Friday, December 26, 2008

From pig farms to Ketuanan Melayu, says Pewaris

-A commentary-

Yes, the very title itself does not make any sense.

The Heritage Associations, Malay Cultural Organisations and Related Bodies Cooperation Network (Pewaris) recently held a protest against pig farming in the district of Masjid Tanah, Malacca where the majority of its population are Muslim Malays. Pig farming in a Malay majority area has been a hotly debated issue for some time as pork consumption is strictly forbidden under Islam. But of course, other non-religious reasons include sewage management and health related issues. After all, who would like a pig farm in his backyard?

The Masjid Tanah pig farming issue seemed to have ballooned into a racial concern when Pewaris organized a gathering specifically for the Muslim Malay population to discuss issues related to the Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy), NEP, inter-racial relations and the current pig-farming activities in Masjid Tanah. How does pig farming relate to Ketuanan Melayu is anyone's guess?

The Malacca State government have been asked to consider a relocation of pig farming activities in Masjid Tanah to a Chinese-majority area. Sure, the people of Masjid Tanah have a legitimate plea and Malaysians could understand their argument in the religious context but how far is Pewaris willing to go in their fight without inciting racial sentiments? The following are banners set up by Pewaris to rally support for its cause.


Some phrases on Pewaris' banners are found to be somewhat disturbing:
  • The first picture reads "Pigs (pig-farming) are on the rise, Malays are busy politicking and Masters become Slaves, it is the Malay community who suffers the most"
  • The second; "Pig! Pig Pig! Malay dignity is sold for fear of offending those Pork Eaters."
Clearly, some quarters did not take Pewaris' protest too kindly when a pig carcass was found hanging by one of the organisation's banners soon after it was erected. This sparked outraged Pewaris members to respond by burning pig effigies in public to condemn the irresponsible and offensive act. So far, no one has come forth to claim responsibility for it.

Nonetheless, as a Malaysian, I am utterly ashamed of those who resorted to hideous acts to make a point. I am truly angered and appalled for such ignorance towards the sensitivities of the our Muslim compatriots. Whatever religion or creed we may believe in, there is no excuse whatsoever for any of us to offend or insult one another in that way. Obviously, some Malaysians do not realise we live in a plural society where religious and racial harmony are balanced on a feather's end.

The whole dilemma of pig-farming and the aftermaths of countless protests and counter-protests have both parties to be blamed. Pewaris have probably gone a wee-bit too far in their protest while certain irresponsible individuals thought it was funny to hang pig carcasses. So who is to be held accountable?

Firstly, before anyone assumes I am an undercover Pewaris member or a pig farmer sympathizer, I would like to clarify that I remain neutral. I believe that compromises from both sides are equally essential to effectively resolve the pig farming issue in Masjid Tanah.

Malaysians and generally, the non-Muslim population need not get bitter over the whole pig farming issue or against the Malay community in Masjid Tanah. The local community in that area and their representative, Pewaris are not calling for a total ban on pork consumption nor are they torching pig farms around the country.

Non-Muslims must understand that the Malay community of Masjid Tanah have a legitimate plea. Pigs/Pork are indeed forbidden in the religion of Islam. As Muslims, I understand if the people of Masjid Tanah are not comfortable of having pig farms in their area.

However, in the ringgit sense, such a massive undertaking is easier said than done. Mind you, the constituency of Masjid Tanah alone has more than 80 pig farms!

But pig farm owners have no problem relocating only if Pewaris could offer a better package or solution for them without incurring losses. Has Pewaris presented any form of solution to the problem? No.

So, Pewaris must realise that they will not achieve anything by hanging racially-phrased banners, organizing countless forums or by burning heaps of pig effigies unless they can sit down and negotiate a solution with pig farm owners like civilized men. Pewaris has no reason to be racially-motivated either.

So who should draw the line then? The answer is the state government. Pig farms like every other industries rake in revenues for state coffers in the form of taxes. But then again, who is to be blamed for allowing 80 plus pig farms to run its business near a Malay-majority population for all these years? A suggestion would require the state government to bear any losses if those farms are to be relocated but we are talking about 80 pig farms here. Feasible? Maybe but highly unlikely.

