Malaysiakini : "Efforts by the government to uphold Islam can be seen in the
constitution which has placed Islam as the religion of the federation." - Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki
COMMENT | The quote by Asyraf that opens this piece was made when he was a panellist at a conference titled "Bicara Minda dan Sesi Dialog Perjuangan For All"
in 2017. Why is this important? This is important because another
panellist at that conference was then Umno info chief Annuar Musa.
Territories Minister Annuar Musa recently said that the recent
guidelines for alcohol applications and sales had nothing to do with
religion and was a strategy to look after the well-being of "the Kuala
Lumpur community, especially the less fortunate and the needy in
continuing with their lives amidst the Covid-19 pandemic".
prime minister, on another related issue, even "joked" about how it may
be a good idea for nightclubs and pubs to remain closed because it is
difficult to have "social distancing" in these venues points to the kind
of religious and moral pandering that goes in this Malay uber alles
Take this anecdote from Martin Vengadesan's latest report
where "live music and deejays are already not allowed, but many more
are not even permitted to play piped-in music or even broadcast
entertainment on their TV screens".
Keep in mind: this is a
country where we have a religious body which decries "excessive
laughter", where it was reported that "Jakim (Department of Islamic
Development Malaysia) believes that the guidelines
will be a reference point for all parties, including those in the
creative industry, so that the work they produce is in line with Islamic
teachings and will not impact the society negatively."
Musa, if you recall, was the political operative who, at a red shirt
rally in 2015, claimed that his racism was based on "Islam".
racial is endorsed in Islam as long as you are not cruel towards other
people. This rally, if you say is racist, yes. What are you scared of?
Islam has put in place guidelines; what is not allowed is racism that is
cruel towards other races," he was reported to have said.
Annuar attempted to walk back
on those statements, arguing that his love for his "race" did not make
him a racist and that even the prophet decried racism but loving one's
own race did not fall into the Islamic definition of racism.
when a group of agitators started "taking down" alcoholic drinks in
Kampung Manjoi, and the feeble statements made by the Perak MB
who told folks not to take the law into their own hands but advised
other shop operators operating in other Malay villages to be "more
sensitive to the feeling of locals"?
Musa talked about religion not being cruel towards "other people" but
attempting to curtail the sale and distribution of products which are
important – for whatever reasons – to non-Muslims, goes against the
canard that non-Muslims are told that Islamic laws do not affect them.
"sensitivities" do not matter when it comes to the promulgation of laws
that curtail our civil liberties and economic activities. When
religious operatives rejoice because of laws and regulations that
conform to their religious dogma, this is evidence that such laws having
"nothing to do with religion" is pure grade A horse manure.
these restrictions were announced, the Islamic forces in this country
rejoiced. We have had numerous religious and political operatives from
PAS, and even Umno, laud this decision as some sort of recognition of
the religious imperatives of this government, even though the state
claimed this has nothing to do with religion.
What better time to
weaken our public and private spheres than during a pandemic? The
movement control order was the perfect opportunity to curtail commercial
activities that the deep Islamic state deems to be antithetical to the
concept of an authentic Islamic state.
The fact that Annuar
attempts to portray this as anything other than further encroachment of
our non-Muslim public spheres, and the fact that there has been very
little pushback from Malay opposition political operatives, is further
evidence that this is a "religious issue" because Malay/Muslim political
operatives do not want to be caught on the "wrong" side of this issue.
agenda of the religious state since Perikatan Nasional achieved power
is to ensure that non-Muslims are subject to Islamic dogma, whether they
like it or not.
is just that low hanging fruits, like alcohol licences, pubs and
nightclubs, are easier overt targets. The idea is that they will have
enough non-Muslim support who are duped into this scam – for whatever
reasons - and then to normalise the agenda of the Islamic state.
Three years ago, the state security apparatus stopped a terrorist attempt by a young man to bomb a beer festival. His main goal
was to disrupt the event and kill non-Muslims. We know this because
initial investigations, as reported in the press, revealed that he "was
motivated by incidents affecting Muslims, and decided that Malaysia had
strayed from its role as a true Islamic nation". We also know from
initial investigations that he did not have any contact with any
Malaysian or Islamic State militants.
What does this tell us about
the state of play of the religious agenda of this country? Whenever
laws which have a direct impact on the economic issue of non-Muslims,
but I would argue more importantly on the erosion of our public and
private spheres, the state uses all sorts of "secular" rationales.
Despite this, we have extremists who do not think that the state is
going far enough. Where do you think these extremists get these ideas?
Musa does not get to say that the government cares for the well-being
of the Kuala Lumpur community. He has already said that he cares about
the Malays uber alles, and what we are witnessing is his devotion to his
first and only love.
This is what I refer to as the religious pandemic agenda.