MALAYSIA ON THE CROSSROADS ....some Christian perspectives on the Malaysian political situation..Sacking of DSAI...Corruption..Nepotism..Cronyism...Sodomy...Bail-out...Mahligai PM...Alternatif Barisan Government...General Election..Black Eye...Cases of Defamation...JUSTICE..Parti Semangat 46..Parti Keadilan...

The dismissal of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim(DSAI) as Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO Deputy President has left the nation divided. At stake is not just a question of preferring one political leader over the other but rather a choice of the ideology and approach to government as exemplified by Dr. Mahatir and Datuk Anwar

Along the way, this crucial issue was clouded by the treatment of DSAI by the police. Issues of human rights and justice came to the fore.

Now that the dust has settled over the position of DSAI in the Government, how should Christians look back on what has happened?

Each person may have their own perspective of the events that have happened and none can claim theirs to the absolute truth. Here, I share some insights of one who over the past ten years have been involved in defending the rights of churches and Christians in the law courts as well as trying to lead a church to come to grips with the realities of witnessing in a hostile community.

Let me start with an incident in January of 1998. I took up a case in the Kuala Lumpur High Court asking the Court to give an order of Habeas Corpus to release a Malay lady by the name of Norsishah who was forcibly detained by her family for converting to Christianity.

When I appeared in Court, my opponents were a battery of Muslim lawyers. I found out later that they were a specialist group who always appeared for the Muslim authorities to oppose applications by Muslims apostates to the Courts for legal recognition of their conversion out of Islam.

As the events surrounding DSAI unfolded in October 1998, it transpired that out of the group of lawyers opposing me in the Noraishah case, one was detained under the ISA and the rest were defending DSAI ih his court cases. It was clear to me that there was a close connection between DSAI and the activities of the militant Muslim legal fraternity.

In 1957, our first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman said in Parliament, "I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood."

In spite of this, there were calls for an Islamic state by some quarters notably PMIP which was active in Kelantan. PMIP is now known as PAS.

The demand for an Islamic state gained momentum after the Iranian revolution in 1979. It was spearheaded by PAS and the Muslim youth organisation ABIM. Founded in 1972, ABIM experienced the height of its popularity under its president, Saudara Anwar Ibrahim, from 1974 to 1982.

In 1982, Anwar left ABIM to join UMNO and won a parliamentary seat. Towards the end of 1982, the Government announced the policy of inculcating Islamic values in the administration of government and the lives of the Malaysian peoples. Anwar was appointed Deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department and was put in charge of Islamic Affairs.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar in his book Islamic Resurgence In Malaysia made two observations. It was Dr. Mahatir who brought Anwar into the Government and Anwar was "the major figure" connected with the Government's Islamisaion program. Islamic banking was introduced in 1983 and Islamic insurance in 1985. The Islamic University was set up in 1983. Around that time, dakwah or Islamic missionary activities were aggresively promoted using the official radio and television channels.

During his tenure as Minister of Education, Datuk Anwar was responsible for islamising the education syllabus. Islamic civilisation was introduced in schools and World Religions are taught with a pro-Islamic bias. In the textbooks, Christianity is portrayed in a negative light in comparison with islam. teachers were required to inject Islamic values into all subjects including mathematics. Even the official kindergarten syllabus was required to have Islamic content.

Indeed, i have no need to describe the rest of public life that is now pervaded by Islamic practices. You can see for yourself how much the country has changed in the past 15 years in its shift towards Islamic emphasis. Did the rise to power of Datuk Anwar in the 80's have anything to do with this changing scenario?

During the Noraishah case, many Muslim quarters called for the death penalty to be meted out to apostates. Dr. Mahatir publicly rejected the application of the hudud law. Datuk Anwar was silent.

To offset the ulamaks' call for the death penalty for apostates, Dr. Mahatir invited Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Dr.Muhammad Sayyed Tartawi, to visit Malaysia in August 1998. Dr. Tartawi is reputedly the most