Ask Lord Bobo: In ‘Allah’ issue, the politicians have failed the people

A version of this article was originally published on The Malaysian Insider.

“Lord Bobo, I was having a conversation with a friend recently, and he said all politicians are the same — whether BN or Pakatan, they’re all selfish bastards with only self-preservation as their primary aim. He says there’s no point voting at all. Recent goings-on in Selangor following the Jais bible raid have reinforced his view. What do you think?” (Disillusioned, via email)

It’s the same story isn’t it? You were swept off your feet by the beautiful promises of the politician; he was charming and you were naïve. His whispered sweet-nothings convinced you to commit yourself to him — here, finally, is the man (and political party) who will save us all! It of course helped that his competition was not-at-all attractive. You trusted him with all your heart, and gave yourself completely.

But the smooth-talking bastard broke his promises. You were too in love, too emotionally dependent to turn back, so you persevered. “Everyone makes mistakes,” you told yourself. “No politician is perfect,” you reassured yourself. “The other party is much, much worse,” you told your friends. The politician then made more promises, promised that he was trying his best, that hey, change takes time, he had to fight the system and clean up the mess left behind by the previous administration. So you recommitted to him — how foolish of you to doubt his virtuous commitment to justice and the common good! — you allowed yourself to dream again that this man, this political party, were angels sent from above.

Lord Bobo would sympathise with you fools who place politicians on a pedestal, and lay all your hopes at their feet. But we cannot. We simply cannot sympathise with you because we have told you many times before that politicians should not be trusted. They are not saviours from above, they are servants of the people. Sure, there may be some individuals you can name who truly are “good people” — but these individuals will never rise to the top, and will never truly have any power within their parties. These self-proclaimed “reformers” are, in effect, nobodies. They are just puppets propped up to appease naïve voters into thinking that the entire party are as forward-thinking. Once in a while a puppet is propped up really high, perhaps one can even smooth-talk and smile his way into being given a Ministerial portfolio, but it is all a show.

Yes, my dear minion, it’s time to grow up. Politics is a boulevard of broken promises. The heartbreak is inevitable. It’s in their nature to first protect themselves (after all, what good is a politician who doesn’t win elections, beginning with his own internal party elections?).

In Selangor, when it comes to the use of “Allah” and the recent bible-confiscation by JAIS, the Selangor State Government has failed miserably in protecting the legitimate interests of the minority. To ask the public to abide by the decree of the Selangor Sultan is to condone the unconstitutional restriction of religious practice of the minority. The Selangor Sultan, at the end of the day, is a constitutional monarch, nothing more. The Selangor Sultan may be the head of Islam in Selangor, but he does not have the power to control the religious practices of persons not professing the religion of Islam. End of story. It is as simple as that.

The Sultan’s role as the Head of Islam is circumscribed by the Federal Constitution, the State Constitution of Selangor, and various federal and state laws. The titah (“decree”) of the Selangor Sultan prohibiting the use of the word “Allah” has no force of law. Zero; nada; zilch. Otherwise, it would be antithetical to democracy. A constitutional monarch was not elected by the people, and does not and should not have the power or mandate to decide or pass laws that would affect the public.

Thus, not following the titah of a constitutional monarch cannot by any stretch of the imagination be considered treasonous.

On the other hand, the State Government was elected by the people and has the duty to protect the rights of all people that have put it in power. Unfortunately, the State Government made like a tortoise, and withdrew into its shell. Voters in Selangor have every right to be upset with the State Government for their cowardice and complete lack of principles. The Selangor State Government, including the Menteri Besar, are so busy thinking about self-preservation to even consider what is best, what is right. These elected representatives end up representing no one but themselves, cowering in fear of the Sultan and the religious extremists.

It’s ironic isn’t it? Those who do not have the mandate of the electorate, like JAIS, act with impunity. And those who do, choose to turn the other cheek, and hide under the sheets hoping the problem will disappear.

