LIKE the phoenix, it is now the Sarawak’s Hornbill rising from the east.
It is refreshing to hear Sarawak premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg ridiculing the storm created by the operations manager of Berry’s Cake House, Daniel Teoh (Abdullah).
What is important is that such ruckus should never have happened – and never again as it has hurt the feelings of non-Muslims in Malaysia!
In fact, the gesture by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Dr Mohd Na’im Mokhtar and the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) brought about some calm.
They were, in fact, very quick to carry out the damage control. JAKIM’s explanation is indeed very clear that greetings of Merry Christmas on cakes are never prohibited.
In fact, no other bakeries have issued such a directive to its outlets except Berry’s. In the end, Berry’s management had to apologise to the public for the “misunderstanding” Teoh’s circular had created.
Timely Abang Jo’s voice
Now that this entire episode has also caught the attention of Abang Jo, he as a fellow Muslim has seen it fit to speak out against religious extremism that we all see in West Malaysia.
The Gagasan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman can indeed become the voice of conscience to a nation that is torn apart by politicians such as twice former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who continue to harp on race and religion.
The nonagenarian is still hoping that he can remain relevant after he was overwhelmingly trounced by Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah with a big margin of 13,518 votes in the contest for the Langkawi constituency during the 15th General Election (GE15) last year.
Over 90% of Langkawi’s population are, in fact, Malays, yet Dr Mahathir lost his deposit.
He thinks he can win the people’s heart but most people these days are able to see through the way how the issues are played up with the recent politics of whether Malaysia can someday have a non-Malay as Prime Minister (PM).
As a police report was lodged, the police have to carry out its duty to be seen as being fair to both political camps.
DAP supremo Tan Sri Lim Kit Siang was summoned to Bukit Aman to have his statement taken but interestingly, Dr Mahathir who made the same remark was never hauled up.
Amanah president Datuk Seri Mohamad Sabu or popularly known as Mat Sabu makes more sense when he told an audience that a non-Malay PM would not be possible as Malays form the majority of the Malaysian population.
Make Sarawak an example
However, the truth is that nobody is even thinking of having a Chinese or an Indian as a PM although politicians are constantly fanning racial sentiments to provoke feelings of the Malays.
The latest video recording on social media of Dr Mahathir speaking in defence of a non-Malay PM clearly shows how this whole episode – which is likely to be part of the script – culminated in the portrayal of him willing to accept a non-Malay or non-Muslim PM.
Unpacking Dr Mahathir’s use of the art of lateral thinking taught by Edward De Bono, one can easily see through the nonagenarian’s motive behind his recent comments. He is throwing a stone and hiding his hands behind his back just to “confound” and confuse the rakyat while using the retired DAP supremo as his punching bag.
Given the way how he answered the questions, even the police may find it hard to charge him in court.
However, Dr Mahathir is notorious for his poison pen letter to topple Malaysia’s founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman. He had removed even Tun Abdullah Badawi after two terms and is currently in the midst of orchestrating the downfall of his disciple-turned-nemesis Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Since the late 1960s, Dr Mahathir has never ceased to poison the minds of his supporters in Peninsular Malaysia to reach the point of no return for some of them.
Therefore, for non-Malays and non-Muslims, the comments made by GPS head honcho Abang Jo comes timely, especially since Sarawak is free from the onslaught of racial politics and religious bigotry.
To many Malaysians, the peace and harmony between the people of different ethnicities within the state is something to emulate.
To prove the point, it is a well-known fact that within a Sarawakian family that there can be siblings who marry a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim or are traditionally Christians themselves yet they can all come together to sing the Christmas carols.
This can only happen in Sarawak – and probably its Borneo neighbour, Sabah. – Dec 19, 2023