30 May, 2007

The bitter struggle for religious freedom ,no Joy !



A crucial turning point in Malaysia's culture war!

I was hoping that the court will decide in favor of freedom instead of intolerance, but the headline on Malaysiakini "No Joy for Lina" indicates the "Death of religious tolerance in Malaysia", and "Once a Muslim, Always a Muslim" ?

In what has been dubbed a blow to Malaysia's religious freedom, the country's highest court today denied an appeal by Christian convert Lina Joy to make her switch from Islam recognized by law. A multi-ethnic state comprised largely of Muslim Malays, Christian and Buddhist Chinese, and Hindu and Sikh Indians, Malaysia has long prided itself on its diversity of faiths. To safeguard this religious heterogeneity, the country's constitution sets out a dual-track legal system in which Muslims are bound by Shari'a law for issues such as marriage, property and death, while members of other faiths follow civil law., writes Hannah Beech, TIME.

But the parallel system has occasionally faced snags. Joy is a Malay originally known as Azlina Jailani, and by Malaysian law her ethnicity automatically makes her a Muslim subject to Shari'a law. In order to make her 1990 conversion to Christianity legal, she needed permission from the Shari'a courts, which consider a renunciation of Islam a major offense. But, since she is still classified as a Muslim by the state, Joy was not allowed to have her case heard by the civil courts. Her six-year-long campaign to convince the civil system to legalize her conversion failed, prompting her appeal to the Federal Court, after the Court of Appeal rejected her claim in September 2005.

On Wednesday, the Court announced that it had no jurisdiction over the case since it was under the purview of Shari'a law, effectively punting on any attempt to clear up the gray space that exists between Malaysia's two legal systems. The ruling was greeted by shouts of "God is great" from many in the assembled crowd outside the Palace of Justice in Kuala Lumpur. More secular observers were far less jubilant. "I see this case not just as a question of religious preference but one of a potential dismantling of Malaysia's democracy, which is based on a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state," warned Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, a member of Joy's legal team, before the verdict was announced. "I fear the political process in Malaysia is overtaking the legal process."

The Joy verdict, which will likely become a precedent for several other pending conversion cases, is seen by many in Malaysia as evidence of how religious politics are cleaving the nation, with a creeping Islamization undermining the rights of both non-Muslims and more moderate adherents to Islam. Last November, at a party conference for the Muslim-dominated United Malays National Organization ruling party, one delegate vowed he would be willing to "bathe in blood" to defend his ethnicity — and, by extension, his religion. In several Malaysian states, forsaking Islam is a crime punishable by prison time.

Earlier this week, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who in December acknowledged that race relations in his homeland were "fragile," hosted the World Islamic Economic Forum in Kuala Lumpur. In an era where Islam is so often partnered with extremism and autocratic governance, Malaysia was held up at the annual conference as a model of a moderate Muslim nation committed to safeguarding the rights of its diverse population. But the Federal Court's verdict on Joy's case, which represented her last legal recourse, may undercut that reputation. After all, what is religious freedom if a 42-year-old Malay woman isn't allowed to follow the faith of her choosing?



Outside the courtroom in Malaysia's administrative capital of Putrajaya, more than 300 Muslims representing as many as 80 Islamic groups gathered to pray for the courts to deny Joy's appeal.

Yusri Mohamad, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, welcomed the decision, saying that the court proceedings had been 'an attempt to deconstruct and revamp our current formula, a winning formula' for a peaceful multi-religous society.

Lawyers for Joy have declined to say what her next move would be, but Wednesday's court remains the last legal avenue for her.

'The outcome of this case has shown that we have a constitutional guarantee of freedom which cannot be enforced because our civil courts have no jurisdiction over religious matters,' said Leonard Teoh, a lawyer representing the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism.

'The only avenue now is for us to take a political approach. We will approach the political leaders,' said Teoh.

'People like Lina Joy should not be trapped in any religion.'

It was reported in Malaysiakini that Muslim groups nationwide have been told to be adequately prepared for the much-anticipated Federal Court decision on the Lina Joy case .

