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Friday, March 20, 2009

'A'-word Bizarro

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Just when you thought that life in Malaysia couldn’t get any more strange, Walski once again gets proven wrong. And he thought that the religious bureaucracy only had problems with the Catholics using the ‘A’-word.

The prohibition, it seems, has now extended to include online surveys as well. Sweet.

The report, published in Malaysiakini earlier today, does raise some interesting questions, though.

Like, in which court would the Selangor Religious Council file its suit, civil or shariah? 
(the ‘A’-word today, the rest of the alphabet tomorrow, and more, in the full post)

Filing the suit in civil court would mean that they’re actually acknowledging the authority of an infidel-ish court. Hmmm… not really smart PR, if you ask Walski.

If it’s filed in the Shariah court, then… oh, wait… can they even file such a lawsuit there? As far as Walski knows, the Shariah system in Malaysia only covers family law, and Shariah “crimes”… Interesting problem. Oh well, since Walski knows nothing about this, perhaps somebody out there could help out.

Alrighty then… ASSUMING that this suit can be filed in the Shariah court, and the suit names the Bar Council as the receiving party, that would pose another interesting problem – the chairman of the Bar Council is not a Muslim, and therefore the Shariah court has no authority over him. Unless they want to add to that long list yet another constitutional crisis.

The Malaysiakini report also mentioned that newly elected Bar Council chairman, Ragunath Kesavan, said that a legal notice had not yet been received. Walski reckons that now we know why. Like, who’s going to issue the notice, exactly?

Not really sure whether or not the Selangor Religious Council thought this thing out thoroughly before making the threat. Then again, the ability to think logically is not an important prerequisite for moving up in the religious world.

But that aside, the Malaysiakini news report also stated something that Walski found intriguing. Almost bizarre, even.

"The issue raised in the polls can threaten the sensitivity of Muslims," the head of the religious council Mohamad Adzib Mohamad Isa said in a statement.
(source: Malaysiakini, subscription required)

Potentially “threaten the sensitivity of Muslims”… Resulting in what? Making Muslims less sensitive? Not that bad a thing, if you really thought about it. Except, of course, it would be more difficult to manipulate a group of people less volatile. Which is good in the larger sense, but a disaster for the manipulators.

Actually, Walski has a win-win proposal to suggest to the Selangor Religious Council (dan jabatan-jabatan yang sewaktu degnannya). Instead of whining, whingeing and threatening all the time about who can’t use the ‘A’-word, why not once and for all formally license its usage? For a fee, of course.

Pretty much along the same conceptual lines as those Jakim Halal logos – what, you actually thought those were free of charge?

That way, more enforcement personnel would be required, creating more jobs – government jobs, of course. And since we’re going to bloat up our public sector anyway, might as well do it for something that brings in revenue.

Plus, it would be a perfect job for all of those unemployable graduates, without the need for expensive post-graduation skills training. Because, quite frankly, enforcement of this kind doesn’t require much skill. Or any skill. Other than identifying the ‘A’-word, then finding out if its use is licensed or not. QED – Quite Easily Done.

Implemented properly, the A-word licensing initiative could be an extremely lucrative venture. Lame, but lucrative.

Walski’s genius sometimes amazes even himself.