SeaDemon Says

Posts Tagged ‘General Elections

What everyone fears most is for the Malays to unite.  I wrote this a few months back.  All the lawmakers know that the RUU355 amendments have no impact whatsoever to the non-Muslims, and even if all the Muslims MPs from both PAS and UMNO were to vote for the amendments, they will never attain the 2/3rd majority required to pass the bill for it to go to the next stage.

Which is why the Malays in the DAP, PAN, PKR and Pribumi are the tools for the DAP leadership to use, as in the words of Superman Hew, “to screw the Malays using the Malays.”

Objections are raised using mainly the Malay tools.  The screen-capture of a Twitter conversation between a BERNAMA journalist and a PAN MP is the evidence to that.

In the run up to its tabling, the RUU355 has met with lots of resistance.  I don’t believe that the lawmakers don’t know that it is the right of each religious group to manage and administer its own affairs.  I also don’t believe that the lawmakers do not know that Islam is the religion of the Federation.

But the resistance towards it is mainly to avoid the provision of an opportunity for Muslims and Malays to unite just before the next general elections.  They oppose just for the sake of opposing.

And then in comes the individuals who do not see or understand that in Islam, protecting the rights of a community supercedes the rights to protect an individual’s rights, nor understand the separation of jurisdiction between the civil law and Syariah law.

This dual system of law first existed in the Malay states in Perak in 1807 with the introduction of the Royal Charter of Justice of 1807 in Pulau Pinang.  Prior to that, laws based on the Syariah has been the lex loci of this land.

Islam first came to this land in the ninth century A.D and flourished in the 13th century, 200 years before the kingdom of Melaka was founded. The first evidence of a coded Syariah law was from the Terengganu’s Batu Bersurat, written in 1303, a full century before Melaka.

The kingdom of Melaka produced two major legal digests, which formed the main source of written law in Melaka – the Hukum Kanun Melaka , and the Undang-Undang Laut Melaka .  The Hukum Kanun consists of 44 chapters, which touched upon matters such as the duties and responsibilities of the Ruler, prohibitions amongst members of society and penalties for civil and criminal wrongs and family law.  The Undang-Undang Laut consists of 25 chapters, which covered maritime matters, such as the duties and responsibilities of ships’ crew, laws pertaining to voyages and trade.  The law contained in the above written codes are said to be based on Islamic law of the Shafie School, together with elements of local custom.

Melaka’s written codes were responsible for the growth of other written codes in other states of the Peninsula: Pahang Legal Digest 1595, the laws of Kedah 1605, the Laws of Johore 1789, and the 99 Laws of Perak, 1878.

Therefore, the question of the Syariah creeping into the lives of the Muslims of the land does not hold true.  The reverse however is.  The RUU355 is not about amending the offences but merely seeking the agreement to enhance the punishments to be meted out for the offences.  And as explained in previous writings as per clickable links above, the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land and therefore offences already covered in the Penal Code as well as in other civil laws made canoot be tried under the Syariah laws of Malaysia.

Furthermore, the separation of jurisdiction of the legal systems provided by the Constitution also ensures that the rights of non-Muslims are protected – only Muslims can be subjected to the Syariah law.

On the question of the Muslims being subjected to dual laws, this is not a problem. If a Muslim commits theft, he will not get his hand amputated in Malaysia.  Theft is an offence under the Penal Code and therefore the Muslim offender gets punished according to what is provided for by the Penal Code.  The punishments that the Syariah court can mete out cannot go beyond the Second List of the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

DAP Emperor Lim Kit Siang was against the introduction of Section 298A of the Penal Code of Malaysia.  In a Parliament debate on the 9th December 1982 on the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill 1982 he said the following:

I quote:

I was aware that the new Section 298A of the Penal Code has also been drafted in order to punish the non-Muslim partner in a khalwat offence until I read a Bernama write-up on the amendment the other day. The Bernama report exulted that now both the Muslim and non-Muslim parties to a khalwat offence would be punishable, the non-Muslim under the Penal Code amendment.

A Muslim found guilty of khalwat is usually fined $200 or $250 under the Muslim enactments of the various States. I have caused a check of the penalties for khalwat, offences in the various states, which vary from State to State but they all range from the lightest penalty of $100 or one month’s jail in Kelantan to the heaviest penalty of $1,000 or six months’ jail, as is to be found in Johore. However, the non-Muslim partner charged under the Penal Code Section 298A for khalwat activity which causes or attempts to cause or is likely to cause disharmony, disunity on feelings of ill-will would be exposed to an offence which is punishable with three years’ jail, or fine, or both.

This is most objectionable and unjust where for the same act, different persons are charged under different laws where one of them imposes much heavier penalties. Or is the Muslim partner in a khalwat charge going to be charged under the Penal Code in the Criminal courts? I am sure that the Shariah Courts in the various States would vehemently oppose this as a serious erosion of the jurisdiction and powers of the Shariah Courts.