This whole pig farming issue could well turn into a racial problem if left unresolved. All parties embroiled in this struggle should be realistic enough to know that there is no way to make everyone happy. Hopefully, in time, the state government, pig farm owners and the local community could agree on a solution which serves the greater good. For the sake of racial harmony, a compromise is better than not having a solution at all.

Then again, was Malaysia not formed on compromises?

7 comments :

  1. Anonymous said...

    Pewaris forgot the most important thing in Islam:

    Muslims are not allowed to deny the rights of the non-Muslim. In this case, the rights of the pig farmers have to be recognised.

    If Pewaris is sincere to resolve this issue, they just have to show their 'kelakuan Islam'.

    I'm still waiting for Pewaris to show their kelakuan Islam.

  2. wan said...

    'For the sake of racial harmony, a compromise is better than not having a solution at all.
    Then again, was Malaysia not formed on compromises?'

    Nice phrases, but of course the definition of compromise that you want is that on the expanse of the muslims community.right?

    First of all, the fault also lied on those owner of pig farmer, because this GREEDY PEOPLE are only interested in making maximum profit with minimum cost,that why they neglected every important expect in pig farming, they never care about cleanliness and health,
    How ever i dont think those cunning pig owners (WHOSE BEHAVIOUR IS ALSO SAME LIKE PIG) need to worry about the contamination from pigs because their house located far away from their that farm,
    how ironic, the main suferrer in this issue were the one who never eat or capitalise any thing on this disgusted animal.


    "However, in the ringgit sense, such a massive undertaking is easier said than done. Mind you, the constituency of Masjid Tanah alone has more than 80 pig farms!

    But pig farm owners have no problem relocating only if Pewaris could offer a better package or solution for them without incurring losses. Has Pewaris presented any form of solution to the problem? No."

    Why on earth the Pewaris or the Muslims need to present any solution to this pig farm since we are not the one who consumed at receive any profits from pig (except disgusted smell, dirty environment, destroy river, disease carrying flies). Its pig owners mess so clean it u, I dont care if u want to rear 10 000 thousand pigs but rear it in within ur area, near ur house , not ours

  3. jonathan ong said...

    wan, the compromises that I meant is not solely on the expanse of the Muslims but also the pig farmers.

    Now, to say Pewaris does not need to offer any solution is quite naive. Let's remove any argument of religion here first. Look, the pig farms are there and there are over 80 of them. They are part and parcel of the local economy and are massive in sizes. Do you think they can just pack and leave like hawker stalls? No. Pewaris expects them to leave. But at the same time, what do they expect pig farmers to do? They have massive farms that probably cost millions of ringgit and they should just pack and leave? It is not that simple.

    Any argument would not change the fact that 80 farms are already there. So, instead, would not it be prudent to sit down and come up with a solution or probably suggest one instead of just asking them to leave?

    It is the same scenario when we look at Arab countries who generally are anti-US. But still, they cannot say, "Americans, get out of our lives", can they? Americans depend on Arab oil and Arabs depend on America's economy. So, it's a give and take situation. And in other words, idealism sometimes clashes with real-life situations.

  4. Anonymous said...

    wan,
    think of both sides and stand in both shoes and neglect religious mindset for a minute here. it's true that pig farmers are at fault here for being so irresponsible. but does it seem to be fair if one pig farmer did it and the rest get the blame? we are a well developed country, and yes that is what we are. so we solve things i suppose like what jonathan has to offer is to get some solutions and mutual agreement of both sides. may i remind you that great civilisation fall in the past due to lack of communications both at war and in the parliament or whatsover they call it back then.we're but a small country and civilization in this vast world. we can do nothing if we keep on falling apart. but if one day, we could all scrap our skin colour and unite. we might be the best nation there is ever to it.

  5. jazrul said...

    Americans depend on Arab oil and Arabs depend on America's economy

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  6. jazrul said...

    may i remind you that great civilisation fall in the past due to lack of communications both at war and in the parliament or whatsover they call it back then.

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  7. fauzi said...

    we're but a small country and civilization in this vast world. we can do nothing if we keep on falling apart.

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