Islam cannot, a well-functioning democratic governance can

October 7, 2016

Islam cannot, a well-functioning democratic governance can

by Cmdr S. Thayaparan

Image result for Hadi Awang the political idiot

For Politics, these two characters are stirring up S..T in Malaysia

In a well-functioning democracy, the state constitution is considered more important than God’s holy book, whichever holy book that may be, and God matters only in your private life.”

– Ayaan Hirsi Ali, ‘The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam’

Image result for Ayan Hashi

“Let’s not place religion and politics in separate corners,” says PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang. It is probably the most honest thing this leader of this religious cult has said.

However, religion and politics should be kept as far apart as humanely possible. Indeed, anyone who believes in democracy should make it their jihad to separate religion and politics. Those Christian political operatives who babble on about how God chose them to lead or whatever nonsense they believe led them to their political careers belong in the same boat as the PAS president.

Hadi’s rejoinder that only “Islam has to be the leader and ruler, those who are not of Islam must be followers (pak turut)” is the kind of bigoted rhetoric that characterises mainstream Malay politics and is the overt ideology that maintains the system of privileges and systemic inequalities that impedes any sort of egalitarians goals in this country.

Of course, this latest Islamic bluster from Hadi was aimed at former comrades the DAP and is the fallout from the acrimonious split and the exodus of the so-called progressives of PAS.  Hadi’s rhetoric, like most from the Abrahamic religions – Judaism and Christianity – revolves around the concepts of control and subservience.

Like most theocrats, Hadi is obsessed with control and subservience. He wants hudud because it conforms to some sort of Islamic ideal and would allow this Islamic cult to exercise greater authority over everyone. He is arrogant enough to warn Muslims not to resist his plan, quoting religious dogma and divine wrath as the consequences for not supporting him, a mortal doing God’s work.

His language is that of a ruler in waiting. Brazenly claiming that one day, the breakaway Amanah will kneel before PAS. As we know, PAS is Hadi Awang and Hadi Awang is PAS.  While various minions in PAS claim that there will be no alliance with UMNO, nobody seriously believes that PAS is an independent operative in the political landscape.

Since disavowing Pakatan Rakyat, PAS has spent an awful lot of time acting as apologist for the Najib regime and Hadi has been extremely comfortable with consorting with those in UMNO, who the religious cult as often labelled as un-Islamic and corrupt. Indeed, Hadi has publicly stated that Najib should serve his full term, and has said that the 1MDB robbery is a closed case.

Meanwhile UMNO has been doing its part by reminding Muslims that they are in peril and that the only solution is Muslim unity. Muslim unity everywhere in the world has always been based on the wrong reasons and ultimately as a means for separating Muslims from their non-Muslim brethren.

Forgiving malfeasances

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The only reason why Hadi is the belle of the ball is the continued reliance of Malay power groups on UMNO’s stratagems and collusion of non-Malay/Muslim power groups in rejecting a secular state in substance, but paying lip service to the concept for the urban demographic.

An example of the latter would be – “What the DAP is doing is merely enabling their Islamic counterparts to carry on this sub rosa process in lieu of UMNO. The DAP’s upping of the religious affairs coffers from RM12.5 million in 2008 to RM64 million in 2012, as evidence of how the Malay community is not marginalised, is extremely shallow thinking but not surprising in the quest for the Malay/Muslim vote.”

Hadi claimed, “Only Islam can correct people’s (behaviour). PAS can only cooperate with those who are willing to uphold Islam only.” As I wrote in the mendacity of Hadi, “The civil service, the security service, the education system, nearly every state apparatus, is a reminder of the influence of Islam on every Malaysian citizen. The Arabisation process favoured by UMNO and slavishly followed by PAS is a triumph of form over substance and the rail on which the gravy train runs on.”

