Sunday, April 05, 2020

Thanks, but no thanks, mufti of Perlis


Thanks, but no thanks, mufti of Perlis

by S Thayaparan

“There are those who mocked the police, calling them pigs, but they are accepted because they are Malays. When it comes to Chinese yelling at the police, then he speaks."

- Former federal minister Khalid Abdul Samad

People have been sending me this news item of Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin mooting the idea that zakat be distributed to non-Muslims in need. “Seems like the right move, considering the situation we are in," someone wrote in a text message.

Here is the problem. “We” are not in this situation together. I know this is politically incorrect to say at this time when most pundits are writing articles about how this nation needs to act as one and the question of the illegitimacy of this government needs to be put on the backburner.

While I think that ethnic relations in this country on the ground level are far better than what most believe, the political and religious system in this country is predicated on keeping us apart. Some people do not trust the Perlis mufti. There is a good reason for that.

When he says that zakat should also be distributed to non-Muslim in need, all I see is another way in which the religious class is hoodwinking the public. The fact that a state-sanctioned religious body collects funds to help a specific religious group in the name of religion should alert us to the dysfunctionality of the system.

Taxpayers, for instance, fund the Islamic Affairs Development Department (Jakim) – Muslim and non-Muslim – yet the non-Muslim tax ringgit is used to fund the religious apparatus of this country and nobody bats an eyelid. All this is part of that nonsensical social contract where non-Muslims are told that we should be grateful for being given citizenship in this country.

For instance, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Zulkifli Mohamad Al-Bakri just issued a statement that the government had allocated RM21 million to be disbursed as a ”one-off assistance to registered private tahfiz and religious schools, as well as pondok schools and people’s religious schools (SAR) nationwide.”

“The one-off assistance is in the form of living allowance of RM800 per person that will benefit 22,920 teachers, as well as operations assistance to cover their management costs, utility bills and rental for 2,119 educational institutions nationwide," he said.

Keep in mind that this was part of the RM100 million allocated to Jakim under Budget 2020 “aimed at financing the maintenance and upgrading of tahfiz institutions, pondok and Islamic religious schools.”

Now religious figures have never acknowledged that monies used to fund the vast religious bureaucracy comes partly from non-Muslim sources and why is that? Because they believe it is their right.

Perikatan Nasional’s religious czar, if you remember, took offence that certain quarters were claiming that the #MusaadahCovid19 was only meant for Muslims. He said, "I repeated it several times, this fund is for anyone who needs help, including frontliners and others." This, of course, is the kind of dog-whistle religious and racial rhetoric that goes on in this country.

Keep in mind that non-Muslims are always told by mainstream political operatives that they do not serve the country. That the frontliners are mainly “Malays” and we have had at least one Umno personality who proclaimed that the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) should carry out shoot-to-kill orders because the majority of the victims of crime were from “the Malay community”. Hence the patriotism and civic-mindedness of the non-Malays/Muslims are always in question.

Put it this way, nobody questions that the frontliners are majority Malays but to question the bigoted dysfunction of a system which penalises non-Malay involvement in the civil service and armed services is verboten.

Speaking of citizenship, the recent viral video of a Chinese woman misbehaving and insulting frontliners came under the scrutiny of the Perlis mufti who implied that her citizenship be revoked.

This, of course, is a pattern for the Perlis mufti who has a history of attacking non-Muslim communities in this country. The underlying basis of these attacks is that non-Muslims are not equal citizens of this country using religion as a means to frame the discourse.

Khalid Abdul Samad, a former federal minister, was quoted in the press, saying: “There are those who mocked the police, calling them pigs, but they are accepted because they are Malays. When it comes to Chinese yelling at the police, then he (Asri) speaks.”

In other words, the citizenship and rights of Malays are never in question or should never be questioned but the citizenship and rights of the non-Malays are open for debate. Hence, any attempt by religious zealots to use the religious apparatus for non-Muslims should always be viewed with suspicion.

I distrust the mechanics of disbursing zakat aid to non-Muslims because let’s face facts, the right hand rarely knows what the left hand is doing. Remember when the former religious czar Mujahid Yusof Rawa laid the blame on the Education Ministry for “misinterpreting” Jakim’s position on Muslims attending the Ponggal event celebrated by the Tamils?

“How they’re going to say it, it’s not our (Jakim’s) drafting or crafting. It is their crafting. We are not the host, we are just giving our opinion.” He also put the blame on the Education Ministry for not wording the circular properly, adding that the issue of barring Muslim students from participating in the festivities was never mentioned in Jakim’s letter to the Education Ministry. “Even in our letter, it is clearly stated that there are ways to attend the programme in order to respect the multicultural (society) that we have.”

This idea that “religious” funds should suddenly be used for non-Muslims in need is mendacious. The very fact that we have bodies devoted to the care of a specific section of society based on religion is anathema to nation-building.

I would rather the funds used for Jakim be used for folks like those two unemployed daily wage earners who had to go to jail because breaking the movement control order meant putting food on their table instead of the hypocritical mutterings of these charlatans.

Read also the Star Online Duo caught fishing say they were only trying feed their families; both get three months' jail.

PN has openly declared that it a government of Malay/Muslim solidarity. I guess the Perlis mufti was wrong. You do not need a Saddam Hussein to unite the Malay community. All you needed were a bunch of traitors.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.


  1. What's all this nonsense about non-Malays not contributing to the country.

    Our hero today is undoubtedly the DG of the Ministry of Health, Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

    He is of Chinese descent, adopted by an Ustaz when he was in Form 1.

    Another notable hero in the fight against the coronavirus is Dr Christopher Lee, Head of Infectious Diseases, recently retired but still contributing his valuable knowledge and experience.

    And at the comical end of the scale we have:

    1. Menteri Air Suam and his missing two deputies

    2. Menteri Hazmat

    3. Menteri Doraemon

    4. Menteri Bizzare who initially supported Ramadan bazaars and the use of drones to sanitize buildings

    5. Menteri Jamban who wanted to study how the virus spreads via sewage (just go with the flow lah)

    6. Menteri Telur Penyu/LowYat2/1Kereta who gets chauffeur-driven with bodyguard and polis escort but expects everyone else to drive alone

    7. Last and definitely least (ha ha ha) in his seven page monologue to Arab leaders Menteri Pak Unta did not mention coronavirus a single time, yet this disease is killing people worldwide, including Arabs. His only contribution after spending two weeks of MCO 1 fishing was a detailed protocol on how to bury the Muslim dead.

  2. "PN has openly declared that it a government of Malay/Muslim solidarity."

    It does not matter who is wrong or were a bunch of traitors. What matter most was they did the right deed and the right thing - Malay Solidarity & Muslim Conservatism.

    1. Wakakakaka… blurred ketuanan freak!

      Hitler, too, gave German solidarity & Christianity conservatism in his early power climb!

      Maybe, they r ALL the same deep down - power hypnosis via their oratorical skill to con their herd of blur-sotongs.

    2. Was Hitler a good Christian?

    3. To Hitler, he was a good Christian.

      Just like the alpha zombie thought he is a good 'muslim'!