Categorised | Letters to the Editor

Non-Muslim rights: What Rais can do

Rais Yatim (source:

Rais Yatim (source:

THE Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim was right to say that the social rights of non-Muslim Malaysians were contained in the Federal Constitution. However, he was extremely wrong to claim that the government must issue the sports betting licence for non-Muslim rights to be recognised and respected.

In a recent Anti-Gambling at Internet Cafes signature campaign organised by the Klang and Kapar MCA divisions, more than 2,000 signatures were collected in two hours. That seems to contradict Rais’s view that gambling is a precious part of “non-Muslim culture”.

If Rais was serious about recognising the rights and lifestyles of non-Muslims, [who are predominantly non-Malays in Malaysia], there is something he can do immediately in his capacity as information, communications and culture minister.

Currently, Finas incentives in the form of the Compulsory Screening Scheme and a 20% tax rebate only apply to films with 70% of the dialogue in Bahasa Malaysia (BM). Malaysian-made films in other languages do not enjoy these incentives.

As such, local Chinese- and English-language films like Tiger Woohoo, Ice Kacang Puppy Love and The Malay Chronicles (The Chronicles of Merong Mahawangsa), though fully produced in Malaysia, are not entitled to the exemption on entertainment duty.

Since the rights of non-Muslim Malaysians are contained in the Federal Constitution, then all Malaysian-made films, irrespective of the language used, should be entitled to the same incentives.

Ice Kacang Puppy Love poster

Ice Kacang Puppy Love poster

The Chinese-language movies Tiger Woohoo and Ice Kacang Puppy Love proved that Malaysian productions can compete with films from Hong Kong and China. Both movies collected more than RM5 million at the box office — the most successful non-BM films in Malaysia to date.

There is a market for locally-made non-BM films. Unfortunately, not many producers are willing to make them because of the risks involved. Giving non-BM films the same incentives will definitely help to promote the local non-BM film industry, spur local creativity and inspire budding filmmakers to greater heights.

Umno leaders should stop pretending that they are sensitive to Chinese [Malaysian] rights. There are sufficient gambling avenues available to non-Muslims to indulge their habits. The non-Muslim communities have never requested for more opportunities to gamble.

Since Rais has admitted that the rights of non-Muslim Malaysians are constitutional, he should immediately abolish the restrictions on locally-made films which do not adhere to the “preferred language” condition.

He should also stop pretending he is an expert on non-Muslim lifestyles and stop using non-Muslims as scapegoats to pursue the government’s move to legalise sports betting.

Teo Nie Ching

Teo Nie Ching is Serdang Member of Parliament and DAP assistant national publicity secretary.

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5 Responses to “Non-Muslim rights: What Rais can do”

  1. bee yong says:

    Stop using non-Muslims as scapegoats to pursue the government’s move to legalise sports betting.

    We are not stupid, you know. Chinese all over the world are survivors. We pay 80% tax but we get 10% of scholarship [places] – we can still survive. How? We do not want to be employees; we want to be employer (do business) – in this way we pay 10% tax instead of 80%. We know we would only get 10% benefit from the sport betting tax; so we continue to bet [illegally]. Why? – the illegal bookies are now forced to pay 20% more or we bet at 20% discount due to competition ( same thing is happening in illegal 4D.) We are not stupid you know, we are survivors. For long term survival we will vote BN out in GE13.

  2. dropout says:

    Do you actually believe what Rais said? (that tax revenue from sports betting is for non-Muslims only?) Then you should consider how the government collects and distribute their revenues. This is the basis of the government’s financial management:

    Government collects their income from taxes, zakat, unit trust and loans. All revenue is collected under Kumpulan Wang Disatukan (KWDS) [or the Consolidated Fund], except for zakat. There are three types of accounts under KWDS: Akaun Hasil Disatukan (AHD), Akaun Amanah Disatukan (AAD) and Akaun Pinjaman Disatukan (APD). While AAD deals with unit trust and deposits’ money and APD with government loans, AHD is where ALL revenue goes to, including from cigarettes, alcohol and gambling taxes. We know government’s main revenue is tax, so naturally AHD is the main account for spending.

    There’s no way one could tell which money is used for Muslims’ development. Heck, even most government servants themselves didn’t know what kind of money is used to pay their salaries … let alone […] ministers like Rais. But [likely], AHD is used to pay government servants’ salaries and also development like infrastructure, buildings, housing, mosques, temples and churches (to name a few).

    Rais said taxes from gambling is used for non-Muslims to appease or menyedapkan hati the […] Muslims. In reality, gambling, alcohol and cigarettes are the biggest [sources of] tax collection and that kind of money [has been funding] us (directly or indirectly) since ages ago.

    I’m not saying that I’m pro-legalising sports betting. But Rais shouldn’t mollycoddle us into believing that funding for Muslims are 100% halal. Judging from their financial management practices, no one could tell for sure whether this or that money is for Muslims/non-Muslims… unless the government shows us clearly otherwise.


  3. LOGAN says:

    1Malaysia does not mean all rights are the same for all.

    In other words, 1Malaysia does not guarantee the rights for all non-Muslims, for you or for me. In the end, there’s only one Malaysia, not two and we are back to square one. There will only be one true Malaysia when ALL [hu]man[s] regardless of race, tongue and age are called ‘bumi’ of this land.

  4. Sam01 says:

    Since when has this Umno-dominated government ever bothered about non-Malay [Malaysian] rights. All that they want is for the Chinese [Malaysians] to pay taxes so that they can pocket the money.

  5. Farouq Omaro says:

    What about movies in Kadazandusun and Murut? The only time I can see Kadazandusun dialogue on TV is during Kaamatan and state elections. How about reviving TV Sabah that was stopped by Tun DrMahathir in 1985?

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