Deceit on the ‘Islamic state’


KJ John
Malaysiakini
Oct 30, 2012

Marina Mahathir wrote in a recent column that for any candidate seeking to be voted in this general election, the following are good and civil traits:

1. Be nice, be gracious, be polite – rudeness makes you look ugly.

2. If you disagree with someone, fine. But disagree courteously and intelligently, and do not just bad-mouth them.

3. If you do not think that someone is right, give your reasons why.

4. At least pretend that your audience is smart, and live up to them.

5. If you really think violence is the answer, we will find you a ticket to Syria, where you can indulge in all that you want to.

6. If you really think you are a defender of Islam, we will get you a ticket to trail the Republicans on their election campaign. We will even get you a spot on Rush Limbaugh’s show, where you can do your defending thing.

7. Do suddenly stop kissing babies and hugging old people. Seriously, we are not buying it.

8. Leave your expensive watch at home if you are going to sympathise with how people are coping with their monthly expenses. Unless you are going to donate the cost of the watch to some worthwhile cause.

9. Lower your volume. Shouting something stupid does not make it smarter.

10. Tell us what your principles in life are, and how you aim to stick to them.

My only addition is that no serving member of parliament should lie publicly. It is worse if one is a member of the cabinet. And because of such lies, I would argue that we need a ‘truth-o-meter’ which the CNN uses to validate claims by US presidential candidates.

I am boiling mad because Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, the so-called minister responsible for parliamentary and legal matters, was quoted by theSun as saying: “None of the nation’s past prime minister (have) ever declared Malaysia a secular state … the only sitting prime minister who (has) made a statement on the issue was … (Dr) Mahathir Mohamad, who declared that Malaysia is an Islamic state.”

Since we do not have the privilege of a truth-o-meter service in Malaysia, allow me to assume that role since my column is also called ‘Truth Matters’.

The ‘Islamic state’ lie

I was first educated on the Islamic state issue when the Muslim Professionals Association hosted a public talk on ‘Who needs an Islamic state?’.

They had a guest speaker from the UK, obviously well versed on the political dialogue on the Islamic state issue and who argued that in modern civil society, no one really needs an Islamic state. It has never really existed, other than in the minds of idealists and proponents.

While I support all kinds of idealists, there must be enough realism when we translate ideals into ideas, with all the political implications and ramifications considered. I have already written a number of columns on this issue.

And together with the Islamic Renaissance Front, OHMSI will co-host a dialogue on this issue, especially to educate Christian voters. Those interested may register to attend. The venue can welcome up to 2,000 participants.

Nazri is no young and upcoming politician. He is a moderate in Umno and a firm supporter of the party leadership, but I cannot excuse his gaffe – because he is a minister, a lawyer and, worst of all, the minister assigned responsibility for Parliament.

Therefore, I conclude he is merely being an idiocrat; like many others in Umno. Basically, an idiocrat reinterprets the truths of law, by refusing to submit to the original context of historical evidence, and instead promotes a truth by law; by the sheer force of interpretive privilege of authority.

That shift in the presumption of ‘truth interpretations’ is reinforced by sheer authority power and the execution of interpretation. Then, these promoters seek enforcement agency compliance of all such interpretive bias of truths.

Two examples will make my anti-thesis. First, when Mahathir was PM, he was smart enough never to use the words ‘the Islamic state’ because all his speech-writers knew the full implications of this idealistic concept in the history of Islamic dialogue.

Recently through he did, at least as reported by mainstream newspapers, the same ones which refused to publish anything he said when he was opposed to Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership of the government.

So, is Mahathir really serious, especially when he is speaking off the cuff and appears to agree with ‘the two Alis’ who have lost much credibility?

Second, does not the so-called minister of parliament know about the Supreme Court decision in the case referred to by Karpal Singh in the Malaysiakini report: “A five-man bench of the Supreme Court (equivalent of the present Federal Court which replaced the Privy Council) presided by then head of the judiciary Salleh Abbas in 1988 in Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor, clearly stated the law in the country was secular.

“That being the position declared by (the) high authority, it must follow inevitably that the country was a secular state and not an Islamic state, as a country having secular laws could not be an Islamic state.”

My own argument is that the framers of the constitution were very smart people and even included a Islamic judge from Pakistan but they chose to avoid the two concepts of secular and sacred.

Did they not know what they were doing, or do we assume that we are smarter than them?

KJ JOHN is part of a community of thinkers and actors who want to see truth and reconciliation in the broken world of ours. His NGO for this work is the Malaysian Institute of Development and Asian Studies or MiDAS@universities.

