Minority Representation: America vs Malaysia

Below is an article that I wrote in 2017 as a columnist for the news portal ‘Menara.my’ under the title, “Minority Rights: Malaysia vs America”. Seeing that the action of likening Black oppression in the United States of America to the supposed minority oppression in Malaysia is prevailing after the unfortunate death of a Black citizen due to police brutality in America, I thought that this article might be enlightening to some. Since this article was written before Malaysia’s 14th General Election, the breakdown of the Dewan Rakyat representatives is out of date. However, do keep in mind that the number of minority representatives have increased and not decreased since the previous election.

America, the “Land of the Free,” the country with the best governance and laws which provide equal rights for all human beings, no matter their race or religion. And as the Muslim Bumiputra-led government of Malaysia is always heavily criticised for discriminating the minorities, Malaysia should definitely learn about racial and religious equality from the United States … right? 

In 1788, when the United States Constitution granted each state the power to set their voting requirements, suffrage was mostly restricted to white males. [1] At that time, so many African-Americans were legally bonded to their owners as chattel slaves that the status of slave had been institutionalised as a racial caste associated with African ancestry. [2] The existence of one of the largest and most destructive conflict in the Western world, “The American Civil War” is an obvious proof of the whites’ refusal to accept the fact that the African-Americans are also humans who deserve the rights to live as freemen. The war between the Northern states who pledged under President Lincoln’s words that all men are created equal and the pro-black slavery Confederate States of America lasted for four years and cost about 625,000 lives. [3]  

Even after the Civil War ended and the Northern states came out victorious, a Confederate sympathiser who was also initiated into the pro-Confederate ‘Knights of the Golden Circle’ fatally wounded President Lincoln in an exhibition of protest against the freedom of the blacks. [4] In a clear attempt to return the newly freed slaves into their former condition, most Southern states enacted the “Black Code” which prohibits the blacks to assemble in groups [5], testify against white people in court [6], and even to simply learn to read and write. [7][8] 

Upon the long-delayed ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment which abolishes slavery and the Fifteenth Amendment which granted the rights to vote to all men without any regards to their race, the “Jim Crow Laws” were enacted, enforcing a racial segregation in the Southern United States. Poll taxes, literacy tests and threats of violent acts by the whites in the form of lynch mobs and terrorist attacks effectively excluded most blacks from the political system. [9] 

It took them nearly a hundred years to finally overrule the “Jim Crow Laws” in the forms of the “Civil Rights Act of 1964”[10] and the “Voting Rights Act of 1965”. [11] 

And yet, Malaysian minorities have been voting since the very first Malaysian election in 1955. They were neither bounded as chattel slaves nor ripped off from their rights to vote, assemble in groups, and to learn to read and write. In fact, a number of Chinese and Indians were already elected during the first Malaysian election, a stark difference against America which did not feature an African-American representative until their 41st congress. [12] 

Even today, the minorities in America are still greatly under-represented in America compared to Malaysia which has a more or less balanced amount of representatives. 

Only 7.36% of the representatives are Hispanics and/or Latinos compared to the 16.30% of the American population who are Hispanics and/or Latinos. Whereas in Malaysia, the representation of the races in Malaysia’s Dewan Rakyat is more or less well-balanced. 

Not just that, in America, the Christians, which encompasses 70.60% of the population, makes up a massive figure of 93.10% of the representatives—crowding the representatives of the minorities which makes up 28.80% of the population to only having 5.52% of the seats. However, in the Muslim country of Malaysia, the Christians (a minority religion) are over-represented, making up about 14% to 21% of the Dewan Rakyat compared to their 9.20% figure in the population statistics. The Muslims make an almost exact figure of about 61.29% to 61.30%.  

Just by looking into the history and the current political scenario of the two countries, it is already obvious that the government of the “Land of the Free” and its majority, the whites, are far more racially and religiously biased than the Malaysian government and its majority, the Bumiputras. In truth, one should always properly study a country with a fair mind before making any judgements and comments which will ignite racial and religious conflicts, perturbing the peace and harmony of the country. 

