AG Gani Patail should initiate contempt proceedings against Nazri while MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sabah/ Sarawak BN and other Umno Ministers should repudiate Nazri’s stand in Cabinet tomorrow that it is too late for inter-religious dialogue to resolve the “Allah” controversy

I was completely astounded and outraged by de factor Law Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’ statement yesterday that it is too late for dialogue to resolve the “Allah” controversy, which had sparked a spate of arson and vandalism against churches, surau and a Sikh temple since the beginning of the year.

Nazri reiterated that it was not the fault of the government but that of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Kuala Lumpur, Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam who had brought the matter to court.

If anybody is to be blamed for the Herald litigation, it is the government which had allowed the Home Ministry to violate two decades of religious equilibrium on the issue with its ban in 2007 on the use of the word “Allah” in the Catholic weekly, forcing on the Roman Catholic church the final remedy and recourse of the courts.

But it is what Nazri said about the Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan and her judgment which completely floored rational and reasonable Malaysians, as no Law Minister or a de facto one had done more than Nazri to attack the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of a judge when his first task should be to start the very difficult and arduous process to restore national and international confidence in the Malaysian judiciary after suffering more than two decades of usurpation, emasculation and rape by the Executive.

Nazri launched a most improper, unwarranted and unprecedented attack on Lau, not only saying that her Dec. 31 decision was wrong, but also maligning and besmirching her judicial competence and role by declaring that she is not a Muslim and had improperly ruled over a matter that concerned the “akidah” (faith) of the Muslim community.

This is the first time that I know of a judge being attacked on the ground of her religious credentials rather than her judicial competence and temper – and coming from the de facto Law Minister, it must be regarded most seriously as a totally unacceptable attack on the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of the judiciary.

Nazri said: “You must study the psyche of the Malays. The Chinese can be Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, no problem, but the Malays, the race itself is defined in the Constitution.

“Who is a Malay? In the Constitution, a Malay is one: a Muslim; two: speaks Malay and three: practises Malay culture. In the Constitution, there can’t be a Malay who is not a Muslim. Anything at all, any suspicion will confuse the ordinary Malays. They become so protective because Malay and Islam cannot be separate.”

What is Nazri trying to say? Is he laying down a new law that in multi-religious and multi-racial Malaysia where the Constitution recognizes Islam as the official religion but guarantees freedom of religion for all other faiths, non-Muslim and non-Malay judges must be excluded from adjudicating certain cases like the Herald “Allah” case allegedly because it concerns (i) the “akidah” of the Muslim community; and (ii)the Malay psyche?

Fifty-two years after Merdeka and 46 years after the formation of Malaysia, is the country going backwards with a further dichotomy of the judicial system where there is new division of cases which is to be adjudicated solely by judges who fulfill the two conditions of being Muslim and Malay because they fall into the category of (i) akidah of the Muslim community; and (ii) the Malay psyche?

Will the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court – should be the appeal on the Herald’s “Allah” case reach that level – be constituted solely with Muslim and Malay judges to take into account Nazri’s extraordinary objections?

These are dangerous perversion and subversion of the Constitution.

Nazri has clearly committed grave contempt of court on more than one ground. Is the Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail prepared to act in the public and national interest to institute immediate committal proceedings to cite Nazri for contempt?

The time has also come for MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sabah/Sarawak and the other Umno Ministers to declare their stand on Nazri’s constitutional perversion.

MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sabah/Sarawak Barisan Nasional and other Umno Ministers should endorse Nazri or get the Cabinet tomorrow to repudiate Nazri’s stand that it is too late for inter-religious dialogue to resolve the “Allah” controversy.

Let them at the Cabinet meeting tomorrow either endorse or repudiate Nazri’s position that:

  1. Reject inter-religious dialogue as the route to resolve the “Allah” controversy on the ground that it is “now too late”;

  2. Dismiss Datuk Lau Bee Lan’s Dec. 31 decision and judgment on the ground that she is not a Muslim, had improperly decided over a matter that concerned the “akidah” of the Muslim community as well as disregarded the Malay psyche.

  3. Implication that there must be a new dichotomy in the judiciary with a new category of cases concerning (i) the Muslim “akidah” and (ii) the Malay psyche which must be adjudicated solely by Muslim and Malay judges.

On the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility, no Minister can now keep quiet on this issue with its many far-reaching socio-economic and nation-building repercussions.

