Noh and Umno’s perilous agenda


Burning an effigy of a reclusive priest and threatening unrest if ‘Allah’ is not ‘returned’ to the Muslims is not going to win Umno and its uncouth leaders any sympathy nor support

Jeswan Kaur, FMT

When it is reality versus rhetoric, Malaysian politicians will pounce on the latter anytime. Despite the fact that polemics does nothing to help solve the rakyat’s woes, it is always ‘fairy tales’ that these politicians desperately turn to, never tiring of ways to fool the rakyat.

Incidentally or ironically, it is always the politicians aligned to the ruling BN coalition that do the most harm, both to the nation and her people. One such troublemaker is former minister Noh Omar. Better known for his racist stance and downright rude mannerism, Noh who is also Selangor Umno chief has shown little desire in wanting to better himself.

Instead, the former Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister’s behaviour has turned chronically disastrous. In 2005, when he was Internal Security deputy minister, Noh courted controversy when reacting to the alleged mistreatment of an ethnic Chinese woman by Malaysian police. Noh had remarked that “if foreigners think that Malaysian police are brutal, please go back to their own countries and not to stay here”.

The then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi reprimanded Noh and while he apologised for his comments, the BBC News described it as ‘grudging at best’. It was later revealed that the woman was a Malaysian of Malay decent, and she was detained for drug abuse.

But Noh refuses to learn from his mistakes. The MP for Tanjung Karang did not think twice in adopting the herd mentality when he joined the chorus in condemning the editor of the Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew, calling the latter ‘rude’.

Noh’s dangerous ganme

Noh did not stop just there. Last Sunday, he was at the forefront of a protest with about 1,000 Umno members, all against the use of the word ‘Allah’ by Christians.

The march ended with Umno Selangor’s viciousness stooping despicably low when it set afire an effigy of Rev Andrew whom they claimed challenged the edict by the Sultan of Selangor that non-Muslims in the state can no longer use the word ‘Allah’.

Andrew had earlier said that Catholics in Selangor would continue using the word ‘Allah’ in their Sunday masses, even though the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) said that it would write to churches in Selangor to stop using the word.

Noh’s anti-democracy actions show no signs of halting. Four days ago, Noh declared that 30 roadshows had been lined up to “educate” Muslims on the state’s controversial legislation governing propagation among Muslims in view of the ‘Allah’ row.

The roadshows would involve the participation of 22 Umno branches in Selangor. Their aim – educating Muslims on the provisions of the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions Enactment 1988 (Control of Propagation among Muslims), which prohibits non-Muslims in the state from using the word ‘Allah’ and 34 other Arabic words.

The first roadshow was held in Sekinchan on Wednesday night. The worry is that Noh is not alone in Umno’s combat to silence the non-Malays in the latter’s fight to stand up for their right to utter ‘Allah’. The Malay extremist outfit Perkasa has been tasked to ‘educate’ Muslims on the legal and religious perspectives surrounding the ‘Allah’ issue.

“It will be more of a talk to educate Muslims about why non-Muslims are prohibited from using the word ‘Allah’ here (Selangor). We will have two speakers for each roadshow,” Noh said.

However, going by Noh’s zero tolerance for anything outside the sphere of Islam and Muslim, trusting him that the roadshows are merely an ‘educational’ stint is a big mistake.