Image result for The laughing Khairy and Hishamuddin

Khairy to Kerismuddin–The Malays are very stupid. We can lie and they still believe UMNO

Forget about hudud, even the Islamic education has proven ineffective, never mind the incoherent ramblings of a deputy prime minister who is proud to have been a product of such schools. As I highlighted in another article, “Also let us not forget that so-called Islamic education has proven to be ineffective in ‘elevating’ the Muslim community especially the sekolah agama rakyat which suffered a blow because the federal government decided to cut funding and transfer students and teachers in 2003 ‘due to dismal academic performance and anti-government activities’.”

[For further reference on the state of the religious Muslim polity, refer to my article ‘Of donations, Islam and real Malays’ – “As recently as 2013, a Unicef surveyed showed Sabah and Kelantan recorded the highest number of children living in poverty and undernourishment. The survey also found of the dire need for doctors in Kelantan.

“Furthermore, Kelantan and Labuan also recorded the highest numbers in child mortality rate. The report stated: “The risk of a new-born child in Kelantan to die before reaching the age of five years old is twice higher than the risk of a newborn in Kuala Lumpur.”]

So the question is, if only Islam can correct people’s behaviour why is that that a system that based on so many Islamic preoccupations, where the majority Muslim population is indoctrinated by the Islam imported from the House of Saud, that gold standard when it comes to Islam as advocated by Muslim Malaysians, people are corrupt and despotic.

Even better, why is it that a Muslim like Hadi is willing to forgive such malfeasances, play hide and seek with other Malay/Muslim opposition groups, hiding behind that peculiar Malay double speak, of “having our own way of opposing UMNO”. Why is that that luminary from PAS have no problem accepting invitations from Perkasa and legitimising an UMNO hate group?

Why is it that so many establishment figures are stepping up and pleading for a second National Consultative Council? The answer should be obvious. They would not publicly admit it, of course. They would hide their answer behind secular sounding rhetoric. They would attempt to make this out to be a complex problem that needs delicate handling. But the answer is obvious and simple.

Islam cannot rule (and UMNO too).

National Ideology (Rukunegara)–The Unity Glue

October 3, 2016

Malaysia: National Ideology (Rukunegara)–The Unity Glue

by Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

Image result for National Unity for Malaysia

 A nation without an ideology is like a teenager without a direction. A direction of some sort, even a broad and general one, for example, to appreciate life and its gifts is essential to determine the quality of life.

It also acts as a fence that reminds the teenager to be wary of influences that may make him unappreciative of life’s gifts, such as indulgence in drug abuse.

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Likewise, a nation will just float along aimlessly and in conflicting directions if the people lack a national ideal they can use as a yardstick. I have written many times before, asking what is our national dream and philosophy, keeping in mind we are a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan nation.

We require a common national philosophy and a set of national values that can unite us as Malaysians and guide our Malaysian spirit to evolve and grow. Like nurturing a child, a nation requires constant nurturing, too.

Today, we perceive our nation to be in a state of ethnic, religious, social and economic tatters. Madness in behaviour and speeches, and mediocrity in work and productivity appear to have become a national norm.

Our leaders have to be proactive to reverse this trend and correct the perception. If the leaders are able to remove the political cataract blinding their eyes, they will see the nation is crying out for a direction and a national philosophy all Malaysians can identify with.

As a nation that achieved independence, we were learning how to co-exist as Malaysians due to our diverse backgrounds.

We had our first racial clash, albeit politically originated, in May 1969. That was our first and I am sure our last bitter experience of a civil clash.

Image result for May 13 Riots in 1969

As a result of this bitter experience, our past leaders were wise to recognise the need for a national ideology which can be a guiding force to unite and provide a national direction for the people.

The National Consultative Council, headed by the late Tun Abdul Razak, had the unity and “soul” of the nation in mind when the principles of the Rukunegara were formulated.

What is so special about the Rukunegara? Firstly, everyone seems to have forgotten it was formalised as a national ideology through a declaration by none other than DYMM Yang diPertuan Agong on  August 31, 1970.

I learned the Rukunegara in school and I recall reciting it at school assemblies. It represented our national values. It has five main principles namely, Belief in God, Loyalty to the King and the country, upholding the Constitution, Rule of Law, and good behaviour and morality.

