Saturday, October 20, 2007

Islam in Malaysian institutions - Examples of compassion or compulsion

It seems that Sekolah Menengah Dato Sedia Raja, a secondary school in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan, has directed all non-Muslim Form Five students in the school to wear traditional Malay costume for an award ceremony next month.

Malaysiakini tells us that the school’s given reason, the usual one in such compelled dressing, has been about uniformity.

If we recall, the police under the former IGP, Mohd Bakri Omar, who was then currying favour with UMNO MPs to oppose the PM’s promised IPCMC, also provided the same reason when he forced non Muslim policewomen to wear a tudung (headgear for female Muslims) when on parade.

See my previous posts Policewomen forced to wear tudungs on parade!

Then the DAP MPs went berserk, blasting the former IGP’s explanation of ‘uniformity’ as an unacceptable excuse because it went against the principle of freedom of religion.

I then commented on an irrefutable historical fact that gave lie to the former IGP explanation insofar as 'uniformity' on formal parades was concerned. I stated that “for decades, yes decades, in the Royal Malaysian Police or any branch of the Armed Forces, the Sikh members of these two Services have worn turbans without other members required to wear the same turban to show ‘uniformity’ on formal parades. The only requirement has been for the turbans to be in the colour of their respective regiments or Services.”

“When Sikh personnel in their magnificent turbans were/are on parade with their non-Sikh colleagues in the Armed Forces or Police there was no discernable lack of uniformity but instead a fantastic Malaysian picture of smartness and unique characteristic which we have been and still are all proud of.”

I added that DAP MP Fong was absolutely spot on in accusing the former IGP of jumping on the Islamic bandwagon which had been, I reckoned in his case, to score brownie points for himself and the organisation he headed, and nothing to do with Islam. Then of course, being kaytee, I challenged that former IGP to tell his male police officers to all wear turbans in the next Police formal parade which involved a Sikh member, purely for 'uniformity' of course.

As to be expected of a disgraceful and utterly repugnant police officer like him who deliberately politicized the police force, he couldn’t come up with coherent explanations. And I wonder about the absurdity of AAB’s eulogy for this useless policeman when he retired - well, at least thank goodness for small mercy he retired.

In this country, there are two types of people who champion Islamic practice or apparel – one is the true believer whom you may disagree with but at least know they are (religiously) sincere, while the other are those who unscrupulously exploit a great religion to score political points or curry favour, usually for their own interests. Obviously that former IGP was one of the latter when he called for non Muslim policewomen to wear the tudung against the historical fact of Malayan/Malaysian police uniforms.

Once there was an Australian model who became the world’s most pious Muslim, OVERNIGHT – from her modelling of scanty virtually-no-dress, after she was arrested in Bali for possession of ecstasy pills (long jail sentence probable) she took the Islamic equivalent of the ‘Road to Damascus’ and wore the burqa to hide all parts of her body, almost compelling the Australian Navy, out of compassion, to donate a periscope to enable her to walk around without bumping into objects.

After she was released from a short 3-month prison term (stories of humongous bribing led to the 3 Indon judges trialling her being hauled up before an inquiry) she abandoned her burqa like a kera discarding belacan and reverted to tight tank-top and hips hugging jeans, which led all naval male personnel to ‘up periscope’.

For more, see my previous posts:

(1) No Hijab but lovely Body Paint
(2) Magic Transformation of a Balinese Goddess
(3) Michelle Leslie - to Islam & back
(4) Leslie - from Tschaikosky to Doh-Ray-Mee
(5) Leslie - Enough Rope!

Back to Sekolah Menengah Dato Sedia Raja - One of the students’ irate parent stated that this was only the tip of the school’s proselytizing iceberg. He stated:

"Last year, non-Muslim Red Crescent Society members were told to wear tudung for the school's sports day march. And I was told by the students that this is an ongoing practice in the school."

He further added that he was called for a meeting by the school principal Azimah Alis yesterday, which was attended by state education director and school parent-teacher association (PIBG) chairperson.

The parent said:
"The principal washed her hands off the issue. She claimed she has no idea of what was happening. They also wanted me to call the press, to withdraw my statement."

If it was not the principal, then who was it who issued that insensitive directive.

Malaysiakini also reported that the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) has submitted a letter to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi protesting the school's directive yesterday.

The letter read: "In March last year, we issued a statement strongly condemning your directive to non-Muslim female personnel in the police force to adhere to then IGP compelling them to wear headscarfs at official functions."

