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MGG: Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The stupid, idiotic mentri besar cometh!
By M.G.G. Pillai
6/12/2001 2:34 am Thu
Selangor wants condoms sold -- even to married couples -- only on
doctor's prescription and in clinics, hospitals and pharmacies
and where they cannot be easily available to the public. The
mentri besar, Dato' Seri Mohd Khir Toyo, looks how to regulate
its sale, and wants local councils to prevent its widespread use
among the public. The Selangor (Islamic) Fatwa Council, which
should know beter, believes The idiocy of the proposal, to which
the state, believes the ban on condoms is the best solution to
control the spread of AIDS and extramarital affairs. The
National Front did not object, notwithstanding, it is reported,
as in the New Straits Times today (05 Dec 2001, p8), with
seriousness and as a page lead.
Dr Mohd Khir's promise to study it further is UMNO-speak for
"it is agreed" and a signal for its coalition partners to address
the issue by backing the idea wholeheartedly. If the opposition
parties attack it, it provides yet another round of accusing them
of anti-national behaviour in not accepting ground realities.
If it is a component partner in the governing coalition, then it
is on the high moral ground of how correct their decision was,
even it it rescinded under public pressure. It does not matter
if the subject is the sale of condoms or the renaming of roads.
The strongest support for the Islamicising of road names in Ipoh
is not UMNO but MCA and PPP. As you would have realised by now,
the National Front coalition partners are there to provide the
multiracial rent-a-crowd, not to question or challenge.
Decisions are made made in secret before the formal meeting,
and sprung upon in public in a seeming display of unity. Or when
the mentris besar is rejuvenated by an attack of stupidity and
idiocy, as in Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Penang and Johore.
Dato' Seri Mohd Khir is accused of corruption, with three police
reports lodged, and a call on the Anti-Corruption Agency to
investigate. He himself talks of being a one-term mentri besar.
The police as usual investigates these only when they are ordered
it gives him some space to manouevre. But he is caught in a new
political mood in which the Malays are not prepared to accept
UMNO leaders if they are deemed to be corrupt. The leaders
themselves find they have to offer the expendable to the wolves,
as the former cabinet minister, Dato' Seri Annuar Musa, after
money meant for the very poor was diverted and its
But Dato' Seri Mohd Khir's decision we have come to expect
from a National Front thoroughly disoriented by UMNO's continuing
irrelevance as a political party. The face of politics has
changed, and mentris besar and others are held to account. This
they are not accustomed to. And they divert attention by such
stupidities as Dato' Seri Mohd Khir's desire to control the sale
of contraceptives even to married couples. It is stupid pe se.
But it is presented as if it has religious backing. He does not,
of course, say if it is meant for only Muslims or for others.
The newspaper takes only Muslim advice, and it does not ask the
health authorities what they think of crazy ideas like these.
It is this uncritical reporting that raises doubt about
current fears that we are led up the garden path in this march to
an Islamic state. The information ministry had its booklet in
which the non-Muslims have lost their constitutional rights, and
is withdrawn only because of public pressure. But why was that
not first brought before the cabinet for approval when even the
price of fish and sugar are within its purview? The non-Malay
partners in the coalition dare not question, and this is taken as
approval for the measure at hand. There is no public debate,
which is discouraged for the views the government cannot answer.
And the political parties which demand answers.
So, why did Dato' Seri Mohd Khir think it a brilliant
solution to control the spread of AIDS to demand that condoms
could only be sold by prescription? He wants to be seen to be at
the cutting edge of Islamic thinking, though his actions suggest
he is on its (and UMNO's) chopping block. So used to have his
words respected as Socrates', he, and his ilk, thinks above his
station and believes he holds the key to the life and death of
those who live in Selangor. Unlike Socrates, he would not allow
his words to be challenged. Not anymore. And he looks for
extraneous ways to extricate himself from the political jam he is
in, and decides to confirm that he is as stupids as others now
decide he is.
He forgot a simple rule of politics: if he strays into
people's bedrooms, he seeks trouble. His proposal is as idiotic
as he is now. All this shows is that he is as expendable to UMNO
as UMNO is to the Malay community. The only difference is that
the UMNO president and Malaysian prime minister, Dato' Seri
Mahathir Mohamed, knows what ails UMNO and moves to revamp in
ways no one thought he could just a year ago; and Dato' Seri
Mohd Khir moves to self-destruct.
New Straits Times, 05 Dec 2001, National, p9:
MB: RESTRICT CONDOM SALE
'Local councils have to play their roles'
By Azura Abas
SHAH ALAM, Tues: The Selangor agreed that there should be
restricted selling of condoms, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd.
Khir Toyo, said today.
He said the matter would be looked into thoroughly before
the State could enforce it.
"I feel that local councils have to play their roles to
regulate the selling of condoms.
"Condoms should be sold at certain places only, like
clinics, hospitals and pharmacies," he told reporters after
breaking fast with university students at his official residence.
Meanwhile, the Selangor Fatwar Committee has added its
support to the State Youth Council's proposal to the STate
government that the sale of condoms be controlled.
The support was expressed in a letter dated 26 Nov and
signed by the State Mufti Department officer, Md Razali Hassanus.
The committee also suggested that condoms be sold only to
those infected with HIV/AIDS and married couples who could
produce doctors' letters.
State Youth council president, Datuk Abdul Rahman Patail
said he was aware that the issue of controlling the sale of
condoms would not augur well with 'certain quarters'.
"However, if the Government can ban those below 16 from
buying cigarettes, then why can't the same thing be implemented
on the purchase of condoms?"
He said this after breaking fast with 56 orphans from the
Sungei Pinang Orphanage and congregation from the Kampung Jawa
Mosque at the council headquarters.
The State Entrepreneur Development, youth, small and medium
industry committee chairman, Datuk Abdul Fatah Iskandar, was
"The current practice of selling condoms openly has yet to
show positive in combatting AIDS/HIV problems in the country,"
Abdul Rahman said.
It was recently reported that about 1.6 million people in
Southeast Asia have HIV/AIDS.
Also Malaysia recorded about 40,000 cases up to June this
year compared with only 6,000 in 1993.
On the council's next move, Abdul Rahman said it would
prepare a memorandum on the issue to be submitted to relevant