Joseph Kurup: Minister of unity or disunity?

— Ravinder Singh
The Malay Mail Online
August 11, 2013

AUG 11 — Speaking at the 30th anniversary dinner of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) Joseph Kurup, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of National Unity, said “We can’t allow issues that might just be a storm in a teacup take a turn for the worse, abruptly turning it into a perfect storm, destroying what took us years and years to build.” Beautiful words!

He also said the government has “taken a zero-tolerance approach and sometimes contentious position on religious bigotry”. Empty words, at least until now!

Racial and religious provocations by the likes of Ibrahim Ali (burn the Bibles), Ridhuan Tee (about Thaipusam), Zulkifli Nordin (Hindu deities), and some other Muslims have been going on not for days, but for years. Yet, not a murmur from the minister of national unity until the chest beating at the dinner.

The minister should state openly his stand on racial / religious bigotry — what does it mean to him?

Does it mean, to him, that racial bigotry by Muslims is not only acceptable, but also encouraged by not stamping it down?

Does racial/religious bigotry only mean the non-Muslims hurting the feelings (sensitivities) of the Muslims?

Does racial/religious bigotry mean intolerance by the non-Muslims of the insults thrown at them by the Muslims in the likes of those mentioned above?

Joseph Kurup owes the non-Muslims a proper explanation, case-by-case, why all the incidents of insulting their sensitivities on religious matters by the Muslims such as the above have been coolly tolerated by the government. Why are they being protected from the same laws that would be applied swiftly if any non-Muslims were to do or say similar things concerning Muslims and Islam?

The “zero-tolerance approach” is a whitewash until we see the likes of those mentioned above being charged under Chapter 15 of the Penal Code, i.e. offences relating to religion.

Instead, what we have seen is the government bending backwards all the way to defend these racial/religious bigots. Yes, Ibrahim Ali was saying the right thing for holy books with mistakes should be destroyed by burning and not by dumping in the dustbin. The bibles had a mistake as they used the word “Allah”. So said Dr Mahathir, and echoed by the rest of the government. By defending them, the government is encouraging not only them but also, other like-minded bigots, to boldly take up the mantle of driving a wedge between the Muslims and the non-Muslims.

Joseph Kurup, tell us if you dare go against Dr Mahathir, by charging Ibrahim Ali or any of the other Muslims who have brazenly insulted the non-Muslims, not once, but over and over again?

To my Muslim friends and all good Muslims, I do not mean to offend any of you. I am aware that your Holy Book does not licence Muslims to berate non-Muslims and make fun or insult their beliefs and cultures. It is those who do not follow the teachings of the Quran that cause problems.

Joseph Kurup, your name suggests you are a Christian. If so, please be reminded one of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour”. As a layman, what I understand from this is — be honest. Are we, the non-Muslims, not your neighbours? Don’t say you don’t tolerate racial/religious bigotry and the same time don’t take action against the likes of Ibrahm Ali.

So Joseph Kurup should be honest with his “zero tolerance approach” and throw the Penal Code at Ibrahim Ali and the like, without proffering any “explanation” as to why their actions do not come within the ambit of the law.

Or, tell us honestly, if positions were reversed, and Ibrahim Ali and his ilk were non-Muslims, and they did what they did to Muslims, would you not be quick to throw the same book at them?

What is needed is the removal of bigotry in the enforcement of laws. We not only have racial and religious bigotry, but also law-enforcement bigotry.

  1. #1 by good coolie on Monday, 12 August 2013 - 12:22 am

    What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Followers of all religions have their sensitivities. One group is not habitually so tough that they can stomach indignities being heaped upon them, while the other group is like “puteri lilin” that can never be criticised.

    Let us learn about each other’s religious belief if we can. If we can’t or won’t do that, let us refrain from making comments on other’s religious beliefs to avoid insulting others.

    Selamat Hari Raya, Malaysia.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Monday, 12 August 2013 - 2:02 am

    We ought to see far enough into a hypocrite to see even his sincerity. – Thomas Fuller

  3. #3 by Bigjoe on Monday, 12 August 2013 - 7:57 am

    Puting an aging long co-opted and pliant Sabah minister to the job just falls perfectly in line with Najib’s view that reform in UMNO will take “generations”. Its not just UMNO election, its really how he thinks its not his priority or worst.

    Kurup words is so in-lign with Najib’s modus operandi of over-playing and lacking substance, it immediately discredit him. “Zero Tolerance”?? Cow-head incident, Ali Ibrahim, Zukifli Nordin, Muhiyiddin “non-Muslim” supposedly non-mention etc etc. its “zero tolerance”.. Well, banning Allah in bible is zero-tolerance – on every one else..Just “storm in a teacup”? “destroy what has took us years to build” – all these were said from the start of systematically undermining the very thing they said they are building – the hypocrisy so old and overused that he think he can use them just show we can’t use him at all!!!

    Najib think he is so smart with these political manouvres – whereas all he is doing is buying time of increasing volatile problem they created that will hurt all of us most..

  4. #4 by tuahpekkong on Monday, 12 August 2013 - 4:17 pm

    When the Government talked about the “zero tolerance approach” on religious bigotry, it was understood that the zero tolerance was only applicable to the none-Muslims. The swift action taken against Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee for their “bak kut teh” greeting and the stern warning given by the DPM to not assume that the Muslims were weak and hence could be insulted over the canine video clip, while turning a blind eye to the many insults and racial slurs levelled at the none-Muslims were proofs that the zero tolerance was only applicable to none-Muslims. UMNO is getting too arrogant after the GE.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Monday, 12 August 2013 - 10:39 pm

    Joseph Kurup,you’re an absolute disgrace to not only Christian but also to all religion adherents.Should be made to crucified in addition to supplement to all humankind sins.F#^%ing hypocrite beast!!!!! You know that?

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