Sumpah! Demi Allah! I’m not lying!


Sumpah! Demi Allah! I’m not lying!
By Zan Azlee

Thursday was a monumental day in the United States. A decision to impeach the US President Donald Trump was made by Congress.

They debated and finally voted to impeach him for abusing power and obstructing Congress.

They made the decision based on investigations and evidence. Trump maintains innocence but a trial will begin in January 2020.

In Malaysia, a trial is already going on against former Prime Minister Najib Razak and his alleged 1MDB corruption scandal.

The trial is going how a trial should be and Najib is currently entering his defence.

He was happy that he had to go to trial because he said that it would be an opportunity to clear his name.

Then the sumpah laknat starts. What is sumpah laknat? It is when a Muslim goes to a mosque and swears on the Quran.

If he or she is lying, then the invitation is for God to smite you with extreme curses. Apparently, it is so powerful that in Malaysia, it ends all arguments and disputes.

We’ve seen many people doing the sumpah laknat publicly every time they are accused of wrongdoing or immoral activities.

And once they do that, all accusations are supposed to stop because if no wrath comes from God, then obviously they are innocent.

And who can question God’s decision, right?

So, Najib decided last week that he would go to a mosque this Friday (today) and after Friday prayers, he shall commence with his sumpah laknat saying that he is not involved in the 1MDB scandal.

This is in addition to him also denying that he was involved in the murder of the Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006. Lots of denying he has to do.

I guess this is supposed to solve everything then. Why waste time and money on a trial now?

Who cares about rational investigation and evidence? Who cares if there are actual witnesses and black and white documentation?

All that can be disregarded because… hey! sumpah laknat! What more do you want?

But here’s the thing. Wrongdoing will always be wrong whether there is a sumpah laknat or not.

It’s just like lying. You can lie without swearing and it is still a lie. You can get away with it, of course.

But it’s still a lie. If you break the law, you will need to face justice. Just like in a religion, if you commit sin, you will face the consequences.

Take for example this hypothetical situation.

A wife decides to cheat on her husband and commit adultery. She denies every allegation and accusation.

She swears to God and promises that she didn’t do anything wrong.

Yes, similar to a sumpah laknat. But then, investigations exposes actual evidence of the adulterous actions and the wife becomes an ex-wife.

So much for the sumpah and swearing.

Does the swearing to God actually stop a person from lying if he or she has already decided to lie?

Of course not. Many human beings are wired to think that they can be smart enough to get away with anything.

They might even think that they can outsmart and manipulate religion and God with their sumpah laknat and swearing on holy books.

What they are doing is making a mockery of the religion and that in its own is a tremendous wrongdoing.

And at the end of the day, evidence should count and contribute towards justice.

As human beings in this world, we have a responsibility to protect society from abuse and this is even mentioned in many religious teachings.

That’s why we have the justice system in the form of the judiciary. Let the trial go on and we should rubbish the sumpah laknat as a publicity stunt.

Think about it. If we can rely on the sumpah laknat to prove innocence, then we can definitely rely on a more systematic method like the courts to prove innocence or guilt.

Sure, we can argue that the justice system isn’t perfect. But I would rather rely on an imperfect system (that can be fought to be improved) than just blind swearing in a mosque.

So for Najib, he can sumpah all he wants and make as much noise as he wants to. Malu apa bossku? Right?

But he cannot be absolved of the allegations and accusations just like that. He will still have to go to court.

So it is for Trump as well. He can scream and tweet all he wants, but his impeachment will happen anyway.

And if Najib really believes in his sumpah laknat, he should video tape it today and then submit it as his defence in court.

Why not, right? Malu apa bossku?

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

Get Zan Azlee’s latest book ‘JOURNO-DAD: The chronicles of a journalist who just happens to be a dad!‘ today!

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