Our Malays are integrating very well
Several articles appeared in the ST yesterday on comments that were translated from Berita Harian and Berita Minggu, our Malay papers. They were the views of our Malay elite responding to what LKY said on Malays integrating into the main stream of our social activities. The views were guarded but mainly told of how well our Malays have adapted and accommodated to the modern life style of this city state and tolerating the differences in cultural and religious activities. On the first page of mypaper there was an article about the authorities in some Malaysian states ramming up checks on immoral behaviours between the sexes during Valentine’s Day. The Islamic apparatus will be increasing checks and patrols on Muslims in dark corners engaging in ‘immoral acts’ of close proximity. I must add that such vigilance is only confined to Muslim authorities wanting to ensure that the Muslims are not indulging in sinful lifestyles. I have read an article in the net that when Najib was invited to attend a Christmas function by the Catholic Archbishop of KL, there was a polite request that the Christian cross be removed, no carols and no prayers during his visit. That is the level of tolerance in Malaysia. This is from an article by John Malott, former US Ambassador to Malaysia. I stand to be corrected, there were postings in the net that there were calls to prohibit the sales of ‘bak kut teh’, ‘char kway teow’, ‘wan tan mee’ etc etc unless they are halal and carry the halal signs. Thank god, our Muslim brothers are more tolerant than the Malaysian Muslims and did not insist on such regulations. In the ST articles, many emphasized that the Singapore Muslims have no problems eating together with non Muslims and are mixing freely while keeping the limits of their own constraints. An article by A Rahman Basrun commented that Islam is not the problem but the Muslims were. I quote, ‘Finally, it is not Islam that is troublesome; rather, Muslims are the ones who cause trouble to Islam.’ By comparing the two states, Malaysia and Singapore, both have Muslims practicing Islam, we can see what is the real problem. I agree with Rahman Basrun, that Islam is not the problem, but the Muslims and the way they practiced their faith is. If that is the case, LKY’s comment is fair in the sense that Islam allows room for tolerance and the Muslims could, in some ways, moderate the practices, without compromising on the key doctrines, to adapt to other cultural and religious activities. If Islam is the source of intolerance, then there is no room for any moderations.