20 July, 2007

Thank God, I am an Atheist !

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Tuesday Malaysia is not a secular state but an Islamic nation with its own interpretation.

He said the country had never been affiliated to secularism but was always driven by the fundamentals of Islam as it is clearly stated in the constitution that Islam is the official religion.

"Islam is the official religion and we are an Islamic state. But as an Islamic state, it does not mean that we don't respect the non-Muslims. The Muslims and the non-Muslims have their own rights (in this country)," he told reporters after officiating the "International Conference on the Role of Islamic States in a Globalised World" on behalf of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at a hotel here.

That coming from a man who, as a UMNO Youth Chief, threatened to bathe his keris in Chinese blood and yet, got away with it to become the deputy prime minister.

And the debate is on.

Are we a secular state in the sense that the laws governing us and our way of life are free from religious influence? We cannot seem to be able to agree on this.

The constitution says that Islam is the religion of the federation.

Nine of the Malaysian states, namely Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Kedah, Perak, Perlis, Selangor, Johor and Negeri Sembilan have constitutional Malay monarchs (most of them styled as Sultans). These Malay rulers still maintain authority over religious affairs in states. The states of Penang, Malacca, Sarawak and Sabah do not have any sultan, but the king (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) play the role of heads of Islam in those states as well as the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.

Originally, the draft Constitution of Malaysia did not specify any official religion for the state. This move was supported by the rulers of the nine Malay states, who felt that it was sufficient that Islam was the official religion of each of their individual states. However, Justice Abdul Hamid of the Reid Commission which drafted the Constitution came out strongly in favour of making Islam the official religion, and as a result the final Constitution named Islam as the official religion of Malaysia.

Malaysia is a secular state, insists the MCA

It said the position was clear as evidenced by numerous historical documents, including the Reid Report, the Cobbold Commission and a 1988 Supreme Court decision.

Groups: We are secular

Various groups have disagreed with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s statement that Malaysia was never a secular state, saying that he had ignored the country’s constitutional history and social contract.

They referred to several important events, including those that led to the country’s independence and formation of Malaysia, to show that it had always been stressed that Malaysia was a secular state.
(The Star)

Religion a vital part of our make-up

Are we a secular state in the sense that the laws governing us and our way of life are free from religious influence? We cannot seem to be able to agree on this.

The constitution says that Islam is the religion of the federation. As a Muslim, I am governed by the syariah. The head of the country and that of each state is a Muslim; in their regalia are Islamic symbols. Islamic prayers are said in Parliament. The first principle of the Rukunegara is ‘Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan’. The list can go on. Islam pervades every aspect of a Muslim’s life in Malaysia.

Given all this, from my perspective this is a Islamic/Muslim country. However, this would not be applicable to a non-Muslim. All the laws that govern them by and large are non-religious laws - quite rightly, from their point of view, the country is a secular one.

Therefore, I would contend that we are both an Islamic and a secular country depending on where one is looking from and this is totally acceptable to me.

However, I would not agree with the Malaysian secularist that ‘religion, religious principles and religious dogmas do not influence the business of governance’.

This would imply that non-Muslims in Malaysia do not let their religion or culture influence their lives and values. I believe that for the vast majority of Malaysians of whatever faith, their religion is inimical to their make-up as a citizen.

Whatever the secularists may say, I do not think non-Muslims here are going to stop wearing their religious symbols in public, or stop having public holidays for their religious festivals.

In fact, you would find many couples who get married do not consider themselves really married until they have undergone their religious and cultural marriage rites despite having had a civil registration.

Even our road transport rules makes exemptions for Sikh men on motorcycles from wearing safety helmets in recognition of their beliefs. And then we have the recognition of customary/ native rights and laws.

All this goes to show that even from the secular perspective, we can still see how religion is still a very vital part of the citizens’ make up.

I therefore would not be surprised that if we seek to legalise abortion, the first to object would be our secularists.

Whatever one says, I still think that we are still religious people and religion impacts much of our lives and whatever is said and done, it is because of this that we have unity in our diversity. What the secularists want is unity through uniformity and this, Muslims will not accept.

- Fathima Idris
Letter to Malaysiakini.

Now, Malaysia bans mainstream media from reporting on Islamic state debate

Malaysia's government has banned the mainstream media from reporting on the highly sensitive issue of whether the country is an Islamic state, an official said Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak sparked a storm last week when he declared that mostly Muslim Malaysia was not secular but an Islamic state that protects the religious rights of minority groups.

Government leaders, opposition parties, lawyers and activists have condemned Najib's comment, saying Malaysia was set up as a secular state by the country's first leaders after independence from Britain in 1957.

The Internal Security Ministry has issued a directive to all mainstream media to stop reporting on the issue, said a ministry official, who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the issue.

"We want to stop this issue being aggravated into becoming a public debate as this will create tension," he told The Associated Press. "This is a very sensitive issue... As far as possible, we want to prevent (any racial) tension."

(IHT-Asia Pacific)

阿弥陀佛 , thank God, I am an Atheist !



Blogger Miner said...

What a oxymoronic joke, an atheist thanking his god! He should be thanking himself, because an atheist is his own god

July 20, 2007 10:25 PM  
Blogger Dek Mat said...

Mungkin para pemimpin Barisan Nasional telah terlalu lama menerajui kerajaan sehingga lupa perbezaan di antara falsafah Negara Malaysia dengan falsafah pentadbiran Malaysia.

Sesungguhnya Barisan Nasional adalah hanya satu gabungan parti-parti politik.

Barisan Nasional bukan Malaysia!

Vote BN out and vote for SiPM instead!

July 21, 2007 4:03 AM  
Blogger Linken Lim said...

Thanks !
An Atheist believes there is no God.
This blogger believes God is an Atheist ! :)

Dek Mat
OK, I will vote for SiPM !

July 21, 2007 7:02 PM  

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