Archive for category nation building
The Malaysian Insider
14 December 2014
We the undersigned Malaysian citizens from all walks of life hereby register our hopes, admiration and, above all, our support to the call for rational dialogues that was recently penned by 25 right-minded, inspired and courageous citizens.
The widely-published Letter penned by 25 eminent and determined Who-is-Who in Malaysia certainly ignites a bright and encouraging light at the end of Malaysia’s darkened tunnel of politics.
We concur with the issues raised by this group of distinguished Malaysian Malay-Muslims and appeal to the country’s leadership and especially the ruling political party to address the concerns raised vis-à-vis the “continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country”.
Indeed Malaysia’s ability and “responsibility” in “demonstrating that justice is done and seen to be done”, is the very cornerstone of this multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural population once dubbed with hope as the “Rising Asian Tiger”. Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
13 December 2014
Perhaps the sedentary life of a civil servant or seeing too many ballot boxes finally got to retired Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman.
Yesterday, as the Perkasa vice-president, he warned that the Malay rights group would defend Islam against anyone that attacks the religion.
Today. he described Malays who criticised Perkasa as either idiotic or blind, and to the extent of taking potshots at Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin – who is no fan of the rights group.
Now why does a man like Rashid, who rose from the ranks to be the EC chief, believe there are Malaysians who are enemies of Islam. Or that critics are just idiots or blind?
In short, why does he behave like the famous literary character Don Quixote, who believed windmills were giants that he had to fight to death? Read the rest of this entry »
— Mustafa K Anuar
Malay Mail Online
December 13, 2014
DECEMBER 13 — In recent years, as many of us are aware, ethnic bigotry and religious extremism have permeated various strata of our society to the point that ethno-religious relations have reached an all-time low.
This is bad news as it is something that our founding fathers (and mothers) did not plan for or foresee when Malaya achieved its independence from colonial rule in 1957.
Nerves were frayed as tension escalated over the years — from the cow-head incident in Shah Alam to pig heads left in the premises or near mosques to Molotov cocktails thrown into church grounds to body snatches to the seizure of Bibles in Selangor. Differences and diversity have been frowned upon while what we have in common is given less prominence or appreciation.
As if the above incidents are not enough to drive a wedge between the ethnic and religious communities in the country, the Malay community often have been warned about the purported threat from the Other, the primary objective being to create a siege mentality among them. Read the rest of this entry »
Koon Yew Yin
13th December 2014
Just before UMNO held its recent general assembly, I had written the following lines:
But I, and many other Malaysians, have not lost hope entirely. There must be individuals and groups in the party that know of the cancer and culture of corruption, authoritarianism, greed, self enrichment and opportunism within the party which many of the top leaders are bent on spreading to the rest of the country.
Surely, in a party with millions of members, there must be many of integrity, decency and sensibility who know that the party – in its present condition – is the Malay community’s worst enemy. Surely realistic platforms for real reform and change can be put up for discussion instead of the bashing of vernacular schools and self concocted enemies of Islam, royalty and the Malays. .
The main aim of this UMNO meeting should be to formulate policies to make Malaysia a developed nation; and to make the Malays a respected community that can stand on its own feet and without the need for crutches, keris-wielding or name-calling.
This group of moderate and honorable members must change the policies that have not worked. They must push out the leaders who have not performed and replace them with new blood that does not seek to make the non-Bumiputra the scapegoat for everything wrong or bad that happens in the Malay community.
By Zakiah Koya
8:36AM Dec 12, 2014
Former Wisma Putra head honcho Ahmad Kamil Jaafar has vowed that the ‘Eminent Malays statement’ signed by him and 24 others will not be a flash in the pan.
“We will continue to speak up and this (statement) will not be the end of us,” Ahmad Kamil told Malaysiakini.
He said he signed the statement, despite having served in the civil service for many decades, as he felt something must be done to get moderate Malays to stand up to the extremists who are destroying the country’s multiethnic and multireligious make-up.
