May the light of inclusion conquer the darkness of insecurities – Madius


KOTA KINABALU: I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Hindu Malaysians and others who celebrate along the Festival of Light a very Happy Deepavali/Divali.
While Hindus constitute a small community in Mainland Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak constitute 60% of the Malaysian landmass lest us forget), they are much loved and appreciated. In Borneo, we love and respect other human beings as brothers and sisters, regardless of their numbers, wealth or strength, as long as they love and respect us likewise.
Hindus have enriched Nusantara for 2000 years
Hindus have shaped the cultures and languages of Nusantara for nearly 2000 years before the 15th Century. Without the early Hindus, we will not have words in Malay that originated from Sanskrit like agama, bahasa, bangsa, budi, bumi, erti, maya, putera, raja and syurga, and from Tamil like harta, kapal, kedai, kolam, kota, kuda, peta and singa. The Hindus then and now have enriched us all.
It is a Nusantara tradition to extend festive wishes, whether religious or cultural, to our friends and relatives without worrying that our own faith would be compromised. In fact, we can draw universal meanings from others’ religious celebration for our reference.
For Hindus, today is to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, in the victories of Lord Rama over demon king Ravana in Ramayana (an Indian classic that is treasured in Nusantara) and of the Lord Krishna over demon king Narakasura.
The Universal Metaphors of Light and Darkness
For me, metaphorically, light is kindness, wisdom and courage while darkness is selfishness, ignorance and fear, that exist in everyone’s heart including mine. While I believe in Christ and not Krishna, the lights of Deepavali remind me that I have to do better to rid selfishness, ignorance and fear in me. In the gospel of Luke 8:16-18 mentioned that, “no man when he hath lighted a lamp, covered it with a vessel or putteth it under a bed; but putteth it on a stand, that they enter in my seethe light.”
And my Deepavali wish for the nation of Malaysia is that all of us would be blessed with more kindness, wisdom and courage, inspired by our own faith and belief system and from learning about others. As a nation, we Malaysians often cannot think inclusively to treat others like siblings in the same family, as we are consumed by our own insecurities, created by our pains in the past and our fear of the future. Insecurities drive us to “get even” on others instead of getting ourselves better and stronger.
Hence, insecurities only imprison us and prevent us from being the best we can be. When we look at everyone who is different from us suspiciously and seek refuge in conspiracy theories for a false sense of security and solidarity, we are denying ourselves personal and collective growth. One only needs to look at the United States to see how conspiracy theories and ethnocentric populism can damage humanity, democracy and liberty in the world’s superpower.
End Political Exploitation of Insecurities


For Malaysia to move forward, all parties must work together to address each other’s insecurities and their political exploitation. Certain segments of Malayan Muslims feel deeply insecure that others are out of to insult their faith or confuse them.
The truth is, barring some extremists and sociopaths, most peoples don’t enjoy other humans’ sufferings and humiliations. That so many Malaysians help out other Malaysians under the slogan “rakyat jaga rakyat”, regardless of faith and ethnicity, is the best proof that we are capable of inclusiveness and overcoming our insecurities.
Fortunately, such insecurities are not found amongst Borneo Muslims because they have non-Muslim families and friends, and they know that non-Muslims are just normal humans like Muslims who seek happiness, health, peace and livelihood for themselves and their loved ones. Borneo Muslims do not demonise their non-Muslim families and friends, refrain from eating together with them for fear of pork contamination, call tuak and lihing “Satan’s urine” or feel confused or threatened when hearing Christians praying to Allah.
“For you is your religion, for me is my religion”
If Prime Minister Ismail Sabri is serious about building a happy and prosperous Keluarga Malaysia, then he must reign on the political exploitation of Muslims’ insecurities. To have insecurities is human but to deliberately exploit insecurities to fuel superiority and hatred is wicked and dangerous. No family can survive if some siblings are constantly haunted by insecurities against other siblings. He must call upon politicians from Malay-based parties –PAS, Amanah, UMNO and PKR – to compete on how to protect Malays from pandemic, unemployment, Industrial Revolution 4.0 and climate change that may cause 13% of our total landmass – within 5km from sea – to go underwater.
PM Ismail Sabri must ensure that the Islamic spirit of religious freedom, “for you is your religion, for me is my religion”, is truly practised in Keluarga Malaysia. He must stop the anti-alcohol campaign, from the Timah witchhunt to the partial alcohol ban in KL, which is deeply insensitive to Borneo natives as well as other communities. That Muslims cannot drink alcohol does not mean that non-Muslims must be restricted from buying alcohol or consumption of alcohol must be hidden. Malaysia belongs to both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Anyone who has forgotten this should pay a visit to the Batu Bersumpah (Oath Stone) on the social contract of religious freedom and allegiance to Malaysia, in Keningau, Sabah.
Withdraw Government’s appeal on Allah ban
More importantly, PM Ismail Sabri must instruct the Attorney General’s Chamber to withdraw its appeal against the High Court’s ruling on 10 March 2021 that declared the Allah ban since 1986 is unconstitutional. PM must hear the plea of Borneo Christians and the 18 MPs, four Senators and 31 State Assemblypersons from Sabah and Sarawak representing them in a statement dated 15 March 2021 calling for the withdrawal.
The plea is a cross-party voice. Included in the list are four MPs, One senator and 15 Assemblypersons in the Government’s camp, namely, Datuk Willie Mongin (P198 Puncak Borneo, Bersatu), Datuk Sri Richard Riot (P199 Serian, SUPP), YB Larry Sng (P209 Julau) YB Anyi Ngau (P220 Baram, PDP), Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew (SUPP), Datuk Harry Henry Jinep (N02 Tasik Biru, PDP), YB Miro Simuh (N18 Serembu, PBB), YB Martin Ben (N22 Kedup, PBB), YB John Ilus (N23 Bukit Semuja, PBB), Datuk Snowdan Lawan (N30 Balai Ringin, PRS), YB Gerald Rentap Jabu (N36 Layar, PBB), YB Rolland Duat (N48 Meluan, PDP), YB Alexander

Vincent (N49 Ngemah, PRS), YB Allan Gramong (N50 Machan, PBB), YB Christopher Gira (N59 Tamin, PRS), YB Wilson Nyabong (N61 Pelagus, PRS), YB Jefferson Jamit (N63 Bukit Goram), YB Kennedy Chuk Pai (N66 Murum, PRS), YB Majang Renggi (N70 Samalaju, PRS) and YB Dennis Ngau (N77 Telang Usan, PBB).
PM Ismail Sabri must summon the moral courage to inform Malayan Muslims that Allah is used by Borneo Christians in worship because that is the word used in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia and even Arab for “The God” in any Abrahamic religions, and that the cultural shock many Malayan Muslims encountered since the 1980s was due to success of the National Language Policy in Sabah and Sarawak, and the influx of Sabahans and Sarawakians to Malaya for education and employment because their home regions had been marginalised. If Malayan Muslims need to feel more secure, then the Government should introduce comparative religions courses in schools and through public media so that both Muslims and Christians know their different understandings of Allah without feeling insecure.
Use your vote wisely in Malacca and Sarawak
Malaysians must not give up hope that the light of inclusiveness can conquer the darkness of insecurities. In the upcoming state elections of Malacca and Sarawak, make sure you turn out to vote and use your vote to reject any candidates and parties who deliberately exploit the politics of insecurities. Choose only amongst those who respect each other’s belief and sensitivity, as expressed in the great principle of “for you is your religion and for me is my religion”. End
Wilfred Madius Tangau
MP of Tuaran

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