Some of my Malay friends think public caning is a great idea - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, September 05, 2018
Malaysiakini : “There is not eternal damnation, the only rewards and punishments are right here in this world.” - Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, ‘The Madman and the Nun: and Other Plays’ COMMENT| As quoted in the press upon his acquittal of graft charges, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said something rather queer. Of the people who throw “malicious lies” - is there any other kind of
lies? - he claimed that their fate would be decided by God Almighty.
Really? Then I suppose there is no need for libel and slander laws, not
to mention the fact that he has taken up cases against those who have
spread lies about him before.
However, those who invoke their god, either for reward or punishment are a dime a dozen here in Malaysia. Speaking of those who speak on behalf of higher powers, this brings
us to the public caning of the two women in Terengganu for same-sex
relations or illicit sex, or both. Malaysiakini columnist Mariam Mokhtar in her latest piece about unshackling the enslaved Malay mind claimed anyone who does not have a Malay friend is part of the problem.
Having a Malay friend to drag to a forum or starting simple
discussions is apparently how the non-Malays can help unshackle Malay
minds after years of indoctrination by the Umno state, the continuing
efforts of the Pakatan Harapan state and, of course, the manipulations
of preachers of the state-sanctioned religion. I cannot speak for the rest of non-Malays, but I have many Malay
friends. Some of my Malay friends, depending on their economic and
social level, believe that their privileges either hamper or have been a
benefit to them and their families. Some of them claim with so many
children, they need all the help they can get.
While the old maverick talks
about the wonders of birth control and our rubber industry, the same
does apply to population control when it comes to the vote base, I
guess. Of course, my friends - Malay, Chinese, Orang Asal and Indians -
do not necessarily have to share the same beliefs as me to be considered
friends. Do people only mix with other people who share their beliefs?
And do you really think that only Malays think that their minds are
shackled or that their religion shackles their minds? Would you say the
same to a religious Christian, Hindu or Buddhist who does not share the
same religious dogma as Muslims but in reality, when it comes to
cultural and social norms, they have exactly the same religious/cultural
prejudices? So really, some people do share the same religious dogma;
it is only they do not have the power of the state to back up their
And does anyone really think that all Malays have not used the quota
system, or whatever benefits they get from the state, to break free from
their economic brackets? This is why this whole issue of rights and
privileges is just a red herring, especially for politicians - both
Malay and non-Malay - who use it for political gain.
So the Malay mind gets unshackled, but unshackled to what? Voting for
political parties who do not use race and religion to further their
political goals? Can anyone name such a political party. I can but
nobody is interested in them.
When it comes to religion, it gets even worse. I have lost friends
who disagree with my take on religion, specifically Islam. While others
share my views when we talk in private, when it comes to public
discussions they disassociate from me and my views. Some friends just
wait for the day when the demographic overwhelms the non-Malays and then
my views would not matter at all.
Take this public caning for example. Some of my Malay friends who are
religious claim that this strengthens the position of Islam in this
country. It is a useful political tool and reminds the non-Malays who
voted for Harapan that the Malay political actors in the coalition will
defend Islam. These are folks who voted for Harapan and not the dreaded
Umno and PAS people.
They are also supportive when they read how the Harapan government
wants to uplift the shariah court system - "In relation to the Syariah
Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act and other relevant laws, we are
looking at them in more detail and … we are committed, ready to amend
the act in empowering the syariah courts as a whole," Deputy Minister in
the Prime Minister's Department Fuziah Salleh said during the oral question-and-answer session at the Dewan Negara sitting yesterday.
Honestly, when Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa (photo),
the so-called moderate face of Islam in this country, says that all was
in accordance with the caning - procedural and spiritual - and the only
issue he had was the public spectacle, this should clue you in on how
the political process in this country is weighted in favour of the
religious imperatives of the Malay/Muslim political elite and the fear
of not spooking the Malays of the non-Malay/Muslim Harapan base.
A good Malay friend of mine, who opposes the caning, says that it was
a good thing that the female officer was masked – (my friend, who is a
woman, used a word that rhythms with itch to describe the masked
punisher) because there would be repercussions if anyone from her family
(which includes people which the state and the state-sanctioned
religion disenfranchises) was canned in public.
My friend is someone the religious types would say has lost her way
because of her childhood on the streets, a criminal record, promiscuity
and a long hard road to redemption in the form of a law degree she uses
to help other people who have been screwed over by the system.
Honestly, this public spectacle is a tool to confront the Islamic
elements in Harapan, to force them to take a stand, and you know what,
the religious and secular elements in Harapan failed miserably. Where is
the outrage from those who before May 9 would somehow find a way to
blame the Umno state working with PAS as purveyors of fake Islamic
As usual, Klang parliamentarian Charles Santiago (photo)
seems to be the only political operative speaking plainly and making his
stand clear. Of course, this is not the official stand of the political
alliance of this new Malaysia. It sure as hell is not the stand of the
people who support them, who think that they should not fall into the
trap set by these Islamic extremists, and never for one moment, stopping
to think that there are Islamists within Harapan who want exactly the
same thing and are enabled by the power-hungry non-Malay components of
It does not get any clearer than this - “The new Pakatan Harapan
government, which was voted in on the premise of inclusion, must,
therefore, repeal all laws that criminalise homosexuality without any
delay,” said Santiago.
All we get is silence because Amanah is supposed to be the
progressive face of Islam and so far, all they have managed to do is get
their knickers in twist about the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and queer) community, while PAS has managed to talk about
everything from corruption charges against the Harapan political elite,
the GST and the numerous other issues which should be how Harapan is
changing the course of the Islamic narrative in this country.
Terengganu Bar Committee chairperson Sallehudin Harun said that the
public would get a clearer picture. Notice he did not say Muslims but
rather the (general) public. Why is this? Because this was a spectacle
for the non-Muslims. This was to show that their political leaders are
political hacks who would not do a damn thing when it comes to extremism
in this country.
The subtext is this. First, these political operatives cannot help
the Malays progress from their so-called mental shackles. Second, after
the laws get through with the disenfranchised of this country, it will
come after the smug secure urban electorates.
That is the message, folks. Besides a few outlier voices, the
mainstream politics of Harapan when it comes to this issue is hear no
evil, see no evil and enable such evil when it is politically expedient.