ALSO BY

By Steve Oh

Don't be distracted by Allah row

You will make the most important decision that will affect you and your country for years to come in the forthcoming GE13.
 
Keep your head in all situations before then.
 
I urge my Christian friends in Malaysia not to be unduly affected by acts of bravado and provocation by those who turn Malaysia Boleh into Malaysia Bodoh.
 
When God is in control, nothing is out of control, and human history is the unravelling of the divine plan. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.
 
Do God’s perfect will by all means but don’t do perfectly nothing. Don’t mistake passivity for meekness or turning the other cheek as being a carpet for others to walk on. 
 
Don’t be so heavenly-minded as to be of no earthly use.
 
They who say I don’t want to be political may prefer to live in a communist country so they don’t have to vote or live in the past where voting was non-existent like before Merdeka. 
 
If you feel led by God by all means report all wrongdoings to the police. It is a civic duty to uphold the law and remonstrate with restraint and dignity.
 
While many of you are upset that there are plans afoot to burn the Malay ‘Allah’ Bible, for me it is water off a duck’s back.
 
Why should I be angry?
 
Their quarrel is not with Christians and me but God. And God has said in Revelations that those who add or subtract, let alone burn his Bible, will be cast into the lake of fire.
 
It is twisted logic and delusion to think a Bible is not a Bible because you don't like the word ‘Allah’ in it.
 
It isn’t as if believers have not been forewarned of the sorts of antics you face today now in Malaysia.
 
Jesus said, “If they persecute me they will persecute you,” and Jesus predicted it two thousand years ago.
 
Jesus also said, “In this world you will have tribulation but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
 
The man who said ‘Burn the Bibles’ confessed he had not meant to offend the feelings of Christians. That is a positive indication the man is not without conscience if he is sincere.
 
But is he? I doubt it.
 
He says he is upset that some people were distributing those Bibles. But he and his mates and patron are serial troublemakers in creating controversy. A leopard does not change its spots.
 
God says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” and that leaves me to love the sinner and not to repay evil with evil for we are the children of light and have been taught by the God of love to love one another, even our enemies and those who persecute us.
 
And there are times when “open rebuke is better than love concealed”. 

A bogeyman is an imaginary threat
 
For a long time now the government in Malaysia has condoned or even participated in the portrayal of Christians as the bogeyman. First they created the Chinese bogeyman. It failed. And now after Operation Lalang 1987, there is the Christian Bogeyman.
 
A bogeyman is an imaginary threat like a hobgoblin that frightens children. That is the meaning of a bogeyman and we know that children like to imagine things. Hobgoblins don’t exist like the Chinese bogeyman and the Christian bogeyman.
 
In the adult world many Malaysians know that Christians are not trouble-makers and out to convert every Muslim in Malaysia.
 
The imaginary foe is what keeps the troublemakers in business. They are out of ideas so they start fires like Nero and blame it on the Christians.
 
The religious agitator and conspirator is real, not imagined, because we can see their handiwork.
 
They churn out lies like the one that has been passed around that 100,000 Malays have been converted to Christianity concocted to justify the ISA arrest of 10 or so Christians in Operation Lalang in 1987.
 
If it were true, then there will be Malay Christians everywhere. But we only have false rumours and false allegations.
 
And we know that people are capable of dirty tricks when they can produce dirty videos and conspire in sodomy trials.
 
How can a country with all the resources of state at its disposal and Islam constitutionally entrenched as the official religion in the country be fearful of a minority religion that does not even make Malay evangelism an agenda in the churches? 
 
Those who conspire know how to tap into the Malay psyche and alarm them or make them paranoid by the mere mention of Muslims’ conversion to Christianity.
 
Some years ago a Catholic church saw a Malay mob gather outside to stop the false rumour that 100 Malays were to be baptised. They broke the rule of Islam not to slander and were sold a lie.
 
But the burning of churches is real.
 
Then there is the lie that Christians want Penang to be a Christian state. Why is it a lie? Because Christians don’t believe in a Christian state like the Muslims believe in an Islamic State.
 
Don't take my word - go ask your Christian friends. We have PAS, a political party based on Islam, why is there no Christian Party sold to a Christian State agenda?
 
And which Christian party in the world has that agenda? Zilch. Nyet. Nil. But the lie persists.