Sources: 

1. http://15thamendment.harpweek.com/HubPages/CommentaryPage.asp?Commentary=01Timeline1865 

2. https://slate.com/human-interest/2015/05/peter-h-wood-strange-new-land-excerpt.html 

3. http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/civil-war-overview/overview.html 

4. https://archive.org/details/shadowofsentinel00getl 

5. Zebina Eastman, Black Code of Illinois, 1883, p 36 

6. Zebina Eastman, Black Code of Illinois, 1883, p 44 

7. Acts passed by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina [1830-1831], chapter VI 

8. https://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry/2017/10/05/professional-genealogist-offers-advice-on-tracing-african-american-roots/ 

9. https://web.archive.org/web/20070304111738/http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/voting/intro/intro_b.htm 

10. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/civil-rights-act 

11. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/voting-rights-act 

12. https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/BAIC/Black-Americans-in-Congress/ 

Tulisan Jawi

“ارفع كلماتك ولا ترفع صوتك فالمطر هو الذي ينبت الورود وليس الرعد”
Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.
-Jalaluddin al-Rumi

To preach is so much easier than to practice. Such is often the case. For to speak words of virtue and idealistic views is far simpler than to be a change; foreign and, subsequently, isolated and frowned upon. Yet, just how far can we go if we only talk, but do not walk? How long can we shout the same words before it becomes nothing but a broken record? 

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

Throughout the many years that I have spent writing and worrying about the future of our nation and its rich heritage, I have always been upset and frustrated about my subpar capabilities in writing and conversing in my own mother tongue; Bahasa Melayu. I felt as if I am a hypocrite; preaching about how important it is to protect our culture and heritage and yet, being unable to master Bahasa Melayu myself. I wasn’t incapable of conversing and writing in Bahasa Melayu, but I often make grammatical mistakes and my vocabulary index was so shallow that it was laughable.

Then, one quiet morning in November 2018, I was blessed with the opportunity to meet Allahyarham Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Omar Mohd Hashim, who played a key role in establishing the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia examination to replace the Cambridge’s examination and empowered the role of Bahasa Melayu in our primary and secondary education. On top of that, he was also one of the people responsible behind the construction of Wisma Sejarah as the headquarters for Persatuan Sejarah Malaysia– which was where I accidentally met him as he was reading a newspaper (Utusan) in the library. And for a man who played such a great role in preserving and strengthening the role of our own language as well as our history, he was greatly uncelebrated. He rode a humble car and dressed in smart, but humble clothes and looked at me perplexed when I asked for his autograph because he didn’t understand why would I ask for his autograph. And from this experience and the words that he wrote and spoke throughout his lifetime, I came to understand that he didn’t care about the fanfares which came with his many credentials. All that he wanted was to preserve and strengthen the role of our language and history and thus, he worked to ensure that it happened by raising his actions and words, and not his voice.

Thus why I was inspired to take the opportunity to relearn Bahasa Melayu from the basics and try my very best to finally master the language while I was studying for my SPM examinations last year so that I won’t just simply excel in the exams, but can write and speak in the same language that my forefathers spoke in. And now, I can proudly say that my proficiency in Bahasa Melayu has immensely improved and my “karangan” being arguably better than that of my elder sister’s.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

For the past months, the issue of including a section to observe our traditional script, Jawi, in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus has been so hotly debated that half of us have forgotten the point of including the section in our syllabus in the first place. However, for all the damages it has caused, what good has the debate brought us? Are the ones who shout as they defend the decision to include the Jawi script in our syllabus actually using the script in their daily lives and working to ensure that the script is preserved by teaching their children to appreciate, love and write in the script? Everyone left and right are screaming and shouting about the implementations of the action, and the implementations of opposing the actions, and the implementations of opposing the opposition of the action that it is dangerously close to turning into an annoying sound like that of a mosquito which the public would swat away when they hear it, or a grenade which explodes and destroys bridges in between friends, neighbours and the nation.

Then, the Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah binti Almarhum Al-Mutawakkil Alallah Sultan Iskandar Al-Haj, simply posted four words in Jawi script on her twitter calling for the public to “هيدوڤ کن کݢوناٴن توليسن جاوي”, or to start writing and applying the usage of the Jawi script in our daily lives, and subsequently only wrote in Jawi script on her Twitter. However, her actions have triggered thousands of Malaysians to start learning and using the script on social media as well as their daily lives; a refreshing and exuberant sight for all of us. Her Majesty didn’t call for war or for us to preach to those who are bent on despising and calling our traditional script propaganda. All that Her Majesty did was to call for us to practice it in our daily lives and encouraged it by doing so herself. Yet, the good it has brought us is tenfold the effect we have seen from the months-long debate on Tulisan Jawi.

Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows roses, not thunder.

We’ve heard these words from Jalaluddin al-Rumi countless of times– perhaps, have even quoted it. Yet, how often do we sit back and ask ourselves if we are embodying it? How often do we sit back and reflect on our past actions and look for countless of times we went against the words we preach? 

Forgetting Our Future

At times like these, I wonder how can the people — not just the youngsters, forget the ones we owe our lives to. Perhaps it doesn’t matter because we are here today and let yesterday be what it is; the past.

It pains me as I watch faces who said that they are a part of us leave the moment they thought they see glitter on the other side of the river. Perhaps it doesn’t matter because there’s a chance that tomorrow you’ll find a golden apple and let today be what it eventually will be; history.

It tortures me when I realise that no one is concerned about how we are all forgetting the values which promise tomorrow. How no one is concerned about how the water that we saved in hopes to live through the years of drought is rapidly seeping out from the cracks of old age. How no one is concerned enough to fix the cracks and replenish the reservoir so that we can make it through tomorrow. Perhaps it doesn’t matter because we’re sleeping with a full stomach today and let tomorrow be what it is; uncertain, unfound — lost.

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Feb — PEMBAKAR SEMANGAT … Peranan besar tulisan Jawi pada akhbar-akhbar Melayu seperti Utusan Melayu, Utusan Zaman dan majalah Warta Ahad dalam menyuburkan semangat kemerdekaan dan petriotisme di kalangan orang Melayu. Di dalam suratkhabar-suratkhabar itu digambarkan kesedihan orang yang dijajah serta dipaparkan juga kelemahan dalam masyarakat menyebabkan semangat untuk membebaskan tanah air dari belenggu penjejah semakin membara. Kelihatan akhbar Utusan Zaman keluaran Ahad 1 September 1957 yang memaparkan perkataan ‘Merdeka’, ‘Merdeka’, ‘Merdeka’, dalam huruf Jawi dengan megah menghiasi muka satu akhbar itu dengan foto pemasyhuran kemerdekaan oleh Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj. –fotoBERNAMA HAKCIPTA TERPELIHARA

Disrespect Towards the Sovereign Rulers, and Racial Divide: Someone Needs to Close the Can of Worms


Since May last year, there has been a profound rise in the number of random civilians who posts words or pictures which are preaching hatred on their social media pages by mocking the sovereign rulers of the country and the people who support them, and insulting the practices and ideologies which are taught in Islam, the religion of the Federation. These posts are obviously stirring up the anger of all patriotic citizens, not only the Malays and the Muslims, and are causing a divide between the people.

As a multiracial country, people of all races and religions would feel angry about such acts because they feel compassionate for their fellow compatriots. These people would also feel angry at the disrespect shown to their sovereign rulers who they owe to for the peace and success of their country. However, it is sad to see that the number of people from other races who are standing behind the sovereign rulers and the Malays is minute. The rest of them have either chosen to join the charade of hate preaching or to ignore the whole fiasco altogether. And this is where the divide happens.

When the Malays embraced and welcomed the induction of the Chinese and the Indians as citizens of Malaysia, only to have a majority of these people mock and insult their religion, they feel very much betrayed. This feeling subsequently leads to indignation which leads to them standing up to protect the sanctity of their religion and race. When the Malays unite to stand up for the king, their religion and race, there are people who dislike this unity and instill fear into the hearts of the people from other races—specifically the Chinese and the Indians, by accusing the Malays of attempting to oust them from the country. This provokes the other races to mock and insult the sovereign rulers and the Malays even further. Thus, when the fight is no longer between individuals and the patriotic citizens but race against race, it poses as a grave danger to the peace of our country.

There needs to be a stop in the derogatory usage of our sovereign rulers, and the teachings, traditions and practices of the Muslims as items of mockery and ingredients for jokes.

The Malays were generous enough to relax the citizenship law and grant citizenship for the Chinese and the Indians, who came from their subsequent countries to find a better life. For about 54 years since the establishment of the Social Contract of Malaysia—the basis on which the citizenship of the Chinese and the Indians stands, the people enjoyed a peaceful and joyous life in a country which celebrates its unique multiracial identity, safe for the communal altercation which took place in 1969. All this is now placed at stake because of some foolish and shallow acts done without thorough thought. The impending doom of a communal riot similar to the 13th May 1969 incident seems ever so close at hand. 

