by Mariam Mokhtar
Jan 6, 2014
Najib Abdul Razak: Entrepreneur. String-puller. Property speculator. Globe-trotter. Magician and part-time prime minister. Being the Malaysian PM is without doubt, a dream job.
Pampered while crossing the globe in luxury, dining at the finest restaurants, lounging in the best hotels and bedecking his spouse in the finest jewels.
The nation is on the cusp of another racial and religious conflict, but Najib is nowhere to be seen, or heard; a testimony to his expertise in performing the disappearing trick, he is the poor-man’s Tommy Cooper.
Be warned! Competition is fierce for this dream job. Although the job seems to be up for grabs every five years, just like a crooked race, the fix is in and the outsider always seems to win.
Today, when community tensions are simmering, and pro-Umno Baru NGOs are threatening Christians, Najib has again failed to censure the extremists. His head is stuck firmly in the sand, his lips are sealed together and he is hiding behind the extremist NGOs.
The recent troubles may appear to be a steep escalation in religious extremism, but they aren’t. The timing of the assault on the Christian community is critical. The Perak mufti’s intervention is revealing.
What we see is Umno Baru’s dirty politics at play. What appears to be a radical rise in extremism is an illusion being staged by pro-Umno Baru NGOs, and given excessive publicity by the mainstream media.
In order to distract the rakyat from the impact of the price hikes, and deflect criticism about the IGP’s handling of the New Year’s eve celebrations, Najib is playing a dangerous game and using religion, to achieve his ends. The protest against the church is part of that plan.
He is prepared to break the country up to serve his own selfish purpose. To hide the true state of the nation’s finances. To hide his excessive spending. To conceal the waste approved by his government. To continue his, and his party’s, grasp on power.
If he had not taken extreme measures, he and the men responsible for corruption and injustice, would be hauled to justice and punished. Religion has never stopped anyone from doing evil.
Extremism, in some form or other, has always existed in Malaysia and elsewhere. Najib is taking a massive risk by allowing members of the public to openly preach hatred and incite violence. He may find that he will not be able to prevent these extremist ideas from taking a life of their own and spreading.
What Najib hopes will be a distraction today, may at some point in the future, rear its ugly head as religious fanaticism, just like the Taliban. There are already signs of this happening. Tomorrow, it may be the Malays who are assaulted because they fail to supplicate to Umno Baru’s version of Islam.
The lack of a coherent strategy, by the government, to deal with volatile situations is worrying. This part-time PM would prefer that the nation accelerates towards disintegration.
If Islam is a religion of peace than what does the Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria, represent? He said that the people who took part in the anti-price hikes rally at Dataran Merdeka, on New Year’s eve were traitors.
He encouraged killing when he said, “In fact, all the protesters should be arrested for being traitors to the government and accordingly in Islam, bloodshed is permitted on the bughah (protesters).”
Harussani utters the command to kill, as casually as he would ask for another round of drinks. Muslims, both in Malaysia and abroad, are appalled by his suggestion. Harussani seems oblivious to news that around the world, the victims of jihad are mainly Muslims. Unlike Harussani, most Muslims want to live in peace. They abhor violence.
Najib, his home minister and the inspector-general of police (IGP) have all failed to silence this preacher of hate. The IGP heads another phalanx in the charade of distraction; but is he too obtuse to understand that policemen and their families will also be affected by the rise in the cost of living.
On Malaysia Day 2010, Najib expressed his opposition to extremist groups and individuals and under the entry ‘Our Fight Against Extremism’, said in his blog, www.1Malaysia.com.my, “It saddens me that despite living in an independent multi-cultural nation for over 50 years, there are still those among us who cannot tolerate, much less accept the benefits of a (peaceful) society.”
At the 65th United Nations General Assembly in New York, he said that Malaysia represented a moderate Muslim nation. Harussani has shattered Najib’s myth.
In an act of provocation, the deputy PM, Muhyiddin Yassin, supported moves by Selangor Umno Baru to protest outside churches.
Clearly, Najib’s deputy is still trying to undermine him – a sign that Umno Baru is full of opportunists and that the power-struggle between the Mahathir and Najib camps, still exists.
If the Muslims in Malaysia would be easily swayed by the word ‘Allah’ in the Malay Bible, what does it say about their intelligence? Is their faith skin deep?
If the rate of Malay conversions is high, why are the religious authorities afraid of revealing the figures?
The truth is that the Malays are not easily confused and they are not under siege, contrary to Umno Baru’s lies. The Christians have been using the word ‘Allah’ for longer than there has been Islam.
Millions of ringgits of taxpayers’ money have been channelled by Umno Baru, to extremist NGOs like Perkasa. Umno Baru and their leaders threaten our way of life, our liberties and the precious social fabric which we call Malaysia.
We have a part-time PM, and a former PM sniping from the sidelines, trying to wrestle control of the rakyat. Malaysians need to wake up and stop the destructive side of Umno Baru, before we – Muslims and non-Muslims – become the losers.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).