Is Bar Council leading Malaysia into organised anarchy via “intellectual discourse”?

The legal profession guild Bar Council, tried to stir the shit storm again yesterday. This time they proceeded with the attempt to hold the much controversial ‘Conversion to Islam’ forum at their premises, despite numerous advices and warnings, from the authorities and NGO alike.

 

Malaysia Kini has the breaking story:

 

Protesters stop Bar’s ‘conversion’ forum

 

Andrew Ong | Aug 9, 08 9:41am

About 300 protesters gathered outside the Bar Council headquarters demanding that the lawyers group halt its controversial forum on ‘Conversion to Islam’ this morning.

The Bar Council today, adhering to the advice of the police – and  an angry mob at its doorstep – wrapped up its half-day forum on ‘Conversion to Islam’ at 10am, an hour after it had started.

A leader of the protesters – PKR Kulim-Bandar Baharu parliamentarian Zulkifli Noordin – declared the abrupt end of the forum as a victory for them. By 10.40am, most of the protesters have dispersed.

The open forum on the sensitive religious issue kicked off at 9am but angry protestors have given organisers half an hour to cancel the event.

About 15 police officers and an Federal Reserve Unit truck have been deployed to the area and the road leading to the Bar Council office where the forum is held has been closed.

‘Don’t play with fire’

In the bid to diffuse the situation, the police have told Bar Council to wrap up its forum by 10am.

The protesters, many of whom are from Muslim welfare organsation Perkida and Islamic party PAS, shouted, “Hancur Bar Council” (Crush Bar Council), “Hidup Islam” (Long Live Islam) and “Batal forum” (Cancel the forum).

They are carrying placards saying “Jangan cabar Islam” (Don’t challenge Islam) and “Bar Council, Don’t play with fire”.

Among the protest leaders seen in the crowd are PAS Youth chief Salahuddin Ayub and Zulkifli.

The protesters, many of whom came just before the forum began, later decided to sit down in front of the Bar Council building and vowed that they would not budge until the event had been cancelled.

Some threatened to storm the building to physically stop the forum

Among the speakers at the forum was syariah lawyer Mohd Haniff Khatri Abdulla. Mohd Haniff represented the Federal Territory’s Islamic Religious Council in the case of R Subashini. K Shanmuga and Ravi Nekoo, who were counsel for Subashini and S Shamala, respectively, also spoke.

The forum is moderated by Zarizana Abdul Aziz of the Women’s Centre for Change.

Former Syariah judge and currently the Federal Territory Islamic Department’s syariah prosecutor Dr Mohd Naim Mokhtar pulled out as a panel speaker earlier.

The demonstration was generally peaceful, but several forum participants were subjected to verbal abuse and profanities when they exited the Bar Council building.

Shouts of “babi”, “pengkhianat” and “balik China” were heard as forum participants trickled out of the venue.

Speaking to reporters later, Zulkifli said that he had led a delegation of four individuals representing the protesters to state their position with Bar Council president Ambiga Sreevenasan and vice president K Ragunath.

Islam-bashing forum

“I spoke to them for 15 minutes and I urged them to stop the forum as it is a form of provocation against Muslims,” said Zulkifli, who stressed that he was representing Lawyers in Defence of Islam (Pembela) and not his party PKR.

Asked why the protesting groups choose not to participate in the forum and engage the organisers in a discussion, Zulkifli said that he was open to dialogues but the Bar Council’s intention was to provoke Muslims.

“For us, this forum is merely (for) Islam-bashing,” he said.

Dang Wangi police chief ACP Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman said the situation was “under control” and that he had advised the forum organisers to cancel the event due to security threats.

“There can be civil disorder and disturbance to the peace and we can’t ensure their safety,” he said when asked for details on the security threats.

Asked why he did not disperse the crowd in view of the security threats, Zulkarnain said that the police did not engage the crowd after assessing the situation.

“If we were to take action, nobody will be safe here,” he said, nothing that the initially passive crowd and turned more aggressive as the demonstration wore on.

