Guan Eng’s mistake – big deal or no big deal?

Yesterday in ‘Tsk, tsk, tsk, Guan Eng does it again’, we took a light dig at the Penang chief minister’s penchant for trying to outdo his Muslim colleagues and opponents in showing off Islamic credentials.

Our readers Umar Rentaka and Ahmad Syafiq put in their rejoinders to our posting, saying: “Just a spelling mistake la” and “You’re making a big fuss out of it” respectively, referring to LGE’s error on ‘Amal/amar makruf nahi mungkar’ that we pointed out.

In the first round of the same matter in 2008, Umno created a huge hoo-ha over LGE getting his (borrowed) Islamic injunction misspelled and the wrong spelling subsequently plastered on banners and billboards all over Penang.

Is it just making a mountain out of a molehill? Not so. There’s more to it.

We found that someone by the name of Jeffrey had made a compelling analysis (which has a bearing on the present case) in the Comments section of Lim Kit Siang’s blog. We’re reproducing below relevant portions where Jeffrey rebuts LKS’s entry on Kee Thuan Chye re the PAS fear factor.

Jeffrey commented:

“Implicit in [the prevailing] thinking is that it is political reality that

(a) Malay Vote will dominate Malaysian Politics (as Dr Mahathir alluded to in Che Det)

(b) Malay Vote is unlikely to cross either the race or the religion lines

(c) the Malay vote is therefore interchangeable between Umno and PAS/PKR to [the] extent [that] PAS/PKR no matter what – and in spite of so called ‘new politics’ – uphold the constitutional special privileges of article 153 and the primacy of Islam and institution of Malay rulers. The Malay vote is generally not interchangeable between Umno/MCA with that of DAP.

“Which explains why with the imminent GE in mind the DAP secretary general (LGE) has played complicit with the Islamist ideology by banning sports betting in Penang, professing to govern like the Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz and eulogizing the greatness of “the history of Islamic civilization, whose global empires had not only contributed breathtaking art and architecture, but also the introduction of numbers, algebra and astronomy”!

Jeffrey commented: “We have not heard DAP’s traditional secular pluralistic principles been espoused publicly for some time. The only exception is the use of Allah by East Malaysians Controversy championed by DAP in the public domain and Sibu by-election but that’s Ok as it was a case where PAS was complicit to support the East Malaysian Bahasa reading’s stand, so that the issue poses no wedge between PAS and DAP within PR.

“More important it is the DAP’s sense of the pragmatism of its traditional supporters – the non-Malays – who are more likely to cross the race and religion lines to vote for PAS in Malay majority constituencies and in any case will still vote for DAP against MCA in spite of DAP’s playing complicit with the Islamist ideology of PAS for the more immediate pragmatic objective of dislodging UMNO-led BN.”

Hartal recommends that you pop over to Kit Siang’s blog to read Jeffrey’s comments in full. However, we’re pinching another excerpt from Jeffrey relating to LGE:

“Coming back to Kee Thuan Chye’s argument – “If Hadi were to take a hardline Muslim stance in his policies as PM, his partners in PKR and the DAP would not let him, not to mention those in Sabah and Sarawak”.

Jeffrey rebuts: “I think PKR is neither here nor there, so this is true only one assumes that DAP – the anchor of secular pluralism – will not waver in a political trade off to share federal power which is winnable only when PAS takes the lead.

“We don’t know. After all LGE already professed that he would govern like the Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz and eulogized the greatness of “the history of Islamic civilization”.

“It is apparent that the DAP is prepared to change a bit of its traditional pluralistic and secular colours for political expediency, to accept Malay Malaysian leadership of either PKR or PAS as a political reality just like the way MCA/MIC, in respect of Umno’s – but hopefully with the race/religious elements mitigated though not removed.

“Besides saying that DAP will “govern like the Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz”, DAP was prepared to jointly show solidarity with Muslim supporters within PKR and PAS to condemn Israel in the Freedom Flotilla episode – and even march to US embassy in protest – before true facts were ascertained that showed the Israelis commandoes acted in self defence.”

Jeffrey has made a compelling case against the proclivities of both LGE and KTC which our piecemeal abstract here fails to do justice.

To read his take on the issue with regard to why – “When Islamic agenda takes such a pervasive influence in the Umno’s administration it serves only to blur the line between UMNO and PAS, making pragmatic non-Malays and Muslims think like Kee when he wrote “From the look of it, there is not much difference in principle from the current state”!

“By [the current power structure] giving minorities no space and hope, minorities are forced to think most pragmatically with ‘nothing much to lose’ attitude like our Mr Kee Thuan Chye to support the very PAS that they have feared.” – please go to the LKS comments section by clicking here.

3 Responses to “Guan Eng’s mistake – big deal or no big deal?”
  1. lilian says:

    I have left this comment in an earlier post. So maybe I should also post it here?

    I am a blogger and wish to point out that the blog URL mentioned in your article is NOT the Chief Minister’s blog. As far as I know, his official blog resides at the Penang dot gov dot my URL. Here it is:

    And if you wish to get real time updates, you may want to follow CM on twitter or join the Facebook page as CM personally tweets and some of his press conferences, press statements and photos/videos are updated by CM’s staffs. I am a video journalist working in the communication dept of CM’s office but I am writing this as a blogger.

    CM’s Facebook here :
    Lilian, thank you for pointing out the official Penang Chief Minister’s web-blog. Please read HartalMSM’s new posting where further details on this matter has been uploaded – shar101.

  2. cslee says:

    No big deal. You know why? For to err is human and to forgive is divine.

  3. umar rentaka says:

    “to govern like the Caliph Umar Abdul Aziz”
    what does that mean?

    For all we know, that great caliph governed according to sound
    pluralistic secular ideologies, which is mentioned in Al Quran.

    At end of the day, whether we are secular or religious, the basic
    qualities are the same. That’s what is important. Not the name.

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