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Friday, May 11, 2007

Not truly Asian

9 May, 2007 l 1437 hrs IST,www.timesofindia.com

Tarun Vijay

My last visit to Kuala Lumpur and its outskirts showcased a vibrant, futuristic society which boasted a booming economy and the strength to resist "western pressures", as they tried to put it. "We are different and more progressive than any other Muslim country in the world", said an official, presenting me with a souvenir model of the much-hyped Multi-Media Super Corridor and a heap of statistics which claimed, among other things, an "average annual growth rate of about 7%, while GDP doubled to reach an estimated RM219.4 billion (US $57.7 billion) in 2002. Exports and imports have almost quadrupled to reach RM349.6 billion (US $92.0 billion) and RM298.5 billion (US $78.6 billion) respectively, placing Malaysia among the world's top 20 trading nations. The manufacturing sector now accounts for 30.4% of Malaysia's GDP while exports of manufactured goods make up 86.5% of the country's total exports. From being the world's largest producer of rubber and tin, Malaysia is today one of the world's leading exporters of semiconductor devices, computer hard disk drives, audio and video products, and room air-conditioners." With 85.4 per cent women literacy rate and a separate ministry for women, Malaysia claims to be the most progressive Muslim majority country. Unfortunately, it has one again proved that high education, modernity or the rising standards of living have no direct bearing on human values or an egalitarian civil behaviour. Like the 9/11 "martyrs", who were born and bred in a free, democratic civil society, Malay rulers too have fallen victim to extreme forms of religious fanaticism, at the same time wishing to project their country as a "truly Asian" destination. Of late, minorities are subjected to persecution and barbarism that was unheard of a couple of years ago. Temples are razed, Islamic rites are forced through Sharia even on those who are non-Muslims, and freedom to worship and propagate one's religion has to pass through the laws of Mullahcracy, which has shown a power to undo any modernism and mullah-promised tolerance to a different view point and freedom of religious practices. On April 18, Associated Press released a news item which concerned Indians, as much as the Virginia Tech incident, yet none of the Indian newspapers carried it. It spoke about the breaking of an ethnic Indian family because of the strange law regarding Islamic belief and social life. It also highlighted the divisive confusion prevailing in Malaysia which wants to modernize on the western model as well as keep its Islamic character warped in the 12th century model intact and be visibly vibrant at the same time. And this has affected in a brutal fashion the lives of more than 1.7 million Hindus, mostly of Tamil origin, there. The story involves Revathi Masoosai, an ethnic Indian, who is being forced to live as a Muslim by the Islamic Religious Department in southern Malacca state, after it was discovered that although she was born to Muslim parents, she has chosen to live as a Hindu. In Malaysia, Islamic law forbids people born to Muslim families to change religion, hence not only was Revathi detained by the Islamic Religious Department and sent for "religious counselling in a rehabilitation Centre" (which translates to being forced to reconvert to Islam by the state authorities), her 15-month-old daughter too was taken away from her husband and handed over to Revathi's Muslim mother to be raised as a Muslim.
According to the report, "Revathi married Suresh in 2004 according to Hindu rites but the marriage has not been legally registered because Suresh would have had to convert to Islam first. Revathi's official identification documents state she is Muslim because Malaysians who are born Muslims cannot legally change their religion." So here is a state government which intervenes in citizens' private lives, forces them to choose a faith recommended by the state, and breaks a family if they refuse. If this can happen in a country which boasts of modern education, scientific and technological progress and propagates itself as representing the spirit of Asia through ad campaigns like –"Malaysia-Truly Asia", one can imagine what would be the situation in other lesser modern or educated Islamic countries. Democratic Action Party officials said that Revathi was born to Muslim parents who gave her a Muslim name Siti Fatimah, but she was raised as a Hindu by her grandmother and she changed her name in 2001 to Revathi. After her marriage to Suresh in 2004, she wanted to live happily, even though the law didn't allow them to register their marriage, as that would have necessitated Suresh converting to Islam. Why? Because the law prohibits a girl born to a Muslim family from marrying a non-Muslim. But they married, had a sweet girl child born out of this wedlock. Revathi was arrested this January and sent for "rehabilitation", but she refused to leave her newly chosen religion and her husband during her 100-day detention which expired last Wednesday (April 18), so the infuriated Sharia court has extended her detention by another 80 days and, meanwhile, her little daughter was "seized" by the police from Suresh's place and given to Revathi's Muslim mother to raise her as a Muslim. Parliamentary opposition chief Lim Kit Siang, who chairs the DAP has said in a statement that, "It is sad and tragic this heart-rending tale of the father, mother and baby girl being forcibly separated into three different locations by law and religion...when law and religion come together to break the family, it gives a bad name to our country. Something is very wrong and it must be put right." That's the latest from "Malaysia - truly Asia". And this is not the first case of brutal assault on Hindus in "modern" Malaysia. Some time back, a Hindu mountaineer was forcibly buried as per Islamic rites because the local court felt he had converted to Islam some time back. Malay Hindus have approached the UN to have such atrocities stopped and given a long list of the temples razed by local authorities since 1985. Temple destruction and forcible conversion to Islam have become a routine so much so that Waytha Moorthy, the chairman of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), had to give a warning to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to halt the temple destruction move and respect the rights of Hindus otherwise the Hindus would not just keep on waiting, wailing and pleading. There was a time when the Asian spirit was represented by Buddha and Gandhi. Now should we allow it to be expressed through Islamic terror?