So, in 1982 Lim Kit Siang opposed the introduction of Section 298A because a similar offence tried under the Syariah law would only provide for a much lesser sentence.  Why is he complaining now about Hadi wanting to introduce higher punishments for the same?  Wouldn’t it be fair for the non-Muslims?

He added:

As the purpose of the 2M government is to uphold the sanctity of Islam, defend true Islamic values and Muslim unity in the country so as to be able to deal with the problems of kafir mengafir, two imam issue, separate prayers and burials, in the Muslim community, the government should confine its legislative efforts to the Muslims only, and not draft a Bill with such far-reaching consequences in allowing for State interference in the practice, profession and propagation of non-Muslim faiths.

35 years later, he backtracks on the need for Muslims to make better its laws for the Muslims only. Which is why I say Lim Kit Siang is opposing for the sake of opposing so that the Muslims do not rally behind this bill months before the general election is due.

Even PKR’s Wong Chen acknowledged back on 29th Aril 2013, six days before the 13th General Elections that in order to gain support from the Malays, PAS, which was a partner in the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, needed to play up the Hudhd issue and had the full support from the parties in the Pakatan Harapan.

Hannah Yeoh, who is the Speaker of the Selangor State Assembly even allowed the Hudud motion to be brought into the assembly.  So why oppose the same motion when it is brought into Parliament? Why the double standard?

And why must Lim Guan Eng ask the BN components such as MCA, MIC and others to bear responsibility for the tabling of the RUU355?  Why don’t he ask his party’s Anthony Loke and Hannah Yeoh instead? They both supported Hudud and the tabling of Hudud in the Selangor State Assembly (as in the case of Hannah Yeoh).

Anthony Loke even went to town with his support for Hudud telling his Chinese audience not to be aafraid of Hudud:

Yet, the RUU355 is not even about Hudud. So, what is unconstitutional about the RUU355?

Only the objections by the vapid non-Muslims against the RUU355 is unconstitutional, as it is a right given to all religious groups, not just the Muslims, to manage its own affairs.  I don’t have to agree with the amendments proposed by the RUU355, but it is my religion and therefore it should be left to the Muslims to manage its own affairs – as guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

And as for the atheists, just stay off my social media accounts. You don’t have the locus standi to participate in this debate.

The philosopher Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás or George Santayana once said that those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.  The recurrence of history is part of life’s cycle, but always in different forms.  Those who do not remember how certain historical lows were handled are bound to make even bigger mistakes.

 

Recently, there was a furor following the statement made by UMNO’s Ismail Sabri , the Agriculture and Agro-Based Industries Minister, asking consumers to boycott greedy Chinese businesses.  While it is normal to hear the communal-party-disguised-as-a-non-communal-party DAP lashing out at Ismail Sabri, the call by MCA’s Youth Chief, Chong Sin Woon, for the sacking of Ismail Sabri did not go down well with UMNO and 92 Divisions of the latter rallied behind Ismail asking for Sin Woon to be sacked instead.

 

While I refuse to indulge in a debate over what was said by Ismail Sabri, there is a need for consumers to boycott profiteering businesses who whine about high cost of fuel and pressured the government to allow them to increase the price of their services, but refused to lower prices when the price of fuel has gone down by half.  What I am more interested in is the bittersweet alliance between UMNO and MCA, and how history is repeating itself.

 

While the movement for the independence of Malaya had started decades before, there was no cohesion between races. In 1946 when the Malayan Union was formed, the republican-in-nature Partai Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) and the non-Malay Malayan Democratic Union (MDU) were quick to support the formation.  The PKMM, a spin-off from the Batavia-leaning KMM of Ibrahim Yaacob, was all for a Malaya not ruled by the Malay Rulers, while the MDU liked the idea of automatic citizenship (read more in Seademon’s The Road To Merdeka: Persekutuan Tanah China ) for the immigrants. On 1st March 1946, more than 40 Malay organisations met up and 41 decided to form the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to champion the Malay rights.  The Malays were then a minority in his own land, poor, sidelined from economic development, health care and formal education.  With the help and encouragement of the then-British High Commissioner, Sir Henry Gurney, the Malayan Chinese Association (MCA) was formed on the 27th February, 1949. Gurney aimed at winning the allegiance of the Chinese community away from the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM) (Colonial Office Record 537/773(1) Memorandum by Henry Gurney, 28th January, 1949).

 

There was apprehension and distrust between the Malays and Chinese.  The alienation of the Malays by Chinese mining tycoons and rubber estate owners, followed by the preference of the Japanese of the Malays over the immigrant Chinese, and this in turn followed by retribution against the Malays by Chinese sympathizers of the CPM after the Japanese surrender have had contributed enormously to this animosity between the two.

