An open letter to Syed Saddiq

Choo Sing Chye

1 Sep 2019, 1:37 pagi

Updated a year ago


LETTER | Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, I agree with you that “to err is human” and nobody is immune to mistakes.

But before you call Malaysians to move on, you should, at the very least, seek clarity on where preacher Dr Zakir Naik had erred?

For this, you do not have to go far, just read Zakir's apology and then make up your mind on whether or not he qualifies for this maxim – to err is human.

But unmistakably in his apology, Zakir did not say anything about erring. He had put the entire blame on the “distractors” in the video for causing all these problems.

So Syed Saddiq, the maxim “to err is human “ does not apply to him. He is not entitled to it. 

Zakir  had omitted all the core points that made his statement controversial, i.e., disputing the loyalty of Hindu Malaysians and referring Chinese as “old guests" who should be sent back first should he be sent back to India.

And by looking at every strand of words he weaved into his YouTube statement, he had, without doubt, committed the logical fallacy of ignoratio elenchi.

Simply said, he is ignoring the crux of the issue, reducing his actions to spending time proving what no one denies.”

Nobody denies what he had said in the video about the good of Islam and the 100,000 crowd in Kelantan who heard lecture. And it is also in my opinion that he was wrongly called a racist.

In his defence, he said that he was taken out of “context” and “strange fabrications” were added to his words by his “distractors” meaning your colleagues in caucus, Syed Saddiq.

While the “taken out of context” argument is one of the favourite tools of absconding oneself from blame. 

His does not apply here, because his controversial statement is a standalone propositional statement. It proposes an opinion of the Chinese and the Hindu Indians which sticks like super glue to the context of his statement.

His statement is a spade and a spade we shall call it, nothing more or less.

I understand the full diction of ”strange fabrications” but shoving it into his argument without attaching any proof, baffled me.

Hopefully Zakir understands that ours is a free country, if he says something in public, he must realise that by doing so, he has opened up an arena whereby anybody can enter. 

These people are not “distractors”, but are contenders to his opinion. Hence if he cannot stand the heat, he should shut up.

Finally, we should view without any doubt that his lecture in Kelantan was a religious sermon and was not controversial, but his statement about the Hindu Indians and Chinese, is.

In the end, we are a nation of many families brought together by kind words and deeds.

We, Malaysians have worked very hard to keep peace and harmony in Malaysia. We go out at length to acknowledge each other as brothers and sisters although we are of different creed and ethnicity.

I, on my part try my best to bring up my children to respect and understand the faith of others. Five years ago when my daughter started her medical schooling, I told her to let compassion defines her action and speech.

When she started as a houseman in a government hospital early this year, I, again reminded her about what I told her five years ago.

After two months into her housemanship, she encountered a case where a Malay lady was frantically searching for her. 

 On meeting my daughter, she drew a deep breath and said that she had to meet her and thank her before bringing her late mother's body home. Her late mother had told her that she was very grateful for all the kindness and compassion that she had received from my daughter.

Just three weeks ago, my daughter was on night duty and during the course of the night my daughter struck a conversation with a Malay lady.  

She told my daughter about the difficult life she was having. The next day when my daughter discharged her, she gave the lady twenty ringgit. At first, she refused, but after much insistence, she accepted it with tears streaming down from her eyes.

In sum, kindness and compassion should be in the hearts of those who preach peace and Zakir has very little of it.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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