COMMENT | I must first congratulate the police (PDRM) for banning Zakir Naik (above) from speaking in public. This shows how much Malaysians, including Malay-Muslims, can no longer tolerate the kind of preaching that is not only filled with half-baked truths but also inciting threats to our multicultural polity. This type of preacher needs to be asked to leave our country. No free speech in shouting “Fire, Fire in a movie theatre“ goes the analogy.
But there are still those who assert that Malaysia is only for Malays and that we need a Saddam Hussein to unite this country. Saddam Hussein is a mass murderer. Not a good role model for anyone, Muslims included. This kind of statement is at best bankrupt in content and intent, and at worst seditious, in a new Malaysia that promises us less racism and religious bigotry.
But was Zakir Naik misquoted or taken out of context?
I set myself to ascertain the claim. I listened closely to the words in the two videoclips by the fugitive preacher Zakir Naik. I then analysed them using a quick discourse analysis technique, of the discourse of plain logic, as well as how much knowledge of the subject matter the speaker possesses.
1] On the video of Malaysian Indians given 100 times more rights in Malaysia:
A very strange logic. I can't yet understand what he was trying to say comparing the "hundred times more rights" Hindus are given in Malaysia than Muslims are given in India. What in the world is that kind of right? How do a hundred times more rights compare to basic rights accorded by the UN Declaration of Human Rights of 1946?
His statement not only sounds unintelligible but the way the comparison was made, sounds absurd.
At one point he said to the effect that he's not going to take away the rights of Malaysian Indians. Now, what makes him think he has the right to grant this concession?
2] On the video of non-Muslims as guests, it is one of the most dangerous statements I have ever heard uttered by a guest and an asylum-seeker out to create havoc in our society.
Very confusing, anachronistically, to me. Historical time and space seemed to have been collapsed in his blurting out accusations on the rightful status of Malaysians of Chinese and Indian descent. There is no sense of right and wrong in using the word "guests", let alone the words "Malaysia and Indonesia" in a historical context, let alone speaking about the chronology of Malaysian-Indonesian history from antiquity.
This man’s assertions on the “old-guest-status-of-the-non-Malays” demonstrated shallowness in his reading of our history and the struggles of the different races, but also cacophonic in his stringing of historical events, causes and consequences. He made himself unintelligible when he spoke about our history.
Because of his carelessness in understanding the history of the peoples of Malaysia and his use of the politically derogatory term “guests,” he made us angry. Very, very angry.
When Pakatan took over, they promised to have him sit quietly and if he created trouble, they would send him back. Now he has created a furore. Good that he is now banned from preaching what Islam is not.
Arrogant and inciteful
Arrogance and inciteful, using the "pendatang" argument against non-Malays. A bankrupt argument overused by the old, corrupted regime, through the hateful Biro Tata Negara.
This is the same horrifying spurious argument he uses in talking about Islam and "comparative religions", of evolutionary theory, of science, a corrupt Muslim leader being better than a non-corrupt non-Muslim.
Hate should not be allowed to spread its roots in Malaysia. We have had enough.
The Pakatan Harapan’s love, care, and support for him will perhaps cost the coalition a huge loss in the next general elections. I don't think the non-Malays should any longer support any party or coalition that harbours this kind of vile person. Malays, too, should be angry at the humiliation of non-Malays. Because we are Malaysians.
Who or what is Zakir Naik a mouthpiece of? He should leave and be in Saudi Arabia where he is a citizen. Or be in India where he should, with Allah’s help, answer the charges on money-laundering. Why is he afraid of man’s judgment if he is a true-blue pious Muslim who leaves everything to God, insya Allah?
Islam need not be "defended" here. Islam, in fact, needs no defence. No religion needs to be against any other.
“Pendatang” argument ad nauseum
Again, this question of migration bores us to the point of Sartrean nausea (the meaninglessness of concepts). Aren’t we all here in this land now, whether you like it or not?
We just need to be moral citizens upholding the ideals of the constitution and living by the spirit of it. We don’t need to keep on manufacturing crises to sustain conflicts and produce new ones. In a Malaysiakini column fifteen years ago, I wrote about a dream for Malaysia I had - of no Malaysian left behind.
Why fight over whose grandpa or grandma was here first? What is clear is one’s legal status and citizenship, and what all of us have contributed and will contribute to the betterment of each other.
Each citizen must be given equal rights and privileges, whether he became a citizen yesterday or 10,000 days ago. There should be no discrimination in educational opportunity, welfare services, housing, or anything.
Race and ethnicity are mere constructs, produced by arrogant theorists. They cannot be taken as real, and be a reason to fight over them.
As for the answer to the question of whether Zakir Naik was misquoted or taken out of context? From my analysis, he meant what he said.
He may have strong and wide support of those who wish to make Malaysia an “Islamic state”, whatever that may mean. From whatever model that may be shaped, it will be a contradiction to what we Malaysians aspire to become – a liberal, progressive, ethical, and scientific nation.
Thank you PDRM and bravo Malaysians! We are united on this. Keep it that way.