Hornbill Unleashed

July 1, 2014

Malaysia: Apocalypse Now

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM
Tags: , , ,

e9f9b-ancient-macedonia_exhibition_02Boniface Willy

The month of June is when the Dayak and the Kadazan-Dusun communities of Sarawak and Sabah celebrate the festivals of the Gawai Dayak and the Pesta Kaamatan, in thanksgiving for a bountiful year. It is a time of rejoicing and merry-making.

This year preparations for the festival by these two largely Christian communities of East Malaysia were tempered by trepidation, brought about by the issue of Allah and the failure of the government to deal with it in a manner that speaks of justice for the Christians of Malaysia. And their fears were not unfounded.

Throughout the month of June 2014, the Christians of Malaysia were put on a roller-coaster ride that ended with what they had feared all along; the erosion of their fundamental right to freely practise their faith. The federal court had on June 23, 2014, affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal to ban the Roman Catholic Church from using Allah in their Herald.

In mid-June Malaysian Christians were appalled when minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom told parliament that Malaysia is not a secular country and that it is, in fact, an Islamic state. By his pronouncement Jamil attempted to change the Federal Constitution and the principles upon which Malaysia was founded.

A day later Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (Mais), to whom Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) seems to be accountable, announced that they do not agree to the directive of the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the Menteri Besar of Selangor to return to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) the AlKitab which JAIS had seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia.

Mais chairman Mohamad Adzib Mohamad Isa said the government of Selangor, and by extension the AG Chambers, have no authority over them.

Mohamad Adzib then went on to say that Mais and Jais will continue to conduct raids to confiscate other AlKitabs and to make arrests.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar added to the already mounting tensions and anxieties when he said he will not execute two legitimate orders from the High Courts of Ipoh and Seremban in relation to two inter-faith child custody cases, an action many viewed as contempt of court.

In the process, the IGP attempted to interpret the constitution, much to the consternation of lawyers including the constitutional types.

Finally, on June 26, 2014, AG Gani Patail announced that he will apply to stay the two court orders served on the IGP and then refer the two cases to the Federal Court for a final decision.

It is a general understanding that when any law is found to be deficient, the government in a country that practises parliamentary democracy will go back to Parliament to either have the law repealed and a new one enacted or to make amendments to the law. This is not what we are seeing in this sad chapter in our Malaysian history.

As a backdrop to all these, we now have reports of more than 100 Malaysian jihadists fighting along-side the Isil militants in Iraq and Syria and of four groups of home-grown Islamic militants who are actively recruiting new members in Malaysia.

Their aim: to establish a super caliphate in the region covering Southern Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Southern Philippines, an area collectively referred to as the Nusantara. It is an objective that closely mirrors the objective of the Isil militants.

You can be certain that the Malaysian Jihadists currently in Iraq and in Syria, in addition to honing their combat skills in battles, will be indoctrinated further by their handlers in the two Middle East countries.

It is now a fact that a link has been established between home-grown militants and those in the Middle East and these militants or jihadists have made it clear that they are fighting a holy cause in the name of Islam, a cause without borders no less.

Any inquiring mind, looking at these very significant events in the recent history of inter-racial and inter-faith relations in Malaysia, will immediately notice that there is a common thread running through these events – Islam in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Put differently, the issue that must be addressed and resolved is whether or not Malaysia is an Islamic state and if it is not, what is to be done about it?

Not a few Malaysians, particularly the non-Muslims are wondering if the actions of Jais, Mais, the IGP and the AG are perhaps product of their personal conviction and that the rule of law and the role of the judiciary were deliberately put aside in favour of personal convictions.

In fact, many fear that there just might be a bigger agenda, one that involves securing a votes bank and maintaining the grip on power.

By and large men are spiritual beings and for many, religion and their spiritual needs are even bigger than their physical needs.

Which brings us to a very troubling question: will all these converge and bring us to a point where our constitution will be revisited and the state or nature of our country changed from being a secular one to an Islamic state?

Proponents of hudud are quick to point out that Muslims make up more than 60% of the Malaysian population and that very same factor can be used to argue for a change to an Islamic state.

Throughout the debate over Allah, AlKitab and to a smaller extent, hudud, both in the courts and outside, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has maintained an almost complete silence on the issues.

The issue of Allah, which originated from a ministerial order of the Home Ministry could have been resolved quite easily.

Najib and his Cabinet could have just rescinded or revoked the order and put an end to the disputes over Allah and to the tensions and anxiety generated by the disputes. Unfortunately he failed to do that.

So when Najib called upon Malaysians to use the constitution as a unifier, there was a distinct hollow ring to it.

The sense of foreboding among Christians is now almost audible. Allah is used both by the Christians and the Sikhs but it is only the Christians that are being targeted for persecution. The circumstances surrounding remind them of the mad emperor Nero and the big fire that razed Rome to the ground sometime in AD64.

