Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Johor sultan says be Malay not Arab...

It is not often that modern Malaysian sultans, least of all from Johor, make sage public statements. But a mix of wisdom and exasperation was evident in the recent words of Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar:

“If there are some of you who wish to be an Arab and practice Arab culture, and do not wish to follow our Malay customs and traditions, that is up to you,” he said, adding: “I also welcome you to live in Saudi Arabia. That is your right but I believe there are Malays who are proud of the Malay culture.”

He had been using Malay terms since he was a child and intended to go on using them, he said. Thus he was going to use the term Hari Raya Puasa rather than the Arabic Eid-el-Fitr for the festival at the end of Ramadan. Likewise the Malay term for Arabic Iftar, the fast-breaking meal during Ramadan, was Buka Puasa. The Sultan was noting the slavish following of Arabian practices that has spread in Malaysia over recent decades.

The Sultan also took issue with those criticizing him for shaking hands with many women during the annual Kembara Makhota, a travel tour in which he travels around the state to meet as many people as possible. “Why must I change? You do not have to be fanatic. If they are not sure, I ask if they want to shake my hands. If they do not want to shake my hands, there is no problem,” he added. Full story...

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