Dear Syed Akbar Ali

Yes, Syed, I agree with you that the Malays need help. But it is not the kind of help that you are thinking about. The help the Malays need is to help them free their minds from outdated religious superstition and from the belief in folklore and myths, which they have accepted as the indisputable word of God.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I have been following your latest two articles:

1. The One & Only Problem In Malaysia

2. Concluding “The One & Only Problem In Malaysia”

In fact, I have linked Malaysia Today to your first article, which I hope has resulted in some extra traffic for you.

Before I go into what I want to talk to you about, allow me to digress a bit. I am in the midst of reading two new books I just picked up last week. The graphics of the book jacket can be viewed below. I really need not stress that these two books are most controversial by any standards but I thought they may be of interest to you knowing that you are also a writer of controversial books and articles (plus you support controversial people like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad).

I suppose in that sense that makes us almost like two peas in the same pod.

It’s been a long time since we sat down to discuss the issue of Islam, the Muslims and the Malays, which once used to take up hours of our time in debate and discussion.  I must admit I miss those marathon sessions where we used to tear everything to pieces. Five hundred years ago you and I would have been burned alive at the stake as deviants, heretics, and apostates who have committed blasphemy.

Anyway, one man’s blasphemy is another man’s science discovery. Was not Galileo Galilei almost 400 years ago in 1616 condemned by the church because he believed that the earth revolved around the sun and not the other way around? Thereafter he spent ten years under house arrest until his death in 1642.

It was not until 31 October 1992 that Pope John Paul II expressed regret for how the Galileo affair was handled, and issued a declaration acknowledging the errors committed by the Catholic Church tribunal that judged the scientific positions of Galileo Galilei. However, it was not until another 16 years in March 2008 that the Vatican proposed to complete its rehabilitation of Galileo.

So you see, Syed, even one of the greatest scientists in history suffered religious persecution because of the ignorance and narrow-mindedness of the so-called people of the cloth or religionists. And that is why I suggested you read the two books below because a lot of myths and superstition in religions can be rebutted by science.

Some people view any attack on religious bigotry, superstitious and folklore as an attack on religion or an attack on God Himself. This has always been the modus operandi of those who are at a loss in defending their beliefs. When they lose a debate then they start throwing verbal abuse at you and label you with all sorts of things.

Dr Mahathir himself has argued some points regarding issues such as the authenticity of some of the Hadith. I personally heard Dr Mahathir say that the Hadith should be reviewed (not rejected) and only those that are suspect should be rejected. You have said almost the same thing and what happens? People start labelling you as anti-Hadith.

Why anti-Hadith? Why not pro-Quran? The word anti is negative while pro is positive. So they use anti to make you look negative rather than pro, which will make you look positive.

I know that many Muslims will argue that the Quran alone is not enough because many things are not mentioned in the Quran. Furthermore, they argue, we need the Hadith to explain the Quran because otherwise we would not understand the Quran.

Okay, there are many things wrong with this argument. First of all, only about 30% or so of the Quran is explained by the Hadith. If we need the Hadith to understand the Quran and if we would never be able to understand the Quran without the help of Hadith does this therefore mean we will never be able to understand 70% of the Quran since there are no Hadith to explain them?

Secondly, the Quran is supposed to be complete, according to the Muslim belief. But if it is only complete when read alongside the Hadith and would be lacking otherwise would this not rip to shreds the belief that the Quran is already complete?

I know that the Hadith argument can never be settled till the end of time. The fact that some accept 7,000 Hadith, others accept only 500, and others reject all the Hadith totally means that Muslims will always be divided on the matter. And the fact that originally there were about 700,000 Hadith and now have been reduced to 1% or 0.1% of the original tally means that close to 99% of the Hadith are classified as either false or suspect.

Anyway, my purpose today is not to discuss this matter although God only knows we have spent probably hundreds of hours discussing it in the past. What I want to address is your two recent articles.

As you and I both have already summarised, Malays and Islam just can’t be separated. They come in a package. Therefore, to reform the Malay mind, as many, even those in Umno, would like to see we must first address the religious understanding of the Malays.

Let me offer you one example. Most Malays would never eat pork. In fact, if you invite them for dinner and you have a roast suckling pig in the middle of the table they would get most offended.

However, if you have bottles of wine, beer, whisky, brandy, etc. on the table they would not mind. Just make sure there is no roast suckling pig. The liquor is okay. Many Malays would even join you for a drink. A bit of wine, a glass of beer, or a peg or two of hard liquor is not a problem. But please, no pork.

Why do Malays foam at the mouth and get extremely upset when you ‘show them no respect’ by serving pork? But why do they not show the same unhappiness when it comes to spirits? And why would they not allow a morsel of haram meat (even beef or chicken not ‘properly’ slaughtered) to touch their lips but have no problem downing gallons of beer, wine and whatnot?

So you see, the Malay mind is very complex and not easy to understand. And to qualify as Malay you must also be Muslim. A Christian Malay is not a Malay. So when race, culture and religion are one and the same then to change the Malay mind you must first change their mindset about Islam.

I really do not want to delve into all the various examples. We have been down that road before and whatever I may say would be just repeating myself. But then how best to describe Malays viz-a-viz the other races? Even Dr Mahathir lamented as to why the Malays can’t be more like the Chinese. And before the Hindraf people start accusing me of being a racist I had better mention the Indians as well.

I suppose we can sum it up as follows.

The Chinese do not stop to think about God too much. They just go out and make money and once a year during Chinese New Year they devote to God. That is why the Chinese are successful, economically at least.

The Indians appeal to God every day but God Samy Vellu just enriches himself, his friends and his family and ignores the Indian community. But the Indians do not appear to see that God helps those who help themselves. You can’t expect others to help you. If India maintained that same level of thinking as the Malaysian Indians then India would probably still be a British colony until today.

The Malays know that praying alone does not help (they need to help themselves) so they go out and steal all the money (help themselves to the taxpayers’ funds) and then fly off to Mekah to pray for forgiveness and then come home to enjoy their ill-gotten gains.

Basically, the Chinese look after themselves. The Indians want their hands to be held. And the Malays live by the principle that the ends justify the means just as long as you repent later and pray for forgiveness just before you die and leave this world. In fact, the closer to the point of death the better because repenting and asking for forgiveness too early in life would mean you run the risk of repeating your sins and therefore would have to go through the entire repentance process all over again.

Therefore, Syed, understanding the Malay mind, how do you honestly propose to, as you said, help the Malays? You lament that no one is talking about how to help the Malays. My question is: can the Malays be helped unless they change their mindset as to what is right and what is wrong?

That, Syed, is the crux to the whole matter. We need a mental revolution. We need a Muslim Martin Luther to nail his reform proposal to the door of the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur. But when the Malays are embroiled in debates about whether ‘dirty’ Malaysian Chinese should be allowed into the mosque seeing that they are opposition supporters while the rule should not apply to Taiwanese Chinese since they are tourists do you really want to waste your time by attempting to engage the Malays?

Yes, Syed, I agree with you that the Malays need help. But it is not the kind of help that you are thinking about. The help the Malays need is to help them free their minds from outdated religious superstition and from the belief in folklore and myths, which they have accepted as the indisputable word of God.