Emperor Nero, for reasons best known to he himself, hated the Christians and wanted them destroyed but the Christians were not only increasing in numbers, they were also a harmless people.

He could not find a legitimate reason to try and destroy the Christians. So he started the fire that burned Rome down and he blamed the Christians for it. Because of that a great persecution took place against the Christians. St. Peter, the first bishop of Rome was crucified in the persecution.

In Malaysia today, we see politicians on the fringe, academicians with questionable values if not intellect and several Malay rights NGOs already blaming the Christians for the rising tensions, just like the emperor Nero.

Is this fear among the Christians irrational or are there real reasons for Christians to feel this way?

In the last one month or so, Malaysians have witnessed things unprecedented – body corporate constituted by law saying they are above the law and above the government, the highest rank enforcer of law and order refusing to obey the legitimate orders of two High Courts, a minister and the deputy speaker of Dewan Rakyat telling Parliament that Malaysia is not a secular state.

Where we need the government to show political will and courage, to take the proverbial bull by its horns and subdue it, we see only indecisiveness and weakness.

We are left to wonder if the indecisiveness and the weakness are intended, designed to create the perfect storm, one that will cause the state and nature of Malaysia to be changed irrevocably.

And to top all these, there is this very troubling question as to what the Malaysian Jihadists will do when they returned to Malaysia, especially when it is quite clear that they will not exactly be without support.

News on these events is still being extensively carried by local mainstream newspapers and by the national TV stations.

Whether you like it or not, the news caused perception to be created, opinion formed and passion driven and all these have to do with the position of Islam in the constitution and the state of Malaysia.

And the tragedy in all these? You hardly hear any non-Muslim parliamentarians, particularly the Christian MPs from Sarawak and Sabah raising these issues in Parliament.

A Dayak and Christian parliamentarian from Sarawak was said to have told his party’s president to “cool it” when his president made some attempts to show his displeasure with these issues which very evidently affect his community.

Let us pray for our Malaysia – that leaders in the government will come to the full realisation that lasting peace and prosperity cannot prevail unless government policies and actions are firmly rooted on justice and that the power entrusted to them are put at the service of the rakyat.


  1. Endless possibilities: Civil unrest in mainland, economy collapse, Malaya become part of Indonesia, Sabah goes to the Philippines, Sarawak become an independent nation … Republic of Sarawak

    Comment by tigerykey — July 2, 2014 @ 5:22 AM | Reply

  2. It is very much up to the Sarawak political leaders to make their stands on the issue of the slow subjugating of the influence of the ideology into the lives of the ordinary non-Muslim population. I am totally agreeing with the writer of the creeping subjugation of the minority when they are in the majority.

    Comment by worryinglot — July 1, 2014 @ 11:23 PM | Reply

  3. If Malaya won’t quit Sarawak, we quit. Who wants to play a losing game? And lose bad, as in our case. We call for a referendum under UN supervision to seek independence. Nobody in his right mind would like to partner with a conman or cheat and a troublemaker to worsen it all the more. Let’s quit and live happily in peace and harmony enjoying our blessings instead of being robbed and persecuted. They want to kill each other, it’s their own problem let’s be independent and have nothing to do with them.

    Comment by Sharpshooter — July 1, 2014 @ 9:49 PM | Reply

  4. Congratulations! You are the first columnist to point out the emerging pattern that can be clearly seen in recent developments in Malaysia. The blatant disregard of the law shown by the extremists and the silent consent on the part of the authorities can mean only one thing: the ground work is already well underway for a future like Iraq’s. You have verbalised the fears that are in many Malaysians’ hearts. Hopefully many more will realise what is really happening.

    Comment by Heath Locke — July 1, 2014 @ 9:07 PM | Reply

  5. Sarawak and Sabah invite Malaya to quit the federation for its treasonous acts against the peoples of Sarawak and Sabah from day one.

    Comment by Hornbill Leashed and Gagged — July 1, 2014 @ 8:23 AM | Reply

    • It is now for the real natives of Sabah and Sarawak to quickly unite and stand on one platform and vote out the BN supporters and with the support of PKR claw back your rights and purge and withdraw the illegal IC or make them valid for peninsula Malaysia only. Then we can see what the “Malays” of Semenanjung think of it. BUT UNITE FIRST YOU MUST! Otherwise you can howl at the moon all you want. The minority “Malay” and “Melanaus” have you by your little ‘koteks’. How sad that your own kind has sold you so that they can get rich. Very Sad Indeed. But, it is not too late. Work now and start your recruitment and select honest and trustworthy leaders who will not sell you down the road. God Bless and Inshallah you will succeed.

      Comment by Bahrin — July 1, 2014 @ 1:01 PM | Reply

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