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4:37pm 15/06/2022
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Misery caused by confused MPs, ministers and muftis
By:Mariam Mokhtar

We should not have to put up with confused MPs like the Tangga Batu parliamentarian Rusnah Aluai, who last year demanded a name change for Timah whiskey, saying drinking Timah was like “drinking a Malay woman”.

At the same time, we should not have to put up with confused ministers like Ahmad Faizal Azumu, the sports minister who blamed the loud cheers of support from fans for the defeat of the national football team in a recent match against Bahrain.

Alarmingly, we now have to put up with confused muftis, like the Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, whose illogical suggestion was to rename the Bon Odori festival. He said his proposal was to “avoid confusion” among Muslims.

If anyone is confused in Malaysia, it is these three groups of people: MPs, ministers and muftis.

Our laws appear to be shaped by confused MPs and ministers. Our spiritual lives are monitored by confused muftis. When will the rakyat have a break from these ignorant and irresponsible people?

How on earth did some of us vote for these confused MPs to dictate our laws? How did we get to the point of nominating confused muftis who freely assume that ordinary Malaysian Muslims are as easily confused as them?

Confused MPs and muftis threaten to destroy our national harmony, divide the nation and prevent us from acknowledging and appreciating other peoples’ cultures.

The latest confusion involves the Bon Odori festival, an annual dance event first organized in 1977 by a group of Japanese expatriates.

The festival may have its roots in Buddhism and Shinto, and the dance performed is to welcome the spirits of their ancestors.

Outside Japan, the event excludes the religious connotations and for decades, Malaysians have been happily joining in the celebrations held at various locations throughout the country.

Why should Malaysians have to put up with confused and nonsensical MPs, ministers and muftis who make our lives a misery?

For most people, Bon Odori is just another family reunion event.

Malaysians enjoy mixing and mingling, and learning from other people’s cultures. There is much to be gained from a simple exchange of ideas and pleasantries.

However, enjoyable events like these are frowned upon by kill-joy officials in the name of “religious authority” to save our souls.

This year, religious affairs minister Idris Ahmad warned Muslims not to attend the event, claiming that the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) had researched Bon Odori and the conclusion was that Muslims would be led astray.

It is baffling that for several years, JAKIM finally awoke from its slumber and only now, presented its findings.

The festival cannot have deviated much from its original cause, which is basically a dance event.

So what change that made JAKIM suddenly show concern? Did JAKIM take many years of intense research to come up with these findings? Could JAKIM explain how Muslims would be led astray?

Many Muslims believe that our religious authorities are eager to control their lives, especially when it looks like people are having fun. It is increasingly looking as if this simple assertion is true.

Ironically, the Sultan of Selangor decreed that the Selangor Bon Odori event scheduled to take place in August should go ahead as planned.

He has also urged Idris to attend so that he would improve his understanding of the celebration, but more importantly, he wanted the minister to appreciate the difference between culture and religion.

Meanwhile, Asri has said that the original Japanese celebration has “elements of syirik (idolatry) and khurafat (superstition)”, and to “avoid confusion”, he has suggested renaming Bon Odori as a Japanese cultural or community festival.

There are many religious issues that Asri could prioritize to improve the lives of Muslim Malaysians, renaming Bon Odori not one of them.

Moreover, what right does Asri have to demand a name change? Why spread more confusion, inaccurate statements and promote negative sentiments?

Why should the organizers of the festival succumb to political and religious bullying?

Why should Malaysians have to put up with confused and nonsensical MPs, ministers and muftis who make our lives a misery?

For decades, self-serving MPs and muftis have used religion to divide the nation. We watched idiotic ministers refuse to take responsibility over their actions.

The combined efforts of muftis and MPs in undermining the rakyat have worn us down and left us dispirited.

It is time we put a stop to their nonsense and kick them out of office.

That option is available in GE15.

Sources:

  1. Malaysiakini: Perlis mufti moots name change for Bon Odori
  2. The Vibes: Change Bon Odori’s name to avoid confusion: Perlis mufti

(Mariam Mokhtar is a Freelance Writer.)

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Mariam Mokhtar

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