Thursday, May 22, 2014


Raja Petra Kamarudin
Nothing wrong in using schools to campaign, says Ahmad Maslan
(The Malaysian Insider) – It is not wrong for Barisan Nasional (BN) to campaign for by-elections in schools‎ because they are government assets, Umno information Chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan said last night. (READ MORE HERE)
There are some ‘pious’ Malays who condemn the First Prime Minister and Father of Independence (Bapa Merdeka), Tunku Abdul Rahman, because of his drinking and gambling. The Tunku’s ‘famous’ reply to PAS President Asri Muda is that water and oil does not mix. In other words, you can put both clean and dirty in one glass and the clean does not get dirtied.

Okay, maybe scientifically you would like to argue that point and dispute it. Nevertheless you know what the Tunku meant. And the Tunku’s main argument was that whatever sins (and when we talk about ‘sins’ we are talking about sins in the religious context) he commits is between him and god. The most important thing is he does not sin against the rakyat (citizens).
When the Tunku campaigned for the general election he took six months no-pay-leave from his Prime Minister’s post and handed the country to his deputy to run. This is because the Tunku felt that it was morally wrong (even though not illegal) for him to continue drawing a salary from the government while he campaigned for his party.
So you see, the Tunku understood the difference between his government job and his party work. The two should not mix. And since he was doing party work and not his government job then he should not continue enjoying a salary from the government. He must take no-pay-leave if in the next six months he was going to do party work and not his government job.
But then you cannot blame the Tunku for thinking like this. He was a member of the Royal Family and was brought up in a palace environment and these types of people have a different way of thinking. He also spent many years in England and understood what is cricket (not the game, but the idiom) and what is not cricket. So, if it is not cricket, it is just not done.
Okay, so his critics might say that the Tunku was a ‘Brown Englishman’ (who drank and gambled). But then so what if that makes him a better man and a man who understands fair play and decency and what is not cricket? And the Tunku was not a hypocrite who spoke about Islam in public and drank and gambled in private.
And the Tunku knew it is not cricket to draw a salary from the government and then spend his time campaigning for the party instead of running the country. The government and the party are two separate entities and should not be mixed. If you are doing party work you should not do so by abusing your position in the government.
And this is something people like Ahmad Maslan, Umno’s information chief, does not understand when he said there is nothing wrong in using schools to campaign the elections or by-elections. Ahmad Maslan admitted that schools are government assets and this is what makes it not wrong for Barisan Nasional to use these schools (since they are government assets).
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should titah Ahmad Maslan to mengadap (summon Ahmad Maslan for an audience) and give him a real tongue-lashing. I mean Najib does not have to scold Ahmad Maslan with words like ‘mother-fucker’ and all that — like how I would do. Just a ‘Melayu bodoh’ would probably do just fine. And then Najib may have to consider appointing a new Umno information chief after this because clearly Ahmad Maslan has the mind of a country bumpkin.
If Ahmad Maslan says it is not wrong for Barisan Nasional to use schools to campaign because schools are government assets (and hence all government assets are also the party’s assets) then what about mosques?
Okay, you may say that mosques are also government assets. But not all mosques are built with government money. Many mosques are built with private money. Some mosques even reject offers of financial support from the government. The mosque committee insists that the money must be 100% private contributions and not a single Ringgit of government money must be used to build these mosques.
Can PAS then use these mosques to campaign? The answer is clearly ‘no’. That goes against the ‘rules’. Whose rules? Government rules? But then not a single Ringgit of government money was used to build these mosques so why should the government have any say on what these mosques do? These mosques can do whatever they please whether the government likes it or not.
Mosques are places of worship and should only be used for prayers, some in the government will argue. Who says so? Is that what Prophet Muhammad taught? During the time of the Prophet mosques were not just places of prayer. They were places for people to assemble. They were places for people to get together and discuss hal ehwal semasa (current issues). They were places for people to resolve disputes, debate, argue, and much more.
In other words, mosques were just like the local town hall where the citizens assembled to meet and talk, plus, of course, to pray. That is what mosques were during the time of the Prophet. And if you claim to be a Muslim and the follower of Prophet Muhammad you would know this.
So, in short, there is nothing wrong with PAS using mosques to campaign because Prophet Muhammad also ‘campaigned’ in the mosque. And since these mosques are built with private money and not government money, PAS is not abusing government assets for party purposes. And, most importantly, since Ahmad Maslan says it is not wrong for the ruling party to use schools to campaign, then it is not also wrong for PAS to use mosques to campaign.
And there is nothing in Islam that says it is wrong for PAS to use mosques to campaign, especially mosques not built with government money. And since PAS is the government in Kelantan, Selangor and Penang, using Ahmad Maslan’s argument, PAS must also be allowed to use the mosques in these three states to campaign for the elections even if these mosques were built with government money.
That is why I say Najib should summon Ahmad Maslan for an audience and scold him good and proper and after that replace him with a new information chief. And if Najib cannot use words like ‘mother-fucker’ he should at least say ‘Melayu bodoh’, which is the least that Ahmad Maslan deserves.