Sunday, 4 October 2009

Please do not speak for Kartika. She wants to be caned. Leave her in peace.

04th October, 2009


  1. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  2. Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)
  3. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
  4. All Women's Action Society
  5. Women’s Centre for Change (WCC)

[collectively known as the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG)]


I could not help noticing your memorandum to our Prime Minister dated 25th August 2009 which has elicited a strong response (and a counter memorandum dated 01st October 2009) from several Islamic NGOs. From the stand-point of a disinterested observer to the whole Kartika-beer-caning saga, I would like to point out that I believe your take on the issue is wrong.

Kartika, a Muslim woman, was charged under Section 136 of the Enakmen Pentadbiran Ugama Islam & Adat Resam Melayu Pahang 1982 (En. 8/82) which states that it shall be an offence for a Muslim to drink an alcoholic beverage and if found guilty, shall be punished to a maximum of fine of not more than RM5,000.00 or imprisonment of not more than 3 years or both and caning of not more than 6 strokes ("… denda tidak lebih daripada lima ribu ringgit atau penjara tidak lebih daripada tiga tahun atau kedua-duanya dan sebat tidak lebih daripada enam kali sebatan").

Kartika pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a fine of RM5,000.00 and 6 strokes of the rotan. She has paid the fine and is awaiting the sentence of caning.

That should have been the end of it. But against her very wishes to not appeal the conviction nor sentence (also reported at The Star, New Straits Times), you have taken it upon yourselves to speak on her behalf. This I think is unnecessary.

Kartika could have:-

  1. challenged the charge (or conviction) and ventilated the point that beer is technically not prohibited in Islam, or that she is not subject to the Pahang enactment, or any one of the cogent reasons you cited in your memorandum; or
  2. challenged the sentence, in that it was excessive

and have the conviction and/or sentence reviewed by the Syariah Appeals Court.

This she did not do. She chose to not appeal at all, even at the encouragement of the Prime Minister (also reported in The Sun, & MySinChew). There has been no allegation that she was forced to plead guilty nor that she was not of sound mind when she made the plea.

Therefore your current efforts to speak for her seems a bit disingenuous. The lady does not want what you want for her (to appeal). She is an adult. She has not appointed you to speak on her behalf. The decent thing to do would be to not press the point further.

I do hope you give due consideration to the above.

Jason Kay


  1. Persatuan Peguam Syarie Malaysia (PGSM)
  2. Persatuan Alumni Kolej Islam (ALKIS)
  3. Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
  4. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
  5. Persatuan Peguam Muslim Malaysia (PPMM) [not sent]
  6. Berita Harian
  7. New Straits Times
  8. Sin Chew Jit Poh
  9. The Star
  10. The Sun
  11. Utusan Malaysia

Friday, 24 July 2009

To err is human, to forgive divine.

To err is human, to forgive divine - Alexander Pope

24th July, 2009

Dear Muhd. Ridhwan Abdul Jalil @ Erwanz [] (and the Editors, Publishers & parent company of Al-Islam magazine),

I do not know you, and I hope this reaches you in good health. It seems you’ve opened up the proverbial can of worms. May I suggest a way out?

Just apologise. Say sorry for an ill-thought-out article and we all can move on to more important things.

But just in case you do not feel the need to do so, allow me to recap the situation as it stands:-

1. You authored the article entitled "Tinjauan Al-Islam dalam Gereja: Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Melayu Murtad" (pg1)(pg2)

2. A police report was lodged in response to your article. The police investigations are still on-going.

3. Several negative comments have been made about your article. (by a Muslim, another Muslim, and several Christians – here, here, and by the Christian Federation of Malaysia)

The police may or may not recommend charges being proferred against you pursuant to Section 298A of the Penal Code. There may or may not be a sustained campaign against your article.

