You can read Wong Chun Wai’s latest piece below. He published it in both his Blog as well as The Star, the MCA-controlled newspaper that he heads.
Was it not The Star that challenged DAP to take a stand on the Islamic State? The Star was trying to pit DAP against PAS and it used the Islamic State issue as the catalyst in an attempt to start this inter-party war.
I remember, back in 1999, I went over to The Star's office in Petaling Jaya to insert three advertisements, three days running, on behalf of the opposition coalition, Barisan Alternatif.
The advertisements were about how the PAS government of Kelantan treats the non-Muslims in the state. It showed pictures of Chinese, Siamese and Hindu temples as well as churches in the state, some which were built after PAS formed the state government in 1990. It showed pictures of pork and beer being freely sold in the state as well as Chinese and Indian schools, and so on.
In short, it was an advertisement to prove that the mainstream media spin about non-Muslims in Kelantan being denied this, that and the other, as reported by the government-owned newspapers and TV stations, were total lies.
After the first advertisement came out, The Star cancelled the remaining two in spite of them earlier agreeing to run all three advertisements and in spite of the fact I had paid for the advertisements cash-in-advance. I can’t remember exactly how much I paid but I think it was about RM9,000 or thereabouts.
The Star has been playing up the Islamic State issue to the hilt. In its very subtle way it has attempted to paint Islam as ‘the enemy’ and a pariah religion to boot. The Star embarked on its anti-Islamic State campaign and, therefore, in the same breath, spun its anti-Islam propaganda in its effort to not only run down PAS but also to place DAP in a dilemma if it does not come out openly and strongly in opposition to the Islamic State.
Yes, The Star used Islam as a means to try and break up the opposition. Maybe it did not quite say that Islam is shit. But the message was clear. DAP works with PAS. PAS wants to set up an Islamic State. An Islamic State is a pariah state. So DAP is a pariah party.
But would this not also mean that Islam is a pariah religion, something to be very frightened of, especially if Islam is going to be the system of government in Malaysia?
Well, as Akhramsyah Muammar Ubaidah bin Tan Sri Sanusi (Junid) said in his latest Blog posting, Torched Churches... Reaping What Is Sown. And The Star too, which has been taking the anti-Islamic State a la anti-Islam stand since 1999, you too reap what you sow.
Let this be a lesson to MCA and The Star. For more than a decade you have been slowly poisoning the Chinese with your subtle propaganda and anti-Islamic State rhetoric. You thought this would be a good strategy to create friction between DAP and PAS, and thereby see the demise of the opposition coalition. But now it has backfired. So what are you going to do now?
Today, Wong Chun Wai wants to talk about peace, harmony, tolerance, let common sense prevail, let us become brothers and sisters, we are all fellow Malaysians, and all that fucking crap. But for eleven years Wong Chun Wai, MCA and The Star have embarked on an anti-Islamic State campaign. Now you want to do a U-turn?
The worst has not even begun. It is going to get worse before it gets better. How do you undo the damage? How do you un-burn the burned churches?
Let this be a lesson to Wong Chun Wai, MCA and The Star. You just can’t conduct an eleven-year anti-Islam campaign without something breaking. And it has now broken.
Well done Wong Chun Wai, MCA and The Star! Your brilliant strategy succeeded. Malaysians are no longer split racially. Malaysians are now united. Malaysians are united along racial lines but split along religious lines. But will this kill the opposition coalition, in particular the cooperation between DAP and PAS, as you had hoped?
I hope you are happy with your success. It was a long eleven-year campaign that you embarked upon, but worth every bit. You have finally divided Malaysians along religious lines as you tried to do these last eleven years or so since 1999.
Of course, your objective is to see DAP and PAS go for each other’s throats, which you hope will result in the break up of Pakatan Rakyat. Maybe that will not happen after all. But at least now the non-Muslim Chinese and Indians will be able to see how ‘dangerous’ Islam is, as what MCA and The Star have been trying to say all these many years.
Douse the fire of madness
On The Beat
By WONG CHUN WAI
The challenge to our Malaysian leaders, whether political or religious, is to have the courage to do what is right for our country and not just try to say the right things.
It's the sort of religious madness that one might expect in India or Pakistan but certainly not here in Malaysia.