"We then voiced our fear that your irresponsible directive would be followed by other government departments to impose Islamic values on non-Muslims and it has now turned out that SMK Dato Sedia Raja has taken the bold and arrogant lead to compel non-Muslim students to wear Malay costumes in the name of uniformity."

Hey, maybe this is part of Islam Hadhari?

But the question I need to ask, has the school’s proselytizing directive been a true Islamic drive or a cynical attempt to derive political brownie points, either at a personal level or national level?

I conclude this post by apologising to Allah swt for the gross and blatant misuse of his name in the name of Malaysian politics and the ambitious career aspirations of Malaysian senior public servants.

Related: Magic of the 100th name of God


  1. This sickening Holier than Thou attitude has to stop. It is causing disunity and animostiy amongst the races.

    Where is the mutual respect and tolerance ?.

  2. My grandchild is a primary school student in one of the schools in Subang Jaya. During the recent puasa month non-muslim students were told not to drink anything in front of Malay students. My granddaughter felt this was ok because the Malay students were fasting and she did not want to make it difficult for them.

    I listened without passing any comments, but what irked me was will this child have the same amount of tolerance when she grows up when she is faced with being treated differently from the Malays? Definitely no, sigh, my country Malaysia.

    I was watching the 10 yrs before Merdeka video, and wondered if the people can be united as it was then. I wonder.

  3. Remember Canny Ong's killer who appeared in court in a haji skull cap pleading for clemency that he has 4 small children to support?

  4. If it was not the principal, then who was it who issued that insensitive directive.

    The principal will claim that it was the school gardener, and when asked, the gardener will claim that it was goat outside the school field and so on and so forth....

  5. You failed to see some people's understanding of the universe.

    Allah is the big boss.

    It's one's duty to promote and glorify the big boss.

    Anything that boost His name will make Him really pleased and you'll be rewarded.

    A little injustice to the unbelievers doesn't matter bcoz they're... unbelievers. Big boss will forgive you.

    And one more thing... unbelievers like you don't have the right to use Big Boss name. He would listen to you anyway.

  6. A state sponsored religion necessarily involved coercion and compulsion to promote the political agenda of the state.

    The state MUST NOT involve or meddle in religion... its sole role in religion is to protect and guarantee the right and freedom of religion to all without distinction.

    Islam by nature is a state religion. It has never prospered without state sponsorship.

  7. This is the sort of bullshit that many non-muslims have to deal with in the peninsular. Especially for students.

    I know, I lived there for 5 years and this kind of bullshit is unfortunately very common. Some people have this bizarre idea that their culture and faith is superior than others and will think of nothing about imposing their "superior" way of live on others.

    This is also why I decided not to look for work in Semenanjung despite the better wages. The harassment isn't worth the extra money.

    I'm at home now and here we don't need to deal with this crap. Muslims here aren't as bigoted like many from over there, as my many, many Muslim friends would agree.

    Thank God I don't live in Semenanjung anymore.

    Sorry if this sounds rude. Sad but true though.

  8. KT,
    I'm afraid the Islamisation trend is inevitable and self-perpetuating.
    How will it end up ?

    Malaysia will likely develop into any other typical Muslim country - plenty of examples in the Middle East and South Asia.

    Non-Muslims are tolerated to practice their religion in private but all aspects of government policy and institutions are required to conform to Islamic standards and principles. This applies even if they do not declare Syariah as the supreme law of the nation.

    It doesn't really make much difference whether the architects of this process are devout Islamists or just cynical corrupt political opportunists. The end product looks and smells the same.

  9. Hi KTemoc.
    Deleted my comment? Why?
    Is the truth so hard to face.

  10. A cover up as per usual!

    School heads and even teachers have been engaging in this kind of pseudo 'islamicification' for years. Even non Muslim teachers get on the band wagon, to earn credit points with their Malay superiors. I strongly supported my two daughters years ago when they resisted the pressure to wear the idiotic 'tudung' when they were at secondary school. I went to the school and confronted the female teachers concerned and the head master / mistress, they shivered when I lambasted them. Islam is not about what a person wears, but about goodness of heart, compassion and other noble virtues. The Malay skewed version of Islam is a disgrace, and makes a mockery of the religion.

  11. KTemoc, re my post of 9:42pm, please accept my sincere apologies for the error, please disregard it. The comment I thought I had made was not in fact successfully sent, I made it again at 12:06am.

  12. I am not Muslim so I don't know much,but if there is only one true God,Allah,why didn't he make everyone Muslim?I suppose he created all the different races and religions too,being the Creator and the one true God.Why would He make them different if He wanted them to be the same?