Articles, Opinions & Views: Anwar did not bring about a liberal or secular apocalypse - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy

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Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

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Anwar did not bring about a liberal or secular apocalypse - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, April 13, 2020
Malaysiakini : “Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.”- Bertrand Russell
COMMENT | Anwar Ibrahim’s definition of what it means to be “liberal” is the kind of strategy that has effectively proven to be futile against the Malay establishment. I have no idea why people are outraged over Abdul Hadi Awang’s letter to Islamic potentates in the Middle East.
Hadi claiming that Anwar and Harapan are liberals, propped up by Zionist and Freemasons, is exactly the kind of mainstream propaganda in this country that the Malay establishments – including Malay political operatives from Pakatan Harapan – have pedalled for decades. Amanah, for instance, wondered if Malaysia was having an "affair" with Israel.
Keep in mind that this “liberal” allegation against Anwar was used just two months ago by the former prime minister – one-time nemesis turned ally – Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as reported in Berita Harian: “Anwar keluar-keluar (Umno), dia buat parti liberal. Dia nak dapat sokongan daripada DAP, maka dia ajak DAP masuk, PAS masuk. Falsafah dia liberal,” – in which the former Harapan prime minister added that this was why the majority of Malays rejected Anwar and why he (Mahathir) was needed to court the Malay vote.
Anwar plays into this strategy by implying that he cannot accept liberals “who reject faith and morality and 'conservatives' who condone corruption", which is really a dumb thing to say because rejecting religious dogma and stealing money from the rakyat is not the same thing. It is not even in the same league.
Besides, what has Dr Zakir Naik (above), who was found to be inspiring by Harapan’s former religious czar Mujahid Yusof Rawa, been telling the Muslims in Malaysia? That is right, he keeps telling Muslims in Malaysia that it better to be ruled by corrupt Muslims leaders than by honest “kaffirs”. Hence this idea that rejecting corruption is some sort of Islamic benchmark in mainstream Malay/Muslim society is complete bunkum.
Hadi signalling out Anwar’s so-called liberalism is not something new. As I said, it is mainstream establishment propaganda. Way back in 2014, when PAS was going through its turmoils because of the “liberal” Anwar supporting a faction in PAS, establishment pundits were cheerleading for a pact of some kind between PAS and Umno for the benefit of Muslims in Malaysia.
Mohd Ayop Abd Razid, an analyst at the Information Department, Communications and Multimedia Ministry, dissected the convulsions in PAS using the usual talking points of Malay political operatives being “puppets” to the DAP, the coming secularism if the opposition succeeds and of course the problems of the pro-Anwar faction attempting a synthesis of liberal ideas and Islamic dogma – “Anwar gemar mensintesiskan Islam dengan pemikiran liberal.
This is a correct description of Anwar’s and his allies rhetoric. The reality is that the propaganda and fears of the Islamists and agents of the fascist state about Harapan coming into power were exposed for the delusion they were. Harapan neither intended nor carried out a liberal or secular agenda.
Instead, those “liberal” heroes of before the election have turned into the religious apparatchiks of the state. While before the election, “liberal” Malay political operatives were standing proudly by their non-Malay counterparts – please keep in mind that non-Malays are not by default “liberal”, but since nobody really knows how to define them, the term I will just use is the propagandist definition used by the mainstream – these same politicians kicked whatever secular and egalitarian values to the curb along with those who assumed that this was a "New Malaysia".
In fact for all the propaganda by Umno and PAS of a secular or liberal apocalypse after Harapan's historic win, what happened was that Harapan turned on its liberal allies, specifically the Malay liberals who were always receiving the brunt of state-sanctioned attacks. Well-known political personalities – much admired before the election – from Rafizi Ramli (photo, above) to Mujahid, were talking about “ultra-liberals” and making false equivalencies between religious extremists and puak “liberal”.
When Umno was in power, my Malay-speaking activist friends were always worried that the state labelled them as deviant and that meant they were liberal. As one young activist said (in Malay, no less), how could he be liberal when he couldn't even speak English that well.
The far-right does not fear “moderation.” What they fear is going up against progressive policies because they have worked in the past.Do not get me wrong. I feel bad for Anwar and I do not normally feel bad for politicians. Mahathir and the Malay political establishment really did a number on Anwar. He needed to be punished and his sodomy charges, which in reality are “religious” charges, were used to diminish his political cache among the majority Malay community.
See how the Malay establishment embraces the treacherous Azmin Ali (photo, below) and his sexual allegations and see how cretins continue to demonise Anwar for his alleged scandals. So, Anwar has to attempt to play this synthesis game by attempting to define liberalism and secularism in religious terms. He also has to show his racial and religious bona fides, which found perfect expression in his "don't spook, the Malays" narrative.
People make the mistake in thinking that this synthesis tactic works. It does not. Two years ago Ronnie Ooi (who also contributes to Malaysiakini) in an open letter to Anwar said that Anwar has to answer this simple question - “Is a secular Malaysia the only way to save Malaysia?”
Ooi believes that “The big mistake made by Malaysian secularists is that they think not secular means only Islamic.” He writes - “ I have argued that the fault line between the Islamism of the PKR, Amanah and Bersatu and the secularism of the DAP is only over the word secular, ie only an argument over terminology and not an argument over substance.”
This, of course, does not conform to reality. The reality is that any form of secular agenda was not on the table. However we define secularism and quibble over its usage, the substance – separation between mosque and state – was never really a part of Harapan’s agenda. You can see this post-election rejection of a slew of egalitarian policies and the strengthening of the religious bureaucracy.
Nobody is asking Harapan Muslim political operatives to thump their chest, rip their jubah off and shriek that they are “secular” or “liberal”. Just do not engage in an "Islamic" agenda which is detrimental to democracy and institutional independence. Harapan's religious czar was busy embroiling himself and his ministry in all manner of religious chicanery and busy demonising folks who, before the elections, threw their support behind Harapan.
By the way, Ooi makes the mistake of basing his arguments on ideas by the then darling of Harapan – the mufti of Perlis: “But the Perlis mufti has pointed out that the majority of Muslims (Islamists) are rational and moderate and Islam 'respects the rights of other races and religions'. So, the religion itself does not preclude an enlightened and democratic state. It all depends on whether it is the narrow-minded or the rational and moderate Muslims who are in power.”
This is a common mistake made by many Harapan partisans and demonstrative of the incompatibility of mainstream Islamic dogma and secular ideas. Not to mention the need for non-Muslims to grab any idea from Muslim political operatives that conforms to their bias or latches on to personalities who they think are shields against other virulent religious personalities.
Like Anwar, Ooi believed that a synthesis of ideas was possible. It is not. The irony is that you do not have to abandon your faith to believe and advocate for a secular state.
This is what religious extremists fear the most and this is why they understand that liberal Muslims need to be dealt with severely.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 11:46 AM  
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