The Malays Have To Stop Waiting For The Great White Hope The Great Malay Saviour Imam Mahdi Etc


 This is the follow up to the last post - the one written by Hussein Hamid. To get started here is a 25 minute YouTube video featuring an interview by Melissa Idris and Sharad Kuttan (Astro Awani) with Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Kamal Hassan the former Rector of the Universiti Islam Antarabangsa or UIA. 
It is 25 minutes but do listen to this: 






My comments ;
The first thing I noticed about the good professor's book "Corruption and Hypocrisy in Malay-Muslim Politics, The Urgency of Moral-Ethical Transformation" was the cover design: 




Fixing the dollar sign '$' to the tasbih or prayer beads sends a strong and necessary message to the public about corruption among the religious fraternity.  The religious folks are corrupted. 
For those of you who have been reading my blog for the past ten years or more you will understand this is what I have been saying all this while.  Too many of the religious fellows, especially the political animals among them, are corrupted to the core. 
Professor Kamal starts off by saying that "the political scenario is most frustrating, things getting worse, disgusting, appalling, frustrating, corruption, hypocrisy" and other choice words.
He says that "patronage politics has become dominant ..'
Referring to the country's earlier leaders the professor says, "Religion was not really regarded highly by the Malay nationalists. Bear in mind that the Malay nationalists were largely secular oriented, westernised elites, some of them with royal backgrounds . . "
My view is that during the time of Malaysia's 'secular founding fathers' like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Dr Ismail,  the politics of patronage did not exist to the same extent that it does today. Or even among the Sultans of that era. There was much, much less corruption. We did not even have the anti corruption agencies. 
Indeed money politics and the politics of patronage are by themselves corruption.  And the institutionalisation of political patronage through race and religion based politics is institutionalised corruption. 
Helping the poor is necessary. Affirmative action is helping the poor. Helping an underprivileged student with easier entry into a university is  affirmative action. 
But denying a qualified student entry to university on account of race and religion is a corruption. Especially when the government treasury has always overflowed with sufficient public funds. Funds derived largely from a non Muslim populace. 
The same with the monopoly licenses and the awarding of the billion Ringgit franchises. It is not the poor Malay or the poor Muslim that gets all this multi billion ringgit patronage. Those are corruptions as well.
And we have seen the rise of all this corruption not during the leadership of the "secular Malay nationalists" of the 50s, 60s and 70s but instead under the banner of Penerapan Nilai-Nilai Islam, Islam Madani, Islam Hadhari, Pimpinan "lebai" and such.  
We also have to ponder why is secularism considered 'unIslamic'? Secularism is not just the separation of religion and State but secularism is also a dependence on logic, common sense and evidence in deciding our affairs - all three of which are too often missing from the religious discourse. 
We know for an absolute fact that evidence is not a strong point for religious belief at all.  "We cannot use logic in religion" is an overworked  retort of the religious fraternity. 
However under secular laws, corruption for example, is a crime and punishable with severe penalties. 
In stark contrast under the hudud laws which are so loudly proclaimed here in Malaysia there are no specific mentions of corruption as a crime. There are no prescribed hudud punishments for corruption. Corruption is simply not a hudud offense. 
The punishment of corruption (in the religious Courts) is left to the discretion (ta'zir) of the qadi (judge). But ta'zir is simply not hudud. 
So to make a comparison,  is the quite precise criminalisation and punishment of corruption under secular laws less Islamic or more Islamic than its absence under the hudud laws (which neither criminalise nor have prescribed punishments for corruption)? 
The professor also says that he would like to see a 'new group of leaders are going to be multiracial, not monopolised by one ethnic group anymore.  I would like to see an Iban Muslim, a Kadazan Muslim, an Indian Muslim, a Chinese Muslim working together for the sake of Malaysia as a whole. That is my vision for the future as a whole. We have to go beyond this ethnic identity.." Err. . .let me get this right. So multiracialism is ok in Malaysia provided they are all Muslim? So what should we do with all those pesky Ibans, Kadazans, Indians and Chinese who are not Muslim? Like Sharad Kuttan for example?  What happened to "Bani Adam are all equal before god"?
Ok let me say something about the Great White Hope. Those of us who were born before the 70s will know the exciting years of world champion boxing. Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Mike Tyson, Leon Spinks, George Foreman were the great world champions of boxing. These folks were all black Americans. At that time there did not seem to be any more white boxers who could out-box the African Americans. 
I believe there were white boxing champions later in the 80s, 90s but by that time world championship boxing was not as exciting as before. Today few will know who is the world boxing champion. Or under which title WBA, WBC, IBF etc. People will not even know what is the WBA or WBC. 
So after losing the world boxing championship to the African Americans the white people sort of gave up on a  'Great White Hope' to knock the stars out of Muhammad Ali or Leon Spinks.  
The same thing with the belief in Imam Mahdi or the saviour. The idea of a saviour like Imam Mahdi is a concept that does not determine the daily actions and lifestyles of the world's Muslims. 
Except in Shia Iran. In Iran the concept of a saviour (Imam Mahdi) is politicised by the Ayatollahs to justify their illegitimacy.  'Without Iran becoming militarily strong the Imam Mahdi will not come' say the Ayatollahs. 
Some old news  :  " (former) Iranian President Mahmoud’s Ahmadinejad’s mystical pre-occupation with the coming of a Shiite Islamic messiah figure – the Mahdi – is raising concerns that a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic could trigger the kind of global conflagration he envisions will set the stage for the end of the world."
Oh well. The Jews thought up this idea earlier. Today the orthodox Jews say that without building the Third Temple the Messiah (Saviour) will not appear in Jerusalem. And they say the site of the Third Temple is presently occupied by the Al Aqsa Mosque - Oops! 
May I suggest that all these folks stop waiting for a Great White Hope or a Mahdi or a Messiah or a Great Malay Saviour?  In the meantime, can we make do with what we have?
There is no need for a Chinese Muslim or an Iban Muslim or an Indian Muslim to prove that multiracialism works.  Why not just work with all Malays, Indians, Chinese, Ibans, Kadazans etc?  Regardless of religion and regardless of which saviour will come first or last or come at all?  Time is really not on our side.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.By Syed Akbar Ali 

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