Are we in multicultural Malaysia or in Malaynistan?


Mariam Mokhtar, The Ant Daily

Malaysia is at a crossroads and if we make the wrong turn, we may never recover. As our leaders wrangle with one another about implementing hudud, the rakyat are aware that the implications of hudud are serious. Our quarrel is not with Islam, but if hudud is implemented in Kelantan, it will not be long before life in multicultural Malaysia, as we know it, will be a thing of the past.  If hudud was to be implemented, the emergent Islamicised country might as well be called Malaynistan.

It is not true that non-Malays will be spared from hudud. It is also not true that all Malays agree with the implementation of hudud. It would be wrong to think that the Malays who oppose hudud are non-religious or are liberal or western in outlook. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If our leaders have failed to inspire us, then let us attempt to guide them. Instead of thinking in terms of Malay, Chinese, Indian, or Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and so on, why won’t our leaders be more principled and lead us based on what is right for the nation as a whole?

Datuk Seri Najib Razak refuses to state that hudud is unacceptable. This is Najib’s philosophy of making hay while the sun shines. He knows that many Malays are opposed to hudud and he presumably hopes to entice these Malays into the welcoming arms of his party, Umno Baru.

If hudud was a vote winner, wouldn’t Umno Baru have included it in its campaigns during the last general election? Najib is aware of miscarriages of justice in countries with hudud. He knows that many of these countries are economically backward, struggle to attract foreign investment and the women of all of these countries are repressed.

Karpal Singh was right when he said that we should refer to and uphold the constitution. Malaysia has its foundations in a secular state where religion is kept separate from politics. We are a constitutional democracy. Having hudud will mean we become a theocracy.

Our first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman was a patron of traditional Malay culture, Asian football and local horseracing. In 1975, his friends offered him a share in their racehorse, Think Big, which was racing in Australia. The horse won the Melbourne Cup and when he received the winner’s trophy, Tunku swopped his top hat for a black songkok and as the cup was placed in his hands, said: “I thank God for our victory.” He repeated this phrase later that night at the Victory Cup Ball.

Was Tunku a lesser Muslim just because he had a passion for racing? If hudud was to be implemented, what would happen to all the Malays and Muslims who are currently employed in trades which involve gambling or liquor? These range from manufacturing to transport, from hotels to the airline industry. Will the government provide welfare assistance for those who are out of work? Will it be a non-Malay employees market?