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Malaysia’s attempt to scrap Diwali holidays invites criticism

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Kuala Lumpur: A recent attempt by Malaysia’s Terengganu state Education Department to include Diwali holiday dates in the summer to extend the Hari Raya break, has faced the ire of the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA).

The MCA political party expressed its disapproval of the education department’s directive allowing schools to bring forward the November 11-12 Diwali holidays to July 22-23,  to extend the Hari Raya break, forcing the Diwali days to be regular school days, a release from MCA said.

“This is inconsiderate as Hindu students and teachers, who as fellow Malaysians, will want to celebrate Diwali with their families and friends,” MCA Vice-President Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said in statement.

The move was “insensitive to all Malaysian citizens irrespective of race and religion,” she added.

MCA has called on the Terengganu Education Department to be sensitive with religious holidays and follow strictly to those gazetted by the Federal government.

Hari Raya is one of the biggest holidays in Malaysia, celebrated by Muslims at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

(IANS)

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Malaysian Rapper’s Dog Video Sparks Claim of Insulting Islam

"I am not afraid because I believe Malaysia has justice,"

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Wee Meng Chee, left, a Malaysian rapper popularly known as Namewee, is escorted by plainclothes policemen on his arrival at the magistrate court in Penang, Malaysia. VOA

Malaysian police said a popular ethnic Chinese rapper has been detained over complaints that his latest music video featuring dancers wearing dog masks and performing “obscene” moves insulted Islam and could hurt racial harmony.

It was the second time in two years that Wee Meng Chee, popularly known as Namewee, has been investigated over his music videos.

Police said in a statement that Wee was detained Thursday after they received four public complaints that his video marking the Chinese year of the dog had “insulted Islam and could negatively impact racial unity and harmony.”

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In the video entitled “Like a Dog,” Wee sits on a chair in a public square in the government administrative capital of Putrajaya with dancers wearing dog masks around him. Several of them mimic the “doggy-style” sex move. A green domed building in the background led some people to speculate it was filmed in front of a mosque, leading to criticism, but Wee later said it was the prime minister’s office.

The song includes the sounds of dog barks from various countries. In an apparent reference to government corruption, Wee sings that dogs in Malaysia go “mari mari, wang wang,” which in the Malay language means “come come, money money.”

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Dogs are considered unclean by Muslims, who account for 60 percent of Malaysia’s 32 million people. Pixabay

 

Several ministers have called for Wee to be arrested. He has defended the video as a form of entertainment and said he has no intention of disrespecting any race or religion.

Earlier Thursday, Wee posted a picture on Facebook of himself at the federal police headquarters as he was wanted by police for questioning.

“I am not afraid because I believe Malaysia has justice,” he said.

ALSO READ: Tripura rapper likes songs on issues such as discrimination and racism

Previous controversies

In 2016, he was detained after enraged Malay Islamic activists lodged complaints that a video titled “Oh My God,” which was filmed in front of various places of worship and used the word “Allah,” which means God in the Malay language, was rude and disrespectful to Islam. He was not charged.

In one of his earliest videos, he mocked the national anthem and was criticized for racial slurs. He also produced a movie that was banned by the government in 2014 for portraying national agencies in a negative way.

Race and religion are sensitive issues in Malaysia, where the ethnic Malay majority has generally lived peacefully with large Chinese and Indian minorities since racial riots in 1969 left at least 200 people dead. (VOA)

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