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16/11/2021
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The ‘butterfly effect’ of religionizing a multicultural society

Sin Chew Daily

What is meant by “butterfly effect”? In 1961, American meteorologist Edward Lorenz noted the formation of a tornado could be influenced by minor perturbations such as a distant butterfly flapping its wings several weeks earlier. Theoretically, the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could set off a tornado in Texas, but of course, this is not going to happen in the real world.

That said, politics and religion can easily materialize Lorenz’s mathematical model because people who view themselves as gods can make the impossible possible, and turn small things into enormous ones, democracy into autocracy, harmony into animosity, wealth into poverty, and so on and on.

The problem does not lie with the religion itself, but this bunch of “god-men”.

Kedah only had a per capita GDP of RM20,327 in 2017, less than half of the national average of RM42,228, making the state the second poorest in the entire country, slightly ahead of PAS-ruled Kelantan.

While we sympathize with the poverty people in these two states have to go through, other than federal assistance, their state governments must also learn to stand on their own feet and deliver themselves out of the scourge of poverty.

State policies must be steered towards the well-being of the people and harness the valuable time on planning the best development strategies and most investor-friendly incentives for the states while strengthening their infrastructure and tourist amenities…

Unfortunately, doing so doesn’t seem to be the strength or priority of the governments of these two states.

On November 1, Kelantan officiated the implementation of the hudud law passed in 2019 and criminalized 24 behaviors including tattooing, plastic surgery, gambling, homosexuality, etc.

We are not in any position to comment on the hudud, but the northeastern state only managed a miserable per capita GDP of RM13,600 or a mere 32.2% of national average!

With such a meager income level coupled with the implementation of the hudud law, it is imaginable that materialistic life must be extremely lacking in the state. We have no way to know what the Kelantan state government has in mind to improve the quality of the people’s lives and help take them off poverty other than the introduction of hudud.

In Kedah, just a shade better than Kelantan, the state government announced on Sunday that gambling licenses in the state will no longer be renewed with immediate effect, affecting the operation of some 45 betting stations there.

Well, no one will actually encourage gambling activities, but as majority of states in the country have permitted gambling, why be that tornado-inducing butterfly that flaps its wings?

If legal gambling is now banned, what about the illegal gambling activities?

Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor says if people in Kedah want to put their bets, they can always go to Penang, adding that his administration is mooting a liquor sale ban like in KL.

As a matter of fact, Penang shines with an enviable RM49,873 per capita GDP that is the country’s third highest, and Kedah’s is only 40% of it although the two states are physically joined.

Banning gambling is good, but the rakyat want improved income.

PAS is in firm grips of Kelantan, controlling 37 of all 45 state seats, while in PN-controlled Kedah, PAS commands 15 of the 36 seats in the state legislative assembly.

Very soon, the voters in Melaka will go to the polls with BN. PH and PN fighting tooth and nail for control. If unfortunately PAS’ support soars in this election, we can as well conclude that Lorenz’s “butterfly effect” model may work in GE15!

So, we can now understand why Umno has decided to drop its cooperation with PN in Melaka election and pair up with old-time allies MCA and MIC instead.

Malaysia is a multicultural society with many different ethnic groups, religions, languages, cultures and lifestyles… So long as we do not infringe upon the taboos of another culture and are more accommodating, no one should impose the values of one particular religion onto our multicultural society. This is definitely not the “Keluarga Malaysia” spirit advocated by our prime minister.

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