What is the use of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and other Ministers talking about inter-religious dialogue and council if the Herald controversy is to be completely excluded from any proposed religious dialogue on the ground that “it is too late”, when it should the first priority item of the agenda of any inter-religious dialogue or council to demonstrate that the government is serious and sincere to want to make them work and succeed?

In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that Najib’s 1Malaysia is now hanging in the balance, facing its most critical test – whether it could withstand the severe test of the “Allah” controversy and salvage its credibility in the first 12 months of the Najib premiership.

If the first year of the Najib premiership is to see Malaysia riven by even more new divisions at any time in the nation’s history, whether a land divided by the use of the word “Allah”, allowed to be used by Christians in East Malaysia but not in West Malaysia or a judiciary where there is a new category of cases concerning (i) the akidah of Muslims and (ii) the Malay psyche which could only be adjudicated by Muslim and Malay judges, then it is time for Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan to be given a decent burial before the completion of Najib’s first anniversary as the country’s sixth Prime Minister in April this year.

Are there any Cabinet Ministers who are prepared to resign and quit the Cabinet and Najib government on a matter of principle if the Cabinet refusesd to repudiate and dissociate itself from Nazri’s stand?

  1. #1 by ALtPJK on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 12:11 pm

    “Nazri reiterated that it was not the fault of the government but that of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church, Kuala Lumpur, Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam who had brought the matter to court.”

    Apportioning blame for matters having gone to court does not reflect much of one’s respect for the Rule of Law, what more when it is the Law Minister doing it.

    What is the point of having the Judiciary, no matter much in tatters it may be in, if it cannot be the arbiter of disputes.

  2. #2 by pwcheng on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 12:22 pm

    As I had mentioned before and will say it again “You cannot talk Rule of the Law to a lawless government” period

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 12:37 pm

    Its not Nazri seditious statement that I worry about or even non-Malay parties of BN political eunuch behaviour. I am more worried about the fact that his statements basically says they are not going to stop the train wreck that is clearly imminent.

    UMNO/BN is a walking dead. The issue is do we let UMNO/BN take other lives with them or do we push them out of the way and take over the wheel and at least minimize the damage of the train wreck. We can’t even stop it already. its going to happen.

    The opposition has to try to stop the train even though its too late. That I understand but by all account, its time to minimize the damage of the train wreck even as UMNO/BN ignore it. Anwar and PAS is doing a lot in this regard but DAP seem powerless..DAP need to step up and says they will organise non-Muslims to help protect Mosque and Malays from being innocent victims of what is inevitable. It will show DAP is not just worried about non-Muslim rights but EVERYONE right even as their own traditional constituency faces the greatest risk..

  4. #4 by albertan98 on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 12:49 pm

    I am afraid that the rift in Malaysia will become so great that whichever party wins the election in the next General Election will find it impossible to govern.

    The role of the Opposition is vital to a healthy democracy but that only works when there is a healthy respect by the ruling Government for the Opposition and vice versa.

    When emotions rule and reason is trampled on . . . that will be the day when rule by law is thrown out of the window and rule by man takes over . . . and it looks like the BN is taking us down that road.

    The future looks increasingly more bleak unless statesmen from both sides of the political divided initiate discussions to bring us back from the brink of a failed state.

  5. #5 by pulau_sibu on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 12:56 pm

    This is something I wanted to write this morning. I am glad that Uncle Lim brought this up. It is a lawless cabinet, without any one who is capable of controlling the mad dog

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 1:23 pm

    YB Kit is making a fair comment that “Nazri launched a most improper, unwarranted and unprecedented attack on Lau, not only saying that her Dec. 31 decision was wrong, but also maligning and besmirching her judicial competence and role by declaring that she is not a Muslim and had improperly ruled over a matter that concerned the “akidah” (faith) of the Muslim community.”

    It is true that a Judge should proceed strictly on law, constitution and facts, and the Minister should not comment such on a judge for not considering these other extraneous considerations in relation to her judgment. As a lawyer by training he is presumed to know that.

    Any government taking charge of a civilized society purportedly based on upholding “the Rule of Law and Constitution” will consider – and support the Judiciary to consider – only the merits of a case based on facts and law and logic to the exclusion of other extraneous political considerations or the “akidah” (faith) of any community over the other, especially in a pluralistic society rallied ostensibly by the so called inclusive motto of 1 Malaysia!