This is exactly the reason as to why law is established in a country.

Peace is brought forth when there is order, and for there to be order, a law needs to be established, upheld and practised. The citizens of a civilised country should feel responsible to protect, uphold and respect the law. The government should be the one who sees that the law is being practised and exercised justly—for what is the use of the law if it is not being practised? The amendment of the Sedition Act 1948 in 1971 which criminalises speech with “seditious tendency”, including that which would engender “feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races” was done exactly to curb the communal altercation which we are going through today after experiencing the deadly 13th May 1969 incident. 

The failure of the people to understand the severity of their actions and the reason behind the laws which have been established in the country is saddening and horrifying, and the failure to see through that the law is being practised and upheld is encouraging such acts which are preaching hatred and causing a divide in our country. Thus, until the law is practised and upheld again, the number of such disrespectful, immature and thoughtless acts will only escalate.

Photos: Wacana “Pemikiran Politik Dalam Membina Geopolitik Malaysia”

Speaker; Ustaz Ismail Mina
UMMAH’s chairman, Ustaz Ismail Mina Ahmad, delivering the opening speech during the Wacana Pemikiran Politik Dalam Membina Geopolitik Malaysia which was held at Masjid Putra, Putrajaya on 6th March 2018.

The Wacana Pemikiran dan Peradaban Ummah ke- 10, “Pemikiran Politik Dalam Membina Geopolitik Malaysia” was held at Masjid Putra, Putrajaya on 6th March 2018. The discourse was organised by Islamic NGO, Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT) and supported by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM).

The moderator of the discourse was Tuan Hj. Mahmud Hishamuddin, general secretary of Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT). The papers presented were:

Liberal Demokrasi Satu Bencana Kepada Ummah
Presented by: Dato’ Dr. Wan Adli Wan Ramli
President of Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT)

Falsafah Politik Islam: Satu Tawaran Islam untuk Kelestarian Ummat Abad ke-21
Presented by: Dr. Mohamad Zaidi Abdul Rahman
Ketua Jabatan Siasah Syar’iyyah, Akademi Pengajian Islam, Universiti Malaya

Konsep Ke’arifan Lokal Sebagai Wahana Pengukuhan Negara
Presented by: Dato’ Dr. Wan Ahmad Fauzi Wan Husain
Ketua Lajnah Strategik, Majlis Ittihad Ummah

Tabayyun: Peranan Serta Inisiatif Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM) Dalam Membantu Menangani Isu Kesalahan Jenayah Berkaitan Islam di Alam Siber
Presented by: Datuk Dr. Mazlan Ismail
Ketua Pegawai Operasi, Suruhanjaya Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (SKMM) (MCMC)

Membedah Agenda Parti-parti Politik Malaysia dari Perspektif Kelestarian Ummat
Presented by: Dato’ Zulkifli bin Noordin
Ex-Member of the Parliament of Bandar Baru Kulim

(Click the images to view a larger picture.)

 

Photos: Wacana “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati”, Second Session

The Wacana Pemikiran dan Peradaban Ummah ke- 9, “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati” was held at Kompleks Islam Putrajaya yesterday. Organised by Islamic NGO, Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT) and supported by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and
Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP), the discourse was attended by an estimated amount of 600 people. The event was officiated by Malaysian minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Islamic Affairs, YB Mejar Jeneral (B) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. He also launched three new books by MUAFAKAT, “Akhlaq Dalam Islam: Mendepani Abad ke 22” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh, “Islam dan Fitnah Modernisme” by Ustaz Wan Muhammad Bin Muhammad Ali rh, and “Al-Firqah Al-Najiyah: Epistemologi ‘Aqidah Golongan yang Berjaya” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh.

The moderator of the second session was Dr. Shafaai bin Musa from Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM). The papers presented were:

Kertas Kerja 4: Faham Liberalisme Dalam Wacana Maqasid Syari‘ah
Presented by: Ustaz Sahri Abd. Rahman from Institut Pemikiran Tradisional Islam (IPTI)

Kertas Kerja 5: Strategi dan Kesan Gerakan Liberalisme di Malaysia
Presented by Prof. Datuk Dr. Sidek Baba from Universiti Islam Antarabangsa Malaysia (UIAM)

(Click the images to view a larger picture.)