Mosques, surau, and non-governmental organisations have been urged to hold
special prayers so that the judgement is "in favour of Islam".

PAS Federal Territory Youth chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad strongly urged all parties to remain calm and warned against any attempts to provoke or raise tensions over the issue.

"The aim is not to antagonise any party or to create tensions. Any mistake
committed by Muslims present (at the Federal Court tomorrow) will be used to
denigrate the image of Islam and that of Muslims in Malaysia," he said in a
statement.

"It is also not impossible that certain parties will seek to provoke or
create tensions for that same objective."

He urged those who able to attend court to do so, as a demonstration of
their concern "for the future of Islam in this country".

Meanwhile, The ruling threatens to further polarize Malaysian society between non-Muslims who feel that their constitutional right to religious freedom is being eroded, and Muslims who believe that civil courts have no right to meddle in Islamic affairs.

"You can't at whim and fancy convert from one religion to another," Federal Court Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim said in delivering judgment in the case, which has stirred religious tensions in the mainly Muslim nation.

He said the civil court had no jurisdiction in the case and that it should be dealt with by the country's Islamic courts.

"The issue of apostasy is related to Islamic law, so it's under the sharia court. The civil court cannot intervene."

About 200 mostly young Muslims welcomed the ruling outside the domed courthouse with shouts of "Allah-o-Akbar" (God is great), but Christians and non-Muslim politicians were dismayed.

"I think it's a major blow," opposition politician Lim Kit Siang said. "It casts a large shadow on civil liberties and the constitutional rights of Malaysians."

Malaysia's Council of Churches was saddened.

"We still go by the possibility that the constitution allows any citizen of the country to exercise his or her right to choose a religion and practice it," council secretary Rev. Hermen Shastri said outside the court.

"I don't think this decision is going to stop an individual from exercising that right for whatever reason.



Backward step

S Sharmila, a human rights lawyer and secretary-general of the National Human Rights Society, described Wednesday's ruling as a "very regressive interpretation of the constitution as a living document" and "backward step" for Malaysia.


"If there is any hope left, it is in the resounding dissenting judgement which is based on facts, law and logic," she told Al Jazeera shortly after the ruling was made.



"It is a very bold decision that signals a clear and unequivocal dissent which preserves the fundamental principle to choose one's faith based on the constitutional right of all Malaysians being equal before the law."

She said Malanjum held that the NRD policy was unconstitutional and should be struck down


Fierce debate

The case has triggered fierce debate in a country where just over half the 27 million population are Muslims with a sizeable number of Buddhists, Christians and Hindus.

According to the latest US state department data on Malaysia, ethnic Malays – who are Muslims by law - make up about half the population but are officially grouped together as Bumiputera, or sons of the soil, with indigenous groups who make up 11 per cent of the population, not all of whom are Muslims.

Joy, her fiance and her lawyers have all received death threats, and streets protests have been held by Muslim groups including the Islam-based PAS opposition party.

Wednesday's ruling is seen as a landmark that will set the precedent for other cases where former Muslims have applied for legal recognition of their conversion to other faiths, several of which are pending in court.

Sa'adiah Din, a sharia lawyer in Kuala Lumpur, said Wednesday's court decision had determined that the country's civil courts do not have jurisdiction over Malaysian Muslims wishing to renounce their faith.

"The crux of this case is whether the apex court is going to uphold the apex law of Malaysia which is the [federal] constitution that guarantees the freedom of religion," she said before the ruling.

In July last year, the government in effect banned all public discussions on religious freedom amid simmering tensions between Muslim groups and rights activists.

The talks had been organised by a coalition called Article 11, named after the clause in the constitution which guarantees freedom of religion for all Malaysians.

Ivy Josiah, the executive director of Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), said the choice of life partners was an issue close to women's hearts.

"The fact that she wants to be a mother and her biological clock is ticking away is terribly unfair to her or anyone else," she said.

"The court obviously did not uphold human rights principles based on the federal constitution, especially on the question of whether we recognise that one has the freedom to choose one's religion and partner."

