Category Archives: Islam
I have been watching a couple of Indonesian movies over the past couple of weeks and I found that they seemed to be “liberal” more so compared to the movies in Malaysia. Susah Jaga Keperawanan Di Jakarta and the more famous Ada Apa Dengan Cinta (which I watched a couple of years ago) seem to vary quite a bit from Malaysian movies like Gol dan Gincu and a couple of others I cannot remember the name for. The latter seeming to be more conservative though pushing the envelope.
I believe the biggest reason for this difference would be the reason that Malaysia views itself at the current point in time as an “Islamic State” and Indonesia still believes in the Pancasila. (Malaysia under Tunku Abdul Rahman was a secular state with Islam being the official religion)
In the late 1960’s Singapore started to reform it’s society vigorously due to it’s small size and it’s vulnerability as an economy keeping in mind Sukarno was a threat. The PAP leaders in Singapore (Goh Keng Swee and Lee Kwan Yew) changed their identity when they formed Singapore. Consider that both leaders either belonged to the Straits Chinese and/or the Peranakan. They now called themselves Chinese leaders of a multiracial Singapore and abandoned the use of Hokkien and Teochew in the teaching of school curriculum and opted for Mandarin. I beleive the argument was with regards to army service men in the 1970’s not understanding each others dialects. The PAP was and is a multiracial party but this is not the focus of this post.
Across the causeway in Malaysia as a result of the racial riots in Kuala Lumpur on May 13 1969 besides a curb on free speech, the NEP (New Economic Policy) was implemented by the then Deputy Prime Minister (Timbalan Perdana Mentri) Tun Abdul Razak. That was not however a major shift due to the reason that these policies at that time were meant to be temporary and not permanent. (The NEP was to accord affirmative action to push the Malays to become close to equal in economic prosperity in comparison with the Chinese). When Tun, Dr. Mahathir Mohammed became premier in 1981 the shift that was meant to be temporary soon turned into something that was close to permanent. I believe the law still indicates that all Malaysians regardless of religion or race is equal, where affirmative policies can be implemented. With the Islamic revolution in Iran (1979) in full swing in the 1980’s Barisan Nasional created Islamic courts under article 121(A) of the constitution in the Peninsula. More women started to wear the tudung (commonly known as the hijab in the rest of the world). Mahathir was really good at implementing Islamic and Western principles at almost the same time. Weekends which used to constitute Fridays and Saturdays in Johor for example was changed to Saturdays and Sundays in the 1990’s. People were suspected of not being married were being issued summons in parks and in other public areas for holding hands. Cars and highways were being built at a phenomenal rate to show that Malaysia had the capability of building highways that were as good as the interstates in the United States. The major companies that were government aided like Proton, Perodua, UEM, Renong and PLUS were headed by the “Malays”. The reason why I have placed the word Malay in quotations is because some of the companies were headed by incompetent people. Let me clarify that I am in no way being racist as I am aware of some very capable Malays in high positions in companies with no external nudging.
Let us move towards the events of the past couple of years notably the endorsement of Perkasa by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed which called for Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) and Lee Kwan Yew’s book on “Hard Truths”, where he talks about the Malays in Singapore being separate and not assimilating “with the Chinese”. I wonder if both the strong men in the region put way too much focus on a particular racial group while the others treaded along.
Where is all of this going to lead? Especially with regards to the group of “stupid” and/or loyal supporters of both leaders.
Hosni Mubarak has resigned and the people have won with the backing of the military. The people in Gaza would be a little happier considering that they would have the feeling that there are more people supporting their cause through a possible new government.
I believe that it would be very important for Egypt to build strong institutions, such as an independent election commission , an independent judiciary whether it may implement English Common Law, Syariah Law or both and a completely neutral security force which would include the police and the armed forces. Once these are established making new laws and building new business and lives should not be a problem.
I talked about the possibility of Syariah law. A lot of people will be sceptical of Islamic law due to the reason that they believe Saudi Arabia and Iran practice good Islamic law. Laws based upon Islam are cherry picked in the countries that I have mentioned in advocating in some instances that women are men’s property. Proper Syariah law has it’s checks and balances and advocates that no person is closer to God (Allah) than another. A Syariah court can be modelled on the local (Magistrate) and/or on the Federal Level (High Court/ Supreme Court), which would include an appeals court as well. Good Islamic law tends to move with the times and does not remain stagnant. It would also be important to realize that the country is an Islamic country to begin with so creating laws which reflect the people would be more important that modelling the “new” laws in Egypt after the United States or Westminster.
I will not make any predictions for Egypt due to the fluidity of the environment in the country at the moment. I wish Egyptians in Egypt and around the world Good Luck !!!