but failing miserably and making themselves look ridiculous in the process. They have bastardised the Malay language and now they are saying that the Surah al-Baqarah verse 2:256, which Nurul was referring to, is wrong. Perhaps, Umno was referring to their version of Islam - Umno’s Islam.

If Article 11 of the constitution guarantees every citizen religious freedom, why should Malays be excluded? Are Malays not citizens of Malaysia? After this religious debacle, Bung Mokhtar Radin is beginning to look like one of the most sensible Umno politicians.

If Malays loathe the awkward definition that religion equates to ethnicity, then let’s return to the drawing board and correct this puerile approach. This writer knows enough people who fit the description of being a Malay, by virtue of their upbringing amongst a Malay community, except that they are staunch Catholics. By the same token, there are many who were born Malay, but who are an embarrassment to both the Malay race and Islam.

Umno politicians have an infinite capacity to divide the rakyat and their manipulation of Nurul’s statement serves two purposes; first, to distract the country from the allegations of corruption and crime linked to Umno; second, to waste Nurul’s and her colleagues’ time, in defending her.

With the media maelstrom and the witch-hunt, we are diverted from the real purpose of rooting out corruption and the other ills associated with Umno. The people - Umno politicians, VVIPs and Umno sympathisers - who have cast the first stone at Nurul, are laughable. Their criticisms range from accusations of encouraging apostasy to maligning Islam, and the destruction of the Malay race. They have demanded an apology or a retraction of her statement. 

If people are scornful of Islam, it is the Umno politicians who are responsible; they condone corruption, injustice and debauchery. They treat people of other faiths with contempt. They discredit other businesses so that their halal foods can gain a foothold. These Umno politicians wear religion on their sleeves but have ignored the true teachings of Islam.

Stealth op to erode Malay values

Umno is responsible for the destruction of the Malays, and for four decades, Umno has waged a stealth operation to erode Malay values.

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad touted his often declared “the decadent west” line, to discredit Nurul. The usual Jewish or Soros scapegoats cannot be used this time, as they have been ridden hard and put away wet. The bogeyman needs a rest between outings.

NONEDespite his role as the minister in charge of national security, Hishammuddin Hussein (left), the Home Minister, fanned the flames of public anger, instead of dousing the rising tensions in the rakyat. He talked about Nurul being insensitive but he treated Malays like imbeciles when he said, “The victims in this matter are the young who could get confused over the question of religious belief with the statement (Nurul’s).”

No one is confused by Umno’s ulterior motive. Another opportunist is the chairperson of Gerakan Masyarakat Prihatin Meru, Jaya Kusuma Rosman, who found it convenient to use Nurul as a scapegoat when he said, she “should be responsible should there be Malays who leave Islam as a result of her statement”. Where was Jaya when poverty-stricken Malays were declined assistance by the government, but were given a lifeline by Christian charities?

Last week, Umno was like a beached whale, floundering for answers; Minister in the Prime minister’s Department Nazri Aziz’s unhealthy relationship with Michael Chia, Chia’s largesse towards Nazri’s son Nedim and the alleged corruption of RM40 million, involving Musa Aman the Chief Minister of Sabah and Sabah umno chief, are still unresolved.

The difficulties experienced by the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for the Chia case, were also faced by India’s Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) and the Indian Supreme Court in New Delhi. Last Friday, an online paper claimed that the Malaysian government would not cooperate and allow the CBI access to T Ananda Krishnan’s bank details.

azlanThe controversial acquisition of Indian telco Aircel, by Krishnan’s Maxis Communications Berhad, was allegedly sweetened with a RM351 million bribe to former Indian Telecommunications Minister Dayanidhi Maran and his brother.

Reasoning is beyond the capacity of most Umno politicians. Islam, like other great religions, has a lot to teach us but its teachings are lost on Umno politicians and Umno Malays. A person’s devotion cannot be measured by his public display of adherence to the religion. This is similar to Umno’s warped belief that one’s patriotism equates with the number of Malaysian flags one flies outside one’s home, place of work, shop and vehicle.

Justice, Umno style

Malaysians are intimidated by Umno’s tactics. A bad word breathed about the country, VVIPs or its leaders, lands the individual in trouble. Justice, Umno style is like kindergarten children finding the right peg to fit into the correct hole. If one charge doesn’t fit, try another.

How one practises one’s religion is a private matter. If Umno’s version of Islam considers rituals more important than its teachings, or if force is considered necessary, then it is no better than worshiping a lump of rock. The descent of Umno into a criminal organisation with the enforcement agencies turning a blind eye to its many evils is a most heinous crime.

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak wants Malaysians to emulate America and vote Umno for continuity. American leaders do not cling onto power for more than two terms in office. After 55 years, we still argue over the ethnicity and religion of the leader of the country. In Malaysia, it is not the best man or woman for the job, but who has most money to pay everybody off to keep the incumbent in power.

The Malays are at a cross-roads and instead of acting on what the prophet said, such as “God helps those who help themselves”, many Malays procrastinate and would rather God decided their future; “Tuhan saja yang tahu (God is all seeing), “Tuhan akan balas di Neraka” (God will dispense justice in Hell).

The situation in Malaysia and in Umno is dire. Religious bullies run riot and distract the nation from the real causes of this country’s problems. The Malays should seize the bull by the horns and in the upcoming Umno general assembly, pass a no-confidence motion on the entire cabinet.

Don’t let these sideshows distract you from the real issues such as Nazri Aziz and Sabah Umno’s RM40 million, the Scorpene submarines, the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal and the Automated Enforcement Syatem (AES).

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