Malaysiakini : “Any religion-based state has a mission to limit the minds of its
people, to fight the developments of history and logic, and to dumb
down its citizens. It’s important to stand in the way of such a
mentality, to deny it from continuing its mission to murder the souls of
its people, killing them deep within while they are still alive and
breathing.” – Raif Badawi, 1000 Lashes, Because I Say What I Think
Pakatan Harapan – either by design, incompetence or maybe just a lack of
imagination – is making the Islamic discourse in this country even more
toxic than it already is.
Take the Islamic Development Department (Jakim), for instance. This
is a religious bureaucracy plugged into every aspect of government. Why
hasn’t there been any sustained effort by this so-called religious
authority to combat corruption, racism and bigotry? Isn’t this the kind
of Islamic moral police that Harapan alluded to when it comes to the
religion of the state?
The pointless op-ed piece about Women, Family and Community Development Minister Dr Wan Aziziah Wan Ismail, penned by her deputy Hannah Yeoh and panned by Latheefa Koya, is an example of how the political elite attempt to cloud issues that they do not want to deal with.
In past articles, I have written about the tremendous pressure Muslim political operatives are under. I get it, I really do. It should tell you something about mainstream Harapan dogma when
people do not question why Latheefa’ position on the issue of child
marriage, for example, is not defended, while the cautious – and I am
being charitable here – position of the deputy prime minister is
embraced by the political elite who told us before the election that
they would defend the secular position in this so-called Islamic state.
of the photos of LGBTQ activists, who by the way were also part of the
struggle against the Umno regime, not only demonstrates the pettiness of
the religious bigots in Harapan, but also the hypocrisy of their
actions. How many Harapan political operatives met with activists (who
were part of the LGBTQ discourse) as part of a grassroots rejection of
De facto Religious Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa's double speak
of the state protecting these people from a society that rejects them
hides the fact that the bigots within Harapan believe that the more
disenfranchised you are, the less political cost you incur. Sooner or later, everyone becomes disenfranchised except the
political and religious elites. Keep up the good work Charles Santiago
and anyone else who public ally opposes these religious imperatives.
And no Mujahid, I do not want you to arrest
them. I want you to keep your mouth shut about them, and instead create
a counter-narrative that Harapan's Islam is about promoting a first
class education for your brethren, weeding out corruption in the
political and religious class, ensuring the healthcare system is one of
the best in the region, and ensuring a plurality of Islamic voices, so
young people do not join extremist groups that pose a danger to the
citizens of this country.
I have asked this question many times before, but how many times have
past Umno administrations made unilateral decisions which went against
the perceived Islamic groupthink to garner votes from non-Muslims? How
many times has the Umno regime retreated from extreme positions to
appease their BN non-Malay/Muslim partners? Did they suffer – before May 9, 2018 – from a Muslim backlash? No,
they didn’t. Why? because the majority of Muslims are content to follow
their leaders instead of setting the Islamic agenda.
My last article
was more about the hypocrisy of the opposition then any real political
influence by a foreign power. Anyway, all of this is just a smokescreen.
Three important issues have cropped up which point to the theoretic
agenda of the Harapan state – far more important than a bumbling group
from DC mucking about our country.
The first is the syariah-compliant guidelines
for the private sector. What horse manure is this? Apparently, this was
in response to the incident where some woman was sacked from her job
for not covering up her aurat. Let me get this straight. We have already had problems in the public
sector where religious types dictated how we dress when we interact with
the bureaucracy, and now, Harapan wants to impose its “guidelines” on
the private sector?
I can just picture it. Private companies who want to do business with
the government will suck up to the regime by adopting these guidelines.
Some women will advocate for this guideline to be adopted by their
companies to ensure that they are not discriminated against, and when
there is pushback from the company, the religious far right will get
involved and Harapan and these bigots will be on the same page.
This is how it starts – innocently enough. Hidden behind a
message of fairness is actually the tools for compliance. Guidelines
eventually become dogma, and because they think people will not notice –
most often they do not – they encroach into our public and private
The second is the rebranding of the National Civics Bureau (BTN). I wrote about this here
– “Okay, you may say, fine, reform BTN. Sounds simple, right? Has
anyone stopped to think why this organisation is needed? Forget about
what it is costing taxpayers, but why would there ever need to be a
government agency instilling ‘patriotism’ in the civil service and
students? Why would the state need to do this except to ensure that
people are brainwashed into voting for them?”
People need to question why Harapan is accepting money from kids who
break their piggy banks, but has the money to fund what is essentially a
state propaganda organ, which would reach into every facet of public,
not to mention private life? Do people not see the hypocrisy and danger
of an organisation like BTN, revamped or not? While some Harapan politicians have spoken up on this, the big guns are waxing eloquent about other senior leaders, promoting a third national car, or reminding the rakyat about how bad Umno's corruption scandals
were. Not to mention the defence that Harapan made these promises not
realising they could win has achieved some sort of legitimacy among the
The third, and perhaps most important, is the waffling on abolishing
the National Security Council Act 2016. All I can say is, you lying
sacks of manure. Before the election, Harapan, the then-opposition, was going on about
how this act had effectively turned this democracy into an autocracy.
Malay opposition politicians, including our current prime minister, said
that this act further eroded the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
In fact, Dr Mahathir Mohamad went so far as to claim that Najib Abdul Razak had given himself the powers of the Agong. Anwar Ibrahim mounted a legalchallenge and later withdrew it. This is the most dangerous law this country has.
Now, these duplicitous politicians are claiming:
“When it comes to security issues of the country, we will examine all
aspects to ensure our country’s safety is not compromised.” Really? What
changed? I mean what have you discovered about the security of the
country that changed your mind on the utilitarian values of this act? Did the Najib regime have good cause to table this act? Was the Najib
regime aware of things that necessitated such an act that you were
(then) ignorant of? Were all criticisms against this act unfounded?
Based on ignorance and not fact?
Let me be very clear. I say theocratic agenda because ultimately,
religion is the foundation on which unjust laws and propaganda will be
used in this country. This is the new virulent strain introduced into
the Islamic discourse. Virulent because:
The goodwill Harapan has from its base clouds the discourse in an
avalanche of apologia, or more often ad hominems. This adds to the
virulence of the discourse, because people lose sight of the real issue
and attempt to engage with the strawman arguments. This, of course, only
strengthens the Malay far-right position.
The media is concentrating on the plethora of corruption scandals of
the past regime, which subsumes other more important long-term issues
which have long-lasting effects on the social and political landscape of
this country. Politicians, who before the election were bullish on institutional
reform which involved the religious apparatus, now find it profitable to
carry on existing narratives that worked so well for BN until the
events of May 9.
This, of course, is the most dangerous aspect of this
new Malaysia I get that people do not think it is a big issue. But look back at
the history of the country and see the cultural changes that took place.
Do you really think corruption has done as much damage as the religious
and racial imperatives of the Malay and non-Malay political class?