Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
There is a threat against Islam that is fast emerging, and it is coming from groups aligned both with the federal ruling coalition and the federal opposition of Malaysia.
Enter the DAP and the MCA, two non-Malay based political entities that are predominantly non-Muslim. While the DAP is with the federal ruling coalition, the MCA is fast re-emerging as a thorn within the federal opposition, comprising chiefly of Members of Parliament from UMNO and PAS.
Prior to the 14thgeneral election, the MCA had already challenged the tabling of a bill to expand the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts in line with requirements by the religion of Islam.
Its leaders knew that the bill would have no impact upon non-Muslims as the Federal Constitution of Malaysia was clear with its guarantee on the right for all Malaysians to profess their respective religions freely, so long as there was no attempt by a non-Muslim to preach his (or her) religion to a Muslim.
But the MCA went ahead and made a big fuss about the whole affair. The party was desperate to impress upon the Chinese, who long felt that the party was subservient to UMNO, that it held its own and dared go against the Malays if it was in the best interest of the Chinese.
So you see, the MCA has no qualms pitting the Chinese against Muslims on false pretences and has proven itself to be a thorn in UMNO’s flesh over and over again. What’s worse, it even is willing to help the DAP propagate these ‘Islamophobic’ fears as long as “the Chinese see that the MCA is more Chinese than the DAP.”
Never has there been a day where an MCA leader stood side by side with his (or her) UMNO counterpart to defend the sanctity of Islam, the special privileges accorded to the Malays or even the status of Bahasa Melayu as the official language against attacks by the DAP.
This is because the MCA is not willing to let the DAP tell the Chinese that the MCA is “Islamic in spirit owing to its association with UMNO.” With UMNO having forged an alliance of sorts with PAS, it gets worse.
Today, the MCA has many more reasons not to defend anything Malay or Islam, as the DAP would likely go for its jugular, telling the Chinese that the MCA’s ‘involvement’ with PAS has more or less ‘Islamised’ the party.
So today, the MCA has a hundred more reasons to resonate with the DAP on “anything anti-Islam or anti-Malay” even if it is at the expense of unity and harmony. That explains why the party is steadfast with its support for Dong Zong even though its leaders know that the educationist group is deliberately pitting the Chinese against Muslims.
Instead of helping UMNO and PAS reverse misconceptions raised regarding the introduction of jawi script and khat calligraphy to school goers, the MCA prefers to join forces with the DAP, impressing upon Chinese that “Dong Zong is right, the introduction of jawi and khat calligraphy will Islamise education in Malaysia.”
The MCA accomplished this simply by bringing pressure to bear on the DAP to ‘force’ the Government of Malaysia (GoM) into “forgoing plans to introduce the jaws script to school goers.”
The party even echoed the DAP’s criticism over a move by the police to ban Dong Zong’s “anti-jawi congress” even though it knew that the congress was racist, anti-Islam, anti-unity and anti-harmony in nature.
By doing so, the MCA killed two birds with one stone – it got to tell the Chinese that even with PAS in the picture, it gets to do what it wants, and that it most certainly is “more Chinese” than the DAP. The aim?
To fish for votes, of course.
Yes, it’s all about votes. The MCA is ever willing to help the DAP step on everything Malay and Islam even if it causes serious harm to posterity. The Chinese-Malay divide is getting bigger by the day, but the MCA couldn’t care less. As long as it gets the votes, it is happy.
And this is nothing new.
Back in the eighties, when the Ministry of Education decided to appoint some 100 senior assistants and supervisors to Chinese-medium primary schools, concerns were raised by Chinese politicians and organizations that the appointees were not Chinese-educated.
These politicians and organisations implied that students and parents would be forced to forgo the Chinese language and use English or Malay to communicate with school personnel in Chinese vernacular schools.
Actually, the concern was first raised by Dong Zong. Instead of calling for a meeting with the Minister of Education to discuss the concern, the group decided to go public with it, impressing upon the Chinese that the GoM was “slowly nationalising vernacular schools.”
This caused a furore among Chinese educationists and parents. As if things weren’t bad enough, on the 11th of October 1987, Dong Jiao Zong organised a 2,000-strong gathering at the Hainanese Association Building beside the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur.
Interestingly enough, the MCA and Gerakan openly teamed up with the DAP during the event and shared a stage to call for a three-day boycott in Chinese schools if the government did not settle the appointment issue.
What was so ironical about the whole affair was the fact that the MCA and Gerakan were both part of government but chose to stand alongside the DAP to call for policy reviews.
And that was at a time when PAS kept a ten foot pole distance from UMNO, each trying to outdo the other to prove it was more Malay and more Muslim.
Do I need to say more?