Saturday, January 21, 2006

PAS, non-Muslim Ministers & UMNO - an Article 121(1)(A) Ménage à Trois

UMNO members of the Cabinet, with the exception of Mak Cik Rafidah Azis, have been blowing hot and cold over the memo from 9 non-Muslim Ministers to the PM. The 9 Ministers have expressed concerns about Article 121(1)(A), and the civil courts reluctance to go near it, thus disadvantaging non-Muslims like the family of the late M Moorthy.

To put it plainly, the UMNO ministers are pissed off, well, at least publicly. They criticised the 9 Ministers for putting their concerns in a memo when a Cabinet discussion would be more appropriate.

I suspect a few factors have brought about the uproar. One had been the recent Cabinet decision not to allow the snoop squad proposed by the Federal Territory Religious Department. To now agree to the concerns of the 9 Ministers may just be too much to swallow within a spell of just 2 days. But I’ll just blog on another in this posting:

PAS has been putting pressure on UMNO, in particular Prime Minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi, by demanding that the Cabinet bloody well not tamper with Constitution Article 121(1)(A), and to hell with those non-Muslim Ministers.

PAS Youth Leader PAS Salahuddin Ayub declared that Article 121(1)(A) is enshrined in the Constitution which cannot be questioned, virtually conferring on it a near spiritual sacredness.

He has basically ignored the fact that said Article was inserted into the Constitution in 1988, long after the original Constitution came into being, with the sole purpose of plugging a legal loop hole that had allowed Malaysian Muslims to quit the religion and at the same time thumbed their noses at outraged imams, without fear of being labelled apostates.

And the man who had the Article inserted into the Constitution in one hell of a rush, because of a worried belief there could be a Muslim exodus, was none other than PAS’ bête noire, Dr Mahathir. Wouldn’t PAS members now be shocked to acknowledge the Islamic foresight of Dr Mahathir. Hmmm, that means he was not only a righteous Muslim leader of an Islamic nation but also a worthy President of the OIC. Eat that, PAS!

But wait, I have been wrong, PAS does know the former PM was the responsible bloke, because one PAS member, demonstrating in front of the SUHAKAM office, told Malaysiakini that this would not have happened under the rule of former PM Dr Mahathir. Naturally, he declined to be named or he might have been hauled up before a PAS party disciplinary committee for praising the good doctor. Well, well, well, that PAS bloke sure misses Dr Mahathir.

Up to this point, I quite understand PAS’ feelings while not necessarily agreeing with it. Hey man, it’s an Islamic Party so surely one needs to comprehend why the PAS members are rooting for Article 121(1)(A) to stay. It’s PAS religious conviction that Muslims must never be allowed to leave the religion, and, agree or disagree, we need to recognise their belief.

However, PAS Vice-President Muhammad Sabu went down the moral tube when he pronounced that national security could be imperilled by continuing debate over the case regarding deceased Everest hero M Moorthy. He stated ominously:

“There are certain quarters who are asking for Article 121(1)(A) to be amended. Doing so is not a challenge to the Syariah Court alone, but is a challenge to Muslims and our religion.”

I am disappointed by his descent into the political gutters. We had hoped that PAS in alliance with the opposition parties may yet be a credible supra-ethnic political party, never needing to resort to such mafia-rist threats. Was he so bankrupt of credible points that he had to perform the obligatory verbal keris-waving too, hitherto only an UMNO domain? However, he forgot to warn the non-Muslim Ministers not to stir the tebuan (hornets) nest, making him less competent in the art of threatening ethnic violence than some UMNO Ministers.

He asserted that Muslims had never infringed on the rights of non-Muslims, which of course many non-Muslims would immediately disagree, even if the M Moorthy case were to be excluded from the reckoning. But I don’t propose to dwell on those incidents.

This morning 5 of those 9 Ministers went to meet the PM to explain why they had submitted the memo. Now we have just received a Malaysiakini NEWS FLASH that tell us the non-Muslim ministers have agreed to retract their memo. It seems that the PM announced the embarrassing retreat by the 9 non-Muslim Ministers at a UMNO function a while ago.

I wonder whether the PM had rang PAS up to inform them of the good news?

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