3:43pm 02/10/2023
PAS should apologize for dishonoring Islam, Chinese-Muslim Tanah Melayu history and Rukunegara in ‘Apek seluar pendek’ issue
By:Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

In this article, I wish to take to task Parti Islam SeMalaysia, or PAS, on the incident of one of its leaders disparaging our Chinese community in his use of the derogatory term “apek seluar pendek” which means a “Chinese wearing shorts.”

According to a news report in Malaysiakini, Pahang Chief Minister Wan Rosdy called out Sanusi for disparaging the Chinese community and creating uneasiness in the Malay community just to canvass for votes in the Pelangai by-election.

Sanusi is no stranger to vulgarity in his statements which has made him, unfortunately, the most famous Malay politician at this time.

It is sad that Malays love this kind of foul-mouthed politician, but they are used to this kind of culture from Umno long before PAS, who now discover this effective method for being popular at the expense of the teachings of Islam, nation-building and the history of Chinese-Muslims being the protectors of Islam in the Cheng Ho-Parameswara Melaka times.

Firstly, I will discuss the wrongness of using derogatory name calling a person or a whole race like the Chinese in Malaysia from the perspective of Islam.

The term “apek” is unanimously accepted even by Kamus Dewan to mean an old and frail Chinese man. The term itself in normal Malay parlance many years ago when I was growing up was not meant to be derogatory. However, to use that phrase to mean “any Chinese with short pants” smack of a racial slur using religion as its basis for this name-calling.

In the book “Bimbingan Mu’minin,” which is the Malay translation of an abridged version of Imam Ghazali’s magnum opus, “Ihya Ulumuddin” published many hundred years ago, the author clearly warned Muslims against using their speeches to dishonor anyone purposely.

Nabi s.a.w. bersabda,” Tiada akan lulus keimanan seorang hamba, sehingga lulus pula hatinya, dan tiada akan lulus hatinya, sehingga lulus pula lidahnya.

Berkata Mu’az bin Jabal kepada Rasulullah s.a.w. ‘Apakah kita akan dihisab juga atas apa yang kita katakan, wahai Rasulullah? Rasulullah menjawab: Wahai Mu’az! Tidakkah engkau ketahui bahawa manusia itu akan ditelungkupkan menerusi hidung-hidungmereka disebabkan hasil tuaian lidah-lidah mereka!’(pages 449-461)

The Prophet had warned Muslims that their uncontrolled speeches may result in them being placed in Hell.

In the section of “Bencana Lisan Ketujuh” which is Berkata kotor, memaki dan lidah yang cabul (talking dirty, cursing and a dishonoring toungue), Rasulullah pernah melarang para sahabatnya supaya jangan memaki kaum Musyrikin yang terbunuh dalam peperangan Badar, sabdanya: Janganlah kamu memaki-maki merekaitu, yakni, orang-orang Musyrikin yang terbunuh dalam peperangan Badar itu…

In the statements above the Prophet Muhammad forbade Muslims from name-calling to dishonor the enemies of Islam.

All Malaysians must demand that PAS apologize to the Chinese people of Malaysia openly and unreservedly.

Here in Malaysia, we only have opposition parliamentarians, not soldiers out to kill one another.

Clearly, the PAS leader who attacked the Chinese in his “apek seluar pendek” slur is clearly making PAS a political party that dishonors the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad. Why? No PAS leader has reprimanded the PAS leader who has uttered those words of dishonor.

Secondly, in the Rukunegara, we all know that the statement as follows demand that we respect each other’s culture and heritage:

Membentuk satu sikap yang liberal terhadap tradisi kebudayaan yang kaya dan berbagai-bagai corak.

–Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan

It is highly doubtful that PAS leaders could misunderstand the Malay words in the Rukunegara, but they allowed their man to utter the unspeakable phrase “apek seluar pendek.” PAS clearly has no interest in nation-building or honoring the Rukunegara.

Thirdly, PAS has also dishonored the history of Islam in Tanah Melayu itself.

Professor Khairuddin Al-Juneid, in his wonderful and masterly book, “Islam in Malaysia: An Entwined History” elaborated the role that Laksamana Cheng Ho and other Chinese Muslim emissaries from China had played to the Nusantara and how they offered safe haven for Melaka from the threat of Siamese attacks. The presence of “apek-apek” from China who were Muslims represented a power that the other empires who were thinking of invading the Muslim kingdoms in Tanah Melayu had to put a permanent pause in their battle plans.

For the information to the ignorant PAS leader, these “apek-apek” were already the intellectual, military and spiritual power long before PAS was born.

Reading from the accounts in the book:

Cheng Ho was not the only globe-trotting Chinese Muslim who made his way to the Malay world. As early as 1281, the emperor of the Yuan dynasty in China sent two Chinese Muslim emissaries, Sulaiman and Shamsudin, to Sumatra to forge trading and diplomatic links. This was the start of two decades of successive waves of Chinese Muslim travel from Quangzhou, Zhangzou and Canton into the Malay world…One of the nine {Muslim} saints of Java, Raden Pateh, was a Chinese Muslim. Sunan Gunung Jati in turn married a Chinese woman and incorporated the Chinese culture as part of his identity and proselytizing activities.

Professor Khairuddin also wrote: Cheng Ho went further to demand that Siamese cease any future interference in Melaka’s affairs and send gifts to China as a form of apology for its previous treatment of the Malay state. It was purely from Cheng Ho’s firm stance toward the Siamese that Melaka grew into a center for the propagation of Islam without any interruptions until Cheng Ho’s departure in 1431 (pages 96-99).

Thus, if PAS keeps silent on the foul mouth of one of its leaders disparaging the dignity of Chinese in Malaysia, the party is guilty of dishonoring Malaysia’s history, Malaysia’s Rukunegara and the adab or mannerism of Islam itself as taught by the Prophet Muhammad.

I, therefore, call on all Malaysians to demand that PAS apologize to the Chinese people of Malaysia openly and unreservedly.

We cannot be a nation if one group of people dishonors our faith in Islam, our dignity as a culture or a race, and also the history of our entwined heritage.

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


Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor


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