Archive for May, 2011

In Defence of Big Dog

May 12, 2011

Zakhir Mohamad is probably one of the most reviled men in Malaysia at the moment. Following his blog posting titled “Making Christianity the official religion?”, he has been rounded on from all corners including some fellow BN leaning bloggers. Apparently, the offending part of his piece was the following :

“Amongst the interesting moments that was said during the evening do was when the 35 pastors stood in a circle and said to have taken a vow to make Christian the official religion of the Federation of Malaysia and the Prime Minister also a Christian.”

Zakhir was careful to make it clear that the information came from a third party. He was only relaying what was told to him by someone who presumably was there (judging from the accompanying photo). If he had no reason to disbelieve his source, then one can argue that it was not wrong of him to publish it.

Interestingly though, while Lim Guan Eng  and the pastors did come out with a strongly worded statement on the matter (here), their “denial” didn’t really address Zakhir’s claim at all. Read the following excerpt from their statement carefully:

1. DAP and the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng have never asked Christian Pastors to pray to seek God’s divine intervention to establish Malaysia as a Christian state or have a Christian Prime Minister.

2. Christian Pastors and Churches have always prayed for blessings for the nation, peace and well-being, unity and harmony amongst all races as well as a leadership that is honest and just.

A carefully worded denial is a ploy that politicians often use when caught in sticky situations. They would issue a denial for something that they were never accused of doing, but close enough  to the actual accusation to give the impression that they were indeed innocent. That way, they would not technically be lying. And if their ruse fails and the truth of their guilt did come out, they could at least say, “Ah, but I never said I didn’t do it”.

It may be true that the DAP did not ask the pastors to pray for a Christian Malaysia, but this isn’t what Zakhir and Utusan said they did, is it? What they said was that the DAP had organized the gathering, during which the pastors pledged or prayed to make Malaysia a Christian country. See the difference? Nobody said anything about “asking”.

Why didn’t the pastors just come out and say categorically that they did not make that particular prayer or pledge? Wouldn’t that have been simpler and more convincing? The wording of the statement gives the impression that they do have something to hide. So, let’s not be so quick to vilify. The DAP’s dubious non-denial suggests that there may be something to Zakhir’s story yet. Stay calm and let the authorities investigate and hopefully we will know the truth soon enough.

In any case, assuming that this pledge or prayer really did take place (I’m not saying that it did, mind), is there any reason for Muslims to be concerned? People pray for things they know can never happen all the time. To most of us, what these pastors were praying for or pledging to do may just be pie in the sky. After all, currently less than 10% of Malaysians are Christian. But is a Christian Malaysia some time in the future really so far-fetched? Perhaps we should learn from the experience of our brothers and sisters in Indonesia. This article from Time Magazine might be an eye opener for some – Christianity’s Surge in Indonesia.

Oik’s Plonker of the Year Award

May 10, 2011

Plonker is British slang for a silly or stupid person. I have read some prime examples of people making silly or stupid remarks lately.  So much so, that I’ve decided to create an award for it. What I plan to do is list them all down in this post as and when I find them, and at the end of the year decide on who among them  has uttered the most idiotic words. Perhaps I’ll organize a poll and send the winner a nice little trophy.

I would like to get the ball rolling with the person who inspired this whole exercise, someone the Malaysian Insider hails as a “constitutional expert” despite having only been practicing law for less than 4 years:

  • The Bar Council’s constitutional law committee chief made a very bold statement today by saying that Islam is not the official religion of Malaysia. Here is what the Malaysian Insider report that broke the news says:

“In terms of the Federal Constitution, there’s only one religion for the federation, no official or unofficial. The Constitution is clear on this. Islam is not the official religion,” he said to The Malaysian Insider when contacted yesterday.

He cited Article 3 as stating “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation” and pointed out the word “official” was nowhere in the provision.

So, there we have it. It’s that simple.  The Constitution doesn’t actually mention the word “official”, so Islam cannot be the “official” religion of this country. How very profound!

This has got me to thinking – what else have those evil powers-that-be fooled us into thinking are “official” but actually are not? Let’s look up our Constitution, shall we?

Hmm… Bahasa Malaysia is not the official language, The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is not the official Head of State…   OMG! OMG! OMG! MALAYSIA IS NOT THE OFFICIAL NAME OF OUR COUNTRY!!!

So take a bow, Mr Syahredzan Johan. For being an utterly pedantic, anal retentive tool, you have been given the honour of being the very first nominee for my prestigious Plonker of the Year award.