The purpose of instilling these five principles is explained by the preamble to the Rukunegara. The preamble provides Malaysia aspires to achieve a greater unity for all her people by:

  • Maintaining a democratic way of life;
  • Creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation is equitably shared;
  • Ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions, and;
  • Building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology;

The Rukunegara contains not only universal values so relevant to a diverse society like ours, but it also sets a clear direction which we all can share to make this nation great. We really need to be united by common values before we are pulled apart by mischief makers in our society who are bent on dividing us.

Image result for The Racist Red Shirts in Malaysia

Image result for The Racist Red Shirts in Malaysia

What is urgently required now is the rebirth of Razak’s political will to give life to the principles of Rukunegara. I support the increasing call that the Rukunegara is made as a preamble to the Constitution of Malaysia.

This will allow the courts to interpret the Federal Constitution within the context of the national philosophy particularly with regards to the protection of the fundamental liberties of the citizens as enshrined in the Constitution.

It will also enable the protection of the constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary democratic political structure of our country.

If our current leadership has Razak’s wisdom, foresight and courage, I foresee discussions, conversations and the political will to promote the Rukunegara to the position it was meant to be.

However, as JUST International President Dr Chandra Muzzafar recently pointed out, since the 1980s, the Rukunegara seemed to have been systematically shunted aside. Is it any surprise then there is a feeling today that our nation seems to have lost its soul while we may have generally achieved major material progress?

I appeal to our current leadership to put back the soul in our nation.

* Jahaberdeen is a senior lawyer and founder of Rapera, a movement which encourages thinking and compassionate citizens. He can be reached at

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


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.

Malaysia’s culture of tolerance is under threat

September 23, 2016

Religious freedom in Malaysia

Taking the rap

Malaysia’s culture of tolerance is under threat

Time for Sabah and Sarawak to say No–Joseph Kurup shows the Way

September 22, 2016

Time for Sabah and Sarawak to say No–Joseph Kurup shows the Way

by Zakiah Koya

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup (pic above) is not just anybody, he is a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and he has always been a between of yes-man and a silent man when he disagrees.

He has never said ‘No’ to the government policies, and he has always been diplomatic with his words when he disagrees, but there was never a ‘No’. He did say out once about removing race from all official forms, but that was said and never mentioned again.

However, he seems to be turning the table over now, when he has decided that enough is enough and that when his faith as a Christian is challenged by the very government he represents, he has to stand up and say ‘No!’. He has also decided that as he represents Sabahans who are of all religions living in harmony without any form of religious law dominating, he has to speak up for all of them.

And now, he is not only saying ‘No’, he is also threatening and this means business, for he is threatening that Sabah and Sarawak may just be tempted to go their separate ways from that of Peninsula Malaysia.

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It has all to do with the amendment to the Syariah Courts Act proposed by PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and supported by mainly UMNO MPs, including the Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Razak himself.

The Star reported that Kurup as the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) had stated that Sabah and Sarawak may be tempted to go their separate ways if the amendment to the Syariah Courts Act are passed in Parliament. The law, he said, would have a divisive effect on the unity and understanding that was cultivated since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“If it (the Bill) is forced into Parliament and passed, I’m afraid it will trigger more feelings among the people of Sabah and Sarawak to go their separate ways. They (Federal Go­­vern­­ment) shouldn’t have the slightest thought of introducing this law,” he said yesterday.

This is no simple threat, for although PBRS is seen as a minority party in Sabah, its influence is strong as it comes from a bigger party Parti Bersatu Sabah. And Kurup would not have mentioned Sabah and Sarawak, had he not consulted his Sarawak counterparts in the cabinet. Perhaps he is the only one daring enough to say it and not afraid to lose his position.

The Syariah Courts Act amendment will ultimately permit the state legislatures to empower the Syariah Court to impose any form of hudud (islamic crime law) punishment other than the death penalty (for example, 100 lashes of whipping for an unmarried person guilty of adultery; or the amputation of hands for theft).

