Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Don’t blame BN-era rule for Muar signage controversy

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | ‘The rule’s appropriateness is debatable, but discretion should be used...’

Johor gov't: No racial element to Muar signage debacle

Vijay47: Johor executive councillor Tan Hong Pin, you have faithfully defended this latest officialdom adventure as not having any racial element. Fair enough, though the usual terminology, at least in the past, was that “there is no secret agenda”. 

But the nature of the creature is that by itself, it would almost never apply to Malay businesses as they invariably will have their signages in Bahasa; Chinese shops in Muar on the other hand, are almost historical buildings and their lettering would have been in large traditional script created decades ago long before this “yours cannot be bigger than mine” idiocy came about. 

However, your second point is the showstopper: “The officers were in a rush to carry out their duties.”

Sorry, you lost me at hello. Let me see, the relevant regulation was passed in 2006, and suddenly somebody wakes up 12 years later and decides that today would be a good day to enforce signboard laws. 

I have heard of the moving finger that writes and of the writing on the wall, but this is ridiculous.

StrainingGnats, SwallowCamels: "Meanwhile, Muar Municipal Council president Mustaffa Kamal Shamsudin, who was also present at the press conference, stated that the problem stemmed from the fact many shop operators were displaying more signages than what they had applied for."

Why should that be such a big problem? Assuming for a moment that that is a problem, why must the solution be the deletion of decades-old signages? Why not merely the removal of the more recent, unlicensed signages? What is the reason for the destruction of historical, older signages?

As a realistic solution, why not urge the as yet unlicensed signages, if such discrepancies are true, to apply for the required permits? Why choose the path of unnecessary controversy, leading to unwanted communal misunderstanding?

Anonymous: It is ridiculous to blame other political parties for this. I am neither a Pakatan Harapan nor BN supporter but judging from what was mentioned, if the circular has been existence since 2006, and if it was not enforced during the BN era, why enforce it now?

Some buildings have been there before Merdeka. They might be landmark and heritage buildings.

You can amend such laws and then only enforce it. The citizens should not be punished because of your incapability to collect payments.

Moreover, the economy is in a bad situation so it is hard to make ends meet, let alone find money to pay for signage licences.

Not everything that people complain about is political. People are complaining about injustice and unfairness.

Asitis: Yes, don't blame it on BN. It may be a BN-era regulation. But this issue did not crop up during their time.

Don't we already have enough issues to deal with in this country? Use your discretion when enforcing any regulation.

Syed Saddiq against 'forceful removal' of Chinese signage in Muar

Daniel: Despite all the outbursts and dissatisfaction expressed here, it is true that most, if not all, the local councils have this advertisement by-law which stipulates that any signages must have Malay wordings or translations which are larger than in any other language.

In fact, there was a dispute many years ago when some councils wanted to incorporate compulsory translations in Jawi.

The only way this can be resolved is to make a blanket exception clause for existing signs on heritage buildings and those older than a certain number of years.

Totally annulling the existing council by-laws is desirable but may just be a bridge too far and is likely to send the rabid racists into a frothing frenzy.

AstonMartin: I disagree with Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and most of the commentators.

Everybody must follow the rule of law. The local council’s signboard language requirement is consistent with those in all states in Malaysia - unless it is a special case, like in Chinatown.

If it is not a lip service, Syed Saddiq should initiate a change of the law if he thinks it's inappropriate. We cannot have "special cases" here and there - it would be chaos!

Anonymous 621101460964937: This is not just someone’s instructions. Most town councils have this rule as a term of the licensing for signage.

The Malay wordings must have bigger letters. The Subang Jaya Municipal Council has the same rules. Whether it is right or not is subject to debate.

But in this case, the rule is being applied to old trademarks. Asking heritage structures to comply with this is ridiculous. What next? Rewrite all the names on old buildings to be smaller than the Malay signs?

Siti Baldishah: History and culture are undeniable and should not be infringed upon, whether it concerns Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans or any other race. We had too much of that under the old BN regime.

Can we not move towards a more inclusive society that respects all races and religions?

Anonymous 1802761448130592: Indeed, they are a part of not only Muar's but also Malaysia's heritage. Erasing them is like erasing part of Malaysian history.

I can understand if these are new signs not conforming to the rules. Kudos to Syed Saddiq for voicing out.

Anonymous_b3cdcd05: The district council should stop harassing the business owners and attend to more productive matters that can improve the district and people's livelihoods. 

Any changes to signages, if justified by law, must be confined to new ones. The tradition and character of the town are of historic value and should be preserved.

NoNonsence: The real challenge of racism now confronts Harapan, which came to power on a multiracial platform.

It will only get more intense as the supporters of Umno-BN and PAS reorganise themselves under racial and religious issues to divide and weaken Harapan.

If Harapan doesn't confront these sensitive issues boldly and promptly, there is a real danger it will succumb to these vicious attacks.

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These comments are compiled to reflect the views of Malaysiakini subscribers on matters of public interest. Malaysiakini does not intend to represent these views as fact.

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