Don’t turn cash aid matter into a religious issue

By Thomas Lee

More than 40 Muslim senior citizens have returned cash aid from the Penang state government due to suspicion and uneasiness over the sources of the funding.

Bernama quoted an imam from Pulau Mertajam, Saidin Chik, 72, as saying that he decided to return the money as he learned that it was from non-halal activities.

“I received a RM100 aid sometime this year, but I heard over television and read in the newspapers that the money was from gambling activities. We have been praying everyday and suddenly we get a cash aid from non-halal sources and spent it. What is going to happen to our prayers?” he said.

Saidin told reporters this after handing over the money to Penang Umno secretary Azhar Ibrahim on Wednesday 29 September 2010.

According to Azhar, who is also the Penaga state assembly member, the Muslim recipients suffered mental anguish and emotional distress after knowing that they had received cash aid from non-halal sources, and are terrified at the thought of spending the money.

Azhar said more Muslim senior citizens are expected to hand over the money to the Umno Youth to return it to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The Umno Youth had earlier claimed that the state government was using a contribution from the Penang Turf Club to fund its hardcore poor eradication programme.

The Penang state government has acknowledged receiving RM500,000 from the Penang Turf Club, but said the money would be used to help poor non-Muslims.

Certainly, due respect must be given to our Muslim friends whose religious conscience does not permit them to accept money originated from non-halal source, but the unwitting and inadvertent incident should not exploited into a religious and political issue.

Guan Eng should not be lambasted for something which he probably assumed is proper and harmless, since over the years, the Barisan Nasional federal government has been using tax monies from the gambling corporations and haram businesses like pubs and non-halal restaurants which serve alcoholic drinks, and also from workers in haram professions such as pork sellers, to fund government and public projects.

Now that we know that it is forbidden (haram) for our Muslim citizens to accept and use monies derived from non-halal sources, then the federal government should rectify the matter, and have a special separate account for all tax monies collected from the haram sources such as Sports Toto, Magnum, the Genting casino, the pubs, and the entertainment joints and restaurants selling alcoholic drinks. These monies must never ever be used in anything associated with Islam, or in projects which may involve the Muslims.

No, I am not being cynical, just respecting the religious conscience of my Muslim brothers and sisters. Their right to practise their faith without impediment and hindrance must surely be upheld and given the utmost due respect.

Even in my own Christian faith, there are some followers who will not eat food that had been used in a worship ceremony of another religion. Although many of us who are more open and liberal do not feel restrained by our conscience on such matters, we do respect the wish and aspiration of the others who believe in the abstinence.

As for the tax monies collected from the haram sources, the federal government could use them for the building of Chinese and Tamil schools, temples, churches, cemeteries, or even scholarships for the non-Muslim students.

The totally unpremeditated “mistake” of the Penang state government should not be exploited by Umno to undermine the good and people-friendly scheme of helping the poor and needy of the state. Perhaps, Guan Eng should reoffer the cash aid to our Muslim brothers and sisters from a more acceptable source, such as rentals from Komtar or other state buildings.

Let us look at the positive side of this incident, and learn from it. Don’t aggravate the situation to turn it into a religious issue, like holding demonstrations against Guan Eng. I know Guan Eng personally for many years and firmly believe that he is a very good man with a good heart, with no malice or spite toward anybody, especially the Penangites of all races and religions under his tender care. And he is definitely not anti-Islam or anti-anybody, only anti-corruption and anti-discrimination.

Don’t exacerbate and exploit this cash aid matter, which any sane person will know and understand, has been done without any ill-intent.

  1. #1 by waterfrontcoolie on Saturday, 2 October 2010 - 2:52 pm

    YB, can you ask the Minister of Finance, how much was collected from the gambling tax? Please set it aside and use it only for those who do not feel bad about using it. This is a lot fairer and also no spiritual repercussion spill over can be effected to those who feel bad!

  2. #2 by HJ Angus on Saturday, 2 October 2010 - 2:55 pm

    it is quite impossible to differentiate between halal income and haram income as far as the government is concerned.
    I will not be surprised if those gullible folks were “persuaded” to return the Penang state monies in return for RM200 from UMNO? After all, that is their MO for buying voters.
    This single currency, tainted or otherwise, is one good argument for Malaysia to remain a secular state.