    But for the last 30 years what claim could we make to upholding “Rule of Law and Constitution?” Is Ketuanan based on Social Contract part of “Rule of Law and Constitution?” At best adherence to Rule of Law and Constitution is selective depending whether it butresses the ruling coalition’s position.

    On Rule of law and Constitution Lord President Tun Salleh Abas already ruled in Che Omar bin Che Soh case that “Malaysia is a secular country. It is not an Islamic state”. Though there is yet no judicial decision of same level overruling Salleh Abas’s determination 18 Jun 2002 yet speaking to lawmakers in the Malaysian parliament, Tun Dr Mahathir, then premier already declared that Malaysia was not only just an Islamic state, but also a model Islamic state! So where does Law or Constitution prescribe such?

    However there is one thing one cannot fault Nazri : he speaks the truth about the political considerations that motivate the ban in the first place and the appeal against Lau Bee Lan’s decision at present. He articulates both obliquely and yet forthrightly his party’s real priorities – all the real and actual reasons for the official stand so that we may disabue ourselves off this idea or illusion that the controversy has anything to do on the oficial side with just considerations and merits of constitution, logic or law – so that we can understand better, though not necessarily agree in any way with the direction the government is coming from, when it maintains its resolve to appeal and eschew interfaith dialogue.

    Nazri is still a cabinet minister and until the day he resigns like Zaid, has to defend the government’s and his party’s position, whatever his personal opinions.

    I don’t sense that personally he’s an extremist on matters of race ( he called TDM a racist over BTN issue and was the only one beside Ku Li to speak vehemently against BTN) and religion [his quip “Actually, in my opinion, I prefer to let it be….If everyone prays to Allah, they’ll all be Muslim. It’s a good ploy for Muslims to convert non-Muslims”].

    He is speaking as Nazri, the politician, UMNO politician at that whose raison de etre is Ketuanan. (His quote “those people not in politics, they can say anything. But people like me, I depend on my voters.”).

    Lets not then mix up Nazri the man (who speaks his mind and the truth boldly as he sees it from his perspective of the real issues, regardless of consequences and what others think right or wrong) and Nazri the political animal.

    Who dares to criticise TDM as vehemently as this man does? At least he has more guts to speak up than the many other BN’s leaders whose silence on the controversy is thundering and defeaning.

    Of course he will never be cited for contempt for his remarks: for he speaks the truth of his party’s/govt’s position, whether one agrees with that position or not.

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 1:23 pm

    Going by Nazri’s way of thinking, the Catholics can also argue that the judges in the Court of Appeal must be Catholics, otherwise they will improperly decide over a matter that concerned the “akidah” of the Catholic community as well as disregard the Catholic psyche.

    If every judge were to adopt Nazri’s mindset, wouldn’t all the courts in Malaysia become a Kangaroo court?

  8. #8 by taiking on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 1:40 pm

    An umnoputra who after having “melawat sambil belajar” to the wild wild west returned to his homeland with the half-baked knowledge of firing from the hip.

    Whaa. Memang pantas. Gaya tu. Tapi langsung tak kena. Salah target pula.

  9. #9 by Jong on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 2:02 pm

    I am outraged, it’s unbelievable such an unwarranted attack on the Judge coming from who else but defacto Law Minister Nazri – one supposedly a lawyer by training!

    No one is above the law and the whole nation is waiting – when will the Attorney General start initiating action against this man?

  10. #10 by sotong on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 3:40 pm

    Rampant corruption and religious extremism…..decades of bad leadership and management of the country.

  11. #11 by limkamput on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 4:04 pm

    He is speaking as Nazri, the politician, UMNO politician at that whose raison de etre is Ketuanan. (His quote “those people not in politics, they can say anything. But people like me, I depend on my voters.”).

    Lets not then mix up Nazri the man (who speaks his mind and the truth boldly as he sees it from his perspective of the real issues, regardless of consequences and what others think right or wrong) and Nazri the political animal. //Jeffrey

    This is stupid logic at its highest. So personal belief and value have nothing to do with politics or one’s official position? So what is politics for, just to gain power and enjoy the perks? Where is the role of leadership and the sense of what is right and wrong when one participates in politics? What is the point of one saying so eloquently in private what is right and proper, but due to political expediency, all these can be cast aside? Jeffrey, you are propagating nonsense. It is precisely view like this that is inculcating politics moving toward scr*wed up direction.