1 comment:

Amar said...

Much of the problem that exists with Indians in Malaysia stems from their neglect by their custodians under that political system, the MIC.

It was hijacked by the Sambanthans and Manickavasagams then Sami Velu to further their own personal ambitions and rob the coffers and spirits of the Indian community.

Casteism played a not too insignificant role in moulding the community who prmarily were picked by the British from the lower socio economic classes and backward castes of Southern India.

The Malays looked after themselves like the animal they most dislike being identified with. Pigs. The Chinese knew that they had no more new frontier to conquer and that they had to make it there and then. They formed their clan associations and vowed to prosper at all costs and became organised.

Indians were content to further exploit the unmeritorious divide the caste system provided as they had the assurance of the safety net of India if anything went wrong.

Am I therefore suggesting the poor Indian community in Malaysia deserve to be murdered in Malaysian police cells and mariginalised? No and a Big No.

Malaysia has tacitly made all the admissions they wanted to avoid. The cliched phrase, " if you want to make a point, do it the legal way" is expressed in such a choreographed and contrived manner by Judas like Indians and Chinese in the Star and NST in the poorest quality of language, which tells me that they are neither qualified journalists nor people who should be employed in that profession unless the employment criteria in Malaysia is anything but fair.

What is this term "legal means" or "legal methods" they refer to mean?

The constitution guarantees freedom of speech, expression and the right to assembly and political choice for want of a better word. Therefore if the IGP or the minister refused such a public assembly they themselves are making an admission of breaching the law they claim to uphold.

A superior law enshrined in the constitution. It was therefore incumbent on the government of the day, absent any firm intelligence there would be trouble, to allow the marchers to pass and to gather freely.

After all Malaysians had previously been allowed to the American Embassy and the British High Commission to protest where the rights of non Malaysian (Palestinaians whose cause India has been at the forefron of for decades not Malaysia or Pakistan or the divided Arabs) have been concerned.

Hindraf in a lightning swoop put to death the MIC and made Samy Velu a political eunuch. They were not complaining, they were acting with cunning and with the foresight inherent in natural born leaders. They picked their time and moment and place to deliver their message whether this meant a petition or not, the British government is on notice Indians will be visiting them in the future.

In one fell swoop the scared yellow livered men of Kuala Lumpur ran for cover firing tear gas and chemical cocktails from their armoured vehicles on unarmed protesters.

The world media and a simple mobile phone relayed the message worldwide in seconds. The Malaysian government paralysed in responding began their litany of lies and went into denial.

Their incompetence and inability to manage a nascent situation brewing since independence was evident in their shrill bellicose rhetoric.

If Malaysia's government insists on violent confrontation they will get it. They are no Israel they are no metal men. These are a bunch of cowards who roam in large herds like animals singling out inncocent and unarmed people, destroying their places of worship expecting them to then come begging for justice.

What sort of sick religion demands one grab the body of others into their cemetries to feign a conversion then kidnap their children?

The barbarity of the Muslim cannot be disguised with modern western clothes or the purdah which is why they hide their faces in the first place.

A modern day secular Muslim majority country like Turkey had the right idea. Kamal Attaturk their founder ordered all prostitutes to wear the purdah for hygenic reasons. It immediately forced the radical Muslims to unmask for fear of being labelled prostitutes.

The 3 Hindraf lawyers have that courage and capacity for lateral thinking and they must be made to know they are not alone. Indians the world over, thats over 1 billion Indians and right thinking Arabs, especially the Palestinians who now know where the Malaysian government stands with the west in supporting the Queen and others will stand shoulder to shoulder with these ingnorant thugs and make them pay.

To suppress the legitmate aspirations of a sufffering people is the biggest mistake any government can make. Because it drives them underground and helps to give rise to organised militancy which once begun will have no end in sight till one or the other is finished.

The message is clear. Leave Wythyamurthi Rao and Uthayakumar alone or be isolated and the subject of attacks in retribution.

Let not one more Indin suffer itimidation or threats at the hands of barbaric Muslim Malays or their government. The Malays are innocent to a large extent. They too in large numbers are fed up with a divisive and corrupt government. Thats the reason Anwar has a large following. This government must be brought to its knees and made to pay dearly for deaths of Indians. Indian blood is not cheap.

This is a terrorist government who trained Noordin Top one of the masterminds of the Bali bombings. The Pakistani Inter Service Intelligence Agency trained these cowards. The worlds attention should be drawn to Malaysia's nexus with Islamic fundamentalism and Terrorism. it is no longer indonesia alone. It is Malaysia as well. Till now it has been concealed beneath the veneer of western clothes and music. But beneath all of this lurks a medieval culture of totalitarianism and blood thirsty Muslim terrorists supported by that Kaur and Ching Chonngs who Kow Tow to the government and write scurrilous articles about Indians and Christians.

Amar Mek Bar Ben Bella
Alegria