Ahmad Kamil, 77, was a diplomat for 34 years before his retirement as secretary-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Until recently, he was special envoy to the prime minister.
“All the issues (mentioned in the statement) have been welling up in the society and I was feeling concerned…
“Some of them (in the government) are going overboard and they are talking of arresting the lot (those who questioned the extremists).
“We (the 25 of us) talked to one another and we wanted to take some kind of action that may influence other moderate Malays… I also want to see everyone come back to the country,” Ahmad Kamil said. Read the rest of this entry »
The Malaysian Insider
12 December 2014
Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Malaysia’s longest-serving Member of Parliament, is decidedly despondent about his country.
“I cannot recall an experience when Malaysia, after independence, was trapped in a situation similar to that we face now,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with The Edge Review.
Malaysia’s troubled political landscape, where the sensitive issues of race and religion are dominating headlines and public discourse, is being weighed down by the serious deterioration in the country’s economic performance where mounting debt in the public sector and households is leaving the country very vulnerable to external shocks.
“We have never been in this spot before,” says the urbane 77-year-old politician, who is fondly known as Ku Li. Read the rest of this entry »
By Stephen Ng
Dec 11, 2014
COMMENT The open letter by 25 top former civil servants urging Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to show leadership in handling the intolerant right wing groups is a clear sign that the moderate Malays are finally speaking up.
It marks the rise of the voice of moderation – something that we have been waiting for in the past six years, or longer. These 25 eminent retirees have broken their silence and spoken up for the sake of preserving our decaying social fabrics.
They are like salt to decaying meat. Without such salt, the meat will continue to decay until it is no longer safe for consumption. We certainly do not want this nation to get to the extent of becoming another South Africa during the apartheid era. Read the rest of this entry »
by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
11 December 2014
A deep fear that her country would become another Pakistan and Afghanistan, where religious extremism is on the rise, prompted Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin to seek other like-minded Malays to sign an open letter asking for a rational dialogue on the position of Islam in Malaysia.
But she is also hopeful that the positive response the letter has garnered will be the start of “something big” to help restore moderation and rationality in Malaysia.
In an interview to explain her reasons for signing and disseminating the letter, the former ambassador said she was worried that groups politicising Islam would lead Malaysia down the path of violence if left unchecked.
“I do not want to see what happened in Pakistan and Afghanistan happen to us, where professionals and talented people are so scared of their own future and their families’ future because extremist religion is on the rise and they leave the country taking their money and skills with them.
“If this happens in Malaysia, it is going to affect adversely our economy and we will be left with non-talented people who will lead the country to ruins,” she told The Malaysian Insider. Read the rest of this entry »
– Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG)
The Malaysian Insider
10 December 2014
Earlier this week, a group of Malaysians wrote a letter calling for “open debate and discourse on Islamic law”.
It was penned by 25 distinguished Malaysians – retired civil servants, judges, ambassadors, among others – including Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin, founding member and trustee of Women’s Aid Organisation.
Their message was clear, and the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) fully supports it.
Among the many issues raised, the letter criticised Minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom for his “inflammatory statement” against action he had unfairly called a “new wave of assault on Islam.” This includes the action taken by Sisters in Islam to seek legal redress against a fatwa issued against it. Read the rest of this entry »
Malaysian Dream Phase 2 – Call on Malaysians, regardless of political party, race, religion, region, gender or age to unite and stand up as patriots and moderates of Malaysia to practise the politics of inclusion to save the country from extremism, intolerance and bigotry
When I contested Gelang Patah in May last year in the 13th General Elections, it was in pursuit of the Malaysian Dream which envisions Malaysia as a plural society where all her citizens are united as one people, rising above their ethnic, religious, cultural, linguistic and regional differences as the common grounds binding them as one citizenship exceeds the differences that divide them because of their ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural and regional divisions.