  12. #12 by sightseeing on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 4:51 pm

    MCA, Gerakan and MIC are the parasites of UMNO (Under Me Never Oppose)

  13. #13 by frustrated doctor on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 5:06 pm

    Fantastic sms I received :

    A man came home from work & his children ran to him & called out,”Ayah! Ayah!”.
    His neighbour got very upset & said to him, “Can you please tell your children not to call you ‘Ayah’?
    The man asked, “Why?”.
    The neighbour then retorted, “Because my children call me ‘Ayah’ too. They might get confused & mistake you to be their father!”

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 5:09 pm

    //What is the point of one saying so eloquently in private what is right and proper, but due to political expediency, all these can be cast aside?// – Lim KamPut

    Did I propagate or advocate anywhere that anything may be cast aside for political expediency?

    But thats how you read it, your comment after mine is almost predictable : a laudable attempt to engage intelligently and productively but never, as always, quite succeed as desired to deserve any serious response/reply.

    If you say :”this is stupid logic at its highest” it must be from one such as you…

    If you think you have an open mind as to what other says, it is certainly so wide “open” that subtle ideas, and nuances of what counts in the comments pass through like water through sieve, so that what remains trapped in your mind are constipated residuals that you have to spew out by way of insulting vomitus and a diarrhoea of words to get relief. Go see a psychologist for your affliction.

  15. #15 by mauriyaII on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 6:16 pm

    This loyarburuk Nazri must have bought his law degree. If he was a practising lawyer he would not have made such a simplistic and stupid remark at Datuk Lau Bee Lan’s judgement about the usage of Allah.

    This jerk even goes to the extent of creating more controversies by saying that Christians in Sabah, Sarawak, K.L. and Penang may use Allah in their prayers because these states have no sultans. What rubbish is he spouting?

    Isn’t the Yang Dipertuan Agong the head of Malaysia as a whole? Isn’t he the head of Islam in this country?

    The more he opens his big mouth to play to the gallery, the more problems such as non-issues like the usage of Allah would be created. The majority of the Malays are not confused by anyone uttering “Allah’, it is idiots such as the UMNOputra ministers who are confused and are trying their very best to confuse the ordinary peaceloving Malays.

    Allah is God in the Arabic language. Is the BN going to stop all non-Muslims from learning Arabic and Islamic Studies? Are they also going to stop non-Muslims from taking up Islamic jurisprudence and interpret syariah laws? What next? Stop non-Muslims from listening to Islamic prayers over the radio and other media?

    That stupid nerd Alblur created this non-issue. Other nerds of his ilk have kept this controversy ongoing. Fellows with vested interest have given the green light to mat rempit terrorists to go on a molotov cocktail spree.

    Hope to see some enlightened leadership before the situation worsens.

  16. #16 by Onlooker Politics on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 8:06 pm

    //The former prime minister (Tun Dr. Mahathir) also took a jab at his political foe, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, and said that the de facto law minister has pre-empt the court’s decision.

    “I don’t know there seems to some confusion there. On one hand, we hear that government will wait all the decision on the appeal court. On the other hand, Nazri seems to have anticipated the decision of the Appeal court by saying that so and so can use but others can’t use so I don’t know what is happening. I am not in the government as you know,” he said.

    The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said yesterday that non-Muslims are allowed to use the word ‘Allah’ in three states – Penang, Sabah and Sarawak- and the Federal Territories.// (Malaysia Insider 19 Jan 2010)

    Dr. Mahathir seems to be giving some hints on the political downfall of Nazri in the near future. In view of Nazri’s constant deliberate attack on the judiciary branch of the Government based on the questionable racist reasons that the judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan has a different skin colour and is not a muslim, Najib’s “1Malaysia” concept has been put in a tough test. Is Najib going to remove Nazri from the cabinet when come the next cabinet reshuffle? That really makes me wonder!

  17. #17 by Loh on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 8:08 pm

    The only reason UMNO wanted to ban the use of the word Allah was to avoid confusion, as they said it, so that Muslims would not be proselytized to become non-Muslims. The argument was based on article 11(4) that restricts propagation of other religion to Muslims. The government was making mountain out of molehill. In the history of the country, there has only been one case of Lina Joy, a born Muslim seeking approval to be converted to the religion of the person whom she wanted to marry. It was a slight aberration as Najib said, and the number is less than the number of churches firebombed, because the government was frantic to get the High Court judgment overturned, and the perpetrators thought that they would strengthen government case, if not inspired by government action.