This is very much in line with the Kelantan state government wanting to implement hudud in the state, a main reason the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat broke up, after Hadi insisted and then cuddled up to UMNO to propose the Syariah Courts Act amendment Bill in parliament in the last session.

UMNO had openly come out in support, despite much opposition from MCA, and some grunts from the other non Muslim BN counterparts, but Kurup is the first one to say it out openly and talk about cessation, a much feared issue by BN.

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A Partnership of Political Convenience

Many Muslims too have openly spoken up against the Bill, for fear it is all a mere misuse of religion by overzealous PAS, in the name of exerting their political power.

Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, who has been waning in popularity depend very much on Sabah and Sarawak support and in recent years, he has increased East Malaysian cabinet members as well as poured in millions into Sabah and Sarawak development.

If Kurup does turn the table over on Najib, it would be a major dent in Najib’s support and then it may just start the domino effect in Sabah and Sarawak.

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It is a fact that Sabahans and Sarawakians greatly cherish and value their religious freedom and will not stand for any imposing by any one religion alone, never mind it is the official religion. Even Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem had said that many times and hinted it openly.

Kurup may have issued this threat politely, but it is something which must not be taken lightly by the government of the day, for Kurup speaks for many – Muslims and non-Muslims – and not for himself alone when it comes to the Syariah Courts Act Amendment Bill.

Thayaparan: On Dr. Haron Din’s Politics

September 18, 2016

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The Late Dato’ Dr. Haron Din is no longer with us. He passed away in San Francisco where he was being treated for a heart condition at Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto. His last wish was that he should be put to rest in the place of his death (We are free to choose where we wish to be buried and there is nothing confusing about this, Cmdr Thayaparan).

I am saddened by his loss because the passing of friends and associates of my generation reminds me of my own mortality. So I dedicate Al-Fatihah to this man of Faith and I wish to express our heartfelt condolences (Dr. Kamsiah and I) to his bereaved family. Both Dr. Haron and his brother Dato Abu Hassan Din Al-Hafiz are known to me since they are from Perlis and I met them in person  over the years. I enjoyed their tv lectures in the’80s.

My memory of Dr. Haron is at the time of his passing is that of a good Muslim and an Islamic intellectual, not as a politician from PAS. Out of respect for Dr. Haron, I will not comment on Thayaparan’s take on the man’s politics.–Din Merican

Thayaparan: On Dr. Haron Din’s Politics

by Cmdr S. Thayaparan

COMMENT:  Writing of the dead American Christian extremist Reverend Jerry Falwell, Christopher Hitchens who died of cancer some years back, said, “The evil that he did will live after him. This is not just because of the wickedness that he actually preached, but because of the hole that he made in the ‘wall of separation’ that ought to divide religion from politics.”

As that particular type of Muslim Malaysian, Haron Din did not believe in that “wall of separation” between mosque and state. Indeed, he believed that the enemies of Islam – always Islam, never his political adversaries – were those who believed in “the wall”, liberalism, freedom of religion and speech, in “Western” human rights, those things that the spiritual leader told his flock were anathema to Islam.

Image result for Haron Din and Hadi Awang

His weltanschauung was a wall of separation between those who believed in his version of Islam and those who were the enemies of Islam, in other words those who believed in anything else, including different interpretations of Islam.

The apogee of his crusade against the so-called “enemies” of Islam was when he accused former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and de facto leader of the opposition of working with the enemies of Islam, implying the DAP and well, anyone who disagreed with him.

This did not go down well with me and I wrote, “What happens if an IS (Islamic State) sympathiser reads Haron Din’s hate speech and carries out an attack on the DAP or somebody who supports the DAP or a Muslim who supports the DAP or just that unlucky Malaysian who is caught in the cross hairs? What is the difference between Haron Din’s view of Islam and the view of those IS members waiting to murder for their cause?

