Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Malaysia's Jihad against the Singapore Leader

When I landed in Malaysia for a few years in the early 1990s in search of a better living, I was awe-stricken by its success in economic development. Coming from the hardship of South Asia, I marveled at the outstanding advancement and modernization Malaysia had achieved under the stewardship of the then prime minister (PM) Mahathir Muhammad. He defied the West unlike the slavish leaders of oil-rich Middle East countries to achieve it all. Mahathir's anti-West and anti-imperialist rhetoric would inspire me as much as his success in economic development of the country. Mahathir became my instant hero for Muslim world.
On a weekend visit to neighboring Singapore, I was further awe-stricken by the economic success in the tiny nation. And I was equally disappointed by the condition of Malay Muslim community there, who were evidently a poorer community doing all the low-class and low-pay jobs. Muslims were oppressed, exploited and marginalized by majority Chinese people in Singapore. Malaysia treated her minority Chinese people well, who were doing better economically.

Such was my fleeting judgments. I knew how the state discriminated against the Chinese and Indian minority communities there. However, Chinese and the Indian were controlling much of the economy. This latter reason was good enough to reach my unfailing judgment at the time.

The allure of money landed me in the infidel land in a few years. Of course, after the 9/11, heart has changed [1]. My great hero Mahathir Muhammad has found his true name of the Great Jihadist in my heart, whom I now consider a very dangerous man for the peace of the world.

Because of this attachment and the current Jihadist hot-spots of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines – I have kept a close eye on this region. I have taken a keen interest in the on-growing row that broke out between Singapore and Malaysia over a comment of the former Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew [MM Lee]. In an hour-long policy dialogue with former US treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, the MM Lee, while addressing the challenges Singapore faces, asserted that Singapore needs to have a strong Government that can take stand against her neighbors. Mr. Lee said: "you must have a Government in Singapore which is firm, stout-hearted, subtle and resolute. My neighbors (Malaysia & Indonesia) both have problems with their Chinese (citizens). They are successful and hardworking and therefore, they are systematically marginalized, even in Education." [2]

Since then a row broke out in all earnest in the neighboring Malaysia over the alleged controversial comment, in which Indonesia stepped in later. Angry Malaysia sought explanation and an apology from the Singapore leader. Malaysia PM Abdullah Badawi also wrote a letter, dated 25 September 2006, to MM Lee demanding an explanation. Mr. Lee responded to the letter expressing his apology: "I am sorry that what I have said has caused you a great deal of discomfort. After decades of troubled relations with your predecessor (Dr Mahathir), it is the last thing I wanted" [2]. The Malaysian PM, clearly not satisfied with the apology, responded that he had taken note of explanation and would not pursue the issue further. He added, “Let me say this. The statement that Datuk Lee Kuan Yew made in Singapore is uncalled for and not appreciated. I certainly do not agree with it. I certainly reject the premise upon which the statement was made.” [3]

In the present controversy, there are two issues that require investigation:

  1. Whether MM Lee’s assertion of Malaysia and Indonesia's treatment of its Chinese are correct or not? And how does that compare to Singapore’s treatment of her minority Malay Muslims community?
  2. Whether the neighbor's of Singapore apply a heavy-handed attitude and policies towards Singapore or not?

Is there any truth in these assertions of the MM Lee? From what I witnessed then in Malaysia, there cannot be any doubt that the treatment of non-Malay communities, namely Chinese, Indian and other indigenous tribes, are simply bad. They are being systematically discrimination from Government sponsored education, jobs and business ventures as the open state policy. When a Government stopped a race or religious community from getting equitable opportunities for education, jobs and business opportunities, it is called apartheid. What I have seen there could be as bad as the discriminatory policies of the White Government of South Africa in the days of much publicized Apartheid.

Of course, there are other religious discriminations, too. Grassroots Islamic bodies for converting the Chinese and Indian to Islam have been set up all across the country [recently Dr Mahathir became its patron], while conversion of Muslims to other religion have been banned. One cannot convert from Islam to other religion even on one’s own will. Any dispute between Muslims and non-Muslims on religious issues must be mediated by the Sharia court, where the non-Muslims do not have access to defend their case. After the current PM Badawi took the leadership, there have been systematic attempts to impose the Islamic values and rituals on the on-Muslim communities. There was vigorous attempt to ban holding hands by lovers and married couples in public places irrespective of their religions. However, non-Muslims were exempted after a vigorous outcry from them. Then there has been the enforcement of Islamic hijab on the women police, regardless of her religious affiliations, despite vigorous protests by the non-Muslim communities. The list can only continue growing.

Secondly, are the policies of Malaysian government heavy-handed towards Singapore? One example will make it clear. The former PM Dr. Mahathir wanted to build a bridge across the strait between Malaysia and Singapore. There is a bridge already and working well for the traffic across the strait but Dr. Mahathir would not relent. After years of failed negotiations by Dr. Mahathir to push the unnecessary bridge-idea down Singapore's throat, he decided to go ahead with the plan anyway but to create a half-bridge on Malaysia side as a show of defiance of Singapore.

