Enough with this nonsense, Malaysia is none of your business
- Apl Lain
Just recently I read about this article from Clive Kessler, entitled “Enough of this nonsense! Malaysia was created as a secular nation”, published by Malay Mail Online.
Just by reading the title, it triggers every sinew of my muscle to respond to this utter nonsense.
Before I carry on further, a quick disclaimer, I am not a law expert. I am an Industrial Engineering student but I’ve learnt some stuff that I think is worth sharing. So, because I am not a law expert, I won’t dwell on the nitty-gritty details on the constitution to much. You’ll get a better perspective on from this article, written by a law expert:http://ift.tt/1RSlwUl
The first thing that comes to my mind is “Who is this Clive Kessler guy? How come he writes so confidently about Malaysia?”
After some simple google search, I found out that he is a Professor of Sociology in UNSW, with his works mainly focusing on Malaysia. So okay, he is academically qualified.
But what’s interesting in my point of view is that, I never saw, heard or read anything from an academic scholar in Malaysia that talks so confidently on questioning the interpretation of constitution of another country, lest in mainstream media or in a popular alternative media portal. So why this opinion of his does is being thrown in our face as if he is a fellow Malaysian? Isn’t there enough constitutional experts in this country that you need to import outsider’s opinion, which may or may not understand the fine and delicate nature of the country? (Yes I am talking to you Malay Mail Online)
The second point that comes to my mind is the word “Bias”.
Clive Kessler says that Malaysia is created to be a secular nation.
So again I did some research to understand his point of view.
Then I came across another article of him published in The Australian last year, talking about Islam, history, jihadist etc. etc. The overall content is not important here.
But what I try to understand is his bias. And I came across these 2 paragraphs from the article:
“The history of modern Islam has largely been the story of failed attempts to overcome this cognitive dissonance. This has taken many forms. First, religious modernism and reform. Then, fitted with an Islamic face, all of the modern age’s great new ideologies were repackaged and trialed for Muslims in Islamic terms: liberal constitutionalism, nationalism, socialism, secularism, statism and military authoritarianism. All failed to deliver what was hoped of them: a restoration of power and sovereignty and dignity.”
“The Islamic community leaders must do more. They must constantly deepen their own and their community’s commitment to modern, liberal, democratic and pluralist values, principles and forms of action. And others, their fellow citizens, have the right to expect and ask this of them.”
From what I understand from the first paragraph is that he acknowledges that the “western package” (liberal constitutionalism, nationalism, socialism, secularism etc. etc.) has been tried in Muslim countries and failed.
From the second paragraph is that he expects the Islamic community to embrace these “western package” wholeheartedly.
So from these paragraphs, I deduce that in his worldview, the ideal state that each country should be is the western model, by implementing and assimilating the “western package” in every facets of life (nationhood, economy, social etc. etc.)
At this point, I can somehow understand his bias, and resulting from that I detect a HUGE gulf in understanding the Constitution. His ideal state of nationhood is at odds with the idea of nationhood in Muslim majority Malaysia.
Malaya and then Malaysia was created as a secular nation.
Denial of this basic fact has become commonplace in recent times.
The pioneers in promoting the revisionist myth that there was
This clash of ideologies, in my opinion, plays a huge role in interpreting the constitution. Clive Kessler, with his education and background judge the constitution with the “western package” framework. But for a Muslim-Majority country called Malaysia, such framework might not be suitable in order to fully understand the spirit and soul of the Constitution.
To conclude, one advice to the writer : Just focus on Australia, Kessler.
And Malay Mail Online, I think you should change your name to Australia Mail Online, if you like to import opinions from there. Probably afterwards your news will be more popular and acceptable to the mainstream population.
Hafizul Faiz is an Industrial Engineering student in University of Toronto, who can see through this nonsense 12,819 km away from Malaysia. He is the vice-chairman of ISMA US Canada
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of, and should not be attributed to, Isma or Ismaweb.