Why was Zamihan really arrested? - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, October 14, 2017
Malaysiakini : “The spectacle of what is called
religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has
filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to
make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind
belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and
the preservation of vested interests.” ― Jawaharlal Nehru
COMMENT | So this
government-employed preacher spews the usual hate speech against the
Chinese community but more importantly, took a swipe at the Johor
royalty and he is arrested for incitement. Incitement against a royal
family or incitement against the Chinese community? Why do I get the
feeling that if it were solely for the latter, there would be no action
taken against Zamihan Mat Zin?
Yes, that is right because no action has been taken against other
government-aligned (including employees) personalities who have made
racists or bigoted comments against non-Muslim Malaysians. Anyone reading my articles would know that I am all for free speech
but free speech isn’t really the issue here and it will never be. The
real issue is the biased manner in which the state monitors free speech.
University lecturer Ridhuan Tee Abdullah who apparently comes to the defence
of his community in this instance has said worse about the Chinese
community. This country gives shelter to an extremist like Zakir Naik
who has spread lies about non-Muslims and their religions. There are
numerous examples of establishment politicians who have demonised entire
communities and they have been exempted from incitement charges.
So when this preacher who thought he was riding a wave of toxicity
and attempted to deliver his own blows against the Chinese community
made his religious pronouncements, the only miscalculation he made was
taking a shot at the royal institution, which is one of the pillars of
Malay/Muslim political ideology.
With all the manure thrown at non-Malay/Muslim communities through a
variety of establishment mouthpieces, this idea that the remand of this
preacher is anything other than window dressing is the only rational
conclusion anyone not infected by Kool-Aid can come to.
Therefore, you take away the royal component from the equation and
what are we left with? Just another Muslim preacher talking manure about
non-Muslim Malaysians. I mean look, we have PAS president Abdul Hadi
Awang, a religious preacher, claiming that “Islam has to be the leader and ruler, those who are not of Islam must be followers (pak turut).”
I wonder how this jives with what the Malay rulers said when they made this pronouncement
- "As a religion that encourages its followers to be respectful,
moderate and inclusive, the reputation of Islam, must not ever be
tainted by the divisive actions of certain groups or individuals, which
may lead to rifts among the rakyat."
A rejoinder was also made “to continue following the core principles
of the Federal Constitution and Rukunegara”, but can this even be done
when it comes to how non-Muslims are treated in this country?
Does the Umno establishment really care about the Constitution and
the Rukunegara? Here are a few choice snippets that point to the utter
intellectual and moral bankruptcy of making the claim that these
instruments have any meaning in our current political climate.
I have made this point
before – “The constitution, which for all intents is secular-leaning,
has been co-opted by the state and Islamists to present a monolithic
view of the Muslim community. If the constitution is manipulated by a
handful of people then why isn’t another handful of people - and by
people, I mean Muslims working in tandem with other secular-minded
people - who defend the constitution and not engage in the kind of
political behaviour which many claim is detrimental to the Malay
To understand where I am coming from with regards to the Rukunegara, readers are encouraged to check out my piece - ‘The Rukunegara is nothing more than a placebo’ - and also check out what a former judge thinks of the Rukunegara.
“Former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad believed
that the incorporation of the Rukunegara as the preamble to the Federal
Constitution would compromise the interest of the Malays and
bumiputera. Abdul Hamid said if judges were required to consider the
Rukunegara in interpreting the Federal Constitution, it would lead to
rulings against existing laws and policies.”
I mean, look, if we have judges talking about the “dangers” of
incorporating the Rukunegara in the Malaysian system, what are we really
talking about when we read that the Malay rulers want us to “follow
it”? If the establishment has such a jaundiced view of these
instruments, is it really meaningful to consider the Rukunegara - and
the Constitution for that matter - as part of the discourse?
At the time of writing, another preacher, this time from the
opposition, has been arrested. Reasons unknown, for now. Wan Ji Wan
Husin, who is attached to Penang Chief Minister's office, has been
branded a "deviant" by the establishment, so we can only assume that
what he said went against the group-think of Muslim cabals in this
I have made the case of why this country needs more "deviants" like Wan Ji but here he is, in his own words - "I don’t agree
that only Islam can be propagated. The Federal Constitution states
that, but I don't agree with it from the viewpoint of religion. Let the
law practitioners debate if it’s from the law’s point of view. But as
someone who studied religion, that statement is wrong. Non-Muslims
should be given the right to give their views, as opposed to only the
Muslims who can do so. Maybe that's why people have accused me of being
So yes, I may not know the reasons for his arrest - at the time of writing - but I can deduce that they are mala fide
and that this preacher has said something that is verboten in the
Malaysian Muslim context. Please note what he said about the
Constitution and how people can disagree with it and advocate change
through discourse and changing social and political norms.
I will give you another example - the attacks against the DAP about
Lim Kit Siang wanting to be the next prime minister by Umno. There is
nothing in the Constitution that says that a non-Malay/Muslim is not
eligible to the highest office in the land. There is nothing in the
Rukunegara that points to the illegibility of a non-Muslim citizen
aspiring to the highest office in the land.
Yet we have Umno leaders talking about how “DAP blood” has “infected”
Malay power brokers who want to put a non-Muslim as prime minister. We
have Malay/Muslim political personalities warning the Malay/Muslim
polity that they will slaves to non-Malay/Muslim potentates. Is not this kind of behaviour “not following” the Constitution? Is
not this kind of divisive rhetoric going against the spirit of the
Rukunegara? If so, is not this kind of behaviour seditious and warrants
sanction from the security apparatus of the state?
Failing which, is not this kind of behaviour which demonises
non-Muslim politicians going against the rejoinders of the Malay rulers
and in doing so, demands sanctions from the state security apparatus?Does anyone seriously think that the Constitution and the Rukunegara are sacrosanct in this country? So, the question again.