Assalamualaikum, my fellow Malaysians.
Today, we are informed by malaysiakini that our dear PM AAB has declared our nation an Islamic state (or country?).
AAB replied in Parliament to a question by Opposition Leader, Lim KS that: “Malaysia is an Islamic state which is administered based on the principles of Islam and at the same time adheres to the principles of parliamentary democracy guided by the highest law of the land - the Federal Constitution.”
However, malaysiakini cautioned that AAB could have meant that Malaysia was an ‘Islamic country’ as opposed to an ‘Islamic state’ as his statement was in Bahasa Malaysia and ‘negara Islam’ could be translated into either, with 'Islamic state' meaning that all laws in the nation are based on Islamic principles, while 'Islamic country' merely indicates the fact that the majority of the people living in Malaysia are Muslims.
The recent proposal to replace 'common laws' with syariah laws by the Chief Justice, a person who couldn't even ensure his judges deliver their written judgements yet could somehow find time to indulge in tampering with a proven system, has added extra fuel to the issue - see Chief Justice adopting Syariah laws for civil courts by stealth?.
Needless to say, AAB's declaration today - basically contradicting his earlier pronouncement that Malaysia was neither an Islamic nor secular state - has caused quite a flurry, and depending on your politico-religious proclivity, you could be delirious with happiness (or frustrated with AAB stealing the thunder away from PAS), or scared, pissed, angry and whatever if you are a non-Muslim.
As I had blogged in The Debate on the Malaysian Islamic State almost 4 weeks ago, I read with regret in malaysiakini that the Islamic debate continues, in many ways ‘pursued’ relentlessly by the opposition parties, particularly the DAP.
Mind you I can understand why the DAP has done so, considering that recently DPM Najib had surprised us by declaring Malaysia an Islamic state (or country?) at an UMNO forum.
As I said, I personally don’t see any benefit in pursuing this line of argument, but then who cares about what kaytee thinks!
I also mentioned that the occasional invocation of this reminder (that Malaysia is an Islamic State) has become a convenient and regular UMNO political tactic to outflank PAS from making any significant inroads into UMNO’s constituency.
We also know that the election, as I forecast in:
(1) KTemoc predicts November General Election
(2) November General Elections - More Indications
… which would spurred UMNO, and now AAB, to push this 'Islamic state' (or country?) line even more.
Let me put it this way, if push comes to shove, AAB or Najib will ensure that UMNO says anything just to outflank PAS anytime than accommodate a strident demanding morally and legally correct DAP.
On this issue, it’s no longer about right or wrong – it’s about ‘might is right’ and UMNO, who has the 'might', is prepared to ride roughshod over non-Muslim feelings in order to survive its political future against PAS and PKR – and tough luck to its MCA and Gerakan allies – the MIC doesn’t matter anyway.
So, with the DAP pushing UMNO into a corner, we shouldn't be surprised at all that AAB has made this public declaration. It's the inevitable outcome of a combination of UMNO's political survival and AAB's Malay macho-ness.
Be angry, be riled, be pissed but that’s a fact of life. You don’t like it and neither do I, and we can vote against the MCA or Gerakan, but UMNO will nonetheless proceed down this path to its eventual win over its Islamic rivals.
I had blogged that non-Muslim Malaysians who encounter such UMNO assertions, would fall into mainly three groups:
(1) Those who know what UMNO was doing has been politics to neutralize a more frightening (to them) PAS.
(2) Those who won’t countenance any creative modification to the Constitution, that Islam is only the official religion in a secular Malaysia.
(3) Those who fall somewhere between groups 1 and 2, but who would speak out against the idea of Malaysia being an Islamic state because of the fear of ‘give one cm, they take one metre’ by the Muslims who assert such a State. They have seen the zealots gradually dominating the Islamisation program with greater zeal than is comfortable.
But in the end, did AAB mean Malaysia is an ‘Islamic state’ or Islamic country’?
The DAP will cry out it’s the former, while PAS will join MCA, Gerakan and MIC ;-) in saying AAB means the latter, for their own individual interests.
And PKR … ?
I really don’t know about what PKR will say about AAB’s declaration. Maybe its de facto leader is still weighing the pros and cons. Besides, he's busy with the Makkal Osai controversy.
May peace be upon thee, my brothers and sisters.