Answering “Marina: What crime has Namewee committed?”

Free Malaysia Today (FMT) published an article, “Marina: What crime has Namewee committed?” where Marina Mahathir criticised the arrest of the controversial rapper Namewee.

Police reports were made by the public against Namewee after he humiliated Islam and the other three main religions in Malaysia in his music video, “Oh My God!”

I would like to answer Marina’s statement; the FMT article will be in red and my answers will be in blue.

PETALING JAYA: Offending sensibilities isn’t necessarily a crime, says human rights activist Marina Mahathir.

Commenting on the arrest of controversial rapper Namewee over his newest music video, Marina told FMT she felt the police action was extreme and probably prompted by a need to appease oversensitive Muslims.

It is Namewee and people like Marina whose “actions were extreme”, as if their human rights is above the highest law of our country, the Federal Constitution.

Namewee not only humiliated Islam, the religion of the Federation but he also disrupts the peace and harmony of the Muslims.

Article 3(1):

“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”

The word, “peace and harmony” in the Article 3(1), was interpreted by the then Federal Court judge, Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali in the Court of Appeal’s judgement of the Kalimah Allah case:

[31] It is my observation that the words “in peace and harmony” in Article 3(1) has a historical background and dimension, to the effect that those words are not without significance. The Article places the religion of Islam at par with the other basic structures of the Constitution, as it is the 3 rd in the order of precedence of the Articles that were within the confines of Part I of the Constitution. It is pertinent to note that the fundamental liberties Articles were grouped together subsequently under Part II of the Constitution. 

“We can’t keep kowtowing to people who spend most of their time being offended. I find it rather offensive that they are offended,” she quipped.

“We can’t keep kowtowing to people who spend most of their time” offending “others. I find it offensive that they” cannot respect the sensitivities of the majority others. 

Marina made a similar statement about oversensitive Muslims in a blog posting last January. She cited several “ridiculous things” that she said they would get hysterical over, including the alleged presence of pig DNA in chocolates and crucifix-like designs on the roofs of houses.

It is a pity that Marina is not sensitive about things like pig DNA in chocolates, because halal is a very serious matter in Islam, and as we are living in an Islamic country, the crucifix-like designs on the roofs of houses should be avoided.

She had added that she couldn’t understand why Malaysian Muslims were not ashamed to admit their faith was weak and in need of constant protection.

I cannot “understand why some Malaysian Muslims were not ashamed to admit their faith was weak” to the extent that they do nothing when Islam is being humiliated.

In contrary to Marina’s statement, only the Malaysian Muslims whose “faith was weak” will let others humiliate Islam.

I wonder why FMT wrote that Marina “couldn’t understand why Malaysian Muslims …” instead of ” “couldn’t understand why some Malaysian Muslims …” when Marina is also a Malaysian Muslim?

Criticising Namewee’s arrest, she said, “He should not have been treated that way. The authorities should look at the video properly and find out what laws he has broken. Just because people are offended, it doesn’t mean that it’s a crime.”

Even in a secular country like Singapore, people are not allowed to humiliate religion.

Instead of telling the authorities to “look at the video properly”, it is Marina who must take a good look at the video and understand that a peaceful nation is more important than letting people who have no respect to others doing what ever they wish just because they have nothing better to do.

She said she hadn’t seen the video herself.

A credible person will not make such a judgement and blames others about the video when the person “hadn’t seen the video herself”.

The 33-year-old Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, was arrested at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Sunday. He has been remanded for four days.

The offending video is for his song “Oh My God.” It shows him rapping in front of places of worship around the country.

Prematilaka KD Serisena, the Secretary-General of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism had also spoken to FMT regarding the matter, saying that people needed a platform to voice their frustrations.

If the Secretary-General of MCCBCST and Marina think that the video does not offend them, it does not mean that the authorities must not take any action against the rapper.

It is against the human rights of other Malaysians to be forced to agree with them on the matter.

He said that the best way to deal with them was to hear them out. Sending Namewee to jail would only make matters worse, he added.

It is MCCBCHST’s right to let others humiliate the religions they represented but the council must understand that the rapper humiliate Islam, the religion of the Federation and the religion of our Malay Rulers who are the supreme heads of the States in Malaysia as well as the country.

It is weird that the council finds it alright when a person humiliate the religions under its umbrella but finds the need to interfere into the internal matter of Islam and denying the constitutional rights of the Muslims to manage their own religion when the council does not represent Islam.

In fact the interfaith group’s statement on Dato’ Seri Haji Hadi’s Private Member’s Bill regarding the Act 355 risks weakening constitutional liberties of the Muslim.

Author: Ahmad Ali Karim

Blogger. Official Ambassador at Muafakat Pendidikan Johor (MPJ). Columnist at Utusan Malaysia. Secretary at Pertubuhan Permuafakatan Pendidikan Malaysia (ME'DIDIK).

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