But let’s face it, you were a bit overzealous with the article, weren’t you? The title clearly suggests you were looking for Malay (and by implication Muslim) teenagers who had apostatized. This you did not find (and admitted in the final paragraph of your article). But was it really necessary to raise the following (unrelated) issues to pad an article that should not have been written/published in the first place (since you did not find any Malay teenage apostates)? Issues such as:

  • · Allegations that your source said that Christians getting paid in cash for converting Malay students – You never followed up on this – Why? This is a serious allegation
  • · The use of “Allah” by Christians – The issue whether or not the Catholic publication “The Herald” can use Allah in its Bahasa Melayu section is still pending in Court, but the historical basis for its usage is quite clear

You probably did not realize that taking communion in a Catholic church would cause you so much trouble, did you? Well, to keep it short and simple, communion is a sacrament in the church – This means that it is a serious thing. It is only for Christians; and for Catholics specifically, there is the issue of transubstantiation - This makes it more serious.

You were glowing in your report of the behaviour of the congregants and for this I am glad, although your account of how communion was given seem at odds with the normal way it is done generally – but that’s a discussion for another time, perhaps over tea.

Please, do the right thing and apologise. Here’s a tip: We Christians are taught to forgive – I do apologise, but I am not able to share with you my Scripture on this (since I am prohibited to do so by Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution).

Jason Kay

"Setiap anak Adam melakukan kesilapan, Tuhan jua yang mengampunkan hamba-hambaNya" - Alexander Pope (terjemahan)

24hb Julai, 2009

Menemui En. Muhd. Ridhwan Abdul Jalil @ Erwanz [] (serta Sidang Redaksi, Penerbit dan syarikat ibu majalah Al-Islam),

Walaupun saya tidak mengenali saudara sekalian, saya berharap warkah ini menemui anda dalam keadaan sihat sejahtera. Bolehkah saya cadangkan jalan keluar untuk situasi yang saudara kini hadapi?

Minta maaf. Pohon keampunan atas penulisan (dan penerbitan) artikel yang tidak dipertimbangkan dengan sewajarnya dan kita semua boleh mengalihkan fokus kepada perkara-perkara yang lebih mustahak.

Tetapi, sekiranya saudara masih tidak pasti sama ada saudara patut berbuat demikian atau tidak, izinkan saya merumuskan situasi kini:-

1. Saudara telah menulis artikel bertajuk "Tinjauan Al-Islam dalam Gereja: Mencari Kesahihan Remaja Melayu Murtad" (m/s 1)(m/s 2)

2. Satu laporan polis telah dibuat berhubung artikel tersebut. Pihak polis masih lagi sedang menyiasat perkara ini.

3. Beberapa komen negatif telah dibuat terhadap artikel tersebut (oleh seorang Muslim, seorang Muslim yang lain, dan beberapa orang Kristian – di sini, sini, dan oleh Persekutuan Kristian Malaysia)

Pihak polis mungkin akan mengesyorkan agar dakwaan dibuat terhadap saudara. Mungkin juga akan terdapat bantahan yang berlanjutan terhadap artikel saudara.

Tetapi, bolehkah saya berterus-terang di sini? Saudara nampaknya telah terlanjur kata dalam artikel tersebut. Tajuknya jelas menunjukkan yang saudara ingin membuat siasatan terhadap remaja Melayu (dan secara implikasi Muslim) yang telah murtad. Saudara telah mengakui (di perenggan terakhir artikel) yang saudara tidak menemui mana-mana remaja Melayu yang murtad. Tetapi, adakah perlu dibangkitkan pula isu-isu yang lain (yang tidak berkaitan) hanya untuk memantapkan artikel yang tidak patut ditulis langsung (kerana tiada penemuan remaja Melayu yang murtad)? Isu-isu seperti:-

  • Alegasi yang sumber mengatakan bahawa penganut Kristian akan mendapat ganjaran wang tunai sekiranya berjaya memurtadkan pelajar Melayu – Saudara tidak membuat siasatan susulan – Kenapa? Ini adalah alegasi yang serius
  • Penggunaan kalimah “Allah” oleh orang Kristian – Isu samada suratkhabar Katolik “The Herald” boleh atau tidak boleh menggunakan kalimah “Allah” dalam ruangan Bahasa Melayu suratkhabar tersebut adalah kes yang masih belum diputuskan di Mahkamah, tetapi penggunaan kalimah “Allah” mengikut catitan sejarah adalah jelas.