*******************************************************

 

 

The past year, this is not the first time the Bar Council attempted to stir the shit storm. Last September, they organized the ‘Penguin March’ in Putrajaya in protesting on the alleged Judiciary tampering and fixing, as per illustrated in the “VK Lingam” video, released by former Deputy Prime Minister and abuse of power convict Anwar Ibrahim for obvious narrow political reasons. Then in June, they held the highly controversial ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ forum; having to openly but narrowly discuss the fundamental of the agreement between the major ethnic groups that lead to the incorporation of the Constitution (as per agreed by the British and Rulers) and birth of the multi-plural nation.

And now this. The thirteen million Ringgit question is, why are a bunch of deviant legal practitioners, want to do this, at this juncture? Especially using the guild’s own house to drag themselves (and eventually the rest of the country) into the indespicable valley of scumbags trying to promote anarchy via “intellectual discourse”?

Can the Bar Council elected Excos, with their intellectual aptitude and professional exposure honestly say that forums like these will not progress into something ugly? Can this attempt by the Bar Council tantamount under Sedition Act, for actively promoting civil and social unrest?

Nothing good will come out of this! These minority lawyers now trying to change our accepted way of life, tolerance, peace and harmony built between the ethnic and religious groups into ‘organised’ anarchism and chaos. Like always, they are constantly trying to push for their sordid and most probably morbid agenda, guised under “universal values” banner through their esteemed profession’s guild, having failed to do via democracy (where laws are changed).

It is clear that they are not who they say they are. The lawyers go around professing “Constitution is the Supreme Law” and yet they themselves defy the spirit and very salient  ingredients on how, why, when and who (participated in the formation) the Constitution was born; acceptability, tolerance and social and political bargaining.

These minority legal practitioners conniving and cunningly ‘play with words’ to guise and justify their sordid and most probably morbid agenda, somewhat threading along what the Westerners been doing in the proses of recolonising the rest of world. We have our different value system, based on culture and tradition. Time and again, they systematically and structurally attempted to challenge the interests of majority with their sordid strategic plan to champion the so called “right of the minorities”, abusing the  carte blanche veil of ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘universal right of democracy’. Moreover, at the expense and humiliation of the majority. Grave emotions and intellectual confusion will only be stirred when the minorities within Bar Council attempt to stir the rest of us into the back alleys of dismantling what we as Malaysians already stood for all these years.

There is great social, inter racial and religious tolerance in this very complex society. The Bar Council should further enhance and strengthen that, and not use their intellectual and professional abilities to turn Malaysia into organised anarchy. Never try to stir up the hornets’ nest.

Published in: on August 10, 2008 at 08:04  Comments (14)  

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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well said biggie …

  2. The word scumbags is very appropriate to describe these so-called learned lawyers

  3. I guess that lawyers in malaysia are so well to do and have a better quality in life than the rest of all professionals in malaysia, that these ingrates in the Bar Council have nothing better to do, but to lose perspective from taking care of lawyers in the country to creating organised anarchy, at the expense of the majority. Social justice is only as and when they like it and want it, not about justice for Islam, the nation as a whole. Hey, why we have democracy? don’t we as Muslim majority country have a say?

    Exactly!

    Unforunately, the Malay Muslim dominant leadership is very weak at this point of time

  4. It saddens me to read an article from somebody who sounds like an intellectual but unfortunately unable to think like one.

    If you make the effort to find out what are the forums all about instead of writing things that you have no clue at all, perhaps you could get some respect.

    You said “There is great social, inter racial and religious tolerance in this very complex society.” Perhaps that is your view and people such as you who think that we are living in such a world. The reality is, we are not.

    The actions of the leaders of the political parties and NGOs, as well as all other demonstrators, present during the demonstration in front of the Bar Council building, blatantly show of disrespect and intolerance among the protestors to opposing views. That a forum merely intended to openly discuss real and pressing issues faced by our nation cannot be tolerated speaks volumes of the worrying level of intolerance in Malaysia.

    In the Bar Council’s case, the forum was aimed at helping clarify legal and administrative provisions on religious conversion issues which could have provided useful inputs on helping resolve recent controversial developments.

