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Big brother Jakim angers Malaysians

 | January 11, 2013

Muslims like to tell the world that theirs is a tolerant religion and yet certain Muslims and Muslim organisations act like bulls in heat, when they vent their anger.

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Malays will be chucked out of their own land, Muslims will not be allowed to practise their religion, Tanah Melayu as they know it will be destroyed. These are some of the not-so-subtle warnings that the extremists have touted and yet, it is the Malays and Muslims who are undermining a peaceful co-existence with their intolerance and insidious methods.

The notice, placed beside three elevators in a Kuala Lumpur hotel which say that the lifts should only be used to transport halal goods, have plunged many Malaysians into despair.

Muslims like to tell the world that theirs is a tolerant religion and yet certain Muslims and Muslim organisations act like bulls in heat, when they vent their anger.

Today, we are told that only certain goods can be carried in lifts, but in the near future, will notices indicate which sorts of people are to be banned? What precedence is this setting?

Today, only a few hotels and restaurants have received instruction from the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) regarding the strict requirements to qualify for halal certification. Muslims are trying to gain a monopoly on the use of the word Allah, how long will it be before other things will be dragged onto the Jakim-Jais list?

The notice in the Crystal Crown Hotel was placed at the entrance to the trade lifts. How does Jakim think that cross-contamination could occur between halal and haram foods in a lift? If food is being prepared in the lifts, then the hotel should be prosecuted for unhygienic practices.

If the meat and vegetables are dripping blood and fluids onto other foodstuffs, then the suppliers should be made to package their goods properly.

FMT reported that security personnel and CCTV would make sure Jakim’s orders were enforced. Is it so difficult to allocate one elevator for transporting non-halal foods? Is this the hotel management or Jakim at work?

Jakim has persevered in making both Muslim and non-Muslims mock their (Jakim) policies. Jakim’s directives reflect badly on Islam and has brought the religion into disrepute. Has Jakim an ulterior motive behind their moves, besides making life difficult for non-Muslims and Muslims alike?

The butter fiasco

The Goldenchurn brand of butter fell foul of Jakim a few years ago. Butter is made by churning high-fat milk or cream until the butter separates from the liquid (buttermilk). Butter becomes semi-solid from emulsification and the process does not involve gelatin, pork or any other ingredients, except salt and colouring.

When the ban on Goldenchurn was enforced, many wondered if the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Taib Mahmud and his cronies were involved in this alleged sabotage. Had Taib wanted to promote his palm oil margarine alternative especially as he had invested heavily in the halal hub called the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE)?

Similarly, when Tabasco and the HP Sauce was banned in Malaysia, critics allege that a highly attractive sweetener had not been paid to smooth the import of these sauces into Malaysia.

These same critics, who are Muslims going on the haj and umrah, wondered why the sauces were on sale in Mecca and other cities in Saudi Arabia.

Friends claim that when visiting a government department in Ipoh, they have been told what to wear and in a few cases, have been asked to return only after they are suitably attired. Short sleeved blouses are not allowed and even non-Muslims have been asked to cover up their hair with a scarf.

Are we going the way of Saudi Arabia where expat colleagues have said that the religious police will beat women with a stick if their arms are exposed?

Jakim receive their orders from Umno, and the erection of the signboards in the Crystal Crown Hotel is a manifestation of Umno’s desperation.

At a time when Malaysians are facing serious problems caused by poor governance, with the country haemorrhaging billions of ringgits, its police force facing a crisis of public confidence and members of the cabinet from the prime minister downwards maintaining silence over corruption scandals at the heart of government, Jakim just provokes Malaysians.

If only Jakim were to extend its reach to some VVIPs who when they are at home, play the pious Muslim but who gamble, drink and fornicate when they are abroad.

A recent birthday bash for an eighteen year old with his 81 year old father in a London hotel is one such event. London is a playground for such people as it is far from the prying eyes of the rakyat.

Malaysians must confront Jakim’s issues head on. The lifts may be an issue today, but how long will it be before Muslims are themselves subjected to archaic laws?

Perhaps, in time, women will be denied the vote, or be barred from education, employment or sport. Maybe, Muslim women will be banned from driving or leaving the house without their husband’s permission.

For centuries, the nation had no problems with the word Allah being used by Christians, Sikhs and Muslims. Are Umno’s lackeys trying to create problems before GE-13? How long will it be before Jakim and the various institutions encroach further into our lives?

Blatant double standard

The double standard adopted by Jakim and Jais are blatant. They are not concerned with cheating, theft, murder, perjury, forced conversions, deaths in police custody, body-snatching, corruption, sex with children, children being married off, incest among Muslims and domestic violence.

The Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria has warned non-Muslims not to provoke Muslims and to stop using the word Allah. Other prominent people have followed suit.

Harussani said: “Christians should not interfere with Islam, they’d be better off taking care of their own religion. If they want to use Allah, convert into Islam.”

If Malaysians, especially Muslims do not help stop this madness, it will not be long before people like Harussani will bring in even more ridiculous demands and prohibitions.

The bans on yoga and the poco-poco dance seem quite sensible, when compared with the latest foolishness.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

Also read:

Hotel explains ‘halal’ signboards


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