May light of inclusion conquer darkness of insecurities by Wilfred Madius Tangau - MP for Tuaran
Monday, November 08, 2021
Malaysiakini :MP SPEAKS | I would like to
take this opportunity to wish all Hindu Malaysians and others who
celebrate the Festival of Lights, a very Happy Deepavali.
While Hindus constitute a small community in Peninsular Malaysia
(Sabah and Sarawak constitute 60 percent of the Malaysian landmass lest
we forget), they are much loved and appreciated.
In Borneo, we
love and respect other human beings as brothers and sisters, regardless
of their numbers, wealth or strength, as long as they love and respect
Hindus have enriched Nusantara for 2,000 years
Hindus have shaped the cultures and languages of Nusantara for nearly
2,000 years before the 15th century. Without the early Hindus, we would
not have words in Malay that originated from Sanskrit like agama, bahasa, bangsa, budi, bumi, erti, maya, putera, raja and syurga, and from Tamil like harta, kapal, kedai, kolam, kota, kuda, peta and singa. The Hindus then and now have enriched us all.
is a Nusantara tradition to extend festive wishes, whether religious or
cultural, to our friends and relatives without worrying that our own
faith would be compromised. In fact, we can draw universal meanings from
others’ religious celebrations for our reference.
today is to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and light over
darkness, in the victories of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana in
Ramayana (an Indian classic that is treasured in Nusantara) and of Lord
Krishna over demon king Narakasura.
Universal metaphors of light and darkness
me, metaphorically, light is kindness, wisdom and courage while
darkness is selfishness, ignorance and fear, that exist in everyone’s
heart including mine.
While I believe in Christ and not Krishna,
the lights of Deepavali remind me that I have to do better to rid
selfishness, ignorance and fear in me. In the gospel of Luke 8:16-18, it
is mentioned that “no man when he hath lighted a lamp, covered it with a
vessel or putteth it under a bed; but putteth it on a stand, that they
enter in my seethe light.”
Deepavali wish for the nation is that all of us would be blessed with
more kindness, wisdom and courage, inspired by our own faith and belief
system and from learning about others.
As a nation, we Malaysians
often cannot think inclusively to treat others like siblings in the
same family, as we are consumed by our own insecurities, created by our
pains in the past and our fear of the future. Insecurities drive us to
“get even” on others instead of getting ourselves better and stronger.
insecurities only imprison us and prevent us from being the best we can
be. When we look at everyone who is different from us suspiciously and
seek refuge in conspiracy theories for a false sense of security and
solidarity, we are denying ourselves personal and collective growth.
only needs to look at the United States to see how conspiracy theories
and ethnocentric populism can damage humanity, democracy and liberty in
the world’s superpower.
End political exploitation of insecurities
Malaysia to move forward, all parties must work together to address
each other’s insecurities and their political exploitation. Certain
segments of Malayan Muslims feel deeply insecure that others are out to
insult their faith or confuse them.
The truth is, barring some
extremists and sociopaths, most people don’t enjoy other humans’
sufferings and humiliations. The fact that so many Malaysians help out
other Malaysians under the slogan “rakyat jaga rakyat”, regardless of
faith and ethnicity, is the best proof that we are capable of
inclusiveness and overcoming our insecurities.
insecurities are not found amongst Borneo Muslims because they have
non-Muslim families and friends, and they know that non-Muslims are just
normal humans like Muslims who seek happiness, health, peace and
livelihood for themselves and their loved ones.
Borneo Muslims do
not demonise their non-Muslim families and friends, refrain from eating
together with them for fear of pork contamination, call tuak and lihing
“Satan’s urine” or feel confused or threatened when hearing Christians
praying to Allah.
'For you is your religion, for me is my religion'
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob is serious about building a happy
and prosperous Keluarga Malaysia, then he must rein in the political
exploitation of Muslims’ insecurities.
To have insecurities is
human but to deliberately exploit insecurities to fuel superiority and
hatred is wicked and dangerous. No family can survive if some siblings
are constantly haunted by insecurities against other siblings.
must call upon politicians from Malay-based parties - PAS, Amanah, Umno
and PKR - to compete on how to protect Malays from the pandemic,
unemployment, Industrial Revolution 4.0 and climate change that may
cause 13 percent of our total landmass - within 5km from the sea - to go
Ismail Sabri must ensure that the Islamic spirit of
religious freedom, “for you is your religion, for me is my religion”, is
truly practised in Keluarga Malaysia. He must stop the anti-alcohol
campaign, from the Timah witchhunt to the partial alcohol ban in Kuala
Lumpur, which is deeply insensitive to Borneo natives as well as other
Just because Muslims cannot drink alcohol, it does
not mean that non-Muslims must be restricted from buying alcohol or the
consumption of alcohol must be hidden.
Malaysia belongs to both
Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Anyone who has forgotten this should pay a
visit to the Batu Bersumpah (Oath Stone) on the social contract of
religious freedom and allegiance to Malaysia, in Keningau, Sabah.
Withdraw govt appeal on Allah ban
importantly, Ismail Sabri must instruct the Attorney General’s Chamber
to withdraw its appeal against the High Court’s ruling on March 10 that
declared the Allah ban since 1986 is unconstitutional.
must hear the plea of Borneo Christians and the 18 MPs, four senators
and 31 assemblypersons from Sabah and Sarawak representing them in a
statement dated March 15 calling for the withdrawal.
The plea is a
cross-party voice. Included in the list are four MPs, one senator and
15 assemblypersons in the government’s camp, namely Willie Mongin
(Bersatu-Puncak Borneo), Richard Riot (SUPP-Serian), Larry Sng (Julau)
Anyi Ngau (PDP- Baram), Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew (SUPP), Harry Henry
Jinep (PDP-Tasik Biru), Miro Simuh (PBB-Serembu), Martin Ben
(PBB-Kedup), John Ilus (PBB-Bukit Semuja), Snowdan Lawan (PRS-Balai
Ringin), Gerald Rentap Jabu (PBB-Layar), Rolland Duat (PDP-Meluan),
Alexander Vincent (PRS-Ngemah), Allan Gramong (PBB-Machan), Christopher
Gira (PRS-Tamin), Wilson Nyabong (PRS-Pelagus), Jefferson Jamit (Bukit
Goram), Kennedy Chuk Pai (PRS-Murum), Majang Renggi (PRS-Samalaju) and
Dennis Ngau (PBB-Telang Usan).
Ismail Sabri must summon the moral
courage to inform Malayan Muslims that Allah is used by Borneo
Christians in worship because that is the word used in Bahasa
Malaysia/Indonesia and even Arab for “God” in any Abrahamic religions,
and that the cultural shock many Malayan Muslims encountered since the
1980s was due to the success of the National Language Policy in Sabah
and Sarawak, and the influx of Sabahans and Sarawakians to Malaya for
education and employment because their home regions had been
If Malayan Muslims need to feel more secure, then
the government should introduce comparative religions courses in schools
and through public media so that both Muslims and Christians know their
different understandings of Allah without feeling insecure.
Use your vote wisely in Malacca, Sarawak
Malaysians must not give up hope that the light of inclusiveness can conquer the darkness of insecurities.
the upcoming state elections of Malacca and Sarawak, make sure you turn
out to vote and use your vote to reject any candidates and parties who
deliberately exploit the politics of insecurities.
amongst those who respect each other’s belief and sensitivity, as
expressed in the great principle of “for you is your religion and for me
is my religion”.