Ummah activist: K-Pop dulling Malay youths’ edge

Gamis leader Faizzuddin Zai gives a speech at the Rise of the Ummah convention at the Malaysia Islamic Centre, January 13, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Gamis leader Faizzuddin Zai gives a speech at the Rise of the Ummah convention at the Malaysia Islamic Centre, January 13, 2018. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — An activist from conservative youth group Gamis has blamed “K-Pop” for what he claimed was rampant “hedonism” among young Muslims, which he said made them unable to secure high-paying work.

Faizuddin Mohd Zai told the Rise of the Ummah convention here that the Korean pop culture, among others, weakened discipline among Muslim youths and encouraged “excessive” individual freedom.

“We are damaged because we grow up in an environment that is unhealthy and how do we expect our youths to be good when even the (entertainment) programmes are immersed in hedonism, like K-Pop here and there,” he said in his presentation.

The Gamis leader then sought to use official data to back his allegation that the “hedonism” he alleged was causing Muslim graduates to lose out to non-Muslim counterparts in the race for jobs in well-paying professions.

Malay applications for such jobs was just 5 per cent in 2015, but could exceed 20 per cent for non-Malays, according to data from the activist’s presentation.

Hiring by top multinational companies also favoured non-Malays, who scored over 20 per cent. Only 1 per cent of Malays were hired by these companies, the same data showed.

He did not disclose the source of his information, but stressed that it was “official.”

Faizuddin also did not clearly state if he felt factors such as English proficiency or insufficient qualifications —  previously reported to be among the main causes behind low Malay graduate employment — contributed to the problem.

Based on his presentation alone, the Gamis leader concluded that exposure to liberalism and pop culture was causing Muslim youth to lag behind non-Muslim counterparts.

“It has made them apathetic and individualistic. They no longer care about current affairs and worse is Malay-Muslim parents themselves are encouraging this culture of hedonism,” he said.

“And is this a Muslim government if you promote a leadership that does not follow Allah’s rule?”

As part of its resolution, Ummah Siswa (students) urged the government to make fardu ain (Muslims’ personal obligations to God) lessons compulsory in a bid to “repair the decadence” and nurture stronger morality.

“Only with stronger purity can they become more progressive, disciplined and successful,” he said.

Ummah’s convention today is meant to galvanise what the Umbrella group’ president Ismail Mina Ahmad described as “Islamic forces” as well as gather intellectual and theological inputs for the group’s effort to form a strategy against a purported offensive against Islam and ethnic Malays.

In its press statement released last month, the group outlined the two main objectives of the convention: To increase awareness on the need for Muslim unity for the sake of the country’s stability, and to list down their demands towards authorities to ensure the legitimacy of Islam and the Malays.

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