Laman Webantu   KM2: 6540 File Size: 5.5 Kb *

| KM2 Index |

MGG: Condoms and The March To An Islamic State
By M.G.G. Pillai

27/12/2001 3:24 am Thu

The hidden agenda, whatever the National Front apparatchiks would tell you, is Islamisation. The Prime Minister wants it. The deputy prime minister, wants it. UMNO wants it. MCA wants it. MIC wants it. Gerakan wants it. Indeed, no one in the National Front would argue against it. But they were quick to oppose PAS's agenda for an Islamic state, and bitterly excoriated DAP for being linked with PAS. The DAP is one up on these political parties: it opposes PAS's Islamic state agenda. None of the National Front coalition parties oppose UMNO's. It is better, they say, for UMNO's Islamic state to be the law of the land than PAS's. We do not know what either version is about. We are now told, by the deputy prime minister, no less, that the non-Muslims should not be worried, since the Islamic debate concerns only the Malays!

Parliament is not the right place, the Speaker has decided, for such a momentous change in Malaysia constitution to be discussed. The PAS mentri besar of Kelantan, Dato' Ustadz Nik Aziz Nik Mat, is happy at last UMNO comes to PAS' view that Malaysia must be Islamic. The government is happy that its view of an Islamic state can be rammed down people's throats. UMNO espouses the Islamic state because it is the last option it has to wean the Malay who does not accept his cultural leadership as it still the political. But the political leadership frays, and while it can hold on to power with non-Malay support, its legitimacy is then at stake.

Hence its support for an Islamic state. The Prime Minister goes a step further: he insists it already is an Islamic state. When that is the official view, it is time for every UMNO politician of any standing to rub this in. And frighten the non-Malays. In routine questions, we are asked to state in the column for "religion" if one is a Muslim or a non-Muslim. Children in primary school sitting for school examinations are required to state their religion in these terms. When challenged, officials say it is just for record keeping purposes, not to give the Muslim students special marks. But the complaints were dismissed out of hand. No senior member of the government, from UMNO of the non-UMNO parties, rushed in to challenge this.

The mentri besar of Selangor, Dato' Seri Mohd Khir Toyo, wanted condoms sold even to married couples only by prescription. When the import of his stupidity became known, and he was rightly attacked for it, he wriggles out of it. But in such a way that he is not a fit person to be mentri besar of a state. He wanted condoms banned, he now says, to prevent children for mistaking them for balloons. He did not like the way condoms were displayed, besides food items. "We have cases where parents were put in a spot by their children who wanted them to buy the condoms because the children thought the colourful packaging containing the contraceptives were sweets of chocolates," he told reporters yesterday (12 Dec 2001 - New Straits Times, p5).

If as Dato' Seri Mohd Khir was only bothered about condoms displayed with food items, at checkout counters of supermarkets and pharmacies, as he now claims, how did the state fatwa council come into the picture? Was the state fatwa council also bothered about children asking their parents to buy them contraceptives or it thought, by openly displaying them, it brought about a godless society? There was nothing inthe original news report that what the mentri besar says now is why he made that statement. He wanted to be seen to be more Islamic than the other mentris besar, he is under pressure for how he allots state lands to people suspiciously close to him. But what is frightening is how he thinks the average Malaysian is so stupid that it would not see through his stupidity.

The Prime Minister appointed him mentri besar, because a member of his family thought he represented UMNO youth. It was a poor choice. He makes blunder after blunder. He now knows he is a one-term mentri besar, he is unpopular even within Selangor UMNO, that the opposition would do better if he leads the state in the next general election, when it comes. He takes on airs, which makes him insufferable as well. But he is typical of UMNO mentris besar. They got away with in the past because of UMNO's iron control over politics. That is now questionable. And, worse, it breaks up from within. Dato' Seri Mohd Khir is a symptom of that condition. If we assume that the Prime Minister meants what he said about Malaysia as an Islamic state, and UMNO could enforce it without debasing the rights of the non-Muslims, we are still not out of the woods yet. It was not debated within the National Front with the vigour and concern for it only knew of it after the statement was made. So, the non-Malay concern is real. Their rights in the Malaysia they give their loyalty to is slowly taken away from them. Especially, when we do not know yet what it means for Malaysia to be an Islamic state. The National Front is as, if not more, confused than I am.

M.G.G. Pillai