The hot issue of the moment in Malaysia Baru is religion.
The Education Minister, Dr Maszlee Malik, claims that there is insufficient religious teachers in East Malaysia.
The Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, claims that there is too much focus on religious studies, read Islamic studies, n in schools.
Some schools brainwash Muslim children into thinking that Islam is best, and children are allegedly discouraged from befriending non-Muslim children, while in some schools, non-Muslims are treated as outcasts.
A few months ago, Muslim men complained that stewardesses are wearing “eye-poking” (menjolok mata) uniforms. Some Muslim men demand the right to marry children.
Muslim women have to ask their husbands for permission to divorce. Non-Muslims who pay tax are funding Muslim institutions, and this creates much resentment.
Converting to gain access to bumiputera rights
It is permissible to convert people of other faiths to Islam, but not the other way round. Wannabe Muslims, meaning those who convert to Islam, are given easy access to bumiputra rights. This form of benefit cheating is sheer hypocrisy, because some Muslims believe in quantity (of Muslims) but not quality.
Malaysia has two sets of laws – civil and syariah – and when many bad things are done in the name of Islam, few Malaysians dare say anything about these (child marriage, polygamy, inheritance rights) for fear of being accused of interfering, or of insulting Islam. Few Muslim women will agree that the Syariah courts “protect” their rights.
Has any Muslim tried to buy a duty-free bottle of alcohol from KLIA? Arab Muslims, Singaporean Muslims and Indonesian Muslims are allowed to purchase alcohol. Sometimes, a nice gift for a Muslim’s friend, could be a bottle of alcohol. Remember, this is Christmas!
Moreover, the same bottle may cost more in a supermarket. Why should the Muslim be forced to buy at a more inflated price at non-duty free outlets?
The cash till purchases are allegedly linked to Jabatan Kastam. If the sale had been allowed, the salesgirl could have lost her job, and the duty-free shop will be fined and its licence to trade, will suspended.
The Customs Department has no right to police our purchases. This is another form of control
PAS men are blind to child brides’ suffering
When PAS MPs complained that the kebaya worn by MAS air stewardesses were too revealing. Transport Minister Anthony Loke dismissed their concerns, by advising them to look away, if the MPs thought the uniforms made them “uncomfortable”.
Many Muslim men insist on their religious right to marry children; but say nothing about the bleak future and the negative effects on the 11-year-old child bride, who was married off to an old man.
I have yet to read about Muslim women complaining about the attire of air stewards, especially those with tight trousers, which show off the contours of their groin.
Who are these men, referred to by PAS, who get “stim” at the sight of a woman in a kebaya? Wouldn’t passengers prefer stewardesses who are knowledgeable about aircraft safety? Have there been incidents of Muslim men molesting MAS stewardesses?
PAS MPs’ wrong priorities
Trust PAS MPs to focus on the wrong fixation.
They cannot bring themselves to criticise the Umno-Baru MPs who are involved in corruption or protest about the theft of taxpayers money and Muslim savings in Tabung Haji
Two things are worth mentioning about the dress code that PAS, and the conservative Malays, want to impose upon Malaysians. First: The people who object are mostly men. Second: The people who are at the receiving end are women, like the stewardesses and the child brides.
By all means, have faith. Keep your faith and practise your faith, but do not use religion to break this nation apart, or expect companies to alter their regulations, and force others to adopt practices which people of a particular faith feel are important.
Malaysia is NOT an Islamic nation
Dr Mahathir Mohamad once erroneously declared that Malaysia is an Islamic nation, and trying to disentangle Malaysia from this constitutional mess, has been problematic.
Religion is a vital component of any decent society, but when religion and politics are allowed to mix, sparks will fly. Religious leaders can help to act as the nation’s conscience, by condemning violence and racism, but they should not be allowed to represent us in Parliament and pretend they are acting on behalf of God.
In rebuilding Malaysia, we must not think of ourselves just as Muslims, non-Muslims, Malays or non-Malays, but identify ourselves as part of the Malaysian community.