Monday, December 06, 2021

The hypocrisy of DAP's inner coterie

S Thayaparan

“In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn't translate into a rich mosaic of colourful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance and abuse.”

- Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations

COMMENT | Every time Hannah Yeoh decides to wear a tudung, the DAP’s hypocrisy is on full display. Lim Guan Eng told Johor committee member Boo Cheng Hau, “… a male DAP leader to make a fuss over the proper clothing worn by DAP Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh when visiting a mosque is no different from extremist and primitive PAS leaders who want to control what women can or cannot wear.”

Really? Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Pakatan Harapan’s then religious czar contacted the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and a probe was launched on Maryam Lee about her book ‘Unveiling Choice’ at a forum entitled “Malay Women and De-Hijabbing” because Mujahid was apparently “seriously concerned” about the choice some women made of not wearing the tudung.

Is Mujahid like primitive and extremist PAS leaders who want to control what women can and cannot wear? My question to Lim is this: Is DAP like the religious fascists in this country, who use the tudung for political purposes? I have no idea of this “respect” narrative that floats to the top whenever we have these kinds of discussions.

We live in a country where non-Muslims are harassed for not wearing “appropriate attire” when dealing with taxpayer-funded government bureaucracies, so this attack by Lim on Boo is even more mendacious. Therefore, this idea of mutual respect when it comes to religious belief and individual rights is totally bunkum.

And it’s not as if non-Muslim political operatives have not donned the tudung in solidarity with their Muslim colleagues. Remember, after the New Zealand mosque shooting, certain reps chose to don the tudung to show support.

Isn't it strange that non-Muslim political operatives decide to use the tudung for political gain, but when it comes to Muslim women deciding not to wear the tudung, they suddenly clam up - which encourages a monolithic narrative that favours “primitive and extremist” leaders like those from PAS?

Amanah's Mujahid Yusof Rawa

And by the way, Amanah leader Mujahid, who had serious concerns about women choosing to unveil, came up with the nonsensical Syariah-compliant dress guidelines for the private sector to protect women who wanted to be Syariah-compliant at all times. But of course, the DAP was silent during this kerfuffle.

And it is funny when Yeoh in defending her choice to wear a tudung in a mosque with a claim that this won’t change her race and faith, Mujahid says reading Hannah’s book, "Becoming Hannah: A Personal Journey", didn’t change his faith either. Do all these religious hustlers have some sort of support group, where they decide on catchphrases and political bromides to gaslight the base?

Every time a political operative visits a religious place, it is because of politics. When former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak visits a temple, for instance, it is a political move designed to appeal to a specific demographic. Therefore, Hannah donning a tudung and visiting a mosque is a politically opportunistic act. And here is the thing, there is enough evidence to suggest that Hannah does indeed use her political position to carry out the people's work, without having to resort to such nonsense.

Now, in any other functional democracy, this would not have been an issue. But in a country which, for decades, has seen the Islamisation process erode our public and private spaces, this is just another way in which the DAP enables the extremist forces in this country while gaslighting the non-Malays into believing that religious respect is a two-way street in Malaysia.

Non-Muslims in Malaysia cannot use certain words

We live in a country where non-Muslims, depending on the state they live in, cannot use certain words. We live in a country where non-Muslims are constantly told not to trespass into Islam. We live in a country where books on religion, especially by Muslims on their faith are banned.

The most egregious example of disrespect that comes to mind was in 2010, when reporters for Al Islam magazine went into a Catholic church, took part in the Holy Communion and then spat out the sacramental bread because they were investigating if Muslims were converted at that church. No action was taken against them.

This, of course, is one of the more egregious examples, but the reality is respect for religious rights is a one-way street in this country. This is why, when it comes to the DAP, there should be a strict separation between mosque and state.

This includes attempting, for political gain, to wear a tudung because it demonstrates how, some in the DAP think that the only way to the majority polity is through religion, which is also the strategy of Malay uber alles political parties.

So, when a political operative like Yeoh, who should be toeing a strict secular line, decides to use a mosque to “interact with her constituents”, which is political speak for a good photo opportunity, this is indicative of the failed strategies of the DAP.

Failed strategies that not only reinforce hegemonic Islamic narratives of the state but also contribute to state propaganda that there are “good Chinese” and “bad Chinese”, which is exactly what this tit-for-tat spat between Lim and Boo, is.

I figure since the supposed “Chinese” chauvinists in the party are being ghettoised, these kinds of narratives that did not serve MCA well will be replicated.

When I walked among the believers in the anti-Icerd rally, the one thing that struck me was that everyone in this diverse rally believed in the primacy of their religion over individual and collective rights. But more importantly, the primacy of their dogma over other religions (which is normal) and that their dogma should be imposed on everyone regardless of their own belief systems (which is the definition of fascism).

This is why I have always maintained that the DAP, and indeed all non-Malay political operatives, should be strictly secular in terms of how they present their ideas and agendas. They should not give in to the temptation of thinking that they could go the easy route and manipulate religious sentiment for populist appeal.

All these non-Muslim political operatives do, when they don the tudung, is highlight the hypocrisy, moral and intellectual bankruptcy of their own religious agendas. What is funny is that anecdotally speaking, the DAP’s base seems to think that all this is wonderful.

Unfortunately, the wrong base.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. Fīat jūstitia ruat cælum - “Let justice be done though the heavens fall.”

1 comment:

  1. Wakakakaka…

    "In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn't translate into a rich mosaic of colourful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance and abuse.”

    How many of u care to reinterpret the above into a bleeding-heartish sophism of apology for the continue on slaughter of ketuanan narrative by the apologists?