Nineteen months after the 13th General Elections, the Malaysian Dream is more relevant and even more important than ever.
The UMNO General Assembly in the last week of November is the classic example of the divisive and deleterious politics of exclusion in Malaysia, which emphasises and deepens the differences among Malaysians especially over race and religion, which will even condemn Malaysia to the fate of a failed state if these trends are not checked and arrested, with worsening disunity and greater racial and religious polarisation as happened in the past 19 months since the 13GE.
In the UMNO General Assembly, as well as at the various conferences running up to it, Malaysians saw the worst examples of the politics of fear, hate and lies, creating imaginary fears and fighting imaginary enemies – that the Malays and Islam are under threat, that the Chinese are out to grab the political power of the Malays, that ”if UMNO loses, Malays may never rule again”, that the Malays have become slaves in their own land, that the Malays could suffer a fate similar to Red Indians in the United States and the “mother of all lies”, that the Chinese in Kedah burnt the Quran “page by page during a prayer ritual”.
Read the rest of this entry »
Call of 25 prominent Malays for moderation will fall on Najib’s deaf ears and only ordinary Malaysians can ensure the triumph of moderation and save the country from the perils of extremism and intolerance
It is indeed the irony of ironies. The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak travels the world to preach moderation, and even founded the Global Movement of Moderates, but at home in Malaysia, he shies away from taking a stand against extremism although the cause of moderation is facing its worst attack on the nation’s history.
This is why the Open Letter yesterday by a group of 25 prominent Malay personalities calling on moderate Malays, Muslims and Malaysians to stand up and be counted and to speak out against extremist, immoderate and intolerant voices have struck such a responsive national chord, coming like a breath of fresh in a very polluted atmosphere.
The 25 signatories said:
“Given the impact of such vitriolic rhetoric on race relations and political stability of this country, we feel it is incumbent on us to take a public position and urge for an informed and rational dialogue on the ways Islam is used as a source of public law and policy in Malaysia.
“More importantly, we call on the prime minister to exercise his leadership and political will to establish an inclusive consultative committee to find solutions to these intractable problems that have been allowed to fester for too long.
“We also urge more moderate Malaysians to speak up and contribute to a better informed and rational public discussion on the place of Islamic laws within a constitutional democracy and the urgency to address the breakdown of federal-state division of powers and finding solutions to the heart-wrenching stories of lives and relationships damaged and put in limbo because of battles over turf and identity.”
The 25 prominent Malays include retired senior civil servants such as former Secretaries-General, Directors-General, ambassadors and prominent Malay individuals who have contributed much to Malaysian society, is a roster of Towering Malays/Malaysians representing the cream of the best produced by the nation. Read the rest of this entry »
December 8, 2014 06:54 AM
DECEMBER 8 — We, a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia, would like to express how disturbed and deeply dismayed we are over the continuing unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in this country. The on-going debate over these matters display a lack of clarity and understanding on the place of Islam within our constitutional democracy. Moreover, they reflect a serious breakdown of federal-state division of powers, both in the areas of civil and criminal jurisdictions.
We refer specifically to the current situation where religious bodies seem to be asserting authority beyond their jurisdiction; where issuance of various fatwa violate the Federal Constitution and breach the democratic and consultative process of shura; where the rise of supremacist NGOs accusing dissenting voices of being anti-Islam, anti-monarchy and anti-Malay has made attempts at rational discussion and conflict resolution difficult; and most importantly, where the use of the Sedition Act hangs as a constant threat to silence anyone with a contrary opinion.
These developments undermine Malaysia’s commitment to democratic principles and rule of law, breed intolerance and bigotry, and have heightened anxieties over national peace and stability.
Read the rest of this entry »
If Tunku is alive today, instead of being the “happiest Prime Minister” he would be the “unhappiest Malaysian”
On this day 24 years ago, Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman passed away at the age of 87.