Josiah said many people, particularly non-Muslims, were concerned that Malaysia was slipping into an unconstitutional situation.



DISSENTING RULING

The three-judge appeal bench ruled 2-1 against Joy. The dissenting judge, the only non-Muslim on the bench, said the department responsible for issuing identity cards should have complied with Joy's request to remove "Islam" from her card.

He accused the National Registration Department of abusing its powers. "In my view, this is tantamount to unequal treatment under the law. She is entitled to an IC where the word Islam does not appear," dissenting judge Richard Malanjum said.

Malaysia's Muslim Youth Movement welcomed the ruling, which asserted the overriding jurisdiction of the Islamic or sharia courts in cases centering on a Muslim's faith.

"We hope that we have seen the last of such attempts," said the movement's president, Yusri Mohamad. "We invite anyone who feels that they are aggrieved or victimized within the current system to choose other, less confrontational and controversial attempts towards change and reform."

In practice, sharia courts do not allow Muslims to formally renounce Islam, preferring to send apostates to counseling and, ultimately, fining or jailing them if they do not desist.

They often end up in legal limbo, unable to register their new religious affiliations or legally marry non-Muslims. Many keep silent about their choice or emigrate.

Lina Joy, 43, was born Azlina Jailani and was brought up as a Muslim, but at the age of 26 decided to become a Christian. She wants to marry her Christian boyfriend, a cook, but she cannot do so while her identity card declares her to me Muslim.

In 1999, the registration department allowed her to change the name in her identity card to Lina Joy but the entry for her religion remained "Islam."

Malaysia, like neighboring Indonesia, practices a moderate brand of Islam, but Muslims account for only a bare majority of Malaysia's population and are very sensitive to any perceived threats to Islam's special status as the official religion.

Malaysia has been under Islamic influence since the 15th century, but big waves of Chinese and Indian immigrants over the last 150 years has dramatically changed its racial and religious make-up. Now, about 40 percent of Malaysians are non-Muslim.









While Lina managed – the second time around – to get the National Registration Department to change her name from Azlina Jailani in 1999, accepting that she had renounced Islam, it refused to remove the word “Islam” from her MyKad.

The NRD said it could not do so without a syariah court order certifying she had renounced Islam.

As long as the word “Islam” remains on her identity card, Lina cannot marry her Christian boyfriend, a cook, under the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976.

In 2001, she took her case against the NRD director-general, the Government and the Federal Territory Religious Council to the High Court.

She lost – Justice Faiza Tamby Chik held that Malays could not renounce Islam because a Malay was defined in the Constitution as “a person who professes the religion of Islam,” adding it was the syariah court that had the jurisdiction in matters related to apostasy.

Lina appealed to the Court of Appeal and lost again, this time in a majority decision – Justices Abdul Aziz Mohamed and Arifin Zakaria upheld the decision of the NRD but Justice Gopal Sri Ram said it was null and void.

In 2006, she got leave to appeal to the Federal Court and asked the panel comprising Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum and Federal Court Justice Alauddin Mohd Sheriff these questions:

# WAS the NRD entitled to require a person to produce a certificate or a declaration or an order from the syariah court before deleting “Islam” from his or her identity card;

# DID the NRD correctly construe its powers under the National Registration Regulations 1990 when it imposed the above requirement, which is not expressly provided for in the regulations?; and

# WAS the landmark case Soon Singh vs Perkim Kedah – which held that syariah courts have the authority over the civil courts to hear cases of Muslims renouncing Islam – correctly decided?

While Datuk Cyrus Das appeared for Lina Joy, Senior Federal Counsel Datuk Umi Khaltum Jamid appeared for the NRD director-general and the Government and Sulaiman Abdullah appeared for the religious council.

Labels: ,

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kita banyak cakap tentang toleransi agama, kebebasan beragama dan sebagainya.Maklumlah sekarang. mana dia toleransi? mana dia kebebasan?Inikah cara kita mencapai wawasan 2020?

May 30, 2007 7:37 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

There is no religious freedom in Islam.

More sadness in a world of sadness when it comes to brainwashed individuals and their belief structures.

