Monday, May 5, 2008

The Moral Uplifting Society fiasco in Johor Bahru/ 德教会字图余波

This recent incident involved Muslim religious enforcement officers armed with a police warrant going to the Moral Uplifting Society in Johor Bahru purportedly to remove pictures of Prophet Muhammad which was prominently displayed together with icons of other religions – Buddhism, Christianity and Confucianism.

This particular Moral Uplifting Society in Johor Bahru is situated next to the traffic police headquarter and has been in existence for nearly 50 years with no harassment either from the police or from the religious department until last Friday 2/5. Out of the blue, the religious officer insisted on removing what was displayed in the hall. There was actually no picture of Prophet Muhammad, there was only an inscription in Jawi of the name of Prophet Muhammad and it was not placed on the altar for prayer, but just within the hall together with other major religion icons as a gesture of respect. Despite persuasion, reasoning and explanation by the committee members, the inscription with the name of Nabi Muhammad was removed.

This news of course spread like wild fire to more than 100 branches of Moral Uplifting Society within the country. Low Teh Hian, the former Ahli Yang Berhormat was at the scene to reason with religious officers, but his explanation was obviously rejected. Subsequently, I received a lot of complaints by phone of the arrogant and high handed manner of the officers from the religious department.

I decided to call the Menteri Besar of Johor about the isuue, he expressed his dismay at the insensitivity of the enforcement officers . Subsequently, we met up over lunch in JB and after going through the relevant enactment related to non-Muslims, we found that it was not an offence to display the name of Prophet Muhammad if it is used only as a reference and not as a symbol of prayer by non-Muslims. On that basis, the Menteri Besar ordered that the picture be returned and that the police should not be involved in this case which is non-criminal and the whole episode came to a happy closure. I must thank the Johore MB Dato’ Ghani bin Othman for his intervention.

What I am amazed at was the total ignorance of the officer about the role of Moral Uplifting Society, where beside Nabi Muhammad, other major religious figure are displayed in the hall. In short, he was doing enforcement without knowing the reason. Over the years, you see the attitude of such high-handed religious officers and government officers that caused the rakyat to go against the government. Maybe time has come that enforcement officers should face disciplinary action if in the course of their duty they have shown disrespect and ignorance to the rakyat, then only will enforcement officer learn how to be humble, reasonable and knowledgeable, rather than be very gung-ho about what they are doing.
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新山德教会回教字图被取走风波发生只是短短几日,却在全国106间会员阁及华社掀起千层浪,几乎演变成宗教纠纷。

与新山交警总部毗邻的德教会紫书阁创会50余年来一直相安无事,从未受到任何方面的刁难,警方和宗教局也从未干涉,直至5月2日,突然被有7名宗教局官员以非法悬挂先知图像为由而拆走该字图。事实上,被取走的字图只是以爪夷文书写的“穆罕默德”字图,并非先知的肖像。全国各德教会都并列张挂回教爪夷文字图、基督教、佛教、道教及儒教教主画像,但只将这5大宗教的图像当作道德模楷展示,没有膜拜之意。事发时,新山德教会紫书阁第一副阁长暨马华柔州投诉局主任刘德贤在现场,尝试和7名官员解释,惟不被接受,众官员还和在场的人起争执,恫言对付抗命者。字图被取走后,许多会员纷纷拨电向我投诉官员傲慢无礼,此事也开始受全国瞩目。

因了解到事态严重,我决定寻求柔佛州务大臣介入,大臣也答应在翌日会见以作商讨。在两小时的会面,大臣确认回教相关条例允许以先知字图作为参考而非膜拜的做法,也确认德教会张挂的爪夷文字图属合法,于是指示有关方面立即归还糟没收的字图,并谕令警方不得插手此事。

这场风波迅速获得圆满解决,我必须感谢柔州务大臣的开明谅解和协助。在这起事件,让我惊讶的是宗教局和内政部官员对德教会的无知。简单来说,他们并不了解自己的任务。过去,我们也听闻有不少这样的政府官员和宗教官,他们常以高压手段对待人民,导致人民怨恨政府。

我认为,执法官员若被证实在执行任务时无礼傲慢、滥用权力和欺人太甚,应该受到纪律对付。如此以来,这些法律守门员才会谦卑、识分寸。

7 comments:

Funniman1965 said...

This is just another case of Chinese being bullied. We are fire fighting case to case basis. When will this ever end? Is this fire fighting deliberate so that the Chinese will have to rely on some representatives to help out. Luckily we have this Datuk Seri to assist but this is not going to last forever.

If Chinese are not strong, I mean not just MCA but every facets of the population, we would forever be stepped by Malays. Chinese here can only blame themselves.

Simon Wee said...

Walk around KL or any Malaysian towns, one would find many shops selling some forms of "idolised" Islamic items, the stuff that Muslim religious enforcement officers armed with a police warrant seized from the Moral Uplifting Society in Johor Bahru recently.

Instead of seizing just one item from the Moral Uplifting Society, they would need more than a lorry to carry away all that are in all these shops.

If they do it, they are also "nipping the bud" of such a problem if they are really that pious and serious.

Pearls said...

To begin with, this is what happens when you have big idiots who go round screaming to the whole wide world that Malaysia is an Islamic State and not a Secular State. Following this, the smaller idiots,(muslim religious enforcement officers)take it upon themselves to enforce the words of big idiots to the T!!!

However, what I don't seem to understand is why police is involved in this? Isn't this a civil case if there is a case to begin with? If these police got nothing better to do after eating rice, they should go walk the streets to lose their fat bellies and catch some thieves!!!

Another,what's with the cowboy sheriff act of having to get the MB to resolve this matter? How many times must we resort to such cowboy sheriff tactic to resolve trival matters like this?

Happy ending you said? What happy ending? Happy ending is when such incidents never repeat itself. Happy ending is when big idiots apologise for their idiotic statements. Happy ending is when every enforcement department knows where to draw the line and stop acting like a barbarian!

Pearls said...

What happened to that Independent Police Complaints Commission thingy?

Like that la in Malaysia.... Things that are suppose to be implemented ASAP will take tortoise pace to get going... but things that are trival like this Moral Uplifting fiasco, youth being mischievous, Raja Petra wrote something that he feels strongly about will be pounced at the speed of lightning! WTF!!

chickenfeet said...

stop ranting ler...pearls...

the country need to be turned upside down and rearrange thoroughly....

too bad, my very own state fails to see the need to do an overall of the system...

chickenfeet said...

i mean overhaul...sorry...

Pearls said...

chickenfeet,

Eh, ranting is my God given right as a woman la! Bwahahaha!

The country needs to be turned upside down and re-arranged thoroughly??!! Like how?

I am in the opinion that we just need to throw these good for nothing useless bumbshit who call themselves ministers, who does nothing but create mountains of problem for everyone and spend all our money!

Yup.. literally, throw them out... yes, put them in a sampan and send them off... float, drift, sail.. whatever.. OUT of this country! I dont really care if these bumbshit for ministers get eaten up by sharks or garoupa or swallowed up by a tsunami or end up looking like udang kering on a sampan.. I just want them out of this country! Blady leeches.

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