    As Nazri said, the constitution of the country defines Malay as Muslims first. Genuine Malay would lose his Malay position to Mamak if he leaves Islam, and it is because of the advantage to be classified as Malay that the government is playing up the race issue when Muslims are happy to be known as such. So the probability of Muslims converting to non-Muslims is close to zero. It is a wonder why UMNO choose to be the champion of the Islamic religion when 99% of Muslims are outside this country. Why should the government choose to be known to the outside world for the wrong reason?

  18. #18 by Dap man on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 8:13 pm

    Are there any Cabinet Ministers who are prepared to resign and quit the Cabinet ..”

    These are cari makan kakis. They have no principle. What they think of is their rice bowl and positions. These fellows will even sell their mothers and daughters for a pittance.

  19. #19 by Dap man on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 8:14 pm

    I would call it “criminal intimidation” of a high court judge.
    But the problem is UMNO is above the law.

  20. #20 by ktteokt on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 8:30 pm

    Then, there should perhaps be a new superior court above the Federal Court, the UMNO Court of Injustice!

  21. #21 by limkamput on Tuesday, 19 January 2010 - 9:25 pm


  22. #22 by Rocky on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 12:46 am

    some of his logic and views are just too much. he is making it worse by saying the judge is non muslim which can make some more angry. Guess if the judges do not need to follow the law, we do not need a law minister thus Nazri, please resign lo

  23. #23 by bclee on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 1:30 am

    read this

    US threatens sanctions over missing jets and church attacks

  24. #24 by bclee on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 1:34 am

    alamak business is getting harder and harder.
    vote this bee-n out of government on coming GE13.

  25. #25 by monsterball on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 7:46 am

    Limkumput should just say….get rd of UMNO…and what he had suggested maybe done….step by Anwar and his team.
    Do not do what Limkumput suggested…vote Anwar out again..with reasonable time frame.
    As it is…it sounds like advising UMNO what to do and still vote BN in.
    It sounds like how to agree to disagree…by a pro BN person.
    It is FOR or AGAINST change in government…and once you mind is set…you know exactly what to say..not take the role of an adviser…..which really benefit BN more than anything else.
    I notice few like to give their so call intelligent views without realizing…it is benefiting UMNO……or purposely done?

  26. #26 by chengho on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 8:26 am

    Pakiam is the problem , why Pakiam rock the boat?

  27. #27 by wanderer on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 10:31 am

    Yb Lim, your intention maybe honest and honorable but, asking a scumbag to do the impossible…we just have to dream on!

    As for those ‘political beggar’ parties have marbles
    is simply asking too much.

  28. #28 by Godfather on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 10:33 am

    Why would anyone – Gani, OTK, Koh, Semi Value, or Kayveas – bite the hands that feed it ? We just have to get rid of them, lock, stock and barrel.

  29. #29 by Onlooker Politics on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 11:57 am

    “why Pakiam rock the boat?” (chengho)

    It is those stiffnecked people who strongly cling on to the feudalistic belief that have really messed up the religious harmony in Malaysia. These stiffnecked people still strongly uphold the prejudical belief in racism, by insisting that the word “Malaysia” must stand for “Melayu punya” (as represented by Hishammuddin’s Ketuanan Melayu slogan) and “Indonesia punya” (as represented by Khir Toyol’s insistence on taking back the state administrative power of Selangor by Umno, by hook or by crook).

    Now chengho you must be one of the lackey being sent by the Umnoputras to stop the ordinary Malaysian citizens from trying to resort to the judicial court system for seeking redress of their grievances because you implied that Pakiam created problem by filing a petition to the High Court seeking a judicial review on the tyrannic decree that had been issued by the Home Minister for putting ban on the “Allah” word usage by the Catholic Church.

    Can you please refrain from the influence of the Malay feudalism?

  30. #30 by DCLXVI on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 1:44 pm

    Provocation in the name of God
    Wed, Jan 20, 2010

    By PHILIP BOWRING, The New York Times

    KUALA LUMPUR: One ought to be able to laugh at the absurdity of it. But the message is one of ignorance, religious and racial prejudice and political opportunism.

    Last week, the Malaysian government declared that Christians in one part of the country could use “Allah” as the word for God when speaking Malay, but that those in most of the country could not.

    This is the same government that is currently running a public relations campaign called One Malaysia emphasizing the common identity of the nation’s racial and religious mix.

