Monday, May 12, 2014

Our right to speak up

Original author - Wong Chun Wai. Published in the Star May 11, 2014.
Link to original article

We live in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia, where any law, whether hudud or civil, will affect all of us.

Seriously, I am fed up of being told that I should not comment on the proposed hudud laws by PAS and the party’s fans because I am not a Muslim.

The argument is that I have no right, and also no understanding of hudud, thus I am automatically disqualified from discussing it.

Another naïve retort is that this issue should be left to learned Islamic scholars.

So we have the likes of people like the Muslim activist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) chief Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman taking this line of argument further. In his inability to articulate his views convincingly and fairly, he has resorted to threats.

In linking the non-Muslims who oppose the introduction of hudud to a particular ethnic group, he has even called the Chinese citizens in this country “immigrants” and “trespassers” and told them to be grateful for what they have enjoyed in Malaysia.

I wonder if the Isma president is aware that although our Constitution defines Malays as those who profess the Muslim faith, it does not mean that all Muslims in Malaysia are ethnically Malay. What about the converts from other races?

I know so many wonderful people who are ethnically Chinese or Indian, but are also good Muslims. How will all these saudara baru feel to be told off that they are “immigrants” and “trespassers”?

And all my Muslim friends who have been to Mecca always tell me how surprised they all were to see Muslims from all over the world, of all nationalities and ethnicities. It is estimated that there are 25 million Muslims in China, far more than the number of Muslims in most of the Arab countries.

And then the Isma president tells us that PAS’ hudud laws should be applicable to non-Muslims – which runs contrary to his argument that non-Muslims have no say. If hudud is going to be imposed on us, non-Muslims, then why shouldn’t we have a say?

Like it or not, the reality is that we live in a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia, where any law, whether hudud or civil, will affect all of us.

We have a sad situation in Malaysia when one is unable to advocate intellectually or, rather, intelligently. Many of us are unable to take part in a discourse with a rational mind, preferring to shut down or, rather, shout down those who take a different stand.

And the saddest part is that these threats mostly take on a religious and racial slant. That seems to be the way Malaysia is heading.

Until now, non-Muslims are waiting for an answer, or to be convinced, as to how a rape victim would be treated under PAS hudud laws if there is a need to produce four male witnesses.

And just because four witnesses cannot be found, it does not mean a rape did not take place. It also doesn’t mean that the woman has committed adultery.

A non-Muslim wants to know how the law would be applied, since the victim and the rapist can be of different religions in plural Malaysia.

Why should the non-Muslim be regarded as hostile, with no rights whatsoever to even bring up such questions?

For that matter, I am sure Muslims themselves would want to know how this situation would be dealt with as well.

To bring it to another level, if the PAS hudud isn’t about amputation of hands and limbs with regard to petty theft, then non-Muslims surely want to know whether those who steal the country’s money via corruption would also be subjected to such punishment?

And, as one writer rightly argued, “What about civil servants, developers and politicians who allow the rape of our forests in the name of development? What kind of laws would these greedy people be subjected to?”

There are many Malaysians, and I dare say both Muslims and non-Muslims, who are disturbed by what is happening in our country.

Those of us who are in our 50s would remember how, during our school days, it was constantly drummed into us that Malaysia is a plural society or masyarakat majmuk. We live in a country of many races and religions, or berbilang kaum dan agama.

We took all this very seriously, and rightly so too. We memorised the five principles of the Rukunegara – Belief in God (Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan), Loyalty to King and Country (Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara), Supremacy of the Constitution (Keluhuran Perlembagaan), the Rule of Law (Kedaulatan Undang-undang), and Courtesy and Morality (Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan).

Then little disturbing changes began creeping into our text books.

We began to notice that Parameswara had disappeared from our history books and was soon followed by Yap Ah Loy, whose founding of Kuala Lumpur was put in doubt.

Surely Abdullah Zaik is old enough to note the contributions of the Chinese and Indians in opening up the country’s economy, unless he failed his exams in school or is too proud and too blind to accept the contributions of other races who have made Malaysia what it is today.

He surely cannot be blind to the sacrifices of non-Muslims in the security forces who dedicated their lives to fighting the communists in the Emergency, and the many MCA leaders who were killed because they were regarded as traitors by the communists.

