Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gajah Seberang Laut Boleh di-Nampak…

‘‘In an unprecedented move, Federal Territory MCA Youth stepped into the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur to submit a memorandum protesting a plan to bring in hudud law.’’

It is amazing how quickly these MCA and MIC characters tend to get on their high horse about some apparent gaffe by PAS. Like the DAP and others, I of course have serious reservations with PAS’ preoccupation with taking Malaysia down the path of hudud law and other manifestations of Islamic governance. We can debate this issue until the cows come home – or don’t! And maybe those of us committed to a secular democratic Malaysia and those who are not will just have to agree to disagree on this point.

However, it seems rather lame to me that the MCA (and MIC too) can put on a straight face and try to take PAS to task on such matters each time PAS – for reasons I will never comprehend – seem to put their proverbial foot in their mouth. To be sure, PAS has had a propensity to do so. Perhaps many in PAS just cannot help it. And when they do commit such blunders, they do invariably expose themselves to quite warranted criticism.

However, parties such as MCA and MIC strike me as bona fide hypocrites each time they transparently try to capitalise on PAS’ Achilles’ heel – its default stance on advancing the agenda of securing a religious state. Though I am certainly in agreement with the MCA and MIC objection to PAS’ agenda, I have a problem with giving the MCA and MIC a free pass on this matter. Indeed, while it is certainly helpful to the defenders of secularism to see these parties ‘speak out’ against PAS on this matter, I cannot take these parties seriously.

As a matter of fact, it is arguable that MCA and MIC have been more – yes, more – responsible for undermining secularism in the country than PAS has ever been able to do in its entire existence! Think about it. These servants of UMNO have, for example, been complicit in undermining the secular judiciary and in retarding the vitality of much of civil society. When such secular institutions were being sharply undercut, you didn’t find the MCA or MIC Youth ‘take to the streets’ or issue any memorandum that they “…will thwart any move or effort that could threaten the federal constitution.”

The MCA and MIC cannot on the one hand sit silently when UMNO opts to play ‘the religious card’ when its convenient for UMNO to do so and allow secular institutions to be undermined, but then get all self-righteous about opposing religious intrusion when the purveyor of the message happens to be PAS. As much as the MCA, MIC and such ‘friends’ of UMNO may be on ‘correct side’ of this issue now, they really have no credibility on the matter.

It sure is convenient that these paper tigers can find the flaw in PAS’ stance on hudud law, but seem oblivious to their own complicity having undermined secularism. It reminds me of the Malay proverb: gajah seberang laut boleh di-nampak, kuman depan mata tak nampak!

G. Krishnan