When I came across the article below, I felt a sense of trepidation for my fellow Malaysians who are the majority Malays in this country. Things have suddenly become more restrictive for them, namely, in the last 10 years or so and especially after the end of the Mahathir’s era (the ex- Prime Minister in power for 22 years from 1981). The succeeding weak leadership and fragile political power could be contributory factors in this unfolding scenario.
The emergence of a group of so-called religious people is making the dominant people of this country, the Malays, more inward looking. They are putting obstacles in almost all spheres of life making independent thinking not only a rare commodity but dangerous as well. All these development will put an undue pressure on the youth of this country beside creating inter-faith tension.
Many of the articles written to counter this unhealthy religious trend are in English and this prevents many English-illiterate Malay youths from getting different viewpoints to balance their outlook on life in Malaysia. Many would condemn first anything that doesn’t agree with their world view and never ever think later.
There is no social let alone political will to remedy the current unhappy situation as people unwittingly suffer from this subtle oppression of human rights and oh yes, to the blinking religious people “human rights” are a Western devilish invention.
I would like to think that I am a strong person emotionally but my heart bleeds for the Malaysian Malays.
Reposted below is an astute article on the predicament of the Malays in Malaysia by a senior lawyer and an ex-Minister in Malaysia Chronicle.
Quote (verbatim) :
Tuesday, 28 October 2014 21:58
SAVE the Malays from Najib & gang
Written by Zaid Ibrahim
Malays are defined by the law as Muslim, but while there is supposedly freedom of religion in this country, this does not extend to the Malays. Muslims are not even allowed to have an opinion about their own religion, for any that is contrary to what the authorities say is deemed haram and punishable by a jail sentence.
Per the latest fatwa (religious edict), Malays are now in danger of being classified as “deviant”—or rather, deviationists if they have slightly more liberal or progressive views about life and the world than those who call themselves “ulama”. We can expect more Malays to be prosecuted for saying or doing anything that can be perceived as menghina Islam. More and more will be forced to seek asylum in other countries to escape jail. The wealthy ones are already in London and Melbourne.
To the Malays who believe in Malaysia as a free and democratic country, let’s continue the fight here. Let’s keep asserting that Malaysia is a multi-racial country, where other religions have the Constitutionally-protected right to be practised freely. Let’s point out to the authorities that even Muslims have rights, and that it’s not them we have to answer to, but God. They may accuse us as being kafir, munafik, jahil and much more, but let them—they are the ones who are misguided.
To the Malays who believe and support democracy and human rights, let us be brave even when we are labeled or accused of being deviant. If we do not want this country to be controlled by fascists, then we must be prepared to go to jail.
In giving the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM) free rein to ridicule and punish Malays and Muslims in this way, I am at a loss to understand what this Government wants Malays to be. I am at a loss as to why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Leader of the Opposition Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the leaders in the Istana stay silent when mullahs are destroying their own people.
Do they want Malays to threaten and fight each other, like the IS in Iraq and Syria? Do they want Malays to be mindless robots with no views of their own?
These leaders must bear the responsibilities of their offices and positions. They must not condone or support the persecution of Malays and any others in the name of God.
Najib, Anwar and the Istana must put an end to the despotic behaviour of the ulama who freely and without care issue fatwas without thinking about the effects these edicts have on the people—and I say “despotic” because the behaviour of these Muslim bureaucrats is not “Islamic” at all.
In the Golden Age of Islamic legal theory and jurisprudence, scholars and mujtahid (interpreters of Shariah law) issued fatwas or opinions regularly—sometimes a dozen fatwas on a particular subject. They relished differences in opinion. They regarded this diversity as a manifestation of the wonder of the human mind in the search of the Divine will.
Scholars and jurists of that era recognised that fatwas were only relevant for a particular time and situation and could change with new facts and circumstances. They ended their fatwas with wallah hu alam (Only God knows best) as a reminder to themselves that they were humans and therefore fallible. Fatwas were not laws, but were used by the rulers as guidance in the administration of the state.
Our scholars in JAKIM and the religious authorities, on the other, are apparently dead sure of their infallibility. They can do wrong or be wrong in their fatwas.
That’s why it’s a criminal offence in Malaysia for anyone to question, dispute or disagree with them or their fatwas.
In the Golden Age, jurists and scholars accepted the distinction between the tenets of Shariah (God’s way) which are immutable and beyond question, and the human search and understanding of the Shariah by way of usul al fiqh (legal theory).
The search through fiqh is a human activity that involves reason and a healthy mind. Fiqh is not fixed and immutable. It is changing, dynamic and fallible because it is human.
This flexibility and tolerance of ideas is the true Islam. The scholars of the Golden Age never once believed they were infallible, for that would be to ascribe to oneself an attribute of God.
Fast-forward to the 21st-century Malaysia and we see a new breed of Islamic scholars ruling over Malays. They use Islam to control Malay minds and they are supported by leaders who are selfish to the core, being interested only in the Malay votes.
These Malay leaders—like Najib and Anwar and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang—can easily move amendments to the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 1993 as a first step towards putting an end to this abuse of authority.
As Muslim leaders, they should stop this senseless proliferation of fatwas—but they will not because Malays are dispensable, and their quest for power is not! – zaid.my
English words for:
Haram – forbidden
Menghina – disrespect/degrade
Kafir – infidel
Munafik – hypocrite
Jahil – ignorant
Istana – royal palace
JAKIM – (A government agency)