3:38pm 24/03/2023
Four perspectives on the Jom Ziarah issue
By:Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

I would like to clarify to Malaysians on the Jom Ziarah issue as I understand it. I would like to offer four different perspectives of the issue and how these aspects paint Malaysia for the next 20 or 30 years or so.

As a clarification, the Jom Ziarah program is said to have already been in existence before the formation of the Unity Government and was continued by the new Minister of Youth and Sports.

Hannah Yeoh was said to have given the go-ahead for an organizer to take youths of different faiths and races to visit different houses of worship to help create a more understanding, accepting and harmonious society in the future and in the present.

The issue came to light when a known opposition supporter accused Hannah Yeoh of the “Christianizing” agenda.

After that, a Selangor exco and religious authority had banned any more visits to houses of worship by other faiths.

For me, this is a deep and terrible setback for Malaysia that should have progressed and not regressed to pre-Merdeka sentiments of racial and religious mistrusts.

For my first perspective, I would like to deal with Hannah Yeoh and the Jom Ziarah program in this uncertain time and in a newly formed Unity government.

On the one hand, we must all applaud her clear intention of trying to make Malaysia a better home for all by instilling the young voting people with the right mindset and attitude towards living with diversity in faiths and cultures.

This seems to be needed badly after GE15 showed the gullibility of some youths in making decisions based on TikTok nonsense and religiously vile messaging.

However, the minister can be seen to be questionable in her timing because any such event could trigger an attack by the conservative opposition always trying to create a narrative of Malay-Muslims being threatened by others in this country.

She should have waited after the state elections perhaps, so that this excellent program could be of better use.

At the moment, she has just presented one strong bullet for the opposition.

The second perspective is what a Sarawak minister has said regarding the issue of visiting houses of worship by all Malaysians.

He reminded that Malaysia is a country of diverse groups and the key to living together is not isolating ourselves from each other.

I commend highly this Muslim minister or else, if he were not a Muslim, his voice would be totally irrelevant to the Malays.

As such, it shows that the nations of Sabah and Sarawak are the only bastion left of a moderate Malaysia and a harmonious society representing the original intentions of our founding fathers of many races and faiths.

The toxic narrative of Malay-Islam in Semenanjung will eventually destroy this country under such parties as PPBM and PAS, with possibly Gerakan as an “innocent” bystander or “comply-er.”

We are living in extremely dangerous times when a whole opposition is made up of one race with one narrow agenda of weaponizing Islam to rule Malaysia.

The third perspective is the statement of the Johor Sultan who reminded Johoreans to abide by the Bangsa Johor and honor the diverse heritage of our people.

So it seems that we now have a Bangsa Sarawak, a Bangsa Sabah and a Bangsa Johor as against the Bangsa PAS and a Bangsa PPBM.

Both Bangsa PAS and PPBM have no place in Malaysia and hopefully these people should relocate or keluar Malaysia as they are too “holy” and “too fearful of their faith being compromised.”

The Johor Sultan was right in saying that most Muslims’ faith is stronger, and visiting churches or temples will not result in them being converted to other religions.

Perhaps PAS and PPBM MPs have never visited churches in London. And I would recommend that Anwar send these people on a holiday paid by the people of Malaysia to Westminster Abbey to visit the incredible stone construction and sculptures of Gothic architecture.

Before these “uneducated MPs in the religions of the world” visit London, they should perhaps allow me to give an introductory lecture to the meaning and concept of houses of worship in various religions, especially the role of the mosque as a nation-building entity.

The fourth and final perspective is that of the Selangor exco who seemed to have gone half cocked and gave a knee-jerk reaction to the issue by outright banning the visits to other houses of worship.

On the one hand, his reaction is understandable looking at the strong narrative of mistrust created by PN on the Malays which won them an impressive number of seats in Parliament.

If the exco had not reacted in that harsh way, Selangor may see Azmin Ali as the minister or worse, one of the PAS MPs. Habislah itu macam for this country!

If that happens, we all good Malaysians should ask the Sabahans and Sarawakians to accept us as citizens of their nations. There is no Malaysia in a PN Selangor!

I would like to ask the exco not to be too quick in his pronouncement but politically he had probably saved Selangor with his quick but unpopular reaction.

We are living in extremely dangerous times when a whole opposition is made up of one race with one narrow agenda of weaponizing Islam to rule Malaysia.

As public universities and their so-called intellectuals are probably comfortable with that agenda of PN, we Malaysians must stand fast, united and resolute to stop this political juggernaut from quashing all our dreams and our children’s future.

We Malaysians must be smart and politically savvy in dealing with issues that seem to be “unfair” and “backwards.”

We must play the hunting game of waiting in silence and speaking only when it is strategically important and not emotionally governed. We cannot afford to make slip-ups like what Hannah Yeoh’s good intentions could have caused us. We must wait and bide our time.

Malaysia is in peril and only we can save her, not the politicians.

(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)


Hannah Yeoh
Jom Ziarah
Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi


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