Very difficult meh?

Kuala Lumpur, (PTI): A day after ethnic Indian activists sought setting up of a Non-Muslim Affairs department, Malaysia on Monday said it was “difficult” to meet the demand as Islam is the country’s only official religion.

Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, however, said that absence of such a dedicated department did not mean that the government had forsaken other religious communities in this predominantly Islamic country.

Link: The Hindu News Update service 

Accepting momentarily, for the sake of argument, that a non-Muslim affairs department is a good way to address the grievances that Non-Muslims face in a multi-religious society, I don’t see Najib’s reasoning here.

As he has said it, I think it is precisely because-rather than in spite of-Islam being Malaysia’s official religion  that such a department needs to be set, if it even ought to be set up. Even more so, if we observe that an overwhelming majority of the country religious faithful are Muslims.

Any casual observer will note that the Hindu community wants an assurance that the government is looking out for them. Thus the call for such a dedicated government department. If that is the wish of those activists, then why is Malaysia’s official religion a barrier to setting up  such a department? Is it un-Islamic to have a government that looks out for all its peoples?

But I think the more subtle point is that already the Hindu community views itself and cornered in by four walls, such that they begin to compare themselves with the Orang Asli community. A very dangerous and unhealthy view, IMHO.
Obviously this is not a political answer to give, and for better or worse, Najib is right to discourage such views.

Certainly he (Najib) is correct to point out that the government doesn’t need a dedicated department to look after every Malaysian’s rights. That should be the first thing on every MPs agenda, more so on every minister’s actions. And when necessary, protecting the minority rights must be every judges priority. However, as we know, reality is not so rosy.

So why then-this is something I must ask those who want a extra department (and another layer of human incompetence)- is a Jabatan Hal-Ehwal Bukan Islam going to solve all the injustice and grievances that has been perpetrated so far?


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About me

moogleBorn and bred in KL, Malaysia. Now studying for his Phd in Singapore. Learning to walk one fall at a time.
December 2007
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