Najib Razak urged Muslims in the country to mark the Aidiladha celebration this year as a starting point to motivate themselves towards improving the virtue of self-sacrifice.
This he said in a message in conjunction with the Aidiladha celebration via his blog.
We are reminded of a mother who stole meat cook to rendang because she could not afford to buy the meat. She was later charged under Section 380 of the Penal Code and faced a maximum 10-year prison term fine and whipping.
The single mother who is suffering from chronic diabetes, Nor Farina Che Ya, said she only stole as she could not think of anything else except her child’s hunger.
Nor Farina admitted that she knew she would have to bear the retribution for the sin she committed, but she was willing to commit the act for her child. Some would call this a foolish act, or question why she did not seek for government aid but risked going to jail?
Nor Farina was receiving government aid of RM150 a month prior to her move to Seremban where the theft occured, but this was not sufficient to make ends meet.
She also applied for Baitumal (welfare aid for Muslims), but was unsuccessful.
How could one survive on RM150?
Some opt to sleep on the streets and depend on soup kitchens for their meals, but is that the only option for poor Malaysians? Nobody steals or sleep on the streets and says they enjoy doing so.
The Prime Minister talks about performing the deed of sacrifice (korban) was not just a mere ritual, as it also put into perspective the sacrifices that a Muslim needed to make in life, setting aside self-interest and personal demands.
For the women who stole meat to make rendang, she is not the only one who made that sacrifice to ensure her child could live to fight hypoglycaemia or deficiency of glucose in the bloodstream. There was also a case of a woman who was jailed a day and fined RM200 for stealing a packet of Milo from a supermarket for her two-year-old child.
Many others have been charged in court for stealing because they cannot afford to make ends meet.
We are not a welfare state, but if there are such incidents of theft by desperate poor single parents, there is something wanting in our system and our policies.
Sacrifice doesn’t only mean giving up expensive things. It involves going the extra mile to ensure service above self. It means digging in deep within us to ensure that shortcomings in our society are addressed.
Sacrifice means putting in effort to ensure our fellow citizens don’t go hungry. This is what operators of soup kitchens are doing so that the destitute could have at least one warm meal a day.
For politicians, it should mean going beyond the rhetoric and delivering what that has been promised to the nation. But if you can’t do that, don’t hamper those who are making a meaningful contribution to society.
If you can’t ensure fairness, don’t persecute those who fight for justice. If you can’t help the hungry, don’t get in the way of the soup kitchen operators.
Soo Wern Jun