May 31, 2007 1:11 AM  
Anonymous Ken Kern said...

I consider myself to be a reasonable, tolerant, man. Yet, all things considered: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Chechnia, Sudan, and now Maylasia, I think it's time we helped all Muslims make their dreams come true and turn them all into martyrs.

May 31, 2007 3:37 AM  
Blogger zewt said...

Her case has got the word ‘lost cause’ written all over it. Anyway, what really gets to my nerve are ppl shouting and screaming about victory and how their religion is being attacked but is now victorious… and how so many blogs started bashing Christianity. Imagine Christians doing otherwise… all hell breaks lose… this is what I find difficult to swallow.

May 31, 2007 4:20 PM  
Blogger me said...

Dude, off-topic but I suggest at the very least you credit the sources of your articles. Unless of course, you're Hannah Beech who wrote that Time article you used at the beginning.

cheers

May 31, 2007 6:39 PM  
Blogger Linken Lim said...

Hi me,
Thanks for dropping by.
I did link to the article, dude.

May 31, 2007 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Michael Chick said...

It's been interesting to read such free-flowing comments on an all "Malaysian" free for all. While we are on the subject, how many of you have read the book entitled "Contesting Malayness"? Written by a Professor of National University of Singapore. Cost S$32 (about). It reflects the Anthropologists views that there is no such race as the "Malays" to begin with. If we follow the original migration of the Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago, they moved into Taiwan, (now the Alisan), then into the Phillipines (now the Aeta) and moved into Borneo (4,500yrs ago) (Dayak). They also split into Sulawesi and progressed into Jawa, and Sumatera. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsular 3,000yrs ago. A sub-group from Borneo also moved to Champa in Vietnam at 4,500yrs ago.

Interestingly, the Champa deviant group moved back to present day Kelantan. There are also traces of the Dong Song and HoaBinh migration from Vietnam and Cambodia. To confuse the issue, there was also the Southern Thai migration, from what we know as Pattani today. (see also "Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsular")

Of course, we also have the Minangkabau's which come from the descendants of Alexander the Great and a West Indian Princess. (Sejarah Melayu page 1-3)


So the million Dollar Question... Is there really a race called the "Malays"? All anthropologists DO NOT SEEM TO THINK SO.


Neither do the "Malays" who live on the West Coast of Johor. They'd rather be called Javanese. What about the west coast Kedah inhabitants who prefer to be known as "Achenese"? or the Ibans who simply want to be known as IBANS. Try calling a Kelabit a "Malay" and see what response you get... you’ll be so glad that their Head-Hunting days are over.

In an article in the Star, dated: Dec 3rd 2006

available for on-line viewing at:
http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/12/3/focus/16212814&sec=focus

An excerp is reproduced here below:

"The Malays – taken as an aggregation of people of different ethnic backgrounds but who speak the same language or family of languages and share common cultural and traditional ties – are essentially a new race, compared to the Chinese, Indians and the Arabs with their long histories of quests and conquests.

The Malay nation, therefore, covers people of various ethnic stock, including Javanese, Bugis, Bawean, Achehnese, Thai, orang asli, the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak and descendants of Indian Muslims who had married local women.

Beneath these variations, however, there is a common steely core that is bent on changing the Malay persona from its perceived lethargic character to one that is brave, bold and ready to take on the world. "


The definition of “Malay” is therefore simply a collection of people's who speak a similar type language. With what is meant by a similar type language does not mean that the words are similar. Linguists call this the "Lego-type" language, where words are added on to the root word to make meaning and give tenses and such. Somehow, the Indonesians disagree with this classification and insist on being called "Indonesians" even though the majority of "Malays" have their roots in parts of Indonesia? They refuse to be called "Malay"…. Anyhow you may define it.

