Reason has been a part of organised religion, ever since two nudists took dietary advice from a talking snake – Political satirist, Jon Stewart
A bemused British television presenter introduced it as a Malaysian minister’s advice on “how to strike your wife.”
Was he serious or what? Methinks the statement should strike any wife as sinister, if not downright threatening.
But not, apparently, if you’re from that benighted Malaysian political party called Pas, or, in English, the Islamic Party of Malaysia. It gives religion a bad name and was probably the one that inspired Dave Allen to “thank God” he was an “atheist.”
The party is made up of individuals who think, nay, know they alone understand, and are fully committed to the ideals of Islam. Unfortunately, they think this qualification gives them the right – God-given, too – to shove their brand of conservative Islam down the throats of their fellow citizens.
Ironically, it is a trait they share with one Donald Trump who also knows that only he understands Christianity; “Nobody reads or understands the Bible better than I do.”
But I digress. We were talking about the bemused British television presenter, weren’t we? Yes, he was referring to Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff, Malaysia’s deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development whose gratuitous advice to married men two days before Valentine’s Day provoked outrage in Malaysia, and ridicule overseas.
Zailah suggested that husbands had a “right” to use a “gentle but firm physical touch” on their “undisciplined and stubborn” wives.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realise that such unthinking comments only serve to perpetuate an already-entrenched culture of misogyny in some parts of Malaysia. As parliamentarian Nurul Izzah correctly called it, it’s a “disservice” to women at a time when over 9,000 cases of domestic violence had been reported.
And this Zailah is tasked with looking after the affairs of women and families in the country?
If her post were ever reduced to credit, for instance, Moody’s would doubtless have rated it as an “F Double Minus” with a “You-Have-Got-To-Be-Kidding-Me” outlook!
In an aside, the rating agency apologised for “using capitals” but said it felt “compelled to scream”.
To be sure, this is the inanity of a single person but, truth be told, for real bona fide stupidity there isn’t anything like teamwork of the numbers represented in Pas. Ever since some of its members became part of the Federal Government, one thing has become abundantly clear. The party is singularly unfit, ill-equipped and hopelessly unsuited to rule any country.
It is clueless about economics, finance, foreign affairs, trade, exchange rates or anything to do with the workings of a modern economy in the 21st Century. Its idea of a weighty matter of state is the attire of airline stewardesses, or the fact that sharia law still isn’t practiced in Malaysia, or the reality that a renegade group like Sisters in Islam continues to flourish in the country.
In 1999, I once asked a senior Pas leader if he seriously thought hudud law was practical in this country. “Surely, it would be difficult enough to get people to chop off hands,” I argued.
His looked me straight in the eye. “You’d be surprised,” was all he said.