In the above article, The Malaysian Insider (TMI) reported that Professor Ebrahim E. I. Moosa who is a South African, made a statement that “Malaysia was a pluralistic and liberal country”.
He made that statement in reply to a question from the audience regarding the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom’s statement, “the teachings of liberalism and pluralism are seen as among the most prevalent forms of insult to Islam”.
TMI wrote that:
“The very idea that Malaysia has accepted, constitutionally or otherwise, the plurality of religious and ethnic communities… it is already on the way to liberalism. You are already on a certain kind of liberalism. It might not be an optimal one, but it is already there” – TMI.
I do not know whether Professor Ebrahim understands the words liberalism and pluralism that were mentioned by Datuk Seri Jamil Khir.
Malaysia does accept “the plurality of religious and ethnic communities” but that does not makes Malaysia “a pluralistic and liberal country”; furthermore Malaysia does not accept pluralism of religion.
“The very idea that Malaysia has accepted the plurality of religious and ethnic communities”, shows that our Rulers, the government and the Malays respect other religions and ethnic communities as how Islam teaches us.
But that does not make us liberal.
Professor Ebrahim E. I. Moosaalso also said,
“If you want to get away from liberalism, you need to tear up the Malaysian constitution” Professor Ebrahim E. I. Moosa – TMI.
Tear up the Malaysian Constitution if we do not want liberalism?
I do not know if Professor Ebrahim knows what is he talking about, if he thinks he does, he must be so confused or he must has read the constitution of another country!
And this is a malicious distortion of the truth because as an Islamic country, Malaysia does not accept liberalism because it is against the teaching of Islam.
And there is no such word as ‘liberalism’ in our Federal Constitution.
Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia says:
Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may
be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
… and we have Article 11(4) to protect the religion of the Federation:
State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala
Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya, federal law may control or restrict
the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons
professing the religion of Islam.
Islam is the only religion mentioned in the Federal Constitution, and Islam is protected by the Federal Constitution and the state laws.
In fact as the religion of the Federation, Islam is above other religions in Malaysian; which is against the idea of liberalism that rejects state religion.
Moreover, Article 121(1A) of the Federal Constitution recognises the Syariah Court.
Now, if the professor does not understand what is liberalism and pluralism, he should ask somebody.
Liberalism is all about total freedom and pluralism is saying that one’s religion is not the sole and exclusive source of truth, and thus the acknowledgement that at least some truths and true values exist in other religions.
When TMI wrote that, the professor said that, “Malaysia was a pluralistic and liberal country”, I wonder if the word “was” is a typo or he used the word, “was” to indicate that Malaysia was once a pluralistic and liberal country but not anymore.
For the record, Malaysia is neither was nor is a pluralistic and liberal country.
History tells us that Malaysia is always an Islamic country even before our independence.
Actually the existing Islamic laws before Merdeka Day are still valid according to Article 162 of the Federal Constitution which says:
Subject to the following provisions of this Article and Article 163*, the existing laws shall, until repealed by the authority having power to do so under this Constitution, continue in force on and after Merdeka Day, with such modifications as may be made therein under this Article and subject to any amendments made by federal or State law.
So Malaysia can’t be plural or liberal if it still has Islamic laws.
The professor also told us to learn history:
“The first thing to be done, to the many spokespersons who are saying these things, is a quick lesson in Malaysian history… Malaysian history 101… to re-familiarise themselves” -TMI.