When non-Muslims in Malaysia cry about discrimination, racism and oppression, the Malay-Muslims would go berserk and tell them to go back to India (for the ethnic-Indians) or “Tongsan (China)” (for the ethnic-Chinese) or whatever place they came from, despite the fact that some of the Indians’ and Chinese’ ancestors arrived on this land long before some of the Malays.
If there’s something to make the ethnic-Malay feels better, not all Malays are racist or bully. But does it matter since majority of the Malays think, feel and believe they should enjoy special privileges just because their ethnic is the majority race of the nation? It’s like debating “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.”
Sure, some would argue that thanks to the discrimination policies adopted by the Government of Malaysia, the non-Muslims have became tougher, independence and even wealthier. However, the non-Muslims are fighting a losing battle. The harder they work, the more the Malays – the UMNO Malays – want a cut of their wealth, without lifting a finger.
Whenever the non-Muslims who work their arse off to save some fortune for their children’s education raise the issue of discrimination and religion, they would be immediately slapped with “anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Monarchy” accusations. And the government of the day would spring into action to arrest, intimidate and put them into prison.
For as long as one can remember, it’s very rare a Raja, Sultan, Yamtuan Besar or Agong would speak out – bravely and sincerely – in defending the defenceless non-Muslims. And there’re ten monarchies in Malaysia, if you count Agong (King) too, mind you. Hence, when Johor Sultanah Raja Zarith Sofiah calls for more kindness and respect to non-Muslim Malaysians, it raised millions of eyebrows.
Raja Zarith Sofiah, the Permaisuri (Queen) of Johor Sultanate and a member of the Perak Royal Family, said – “Muslims in Malaysia are so very luckybecause they do not know what it’s like to be part of a minority group. Those of us who have studied or lived abroad know what it feels like to be a minority, and we learn to adapt.”
In a Facebook post, Raja Zarith who actually did her Chinese studies from the University of Oxford said – “At the same time, we see the kindness and the acceptance of those who are Christians, Jews, or of other faiths, when we are in their countries. We Muslims must show the same respect to our fellow Malaysians who are not of the same faith as ours.”
The Queen isn’t the only one from the Sultanate of Johor, perhaps the only monarchy who cares, who raises the issue of racist and religious bigotry in the country. Her prince – Tunku Idris Sultan Ibrahim – who was disturbed by widespread of racism had posted in his Instagram back in 2015 said – “It’s disgusting. Racism and its hateful language have no place in this community.”
Tunku Idris commented – “I have Malay, Chinese, and English blood running thru my veins. #BangsaJohor.” Although the Johor prince made the remark 2 years ago, it was taken as a rejection of Najib administration, who had endorsed, sponsored and outsourced “Red Shirt” to do a demonstration based on racism and religious extremism against the Chinese.
Raja Zarith Sofiah’s husband – Sultan Ibrahim of Johor – was so disturbed and disgusted by the level of racism shown by “Red Shirt” movement that he told Johoreans who participated in the racist “Red Shirt” demonstration to get out of his kingdom. Obviously, the sultan was targeting Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose ministers also joined the mega rally.
Sultan Ibrahim said – “Let me reiterate, there is no place for hatred and racism here in Johor Darul Ta’zim. It was never welcomed, nor will I ever welcome haters and racists here in Johor. If anyone who want to practice hatred and racism in Johor Darul Ta’zim, the home of the Malays, Chinese and Indians – Bangsa Johor, please leave Johor immediately. That is an order!“
Crown Prince Tunku Ismail, the eldest brother of Tunku Idris, is another prince from Johor who wasn’t impressed with Najib administration. He is popular for his infamous insult against PM Najib who was tainted with 1MDB scandal, comparing the prime minister as “a drowning man will try to reach and hold on to anything, including ‘faeces’.”
What raises the attention on Raja Zarith Sofiah’s calling for respect to non-Muslims in Malaysia, however, is her remark – “When my eldest son was leaving India and was ending his service with the Indian army, his fellow officers took him to the army mosque. They were Hindus but they showed their respect by covering their heads with their handkerchiefs, and taking their shoes off.”
While she didn’t specifically mention which ethnic is being disrespected, her comment could be targeting the Malaysian Indians. This could only mean one issue that has gotten the Queen of Johor upset – snake oil salesman Zakir Naik. Salafist preacher Zakir Naik was recently revealed to have had been given a Malaysian permanent resident status since 5 years ago.
The revelation drew public criticism owing to ongoing investigations against him in India for promoting terrorism. The local Hindu community remain aggrieved with the preacher owing to remarks he previously made regarding their faith. More importantly, there’re tons of “stateless Indians” who haven’t gotten their citizenship despite living in Malaysia since Independence.
Zakir Naik, a controversial Indian Islamic preacher, is banned in Bangladesh, Canada, United Kingdom and his own country India. The preacher is so dangerous that even MIC, a political party subservient to Najib’s UMNO party, has questioned the presence of the fugitive in Malaysia. However, Zakir receives protection from Perkasa, another racist and extreme group.
Besides making Zakir Naik Perkasa’s honorary member, Perkasa has criticised MIC President Dr S. Subramaniam “stupidity” in questioning the preacher’s contributions to the advancement of Islam in the country. But what were the contributions referred by Perkasa? Was it his calling for a coalition government of UMNO and PAS?
An admirer of terrorist Osama bin Laden, Zakir had openly urged every Muslim to become a terrorist. India’s National Investigation Agency is currently seeking Interpol’s assistance to extradite Zakir Naik, who had fled immediately after investigations were launched against him and his NGO, Islamic Research Foundation – for terror propaganda and money-laundering.
Even though Zakir is currently on Interpol Red Notice, Najib regime appears to be protecting and harbouring the fugitive. Heck, Zakir is treated like a national treasure that he was bestowed with a Bintang Pahlawan Pribumi Perkasa Negara award, the most prestigious award from Malay right-wing group Perkasa’s President Ibrahim Ali.
Perhaps the Queen of Johor sees Zakir Naik as a dangerous man while other Malay-Muslims see the fugitive as the best invention since sliced bread. Even in Indonesia, preacher Zakir has made demeaning comments about non-Muslims. At the Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia, Zakir preached that Muslims should always choose one of their own rather than a non-Muslim as a friend or leader.