    In fact, the organisers had taken the initiative to invite distinguished speakers from the Federal Territory Religious Affairs Department and Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia, although both withdrew after the forum was demonised by some quarters.

    “The use of abusive language, aggression and threats to halt the forum are un-Islamic, undemocratic and goes against the principles of Islam,” Pergerakan Progresif Mahasiswa Islam (Promis) said in a statement.

    “We also condemn the act of passing judgment on the forum based on assumptions only.”

    Promis said instead of disrupting the dialogue, the protestors should have first attended the forum to find out if it was really aimed at insulting the religion.

    “If they (the leaders) were not even inside, how would they know if the forum was aimed at attacking Islam. It would have been better if the protestors attended the forum and gave their own views and opinions instead of sullying the image of Islam,” it added.

    We cannot just treat every issue as sensitive. In fact the Bar Council forum was a platform for various groups to engage in discussion in a peaceful manner in seeking a solution.

    The organizers did not intend to confront anybody but to hear the different perspectives and sought to find a solution to avoid these issues from repeatedly occurring.

    This issue has been in existence even before the Shamalah case and the government has taken too long to resolve this issue. People want to see action. They don’t only want to hear promises by the government.

    “Where a spouse or family member has embraced Islam, the conversion effectively has an effect on the non-Muslim family members since it involves human rights with regards to the welfare of family members who have not converted.

    “There are custodial problems where minor children are involved, and inheritance issues too”.

    I wish people such as you would be able to open up your mind and have empathy for the affected people in the above scenario. Imagine to not only losing your father who has been with the non-muslims family for the last 30 years then upon his death, the newly acquired “muslim” wife of 5 years has everything but nothing for the children and “wife” from the non muslims family.

    Remember this my fellow malaysians – If [a] book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it. But for God’s sake, let us freely hear both sides if we choose. – Thomas Jefferson to N.

    Siti


    Thanks for your comments.

    I was present and argued during the Social Contract Forum organised by the Bar Council few weeks ago and I saw how it was skewed for the purpose of very narrow and opportunistic intrepetations, that could easily misconstrued, eventually stir up emotions, then anger and fury of a large number of people.

    It is easier said than done. The fact is that, we live in a mutliplural society with diverse receptive abilities on issues, more over sensitive ones like culture, race and religion. It could easily turn into something ugly especially when some proponents of the “open discussion” go on antagonising mode and tone.

    Maybe as a reciprocity, some right wingers (worse still, ultra right wingers) do something similar to discuss other people’s culture, race and religion and at the end of the day, pressure the ruling Government to defying the painfully installed principles of muhibbah in favour of democracy (voice of the majority). The truth is that the majority of the society is unable and not ready for such “liberal” discussion.

    Nothing good will come out of this. Better to avoid than fell sorry later, when there are people within our complex society is out to look for an opportunity like this to create organised anarchy.

    Nothing good will come out of this.

    P/S: Even at the Social Contract Forum, for a Bar Council organised event, so little of their own members were present. Shows it did not even get the support of the majority of their own people.

  5. Interesting to see an article that at first glance seems to be written by someone of intelligence, which also clearly flatters only to deceive. What is clear from your rambling is your shallow approach which centers around hatred rather than intellect.Your writings remind me of Adolf Hitler’s diatribes against the Jews. That being said, to be taken seriously, you should have taken some effort in commenting on the issue which were being addressed.

    You cannot run away from the fact that there is a problem. Islam is not the problem. The inept Umno led government is. In amending Article 121 and providing that the Muslim converts may only avail themselves of their rights in the Syariah Court, they left a lacuna encompassing the rights of the parties to the erstwhile marriage. Since the syariah court ruling did not bind the non Muslim spouse and the Muslim spouse could not go to the civil courts, the simple fact is that there are instances when injustice will result. That is what the Bar Council was raising. If you took the time to actually research the position, you would have known this.

    This Forum was timely given the fact that the joint working group of civil and syariah lawyers had not met for more than 18 months and that the AG’s chambers had done nothing on the recommendations put to it some eighteen months earlier. We all know the snail’s pace that our government works, unless it is putting non Malays under ISA or framing DSAI. If left alone, these injustices will continue to foster.

