From Karpal Singh to Haron Din


September 24, 2016

A Generous Tribute to the Late PAS Spiritual Leader Dr. Haron Din

COMMENT: I thank Tay Tian Yan for this tribute to Dato’ Dr. Haron Din. It appeared in Sin Chew Jit Poh. In my ranking, the Spiritual Leader joins the ranks of respected and admired PAS leaders like Burhanuddin Helmy, Zulkifli Muhammad, Ustaz Fadzil Noor and Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

Image result for prof dr zulkifli muhammad

In contrast, we now have a political Jonah like Hadi Awang leading the party to extinction with the formation of Amanah, a splinter party of moderate Islamists.

I find Tay’s statement  helpful and constructive and I quote:

Venting your frustration on the deceased in an attempt to gain some additional political support is never the noblest thing to do. It will only trigger deeper confrontation among the people and cause further splits in our vulnerable society.

It is time our leaders in UMNO and PAS and other ultras stop playing the Islam and Malay nationalism (in extremis) card. Moderation and mutual understanding should be the way forward. That takes enlightened and self-confident leadership that Malaysia desperately needs.–Din Merican

From Karpal Singh to Haron Din

by Tay Tian Yan

haron-din-karpal

The death of PAS spiritual leader Haron Din has sparked some controversy for days now. The tweet by DAP’s Jeff Ooi and some of the negative comments that followed, have seen even the Police stepping in to probe for religious insensitivity while triggering very polarised reactions from the general public.

I’m not here to discuss whether Ooi’s tweet has been ironical, belittling or disrespectful, and he has himself explained he had no evil intention when posting the tweet.The language a person uses is actually something abstract and very subjective.

“Adios Haron Din, let there be peace” could be both a positive and negative message, depending on which side you are on and which way you look at it.

Since the Police have stepped in to probe, I guess we can only wait for the outcome. Going further, the incident is not just a matter that involves Jeff Ooi and a handful of web users. It reflects the vast disparity how different sectors of Malaysian society look at seemingly innocent and non-suggestive things, as well as one’s outlook on life.

Non-Muslims concerned about Malaysian politics might have some sparse impression of Haron Din. He is PAS’ spiritual leader, a very powerful man indeed, second probably only to the late Nik Aziz and incumbent party President Hadi Awang. Where religious influences are concerned, he is in no way inferior to the other two.

We can safely say that Haron Din was one of the most dominant figures in shaping the party’s religious and ideological roadmap. And he was extremely devout in his religious belief with his conservative and fundamentalist stand. For such a personality, Haron Din was never as ambiguous and wavering as some other politicians we know today.

Where this is concerned, Nik Aziz was actually a whole lot more versatile than him.

Image result for Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Anwar Ibrahim

Due to his unbending commitment to religion, Haron Din won the utmost respect of many Muslims in the country. That said, he simply lacked the necessary versatility that gave the non-Muslim community a general impression of him being hardline conservative or even extreme.

The collapse of Pakatan Rakyat has been largely blamed – in particular by DAP supporters – on the conservatives within PAS, resulting in the widening rift between the two parties while crushing the prospect of a change in the Federal administration.

Perhaps this is also how many non-Muslims perceive Haron Din and subsequently the very polarised reactions to his death.

The same thing also happened soon after the death of DAP’s Karpal Singh who famously said, “Islamic state over my dead body,” a quote which won him thumbs-up from supporters of a secular Malaysia, and at the same time infuriating the Muslims who saw him as being anti-Islam.

Similarly, there were tweets and FB posts that celebrated his death. But please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that since Karpal could be vilified, Haron Din should not be spared from the same disparaging treatment too.

Just the opposite. I firmly believe that any form of attack or belittling should not have happened to both Karpal Singh and Haron Din.

A humble expression of respect for the deceased constitutes a universal understanding in our civilized world. While differing political and religious views are inevitable, any form of disrespect for the deceased should never be manifested at such an untimely moment.

Venting your frustration on the deceased in an attempt to gain some additional political support is never the noblest thing to do. It will only trigger deeper confrontation among the people and cause further splits in our vulnerable society.

Even if I don’t buy Haron Din’s political ideas, for the simple reason of humanity and esteem, I will still pay my respects.

Tay Tian Yan writes for Sin Chew Daily.

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

5 thoughts on “From Karpal Singh to Haron Din

  1. Well commented. The “controversial” comments were at worst flippant but hardly accurate to described as “venting of frustration”. But the perspective put it accurately that those that call Karpal Singh declaration anti-Islam are building frustration. They make proper discourse impossible.