Related posts:

Photos: Wacana “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati”, Program and Book Launching

The Wacana Pemikiran dan Peradaban Ummah ke- 9, “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati” was held at Kompleks Islam Putrajaya yesterday. Organised by Islamic NGO, Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT) and supported by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and
Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP), the discourse was attended by an estimated amount of 600 people. The event was officiated by Malaysian minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Islamic Affairs, YB Mejar Jeneral (B) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. He also launched three new books by MUAFAKAT, “Akhlaq Dalam Islam: Mendepani Abad ke 22” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh, “Islam dan Fitnah Modernisme” by Ustaz Wan Muhammad Bin Muhammad Ali rh, and “Al-Firqah Al-Najiyah: Epistemologi ‘Aqidah Golongan yang Berjaya” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh.

(Click the images to view a larger picture.)

Related posts:

Photos: Wacana “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati”, First Session and Lunch Break

The Wacana Pemikiran dan Peradaban Ummah ke- 9, “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati” was held at Kompleks Islam Putrajaya yesterday. Organised by Islamic NGO, Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT) and supported by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and
Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP), the discourse was attended by an estimated amount of 600 people. The event was officiated by Malaysian minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Islamic Affairs, YB Mejar Jeneral (B) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. He also launched three new books by MUAFAKAT, “Akhlaq Dalam Islam: Mendepani Abad ke 22” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh, “Islam dan Fitnah Modernisme” by Ustaz Wan Muhammad Bin Muhammad Ali rh, and “Al-Firqah Al-Najiyah: Epistemologi ‘Aqidah Golongan yang Berjaya” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh.

The moderator of the first session was Hj. Azhar bin Hj. Ahmad from Jabatan Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (JAWI). The papers presented were:

Kertas Kerja 1: Trend Pemikiran Liberalisme Dalam Wacana Agama
Ustaz Muhammad Rashidi bin Haji Wahab
Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UNISZA)

Kertas Kerja 2: Gerakan Liberalisme Di Malaysia: Kajian Kes
Presented by A. Karim Omar, vice-president of Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT)

Kertas Kerja 3: Kesesatan Doktrin Liberalisme dan Respons Ahli Sunnah wa al-Jama‘ah
Presented by Dr. Wan Adli Wan Ramli from Universiti Malaya (UM) and also deputy president of Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT)

(Click the images to view a larger picture.)

First session:

Lunch break:

Related posts:

Photos: Wacana “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati”, Opening Session

The Wacana Pemikiran dan Peradaban Ummah ke- 9, “Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati” was held at Kompleks Islam Putrajaya yesterday. Organised by Islamic NGO, Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT) and supported by Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and
Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP), the discourse was attended by an estimated amount of 600 people. The event was officiated by Malaysian minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Islamic Affairs, YB Mejar Jeneral (B) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. He also launched three new books by MUAFAKAT, “Akhlaq Dalam Islam: Mendepani Abad ke 22” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh, “Islam dan Fitnah Modernisme” by Ustaz Wan Muhammad Bin Muhammad Ali rh, and “Al-Firqah Al-Najiyah: Epistemologi ‘Aqidah Golongan yang Berjaya” by Ustaz Muhammad Uthman El-Muhammady rh.

The opening speech was delivered by MUAFAKAT’s president, Ustaz Ismail Mina Ahmad.

(Click the images to view a larger picture.)

Related posts:

Wacana MUAFAKAT – Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati

muafakat-wacanaliberlismeillimunati-banner

WACANA PEMIKIRAN DAN PERADABAN UMMAH KE-9

Tema:
Liberalisme: Agenda Jahat Illuminati

Anjuran:

Pertubuhan Muafakat Sejahtera Masyarakat Malaysia (MUAFAKAT)
Dengan kerjasama:
Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM)
Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan (MAIWP)

Tarikh:
Selasa, 17 Januari 2017
Bersamaan
18 Rabiul Akhir 1438H

Masa:
7.30 Pagi hingga 6.00 Petang

Tempat:
Auditorium Besar, JAKIM
Kompleks Islam Putrajaya (KIP)
-sebelah Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Putrajaya

Perasmian Oleh:
Yang Berhormat Mejar Jeneral (B) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir bin Hj. Baharom
Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri