The Higher Education Minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh today gave an example of the Ministers’ failure of leadership and lack of moral courage which is why the Malaysian government has lost its moral compass and Malaysia lost its way in the sixth decade of nationhood.
In answering the question by the PKR MP for Penampang Darell Leiking, Idris defended the two forums against Christianisation held by Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), claiming that they were meant to explain the threat of Islamic State (IS) and Syiah teachings.
In a written parliamentary reply, Idris said:
“The objective of the seminars were to discuss academically the pros and cons on the matter in line with the intellectual culture at the higher education level.
“The seminars basically explained the issues of IS, Syiah and the crusade, from the historical point of view, as well as the development of Islam, which (they could) share with the UiTM students.”
How sad, the Higher Education Minister defending the indefensible, and what is patently wrong and unconstitutional – a complete failure of leadership and lack of moral courage to admit and declare that what UiTM had done in organizing the two anti-Christianisation forums were wrong and an assurance to Parliament the nation that such unMalaysian and unconstitutional activities will not be allowed in Malaysian public universities.
Idris and UiTM seem not to know that Article 3 and Article 12 of the Malaysian Constitution provide that Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony; with every Malaysian given the guarantee of freedom of religion, the right to profess and practice his religion, subject to the state laws prohibiting proselytization of Muslims by other religions.
This means that public institutions, particularly public universities, should not engage in any anti-Christianisation or any activities anti any religion – as it will be going against the basis of Malaysia’s nationhood, our plural character as a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation.
What shouts from the roofstops from Idris’ answer is his political, moral and intellectual cowardice in admitting that it was wrong for UiTM to conduct anti-Christianisation forums and to give an assurances to Parliament and the nation that public universities will not be allowed in conduct any activities which promote hatred against any religion in Malaysia.
When will Malaysia have Ministers and leaders in government who have the moral, intellectual and political courage to defend and uphold the plural character of Malaysia’s nation-building basis, take a bold stand on moderation against all forms of extremism and intolerance, whether in public universities or elsewhere?