Pakatan Harapan is better at turning myths into facts. They will keep repeating the same story again and again and after awhile it becomes the truth. And this is the main weakness of Barisan Nasional. Until quite recently Barisan Nasional has failed to counter the opposition spins and after 20 years myth has turned into fact.

I was in Thailand a few days ago (as Husam Musa had revealed here) and had a very interesting conversation with a lady (no, not that type of ‘lady’). She asked me where I am from and I replied I am from Malaysia.

She then asked me whether I support Anwar Ibrahim. I was taken aback by that question and was actually quite surprised that this massage parlour owner (yes, now you know where that conversation took place) knew Malaysian politics and I replied, “No, I support Najib.”

She looked at me ‘one kind’ (as if I had just requested a ‘happy-ending massage’ — and if you do not know what that means too bad) and then she asked me whether I support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which I also replied ‘no’.

Foreigners are being told that Chinese and Indian schools are banned in Malaysia

What was even more interesting is that she was surprised when I said I support Najib and not Anwar and Mahathir. And the fact that she considers Anwar and Mahathir as allies and Najib as their adversary means she knows Malaysian politics well. To her, Anwar and Mahathir are the good guys while Najib is the bad guy, which was why she looked at me ‘one kind’.

I told her she appears quite familiar with Malaysian politics and she replied she has a few Chinese friends in Malaysia and they give her feedback about what is happening in Malaysia. She also told me that the Chinese in Malaysia are treated as second-class citizens by the Muslims and face discrimination from the ‘Muslim’ government.

Now, this is not the first time a foreigner has told me about how the Muslims badly treat the non-Muslims in Malaysia. In fact, if you read reports written by foreign journalists, the theme is more or less the same each time: Muslims persecute and discriminate against non-Muslims in Malaysia. They even say that the Chinese are not allowed to practice their culture and traditions or attend Chinese schools.

All branches of the Malaysian armed forces have ‘Allah’ and ‘Muhammad’ on their crests

In that sense Pakatan Harapan is better than Barisan Nasional, as the title of this article suggests. Pakatan Harapan has been able to convince the world that the non-Muslims and the Chinese face discrimination in Malaysia. Most people do not know that the government gives more than RM500 million to the Chinese schools. The story that goes around the world is that the Chinese are not allowed their mother-tongue education.

The article by KJ John that was published in Malaysiakini (SEE BELOW) is just one of many similar articles that anti-government websites, news portals and blogs publish. And the theme is the same and repeated each time. Basically, what KJ John is saying is that Malaysia’s Federal Constitution is a secular constitution and the Sharia (in particular the Sharia Amendment Bill) violates Malaysia’s Constitution.

KJ John said, “If one is not really sure about the full rationale, I think we can simply ask our Singapore neighbours; if they can agree based on their interpretation of the original Malaysia Agreement.”

In other words, KJ John says we should ask Singapore whether they agree to RUU355. Singapore still has the Internal Security Act (ISA) while Malaysia does not. Should we also ask Singapore whether they agree for Malaysia to abolish the ISA?

The star and crescent moon symbol was the emblem of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century and gradually became associated with Islam in late 19th-century

The other thing that KJ John said is, “The Federal Constitution of Malaysia was always designed to be a secular one.” If that is so then there has to be separation of church and state in Malaysia: which is what a secular country is all about. Then how come Muslims get arrested if they drink or commit the crime of close proximity (khalwat) and extra-marital sex (zina) while Muslims cannot leave Islam to become a Christian? In a secular country no one can impose religious rules and laws on you.

People like KJ John and many others keep repeating this myth that Malaysia’s Constitution is a secular constitution and that Sharia laws violate Malaysia’s Constitution. And, if you repeat this many times, after a certain period of time people will begin to believe that story. Then you will have massage parlour owners in Thailand also saying the same thing, which they heard from their non-Muslim or Chinese friends in Malaysia.

Islam is the new communism, which is why it must be opposed at all costs


Are 3-5-6 and 355 too much, too late?