The writer failed to identify (probably didn't know), that the "Malay" definition also includes, the Champa, Dong Song, HoabinHian, The Taiwanese Alisan and the Philippino Aetas. He also did not identify that the "Orang Asli" are (for lack of a better term) ex-Africans. If you try to call any one of our East Malaysian brothers an "Orang Asli", they WILL BEAT YOU UP! I had to repeat this because almost all West Malaysians make the same mistake when we cross the South China Sea. Worse, somehow, they feel even more insulted when you call them “Malay”. Somehow, “kurang ajar” is uttered below their breath as if “Malay” was a really bad word for them. I’m still trying to figure this one out.

Watch “Malays in Africa”; a Museum Negara produced DVD. Also, the “Champa Malays” by the same.

With this classification, they MUST also include the Phillipinos, the Papua New Guineans, the Australian Aboroginies, as well as the Polynesian Aboroginies. These are of the Australo Melanesians who migrated out of Africa 60,000yrs ago.

Getting interesting? Read on...

"Malay" should also include the Taiwanese singer "Ah Mei" who is Alisan as her tribe are the anscestors of the "Malays". And finally, you will need to define the Southern Chinese (Southern Province) as Malay also, since they are from the same stock 6,000yrs ago.

Try calling the Bugis a "Malay". Interestingly, the Bugis, who predominantly live on Sulawesi are not even Indonesians. Neither do they fall into the same group as the migrating Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago nor the Australo Melanesian group from Africa.

Ready for this?

The Bugis are the cross-breed between the Chinese and the Arabs. (FYI, a runaway Ming Dynasty official whom Cheng Ho was sent to hunt down) Interestingly, the Bugis were career Pirates in the Johor-Riau Island areas. Now the nephew of Daeng Kemboja was appointed the First Sultan of Selangor. That makes the entire Selangor Sultanate part Arab, part Chinese! Try talking to the Bugis Museum curator near Kukup in Johor. Kukup is located near the most south-western tip of Johor. (Due south of Pontian Kechil)

Let's not even get into the Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, and Hang Lekir, who shared the same family last name as the other super famous "Hang" family member... Hang Li Poh. And who was she? the princess of a Ming Dynasty Emperor who was sent to marry the Sultan of Malacca. Won't that make the entire Malacca Sultanate downline "Baba" ? Since the older son of the collapsed Malaccan Sultanate got killed in Johor, (the current Sultanate is the downline of the then, Bendahara) the only other son became the Sultan of Perak. Do we see any Chinese-ness in Raja Azlan? Is he the descendant of Hang Li Poh?

Next question. If the Baba’s are part Malay, why have they been marginalized by NOT BEING BUMIPUTERA? Which part of “Malay” are they not? Whatever the answer, why then are the Portugese of Malacca BUMIPUTERA? Did they not come 100yrs AFTER the arrival of the first Baba’s? Parameswara founded Malacca in 1411. The Portugese came in 1511, and the Dutch in the 1600’s. Strangely, the Baba’s were in fact once classified a Bumiputera, but a decided that they were strangely “declassified” in the 1960’s. WHY?

The Sultan of Kelantan had similar roots to the Pattani Kingdom making him of Thai origin. And what is this "coffee table book" by the Sultan of Perlis claiming to be the direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed? Somehow we see Prof Khoo Khay Khim’s signature name on the book. I’ll pay good money to own a copy of it myself. Anyone has a spare?

So, how many of you have met with orang Asli’s? the more northern you go, the more African they look. Why are they called Negrito’s? It is a Spanish word, from which directly transalates “mini Negros”. The more southern you go, the more “Indonesian” they look. And the ones who live at Cameron Highlands kinda look 50-50. You can see the Batek at Taman Negara, who really look like Eddie Murphy to a certain degree. Or the Negritos who live at the Thai border near Temenggor Lake (north Perak). The Mah Meri in Carrie Island look almost like the Jakuns in Endau Rompin. Half African, half Indonesian.

By definition, (this is super eye-opening) there was a Hindu Malay Empire in Kedah. Yes, I said right… The Malays were Hindu. It was, by the old name Langkasuka. Today known as Lembah Bujang. This Hindu Malay Empire was 2,000yrs old. Pre-dating Borrobudor AND Angkor Watt. Who came about around 500-600yrs later. Lembah Bujang was THE mighty trading empire, and its biggest influence was by the Indians who were here to help start it. By definition, this should make the Indians BUMIPUTERAS too since they were here 2,000yrs ago! Why are they marginalized?

