Finally. Amidst the cacophony of complains, condemnations and lodged police reports, our boys in blue have finally taken the notorious rapper Wee Meng Chee, or better known as Namewee, into remand for questioning over his recording and production of his latest scandalous music video, Like A Dog.
Namewee is no stranger to Malaysians. It has been little over 11 years since he first gained notoriety in no small part due to his debut video, Negarakuku, a rap version of our national anthem that left many of us with bad tastes in our mouths. Then there was last year’s Oh My God, a video purportedly made to celebrate all major faiths, but whose lyrics contained candid references to the male genitalia, amongst others, which offended the sensibilities of religious communities in particular.
More recently his Like A Dog video, which depicts men in dog suits simulating sex acts with buildings sporting medieval Islamic architecture in Putrajaya as their backdrop, has rightly caused consternation amongst Muslims and for good reason. This is particularly so when Namawee alludes to sounds dogs make all over the world in his music video and claimed that Malaysian ‘dogs’ bark the phrase mari mari wang (‘come money come’) while banknotes are littered all over him.
The implication is clear for all to see. It is that somehow, amongst the international community of nations (i.e. Taiwan, Korea, Japan et al given as examples in the video), Muslim ones like Malaysia delight in corruption, since Muslims in government naturally engage in bribery. That other non-Muslim states engage in sleaze that is at least equally as bad, if not worse, than Malaysia somehow escapes the attention of the infamous rapper.
When the demeaning but ratings getting video went viral thus enraging the decent amongst us, the online English speaking leftist media have once again chosen to perpetuate the narrative that it is merely a harmless form of satire taking a jab at corruption in Malaysia and those Malaysians, in particular Malay Muslims who got offended were again making a mountain out of a molehill over something insignificant.
As usual, their liberal commentators once again pushed the lie that Islamic extremism is now at ‘dangerous levels’ in this country. A certain lawyer from an opposition political party, namely Hanipa Maidin, even had the cheek to defend the rapper, calling on everyone to respect his so-called freedom of expression.
For the information and education of this lawyer and all who think like him, while certainly freedom of speech and expression is unquestionably a fundamental liberty protected by our Constitution and all international human rights instruments that Malaysia abides by, there is no blank cheque to say or express whatever one likes in public, and even the most liberal and tolerant nation on earth has laws limiting and circumscribing speech deemed harmful.
Such a limitation is necessary for a polity to properly function. As the great philosopher John Locke has so eloquently put, liberty must be distinguished from licence, and both are not one the same. Speech with no factual basis, made not in the pursuit of some greater good and in our case deemed offensive to those of any particular racial or religious group is included amongst those of which should be prohibited lest they harm our racial and religious harmony. This is why we have the Sedition Act as well.
Namewee himself, presumably thankful for the good old reliable support our leftists offer him, then publically pleaded that the whole video was but a joke. Well, the joke is on him, because nobody is laughing even now. Still, when that didn’t work, he took to releasing a video ‘explaining’ his making of the video as somehow coinciding with the New Lunar Year of the Dog. Nice try, dude but no cigar.
The music video contained no references to the New Year whatsoever. If it was the intention to celebrate the coming of the year, then surely the video would have made at least one passing reference to the fact. That it didn’t and contained instead men in dog suits simulating a sex act in front of buildings designed a certain way, and not, for example, in the vicinity of a Chinese temple or any other similar structure, speaks volumes about what his true intentions were. His feeble defence that the background to the video contained no actual mosque fools no one.
Namewee reportedly indicated he was not afraid of being charged over his latest travesty, saying that in Malaysia, justice was available to those who sought it. Might he not ponder upon whether his actions resulted in justice or otherwise in particular for those who feel pained by his relentless need to manufacture uncalled-for controversies to the detriment of our national fabric as well?
*Geraynt Roberts is a member of Young Professionals (YP), a liberal civil society organisation formed for the purpose of defending the supremacy of constitutional ideals in the determination of public affairs. Views are of the writer and do not necessarily represent the position of Menara.my in a particular issue.