Kingdom of God is within the believer
 
Theirs is the Kingdom of God and they can even live within an Islamic State. The Kingdom of God is within the believer and is not political. It is a spiritual reality. It is a life of total submission to God.
 
The Christian bogeyman like the Chinese bogeyman will be buried by the truth in GE13 and those Malays who despise their own who tell lies and advance their politics at the expense of Islam.
 
True Muslims build bridges, not break them down and fabricate lies.
 
 I recently watched a leader of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation give a talk and answer questions from the media. There is hope for peace in his ideas but not those of people who want to burn other people’s religious books.
 
It is not a Christian versus Muslim problem in Malaysia but a neo-pogrom without the blood-letting against Christians planned by a patron ‘devil’ and his acolytes and the sadness is a government that turns a blind eye to such divisive tactics. 
 
I urge Dr Mahathir Mohamad to come to his senses and defend what’s left of his reputation and be a Dr Jerkyll and not Mr Hyde. Like many other Malaysians I had high hopes that he would help the Malays when he wrote the book The Malay Dilemma.
 
The conspirators like to paint the Chinese as the bogeyman, a threat to the Malays but they forget there are many Chinese who want to see the Malays successful.
 
Dr Mahathir forgets the Chinese votes saved his political neck when the Malays had rejected him in the elections before 2008. But then he has the problem of selective memory.
 
I look forward to when the Chinese and Malays ( and all the other races like in Sabah and Sarawak ) can live and do things together without instigation.
 
Like many other Chinese who supported the government’s NEP plans for helping the Malays, they want to see the poor Malays economically uplifted because no nation will prosper when a large section of the country is living in poverty.
 
And it applies to Indians too.
 
But as it turned out Dr M has become the ultimate Malay Dilemma himself, an enigma even to his own supporters, and the reason why Malaysia is bogged in race and religious controversies.
 
They bastardised the NEP, according to PM Najib Abdul Razak’s brother.
 
It is a terrible thing for anyone to fall into the hands of an angry God and God forbid anyone should be living in ignorance as in the age of ‘jahiliyah’ and commits sins against the country, the people and God himself.

Not the time to argue over religion
 
As for PAS we must not throw away the baby with the water.
 
PAS has made a public stand on ‘Allah’ and it is water under the bridge as far as I am concerned. Whether it will stand the test of world opinion and against the light of the Quran is left to be seen.
 
But we know that PAS is capable of reason and a friend in making change possible and those who want change need one another.
 
Suffice to say, now is not the time to argue over religion.
 
So everyone has an opinion but is it supported by the constitution and  is it enforceable, or binding on everyone? I doubt it and that is why I am not concerned, disappointed yes, but also realistic. 
 
PAS is therefore entitled to its opinion.
 
There is no reason to withdraw support for them within Pakatan Rakyat, and perhaps why Malaysiakini columnist KJ John boldly says, “I will vote for Pakatan Rakyat.”  
 
You don’t have to like the politicians you vote for or agree with all their opinions, but even if you have to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea, many will choose the blue ocean.
 
And blue ocean is a sea of opportunity but the devil comes only to kill and steal and he is the father of lies, we are warned. 
 
Whoever wins GE13 the people will have to work with the government and the government has to work with the people. Let’s not destroy one another for there is always GE14.

Corruption must be buried
 
Life must go on but not corruption. Corruption must die and be buried with GE13 by the votes of all Malaysians who say enough is enough.
 
The demise of corruption may be the time many of us will no longer write long letters to Malaysiakini, perhaps I should speak for myself.  
 
We will then have better things to do.
 
For as long as corruption lives and reigns like a tyrant over the country there is no future for Malaysia only an ominous dread that more of the same will not do.
 
It grieves me to see Malaysians suffer because of corruption in governance. Teoh Beng Hock, A Kugan, Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamed, among many, need not have died.
 
So make your vote count and put corruption to death instead at GE13. Lock in your vote now and let nothing move you.
 
I do not need to tell you how to vote because if you still don't know by now then you deserve to live in a dark place and be a slave to the corrupt.
 
If it makes it easier for some people - Vote Pakatan Rakyat for Anwar Ibrahim or Vote BN for Mahathir Mohamad.
 
May God bless Malaysia and may his will be done.


STEVE OH is a singer and composer and also author of the book ‘Tiger King of the Golden Jungle’.