Such is the overpowering rage of Singapore's neighbor. Accede to our policies or else we will go ahead on our own to assert our stand. However, after Mr. Badawi became the PM, he decided the scrap the idiotic plan of Mahathir’s half-bridge as scheduled and decided on further mutual negotiation of a full-bridge. Dr. Mahathir has now found a new cause for Jihad against his successor for his failing to impose the Bridge on Singapore.

According to the information in the public database and from friends I know from Singapore, against glaringly discriminatory policies of Malaysian government, the Singapore Government has set up policy of what is called ‘meritocracy and equal opportunity’. Every citizen would be given opportunities according to one’s merit which is applied as rigorously as possible. Not only that, the Malay Muslim people in Singapore gets a number added advantages, initiated by the government, in order to keep them in pace with other communities. While Malaysia undertakes a policy of how to lift the Malays by giving them special advantages, the Singapore Government, too, have set up various measures to lift the Muslim Malays, who fail to compete with other racial and religious groups and fall behind. If one follows the Singapore media closely, it will evident that the Malays have become a headache for the Government who cannot keep up with other ethnic groups.

In the light of the situation on the ground in Malaysia and Singapore, the former Singapore leader’s statement only reflected the truth and nothing else. Yet, like the Muslim’s Jihadi rage over Pope’s reference to a factual comment of 14th century Byzantine emperor, this is another similar favorite cause, the Islamist government of Malaysia have found, to wage a campaign of Jihad against the leader of the weak neighbor. Like the Pope controversy, another honest leader had to capitulate and apologize to Muslim Malaysia simply for mentioning the most accurate truth.

Interestingly, Malaysia’s Jihad against her tiny neighbor does not end here. What was a one-off slip-up of the former Singapore leader, making such comments by the Malaysia leaders against Singapore is commonplace as listed below [2]:

  1. As late as September 6, 2006, Malaysian ruling party’s youth chief and son-in-law of PM Badawi Khairy Jamaluddin said: “Malays in Penang (state in Malaysia) face the same fate of being marginalized as those in Singapore..” [China Press].

  2. Malaysia Deputy health Minister told a conference about Malays of Penang, “I understand they do not want to end up becoming like the Malays in Singapore” [The Star, 28 August, 2006].

  3. Former PM Mahathir Muhammad on visit to Palestine had the following advice: “Let us not go far. Look at Singapore. Do we want to be like Muslim Malays in Singapore?..” [Minnguan Malayisa, 29 May, 2005]

  4. Then PM Dr Mahathir told the “Malay and Islamic World Convention” in Malacca: “Malay’s might become minority groups like the Malays in Singapore if they continue quarrel among themselves and do not work hard”. “The fact as can be seen now is that Singapore Malays are not given the opportunity to hold high posts in various fields such as the military.” [Bernama, 3 October, 2002]

  5. On 11 December 2000, PM Mahathir addressed the Chinese citizens demand for equal right and meritocracy: “Meritocracy is used an excuse for blocking and oppressing native people of their rights by immigrant communities as can be seen in our immediate neighboring country (Singapore) and other nations”. “We have seen how the natives of the land become marginalized, impoverished and have no role in the Government (in Singapore) in the name of equal rights and meritocracy”. [Bernama]

Despite the fact that such accusations against Singapore are totally baseless, which functions on meritocracy and equal opportunity, the Singapore government hardly raise any protest against such repeated accusations. The Jihadist master on the tiny Singapore’s border has taken all the liberty to accuse Singapore on baseless grounds, but Singapore leaders must not do the same despite how accurate the accusations might be.

The root of this Jihad goes to the Prophet Muhammad’s days in the 7th century. Muhammad had all the rights to accuse the centuries-old native religions of Mecca and Medina (Polytheism, Judaism etc) of falsehood and perversion. But when the Pagans and Jews wrote a critical poem/verse about his newly-created religions on logical, he ordered their execution [4, 5]. When the polytheists of Mecca rejected his new religion, that rejection became tantamount to slaughter and he waged Jihad against them. He sent emissaries to distant tribes demanding their submission to his Prophethood and when rejected, he waged sanguinary wars against those tribes one after another.

Prophet Muhammad’s tactics of subjugating of the infidels continues in all earnest across the world even today. The Singapore leader’s capitulation and offer of apology is just another addition to the Muslims’ Jihadi triumphs in regards to the cartoons, the Pope controversy, the Mozart show cancellation and many more.


[1] My Journey to Freedom – MA Khan

[2] Strait Times, Singapore, dated 02 October, 2006.

[3] Strait Times, Singapore, dated 03 October, 2006.

[4] Junior Qaddafi’s Futile Attempt to Placate the Rage of Allah for Father’s Sin?

[5] Was the Pope Wrong?

MA Khan is the editor of and the author of  Islamic Jihad: A Legacy of Forced Conversion, Imperialism and Slavery.

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