Except for a few cases in the past, destruction of places of worship is unheard of as we have long learnt to respect each other, way before cross-culturalism became a fashionable word in the Western world.
Last week’s torching of the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati in Kuala Lumpur was a rude jolt to religious relations in the country. It was a black day in our history, to put it bluntly.
In the name of God, people have gone to war, slaughtering innocent people as their self-righteous leaders quote selectively, often wrongly but convincingly, from their holy books to justify their actions.
The history of religion is littered with such extremism although the perpetrators know that killing is unacceptable. In contemporary history, Muslim Bosnians have been killed by Christian Serbs and today, al-Qaeda operatives blow up buildings in the name of Allah.
But even as we try to come to terms with the arson at the church and attempts at two other churches, it is heart-warming to know there are many Malaysians who readily stand up and condemn the despicable acts.
It is important to note that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein have led in the condemnation of the arson.
Many Muslim personalities encouraged others to join them and show up at the Metro Tabernacle Church to give moral support by sending out text messages and Tweets.
The witnesses, who readily came forward to assist the police, included Muslims in the area, according to senior pastor Rev Ong Sek Leang, whom I spoke to on Friday evening.
The gang who threw the homemade explosives into the Metro Tabernacle Church had done it brazenly. It may have been well after midnight but there were still people in the area.
The Muslims in the area were familiar with the activities of the church and the people who run it. After all, the church has stood there for the last 12 years, co-existing peacefully with a surau across the church.
There was no animosity between the Muslims and the church, and the church does not even have a Bahasa Malaysia worship session.
Located in a predominantly Muslim area, the church was certainly aware of its minority status and has certainly been sensitive to its surroundings. It has plans to move to new premises near Batu Caves but is still struggling with bureaucratic problems put up by the Selayang local council. The church could certainly do with speedier approval from the Selangor state government, under which the council comes. There would be much goodwill if financial support also came from the federal and state governments.
As I write this article, several Muslim corporate figures have called to say they wanted to make donations to the church. These are gestures that we should commend. But in the minds of many Malaysians, especially Christians, the question is where we move from here.
As minorities in this country, non-Malays and non-Muslims are aware of their precarious positions and no one can argue that they put up much self-restraint for obvious reasons.
They know the backlash if they are too vocal or too demanding but they also feel that they enjoy the protection of the constitution. Many a time there is the perception, rightly or wrongly, that they have been taken for granted.
Many of the decisions reached on certain contentious cases involving the church may have the support of the leadership but along the way, they are sometimes ignored by lower ranking bureaucrats. This is where misunderstandings or pent-up frustrations begin to start.
Unless our leaders have the political and moral courage to take principled decisions on religious issues involving the church, we would merely postpone the problems.
Take, for example, Christian literature; the reality is there is now a whole generation of young Malaysians who are more proficient in Bahasa Malaysia. This is the product of the school system which replaced English with Bahasa Malaysia.
We cannot possibly tell them that they cannot read the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia. Their option is Bahasa Indonesia and that version of the Bible is also confiscated.
The largest number of Christians today are Sabahan and Sarawakian bumiputras, who prefer Bahasa Malaysia. The fastest growing church has a Malay name – the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) – which also enjoys the same popularity in the peninsula.
Indonesian workers also attend church services here every Sunday. Certainly, we don’t expect them to read the King James Version of the Bible, which even the English educated struggle with.
Setting up churches and getting approvals from the local councils is, to put it mildly, extremely challenging.
Reading through the many messages posted by young Malaysians on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, there is a sense of pessimism. We should be providing hope and assurances to them.
More than ever, there is a need for regular consultation between Muslim and non-Muslim groups at formal and informal settings. At present, there is none at a structured level between learned Muslims and non-Muslims. Prominent personalities with strong links to Christian and Muslim groups should also meet regularly to forge bonds and emphasise common areas.
The church groups need to also understand that the majority Muslims do not want other non-Muslim groups to use the world “Allah”. We have listened to the arguments of both sides, including the historical perspectives but there is no logic when it comes to matters of faith.
But a court decision should not be the end of all matters. Consensus could still be reached if the right initiatives and compromises are taken. The challenge to our Malaysian leaders, whether political or religious, is simple – have the courage to do what is right for Malaysia and not just try to say the right things. That’s all Malaysians ask for.