Ignorant fools and bigots like him should not be allowed to get away with their remarks. If the authorities choose to look the other way, it is as good as telling many of us that such people are tolerated or, worse, even endorsed by them.

Wrong is wrong, and we are glad that former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has the courage to tell Abdullah Zaik off.

And let us not forget the administrators at Universiti Institut Teknologi Mara, who allowed two foreigners – in this case, Indonesians – to speak at a seminar which was essentially a threat to racial and national unity. If it isn’t, most of us do not know what it is.

Again, we would like to know how two foreigners can preach anti-Christianity sermons in a state-financed university whose students also include many Christians from Sabah and Sarawak.

As a student in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, I had to do Islamic Studies, which was a compulsory subject. But I enjoyed the lectures. I appreciated the opportunity to learn about Islam and until today, I defend the wisdom to teach the subject.

I have continued to deepen my study of Islam and I have conti­nued to collect books on Islam on a monthly basis. My private library has one of the best collections of books on Islam, I dare to say.

And as a Sixth Form student, I signed up for Islamic History and in my first year at UKM, I signed up for the Malay Letters Department. On a personal level, there are Muslims in my family too.

I may not be an expert in religion but, like many of us, we will defend our right to speak up. Do respect our rights as citizens too, and our wish to keep Malaysia moderate, which was what our founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman had set out to do for this beloved country of ours.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

More tweet-in-mouth disease

While the nation mourned, former Perkasa vice-president Zul Noordin tweeted that Karpal Singh’s death would allow hudud law to be implemented in Kelantan.

In a series of posting on Twitter, Zulkilfli Noordin said while the Kelantan government was struggling to implement hudud in the state with Umno’ help, God had taken away Karpal, who was Islamic law’s main critic.

“Hopefully, the move to implement hudud in Kelantan is successful. God willing, with Umno-PAS unity and Karpal’s demise, I believe the things are made easier now.” said the former PKR MP.

However, Zulkifli’s tweets received public backlash, including from Youth and Sport Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

“@zulkiflinoordin Shut up. Really, shut up,” said Khairy.

Kuala Lumpur Bar chairman HR Dipendra described Zulkifli as coward for criticising a man who had just died.

“Zul Noordin shows his true nature: He is a coward and only cowards attack a dead man,” said Dipendra.

Human rights lawyer Syahredzan Johan said it was time for people to name and shame such people for their rude remarks.

“More so when they are politicians. We must remember what they said, and hold it against them when they seek office again,” said Syahredzan, via Twitter.

Karpal was known to be a fierce critic of hudud law being implemented in Malaysia, arguing that nation’s constitution is based on secular laws. He once famously said that hudud would only be implemented “over my dead body”.

Meanwhile, PAS central committee member Dzulkefly Ahmad said Zulkifli’ statement is doing “a great disservice” to Islam.

“It shocked us knowing that Zulkifli has come out with an insensitive remark, it is such as a great disservice to Islam.

“PAS may have a lot of difference with Karpal, but we stand to give him respect, he is a towering figure in the nation he has served,” said the PAS central committee member.

Dzulkefly also criticised the Perak police chief Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani for picking on traffic offences recorded by Karpal’s vehicle right after his passing.

“They should be a bit more sensitive, and be gracious and benevolent to the passing man, because we all know sometimes MPs are caught in a mad rush to serve their constituencies, and unlike the minister, we don’t have an escort team,” he said.

Perak state assembly speaker and former MIC vice-president SK Devamany also denounced Zulkifli over his disparaging remark.

“The remark is uncalled for and an uncivilised one to be made against a great statesman. It goes beyond the spirit of nationalism and Islam,” he said.

However, in later postings, Zulkifli heaped laurels on Karpal, saying he was one of the few who dared to take up cases against the government.

He also said that Karpal was generous in giving legal advise to junior lawyers and commended the veteran lawyer for taking up a lot of cases on a pro bono basis.

“His office serves almost like a welfare office to help the poor. To Karpal,your roar for the poor & your voice against injustice, either in Parliament or in court will be missed by many. Goodbye my friend!

