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Whose credit? Not MCA's, of course

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The cabinet decision to allow school heads to decide on the setting-up of non-Muslim religious societies in schools, without the need to obtain approval of the state education director, is certainly welcome.

The decision, however, should not be taken as something magnanimous on the part of the federal government for according this "concession" to the non-Muslim community.

The fact is that it is not something to be considered as a concession or a privilege given by the federal government, but a fundamental right provided for in Article 11 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution and enshined in the human rights covenants and conventions of the United Nations.

Hence, the federal government, in particularly the Education Minister, should apologise to the non-Muslim students for unilaterally restricting and depriving them over the years of their fundamental human and constitutional right and freedom to practice their religious faiths, through the unwarranted and unjustified action of the Little Napoleons in the Education Ministry.

Now that the cabinet has officially declared that such non-Muslim religious clubs and societies are allowed to exist and be formed in schools if there are at least 15 students signing up to start one, I hope the school heads, some of whom practise the Little Napoleon culture, will not make things difficult for the students who want to form such clubs or societies.

In fact, the school heads should help the students by providing the meeting place and appointing teachers to be advisors to guide them. If there is the unlikelihood or improbability that a school may not have a teacher practising the faith of any such club, the school concerned should allow a pastor, a priest or a religious elder acceptable to the parents of the students to act as the religious advisor. The school should also allow speakers from the churches or temples to be invited to speak at the meetings of such clubs or societies.

Soi Lek has hinted that the MCA fought for the decision when he said he chaired a pre-council meeting with the four MCA ministers – Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen – in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday to discuss the matter, before the cabinet met on Wednesday to discuss it.

And Liow, the MCA deputy president, was given the honour to announce the decision after the cabinet meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Putrajaya on Wednesday.

The fact that the Umno-controlled federal government is now being more open and liberal in acceding to demands and requests of the people is simply because the coalition does not have the two-thirds majority in Parliament since the March 2008 general election, and there is now a very viable alternative coalition – the Pakatan Rakyat – which the people can turn to if the Barisan Nasional does not serve them well.

The favourable decision on the non-Muslim religious societies in school is simply the result of the fear of a stronger backlash against the Barisan Nasional at the next general election, not because the MCA has any political clout and potency to pressure the Umno-dominated cabinet to comply with its request or demand.

This is illustrated so obviously by the fact that MCA boss Soi Lek immediately backed down from the initial MCA position to endorse the rights of Christians to use the word "Allah" the moment Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin rebuked the party and warned it not to champion the issue.

Soi Lek made the about-turn, just hours after Muhyiddin reprimanded the MCA, and said that the party does not share the same stand with the DAP on the call to lift the ban on the use of "Allah" by non-Muslims.

His explanation is that the MCA held a dialogue with the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) last week and that the CFM felt that there was a need for the issue to be resolved as soon as possible.

Soi Lek, in trying to appease Muhyiddin, one of his big Umno bosses, has claimed that the MCA was only voicing out the CFM wish on the issue which has yet to be resolved.

In other words, Soi Lek is saying that the MCA does not have any conviction or stand on the "Allah" issue, and all it does is to play postman for the CFM.

If that is the case, the CFM is wasting its time raising and discussing the "Allah" issue and any other issues with the MCA as the party is certainly poltically impotent to do anything. The CFM should go straight to the top Umno leaders to get their problems resolved.

CFM executive secretary Tan Kong Beng was quoted in the MCA magazine The Guardian as saying: "I think the MCA can win back the voters if it is seen as being independent and able to speak for the concerns of Malaysians. The party can be a voice in government for better and principled governance."

Tan is one of those poorly informed persons who are living in illusion and delusion to expect the MCA to be "a voice in government for better and principled governance."

The fact is that the MCA is, for all intent and purpose, poltically impotent and powerless in the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition, with its leaders servile and subservient to the powerful Umno leaders.

It is perhaps time for those sincere and honest MCA leaders like ex-Wanita MCA chief Chew Mei Fun, vice-president Gan Ping Sieu, and perhaps even ex-president Ong Tee Keat to either mobilise and organise the sincere grassroots leaders and members to oust the Soi Lek leadership and reform the party, or lead an exodus to join the DAP to continue their struggle for a truly just, fair, progressive and prosperous Malaysia for all who call it their motherland.

See also:
MCA, stand firm or close shop

Is the MCA relevant?

MCA definitely not fit for general election

MySinchew 2010-08-05


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