Thursday, May 12, 2011

Hero or court jester?

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali may think he is a hero among the Malay masses, but frankly he is seen as a court jester among the non-Malays and he is not being taken seriously by slightly less than half the population of Malaysia.

His latest claim that he believes communists are stirring up trouble and causing chaos by using local groups to take part in the alleged plot to replace Islam as the official religion of Malaysia has made him look comical and terribly ill-informed.

He said he suspected Communist Party of Malaya supporters had infiltrated political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), religious groups and business associations after the party laid down arms in 1989 in order to carry on their activities.

“I believe there are (former) Communist Party members who still hold communist beliefs and want to see the country descend into chaos,” he told The Malaysian Insider in Kampung Baru on May 8.

The "political parties" and "religious groups" he was referring to obviously meant DAP and Christian bodies since the entire issue of the unsubstantiated plot to have a Christian Prime Minister and replace Islam as the official religion started from the infamous Utusan Malaysia report about a meeting between Christian pastors and DAP leaders in Penang.

Ibrahim could improve his knowledge if he were to read this report that was published on May 11:

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese police have detained 49 leaders of an underground Protestant church in a central province, an advocacy group and local official said Wednesday.

The U.S.-based China Aid Association said all three floors of a church building in Henan province's Weishi county were searched and thousands of dollars worth of property were seized during the raid Tuesday on a religious education seminar.

Also detained were three Korean citizens, including a Bible instructor, the group said. South Korea's Foreign Ministry said it had no immediate information about the reported detentions, which reflect long-standing ties between South Korean church groups and Chinese believers.

An official with the Weishi county religious affairs bureau confirmed Wednesday the detentions but gave no details. Like many Chinese officials, he gave only his surname, Sun.

China requires all religious groups to register and accept Communist Party oversight, although millions of believers continue to worship in unregistered congregations that typically have an evangelistic, charismatic character.

That includes members of Beijing's unregistered Shouwang Church, who have recently repeatedly defied police demands and attempted to gather for banned outdoor services, leading dozens to be detained. The group, which includes numerous intellectuals, was evicted from its rented space under police pressure.

Rural congregations, drawn from poorer, less-educated communities, tend to be more vulnerable to coercion from authorities.

This month, a U.S. commission listed China as one of the worst violators of religious freedoms. Beijing denies the charge.

Tuesday's raid came on the second and final day of twice-annual high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese officials that were overshadowed by sharp U.S. criticism of China's human rights record.

In an interview published Tuesday on the website of The Atlantic magazine, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said China's human rights record was "deplorable" and that history was not on the side of governments that resist democracy.

Ibrahim ought to be taught that Communism and Christianity are anathema to each other. In Marxist theory, religion is said to be the opiate of the masses.

In Communist countries like China, Christians were forced to worship secretly especially during the Cultural Revolution. Priests and pastors were jailed or sent to rehabilitation camps. Christians were officially persecuted by the communists then - and even now.

To claim that communists have infiltrated Christian organisations in Malaysia and are creating chaos is at best laughable.

A veteran politician like Ibrahim should know better than to spin alarmist and ridiculous stories for the sake of being populist (among the Malays). If he thinks that by being racist, bigoted and, now, anti-communist can ensure that he is voted into a position of power again in the coming general election as an independent candidate or a member of some political party or even as president of Perkasa (which is more like an NGO), he is sadly mistaken.

There are plenty of younger, well-informed, well-read, more intelligent and more capable Malays out there who would make better next-generation leaders than an opportunistic has-been who has to play the race and religion card desperately in his comeback trail.

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