“Religion”, according to Syed Hamid Albar


This is what constitutes “religion”, according to Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar:

“If you are to write on religion, then you are supposed to touch on matters pertaining to:

– questions on rituals,

– adherence to God,

– followers and

– anything related to your divine mission.”

It is interesting that the first thing that comes to his mind when thinking of religion is “rituals” – and not   deeper spiritual values such as justice and concern for the poor.

Question for Syed Hamid:

Do God and “religion” have nothing to say about justice, human rights, social justice, corruption, and honesty in public life?

What if we see these issues as related to the religion’s “divine mission”? What if God is a God of justice who demands justice and compassion in all areas of life?

This report from theSun:

Syed Hamid on the responsibilities of a publisher
by Husna Yusop

[email protected]

PUTRAJAYA ( Aug 14, 2008) : Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar today reminded publishers that they must know the terms and conditions of their printing permit, and make sure they do not breach them.

“One of the most important thing that one should always remember is whatever you do must be within the terms and conditions of the law upon which you are licensed.

“If you know the conditions of your licence and it stipulates very clearly, then if you go beyond it, definitely you have breached the law,” he said.

“If you have breached the law, there is no question that should be asked. Instead you should ask me whether we are going to take action or not. But, I am not aware of the instruction,” he said after launching his ministry’s Seminar on Vital Targets (Sasaran Penting) 2008 today.

Syed Hamid was responding to questions from reporters on the issue of Catholic newsletter Herald being given a show-cause letter for writing on politics in the weekly publication.

In its latest issue, which has yet to hit the streets, it will carry an editorial on Permatang Pauh.

A Ministry official had said that they will decide in a week or two whether to suspend or revoke Herald’s publication permit.

Syed Hamid said he was not aware of the instructions said to have been issued to Herald.

When suggested that politics and by-election are a part of people’s daily life, therefore it is not against the law to write about Permatang Pauh as Herald’s permit allowed it to write about religion and daily life, Syed Hamid said:

“If you start to interpret, everything can be broadened. It is a relative and subjective situation.

“If you are to write on religion, then you are supposed to touch on matters pertaining to questions on rituals, adherence to God, followers and anything related to your divine mission.

“If you go beyond that, definitely you have committed some breaches.”

Asked whether he is concerned that Herald was writing on by-election, he said: “Whatever it is, the most important condition for everybody is to be responsible citizens. You must add value to forging unity and cohesion within our society.

“If you apply for a licence to write about religion, we expect you to do that. If you go beyond, we have to look whether you have breached or not because everyone can argue this is a matter of interest, therefore it affects our religion. But I think if you mix religion with politics, then you can create a lot of misunderstandings.”

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew had maintained that the articles published in its weekly are in line with basic rights guaranteed under Article 11(3) of the Federal Constitution.

“I am puzzled by the Home Ministry’s show-cause letters received since March 10,” he had said.

Herald is circulated to some 12,000 Catholics nationwide.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
respect islam.com.my
respect islam.com.my
20 Sep 2008 7.16pm

for me UMNO way of islam is really tarnishing the great image of islam.For me Islam is well respected religion, but the problem is Islam in UMNO way they use islam as their tools to get malay support,for me islam in t his country is not the target, ther is no one chalenge islam, Umno just crate a problem so that they get support.I call upon islam great scholars to punish this people who tarnish good image of the religion

Sivin Kit
24 Aug 2008 4.09pm

Quoted you in my opening sermon for my Merdeka & Malaysia (M&M) sermon series this morning. The congregation looked like they affirmed the questions you asked our home affairs minister! 🙂

More importantly, beyond debates it’s whether we can live out and carry out the “divine mission” entrusted to each of us!

