Educate, not legislate

Is this the message we want to send to the non-Muslims: that Islam means separate checkout counters for men and women but corruption is very okay? A chronically corrupt civil service and civil servants who cheat on their employers and short-change the taxpayer is the real problem this country is facing.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

“Pas to push for Islamic lifestyle”, said the New Straits Times over the weekend (full report can be read below). The government responded positively to Pas’ call for an Islamic lifestyle by arresting six people who tried to send teddy bears to His Majesty The Agong on Saturday morning. Patungs are considered haram in Islam so this is probably why the police arrested these six who attempted to deliver a ‘haram’ object to our Agong.

“We will use Kelantan as the guide as it had introduced changes such as banning gambling, limiting the sale and public display of alcohol and separate checking counters for men and women in supermarkets,” said the Pas Youth vice-chief Azman Shapawi Abdul Rani.

Aiyah, why this Pas Youth number two so stupid one? When he makes this kind of statement he gives an impression that Islam is just about banning gambling and separate checkout counters for men and women. Isn’t Islam more than just that?

Anyway, why only separate checkout counters for men and women? What about separate checkout counters for gays? We will actually need four checkout counters because some women prefer being in the women’s line and some men in the men’s line. In case this Pas Youth number two does not know yet, there are women who get turned on by women and men by men. So how do we segregate the sexes to avoid unnecessary orgasms if we just focus on men-women mingling when women-women and men-men mingling poses more problems.

I mean, even if a Muslim man is caught with a Muslim woman who is not his wife, at the most he would have to pay a fine. But if a man is caught with a man, he can get sent to jail for six years, even if the alleged sex act was committed in an apartment block that has not been built yet. So this is more dangerous and the Pas Youth number two must also take this into consideration.

Instead of talking about separate checkout counters for men and women in an attempt to introduce an Islamic lifestyle, our Pas Youth number two should look at things such as the more than one million civil servants, who are predominantly Muslims, earning a salary but not doing any work. Yes, that’s right; that is even more frowned upon by Islam.

Islam stipulates that one must not cheat one’s employer. Cheating one’s employer or stealing from one’s employer is haram, worse than a man standing behind a woman in a supermarket checkout counter, especially if that man is not turned on by women anyway. So, if you earn a salary but do not do work corresponding to that salary, then that is haram because it tantamount to short-changing your employer. For example, if you are paid a salary to work from 9.00am to 5.00pm with an hour off for lunch, then you must work your full shift. But if you disappear, like going to perform your prayers, then you are cheating your employer.

The more than one million civil servants, mostly Muslims, fail to understand that their employer is the people, Rakyat Malaysia. And, according to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 90% of the tax is paid by the non-Muslims. That means the non-Muslims are actually paying the salaries of the Muslim civil servants. So this makes the non-Muslim Malaysians the employer of the Muslim civil servants.

Now, the non-Muslim employers are paying the Muslim civil servants billions of Ringgit a year to do an honest day’s work. Did the Muslim civil servants ask permission from their non-Muslim employers for time off to go do their prayers? What if the non-Muslim employer, the taxpayer, does not endorse the Muslim employee, the civil servant, taking time off to do their prayers? Would this not be haram?

What the Muslim civil servants should do instead is either get permission from the millions of non-Muslim taxpayers who contribute to 90% of the taxes for time off to do their prayers, or they should refund part of their salary or take a salary cut for all the ‘illegal’ time off that they took to do their prayers.

You see, prayers, to the Muslims, are done for God; as do all the other religions as well believe. You are supposed to sacrifice part of your time for the sake of God. But in this case, other people, the employer cum taxpayer, is made to sacrifice instead. Your prayers would make more sense if YOU sacrifice for the sake of God by doing it on your own time at no loss to others than by doing it on your employer’s time and making your employer pay for the time off to do your prayers.

Yes, sincere prayers where you pay for it through a salary cut instead of forcing your employer to pay for it by screaming that Malaysia is an Islamic country — so they have no right to stop you from praying when you should be working as what you have been paid to do — is a better Islamic lifestyle than separate checkout counters for men and women.

We also know that the Malaysian civil service is extremely corrupt. And did we not say that the Malaysian civil service is predominantly Muslim? According to Sheikh Imran Houssein, corruption is one of the 80 sins of usury. And the sin of the lowest level of usury, explained Sheikh Imran, tantamount to the sin of intercourse with one’s own mother or father. Imagine having sexual intercourse with your own mother or father. And this is what corruption is equivalent to.

Doesn’t the Pas Youth number two think that sexual intercourse with your own mother and father is worse than men and women standing in the same line in a supermarket checkout counter? I would imagine he would put this on his list of priorities instead of focusing on separate checkout counters for men and women.

Yes, propagate Islam by all means. Let us introduce an Islamic lifestyle, which can only be good for the country. But let us get our priorities right. A chronically corrupt civil service and civil servants who cheat on their employers and short-change the taxpayer is the real problem this country is facing. Muslims must be made to understand that they need to become more Islamic by earning halal money. Muslims must be made to understand that haram money is just not on.

Unfortunately, no amount of legislation will achieve this. It is education and not legislation that is needed. But if the Pas Youth number two ‘educates’ Malaysians by saying that an Islamic lifestyle means separate checkout counters for men and women, then what hope do we have in seeing a change of the Muslim mindset? And is this the message we want to send to the non-Muslims: that Islam means separate checkout counters for men and women but corruption is very okay?
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Pas is pursuing its plan to introduce the Islamic lifestyle both in the states it controls and those run by its political partners, Parti Keadilan Rakyat and DAP. Using Kelantan as the example of a state which practises the Islamic way of life, the party is proposing to hold a series of seminars in Kuala Lumpur by August to discuss its plan.

Pas Youth vice-chief Azman Shapawi Abdul Rani said yesterday the party wanted to carry out the implementation of siasah syariah (syariah lifestyle) as it had promised to do during the general election. He said the movement had been directed to find a workable solution. However, Azman admitted the party’s limitation in carrying out widespread change as it only had full control over Kelantan and Kedah while Selangor, Penang and Perak were being held with their partners, PKR and DAP, under the Pakatan Rakyat banner.

“We will use Kelantan as the guide as it had introduced changes such as banning gambling, limiting the sale and public display of alcohol and separate checking counters for men and women in supermarkets. However, we know that what is being done in Kelantan maybe cannot be done in other states as we are not the ruling party there. We will invite our political partners for a discussion, maybe invite the menteris besar and the chief minister too,” he said after opening the Kelantan Pas Youth annual meeting here yesterday. “We will study the state laws and see where we can introduce the Islamic laws. We will consider whether that society has a Muslim majority or not.”

Asked if the DAP, in particular its party stalwarts, would accept the proposals, he said the move to implement Islamic rule would not affect the non-Muslims. “DAP is not just Karpal Singh or Lim Kit Siang. They have other leaders who are positive and open-minded like the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who recently raised the allowance for religious teachers. We will do this according to the state laws and after discussions with our partners.”

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