Wednesday, 28 October 2015

A Response To Zurairi AR's Tax Tale-Redwan Rodriguez

This is to respond to Zurairi's article "Do you know where your tax money is going?" which was posted on Malay Mail Online, dated October 25 2015. Don't get misled with the title. I personally believe that Zurairi's article isn't about educating people on government tax expenditure, but to incite the readers to hate Jakim. The whole article seems to vilify Jakim, and to show how terribly 'wasteful' it is to spend on Jakim.

No matter how Zurairi feels about Jakim receiving the financial support from the government, it doesn't affect Jakim's right for it. The Federal Constitution obliges Putrajaya to finance Jakim, and the government must include Jakim's expenditure in the budget each year. Why is it so?
The word "Islam" or its derivative appeared more than 20 times in the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, in nine different articles. The most prominent one of those articles is Article 3, where it says Islam is the religion of the Federation. This is a very important declaration. If we read Article 3 with Fourth Schedule, the oath of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, it is clear that Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the supreme head of Malaysia has a constitutional duty to protect and promote Islam.
So how does Yang di-Pertuan Agong realize this oath of his? You got it right. Of course through Jakim, the main agency to manage Islamic affairs at the Federal level. Meaning, every cent allocated to Jakim is for Yang di-Pertuan Agong to realize his oath. So questioning and ridiculing the budget allocated for Jakim to run is tantamount to questioning and ridiculing Yang di-Pertuan Agong and his oath, although I earnestly believe that he has no intention to insult Yang di-Pertuan Agong intentionally. 
Jakim has its constitutional right to receive its funds from the government. No one has the right to complain about it. Our Federal Constitution of Malaysia doesn't oblige the government to fund the vernacular schools, yet that doesn't stop the government to fund the schools. For the sake of the discussion – although we dispute such assertion - suppose one were to agree that it is the right for any layman to ridicule the government for its budget allocation, we have more rights to voice our disapproval of the allocation for the vernacular schools.
The government has more obligations to spend on Jakim instead of the vernacular schools.  Article 12(2) clearly states, ”… it shall be lawful for the Federation or a State to establish or maintain or assist in establishing or maintaining Islamic institutions or provide or assist in providing instruction in the religion of Islam and incur such expenditure as may be necessary for the purpose.” Jakim presence is in accordance with the Federal Constitution of Malaysia while the vernacular schools aren't.
Zurairi kept repeating the phrase "your money" several times in the article. He seems to insinuate something. What is he trying to do? The phrase could plant a feeling of disgust in the hearts of the readers, especially among the non-Muslims, towards Jakim since a part of "their money" is allocated for Jakim . Does he want the non-Muslim readers to perceive Jakim as their enemy? Does he want the non-Muslims to express their disgust towards religious authorities and Yang di-Pertuan Agong's oath?
Zurairi wrote, "You might remember its Malaysian Shariah Index, which among others surveyed whether the government has succeeded in preventing the spread of Christianisation."
So what? The Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia does mention, " State law and in respect of the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan, federal law may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam. That's Jakim for you and me. Jakim is just doing its job, to restrict and to control any proselytization attempt towards Malaysian Muslims. Insinuating the readers to hate Jakim for preventing the spread of Christianization is the same as waging war against the Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia itself.
I can’t help but to ask this question, “Do Zurairi and Malay Mail Online really have a hidden agenda to provoke the readers to wage war against the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's duty to protect the sanctity of Islam as vested by the constitution itself?”
Redwan Rodriguez adalah pembaca


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