At first glance, Hadi Awang’s “inilah hakikatnya” defence of Zakir Naik – insisting “hak persaudaraan Islam itu mengatasi warganegara dan merentasi sempadan negara dan bangsa” – appeared to be a sucker punch at non Malays.
But on second thought and after ruminating on the matter, I discern Hadi’s statement to be staggering in its sheer honesty.
Here is a man aiming for the highest political office nationally. And as we all know, politicians almost always only tell you what you want to hear.
However, instead of your typical manis di bibir, sedapkan telinga rah-rah patriotic talk, here’s Hadi standing firm on his religious tenets despite the inevitable uproar and backlash.
Just admit it, we’re strongly tribal
So … Hadi Awang had told off Zakir Naik’s detractors, saying that Muslim brotherhood trumps citizenship — see Malaysiakini news report above a fortnight ago.
He is open and straightforward with his religious convictions, and I say ‘bravo’ to that.
Apparently for the PAS president, the alif-ba-ta formula is just about correct in its ordering of priority, and I agree.
You can change your government, obviously. Hannah Yeoh was screaming for this all the way up to 2018.
You can also change your country. But you can’t change your religion if you belong to one of the Abrahamic faiths (you’ll go to hell).
If – let’s say – Hannah Yeoh had succeeded in her Australian permanent residence (PR) application some dozen years ago, there’s a possibility that she might not be anymore a Malaysian citizen today.
BELOW: Cartoon of Indo-Chinese 1977 refugee crisis, source — UNHCR
Some Malaysians dream of emigrating to English-speaking or Christian countries such as Oz, NZ, UK, US or Canada. If you change your country, a nationality change can automatically follow. If things had gone as she originally planned, Hannah could well have been an Australian Chinese now rather than a Malaysian Chinese.
One prominent example (within recent memory) of nationality change en masse are the Vietnamese boat people.
In 1975, Amerika lost the Vietnam War. Soon after, the country’s economic migrants began fleeing Vietnam, with the exodus peaking between 1978-79. They were minority ethnics of Chinese descent who mostly found asylum in the USA, and thus becoming the hyphenated new Americans.
BELOW: Mark Zuckerberg’s Chinese wife is a native Cantonese speaker; was Vietnam was merely a transit point for her family?
Hence between the ‘alif’ (Agama), ‘ba’ (Bangsa) and ‘ta’ (Tanahair) predicates, one’s loyalty to country ranks lower than race and religion because country (“citizenship”) is the most mutable attribute among the three. You can change it by simply making an application to the immigration authorities.
On 16 Sept 2012 at a Malaysia Day event organized by the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) movement, Hannah Yeoh gave a talk on fighting racism, telling her audience, “I despise racism and I joined politics to do something about it”.
Hannah also recounted how she had tried register her child as ‘Anak Malaysia’ on the birth certificate.
“The clerk told us that the system is incapable of processing anything other than the four boxes [Malay, Chinese, Indian, Dan Lain-lain]”, Hannah recalled. “We insisted that she be a ‘Malaysian’ but at the end of the day we had to settle for Chinese”.
If you can even bargain with the filing clerk on what race is to be recorded for your newborn baby, then this ‘Bangsa’ attribute is also mutable to some extent (albeit this is rare).
Notable race transitioners – i.e. individuals fraudulently claiming to be a race that they’re not – are American Democrat presidential aspirant Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, American black rights activist Rachel Dolezal and controversial American SJW Shaun King.
And one must not forget Lim Guan Eng who famously proclaimed, “Saya bukan orang Cina”.
Hence when Hadi Awang declared “hak persaudaraan Islam itu mengatasi warganegara dan merentasi sempadan negara dan bangsa”, he is absolutely right. Loyalty to Agama is indeed way above one’s subsidiary affiliations to Bangsa dan Negara.
Likewise Jakim is also correct to warn Muslims against participating in those ubiquitous interfaith gatherings beloved of the evangelistas.
Lim Kit Siang, who’s always shouting “Malaysian First” from the rooftops, is nowadays very preoccupied with the “Clash of Civilisations” between the Muslim and Christians — see his tweets below.
Even today, Kit Siang continues to yammer about how “Malaysia can be a showcase to the world of the success of the Alliance of Civilisations instead of being a failure from the Clash of Civilisations” (ref. latest media statement).
This is because he feels in his bones the truth of what Hadi said, and he fears this truth. With the Malays, it’s Islam First.