18 Aug 2008 1.49am

Dear DSAI, Your faith in God is yours and yours alone. It is a sacred relationship between you and your almighty. Do not fall for these politically motivated acts in the name of religion. Have faith in your almighty and faith in your fellow Malaysians to see through the desperation of your political opponents. Malaysians today, be they from the cities or from the kampungs are far more intelligent and exposed than the ‘ruling elite’ would have us believe in the ‘condescending’ manner they address us. Please keep on the path of bringing real democratic changes to this country of… Read more »

Malaysian Niah...
Malaysian Niah...
17 Aug 2008 2.16pm

saiful r … … you see most of the religious followers don’t insult their own religion by swearing you did something wrong or so in your case someone did wrong to you. in buddhism there is no provision for swearing at all, its pretty straight forward – it’s your on karma to bear if you sin and don’t blame other people for it. in christianity – when you sin, you don’t swear. you ask forgiveness from god and ask god to give you the strength to forgive the other person that has cause you hurt. you don’t swear like you… Read more »

16 Aug 2008 11.09pm

The joker’s definition of religion clearly reveal his knowledge of any religion.That’s the level of standard of the Malaysian government ministers.How sad.

16 Aug 2008 10.38am

“..But I think if you mix religion with politics, then you can create a lot of misunderstandings.”

Ya ya… talk about UMNO and PAS…

16 Aug 2008 1.38am

Saiful: I feel that the time is right for me to do my duty as a Muslim and Malaysian by doing what is right.” Me: I ponder, He said he felt today was the right time to do his duty as a Muslim after 2 months by doing what is right? So, what was right thing to do? Swear on the Quran was the right thing to do? I do agree. But then, would it be taken to mean that the earlier meeting with Najib, Dr Mohamed and negotiating with a police officer and ultimately making a police report was… Read more »

Malaysian Niah...
Malaysian Niah...
16 Aug 2008 12.47am

I agree with Cinta Malaysia ..lets have the 20 million Chinese Moeslim come and become citizen. That way the UMNO/BN govt or PAS no longer need to insult Islam in the name of politics and leave religion as what it should be – A private and personal relationship between one person with god – no politics, no race, no economics, no anything, its him and god.

Malaysian Niah...
Malaysian Niah...
16 Aug 2008 12.44am

I cannot think of any labels to brand Syed Hamid because even the most negative of the labels like idiot, stupid, moron, brainless etc don’t exactly fit him. His category is actually … yet to be discovered.

‘Rituals’ in the context of Malaysian politics after the time of Bapa Malaysia = UMNO Malay ….plundering the rest of the malay and giving crumbs to the rest of the non malay.

After that is the part where religion comes in to support the first rule of rituals. …

Independance Kid
Independance Kid
15 Aug 2008 11.53pm

Friday, August 15, 2008 Hadi Awang – more Malay than Muslim? I wasn’t at all surprised when I read Malaysiakini news article Hadi non-committal on Anwar’s PM bid, because Pak Haji would have stabbed Pakatan in the back long ago if not for Pak Haji Nik Aziz. Despite Hadi Awang’s avowed Islamic affiliation he’s basically another of those ketuanan Melayu person, where being Malay would be far more important than being Muslim. He was the head of the faction that wanted to do a secret deal with UMNO to seize power in Perak and Selangor, probably with some incentives of… Read more »

15 Aug 2008 9.59pm

Albar, A better solution is to remove political patronage and protection from Islam; let it compete in the free market place on its own merits like all other religions and then educate the Malays to think critically. Why are you people so afraid to free up the Malay mind? Do you not have any confidence in your religion?

15 Aug 2008 8.03pm

Clearly shows and proves his zero understanding of his own religion. No wonder people like him holding position of ministership keep making mockery of religion, human value, way of life and wisdom. It is very clear in our mind for once we have been communicating with an illiterate in human values.

That’s the reason I believe a Pak Chik who dwells in one corner of kampung is much more literate than any of this herd of ministers. I’m losing my faith for a prosperous Malaysia, anyway.

15 Aug 2008 7.47pm

Since you covering Permatang Pauh whats your opinion from grass roots level.

Maybe i a bit wrong,people change,so Anwar is a change man by goes throu hell after the warlords fix him up.
Their sidekick also wont leave Anwar alone.

Give Anwar more coverage in your blog.Take the chances,if ANWAR is a change man – will benefits most to Malaysian – NO MORE JIHAD BY WARLORDS.

rajraman.Had to change for the sake of our country.

