Articles, Opinions & Views: M’sians will soon forget the children who died in school fire - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
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Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

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Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God

Which must always come to pass

He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?

Have you always turned the other cheek?

To My Church have you been true?"

"No, Lord, I guess I ain't

Because those of us who carry guns

Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around

Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here,

Lord, It needn't be so grand,

I never expected or had too much,

But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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M’sians will soon forget the children who died in school fire - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, September 18, 2017
Malaysiakini : “A body of men holding themselves accountable to nobody ought not to be trusted by anybody.” ― Thomas Paine
COMMENT | Let me get this straight. The religious school where 21 children and two adults died was operating illegally and had been warned for safety violations. The manager of the school claimed that he registered his school with the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP), which apparently unlike the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) did not carry out safety checks.
Two questions – does an Islamic body trump a civil one and does this mean that the owner’s registration with an Islamic body that neither the owner nor the state religious body in question bears any responsibility for the deaths that occurred during their watch? Some folks have even made the excuse that this was apparently a “temporary” facility used because the permanent one was in the process of renovation. Does this excuse make any sense whatsoever?
Keep in mind that Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said that the federal government, which sticks its snout in everything in this country, has no power to take over the running of these so-called private institutions and passed the ringgit to the state religious authorities which have apparently no enforcement powers either.
The deaths of 21 children and two adults seems an obscene moment to remind Malaysians of the separation of powers between the federal government and state religious authorities. Obscene but predictable. Apparently in Malaysia, the only time there is separation between mosque and federal power is when children die in a fire.
Let us think about this rationally for a moment. The owner did not have permission from DBKL to operate his school. The school was cited for safety violations – which if reading reports from the press – contributed to the deaths of children, and there is still confusion as to who the responsible parties are. Keep in mind I said “parties”.
In fact, what role does the MAIWP have in this? Is there no communication between DBKL and the body responsible for Islamic activities in the Federal Territory? Why didn’t DBKL close down the school, or since this has to do with Islam and since the civil authorities in this country seem to be overridden by Islamic imperatives, warn MAIWP that the school which was registered by them had safety violations?
Federal Territories Minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is worried about being accused of being “unfair” when the safety of children is at stake. Does this make sense to anyone? Does it make sense that you have a religious school in violation of civil law and the owner of that school gets away with ignoring the warnings of a municipal authority and claims he registered his school with a religious body, which apparently did not know that the school they registered was in violation of safety procedures?
Tengku Adnan made sure to inform us that checks would be made “at all tahfiz centres in the city centre and Putrajaya”, but what would they achieve? It is apparent that the authorities for whatever reason have no power to shut these schools deemed health hazards, so in other words, all these “safety” checks are mere theatre.
Tengku Adnan also “lauded” the tahfiz management “for offering free religious education to poor families” but this is all bull manure. Who are these religious peddlers who make use of federal, state or private donations to serve the poor? What are the qualifications, if any, of those who take advantage of the reality that there is practically no official federal or state oversight in these so-called religious endeavours?
Follow the money
When it comes to religious issues, I always say follow the money trail. Someone is always making money. People always profit from lack of oversight and the fact that people are warned not to interfere in Islamic matters in this country merely encourages a certain class of confidence men. The state and federal authorities apparently are unaware of the existence of many of these unlicensed religious establishments and the state-level religious authorities seem interested in ensuring that Muslims do not have illicit sex, banning books, words and concerts, and apparently not that many in this cottage industry of religious schools are safety hazards. If children perish then they are martyrs; is this where the investigations are heading?
What are we talking about here? We are talking about how some people get money to operate establishments which are safety hazards and the state and federal authorities know of this but choose to do nothing but rely on the fact that state religious authorities have jurisdiction (of a sort) over this issue.
We are talking about how poor Muslim children are at risk because these religious peddlers, the state religious authorities and the federal enforcement branches have shown an almost arrogant indifference to the way how Islam is promulgated in this country. Ask yourself, would middle-class or rich Malay children ever be in this predicament? Would rich politicians send their kids to these types of schools? Would we hear of how the children of rich Muslims had to scamper down drainpipes to escape a fire which claimed the lives of “younger children”?
Where is our glorious opposition in all of this? I get that sniffing around mosques and filling the coffers of state religious organisations in opposition-controlled states demonstrates how Islamic-friendly the opposition is, but is there reform in the agenda when it comes to this issue or is the opposition going to make the same excuses as the establishment regime?
The Umno establishment response to the problem is to throw more money at these religious schools, some of which are undocumented. How much money - our tax ringgit - has been lost because of leakages over the long Umno watch? How much money has been lost because religious confidence men and women have played the system and profited from it?
Twenty-one children died and the response is that more money would be doled out so the perception that the government does not do enough for these schools would be corrected. Indeed, the government has not done enough for these schools, and more importantly the children, who through no fault of their own have to attend these schools. While cash is perhaps king, it will not prevent this from happening again. I submit that this will embolden the religious peddlers.
And I am almost certain that nobody will be held accountable for these deaths. The reality is that nobody wishes to solve these Islamic problems in this country. It is an Islamic problem because the federal and state authorities, for whatever reasons, do not wish to have any oversight into the way how these religious peddlers take advantage of the system.
There is a reason for that and it has nothing to do with religious beliefs. If you really think about it, the fire was not the only thing that killed those children.
posted by D Swami Gwekanandam @ 11:34 AM  

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