Of the 3 books listed, "Contesting Malayness" (about S$32 for soft cover) is "banned” in Malaysia; you will need to "smuggle" it into Malaysia; for very obvious reasons.... :( or read it in Singapore if you don’t feel like breaking the law.

The other, "Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago, and the Malay Peninsular" (about RM84) are openly sold at all leading bookshops; Kinokuniya, MPH, Borders, Popular, Times, etc. You should be able to find a fair bit of what I’ve been quoting in this book too, but mind you, it is very heavy reading material, and you will struggle through the initial 200+ pages. It is extremely technical in nature. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t banned (yet)…coz our authorities couldn’t make head or tail of it? (FYI, if I wasn’t doing research for my film, I wouldn’t have read it in its entirety)

While the "Sejarah Melayu" (about RM 35) is available at the University Malaya bookshop. I have both the English and Royal Malay version published by MBRAS.

Incidentally, the Professor (Author) was invited to speak on this very subject about 2 yrs ago, in KL, invited by the MBRAS. You can imagine the "chaos" this seminar created...... :(

There were actually many sources for these findings. Any older Philippino Museum Journal also carries these migration stories. This migration is also on display at the Philippines National Museum in Luzon. However, they end with the Aeta, and only briefly mention that the migration continued to Indonesia and Malaysia, but fully acknowledge that all Philippinos came from Taiwan. And before Taiwan, China. There is another book (part of a series) called the "Archipelago Series" endorsed by Tun Mahatir and Marina Mohammad, which states the very same thing right at the introduction on page one. “… that the Malays migrated out of Southern China some 6,000yrs ago…”. I believe it is called the “Pre-History of Malaysia” Hard Cover, about RM99 found in (mostly) MPH. They also carry “Pre-History of Indonesia” by the same authors for the same price.

It is most interesting to note that our Museum officials invented brand new unheard-of terms such as "Proto-Malay" and "Deutero-Malay", to replace the accepted Scientific Term, Australo-Melanesians (African descent) and Austronesians (Chinese Descent, or Mongoloid to be precise) in keeping in line with creating this new “Malay” term.. They also created the new term called the Melayu-Polynesian. (Which Melayu exists in the Polynesian Islands?) Maybe they were just trying to be “Patriotic” and “Nationalistic”… who knows…? After all, we also invented the term, “Malaysian Time”. While the rest of the world calls it “Tardy” and “Late”. It’s quite an embarrassment actually…. Singaporeans crossing the border are asked to set their watches back by about 100yrs, to adjust to “Malaysian Time”…

In a nutshell, the British Colonial Masters, who, for lack of a better description, needed a “blanket” category for ease of classification, used the term “Malay”.

The only other logical explanation, which I have heard, was that “Malaya” came as a derivative of “Himalaya”, where at Langkasuka, or Lembah Bujang today was where the Indians were describing the locals as “Malai” which means “Hill People” in Tamil. This made perfect sense as the focal point at that time was at Gunung Jerai, and the entire Peninsular had a “Mountain Range” “Banjaran Titiwangsa”, as we call it.

The Mandarin and Cantonese accurately maintain the accurate pronunciation of “Malai Ren” and “Malai Yun” respectively till this very day. Where “ren” and “yun” both mean “peoples”.

Interestingly, “Kadar” and “Kidara”, Hindi and Sanskrit words accurately describe “Kedah” of today. They both mean “fertile Land for Rice cultivation. Again, a name given by the Indians 2,000yrs ago during the “Golden Hindu Era” for a duration of 1,500yrs.

It was during the “Golden Hindu Era” that the new term which the Hindu Malay leaders also adopted the titles, “Sultan” and “Raja”. The Malay Royalty were Hindu at that time, as all of Southeast Asia was under strong Indian influence, including Borrobudor, and Angkor Watt. Bali today still practices devout Hindu Beliefs. The snake amulet worn by the Sultans of today, The Royal Dias, and even the “Pelamin” for weddings are tell-tale signs of these strong Indian influences. So, it was NOT Parameswara who was the first Sultan in Malaya. Sultanage existed approximately 1,500years before he set foot on the Peninsular during the "Golden Hindu Era" of Malaysia. And they were all Hindu.

