Once upon a time, there was a country Aisyalam not too far away was ruled by a Government voted by the majority and for the majority. Over time, the ruling party of the land got increasing autocratic, and in that process ironically, became increasingly nervous about losing that autocracy.
The deputy dictator of the land, decided one day to shore up his popularity by appealing to the influential flat earth society. He decided to declare "the world is flat, and that it was never, never round" despite the fact that he has personally travelled around the world and never fallen off the edge of the earth.
In the face of mounting unhappiness amongs the oppressed minorities who raised their arms in incredulity for they believed that the world, was incontrovertibly round! To prevent further embarrassment to the autocracy, for the outcry by minorities was backed by indisputable scientific and documentary evidence, another decree was issued.The above story was inspired by renown scholar, Farish A. Noor, who spoke this morning at the Parliamentary Roundtable hosted by the Parliament Opposition leader, Sdr Lim Kit Siang.
This time round, the Ministry of Unfree Expression declared that there can be no further discussion on the issue of whether the earth was flat or round, with the exception of the almighty dictator and his deputy, who can continue to proclaim that the earth is flat.
Despite the decree, and sensing persistent simmering discontent and restlessness amongst the commoners, the almighty and all-benevolent dictator decided to accomodate the interest of all by decreeing that "the world is neither round or flat".
The populace of the land of Aisyalam rejoiced at the wisdom of the almighty dictator, and everyone lived happily ever after in the comfort that a world they live in is neither round or flat.
The Roundtable was to reaffirm Merdeka social contract and Malaysia Agreement on the occasion of 50th Merdeka anniversary that Malaysia is a secular state with Islam as official religion and not an Islamic state.
The speakers at the Roundtable, includes Honey Tan from AWAM, Malik Imtiaz of HAKAM, Dr Hacharan Singh of MCCBHCST, Dr Nasir of Parti Socialis Malaysia and Andrew Khoo of the Human Rights Committee of the Malaysian Bar Council.
What was disappointing was the fact that despite it being a parliamentary roundtable open to all Members of Parliament, none from Barisan Nasional, particularly, none from MCA, Gerakan, MIC and other parties turned up to defend the principle of a secular state irrespective of political affiliations.
Just as the MPs from MCA, Gerakan and MIC failed to defend the rights and dignity of women when UMNO MPs insulted Malaysian women, similarly, they are now failing to defend the rights of minority and the secular state.