How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Malaysia: Secular or not?

Like most things in Malaysia, it is not absolute. It always depends on the actual statement, the context it was made, when it was made, or even on who said it. Then we have to bear in mind some topics are highly sensitive, which made us wary of making any comment which might put us in trouble. Judging from recent happenings, most people did not care about what was said, except those political opportunists who took advantage of the situation. The strange effect seems to be the highlighting of letters or comments which would have gone unnoticed by the general public. Was that the intention of the authorities, or was it an excuse to get hold of computers to find out more about others?

Besides BN and Pakatan stating totally different versions, we have to contend with a biased mainstream media, and intellectuals taking it to a higher level of discourse, yet still offering differing views. Just imagine how the majority of the people feel about controversial issues!

I always find most people have short attention span. So what we get in the coffeeshops can be very simplistic and short, likely to be distorted by poor recollection of what was seen on television or read from newspapers, or outright mistake when quoting the source of a statement! Is it any wonder Najib chose to be Santa distributing BR1M and other payments to voters, knowing full well the public have short memories of BN's big, bad behaviour in the past, and more inclined to be influenced by the immediate cash benefit?

Just the other day, a card-carrying MCA life member who had voted opposition before, commented that there will be those fence-sitters who will be easily influenced by the immediate cash benefits. For someone who is not using the internet and has to rely on television news and a mainstream newspaper, his usual, "But it was shown on tv or published in The Star" as if it was gospel truth, can be alarming to those who tried to provide alternative news to counter BN's propaganda through the media under their control. Whether we are well informed or not, an intellectual or a moron, each of us has only one vote, making us equal in terms of choosing who should be elected to run our country.

Having read Art Harun's article, 'Secular or non-secular? What history tells us', how nice it would be to just take the following as 'definitive' or 'last words' on this subject:

Professor Sheridan, a well-known expert on Malaysian Constitution opines as follows:-
“A Federation, as opposed to the people within its territory, having a religion is a difficult notion to grasp….. It has been suggested that the probable meaning of the first part of Article 3(1) is that, insofar as federal business (such as ceremonial business) involves religious matters, that business is to be regulated in accordance with the religion of Islam” - The Religion of the Federation”, [1988] 2 MLJ xiii

But then we should look at what was stated in the Constitutional Bill when it was passed:

Shortly after the London Conference the British Government issued a White Paper in June 1957 containing the Constitutional Proposals for independent Malaya. Paragraph 57 deals with the Religion of the Federation and reads:-

“There has been included in the Federal Constitution a declaration that Islam is the religion of the Federation. This will in no way affect the present position of the Federation as a secular State, and every person will have the right to profess and practice his own religion and the right to propagate his religion, though this last right is subject to any restrictions imposed by State law relating to the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the Muslim religion.”

The Constitutional Bill was then was passed without amendment.

and a comment by then Colonial Secretary:

In an effort to mollify them, the Colonial Secretary, Lennox Boyd, wrote to Lord Reid on 31st May 1957 offering tribute and gratitude to the “remarkable” work done by the Reid Commission and stated:-

“The Rulers, as you know, changed their tune about Islam and they and the Government presented a united front in favour of making Islam a state religion even though Malaya is to be a secular state.”

and article 3 (1) proposed by Justice Abdul Hamid:

It is interesting to note that Justice Abdul Hamid, the sole member of the Reid Commission who proposed article 3 (1) to be inserted had described the provision as “innocuous”. What does that innocuous little provision mean than?

and Art Harun's last words on that:

Considering recent events, that provision has however ceased from being innocuous. Hopefully, it would not be monstrous instead.

I am posting this to keep myself as well as others informed, and for future reference on this subject.



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