    In reality, a government dominated by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) is using spurious religious/linguistic arguments to shore up its support among a majority Malay electorate, which has been fed for years with preferences and privileges. Meanwhile, non-Malay money and talent exits the country.

    The government had earlier tried to stop the use of the word Allah by all Christians. This was successfully challenged in the High Court. But instead of letting the matter rest, the government declined to back down, setting the scene for the fire bombing of churches.

    While these could not be laid directly at the door of UMNO, hotheads in the party may well have taken their cue from what non-Muslims see as a deliberate attempt to stir up ethnic/religious issues for political gain. Last year it was Hindus who were the target of Malay provocation.

    UMNO political calculation demands that the organization sticks to its demands about the use of the word Allah in peninsular Malaysia, where all Malays are deemed Muslims and where Christians are ethnic Chinese or Indian, but not in the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak where there are large communities of Malay-speaking Christians. The UMNO-led coalition needs the support of the multi-ethnic parties in those states.

    The word Allah has always been used without Muslim objection by Christians in the Arab world, as well as those in Malay-speaking Indonesia, where there are 10 times as many Muslims as in Malaysia. The word is itself derived from pre-Islamic Semitic language roots.

    Even Malaysia’s strictly Islamist opposition party, Parti Islam (PAS), agrees that all Abrahamic faiths are entitled to use the word Allah.

    But such facts are of little relevance to UMNO politicians determined to drum up any issue that can be used to show their commitment to defending Malay and Muslim privileges and thus retain the support of a Malay majority against the appeal both of PAS and the multi-ethnic Keadilan party of the former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

    UMNO cannot claim to be a party of the pious. Half a century in power has turned it into a vast patronage machine that enriches the Malay elite, providing support for luxurious lifestyles. Its insistence that all Malays are Muslims (and cannot convert) is an attempt to give religious backing to the message of Malay racial preference. That is barely in accord with the universalist notions of global Islam but keeps the loyalty of many Malays otherwise resentful of growing income gaps.

    However, the racial and religious divides among the opposition still make an UMNO-led government seem a better choice than the alternatives — most likely ones in which the fundamentalism of PAS would replace the opportunism of UMNO. So despite the deterioration of communal relations in peninsular Malaysia, no major changes are in sight.

    This carries two main dangers. The first is the continuing large scale exodus of capital and of talented non-Malays. Five years of generally good prices for its main commodity exports, oil, gas and palm oil, have delivered huge trade surpluses and a current account surplus of more than 10 percent of gross domestic product.

    But economic growth has been slow due to very weak private investment, only partly offset by large government deficit spending. Once a major recipient of foreign capital, Malaysia is now a source of flight capital. This is only sustainable while commodity prices remain at double levels of five years ago and three times those in 2002.

    A longer term danger, at least as perceived by some leading Malays, such as the former Finance Minister Tunku Razaleigh, is that a combination of religious intolerance and resentment of federal exploitation of their natural resources will generate secessionism in the Borneo states.

    They joined Malaysia in 1963 without much enthusiasm but as the best option open to them as the British withdrew from empire.

    They do not want their traditions of racial and religious diversity to be poisoned by peninsular prejudices. Their separate treatment on the Allah issue will have some immediate benefits for Kuala Lumpur, but can only underscore just how different they are.

    In short, the episode is sad commentary on a nation whose mix of races, its fine infrastructure and wealth of resources has held such promise. If only there really were One Malaysia.

  31. #31 by monsterball on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 4:29 pm

    Chengho is the welknown UMNO balls carrier.

  32. #32 by ReformMalaysia on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 6:39 pm

    chengho :
    Pakiam is the problem , why Pakiam rock the boat?

    This is a case where someone from a different religion prescribed another person of a different religion on ‘how he should address his God and how he should pray!’ How can you blame Parkiam?

    No one shall prescribe another person from other religious faith on how he should address his God -not home minister and not even a reasonable Sultan or Agong!

    If you address your god as Allah, what would you feel if you are ordered by someone else from another religion to address your god as Dewa? Totally absurd, isn’t it?…… so don’t treat others the way you don’t like to be treated……

  33. #33 by monsterball on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 - 10:16 pm

    ReformMalaysia….Chengho needs to talk like that.
    He depends on UMNO to survive.

  34. #34 by johnnypok on Thursday, 21 January 2010 - 10:39 pm

    God will be sending his son to rule the earth again. There will be many job vacancies. Send email to [email protected]

    Ah Lar will continue to be used by everyone.

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