Sabah and Malaya are Different part 2 of 5


The Way of Life

The Malaya way of life, reflect the way they think and see the world, similarly, our way of life influence the way we think and see the world.  Between Sabahan and orang Malaya, it is not similar each is poles apart.  Some prefer to assume they are the same, after all, both are mainly from the Malay stock, and they are Muslims.

This I think this is the crux of the problem, making an assumption, which in their minds may be right for them, but does not fit the society they assume they know.

The Islamic beliefs they profess is the same, the teaching is mostly the same, but the approach to teaching these beliefs may be very different.

Some myopic leaders maintain that there is only one approach to teaching Islam.  The reality is that there are many approaches to teaching Islam.  Is it not true that even Muslims have more than one mazhab? Even within the Sunnah wal-Jemaah we have different ways, therefore is it not possible to have several approaches to our teachings?

Teaching Islam in Malaysia depends on the policy of each state government especially in the recruitment and appointing of Ustaz.

Each of the State in Malaysia will have their own policies based on their preference.  In the case of Sabah, the United Sabah Islamic Association (USIA) leads the way.  Often these policies will have built-in double standards.  The Malay elites will abide to one standard, and another for controlling the masses.  This is particularly evident in Malaya Malay.

Take the case of Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin the former Mufti of Perlis who was arrested by 30 police officers, 20 officers of Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) just because firstly, the ceramah organized may not have the necessary permit and secondly his views may have challenge the establishment (conservative Muslims).  He does not deserve arrest in such a manner as if he is a terrorist.

This clearly shows that there are turbulent undercurrents within the Muslim landscape in Malaysia specifically Malaya.  This I believe is the turf war between the conservative and the liberal Muslims within the government establishment.

Muslims are Muslims, so how do you account for conservatives and liberals Muslims?

Let me clarify, people in Malaya mostly learn their teachings from respectable teachers coming from mainly Sumatra (Padang and Ache).  Generally, in the Sumatra approach a teacher is employed as a teacher.  Therefore, the teacher’s job is mainly teaching and nothing else.

They are detached from the community, which means they are of a different class within the community.  They are teachers, they are not farmers they do not assimilate themselves into the community rather they interact.

Their approach is to strengthen the ummah and the emphasis is on the society as a whole, they therefore want to cover as large a group as possible.  This means the group is more important than the individuals are.  In economics, this is specialization.

In time, more and more people were educated not just in secular subjects like science and mathematics, but also in religious studies in places like Middle East and Egypt.

The exposure to the Middle Eastern way of life may have influence the tendency for some Malays in Malaya to restrict their socialization.  They therefore become inward looking (introverts).  In others, it liberates them to be outward looking (extroverts).  These are some of the basic difference between the conservatives and the liberals.

Bombardment from popular culture by the electronic media is another platform that is changing everyone’s mindset.  In addition, the age of the internet made information easily available.  It is not easy to win the hearts and minds of the young and educated Muslims, they want answers based on reason not just a matter of faith.  This is clearly a shift from a mass mindset into individual mindsets.

This discussion will continue in Sabah and Malaya are Different part 3 …..

Sabah Sifu

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About sifusiber
A husband & a father who wants his children to have a better future

4 Responses to Sabah and Malaya are Different part 2 of 5

  1. analyst06 says:

    If UMNO Malaya read the articles, may be they’ll learn something. You are spot on with your analysis on the “Malay” Sabah mindset due to individual vs mass approaches. Where does Sarawak stand on this?

    • sifusiber says:

      To be honest I have no idea about what is Sarawak stand on this. I am not sure I understand the Sarawak society, because I have never made a study on Sarawak. I will welcome any response from Sarawak, I would like to know how they feel about the analysis I put forward.

  2. natze204 says:

    Sifu, just read the latest instalment, hope UMNO people read it. Tapi Malaya mindset ni terlampau tebal dengan fikiran racial yang sempit, you think they wanna learn anything from us?

    • sifusiber says:

      Actually I wrote this series not just for UMNO people, but for all who read my blog. Actually if their minds are closed then it is their loss not mine. The rest of the people who read this blog will at least some knowledge about Sabah and Sabahans. I hope their future interactions will be a smooth one.

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