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YOURSAY | ‘How did the Malays lose their glory days?’

COMMENT | A tale of two Malaysias

YellowTucan7938: As a Malay brought up in a non-tudung proud Johorian household (we do pray, perform the haj, and fast) I always find it fascinating how the Muslim scholars would shy away from the fact that Islamic teachings became hard-line only after the events of the Iranian revolution and siege of Mecca in 1979.

This is a defining moment/turning point that started the rise of fundamentalism within the Islamic world - the key moment when the whole Islamic society went from non-tudung to a tudung society.

Perhaps Malaysiakini columnist Mariam Mokhtar can write an article detailing the changes to the Islamic world and Malaysia post-1979 when our poor Egypt’s Al-Azhar University scholars got brainwashed by the rise of the clerics and started spreading their beliefs back in Malaysia upon their return.

This will also help the masses better understand why the Malays lost the glory days of renowned Malaysian actor P Ramlee and instead, got the rise of PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in recent times.

ScallopEatMcD: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and his gang must decide now what to do with the “green monsters”, as Mariam describes the rise of the green wave (which gave Perikatan Nasional [PN], the coalition of Bersatu and PAS, 73 parliamentary seats).

First, any political party with an ideology based on race and religion should be disbanded. Second, keep tight control and monitoring of the few major players.

Do not hesitate to use the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012 on those who threaten peace among the races.

Third, do not fund any religious schools with taxpayers’ money. Close illegal or unhealthy ones. Fourth, revamp the education policy to place emphasis on STEM (science, technology, education, and math) subjects, and reduce religious class hours.

Fifth, stop sending students overseas for religious studies. They really don’t contribute anything to nation-building, instead, they create havoc for the nation.

We must stress that we are not against Islam or Muslims, we just want the government to take necessary action to prevent our beloved country from becoming like Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Iran, where no sane rakyat wants it in the first place.

Fair Play: This is the reality of modern-day Malaysia. Geographically, the nation is heading towards to two major political and economic zones: first, the economically developed zones of the north and southwest of Penang, Perak, Federal Territory, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca, and Johor.

Second, the less economically developed zone of north and northeast of Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang. They are also collectively known as the Malay heartlands.

Politically and economically, it might get even worse, if the politicians do not believe in a united Malaysia in the long term.

Maya: Religious activism is being severely indoctrinated into the minds of the people, and as Mariam says, changes started happening in the 1970s and 1980s, about 40 to 50 years ago.

Once it is ingrained in the mind, the mind tends to follow, whether it is out of fear or belief. Many of the changes and beliefs are already inculcated before the mental developmental age (a major topic) when the mind can think and differentiate.

Forget about analysis. This has led to polarisation, because of the inability to adapt to a neo-liberal lifestyle. There are many caught up in that mindset but are willing to be a bit more liberal, these are mostly the women because they are the ones who are feeling the maximum brunt of suppression.

They are kind of helpless and subjected to judgements, ridicule, fault finding, and inability to voice out their dissatisfaction. There is more to it, but it is difficult to express.

Dizzer: The problem from 1979 through the 1980s wasn’t just the returning clerics. Tens of thousands of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA)-sponsored Malays went to Western universities each year and became enthused (or infected) with the new spirit of Islamism, inspired by Iran and funded by the Saudis.

These were the teachers, lecturers, and civil servants who came to dominate their institutions under the flag of Islamism and ketuanan (supremacy).

As an experiment in mass social engineering, it was an astounding success, which is why educated Malays over 60 barely recognise what their bumiputera brethren have become.

I guess the question is whether a similar mass social experiment could tilt the Malays back the other way? People change. Peoples too.

Meerkat: I wonder how many of those imposing what they think is God’s will know why they are doing it or, at least, the supposition of it.

Are they trying to get a place in heaven for themselves? Are they simply trying to increase their number, so that they might be stronger (which surely is not spiritual)?

Do they think that somehow, by being harsh to their adversaries, they will bring them to heaven? What is the spiritual rationale? Or is it simply meting out ill-treatment to those who are different?

I wonder. Perhaps if they knew why they are doing it, they will review their actions.

Scarecrow: I am sure with Anwar’s popularity as a prime minister who is supported mostly by non-Muslims, he will introduce a progressive brand of Islam that is acceptable to all Malaysians.

I believe Anwar has a way to teach Islam in a subtle way to his non-Muslim supporters and show them the beautiful side of Islam which is fair, just, and caring just like he did when he was education minister and then as deputy prime minister.

During those days he managed to change the entire outlook of Islam from how Muslim teachers and students dress in schools, and in public places to distinct segregation between Muslim and non-Muslim food stalls in coffee shops.

The best thing is he managed to accomplish all this with praises from non-Muslims who hailed him as a great Muslim leader until today. So, we should be happy to see further progress of Islam under Anwar as prime minister now.

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