Malaysia goes to the polls and Singapore Malay Muslims become a discussion point

Malaysia will be going to the polls on 9 May and some Singaporeans keeps getting triggered in ‘coffee-shop discussions’ about the plight of the ‘Malays’ in Malaysia versus the ‘Malays’ in Singapore

They say we have no right to say such things because Singapore Malays are in a worse off position, our national policies discriminate the Muslims, our women cannot wear tudung, our men cannot keep beards, we cannot have Malays in Navy, etc.

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They say that even though Malaysia has been hit by multiple corruption scandals, it’s at least better than Singapore in every sense because they have ample of space to live in, lots of mosques in every district and most importantly their government champions the local Malays and Muslims and make Islam and Islamic laws as part of their constitution.

They believe that our Muftis, our religious leaders and specially our Malay Muslim politicians are all sell outs. Traitors to their own religion for worldly gains, for the PAP. Malaysian leaders on the other hand, despite their shortcomings, stand guided and true to Islam and her teachings.

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This is plain ridiculous.

We feel that people who say these things are unsurprisingly the same group who felt that they were being marginalised in Singapore and generally felt hurt by Shanmugam’s aggressive stance in singling out the Muslim community in the global fight against terrorism.

Singapore Malay Muslims are a minority in Singapore and we are constantly navigating the common space. If we do not even want to trust our own religious leaders to guide us, who else do you want to look up to – a foreigner, the Johor Sultan, or some other Arabs in robes?

Everyone with any bit of cow sense can see how Malaysians divide their country through racial and religious politics. Bumiputras and non bumiputras. Muslims and non-muslims. How else can you explain Mahathir who himself created some of these racial policies in his 22 years as prime minister, now doing a U-turn and working against the current government to undo some of the policies he created himself.

It’s understandable that issues such as the tudung are popular and topics involving discrimination can easily invoke strong sentiments. Which is why these groups would rather discuss about it to rally anti-government support rather than talk about progress, culture, language, the standard of living, employment, education and drug abuse within the community.

We may have our issues but the Malay Muslims in Singapore have a unique identity co-existing with other races in a shared space – its called an inclusive society and religious harmony.

Why are some people hell bent in telling us that we are less of a Muslim and worse off than them because of it?