I have always considered YB Dato’ Seri Rais Yatim as one of the more rationale minded and knowledgeable ministers around. His comments and ideas appear to be well thought out before he says them and the way he delivers his thoughts and ideas, especially in his speeches shows a certain flair, elegance and mannerisms of a learned and well read person.
However these past several weeks have been quite the opposite for him. First was his comment that Malaysians, especially Muslims, should not be too engrossed with Facebook, Twitter and such because this is a Western invention. Honestly, I find it very offensive and totally of tangent, especially because:-
i. Facebook, Twitter and so on and nothing more than tools of communication. It is up to the user how to use or abuse them. The same goes for internet and a lot of other things. They are by no means an end to themselves but just tools to assist us to achieve what we want. Should you decide to use the internet to good use, seeking knowledge and opening up our minds, then internet has been put to good use. Should we decide to abuse it by accessing porn sites and other negative sites only, then we are abusing this facility. Twitter, Facebook or even the internet cannot decide. They just react to our commands.
ii. So what if it is a western invention? If we are not allowed to use Western inventions, then there are a whole list of things we cannot utilise or even consume. No where in the Al-Quran nor in the hadiths by Rasulullah saw that said Muslims must stay away from Western inventions. What are Halal and Haram are not dictated by geographical aspects nor by who invented them.
If anything at all, one should put these mediums to good use. Use them to spread the teachings of Allah swt for example, keep contact with friends near and far and learn about other cultures and countries that are so distant from us.
Another statement that he made was the recent issue on blogger Aduka Taruna. What Aduka Taruna did was extremely disrespectful, not only because AlMarhum Tuanku was the subject, but would even be insulting for a normal person who passed away. How can YB Dato Seri Rais Yatim said that this person will not be charged and should be let off? I thought that was the purview of the Attorney General after reviewing the case and no one else. What YB Dato’ Seri did then was ultra vires.
As a learned person holding the post of Minister, YB Dato Rais should know better. The fact that he is holding the portfolio of information minister makes it worse for him on these cases. His statements make him look foolish and ill placed, especially when even his cabinet colleagues and fellow UMNO members from top to bottom are criticising him for his statements.