“I am talking about perspectives here, not methodology. I have no idea if the spiritual adviser supports the methodology of IS. I know that he shares the same views. I know that what he wants to achieve is exactly what they want to achieve but for now, someone like him is comfortable using hate speech in service of a democratic agenda.”

This was what was so frustrating for many others and me. Haron Din was willing to use democracy to legitimately gain power and subvert those very principles once in power. Of course, the fault is in our hands. We legitimised Haron Din and his political party in the hopes that common sense would prevail over religious impulse.

Three years ago, in a piece titled, ‘Mat Taib, Haron Din and PAS’ hudud games’, I wrote: “I have always argued that PAS is the sole ideological coherent party in the alternative alliance and with the exception of PSM (which is on unsteady ground when it comes to a strict reading of its ideological bedrock) will probably be the last party standing together with UMNO, when the non-Malays lose the racial demographic war.”

Image result for Haron Din and Hadi Awang

In those days, opposition supporters were furious that Haron Din was on the campaign trail telling the faithful that the only way to implement hudud was gaining federal power. He rallied his supporters; those supporters who were now mainstream thanks to the ‘PAS for all’ kool aid, which spillage on the Internet ruined many a commentary.

Evicting spirits

Some people, as I wrote, “dismiss people like Haron Din as UMNO sub rosa provocateurs (sic) but the reality is that this is a very real dialectic within PAS.” Many opposition supporters believe that the dialectic was over when Amanah was formed and of course even more so now that Haron Din has passed, but this is not the case. There will always be the dialectic simmering between the spiritualists of PAS and the middle ground technocrats, which ultimately will determine the fate of the party and unfortunately the country.

However, the mundane world of Malaysian politics, the ‘muggle world’ so to speak, was just part of the complex realities that Haron Din operated within. While your average online partisan would mock the spiritual leader for betraying whatever cause the opposition claimed they were part of, there were thousands of Muslim Malaysians who viewed the man not as a politician but rather as a spiritual warrior on the frontlines of defending their souls.

As Haron Din told AFP 11 years ago, “They have problems, not only physical problems but also spiritual problems, including black magic.” While Haron Din was the bete noire of opposition supporters, it was these people – his real followers – who fervently believed in the austere Islam he promised them was their salvation and Malaysia’s.

While disowning the title of “bomoh” – “The term bomoh in the Malay community is different to the Islamic healer. The bomoh uses inhuman words, perhaps words of the wild spirit. This is prohibited in Islam” – he honestly believed in the dominion he had over the supernatural world. (It is my experience that Islamists in the Wahhabi mode disown their culture in favour of whatever is peddled by the House of Saud.)

From the AFP article: “Haron, an intense, compact man in a blue tunic and white Islamic cap, finds no conflict between his deeply held religious convictions and his dealings with the world of ‘wild spirits’, which he says are addressed in the Quran.”

The world of wild spirits sound much like Malaysian politics, only much more exciting. Evicting spirits seemed to be Haron’s main mission. He was extremely conscious of the fact that we were sharing this world with other beings – “This world does not belong to human beings only, this world belongs to the creatures, animals, plants, trees and the spirits. When we want to build our houses or projects we don’t care about them, we just go ahead and clear areas. When that happens, there is a reaction on humans.”

In his life, Haron Din evicted, and sometimes relocated, wild spirits who were attempting to plague the Muslim Malaysian community and at the same time, he was defending Islam from the numerous enemies that attempted to subvert its true purpose, a purpose that Haron Din was custodian of.

If anything, his politics and his spirituality were not mutually exclusive and he never claimed they were. Maybe having spent so much time safeguarding the spirituality of his flock, he truly believed that aligning PAS with UMNO would hasten the eviction of “wild spirits” from Malaysia.

I have no idea why he would want to be buried in San Francisco, the epicentre of everything he despised but ultimately it is not important what people like me and other opposition supporters say about him. The Haron Din we think we know is the least interesting thing about the man. There are many who will mourn his passing for reasons that we will never understand but as he once said, “Most of the spirits in Malaysia know me.”