If Tunku is still alive today, instead of being the “happiest” Prime Minister which had been his greatest wish, he would have been the “unhappiest” Malaysian in the country.
Together with the third Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, Tunku’s efforts to form UMNO Malaysia when UMNO was deregistered in 1988, was sabotaged and quashed by the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir who set up his own UMNO Baru which Tunku refused to join, questioning its legitimacy and integrity to his last breath.
Tunku would have been horrified at the proceedings of the recent UMNO Baru General Assembly where race-baiting and religious incitement based on the primordial politics of fear, hate and lies were given free rein, with delegates made to believe that after 57 years of UMNO government and six UMNO Prime Ministers, Malays are under siege and Islam under threat, causing one delegate to declare that Malays have become “slaves in our own land”, another to call for the use of “1 Melayu” instead of “1 Malaysia slogan”, while a third to demand that UMNO elect MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders into the Barisan Nasional supreme council. Read the rest of this entry »
— Thomas Fann
Malay Mail Online
NOVEMBER 22, 2014
NOVEMBER 22 — Since PM Najib attributed Umno-BN poor performance at GE13 to a Chinese tsunami and Utusan followed up with “Apa lagi Cina mau?,” all hell was let loose and the racists and extremists came out of their closets.
From ministers to ex-judges, ex-civil servants, politicians, etc. — they came out unashamedly declaring their true agenda.
But I still believe in Malaysia and that the vast majority of Malaysian of all races are decent, peace-loving and not racists at heart. We are the silent majority. However, the silent majority is irrelevant when the only voices heard are those of the vocal extremists and racists. It seems that they are the ones who are setting the agenda for public discourse these days.
I want to quote from part of an article I read a while back.
I used to know a man whose family were German aristocracy prior to World War II. They owned a number of large industries and estates. I asked him how many German people were true Nazis, and the answer he gave has stuck with me and guided my attitude toward fanaticism ever since.
“Very few people were true Nazis,” he said, “but many enjoyed the return of German pride, and many more were too busy to care. I was one of those who just thought the Nazis were a bunch of fools. So, the majority just sat back and let it all happen. Then, before we knew it, they owned us, and we had lost control, and the end of the world had come. My family lost everything. I ended up in a concentration camp and the Allies destroyed my factories.”
Very few people were true Nazis but they enjoyed the return of German pride. Many people may not agree with the extreme views of the likes of Perkasa, Isma or even IS but perhaps in their hearts they enjoy the restoration of pride that these groups offered. Therefore, they maintain their neutral silence. Or perhaps, too many are just too busy with daily survival and chores to bother. Read the rest of this entry »
Will UMNO General Assembly next week send out a clear and unmistakable message that UMNO will be the vanguard and not be the major obstacle to a movement of moderates against extremism in Malaysia?
I applaud the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s call to the majority of Malaysians to be united and speak up against extremism as the country cannot afford to have extremists given its diversity in terms of race, culture and religion.
Speaking at a Barisan Nasional youth retreat dinner in Kuching last night, Adenan said the country could become a worse place not because the minority did not do enough, but the majority did nothing.
The Sarawak Chief Minister warned that the danger of extremism is looming in the country and it is for the moderates to speak up for moderation, pointing out that the majority cannot be silenced for the fanatics and extremists do not speak for the country.
Adenan’s speech is like a breath of fresh air after the surfeit of suffocating statements, speeches and demands in recent weeks and months giving the world the impression that extremism has taken over the country and that Malaysia’s multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious diversity, tolerance, harmony and goodwill have suddenly become a liability instead of an asset – which seemed to be further reinforced by Malaysia’s shocking jump in the Global Terrorism Index 2014 to the Top 50 countries in the world to be watched for terrorism problems. Read the rest of this entry »
Let the Global Terrorism Index 2014 be a wake-up call to all political parties, NGOs and Malaysians that we jeopardize the future of Malaysians if we do not check the rhetoric and politics of hatred, intolerance and extremism and hew closely to the path of moderation
Malaysia has climbed 42 places in an international terrorism indicator that has cited religious extremism as the primary cause of terror attacks worldwide.