It would be bad enough if Pakatan Rakyat hid cowering in their tortoise-shells, but what’s even worse is that when three members of the Selangor State Assembly — Yeo Bee Yin, Rajiv Rishyakaran, and Lau Weng San — issued a statement promising to propose to amend the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 which was wielded by JAIS, they were publicly criticized by some, including Anwar Ibrahim and some PAS leaders. Sure, what the trio did was not perfect — perhaps getting one Muslim co-signatory would have been a good thing, to avoid further solidifying the line of this being a Muslims vs non-Muslims battle. But even so, at least it was doing something, which is more than can be said about the other so-called leaders of Pakatan Rakyat. If you are too cowardly to do what is right, at least have the good grace to not interfere with those who are trying to do something.

Of course we also shouldn’t forget our dear Federal Government. After all, what is a Prime Minister if not the leader of the country. What was it that Najib said about the whole hullabaloo? Oh… not much. Khalid Ibrahim may be hiding in his shell, but Najib really is the master of getting out of the kitchen as soon as it gets a little warm. There were times in recent weeks when Malaysians didn’t even know whether the Prime Minister was in the country or not. In fact, Najib has been so adept at camouflaging that some Malaysians have even forgotten they had a Prime Minister.

Lord Bobo is obviously aware that the whole “Allah” issue is part of a major power play by these power-hungry tyrants who happen to be your leaders. After all, it’s not as if Christians have suddenly started using “Allah” in the past few years — in fact “Allah” has been used in bibles, worship songs and church sermons for decades now, even before Malaysia was formed. Yes, we know that some from the other side have said Christians cannot rely on colonial texts written by white men out to convert the poor brown natives, but why then are Christians in Sabah, Sarawak, and the whole of the Middle East allowed to use the word?

UMNO, the monarchs, and Pakatan Rakyat will be part of this wrestling match (calling it a chess match would give it an intellectual gloss it certainly does not deserve) for some time yet, and there is no indication who will be ultimately victorious. Lord Bobo has asked some Tralfamadorians, and even they do not know. We have previously shared what we think the correct solution is, but none of your leaders are intelligent enough to listen to a super-intelligent wonder-typewriting monkey.

All politicians and political parties are the same. There are some exceptions, but these individuals are not powerful enough within their own party to effect any real, big-scale, change. His Supreme Eminenceness has said this many, many times — stop putting politicians on a pedestal. Don’t lay your hopes at their doors. Decentralise this illogical concentration of power in the hands of a few, and ensure that politicians are always answerable to the voters. As for voting, well, that’s an individual choice really. Lord Bobo had a pint with Russell Brand at the beginning of last year and mind-controlled him to share some of our old views in a new package, and he’s been doing quite well. Look it up on YouTube.

At the heart of this of course is the “Allah” issue. The “Allah” issue is very, very complex (we attempted to summarise it in a previous column). It is made very, very complex because of the political power play involved, and the inevitable media-fuelled fear-mongering that has resulted from it. It is not really the media’s fault (for a change), as they have to report what all these morons are saying. Unfortunately in this case, we cannot say that what the politicians are saying is inconsistent with what the public thinks, as there is a lot of rubbish circulating on social media too (follow us at @LoyarBurok! — er, not for rubbish though). There are some who are saying that the solution is simple, and that everyone should “just compromise” — details of course are never supplied, as how can this issue be settled by compromise? Either Christians can use “Allah” or they cannot. But the true gems are those who say that since “Allah” isn’t essential to the Christian faith (which obviously these smart ones have the authority to so declare), Christians should just use another word. Why should this be the solution, that Christians stop using the word? Because the Muslims will be upset, confused, and angry if they don’t?

As we said, it is very, very complex.

Of course, no one is asking why Muslims suddenly got confused (or have been convinced that there is a risk of being confused), because that might mean the blame falling on the politicians.

You Malaysians are all pawns in this political game, and many of you don’t even know it.  Lord Bobo shudders to think what else is in store for you.

Although Lord Bobo already knows your question before you even knew you had a question, as a practical display of your true desire to have your query answered, His Supreme Eminenceness has graciously allowed you to communicate your questions by either emailing [email protected] or tweeting your question, mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #AskLordBobo. Now, what the hell are you waiting for? Hear This and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)!


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Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered! It is the ONLY place that His Supreme Eminenceness' thoughts are regularly channeled, via His Lordship's most loyal meditating purple-banana munching minions.

Posted on 12 February 2014. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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