Arabic garnishing won't change Umno offerings
Rama Ramanathan • Dec 5, 11 5:37
I can understand members of a fringe group of Muslims promoting the use of Arabic perhaps because they believe god desires the world to speak Arabic.
I can understand religious teachers, ulama, using Arabic to expound the Koran and teach right conduct.
But what am I to make of the use of Arabic words by leaders of race-based Umno?
Do they think people will believe Umnoputeras are good Muslims because they use Arabic words? Do they forget we associate Arabic garnishing with Gaddafi, Osama and Saddam?
At the Umno general assembly last week, Najib, Muhyiddin and others used many Arabic words including redha (acceptance), qada (destiny),qadar (fate), rezeki (sustenance) and bai'ah (oath of allegiance).
I began pondering the use of Arabic words by Umno leaders when I learned about Muhyiddin leading 2,700 Umno delegates in a bai'ah (oath of allegiance) to Najib on Saturday. According to news reports, this is what he said:
"Let us stand together in the spirit of unity and solidarity, honesty and sincerity, confidence and determination in winning the solid support of the rakyat for the sake of our party's victory.
"We, the Umno people, pledge to close ranks, promote brotherhood, eliminate disputes, avoid jealousy and feeling of envy, and to place party interest above self-interest.
"We, the Umno people, pledge to be loyal to the party by giving our full trust and solid support to the president to lead us to a handsome victory in the next general election."
Isn't it odd that God's name was not included? Did Malaysiakini report accurately?
In a speech, Muhyiddin urged Umno delegates to accept "as God's will" (redha) if they or their allies are not selected as candidates in the next election: it seems they are to treat Najib and Muhyiddin as God's representatives. Is this in accord with Islam?
Muhyiddin is reported to have mentioned rezeki(reward) in the same sentence as redha.
"Everything is determined by God; if one is not selected as a candidate this time around, it is ordained. You have to accept it (redha) and should not be disappointed as being redha will be rewarded, maybe not in the form of rezeki(sustenance) this time around."
Does this constitute open acceptance (redha) that Umno delegates seek public office for the sake of material reward?
Perhaps this is why there has been talk of Umno delegates being given senior leadership positions in government linked companies (GLC)?
How does Muhyiddin think Umno is going to win "the solid support of the rakyat" if Umno folks are running for office in order to enrich themselves,ala Shahrizat?
If Najib and Muhyiddin are serious about gaining support, they should be presenting the results of their tenure in office in relation to the voice of therakyat; they should be talking about national unity, inter-racial and inter-religious harmony; they should be talking about the corrupt who have been made examples of, e.g. the big fish involved in the PKFZ scandal, (former Selangor menteri besar) Khir Toyo and his mansion, Shahrizat and NFC.
They don't because they can't. These examples don't exist. What does exist is Perkasa fanning the flames of hate. And custodial deaths - in particular of Teoh Beng Hock, grilled to death.
If Umno wants to be viewed as more than a grouping of sham Muslims, they should be talking about how they are opposing hate and attacking injustice.I cringe when American politicians display their 'Christianity,' whether by association, e.g. arranging photo opportunities with Mother Teresa, or by claiming to be 'born again.'I cringe when 'Christian politicians' in Malaysia tell us of their 'calls' and are silent about their 'stands' on account of their being 1God before they are 1Malaysia or 1Party.
I am not a Muslim, but I know faithful Muslims who put people first; who measure their own worth according to their treatment of their oppressed neighbours; not according to the wealth they accumulate through pledges of allegiance to mere humans.
I am confident there are many Muslims who will agree with me that Umno with Arabic garnishing tastes just as bad. Will reformers arise within Umno?
Will BN component parties help the reformers?