  2. What lessons might we learn and apply? Tay Tian Yan answers the question with the following statement, “……..While differing political and religious views are inevitable, any form of disrespect for the deceased should never be manifested at such an untimely moment……….”. What other lessons might we learn and apply?

  3. “..Ooi’s tweet has been ironical, belittling or disrespectful, and he has himself explained he had no evil intention when posting the tweet.”

    I think a lot of people are trying to get a handle on this. Perhaps it’s due to the poor command of language as a tool.

    To me this bloke, being the arrogant DAP apparatchik and totally lacking in sobriety and gravitas, revealed the facetiousness and flippancy of immature politicians the world over. Remarks like these in times of grief, show a lack of sympathy, empathy and a proclivity to self importance. But that’s not a crime, is it? It was good that LGE, distanced the party from the fallout the very next day, even though the offender wasn’t castigated.

    What happened to Karpal immediately after his untimely demise was morally indefensible. The least that was expected, was a stern ticking off by UMNOb’s leaders. However, they lacked the cojones and moral-ethical stuff of Submitters..

    The application of this newly made-up “Mockery Law” by the Establishment Enforcers reveals the hypocrisy and incompetence that’s inherent to Religio-fascist Blockheads.

  4. Ordinarily, such an ordinary word as adios should elicit nothing more than a disdainful smile at someone’s attempt to appear more cosmopolitan than others, but clearly we are not going through ordinary times, nor Jeff Ooi an ordinary political commentator.

    First, he should be reminded that, there is emotional tenor attached to most words we use; T Y Tay puts it differently, “The language a person uses is actually something abstract and very subjective.” This explains why communications specialists emphasise caution by reminding us, “It’s not what we say, but how we say it.” Jeff Ooi trips twice here because it’s also what he says —“Adios Harun Din . . .” — which says so much about him and how he treats the issue of death, and because it is in fact Dr Harun Din’s passing, the crude resort to levity is rude and uncalled for.

    Ordinarily, I would have just skimmed through most of the things I see in the blogs, but again, as Jeff Ooi is no ordinary twitter (as he has since shut down his blog) — I don’t tweet because one says too much by saying too little in tweets, and therein lies Jeff Ooi’s current brush with etiquette — I think it would not be out of place for me to recall something said by P Gunasegaram ten years ago.

    Writing in The Edge Forum on 28 Aug 2006 under “Internet gangsterism must remain illegal” he says:

    “ . . . . My experience with this internet gangsterism started after I wrote an article earlier this month for our sister publication theSun titled the ‘Myth of Mahathir’s Invincibility’ which basically argued that neither Mahathir nor anyone else was invincible once they lost their power. ¶ One blogger, Jeff Ooi, who claims ownership of blog Screenshots and who has been billed the most influential blogger in Malaysia, commented — unflatteringly — about the article. No big deal. But he let through a comment — which he had clear opportunity to remove — which said this: ¶ ‘Somebody, please shoot this Gunasegaram for good. The issue brought up by Tun Dr Mahathir is genuine and should be tackled. This fu**ed Gunasegaram is lending a helping hand to the Administration from having to tackle this issue.’ It was signed off Ilmran. ¶ I was shocked by the nature of the posting which was a threat, used bad language and was defamatory. Ooi removed some of the offensive parts after I sent him a strongly worded personal email but gave me no reply or assurance that there would be no repeat of such threats and bad language. I lodged a report — not to the police although I was entitled to — but to the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum (CMCF) . . . theSun reported it. ¶ That opened the floodgates. Ooi accused me of trying to shut him up instead and said that readers ‘should be accorded their rights of dissent’. He invited readers to comment. In effect, it turned out to be a vilifying event as commentator after anonymous commentator made indecent, obscene, false, menacing and offensive personal comments against me. ¶ They ignored the fact that I had the right under the law to do so under a mechanism setup under the CMCF, a body which Ooi is ironically a member of. Ooi has repeatedly argued that he cannot be responsible for the comments made in his blog. But that runs contrary to established law which holds publishers responsible as well. . .”

    I happened to watch Jeff Ooi on interview by a foreign tv station, and what came across to me was clear even as he explained why he shut down his blog — he could never have done anything wrong.

    But taking P Gunasegaram’s story in the current context and another Jeff Ooi’s insulting kucing kurap remark, this is Strike Three.

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