Umno Youth Chief’s Endearing Video On X’Mas Day Touches Hearts

While some Muslims are fighting with each other on whether they can wish their friends Merry Christmas, Umno Youth leader, Dr Akmal Saleh, made a surprise Christmas visit to one of his elderly constituents called Amma and he was also seen in the video being fed by her

Every year when it comes celebration time, there will always be a hue and cry about whether Muslims should wish Merry Christmas to their friends, but on Christmas Day, the Umno Youth leader, Dr Muhamad Akmal Salleh posted a video which gave new meaning to the word ‘inclusion’.

Dr Akmal, who is also the State Assemblyman for Merlimau, Melaka, was seen in the video visiting the home of an elderly Indian lady whom he refers to as Amma, and appears to be in her 80s, as posted on his Facebook page.

It is obvious that there is a special ‘bond’ between the Assemblyman and Amma.

He was seen in the video remarking that in her home is where you can find the best capati (unleavened bread) and mutton curry and later Amma fed him with her hand and he reciprocated the same gesture to her.

In Indian culture, that is a reflection that the lady treats the young man like her own son, even though they may not be blood relatives.

“I consider Amma as my own mother too,” said Dr Akmal when contacted by NMH for his comments.

Dr Akmal received favourable comments on his video.

A couple of the favourable comments by Facebook followers of Umno Youth leader Dr Akmal Salleh on his visit to Amma on Christmas day

How The Umno Youth Leader Met Amma

“I knew Amma since the last MCO actually, when I came across her and Appa, at a time when I took the initiative to provide transportation to the constituents who had no means to go to their Covid-19 vaccination centres.

“From then, we established a bond,” said the practising doctor.

The dichotomy about whether it is alright for Muslims to wish Merry Christmas (or any festival greeting) to their friends has occurred since time immemorial.

No Christmas Greetings On Cakes

This year, it took on a ridiculous twist when a local bakery chain, Berry’s Cake House, issued an internal memo telling the staff not to write “Merry Christmas” or “X’mas” on their cakes, even on request from customers.

Instead, employees were told they could provide a “Season’s Greetings” topper. In the circular dated 14 Dec and signed by the bakery’s operations manager, the decision’s justification was to comply and meet the halal certification requirements by Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim).

The bakery subsequently issued an apology, claiming that it misinterpreted the ruling on Christmas greetings.

The bakery, in a statement on 20 Dec said it came to know that there were no restrictions on halal certificate holders writing festive greetings on cakes after the clarification from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Dr Na’im Mokhtar.

Johor Queen On Christmas Greetings

In 2018, the Permaisuri of Johor Raja Zarith Sofiah Sultan Idris Shah reminded Malaysians that everyone has a right to celebrate their own festive holidays and that wishing friends Merry Christmas does not make anyone less of a Muslim.

“Instead of seeing shadows when there are none, I feel — as do my husband and our family — that everyone has a right to celebrate their festive holidays,” she said, referring to Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, who is set to be installed as Malaysia’s next King come 31 January 2024.

Posting on the Johor royal family’s official website at that time, the Raja Permaisuri shared her experience as a teenage student and fondly recalled her years spent in a boarding school in England where she celebrated Christmas along with her Christian schoolmates while not neglecting her faith as a Muslim.

“The memories have little to do with the Christian religion but more with friendships forged with English girls who welcomed me without questioning my race or faith.

“I also remember being in charge of decorating the Christmas tree in our boarding house not because our housemistress wanted me to stray away from my Muslim faith but because she considered me as one of the more artistic and creative girls under her care.

“She knew about the tasbih I kept under my pillow, and the Quran I had brought with me. Both were constant reminders of home and my faith,” the Raja Permaisuri Johor narrated.

Taking a leaf from Dr Akmal Salleh, Malaysian Muslims can do with a little bit of chilling, perhaps, and focus on what is good to forge relationships, especially at a time when the world is reeling with the suffering and pain felt by the Palestinians. – NMH

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Hasnah Rahman
Datin Hasnah is the co-founder and CEO of New Malaysia Herald based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With an extensive background in mass communication and journalism, she works on building up New Malaysia Herald and it's partner sites. A tireless and passionate evangalist, she champions autism studies and support groups. Datin Hasnah is also the Editor in Chief of New Malaysia Herald.

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