“To my friend Gobind Singh Deo & family, do accept my deepest condolence.I am sure Karpal’s name will be tinted in gold in the history of Malaysia!”

Friday, March 21, 2014

So who's telanjang now, Chef Wan?

As the search and rescue operations for the missing MH370 aircraft enters its 14th day today where it is now focused in the southern Indian Ocean, southwest of Perth, this bit of stupidity really pisses the Spanker off:

Local celebrity Datuk Chef Wan early today ridiculed the discovery of two objects by Australia which could be related to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on his Instagram account @chefwan58.

In his post, Chef Wan posed with an object which he claimed was part of the missing MH370 aircraft which disappeared on March 8.

Then in an apparent attempt at a joke, Chef Wan said the object was actually part of a toilet door from a house on the beach in Morib.

His distasteful (pun intended) post  has since been deleted after receiving 701 comments and much criticism from his Instagram followers.

Chef Wan's distasteful "joke" comes at a time when tensions are running high among family members of the 239 passengers and crew on the missing plane.

Compare this with Flight Steward Mohd Hazrin Mohamed Hasnan, who was on board MH370 and who happily took a picture with Chef Wan on an earlier flight to Dubai. Hazrin later posted his picture with a joke about nasi lemak: "@chefwan58 jom makan nasi lemak.. heheheh.. anyways its being a pleasure serving u onboard flight to dxb. Such a humble person."

Those who follow local news will know the media ruckus Chef Wan kicked up after being served Nasi Lemak without anchovies and fried peanuts, calling it "Nasi Lemak Telanjang" (Naked Nasi Lemak).

Upon being informed of Mohd Hazrin posting the picture with him and his current missing status, Chef Wan posted on 8th March "I discovered that he was on board the MAS flight to Beijing. Over the years he has attended to me on several flight abroad and we spoke and laughed about many things. A very sad and tragic news indeed".
Now Chef Wan is highly regarded among his peers locally and around the world. He is also a Tourism Ambassador and a Malaysian Culinary Ambassador. 

Yet 2 weeks later he does an about turn and insults Hazrin, his family and indeed all Malaysians with a tasteless and insensitive stunt like that.

So who's telanjang now, Chef?


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

MH370 - You Just Can't Beat Malaysians' Bevahavior

I was at the #UniteforMH370 event at the Curve last night. It was heartening to see many Malaysians of all shapes, colors and sizes come together to pray for the 239 "lost" souls.
The plight of MH370 should be a unifying factor for all Malaysians. Irrespective of our race or religion or political beliefs we should come together as one and collectively stand united in hope and prayer for the 227 passengers and 12 crew.

Instead, with the empowerment of social media – everyone’s now an overnight aviation expert and we have unsolicited opinions, conspiracy theories, rumours, crass jokes, puerile parodies, insensitive comments, outright lies and greedy opportunistic attention seekers.

Where’s Air Asia in all this? It and its vast resources are conspicuously missing when they can be rendering much needed assistance to the nation. The same nation that’s made its Directors fabulously rich, by the way.

Worst of all are the scum from both sides of the political divide who choose to milk this unfortunate turn of events for furthering their own devious agendas.

When caught with his pants down (pun intended) lying, here’s the Grand Master of spin doing what he does best…


After initially denying it, Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has now admitted that Malaysia Airlines MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is related to his son's in-laws.

"I am not denying that he (Zaharie) is related to one of my in-laws and that I have met him on several occasions.

"In fact, he is a close friend of (PKR supreme council member and Subang MP) R. Sivarasa, as we said before," Anwar told reporters at the Parliament lobby here on Tuesday.

Earlier, Anwar was quoted by South China Morning Post as saying: "I don't recollect the name (Zaharie), but when the photographs were shown, I remembered I had seen him at party meetings," he said.

He also said they had had no personal contact, but Capt Zaharie was a follower of his Twitter account.

On Sunday, his party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) dismissed a British tabloid report which claimed Capt Zaharie is a "political fanatic".

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said the Daily Mail report was "wild allegations" and the paper "is a sensationalist tabloid known for cooking up stories".

The tabloid claimed that Capt Zaharie commanded the doomed flight about several hours after he had attended Anwar's sodomy trial.

In case you’re in the mood for more lies, read PKR’s bare faced denials here