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Month: November 2016

PAS lost its hudud game, but so did we

Published in Malay Mail Online

Islamist party PAS had rejoiced back in May when their president’s private member’s Bill to upgrade the Shariah court was fast-tracked for debate.

PAS Youth chief Nik Abduh Nik Abd Aziz had boldly claimed that by amending Act 355 that governs the limit of punishments Shariah courts can deliver, PAS will “break the chains” around Shariah law — a proof of its victory in rejecting secularism.

The mood was jubilant and optimistic; should Abdul Hadi Awang succeed in removing the limits, it would have opened the doors towards the implementation of PAS’ version of the Islamic penal law, as it has been passed in Kelantan.

Six months later, not much has changed. Instead, it has taken a turn for the worse for PAS.

Even after Bersih 5, the Red Shirts are here to stay

Published as “It looks like the Red Shirts are here to stay” in Malay Mail Online

At the time of writing, it is the eve of Bersih 5 — the fifth iteration of the mega rally calling for free and fair elections by polls watchdog Bersih 2.0.

Several barricades have been erected around the historic Dataran Merdeka, the final gathering point for Bersih supporters who will march there from three rallying points across the capital.

Federal Islamic authority Jakim had prepared Friday sermons for two weeks in a row lambasting street demonstrations. The first one claimed that protests will open doors towards liberalism (as if that is a bad thing), and the second one this week brazenly claimed that protests are against Islamic laws. Both warned that demonstrations will open doors to foreign intervention.

Did they somehow forget that protests by Muslim groups almost always happen after the congregation of Friday prayers?

Backlash against liberalism shows in the world’s polls

Published in Malay Mail Online

Billionaire Donald Trump’s triumph in the United States presidential election came as a surprise to many of us observing the divisive campaign, but perhaps it should not have been.

After all, it is not only in the US that the Western world is experiencing a resurgence of the far-right and conservatism much to the chagrin of the rest of the world.

Just before the US, the United Kingdom had experienced a seismic shift when it voted in a referendum in June to withdraw from the European Union, a move dubbed as Brexit.

The resignation of prime minister David Cameron over his failure to prevent the move then saw the relatively quiet Tory MP Theresa May rise through the ranks of the Conservative Party and become Cameron’s successor.

This was not a singularity in global politics as we just witnessed with Trump’s win, and probably will continue in the next wave that is set to sweep Europe.

The Second Coming of George Soros

Published as “The Second Coming” in Malay Mail Online

Every 90s Malaysian kid would have at least heard financial speculator George Soros’ name once in their lives; usually said with such hatred as if he was Satan himself.

Our impression of Soros was that of a crooked Jew hell-bent on destroying Muslims and responsible for ruining the lives of many Malaysians following the 1997 Asian financial crisis.

This can mostly be blamed on former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad whose anti-Semitic feelings is hardly a secret. Even as recent as June this year, the veteran statesman still insisted — in an interview with Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hassan — that “Jews are ruling the world by proxy.”

Back in 1997, Dr Mahathir had the perfect scapegoat in Soros. According to Dr Mahathir, Soros had used his wealth to destabilise South-east Asian currencies to punish Asean for accepting Myanmar, then still under the rule of military junta.

After all, Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF; then Open Society Institute) was promoting democracy in the strife-torn country.

“We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews, but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge, and coincidentally Soros is a Jew.

“It is also a coincidence that the Malaysians are mostly Muslim. Indeed, the Jews are not happy to see Muslims progress,” Dr Mahathir was reported saying.

The Malaysian media picked that up and ran with the anti-Semitic angle.

It is ironic when you consider how un-Jewish Soros can be, despite his Jewish background.