Anak Pulau Pinang
Anak Pulau Pinang
15 Aug 2008 5.55pm

UMNO and Badawi is definitely bakrupt of ideas and definitely of quality politicians. Syed Hamid AllBlurr and his Predecessor Nazri are a bloody disgrace to the legal profession. Pure s***/crap … come out of their mouths everytime the open their mouth to speak. If they and the UMNO cannot understand that a Forum (Hullo, Bodoh, a forum is a discussion among inteligent people lah – you don’t fit the bill) on anything be it Politics,race or religion is aimed at getting the general public to understand each other better. The way, you netwits are going gila over such a simple… Read more »

15 Aug 2008 2.22pm

Quoting Syed Hamid Albar ” …if you mix religion with politics, then you can create a lot of misunderstndings.” Not too long ago our country was declared as an Islamic state instead of being secular. No wonder we have created so much misunderstandings amongst the rakyat. Rituals are a part and parcel of any religion but I hope that religious teachings of love and compassion for another fellow human being and all creations of God take precedence over religious rituals.

15 Aug 2008 1.59pm

Our is one of the few countries in the Universe where failed Ministers can have 2,3 or even 4 bites at the cherry.

Jessica Alba, who failed to deliver to us Mick Jaggers’ wife Bianca, is now an expert in religion and censorship and rituals and voodoo politics.Would that USA, China,India etc had such versatile MP’s.

What a pathetic State and state of affair.
refer my post ‘Beijing Olympics Rocked by Scandal One.’

15 Aug 2008 12.34pm

But i think what he said also make sense. Because sometimes is to avoid other people to take advantage from those article if to released. Because people’s mind are not the same. They think differently according to their environment and what resource of knowledge they obtain from. So that’s the right part of his statement. But the bad part is what like you guys mentioned above, sometimes the way he thought and digest the article released by ‘the herald’ is not getting to the point that the they wanted to say. So, perhaps more wise and open minded people would… Read more »

15 Aug 2008 12.25pm

As far as I am concerned my religion tells me that I must love one another as my God loves me. In order to do that I need to be concerned about my brother. That means I need to care about what is happening around me and not just perform my rituals. Performing rituals is only a tiny part of of my religion. Yes spiritual values, social justice and concern for the poor and disadvanged are some of the teachings of my religion and I believe all other religions too. I think the “Hon” Minister is obviously talking through his… Read more »

15 Aug 2008 12.17pm

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, is just a barking … He barks all the time. He does not think…. The most dumbest minister the UMNO could produce. He is a laughing stock in the international arena. No one takes him seriously. Just a joker who shoots his mouth of without thinking….

15 Aug 2008 12.13pm

Anil, the current trend for some people, is that only the external manifestation of religions and beliefs are important and of primary concern. None is worried about the human values, especially those related to justice for poor people. Justice is only for the rich and powerful, that’s their interpretation. They forgot that spirituality crosses the boundary of rites and religions. We just have to be sorry for such a low mentality approach towards bigger issues in life.

15 Aug 2008 11.54am

the home minister ought to be sacked!! look at the recent bar council forum issue and now this (and much more earlier!).

i have the complete editorial on permatang pauh from the herald up in my blog here.

umar rentaka
umar rentaka
15 Aug 2008 11.11am

God and His instructions cannot be separated from the state as is the norm nowadays. As far as Hinduism is concerned, it cannot be separated. For the state must be governed according to His laws and ideas. God created the world. Politicians come and go. The land created by God remains. Humankind must realize that the land do not belong to any country but only to the Lord [sarva loka maheswaram says Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 5.29]. If this consciousness is prevalent all over the world, we will not have wars because of greedy people wanting to possess more… Read more »

cinta Malaysia
cinta Malaysia
15 Aug 2008 10.56am

Zaid Hamidi “Islam ada Melayu dan Melayu ada lah islam”
Is he claiming that only the malays are muslims?What about other races?They can be muslim as well as Christians, Hindus, Buddhist etc..
Can the 20 million Chinese muslims migrate to Malaysia and be considered melayu???

15 Aug 2008 10.49am

Anil what can you expect from pea sized brained politicions.

15 Aug 2008 10.40am

Well, some Christian cults, ok sects, might be in agreement with his lordship.

1. There’s the time when Jesus advises to give the Romans what is due to them. Translation: don’t question them.

2. Jesus said that the poor will always be among you, but he will be only for a short time. Translation: Never mind the poor, just worship me.

I find more of a connection with the teachings of Buddhism as I get older, though you get Mercedes monks as well.