  3. #3 by BoycottLocalPapers on Saturday, 2 October 2010 - 2:59 pm

    What about the Sultan who gambled and lost a lot of money at a casino in London?

    I read that this Sultan refused to pay for his losses and asked the state to pay for his losses instead.

    Why Perkasa is not complaining?

    Why there was no coverage in the mainstream media about this Sultan?

  4. #4 by k1980 on Saturday, 2 October 2010 - 3:31 pm

    Let’s say the proprietor of a non-halal restaurant which serve alcoholic drinks deposit his earnings in a bank. Saidin Chik happens to withdraw some money there and so some of the “tainted” notes came into his possession. So what does Saidin Chik do next?

    A. Wash the tainted money in holy water
    B. Donate the tainted money to charity
    C. Organize street demos to protest against the Penang CM
    D. Return the tainted money to the state govt
    E. Change the RM into Arabian currency so that he can use it

  5. #5 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 2 October 2010 - 3:51 pm

    ///It depends on which angle you view for this issue. There is no right or wrong. Once again I urge all of us, don’t make this an issue./// -#45 by otl

    It is not we who make this an issue.

    It is those who first asked LGE to answer allegations that Penang State Govt’s financial source to fund its poverty eradication programmes were from gambling/non halal sources that Muslims would not want to be associated.

    The questions here are addressed to such politicians – to test the internal consistency, logic or illogic, sincerity or hypocrisy in what they say or raise by these issues in the first instance.

  6. #6 by dawsheng on Saturday, 2 October 2010 - 3:52 pm

    This is the very evident that UMNO is politically bankrupt. It further reinforced the opinion that the party is devoid of capable leaders who can foster the spirit of 1Malaysia championed by PM Najib. It is most unfortunate that these political rejects reacted foolishly by prostituting Islam on the ground of morality to pit against the Penang state government in their quest to regain power, when it was open secret the UMNO led government thrive on Haram businesses. In parallel, it exposed the hypocrisy on the part of the National Fatwa Council as mentioned by otl in his comment #45. Consequently, the plan to demonize LGE administration will backfire and the 1Malaysia campaign will remain a futile attempt to keep BN in power. As such, we can conclude that UMNO members are not united under Najib’s leadership, and his future as PM is threaten by members who do not believe that supports from non-muslim is necessary to avoid defeat in the next general election.

  7. #7 by monsterball on Saturday, 2 October 2010 - 10:12 pm

    Political bankrupt UMNO B crooks are.
    Stolen money distributed to cronies…not halal…but distributing donations from a gambling house to poor Muslims are halal.
    I wonder what do they call all the donations given by Genting Highland Berhad.
    UMNO B keep playing race and religion politics at the expense to keep Muslims poor and depend on their handouts…programming these less educated Muslims treat UMNO B as their Savior.
    UMNO B is so cunning and cruel in their politics that was spearheaded by the devil reincarnated..Mahathir and on going because they solely depend on race and religion politics to disunite and divide to rule…to continue their so call successes in using billions stolen to buy voters loyalty.
    How long do some Malaysians need to understand and wake up to the TRUTHS?

  8. #8 by oct on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 8:11 am

    Please ask Berjaya, Magnum, Carlsberg, Genting, Banks & all Pubs not to employ Muslims as the salary paid by these employers are not halal. In addition, also ask all Muslim contractors not to undertake jobs from these companies as the money used to pay for their work are also not halal. These Uno followers don’t have a brain of their own to think. It makes the world laugh at Malaysia & shame us for our Muslim mentality.

  9. #9 by lee wee tak_ on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 10:13 am

    holy crap, the kopi money taken by the road warriors should be return, all taxes collected by BN federal and state governments over the decades should be reversed into a consolidated fund for non-muslims only…gosh, do an audit to ensure all religious funding over the past 50 years did not utilised any haram taxes….and OMG the interest charging banks…all muslims can’t work there, can’t deposit there, can’t borrow from there….

    OMG! Let’s right this wrong!

