Malaysia’s political landscape is dominated by various Muslim or Muslim-led parties, of varying piousness and Islamic fervor. There is only one major non Muslim political party in Malaysia, a leftist party called DAP (Democratic Action Party) which is majority Chinese-Malaysian. The top dog of the Malaysian political realm has long been UMNO (United Malays National Organisation), a Muslim Malay party which has long stood for continued Malay (and hence Islamic) supremacy. Anyone who might threaten this arrangement is targeted for UMNO’s harassment and intimidation. And when this fails, more direct measures are commonly employed. There’s a reason why an oft-told joke here in Malaysia has UMNO meaning “U must not oppose”. From “Guan Eng says Umno attacks sparked arson attempts”, by Clara Chooi, The Malaysian Insider, August 18, 2011 (H/T Fatimah):
PUTRAJAYA, Aug 18 “” Lim Guan Eng [chief minister of the Malaysian state of Penang, roughly analogous to a U.S. state governor] appeared today to blame Umno for escalating religious tension that led to this morning’s arson attempt on the DAP”s Penang headquarters, and demanded “forceful” action from the police against the perpetrators.
“We felt that this was one of those attacks by Umno on the recital of the Quran issue,” he told reporters today when met at the sidelines of the National Finance Council meeting here.
Lim was referring to the controversial edict by the Penang Fatwa Council banning the use of loudspeakers for reciting verses from the Quran before dawn prayers.
The ban had caused a furore among the Muslim community in Penang and earned much criticism in the Umno-controlled media with political leaders claiming this as evidence that the DAP-led state government was impinging on the rights of Muslims.
Early this morning, the DAP”s Penang headquarters in Jalan Talipon was discovered partly charred after an unknown man was purportedly seen leaving a stack of burning newspapers in front of its premises.
Perhaps someone in Malaysia heeded recent calls to make war on ‘unbelievers’ seriously?
DAP leaders have linked the attack to the ban, saying this is the second incident since the controversy hit the headlines. The first attack occurred four days ago when red paint was splashed at the same premises and at DAP assemblyman Ng Wei Aik’s office.
The Penang chief minister however continued to insist today that the ban had not been made by the state government but by Penang Mufti Datuk Seri
Hassan Ahmad, who had himself made the same admission.
“The mufti had already clarified that we weren’t involved, it was decided by the fatwa committee without any instruction or interference by the state government,” he said.
Calling the attack “irresponsible and barbaric”, Lim also expressed fear that allowing the arson culprits to go scot-free would encourage more violence in the future.
“It is a dangerous escalation towards violence and if left unchecked, this will make a functioning democracy not a contest of ideas and principles but a contest of violence.
“I hope the police can act forcefully to nab those responsible. Act without fear or favour,” he said.
Acting without favour? Fat chance of that happening. The vast majority of the police in Malaysia are Muslim, and they will not act in favour of the ‘infidels’.