Don’t use Islam to hide power abuse, Najib told

May 24, 2015

Phnom Penh

Don’t use Islam to hide power abuse, Najib told

by Ida

hakam_phillip_kohThe use of religion to distract from the alleged abuses of the government is a dangerous tactic that will destroy multicultural Malaysia, said senior lawyer Philip Koh in a warning to the government.

With Islamism filling the void of communal politics that has increasingly fallen out of favour in Malaysia, Koh urged politicians not to succumb to the temptation to use religion as a means to pit the various communities against one another.

“As we love this country, we try to shape this country, we ask the elite that is in power, please don’t use religion to protect your corrupt use of power; please don’t use religion to manufacture anxiety among Muslims who are decent people, who have lived for the last 60 or hundreds of years in harmony with the minorities.

“Please don’t abuse that to try to unite in a false self-deceitful way, what you attempt to call a kind of a way to glue and create an enemy. That will be the beginning and we are already in the midst of that — the death of the Malaysia that we know,” he warned when speaking as a commentator in a forum here.

Dr Dian Diana Abdul Hamed Shah, a Universiti Malaya (UM) lawhakam_Dian_Diana lecturer, pointed out that the protection of minorities’ religious rights  are set aside by  politicians who choose to appease the dominant ethnic group for electoral support.

“You can see parallels with the case of Malaysia, especially in the aftermath of the 2013 general elections. So mobilising support among the minorities by addressing concerns of religious freedom or religious rights have been less and less appealing to politicians in all three countries,” she stated.

Dian was comparing the violations of religious freedom despite constitutional protections in Malaysia and two other countries — Muslim-majority Indonesia and Sri Lanka, where the Sinhalese Buddhist community accounts for 70 per cent of the population.

“Constitutional arrangements — no matter how beautiful, no matter how innocently drafted, no matter how innocently intended, no matter how supportive of human rights — are by themselves insufficient to protect religious freedom.

“Especially where the judiciary is subservient to the government of the day, where the executive and law enforcement authorities lack accountability, and where politicians do not have incentives to protect human rights,” she concluded.

hakam_Malik_ImtiazSenior lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said the role of the government is to act as an “honest broker” in providing equal space for all to resolve their issues within the confines of the law.

He said that while non-Muslims are often thought of as the minorities in Malaysia, Muslims who did not fit within Putrajaya’s definition of Islam also saw themselves being labelled as liberal or deviationist.

The prevalence of race and religion started when then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad sought to outdo PAS in Islamist politics, followed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Islamisation efforts in the 1990s. In 2001, Dr Mahathir also controversially declared Malaysia to be an Islamic state.

According to Imtiaz, Malaysians are now encouraged to think through the “toxic” lens of race and religion, which splits up the community.

When weighing in on the politically motivated use of race and religion, Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi said that appealing to people’s baser instincts encourages them to subscribe to groups such as the Ku Klux Klan supremacist group and India’s BJP party.

“Somehow there’s always attraction in hatred, the important thing is that those of us who don’t believe in this kind of things must also speak out,” the emeritus professor of law from Universiti Teknologi MARA said.

The constitutional law expert said Malaysia remains a fortunatehakam_Shad_Faruq country, noting that things were less incendiary when compared to his birthplace India, where deadly communal riots can happen easily if a cow’s head is thrown at a Hindu temple or a pig’s head is thrown at a mosque.

Cows are sacred to Hindus while pigs are considered unclean and forbidden animals for Muslims. “In this country, at least in this respect, up to now and I hope it stays, we may not like each other (but) we don’t kill each other.

“And I think it’s quite something because in many other societies — Sri Lanka, Thailand, Southern Thailand, Southern Philippines, Pakistan and India, things are much worse,” he said.

The four were speaking at the “Human Rights and Religion: Are the two compatible?” forum, which was jointly organised by National Human Rights Society and the UM law faculty’s human rights research group.

