Logic cooked to a Tee

By Kee Thuan Chye

The Mingguan Malaysia columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah is a PhD holder, but, judging by his recent assault on Helen Ang for her piece ‘Enforcing NEP on Minority Religions’, his thinking seems hardly logical.

Some of the points he makes in his column ‘Jangan Terlalu Berani Mencabar’ (Don’t Be Too Brave to Challenge) are reflective of a bankrupt intellect.

He does, however, make a case for Islamic values and the tolerance inherent in the religion’s teachings, which I agree with. I believe that Islam preaches tolerance and does not oppress. I have high respect for the true Islam. It is the people who misinterpret its tenets and practise it in unsavoury ways who give it a negative image.

Such people include those who would make it hard for non-Muslims to form religious societies in national schools, which is the crux of Helen Ang’s article. They also include those who would remove Christian icons from missionary schools and confiscate crucifixes worn by students. True practitioners of Islam would not do these things.

Neither would true Malaysians, those who abide by Articles 3 and 11 of the Federal Constitution which guarantee freedom of religion and the peaceable practice of all religions.

But how does Tee defend these unconstitutional acts? He says, “It’s not a big issue if the identity of the colonialists, like the symbol of the cross, is changed for a local one. Isn’t it necessary to Malaysianise such attributes in line with the local identity? Why do we still want to maintain the colonial identity?” [Bukanlah menjadi isu besar jika identiti penjajah seperti lambang salib ditukar kepada identiti tempatan. Tidakkah ia perlu diMalaysiakan sifatnya sesuai dengan keadaan masyarakat di sini? Kenapa masih mahu mengekalkan identiti penjajah?]

Is he being dense or is he deliberately confusing the point? The symbol of the cross is not colonial identity, it is the symbol of Christianity. How do you “Malaysianise” that? He is obviously speaking out of turn, if not rubbish.

Worse, he extrapolates it into something bigger, something that was never an issue in the first place: “Do we simply reject assimilation, even a little bit? Does the majority not have rights in the view of the minority?” [Apakah kita langsung menolak asimilasi walaupun sedikit? Apakah majoriti langsung tidak ada hak dalam masyarakat minoriti?]

No one has ever said anything about rejecting assimilation, or that the minority consider the majority as having no rights. All Ang is asking for in her article is that non-Muslim religious societies be allowed in schools as they used to be before. This kind of extrapolation is a tactic we have often seen being used by alarmists and ultras. Perhaps it’s a first here for a PhD holder.

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/fmt-english/opinion/comment/9284-logic-cooked-to-a-tee