Ng Kian Nam, you are one hell of a confused lawyer

How can Ng’s failure to differentiate between azan and kuliah Subuh justify his action to nullify his earlier complaint? I don’t get it.

By George Lee

Nowadays when we read news on Malaysia politics, we must not be surprised as things can change unexpectedly like the weather now happens in different parts of the world. When I read the article about the “MCA lawyer apologises over azan row”, I really cannot “tahan”. I told myself that I must write to seek further explanation from Ng Kian Nam. To me he is one hell of a confused lawyer. Let me pre-empt myself before I am indicted of belonging to the “hate MCA campaign”. Frankly, I have no ill-feeling towards MCA even though I strongly believe it can do better in the present political climate.

When Ng and one of the MCA vice-president uttered that they wanted authorities to set specific guidelines to control the volume of loudspeakers at mosques, I was rather pleased that someone was courageous enough to bring out such a sensitive matter and suggested a very rational approach to prevent future misunderstanding. I was thrilled that MCA had, in this occasion, done something constructive for other inhabitants, who for years have kept their silence due to the peculiar Malaysia environment where in the eyes of the government, segments of the society are still not mature enough to deal with situations of religious natures. So, it is a case of why touch it when it is not broken.

Three days later, I read with incredulity that the eccentric lawyer apologised for his grievance and cited that he did not know how to differentiate between the azan and kuliah Subuh. I don’t get it. I respect the Muslim religious obligation to call to pray and the pre-dawn sermon. However, how can Ng’s failure to differentiate between azan and kuliah Subuh justify his action to nullify his earlier complaint? I don’t get it.

Did he imply that if the pre-dawn sermon voice level is louder than the one played out by the azan, it is alright to him but not the other way around? His press conference, I quote “Everyone has their own weaknesses. As a non-Muslim, when I sent the letter I did not know the difference between the azan and the kuliah” looked to be a very lame excuse to get him out of the grave he had dug himself into. End result, his repentant action did much more damage than he thought as the notion given to many was that he had “chickened out”.

In retrospect, this was an opportunity for MCA and Ng to push forward the guidelines to control the volume of the loudspeakers at mosques. Even though this could be a lengthy and winding process but sadly the guidelines are only good in words. Again, I respect Muslim religious obligation but when the noise becomes out of control, guidelines must be set. I agree with the MCA president that mechanisms to regulate the level of sound or noise, not only for Muslim prayers but for all religious gatherings must be drawn out. Sadly, this comment is only good in gaining political mileage.

The Minister in charge of “Unity” does not seem capable of solving any issue concerning religious sensitivity let alone this one. The best method for him is to do nothing and let many issues drag on indefinitely. The Minister has inherited a “dirty” job and he does not want to be detested and hopes that the issue will diminish or go away.

Ng Kian Nam’s ignorance between azan and kuliah Subuh will spur a particular segment of the society to become supercilious due to their religious status in the country. This does not help when politicians concur to disdainful actions (burning effigies) rather than using their rational analysis. Ng’s apology will surely become distasteful for the minorities because the praises sang to him by the likes of UMNO, Perkasa and NGOs can only mean that when it comes to matters concerning the country’s dominant religion, any logical discussion or reasoning is deemed not possible and as a result “the weak are the prey of the strong” (The law of jungle).

Ng Kian Nam, you are one hell of a confused lawyer. You have brought humiliation to your political master, the Malaysia Chinese Association. You owe the minorities a clear and credible explanation over your perplexing action. You should have walked all the way rather than “patah balik”. I look forward to your next press conference. I wonder, will there be one?