Thursday, May 19, 2022

It’s against Islamic manners, says Amanah MP after sultan’s ‘ape parliament’ art buy

Mujahid Yusof Rawa says satire in any form must be in line with Muslim etiquette.

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Amanah MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa appeared outraged today over a painting bought by the Selangor sultan depicting MPs in the Dewan Rakyat as apes and frogs, saying it violates Islamic etiquette and manners.

The former minister in charge of Islamic affairs said insulting and mocking others was prohibited in the Quran as well as the hadith or the sayings of the Prophet.

“Satire in any form must be in line with Muslim manners,” Mujahid said in a statement, a day after reports that Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had taken a liking to the artwork and decided to hang it in his private chambers.

Mujahid also protested what he said was a blanket label given to all MPs, adding that it undermined the sanctity of Parliament.

“MPs as well as visitors are expected to bow respectfully before taking their seats as a mark of respect for the House,” he said.

“I don’t think we do that when entering a zoo or an animal cage!”

Pictures shared on the Instagram and Facebook accounts of the Selangor palace yesterday showed Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah standing next to the painting which portrayed a Dewan Rakyat session attended by apes and frogs on both sides of the divide.

“A painting had attracted the attention of the Selangor ruler,” the accompanying caption read.

“As soon as he saw it, the sultan consented to buy it to be hung in his private study room.”

The painting was patterned after a 2009 illustration by British street artist Banksy, which fetched nearly 9.9 million pounds or RM50 million in 2019.

Malaysians on social media said the picture appeared to be a commentary on the country’s political situation as well as the frequent commotions that occur during Dewan Rakyat sittings.

But Mujahid said the media was more interested in sensational news and verbal outbursts among MPs, and seldom reported “fresh ideas and civilised debates”.

He said MPs had also come together to achieve two-thirds majorities in many public interest issues including the lowering of the minimum voting age to 18, the Malaysia Agreement for Sabah and Sarawak, and most recently, the agreement to enact an anti-party hopping law.

“We have also obeyed the decree of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong about the need for political stability,” he said.

“I do not think that apes, monkeys and frogs are capable of doing this.”

Acknowledging the people’s frustrations, he nonetheless said that there must be fairness and objectivity, and that bigger questions must be asked of politicians who play on racist and narrow religious sentiments.

He also cited what he called the culture of toppling others to the point of making a mockery of the people’s mandate, slander and bargaining for rank and positions in order to switch camps.

“This is more dangerous to the country’s political institutions and stability,” he said.

“Condemning all MPs and describing them as apes and monkeys is a bit extreme, even by the standards of satire.

“Respect the choice of the majority because they do not want to be accused of voting in apes!”

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