“PreHistory of Malaysia” also talks about the “Lost Kingdom” of the “Chi-Tu” where the local Malay Kingdom were Buddhists. The rest of the “Malays” were Animistic Pagans.

But you may say, "Sejarah Melayu" calls it "Melayu"? Yes, it does. Read it again; is it trying to describe the 200-odd population hamlet near Palembang by the name "Melayu"?(Google Earth will show this village).

By that same definition, then, the Achehnese should be considered a “race”. So should the Bugis and the Bataks, to be fair. Orang Acheh, Orang Bugis, Orang Laut, Orang Melayu now mean the same… descriptions of ethnic tribes, at best. And since the “Malays” of today are not all descendants of the “Melayu” kampung in Jambi (if I remember correctly), the term Melayu has been wrongly termed. From day one. Maybe this is why the Johoreans still call themselves either Bugis, or Javanese until today. So do the Achehnese on the West coast of Kedah & Perlis and the Kelantanese insist that they came from Champa, Vietnam.

Morover, the fact that the first 3 pages claiming that "Melayu" comes from Alexander the Great and the West Indian Princess doesn't help. More importantly, it was written in 1623. By then, the Indians had been calling the locals “Malai” for 1,500 yrs already. So the name stuck….

And with the Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals in page 1-3) naming the grandson of Iskandar Zulkarnain, and the West Indian Princess forming the Minangkabau. Whenever a Malay is asked about it, he usually says it is "Karut" (bullshit), but all Malayan based historians insist on using Sejarah Melayu as THE main reference book for which "Malay" history is based upon. The only other books are “Misa Melayu”, "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa", and “Hikayat Hang Tuah” which is of another long and sometimes “heated” discussion.

I find this strange.

I also find, that it is strange that the "Chitti's" (Indian+Malay) of Malacca are categorized as Bumiputera, while their Baba brothers are not. Why? Both existed during the Parameswara days. Which part of the “Malay” side of the Baba’s is not good enough for Bumiputera classification? Re-instate them. They used to be Bumiputera pre 1960’s anyway.

Instead of "Malay", I believe that "Maphilindo" (circa 1963) would have been the closest in accurately trying to describe the Malays. However, going by that definition, it should most accurately be "MaphilindoThaiChinDiaVietWanGreekCamfrica". And it is because of this; even our University Malaya Anthropology professors cannot look at you in the eye and truthfully say that the word "Malay" technically and accurately defines a race.

This is most unfortunate.

So, in a nutshell, the “Malays” (anthropologists will disagree with this “race” definition) are TRULY ASIA !!! For once the Tourism Ministry got it right….

We should stop calling this country “Tanah Melayu” instead call it, “Tanah Truly Asia”

You must understand now, why I was "tickled pink" when I found out that the Visit Malaysia slogan for 2007 was "Truly Asia". They are so correct... (even though they missed out Greece and Africa)

BTW, the name UMNO should be changed to UTANO the new official acronym for “United Truly Asia National Organization” . After all, they started out as a Bugis club in Johor anyway….

I told you all that I hate race classifications…. This is so depressing. Even more depressing is that the "malays" are not even a race; not since day one.


“Truly Asia Boleh”

June 06, 2007 2:18 AM  
Anonymous malu sedikit said...

'Saya kepala pusing'as good ole Samy Vellu would put it. I always thought that "race" was 100 metres, 200 metres and so on. Now you've gone and mixed it up with sex (that was what all these people did to become so rojak)! It is going to get worse now that PM is marrying Jeanie Danker Abdullah. According to Raja Petra (see Malaysia Today website)he knew this long time ago. Raja Petra also mentioned something about PM "kemaluan besar". I say if besar no need to malu, even if any children will be Pan-Asian. What you think?

June 07, 2007 12:47 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home