 

It was since 1950 that Henry Gurney had wanted to introduce some form of democracy to Malaya through elections to satisfy the public’s hunger for democracy versus the communist’s way of winning self-government.  Alas, he was only a High Commissioner and still had to go through the true rulers of the Federation of Malaya – The Malay Rulers.  So, during the 10th Malay Rulers Meeting on the 22nd and 23rd February, 1950, Gurney presented his recommendation, only to be met with reluctance of the Malay Rulers.  In the minutes of meeting, the Sultan of Kedah stated his reservation:

 

The most important prerequisite for democracy is education. Without enlightened public opinion a democratic system of Government will be liable to unsteadiness or even confusion and chaos. One danger is that it may be transformed into a single party government through a few skilled electioneers working among the apathetic population and this will work towards dictatorship.” (Colonial Office Records 537/6025(1))

 

The Malays, as mentioned above, were left behind educationally and may not know what is best for them.  For the same reason the PKMM and MDU were in full support of the Malayan Union four years prior to this event.  And whatever the outcome, the Malays would have ended up the biggest losers if no one champions their rights. Noted William L Holland in “Nationalism in Malaya” (WL Holland, 1953):

 

“There was already Malay discontent in the pre-war period over the poor economic position vis-a-vis the Chinese and Indians. Malay peasants and fishermen, noted S.H Silcock and Ungku Aziz, were dependent on Chinese middlemen while Malays worked as messengers in offices where Chinese and Indians were clerks.”

 

The phrases made bold above by me, still holds true today and became the basis of Ismail Sabri’s main grouse against profiteering businessmen.

 

Gurney had to bring about some form of democratic self-rule that would benefit all races.  Separately he discussed on numerous occasions with both MCA and Dato’ Onn and impressed upon them that self-rule would only happen if there is a closer relations between the communities (The Making of the Malayan Constitution, Joseph M Fernando, 2002, Page 15).  Gurney was all for the promotion of Sino-Malay talks to tackle long-term problems.  Gurney minuted the following:

 

“The outstanding issues at that stage were citizenship and the economic backwardness of the Malays.  The Chinese leaders sought a more liberalised citizenship than those contained in the 1948 Federation of Malaya Agreement.  Onn meanwhile , had approached the Colonial Office to secure financial assistance for the Malays.” (Colonial Office Records 537/773(1))

 

Onn Jaafar, however, was more open towards a better relationship between the Malays and other races if UMNO was to achieve the long-term ambition of self-governing the nation.  In the UMNO annual general meeting in Arau, Perlis, on the 28th May 1949, he said in his speech:

 

It is absolutely important for the Malays to obtain closer ties with the other people in this country.  It is time for us to take the view wider than the kampung view.  I ask of you, which will you choose, peace or chaos, friendship or enmity?” (Straits Times, 29th May, 1949)

 

It was at this meeting that UMNO had agreed to accept non-Malays as associate members.  Two years later, in June 1951, Onn went a step further by proposing that UMNO should open its doors to the non-Malays, and that UMNO be renamed the “United Malayan National Organisation.”  While the top echelon of the party was supportive of this idea, the grassroot felt it was too radical.  The bitterness resulting from the years of resentment and occasional interracial violence were too new for them to accept the non-Malays into their political fold.  As a result, Onn left UMNO to form a new party called the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP) despite Gurney’s insistence that the former should remain in UMNO.  Onn gambled that UMNO would fall apart and would rally behind him.  Instead, UMNO rallied behind its new leader, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who sought to retain and strengthen UMNO’s communal organisational structure.  The Tunku also threatened to expel from UMNO any member that joins or had joined the IMP (Straits Times, 18th September, 1951).

 

The MCA meanwhile remained a loose association of both “neutral” Chinese and the hardcore sympathizers of the CPM.  Gurney had felt that the MCA had not gained much support from the Chinese community and the CPM sympathizers especially to help bring about a speedy end of the First Emergency.  The Perak MCA Chairman, Leong Yew Koh, wrote to Cheng Lock on 1st June, 1950:

 

“Although the Perak MCA membership is 40,000 strong, the branch is a mere basin of loose sand.” (Tan Cheng Lock Papers, ISEAS Singapore, Folio IX)

 

Cheng Lock was quick to suggest that the MCA should become more political in order to better represent the Chinese:

 

“The MCA should not exist only for the limited, though vital, purpose of the meeting the emergency.  It is a living institution which should consolidate itself on a strong and broad democratic foundation, in order that it may be ready to play a part in Malaya of the future as well as the present.” (Colonial Office Records 1022/176)

 

Thus, the stage is set for two political giants to go against each other for political power, after which we will see whether it was the Tunku or not who played the pivotal role in making the alliance between UMNO and MCA come true.

 

Stay tuned.


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