KJ John, Malaysiakini

A private member’s motion on amendments to Act 355 is bidding to seek Parliament’s approval to discuss and debate some issues and concerns of one member of the Parliament. That member of Parliament happens to be the president of PAS, the Islamist party, Ustaz Abdul Hadi Awang. This motion has not yet been fully tabled and debated. Nevertheless, we all need to be vigilant about the specific intent and political gamesmanship here.

Two good friends and equally proud Malaysians, both lawyers, Haris Ibrahim and Mohd Ariff Md Yusof, have written and spoken their complete theses about their issues and concerns. Please review them here and here.

My greater concern is that our democracy and monarchies are both equally defined by the same Federal Constitution of Malaysia.

Therefore any careless attitude and thinking about our Federal Constitution as currently predefined by non-Malaysians will affect all Malaysians equally. The constitution does not have two classes of citizenship.

Redefining those pre-agreed issues, and doing it merely by the back door of a private member’s bill, is simply a serious violation of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.

Matters of public and/or national interest (defined as the needs and concerns of the original three framing and forming entities of the Malaysia Agreement) need full consensus and very good discourse of all related institutions, even the need for securing two-thirds agreement of Parliament.

The unconstitutional spirit of Act 355

The Reid and Cobbold Commissions were engaged and involved in drafting and framing the Federal Constitutions of 1957 and 1963. Even the lone Muslim Commissioner from Pakistan understood all nuances and implications before his views were made into specifications.

That agreement became words and were framed and phrased within our Federal Constitution as our ‘Document of Destiny’ as published by Star Publications. Therefore, if anyone really has doubts; they should read and understand all these issues.

Allow me, through this column, to repeat Mohd Ariff’s eight propositions and then argue why I think we are violating even the Spirit of our Original Constitution (ie before some questionable amendments were equally made by the back door in 1988).

Therefore, the expansion of the 3-5-6 punishments being done without a due process even amongst Muslims (see Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainul Abidin’s comments in The Sunday Star last Sunday) without good consultations with relevant all parties for any such new policy.

Mohd Ariff requested and highlighting that all text has to always be read within its explicitly stated context, and therefore urged “harmonising the different aspects of the Law.” I summarise them as follows:

1. The Federal Constitution of Malaysia was always designed to be a secular one;

2. Article 3 (1) assigns a special status to Islam but expresses freedom of faith and practice of other religions;

3. Article 3 (4) gives supreme authority to the Federal Constitution against all violations to itself in spirit and law;

4. The formal division between secular and Islamic laws are explicitly listed in Schedule 9, List I (4a) and List II (1) and should be understood as our context for its original intent and interpretation;

5. The constitutionality of any interpretation of both Schedule 9 Lists I and II can and have been tested in Civil Courts and these have now been made explicit by case law which has never been overturned. The sole exception is the 1988 amendment of Article 121 (1a), which has be default become a de facto interpretation;

6. Syariah Courts established under State Laws are therefore Lower Courts of Limited Jurisdiction under the context of Schedule 9 Lists I and II. The same is true also of the Industrial Courts and a few others created recently;

7. Syariah Courts have jurisdiction only over Muslims and with respect to Item 1 List II; and finally,

8. Syariah Courts have no authority over matters not allowed by the Federal Laws.

Premised upon the above, I will therefore conclude that the tabling of Act 355 in excess of the 3-5-6 limits cannot simply be extended by without explicit Federal Laws concurrence; which are intended and always structured for compliance by all Malaysian citizens and visitors to Malaysia.

These Act 355 amendments therefore are too much and too late in the day. The two-thirds partners of entities that make up Malaysia; ie Sabah and Sarawak and the Malay States must all therefore agree “through a legal and legitimate process of consultation”, if these amendments are to be tabled debated and finally passed. If one is not really sure about the full rationale, I think we can simply ask our Singapore neighbours; if they can agree based on their interpretation of the original Malaysia Agreement.

WRITER: Raja Petra Kamarudin