One after another, the nation is troubled by controversy in the form of religious, racial and social issues. This worrying trend started none other than since the 2008 General Election which saw the ruling government failing to achieve two thirds of the Parliamentary seats for the first time since 1969. Interesting enough, after 57 years of independence, we are still undecided if we are actually a secular state or an Islamic state.
The word "secular" directly means "worldly". As the word suggests, it is a state where religion is separated from any "worldly" affairs. Cunningly, secularism claims to neither rejected nor allying with any religious institution.
I may look or sound like a liberal urbanite from Kuala Lumpur but I feel that we have to stop discussing about issues that would be detrimental to our national unity and harmony. Topics like this should be discussed at the higher leadership level and should not resort to popularity contest via debates. One minister from the same coalition said something which is favourable to most Muslims in Malaysia including myself, while his colleague in a Chinese party lambasted his view on whether Malaysia is indeed a secular country. Barisan leaders should get a grip and control their members from making contradictory statements.
For a layman national like me though, in order to put end to this question, my first thought was what has the Rukun Negara taught us since young? "Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan" is the first of the five Rukun Negara that we all pledge for years, which directly means believing in God. Though I am not sure if Rukun Negara should stand above the Constitution, still it has given us citizens the impression that believing in God is pivotal as Malaysians.
Also, what about the Syariah Courts and the Syariah judiciary that we have in our Malaysian dual law system? Are they just "for show" or to appear that the Goverment cares for the majority who are Muslims? The Constitution also mentions that Syariah Law is a State matter, which runs parallel with the Federal law system, applicable only to Muslims. So, with this in place, because there is an alignment with the Islamic institution, is Malaysia still a secular state?
Most of us Malaysian Muslims believe that we are an Islamic State. Bounded by the State Syariah Law with Hudud to be tabled in the Parliament soon, exponentiated by the impression of Muslims all over the world declaring Malaysia as a model Islamic country had somewhat cemented our belief that Malaysia is an Islamic State. The detractors of this belief should ask if this is the will of the majority, they are actually fighting an uphill battle and could also receive political backlash. The same can be said about Hudud.
You know what? We Muslims are taught to be doing good deeds including in governance and administration only for Allah SWT. So any thought of separating the niat of doing good for Allah SWT with the everyday work and the way of life could also lead to blasphemy.
And you wonder why suddenly there is a gush of Islamic standpoints by even the powerful UMNO, who were thought to be against Islamic values before, including Hudud? - The rejection of 1Malaysia concept despite various inclusiveness multi-million riggit efforts. Noteworthy, the ruling Barisan Nasional government was also rejected in the 13th General Election by about 80% of Chinese Malaysians.
So, spare your whining.