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  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Saturday, 3 November 2012 - 9:08 am

    OK. WE HAVE TO STOP THIS NONSENSE – when the other side is simply LYING, there is no reason for this side to ADD TO THE PROBLEM BY ALSO BEING WRONG OF THE FACTS.. Its simply ridiculous for a critic to be apologist to the extent of BEING WRONG…

    1) Nazri is not an idiocrat in this. HE KNOWS. HE JUST LIED. HE SOLD OUT THE PEOPLE FOR HIS OWN SELFISH REASON. He is just a lower form of lifeform period no matter how much wealth or brain he think he has.

    2) Its quite evident what Mahathir was up to declaring ‘Islamic state’ – for political expediency and the reason he opposes hudud (and not absolutely) is for the same reason. Its got nothing with smart. Its just again behavour of lower lifeforms. Its trash – they make and we have to clean up. Stop making fine speculation on it. The man is no intellectual. He is schemer with a malicious limited mind.

    3) Our original constitution was NO INTELLECTUAL BREAKTHROUGH – those people who put them were perhaps highly qualified BUT hardly on par with the GIANTS like those that made up the US Constitution. Reid Commission report clearly showed the intent was always a secular country and almost everyone was happy to go along with it. The term ‘Islam as the official religion’ was put in because Tunku was a Rennaisance man ahead of his time, EVEN NOW even if he did not possess the real intellectual powress to realise the spiritual in him so much admire by so different people and so many.

    If there is a real debate about the constitution, I wish it was more about how if you look at it carefully. It clearly kept to the spirit that FUTURE GENERATION ARE TO BE ENTRUSTED TO SHAPE IT WISELY FOR WHAT THEY WANT..In other words, the framers knew the Constitution fell short. The people was suppose to decide wisely on its finality – NOT allow a bunch of over entitled and over-indulging plutocrats to manipulate it for convenience and self-interest and self-weakness – WHICH IS WHAT ALREADY HAPPENED..

  2. #2 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Saturday, 3 November 2012 - 10:19 am

    Now one glaring error I would like to point out. It is islam jenis-umno nazri was talking about all these while and not any other species of that great religion. And umno as GOD of islam jenis umno religion and therefore by simple extension, as the ruling party we must necessarily be an islamic (jenis umno) country.

    JJ1B.
    RR1C!

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 3 November 2012 - 12:32 pm

    Nazri is not talking about the law here. He’s surely aware of the 1988 Federal Court’s decision of Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor, in which then Lord President Salleh Abbas (now in PAS) stated that in constitutional law the country was secular- a decision which legally has not been overridden as yet! However Nazri is playing UMNO politics and giving support to Tun Dr Mahathir’s declaration that ours an Islamic nation (note careful avoidance of word “Islamic state” that may attract Taliban connotations) based more on UMNO’s govt’s fait accompli of infusing and permeating the administration and its policies/programs with Islamic values and programmes which no secular government does or will do. Nazri cannot deny the fact that Tunku and Tun Hussein Onn said that this a secular country. So using his legal training he seeks to differentiate and “distinguish” their statement from TDM’s.

  4. #4 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 3 November 2012 - 12:34 pm

    Continuing from earlier posing under current moderation – Nazri does it by rationalizing that the former two PMs said it (Malaysia is secular) as a broadside when they were out of government whereas TDM said it when he was a “sitting” PM! To rebut Nazri (meaningfully) one must ask whether when one declares something like this (ie Islamic nation) the fact that one is a “sitting PM” is a rational differentia. Will truth of what one says be greater or more official if one were a sitting PM? Does it mean an ex PM like Tunku, who was at the scene, when the constitution was promulgated, ignorant or talking nonsense? I can equally say that his distinguishing factor is that both the Tunku & Hussein Onn were lawyers by training – which TDM is not- and they knew the Constitution better than TDM who has evinced disdain for anything to do with the law therefore rendering his statement more politically inclined than legally supportable or valid especially in light of Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor, which has not been overruled!

  5. #5 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 3 November 2012 - 3:17 pm

    John, please provide details of the dialogue:
    when, where and other relevant information.

    Would like all Hornbills to go.

    Oh, don’t take Nazri seriously. He shoots from his hips and hardly has much of a grey matter.
    Let his constituents in Padang Rengas(?) put him out tp pasture come this GE13. Old and thoughtless politicans have no place as leaders of a civil society.

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 3 November 2012 - 3:23 pm

    Nurul is right. There should be no compulsion in choosing faith. (Read: Malaysiakini).

    You can’t legislate the heart, stupid!

    So UMNO and BN barons steal, lie and pull their pants down for the wrong reasons. Then they preach in temples, churches and mosques. Now how do you compel such to obey their religion?

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