The age of sedition

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This is the age of sedition in Malaysia.

If you are a non-Malay or non-Muslim, be very careful what you tweet and post on Facebook—you might end up spending time in jail. Parents should take some interest in what their children are saying on social media. I have heard many things Muslims have said publicly about Christians, Christianity, Hindus, Hinduism and the Chinese that are insulting and derogatory, but the chances of them being charged are less likely. That’s the way the cookie crumbles in this country.

Non-Malays and non-Muslims also need take extra care in what they say or write about the Malay Rulers. Although constitutional monarchs in democracies everywhere else in the world are not spared from public criticism and unsavoury comments, the situation here is different.

Clearly, we are not the democracy we say we are and we are not the free country we were promised we would be on Malaysia Day in 1963. Leaders cannot be criticised or disagreed with publicly, or they will feel insulted. We are a semi-Caliphate, not too far removed from those in Iraq or Syria.

The loyalty of non-Malays and non-Muslims are being questioned all the time, as is the loyalty of those in Sabah and Sarawak who are unhappy with the treatment they have received since the formation of Malaysia. So do not say or write what you feel, unless you are prepared to spend time in Kajang.

I know it’s tempting to exercise your freedom and express your views, especially since you are exposed to the world through social media, but please exercise restraint. For the first time in our history, we have a Prime Minister and Home Minister who have publicly declared, many times over, that the Malays and Islam are under threat. The threats are from within, of course; where else could they be? So the PM and his Home Minister are referring to non-Malays and non-Muslims as enemies of Islam and the Malays. In this environment, it’s better not to be too expressive.

It’s not a good idea to protest too much about what’s going on in the country either. Street marches have been proposed and there are those who have said the Bar Council could organise such rallies, but I am not sure this strategy would work. We might get some news coverage, but nothing will change.

It would be better to focus on inter-communal relationships at the grassroots level. Show our leaders that we do not subscribe to their story. Show them that we are prepared to determine our future as a nation and who we are as a people. Let us craft an identity as Malaysians that is totally different from what they want to manufacture.

So how about using your energy and financial clout to strengthen your communal relationships with the Malays and Muslims? Interact with them more so they see that you are not their enemy. In Kelantan where I come from, the Malay and non-Malay relationship at the community and personal levels are excellent, and I am sure it’s the same in many other places. The different communities can help each other in many problems in their daily lives. The people are tired of these leaders’ defeatist mantras, but since they have a monopoly over TV stations and newspapers, they will keep working to get you to believe that the threat truly comes from within.

I find the people in Sabah and Sarawak are closely knit, but more could be done to infuse trust between the Christian community and the Muslims. In the peninsula, community leaders have to be extra robust in their outreach programme to cement the friendship and harmony among the different races and religious groups. I believe the majority of Malaysians do not believe “the enemies from within” storyline.

If we all work together to be a united people, there is only so much these leaders can do to break us. One day, they will be talking to themselves about the enemies from within, because no one else is listening, except their hired hands and sycophants.

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  • Yang

    Great idea Dato. To all Malaysiana.United we stand divided we fall . Let them fall instead.

  • harris

    Malaysians, parents and young people should take heed of Zaid’s advice. He was once a minister for justice, he should know what he’s talking about.

  • Young people should take heed of Zaid’s advice. It is disconcerting and heartbreaking to see the go to jail for having an opinion.

  • Perkosa Isma

    The only way out I can see is to keep your opinion to yourself , learn to be a loner, close your house main door all times, have not even a casual small talk with your neighbours or friends or colleagues , at best talk to your pets only if must…..then you should be safe from any charge. Don’t take the risk ..

  • Zed Zahid

    How about me? I keep bashing my own Malay communities in their religious behavior. (TWO in ONE). Am I saved? kuakuakua

  • bhKua

    Well said . Bravo

  • Perkosa Isma

    All you non Malays here by liking this on your Facebook are already risking yourself of sedition….be careful of what you like next time

  • Anonymous

    Dear Admin,
    Other than reading the writings in the blog, I and many readers (I’m sure), would also like to read / discuss, it in the comment sections.

    But there are too much reposting comment that making reading the actual comments harder than it is.

    If you can find a better way to display it, then it will make better reading.

    Thanks!

  • sotong

    You do not run a multi racial and religious country by bullying your way through. No bully/racist/religious bigot should be given a position of power, trust and influence.

    Creating FEAR in ordinary Malay/Muslim of ‘ others ‘ for narrow and divisive political reasons will create strong prejudices and hatred and destroy their basic trust of ‘ others ‘ to establish a normal relationship and live a normal life.

    Constantly viewing others as enemies is most destructive to a normal person’s mental welbeing and personal development – in the long run one would be classified as mentally sick harmful and dangerous to the society.

  • bigjoe

    How much can the leaders do to break us apart? I believe you underestimate the depravity of UMNO/BN – they can destroy this country to do it. And if you look at experience in Middle East countries, there is always deeper well of depravity and divide they can dig from unquestionable faith..

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