Category Archives: The Malaysian Insider

Writers should not be threatened with police reports



Writers should not be threatened by police reports
By Zan Azlee

The recent police report made by a chairman of an NGO against online columnist Mariam Mokhtar for an opinion piece she wrote is a worrying precedence.

As is the case in Malaysia, every single expression that could slightly offend someone can be made into a police report in order to intimidate the person making that expression.

For someone to have to resort to making a police report over a piece of writing, it just goes to show that he does not have the ability to engage with the writer in the most appropriate way.

Personally, I have read many things that I find offensive written by many people (such as Ridhuan Tee and the likes) in many publications, online and in print.
But I do not make police reports against these writers because I believe that they have a right to express whatever their thoughts and opinions are, no matter how absurd.

But what I would do, and have done many times, is to engage writers by writing my own thoughts and opinions to counter what I disagree with.

In fact, there have been times where another writer and I had a go for several weeks criticising and having a blow with each other in our weekly columns. No reports were made.

And that is exactly how it should be because that is what a rational discourse is supposed to be like, with the public chipping in and making up their own minds as well.

No good ever comes from shutting people up through force rather than logic and reasoning. And that is why I will continue to advocate for no censorship.

If police reports are continuously made against writers because of their writing, then it would be a matter of time before there will no longer be thought-provoking writing to push society. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Change our perception of protests and demonstrations



Change our perception of protests and demonstrations
By Zan Azlee

Malaysia began its journey as an independent nation through protests and demonstrations organised by our founding fathers against the colonial masters.

It was democratic and peaceful, but the message the entire country sent to the British was powerful. They were not happy and tried as much as they could to suppress the dissent.

But of course, as we all know, they were unsuccessful and in August 1957, the British were forced to let go of our nation.

Unfortunately, the perception of this sacred democratic act today has been relegated to something negative, uncivilised and barbaric.
Those who partake in protests and demonstrations are labelled as hooligans and troublemakers, intent on destroying the daily lives of the rakyat.

Ironically, the same party that organised the protests and demonstrations to free our glorious nation are now stifling that same democratic element.

Is it just because now, these activities are mainly done to protest and demonstrate against them? So have the tides turned that they are now forced to suppress dissent?

Shouldn’t they embrace the tradition that brought us to independence instead of totally erasing it from their memories? Isn’t that a form of ungratefulness?

So many of the great nations in the world have attained independence and progressed due to the democratic process of protests and demonstrations. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Can we have equal education for all in Malaysia?



Can we have equal education for all in Malaysia?
By Zan Azlee

I have always wondered why parents (and even many students) in Malaysia have always been obsessed about getting into the right schools so their children can get the best education.

They would pressure their children to get good grades so they can get into schools like fully-residential schools (SBP) and MRSMs (Mara Junior College).

Some even go to the extent of faking their addresses so their children can get into their choice of non-boarding schools that are not in their living vicinity.

Even my parents did the same thing for my brothers and I. They didn’t fake our address, but they did make sure we got into the ‘best’ schools and I even had to go to a fully-residential school.

Why I’m raising this issue is not because I think parents shouldn’t want their children to go the good schools. Of course they should and so should their children.

My real intention is to question why should there even be a difference in the quality of schools all around the country. Shouldn’t public education be equal and standard for all?

Why is it that the best teachers are sent to only certain schools like the Bestaris, SBPs and MRSMs instead of being spread out throughout the country?

Why are certain schools given better allocations to develop their infrastructure and resources for the benefit of the students and teachers instead of every single school? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Charlie Hebdo may be bigoted, but it has a right to be so

61420698840_freesize Artist: Arif Rafhan Othman


Charlie Hebdo may be bigoted, but it has a right to be so
By Zan Azlee

So who is to say that the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo is not guilty for being intentionally anti-Islam and provoking towards the Muslim community?

Although they satirise all major religions, it seems that the one that they give utmost focus on is Islam knowing full well that Muslims are the strictest when it comes to depicting the prophets.

When is the line crossed when humourous satire becomes hate-speech? Is humour and satire really meant to be offensive and hurtful and not laughed off?

So if Charlie Hebdo has been making fun of Islam all this while as evidence from all the cartoons they have published, then I guess they are racist, bigots and xenophobes.

As much as I can’t say I deny all of this and that I agree with whatever message they are trying to get across, I also can’t say that I am against how they are transmitting that message. [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]

Let’s band together against the extremists in 2015



Let’s band together against the extremists in 2015
By Zan Azlee

Another new year has arrived and we are now in 2015. I have never declared or committed myself to any new year resolution because I think it’s all crap. You change when you want to change.

But this time, I’m going to commit to a resolution. It is simple. I will continue to use every platform that I have to promote moderation, open-mindedness, multiculturalism and religious pluralism.

I have done it for years and will continue doing it with even stronger force this year because 2014, to me, was the year of overbearing racial and religious extremism.

Groups like Isma and Perkasa, and individuals like Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, have been so loud throughout last year that my ears are still aching and ringing into the new year. They definitely do not speak for me.
And I’m very sure that this feeling is shared by so many of my fellow sane, rational and logical Malaysians out there. We should all band together and do something about these annoying extremists.

Since we all believe that these people who go on and on about preserving a specific racial and religious supremacy are the loud minority, then why are we allowing them to be so loud?

If they are such a small group (Perkasa is reported to only have 900 odd official members), why are we allowing them to shout so loud without any repurcussions?

If we are the silent majority, then we need not be too worried about showing our strength in numbers and not be silent anymore. What can they do to a whole huge bunch of us, right? [Click to read the full article at The Malaysian Insider]