  10. #10 by lee wee tak_ on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 10:15 am

    all “haram” taxes collected by BN federal and state governments over the decades should be reversed into a consolidated fund for non-muslims only…

  11. #11 by Loh on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 12:27 pm

    I am sure getting shares at par, when other pay at market value, and selling them off later at market price is not halal. The profit made is non-halal. That is worse than gambling where one might lose. Some 53 billion ringgit worth of shares have been alloted to Malays, at par value, and 51 billion ringgit of them have been sold by them at market price, with billions of ringgit in profit. These haram or non-halal money could have gone through their body system. But some Malays might be keeping them awaiting clarification from Muhyiddin, and would be very pleased to return them. I am sure Selangor government would be happy to accept those haram money, just like the federal government does.

  12. #12 by k1980 on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 1:12 pm

    The lawyer brothers in Banting had deposited the loot they got from soosilawati into banks, so the bloody money has been circulating throughout the country for the past 2 months.

    So all those “pious, god-fearing” dungus who fear having mental anguish and emotional distress by handling the blood-tainted money mentioned above should donate to charity ALL the money such as salaries, bonuses, dividends, they have accumulated for the past 2 months.

    Do it quickly or else the ghosts of soosilawati and her companions will start disturbing you in your sleep at night. Warning has been given.

  13. #13 by Loh on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 2:24 pm

    Those who protest against LGE for using money that might have accrued from gambling and other taxes should also protest against the federal government for making Malays collect haram money through the NEP schemes, such as the 30% listed companies shares compulsorily given to Malays below market price to allow them to make profits. That profit is not earned, and so is much worse than interest on money deposit at the bank which are at least used by the bank to allow investments to be carried out by others who were willing to pay interest as part of the cost to their business operation. The 30% share compulsorily acquired for Malays is worse than gambling. Investors buy their shares at market price may lose their money when prices fall, much like betting on card games where one could lose. Getting shares at discount to sell at full price is sure profit, and it is like gambling with unfair advantage of seeing the card open before bets are placed to make profit. That is worse than gambling, and more haram than the element of haram in actual bets taking. UMNO has implemented the haram policy for the past 40 years, and Muhyiddin, Mamakthir and Ibrahim Ali want the haram process to continue and so they are against NEM. The so-called Pemuda Pulau Pinang would be wasting their time protesting against Penang state government even if the money did come from gambling sources if they did not at the same time protest against the federal government for using taxes earned from all sources, haram and otherwise which have been used to make it possible for them to lepak at the airport rather than to work and sweat for their money. Oh, no, they never have to sweat while collecting money. They certainly did not care whether money given to them or their parents were haram.

  14. #14 by PoliticoKat on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 8:43 pm

    By this logic all mosques in malaysia are actually Haram. Why because at least a good 45% (if not more) of the money used in their construction came more non-halal sources… (the non-malays).

    In this myopic world, all Malay businesses should also stop doing business with non-malay, non-muslim customers. Their money ain’t holy enough.

    Perhaps Saidin Chik, would prefer an UMNO led Penang, who would not give him any benefits and instead keep all that haram money for themselves. Making the supreme sacrifice of spending all that cash on themselves.

    Really have things become that bad in Malaysia? Does the country really need 2 currencies? RM for non-Malays and dinars for Malays?

  15. #15 by Loh on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 9:29 pm

    Saidin chik might genuinely want to spend only halal money. But Muhyiddin in makin ghis remarks shows that he does not know revenue for government expenditure came from all sources halal and not so halal. It would be worse if he pretends not to, and chose to politicize the running of Penang state government with religious issues. Muhyiddin is certainly not fit to be a MP let alone a deputy prime minister waiting for the other heart beat to stop.

  16. #16 by Loh on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 9:33 pm

    ///Dr Mahathir Mohamad is responding well to medication at the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, where he is warded since yesterday for treatment of chest infection. The doctors are happy with…///— malaysiakini

    Are people rejoicing with the news?

    If so, which aspect?

  17. #17 by Loh on Sunday, 3 October 2010 - 9:34 pm

    ///Dr Mahathir Mohamad is responding well to medication at the Epworth Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, where he is warded since yesterday for treatment of chest infection. The doctors are happy with…///– Malaysiakini

    Are people rejoicing with the news? If so, what aspect?

  18. #18 by Taxidriver on Monday, 4 October 2010 - 6:56 am

    We should be happy Mahathir is responding well to treatment. We ought to give him that chance to admit all his wrong doings against the Malays, country and Malaysians and repent before he expires. Whatever punishment therefrom is up to Allah.

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