Hornbill Unleashed

September 17, 2016

Of Karpal Singh and Haron Din

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 9:02 PM

The late DAP parliamentarian Karpal Singh was a staunch defender of Malaysia as a secular state. He had famously said, “Islamic State, over my dead body.”

That strong statement was deemed offensive by many Muslims.

But later, many Muslims were able to see the Tiger of Jelutong – dubbed so as he was a five-term MP for Jelutong, Penang – beyond that one statement and valued his principles and integrity, despite their continued disagreement with him on an Islamic State.

On Thaipusam Day in 2013, Karpal Singh had a visit at his home from Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

The then-menteri besar of Kelantan and mursyidul am (spiritual leader) of PAS celebrated his own 82nd birthday in Karpal’s home and offered him a slice of his birthday cake.

Even Utusan Malaysia gave a frontpage coverage on this, with the heading: ‘Hari jadi Nik Aziz di raikan dirumah Karpal Singh’ (Nik Aziz’s birthday celebrated in Karpal Singh’s home).

And Karpal Singh had this to say, “It was nice of him to come. We have our differences but we get along. My feelings even before this have been quite warm. He is one of those people whom you cannot hate, he exudes friendliness.”

That birthday meeting was one of the last spectacular moments of Karpal Singh that Malaysians remember. His struggle was cut short three months later, in a fatal road accident.

Malaysians of all ethnic, religious, political backgrounds paid their last respect to the towering lawyer-politician.

Nik Aziz lamented Karpal’s passing

Nik Aziz posted on his Facebook: “Perginya seorang tokoh yang berprinsip”, lamenting the demise of the man who – exactly driven by principles – opposed his aspiration to introduce hudud punishments.

Of course, some people could not wait to take potshots at Karpal Singh or cheer at his demise.

Umno’s Langkawi MP Nawawi Ahmad (the same guy who once suggested MO1 as our Agong) posted on Facebook images of Karpal’s body on the accident scene with a nasty caption: “Would anyone like to take on Karpal Singh’s challenge? Please give your names. Hehe.”

And Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin said Karpal’s death was an act of Allah to remove an obstacle for Kelantan to implement hudud punishments.

Nawawi Ahmad and Zulkifli Noordin, and many of their followers, could not have respect for their political opponent so much so that they had to celebrate or poke fun at his death.

In sharp contrast, Tok Guru Nik Aziz could see the person and his value, despite their opposite views on an issue both held dearly.

Yesterday, on Malaysia’s 53rd anniversary, Tok Guru Nik Aziz’s successor as PAS mursyidul am, Haron Din (photo), passed away in a hospital in California, United States.

It is sad that many could not wait to take pot shots – many have been crass – on the late Tuan Guru. They did not like his party and his politics.

Among them, regrettably, was Karpal Singh’s successor as Jelutong MP, Jeff Ooi, who posted harsh comments, including “Adios, Haron Din. Let there be peace.”

I do not sign up to the view that dead people are beyond criticism. Otherwise all obituaries would be sycophantic and history would be fairy tales of all good men and good women.

The dead deserve a bit more decorum

I do think the dead deserve a bit more decorum in treatment because they cannot defend themselves, and more so when their families and friends are still mourning.

Ultimately, whether alive or dead, the question is: are we being fair? Do we just run people down because they have a different belief – religious or political – from us?

Are people who oppose us or our ideas all stupid or bad? Can we understand then disagree, rather than disagree without understanding?

Can we accept that people are bound to have differences – in politics or otherwise – because of their values, experiences and circumstances? Can we refute only ideas with facts and logic, and not negate people with hatred and arrogance?

The answers to these questions are vital, because it will decide if we can attain democracy.

Democracy is never about living with people who agree with us. It is about co-existing, competing and cooperating with people who disagree with us.

Democracy requires some basic decency and reciprocity. Confucius said, “Do not do unto others what you do not want others do unto you.”

Simple, just put ourselves in others’ shoes. If we were hurt and angry when the likes of Nawawi (photo) and Zulkifli insulted Karpal Singh, whose body was not even laid to rest, would Haron Din’s grieving families, friends and comrades not also be hurt and angry having insults hurled at him?

If we would not like our loved ones to suffer in grieving, why do we think others should endure that?

Without basic decency and reciprocity, we won’t care to be fair. We would just want to win – at all costs – to take everything. That won’t be able to sustain democracy.

Even if we throw out Najib Abdul Razak, Umno and BN, we will replace them with another set of authoritarian government.

Whoever wins will want to take everything. Whoever loses will be so bitter as to want to get even. We will do whatever things we can to defeat our opponents.

Every heart will be filled with bitterness and anger, believing that we are victimised by others and everything we do to strike back is fair.

How can we possibly have multiparty democracy in such a poisonous aura?

I miss the gentleman politics of the old mursyidul am of PAS and the old Jelutong MP, who could respect and value each other even though they were principally opposed to each other on a topic they hold so dearly at heart.

If only that had been passed on to their successors…

Wong Chin Huat



  1. Yeahh… hands up who of you would believe that DAP members would say ‘adios to Karpal Singh in their memoriam?

    Comment by year rite — September 19, 2016 @ 10:27 PM | Reply

  2. If the family members of Haron Din felt slighted by Jeff Ooi’s ” Adios, let there be peace ” then Jeff Ooi should rightly apologise to the late Haron Din’s family and not to any other Muslims as demanded by PAS. Jeff Ooi has been insensitive and not tactful before and his latest tweet on the demise of Haron Din showed the immaturity of this MP.

    Comment by Irene Kana — September 18, 2016 @ 3:16 PM | Reply

  3. Islam existed long before these bigots and hypocrites were borned and Islam will still be here long after these hypocrites and idiots perished. Islam does not need these soldiers of fortune in Bolehland to defend. They are treating the uneducated and ignorant Malays as fools by branding themselves as the divine protector of Islam and the Malay community.

    Comment by Awaken Dayak — September 18, 2016 @ 11:43 AM | Reply

    • those bigots should not use smartphone or computer as they are western inventions.

      Comment by hassan — September 18, 2016 @ 2:34 PM | Reply

      • YET these AssHoles are adopting HINDU ceremony in their wedding, MunaFxxk + Super KOLOP Hypocrates lah…

        Comment by tiuniamah — September 19, 2016 @ 11:44 AM | Reply

    • Fake Muslims practise double standards. True Muslims abide by the foll surah. “O you who have believed, be constantly upright with equity (with others), witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or (your) parents and nearest kin. In case (the person) is rich or poor, then Allah is the Best Patron for both. So do not ever follow prejudice, so as to do justice; and in case you twist or veer away, then surely Allah has been Ever-Cognizant of whatever you do.” (Surah 4:135, Dr Ghali’s transl)

      Comment by Aswal — September 19, 2016 @ 4:06 PM | Reply

  4. Its ironic that they despise the USA and call it the greatest SATAN but seek to be healed by the Satan modern medicines and technologies.
    Well, i guess one can turn to the devil when god wills it that your time is up!

    Comment by Brian — September 18, 2016 @ 7:39 AM | Reply

    • although wearing religious outfits, you are still a human, NO NEED to boast my god is greater than yours…lol, there are many ulars tipu tipu to strengthen their position, poor kampong folks who are sticking to these ulars…..

      Comment by tiuniamah — September 18, 2016 @ 9:41 AM | Reply

    • These people can only deceive their ‘followers’.

      Comment by Aswal — September 18, 2016 @ 3:53 PM | Reply

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