14 thoughts on “Don’t use Islam to hide power abuse, Najib told

  1. Pity they didn’t invite Rafizi or Ambiga.
    Then there would have been a repeat of the microphone-snatching ala that incident in the garden of virtue and knowledge in gombak.

    But maybe cos Rais of the Indon maid fame was not involved, UM stil has some space to vent intelligent discussion.

  2. We should be ashamed of ourselves for allowing a besieged Prime Minister Najib to use religion and race to divide us and for coverting with religious bigots and ultra Malay nationalists to soil the image of Malaysia as a liberal , tolerant and moderate country.

    Here in Cambodia where the majority of Cambodians are Buddhists, Prime Minister Hun Sen protects the rights of Muslims and people of other faiths to practise theirs.

    A few months ago, he declared open a new and modern mosque in the heart of Phnom Penh city. In his Opening Speech, he was reported to have said that he and his colleagues honor and respect Islam as one of the world’s great religions along with Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism . He added that in Cambodia, he was promoting pluralist democracy through dialogue and discourse for peace, cooperation and development, and respect for the dignity of difference. It takes a confident and enlightened leader to be a strident advocate of freedom of worship. We can learn few things from the Cambodians and their Prime Minister.–Din Merican

  3. There is no excuse. Once your emerges as the party with the majority in Parliament you are the government for all citizens including those who did not vote for you.

  4. It is naive to expect Najib not to use religion to stay in power. He does not care if Malaysians burn and crash, so long as he is still PM and get to plunder and loot the country. He has confirmed that he will not resign or leave voluntarily. Come to think of it this is good news. Just drag on for a couple more years until the next GE and we can wipe BN out.

  5. Quote:- “We can learn few things from the Cambodians and their Prime Minister”

    How to learn when every second of their lives is spent finding ways and means, fair or foul, to live another day in power because without power they may face prison walls for a long time.

  6. Upon reading this article the following similarities comes to mind:

    That evil needs only the good people to do nothing in order to triumph – Edmund Burke said this more than two hundred years ago…

  7. “Don’t use Islam to hide power abuse, Najib told”


    Yes indeed.

    Just to share this…

    May 15 2015 – “…Farida added that an open letter from the G25 to PM Najib Abdul Razak had caused a stir in the nation, which had prompted more of the silent majority to begin speaking out.

    Farida was in no doubt about the start of the rot. She cited former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s role in changing the Constitution in 1988 to make syariah law on par with civil law. She said, “He declared Malaysia an Islamic state, which is not true.”

    She expressed horror that fatwas were legally binding in Malaysia, whereas in the rest of the world, they were just legal opinions. She said that hudud law was in clear violation of the Federal Constitution.

    “What they are doing is tarnishing the image of Islam,” she said. “The way they are interpreting the religion is wrong. They have hijacked the religion.”

    Angry that the current leadership has politicised Islam for their own ends, she described the plight of the East Malaysians and said, “Who can blame the Sabahans and Sarawakians for wishing to secede?”

    Her detractors have called her an apostate for opposing the implementation of hudud. She said, “Hudud is not Allah’s law. Corrupt businessmen, in cahoots with equally corrupt politicians, steal from the national coffers and get away with their crimes.

    An unemployed man steals to feed his family and gets his hands chopped off. Is this justice?

    “What PAS wants is just to punish. The Quran mentions love, compassion, justice and mercy.“

    The first principle of Islam is upholding justice. These people do not know what they are doing. From ancient times, the history of religion is of the priestly class always arrogating to themselves power and control over their followers. It is all about power.”

    Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

    Also to share this…

    “…By encouraging the Islamists, the government is fanning racial and religious divisions in a majority-Malay (and Muslim) country with large ethnic-Chinese and ethnic-Indian minorities. In 1969 bloody race riots nearly tore Malaysia apart. Playing racial politics could be disastrous in this multiracial country. A better and more enlightened way for Mr Najib to boost UMNO’s prospects would be for him to repair its image with ethnic Chinese and Indians.

