This is Malaysian politics.
To be more precise, this is Umno Baru politics. It is all mixed up - a bit of religion, race and even sex - depending on what’s expedient for the day. A big “hoo-hah”, and after a while, it all died down. Compared to someone like Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, to some extent, it shows the shallowness of Islam as practised by some of our politicians who turn a molehill into a mountain.
Not even the deputy prime minister is spared. The moment a video clip of an unknown person caring for a few pet dogs, Muhyiddin Yassin had immediately jumped the gun by hitting out at non-Muslims. I quote: “This shows that there is no deep understanding within society. Muslims do not insult the religion of non-Muslims such as Christianity and Hinduism. But non-Muslims are insulting our religion.”
In a way, this is also seditious, as it creates further tension between the Muslims and the non-Muslims. Thankfully, in Malaysia, the Muslims are generally more tolerant, compared to the examples set by people in the likes of Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Noordin and even Muhyiddin himself. Fair enough that he should ask for stern action to be taken against the culprits for tarnishing the image and sanctity of Islam.
Shallow understanding of religion
However, Muhyiddin should realise that he is a deputy prime minister of the country. He is not speaking as the deputy president of Umno Baru. He is correct to point out that there is basically shallowness in the way how people practice their religion.
I have always felt touched when I first learnt from a fellow Chinese gentleman about the humility of this man, Tok Guru Nik Aziz. When he wanted to travel to Kuala Lumpur for his party meeting, he asked to get a ride from two lawyers who were on their way back to Kuala Lumpur. His reason for not using his official vehicle: “This is a party meeting. The official vehicle is for official use only.”
Later, when reaching the toll gate, Nik Aziz asked the two lawyers. “Which way are you going? You can drop me here, if you are going in another direction.” When the lawyers expressed their concern for his safety, Nik Aziz said, “Allah will look after me. Surely someone going in my direction will recognise me and give me a lift!”
Such was the humility of Nik Aziz. I have not even heard him make any derogatory remarks against Christianity or Hinduism, but probably Muhyiddin is right if he had referred to Nik Aziz or he has been sleeping on his job as deputy prime minister when one after another incident unfolded.
History has recorded many of these ‘ugly’ incidents where Muslims have insulted the Christians and Hindus - and I need not repeat myself here - that religious and racial sentiments have been played up countless of times by Umno Baru leaders, raising the ire of the larger Malaysian population.
I thank Maznah Mohd Yusof for making a statement through her video clip. I believe all Malaysians should stand up for her courage to speak up against the bureaucracy of religion. For that, she risks herself being labelled as anti-Islam.
I quote her once again: “I love my religion. I think these people should learn about their religion first, and not misinterpret my video.” How can someone like Maznah insult her own religion when she is a practicing Muslim? Between her and someone like Ibrahim Ali, I would say that Maznah is more likely to be a genuine Muslim girl than the Perkasa president.
She has not even uttered a derogatory word against her religion, in the way that Zulkifli Noordin and Ibrahim Ali had done to both the Hindu and Christian community.
If it had been the slightest tinge of insult, as in the case of the non-Muslim blogger couple, Maznah would have been arrested for insulting Islam. The whole roof would collapse, when NGOs linked to Umno like Jati and Perkasa take it to the streets.
It’s time for Umno politicians to realise that the nation is getting agitated with their behaviours. They have not only staged out sex scenes and used them against Anwar Ibrahim, or attempt to discredit him using sodomy, but they have become religiously phobic about everything.
Over a small issue like the invitation to buka puasa with ‘bah kut teh’ - considering that there are so many versions of the favourite Chinese cuisine - our leaders and media have hyped up the entire thing, calling that an insult to Islam. This is despite the fact that the couple had apologised if they had offended any parties.
Umno Baru leaders should realise that in modern days, Malaysians do not play up to their games any more. The more that they create an issue out of a molehill, the more agitated people become with their style of leadership.
Pushing to the extreme just for illustration sake, if things are allowed to carry on the way it is, before long you cannot even print the word, ‘Al Quran’ in the newspapers. The reason is because people use newspapers for all sorts of activities around the house.