JAKIM to be given more powers by Anwar. Hooray!?

Are we finally seeing the true Anwar, or the populist Anwar who like most other politicians will say and do things to increase his vote share especially as we have six state elections due soon?

i) Today, Anwar said that the federal government wanted the role of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to expand, in efforts to enhance the country’s dignity and status.

ii) He said that in the past, Jakim provided little input into government policymaking like the 12th Malaysia Plan, the national budget, and reforms of national and governmental institutions.

iii) He claimed to have met Jakim’s leadership comprising the ulamas and muftis told them that he wanted their help to draft a national development policy framework based on Malaysia MADANI.

iv) According to Anwar, their input can be used to benefit Malaysia and uplift the dignity of the government

v) The prime minister also invited Muslims to take advantage of the miracles of the Quran by discussing sustainability and the value system it advocates.

So have we come full circle with what Anwar started in 1981?

Those who think that Malaysia is only just being islamised in recent years. They are wrong!

Malaysia’s islamisation process started in the 1980s, when the then PM, Dr Mahathir Mohamad sought Anwar Ibrahim’s help to make Umno be as Islamic, as PAS. In other words to try and outdo PAS at being Islamic.

Umno leaders in Kedah had complained to Mahathir about Malays gravitating to PAS and they wanted Mahathir to do something about it before the General Election of 1986.

Enter Anwar!. In 1981 he was plucked from the youth organisation called ABIM (Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia) of which he was the co-founder. This was a two fold purpose for Dr Mahathir.

As student leader, Anwar was a thorn in Dr Mahathir’s flesh as he would organise protests against the government, like protesting about Mahathir’s administration’s failure to help the poor farmers of Kedah.

The other purpose for engaging Anwar was to make Umno more islamic than PAS.

PAS was becoming attractive to Malay voters as a result of the global Islamic resurgence and Iranian revolution of 1979.

Anwar introduced changes which would accommodate an Islamic lifestyle in schools, universities and the civil service. An example would be the dress code. Anwar’s other forms of ‘Islamic branding’ included things such as an Islamic university, Islamic finance, Islamic banking system.

Today, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told Jakim, the Islamic development department, to provide greater input into government policymaking.

But… JAKIM is responsible for much of our country’s intolerance

As far as many Malaysians are concerned, the many issues we face today, such as divisions in society, increased intolerance, invasions into the life of non-Muslims, invasions of privacy of Malays (eg the khalwat squad) are due to Jakim.

What did Jakim do to highlight the convicted felon, Najib abdul Razak’s corruption in 1MDB. In fact, the president of PAS, Hadi Awang, said there was no such thing as corruption. Why didn’t Jakim correct him?

What sort of Islam is Jakim going to preside over? Muslims today are afraid of dogs, the crucifix, the cross, even pictures of pigs or the film Babe and piggy banks. The Muslims want ownership or they would like to copyright certain words in Islam such as ‘Allah’ or ‘solat’. They dismiss the fact that Arab Christians have used Allah in the middle east, for centuries before the advent of Islam. Where was Jakim to put things right and to restore sanity and logic in Muslim minds?

In today’s interpretation of Islam by our Malaysian clerics, emphasis is placed on rituals and the dress code. Regretfully, many Malay cultural practices, which have been practised for centuries have been banned. For instance, wayang kulit or joget or plays where males play females and vice versa are forbidden.

Malays are now consumed with being better Muslims than those in Saudi Arabia that we forget we are not Arabs but we still wish to dress like them, act like them, even speak and behave like them.

What did Jakim do to help the wife and family of Amri Che Mat who was abducted? There were allegations Amri was spreading Shia doctrine which was denied by his wife and family. What assistance did Jakim provide Amri’s family?

What about the shocking conversion of non-Muslim children to islam, when their fathers, who are divorced from their wives, converted to islam and kidnapped and then converted them. We read about Indira Gandhi and Loh Siew Hong’s terrible experience and betrayal. The High courts may have granted them custody of their children upon their divorce from their husbands, but civil law and the constitution failed them when syariah law took precedence.

How about the hundreds of thousands Malay women who failed to get maintenance or child support from their former husbands after their divorce?

What about the issue of inheritance of Malay/Muslim families? Land disputes are common and acres of land are left idle because of outdated inheritance laws which need serious reform.

There are also cases of men marrying younger wives and not seeking the permission of their first wives. Men find loopholes to commit polygamy.

How does Anwar think JAKIM can make Malaysia a better place?

Anwar said he had met Jakim leaders recently and urged them to help draft a national development policy framework based on the Malaysia Madani concept.

Anwar must know that Jakim has failed many Malays. Anwar knows that Jakim’s budget is bloated and they are overstaffed. We do not need voyeurs spying on couples. We do not need an intrusion into our lives. What has Jakim done about incest in many Malay families or sexual abuse committed by their clerics? Or the physical and sexual torture of Malay students in tahfiz and religious schools?

Anwar said that he wanted Jakim to ‘uplift’ the dignity of the government.

Only highly principled and men and women with integrity can make a government appear to act with dignity. How many of those have we in this Unity government, in the Opposition or in JAKIM?

Anwar also said that he wanted Muslims to take advantage of the miracles of the Quran by discussing sustainability and the value system it advocates.

The only miracle that will take place is when the politician rejects the use of religion (and racism) to enhance our lives.

Malaysians are only too aware that in their experience, one politician after another, from the various parties, trip over themselves to be more Islamic than the rest.

Rebuilding Malaysia

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