Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An Identity Crisis

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi contradicted his deputy Najib Razak by declaring that Malaysia is neither a secular or an Islamic state. His statement, seen by many pundits, is a political statement seeking to appease the different groups in the country. Suddenly, we are neither here nor there. After 5o years of nation building, we are confused with our identity.

On clarity, Abdullah did very little to help us better understand our national identity. When I was in school, I was taught that Malaysia is a secular country, a parliament democracy and it respects the position and role of religions in the society.

Earlier, his deputy Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia is an Islamic state that adheres to the fundamentals of Islam, and having a Constitution which states Islam as the official religion.

He said, "We have never been a secular state”. Najib said that being an Islamic state did not mean that the rights of non-Muslims were not respected.

Unfortunately, some non-Muslim politicians in the BN are begining to accept the Abdullah's 'neither-here-nor-there' declaration that Malaysia in neither secular nor an Islamic state. I am worried for them. Whatever these politicians say, accept or embrace will have a significant impact on our country.

I told them that the word 'secularism' has been bastardized by the Muslims in their ideological contestations with the Western pseudo-christian values. Secular is only a term to describe the position and essense of the constitution. Secularism is not anti-religion.

It merely states that non-religious principles and values are used to adjudicate and dispense justice. However, these good values are consistent with the values of all religions. On how justice is dispensed through the federal constitution, I am sure, is not un-Islamic.

Hence, I would like to urge all of us to resist any political attempt to change the spirit and essence of the federal constitution. If they want to make this country an Islamic state, do it through a legal way. That is all we asked from them.

Meanwhile, all Malaysians have to accept the secular spirit of the federal constition.

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