    Further the Bar Council originally had three (3) of the five speakers who are Muslims from various think tanks and religous authorities.Half the audience were made up of Muslims. If there was to be “Islam bashing”, I find it curious as to why these individuals were invited. Surely the Bar could have held it behind closed doors and then went ahead with its perceived intent.

    All those protesters did last week is give the Bar and that issue more publicity. They may have stopped the forum, but in doing so, they galvanised the rest of the population who have more than a single digit IQ (which thankfully rules out anyone from the BN government and those three hundred or so people and you), into thinking about this problem.

    This is nothing about hate. I live in tolerance amongst non Malay majority area and we live peacefully, in harmony. We respect each others’ boundaries and sensitivities. Thus, we treasure living as a community.

    This is all about people who thinks they are smart enough, thus wants to demonstrate their arrogance of intelectuallism via the ‘Kurang Ajar’ way. Their intellectualism is now a major obstacle in the position as Malaysian in a very complex and multi-plural society.

    The only problem lies is when people try to be smart and defy the wish and interest of majority, in favour of isolated minority. What is the majority in return, question so much liberty and freedom these minorities have enjoyed as privileges, all these years and decided to change all of that, via the democratic process? Will smart ass ‘Kurang Ajar’ people like them able to accept?

  6. Interesting that you that you use the phrase “so much liberty and freedom these minorities have enjoyed as privileges”. The minorities as you call it do not enjoy their liberty and freedom as a privilege but as a right granted under the Federal Constitution. Your concept of tolerance is therefore suspect. I on the other hand believe that we live as a single community, each party a stakeholder in this country we all call home.

    Next, you object to “the arrogance of intellectualism”. The discourse on the rights of the individuals under the constitution is a constitutional issue which has to be looked at from the legal perspective. You condemn the intellectual approach, but guess what, it is an intellectual question, which is to be addressed by lawyers, judges, scholars and academics. Notice that the mob made up of individuals like you who are guided by bias and inability to see the issues are not the best people do discuss this.

    You may not like them but the Bar Council has always stood up for what was right regardless of who the individuals involved were. They stood up to Mahathir in support of Tun Salleh Abas and the other five Supreme Court Judges. They did not look to see if they were Malay or Indian or Chinese. For the record, of the six judges involved, five were Malay.They pushed for the royal commission on the judiciary when the government wanted to sweep the rot under the carpet. When it all came out, who was the biggest rotten piece of shit – VK Lingam. Race is not an issue which concerns the Bar Council and the lawyers as a whole. What better organisation to discuss the legal issues?

    Next you say, “Kurang Ajar”. What in the day’s topic was so direspectful, whether to the Muslims or to the Malays? I could understand the anger of the Malays and Muslims in the Article 11 forums for they propogated the right of a Muslim to apostate. That as I understand it, so very wrong under Islamic law and the Non Muslims must accept that. But Saturday’s forum was not aimed at discussing the right to convert. It was aimed at discussing the rights of those affected by a spouses who convert and how they are caught out by the system of law that does not cater not only to the rights of the non muslim spouse but also the muslim spouse.

    Let me put in another perspective. By castigating the Bar Council and tacitly endorsing the mob who chanted racists statements, it is you who is “kurang ajar”. You are doing a disservice and showing no respect to your own very statements of tolerance . What sort of Muslim would see this as an affront to Malay rights? Muslims that I have the privilege to call my friends are fair and they are honest. They acknowledge that the law as it stands now is unfair, especially to those whose husbands convert to Islam so they can get out of their responsibilities to their families. These actions are an anathema to the teachings of Islam which proparate fairness, a respect for the rights of the people of other religions and of responsibility. I would urge those of you who visit this website and endorse this writers racist and fascist views to read this – peguampas.blogspot.com. The writer there is at least someone of intelligence and sits in the Central Committee of PAS, a party I voted for in the previous two elections. (And I am not Muslim nor a Malay)

  7. ak61192

    u had voted pas though u’re not muslim nor a malay.

    Yes, thank u , because PAS is an opposition not because u like it either.

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