A few days ago, esteemed blogger The Malaysian asked the bloggerhood a rhetorical question: Is Malaysia really a Police State? This was in relation to the allegation by Tun Dr. Mahathir that Malaysia has become one. The irony of it, eh? And who was it that contributed much to Malaysia being a "Police State"? Who? Who?
In any case, Walski's answer to this is YES, Malaysia is definitely a police state. But not only for the reasons Mahathir claims.
It seems like everybody seems to want in on the action of policing. And we're not even talking about the de facto Police, i.e. the Royal Malaysian Police force. So, lets look at some of the police-wannabes, in no particular order of dasterdliness.
About a couple of weeks ago, an elderly American couple in Langkawi had a rude awakening at 2am by six men from the Islamic Affairs Department, on the suspicion of khalwat (close proximity between unrelated and unmarried males and females). Nevermind that the couple, Randall & Carole Barnhart (62 and 61 years of age, respectively) have been married for 42 years and grandparents of four. Great publicity for next year's Visit Malaysia Year, isn't it?
Moral Police Tourism - the next big thing for VMY '07?
And with this kind of wonderful publicity, we can expect the foriegn tourist to flock into the country in droves - NOT. Unless of course, the tourists are from equally, or more, repressed parts of the world.
It was not too, too long ago that the disasterous JAWI raid on Zouk in KL took place. But it's okay for the tourists, though, the targets are usually Malaysians - specifically Malay Malaysians. This is probably in hopes that the fun-loving Malay youths will turn religious and change their political affiliations to, you know, a less worldly political party. What a great recruitment tool! Snag 'em, charge 'em, recruit 'em!
Soon, all the youth will remain in-doors, off the streets, with nothing else to do but to listen to the music they love... Oh, wait! Only music that's authorized, though. None of that heavy, black, speed, metal evil stuff... Oh no... not in Malaysia. We love our youth. We cannot let 16 years of mindless education go to waste! Only mindless music is permissible for our youth...
And undoubtedly, some die-hard Malaysian Islamic moralistas, at the end of the day, probably yearn for something like the kind of Moral Police in Saudi Arabia - the mutaween. So steadfastly puritanical, over-zealous and literalist are these moral f*cktards, that their enforcement caused this unforgettable 2002 tragedy to occur. Is this the kind of life we have to look forward to?
But seriously, if you're young and fun-loving, Malaysia is probably not the place to be to enjoy your youth unharassed. For the Young and Malay, it's fun on the edge - constantly looking over your shoulder for the possible sudden appearance of the Moral Police (or their voyeuristic spies), lest ye be nabbed.
Volunteer "I'll-Kick-Butt-for-Free" Police
Otherwise known as RELA - the volunteer, pretty much untrained, civil defence corp. Yes, what better way to spend your free time than weilding a deadly baton, and relishing the possiblity to get called up for the opportunity to crack some skulls. We're told that illegal immigrant skulls are particularly fun to bash.
Ok, in all fairness, not all the RELA members are head-busting brutes. Probably just a handfull, or three. But of late, numerous complaints have been filed against these volunteers for abuse of power (here, for example), particularly in their mobilization to track (and hunt) down illegal immigrants, including illegal breaking and entering (without warrants).
Speaking of lack of training, just the other day, Walski personally witnessed some members of RELA trying to regulate traffic at the Duta Bus Terminal - needless to say, they didn't do a particularly good job. The real traffic police were probably busy doing other things (as in manning Ops Sikap XI). And so these poor volunteers were given the task to control an impossible traffic situation, made possible by a bus depot that was never designed for holiday season volume of travellers - Walski heard that it's bad enough on normal days.
And while RELA does have an important role to play, let's hope that heed is taken to the latest call by the Government to keep them testosterone levels down, and be a civil volunter force, as they're meant to be.
(more wannabe police types in the full post)
Black Metal Police
Walski mentioned something about music earlier, and how this too is being policed by the so-called moral guardians of our police state. Early this year, the Malaysian music scene was shaken by the raid on Paul's Place, on New Year's Eve - a.k.a. the GoatGate incident. Ever since then, the Malay-language tabloids, Harian Metro in particular, have been indiscriminately labelling any loud guitar-driven music genre as Black Metal.
As an educational public service to any of you readers aspiring to be moral music police, actual Black Metal is only one of the 17 or so sub-genres of Heavy Metal (and numerous other pseudo sub genres). A week or so ago, Harian Metro ran an article "lauding" Pos Malaysia for stopping the entry of music CD's of what was described as Black Metal. In the article, they mentioned a few bands by name, among them:
(actual genre: Thrash Metal)
Click ► to play
(Song title: Follow The Evil)
(actual genre: Death/Thrash Metal)
Click ► to play
(Song title: The Turmoil Begins)
In other words, if it's loud, got lots of guitars and gutteral vocals - hey presto! Black Metal. In fact some of the names quoted in the article are not bands at all, but probably compilation titles. But hey, Walski doesn't expect these ignoramuses to know the difference anyway.
And through the proud-ignorance (bodoh sombong) exhibited by tabliods like Harian Metro, anything that is metal-like, or in any way resembling or sounding like metal, immediately gets labelled as Black Metal. And if something isn't understood, or feared, or both, label it with a Black Metal appendage - like Black Metal Aliens.
Oh, and t-shirts - let's not forget black t-shirts. Walski's got a whole closet of them, by the way... that must make Walski evil somehow. In truth, what's evil is the stupidity proudly emblazoned on the foreheads of these moralistic morons, who've got nothing better to do than to take yet another avenue of enjoyment from our music listening youth.
Language & Culture Police
The latest in the collective of wannabe police, otherwise known as Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP), under the auspices of the Inspector General of the Culture and Language Police, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.
Incidentally, the Bahasa Malaysia acronym for his ministry (The Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage), the Kementrian Kebudayaan, Kesenian dan Warisan, is KeKKWa. Which is simply just too funny. No wonder the ministry is run with such fascist zeal.
Soon, the Language Police will be given the authority to fine owners of signboards which contravene the National Language sensibilities, which presumably they alone know the fine details. There's even talk about unleashing the Language Police at official functions where the National Language would be used.
There was also some talk about the language police being sicced on lawmakers or officials (in Parliament, for example) who do not use the National Language, but instead use English, without prior approval at official functions.
And rather than concentrating on producing quality translation of books into the National Language, which the DBP is apparently seriously behind on, they choose instead to obfuscate their shortcomings with a new policing role. How excellent. Freeze - Language Police!
Let's just see if they actually do anything about Starbucks Coffee. Like, maybe, change it to Kopi Bintang Kuda Lompat.
And so on, and so forth...
There's probably a lot more policing that various interested parties will probably want to do. Except for the policing which we don't already have, but probably should - like the Turtle Police, or Air Quality Police, or perhaps even the Coral Police...
But then again, being that there isn't even the political will to once and for all create the Police Police, what, realistically, can we expect?
Except, maybe, for more unnecessary, citizen-unfriendly, harassment type of policing... just so that Malaysia lives up to its reputation for really being a Police State...