OUTSPOKEN: The ease and frequency with which Umno Baru leaders are confused is most alarming. The latest debacle occurred when Penang Opposition Leader Jahara Hamid demanded to know why a Taoist Datuk Kong shrine had been retained, in the recently refurbished Armenian Park.
Although she said that Muslims will not pray at the shrine, she claimed that some Malays could become confused. She wanted the shrine to be moved to an obscure corner of the park.
I have met thousands of smart Malays, young and old, urban and rural, western educated or those who have yet to travel out of Malaysia. None have been afflicted by the same confusion and paranoia of the Umno Baru leaders.
Have Umno Baru leaders, like Jahara, heard of the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul? This beautiful work of architecture is a showpiece of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.
The Hagia Sophia was first a church, then a mosque. It is now a museum, but none of the Turkish leaders have demanded that the Orthodox Christian parts of the Hagia Sophia be fenced-off from view, in case they offend Muslim visitors. The Malaysian problem is that our Umno Baru leaders have closed minds.
So why are Umno Baru leaders so easily confused? Are they being failed by their own propaganda? They claim that Malays are confused, but why do they drag ordinary Malays into their perpetual state of confusion?
The cross seems to confuse the Umno Baru Malays. Last year, Muslim youths demonstrated outside a church, in Kampung Medan, claiming that the cross on top of a church in Kampung Medan would confuse them and convert them to Christianity.
Hundreds of thousands of Malays have attended Mission schools and, thus far, none have converted to Christianity. Interestingly, the brother of the IGP was found among this demonstration, claiming that he was acting as mediator, to soothe tensions. We are neither stupid, nor are we confused. We know his role in this debacle.
The word “Allah” appears to easily confuse Umno Baru leaders, and make them froth at the mouth. They tried to copyright the word “Allah” and make it exclusively theirs, but they failed. Umno Baru Malays claim that the word “Allah”, in the Malay language Bible will convert Malays.
The East Malaysian bumis, like the Kadazan and Iban, speak Malay in church. They read from Malay language Bibles. There is no confusion. If they did not speak the national language, the Umno Baru Malays would then accuse them of being unpatriotic. Are Umno Baru Malays ignorant or just plain stupid? Or both?
Along with our Umno Baru leaders, the muftis are also a confused breed. Harussani Zakaria, the Perak mufti, thinks that watching films in cinemas will encourage immorality among our youth. Was he stopped from going to the cinema, with his friends, as a young boy? He needs counselling to stop him being a spoilsport, who stops others from going to the cinema.
In 2014, the Ipoh City Council (MBI) was confused by a street painting of an old man, on the wall of an old coffee-shop. They said that some people claimed that the painting was done to reintroduce communism into Malaysian society.
Did the MBI officials stop to think things through? Did they really believe that Ernest Zacahrevic, the Malaysian street artist, was glorifying Chin Peng, the deceased secretary-general of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM)? Does every old man look like Chin Peng? This is not a case of confusion. Everything points to the officials, needing a trip to the optician, before a rest-cure in Tanjong Rambutan.
The English language makes many Umno Baru leaders confused. In the Mara boarding schools and rural areas, children who try to practise English are told that speaking English is unpatriotic.
The truth is that Umno Baru leaders, who are not fluent in English, are embarrassed that they are unable to conduct a conversation in English. They are too lazy to learn English, but instead of encouraging the young to become fluent in English, they would rather everyone else remains monolingual. There is no confusion. This is simply Umno Baru being selfish.
If Umno Baru leaders are easily confused, they should go back to school. Confused leaders cause mayhem and are unfit to lead. They also cause chaos and ruin the economy.
Mariam Mokhtar is “a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth”.
= The Ant Daily