    Malaysia’s friends should be blunter about this where they have been mealy-mouthed. They should condemn Malaysia’s corruption, its decaying freedoms and its racial politics…”

    Apr 11th 2015 –|lea

    Finally to share this…

    Jan 13, 2013 – PM: I don’t make empty promises –

    Jan 22, 2013 – #TV3 MALUKAN NAJIB DI PAHANG –

    May 1, 2013 –

    August 23, 2008 –

    Feb 15, 2013 Najib’s Lies at Davos –

    You be the judge.

  8. You have educated “activists” who think the definition of Secularity is no religion shows the degree of programming of Islamist is so deep its like taking a candy from a baby abusing Islam as a political tool. How else does a political party, for decades, based on the virtues of Islamic ideals suddenly think its OK, to break promises with partners that revived its fortune, lie, work with the corrupt nemesis in the name of Islam?

    Islamic statism is no answer and no refuge for the Malay political cesspool. Tunku and the early founders were wise to it, so was Sukarno, Suharto, Mahathir.. its time the Malay masses wake up to the fact they don’t have the simple answers they crave and always been a victim of..

  9. Quote:- “its time the Malay masses wake up….”

    How to?

    Decades of free “opium” with the brand name “Affirmative Actions”, and later “Ketuanan Melayu”, have made sure that at least 70% of Malays do not ever wake up or have the need to.

    What we can hope for is when the free “opium” runs out because UMNO has no more left to dispense because the economy is not what it used to be because the real wealth creators have mostly left the country or being chased out or encouraged to leave or bought out with public money, and “withdrawal symptoms” among the Malays become so acute, they start to turn viciously on their so-called leaders who of course have already stashed their fortunes overseas in anticipation of this.

    The leaders in UMNO who will bear the brunt of this attack will be the hapless and not-so-rich grass root leaders who have no where to go. In a way it’s also a form of justice as these grass root leaders used to have the first bite of any goodies dispensed.

    What is unfair of course is that the top leaders all get away. I suppose, as always, we have to let God sort it out.

  10. “Human Rights and Religion: Are the two compatible?”

    Yes but only have the latter has been civilized.

    And the mark of the civilizing process is a Religion’s subordination to the Constitution.

  11. Quote:- “And the mark of the civilizing process is a Religion’s subordination to the Constitution”

    The problem is some religions already have a ready made “Constitution” which is even lengthier than any secular constitution and dictated by no less an author than God Himself. Where got fight?

  12. ‘Where got fight?’ Wayne

    The Judeo-Christians are of two ‘Breeds” (if you pardon the pun): Those who hold the scripture as the “Literal Word of God” and those who call it the “Inspired Word of God”. Thus, began the ‘Fight’.., at least in the West.

    The Christian Reformation began with the latter group who knew that God did not speak Latin (even if Vulgate), Greek (even if Koine), Aramaic (except for the Second Person of the Trinity) or Hebrew (except again, the Son or Incarnation). Chaps like Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther et al understood that. There has always have Charismatics who speak in Tongues – whatever that means which was no language. But they all had a ‘Constitution’ for behavior, if not for mundane politics..

    But, there is always the possibility (according to the Chaos Theory) that God is actually monolingual and has ‘ears’, therefore can’t understand what in Hell, we are all saying or praying in. That’s why, there’s Hell.

    In which case, we’re better off having a ‘Constitution’ for Civilization? Surely the Rights of Profane Man trump the Infiniteness of the Monad cast in Stone? Btw, why was the 10 Commandments written on slabs of stone? I suspect Moses used a chisel – err.., twice. Besides forgetting to circumcise his son.

  13. Din,
    Just as ktemoc reminded who the hell Anwar is exargerately, This is what happened in Cambodia during the coup

    When will lupus go to aussie land to bite ktemoc? No cojones, Lupus aka CL Flamiaris

    Ktemoc attack on Siti Hasmah can be extremely biadap……Hahahaha

    But he mentioned nothing on Rosmah Mansor. Like RPK, he is damned……….hahahahaha

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