Saudara mungkin tidak menyedari yang menyertai “upacara makan roti putih” (communion) akan membawa masalah, bukan? Biar saya rumuskan di sini. Communion adalah upacara keagamaan yang suci (sacrament) di geraja. Upacara ini adalah penting. Upacara ini hanya boleh disertai oleh penganut Kristian sahaja; dan bagi penganut mazhab Katolik, terdapat elemen transubstantiation dalam communion - Ini membuatkannya lebih penting.

Saudara ada memuji akhlak penganut Kristian, dan saya berasa gembira; tetapi laporan saudara tentang bagaimana communion diberikan agak bercanggah dengan cara communion diberikan secara amnya - tetapi isu ini boleh kita bincangkan di lain hari, mungkin dengan secawan teh.

Saya berharap saudara akan meminta maaf. Sebagai panduan: Kami penganut Kristian diajar untuk memaafkan antara satu sama lain - dan saya perlu meminta maaf di sini kerana tidak dapat memetik daripada Kitab Injil untuk makluman saudara (memandangkan Artikel 11(4) Perlembagaan Persekutuan tidak membenarkan saya berbuat demikian).

Jason Kay

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Open Letter to Members of the Malaysian Parliament on the 2009 Gaza issue

11th January, 2009

Open Letter to Members of the Malaysian Parliament on the 2009 Gaza issue

I am a Malaysian. I have learnt that Parliament will be a having a special session on Monday the 12th of January 2009 to discuss the Gaza issue. Allow me to say something about it.

As with countless others, I have followed the situation in Gaza for the past two weeks. It is a blot on the face of humanity that this situation has been allowed to fester for so many decades resulting in this latest insanity and with no definite end in sight. We are all to blame. We are all hypocrites - We human beings.

And I will be the first to say, “I don’t care” about whatever is happening in Gaza.


The entire Middle East problem is by now so convoluted that most people take sides not based on facts or logic, but by affiliations. It has come to the point where we do not even trust the sources of information, be they written or photographs or video. We are moved either by stark emotions or are buried under so much information, accusations and counter-accusations that we end up numb and confused. And; on top of that, we have our daily lives to live.

As with all tragedies, we try to placate our conscience by sending aid to the victims, by protesting via letters, statements, and with a little demonstration here and there with the occasional bonfire. It amounts to a little more than nothing. For all that ink and paper and anger, the situation in Gaza will not change. By following the script that we have followed so many times before we will achieve nothing. It is all a waste of time. Only those who are printing the banners, selling the snacks at the rallies, or charging for freight to transport the personnel and aid will be guaranteed a benefit. The victims in Gaza? Only if the aid reaches them. And we have our doubts/worries.

The stage has been set for the aggrandisement of leaders making bold statements and vague threats along the lines of, “If the situation does not stop, …”. We have seen such statements before. We know they mean nothing. Because in the grand scheme of things, let us be brutally honest with ourselves: Our way of life is more important than any Gazan life. We will not allow the boycott to go on for too long, or against too many things until we start living like the people in Cuba. For if what is said about America supporting Israel is true, then we should boycott and sever all ties with both countries without resumption till the Middle East problem is on the road to a proper resolution. We won’t do that.

Let me put it like this: For now, the strongest message we can send to Israel that what it is doing is so fundamentally WRONG would be to send our military there and protect the civilians of Gaza. If we say what Israel is doing is a crime against humanity and we Malaysians are humans, we should do something that will produce positive result, shouldn’t we? We have the money and we have the military. We have the ability to send aid, real AID, to help the weak. We should do so.

But I know this will not happen. We will follow the same script. Israel will do what Israel will do. Gaza will be whatever Gaza will be. And we will forget soon enough.

This is why I say, “I don’t care.” Because after we have peeled away all the layers of talk, fund-raising, posturing, resolutions and threats, we come to the realisation that we will protect number one: Ourselves. Then our families, our community, our country, and lastly, only lastly, our world. It is a sad indictment of humanity. But that’s all we are: Human.

I wish you all, “Happy debating”.

Jason Kay