Secularism didn’t work for Ireland, says PAS Dublin delegate

Kelab PAS Luar Negara Ireland representative Dr Zarina Mokhtar.

PETALING JAYA: A PAS delegate based in Europe today said any attempt by Malaysia to steer from its traditionalist view of things will backfire, pointing out that Ireland is facing the brunt of this now.

Dr Zarina Mokhtar, from Kelab PAS Luar Negara in Ireland, said an “internal crisis” is taking place in the churches there.

This, she claimed, has led the Christians there, who make up about 78% of the population, to lose their faith in religion and God.

She said this is because of conflicting views within the churches on whether the “secularist and liberalist” ideology should become the norm in Ireland.

“There weren’t any divorce cases in Ireland about 40 years ago,” Zarina said in her debate on PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang’s policy speech at PAS’ 65th Muktamar in Kuantan, Pahang.

“There were no abortions. Buying family planning pills was illegal and homosexuality was a crime.

“Sadly, two to three years ago, the Irish, who consider religion as a culture or only to be left on paper, passed same-sex marriage (and) child abortion laws.

“And if you want to buy family planning pills or condoms, it is as easy as buying sweets.”

Zarina said social ills in Ireland are the same in Malaysia, despite being a country that she described as a welfare state which always helps the people.

Earlier, in her speech, she said the Irish government gives free water to all, while children get a monthly allowance until they reach 18 irrespective of what race they are.

Expectant mothers also get six months’ paid leave, while medical services are provided for free to the disabled community.

Nevertheless, she said there are concerns worth noting in Ireland. As an example, she said suicide rates among teenagers in Ireland are the seventh highest in Europe.

Zarina said that as a mental health practitioner herself, this is worrying, as the number of children deliberately harming themselves is increasing over the years.

“LGBT influence is growing stronger,” she said, adding that those who make comments or have viewpoints that are not on par with the community risk being summoned.

Zarina said this is what happens when religion is isolated although a country is still a welfare state.

“With that, the Ireland PAS club very much supports Tuan Guru president’s message, where (he said) Malaysia should become a welfare state (and) at the same time, make ‘adin’ (everlasting bliss) part of the progress achieved.”

Zarina also cautioned against excessive internet usage for children and teenagers.

She said they were too “comfortable” when surfing the internet or behind computer screens.

She said that is why her group took the opportunity to host Hadi at a special dialogue session with some high schools teenagers based in Ireland.

“This meeting opened the eyes of our children,” she said about the type of leaders in PAS.

She did not disclose when this took place but the children were likely Muslims based on her explanation.

Zarina said all PAS chapters should host similar dialogues with teenagers in Malaysia so they can be proud of Islam and will know about PAS from a young age.

She also said her club is on a mission to show the Irish that PAS is not just a political party.

As an example, she said a Hari Raya event is being organised at a sports centre in Dublin tomorrow.