In the 2014 edition of the Global Terrorism Index produced by the Institute of Economic and Peace, Malaysia is now 48th in a ranking that has Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan at the top, having risen from 91st spot in the 2012 issue of the report.
Malaysia’s score on the index measuring the number of terrorist incidents, fatalities and casualties as well as damage to property has also risen steadily from 2012, going from 0.415 out of a possible 10 to the current 3.04. Ten signifies the highest impact of terrorism.
Regionally, the Philippines, (9th/7.29), Thailand (10th/7.19) and Indonesia (31st/4.67) scored worse than Malaysia. Singapore was 124th, with a score of zero, indicating no negative effects from terrorism.
The Global Terrorism Index 2014 is bad news for Malaysia, for overnight, Malaysia has shot into the international radar of the top 50 countries under the world’s terrorism-watch, having overtaken 43 countries in a matter of two years as a country where terrorism is a bigger problem – overtaking countries like Uganda, Belarus, Saudi Arabia, France, Chile, Italy, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Tajikistan, Spain, Jordan, Switzerland, Zimbabwe, Sweden, Germany, Canada and Serbia.
What has gone wrong as Malaysia has always prided itself as a model for the world for inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, tolerance and harmony that we are now in the top 50 countries in the world in the Global Terrorism Index on the negative impact of terrorism, when Malaysia should be one of the countries with score of zero, indicating no negative effects from terrorism. Read the rest of this entry »
Call for three-day extension of Parliament for a full debate on “Are Malays and Islam under threat?” as this concerns not just Malays and Muslims, but all Malaysians who want a successful Malaysia
With the approach of the UMNO General Assemblies 2014 from Nov. 25 to 29, there is a build-up of the rhetoric and hysteria that “Malays and Islam are under threat”.
National laureate A. Samad Said made a most pertinent point when he pointed out that despite claims of a growing threat against the Malay community, the country’s leadership has remained in the hands of Malays and is still led by a party which claims to represent the Malay community.
I agree with Pak Samad that it is most peculiar that allegations of Malays under threat are constantly being played up, which is why he advised the Malay community not to be too obsessed about claims that Malays are under threat.
Pak Samad had asked the most relevant question:
“How are Malays under threat? How can religion (Islam) and Malays be threatened when those in power have been Malay for over five decades?
“What have they (Malay leaders) been doing for five decades (if Malays can be under threat)?”
What Pak Samad prescribed is most apt, and I don’t think it could be gainsaid by anyone, that if the country’s more than five-decade-old UMNO Malay leadership cannot put the Malay community at ease, then it should surrender power to let other Malays rule. Read the rest of this entry »
Who can count more than two Ministers in the Najib Cabinet who are committed moderates in the great battle between moderation and extremism – the raison d’etre for the foundation of Najib’s Global Movement of Moderates?
I said yesterday that the “ruckus” in Parliament on Monday created by the Selangor UMNO/Barisan Nasional chief, Datuk Noh Omar, the UMNO/BN MP for Tanjung Karang had thrown up a teaser – whether the majority of UMNO Ministers, MPs and leaders are like Noh Omar, who are not prepared publicly to endorse Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiative and yet deny being an extremist.
Actually, the “ruckus” had done more, as it also raised the fundamental question how Najib’s GMM initiative could have any chance of success when it is impossible to identify more than a handful of committed moderates in Cabinet and UMNO/BN leadership!
For instance, how many Ministers and UMNO/BN leaders are fully committed moderates dedicated to the moderate agenda of the GMM campaign, as repeatedly spelt out by Najib in various international forums in the past four years, as follows:
“The fight against extremism is not about Christians versus Muslims, or Muslims versus Jews, but moderates versus extremists of all religions. We therefore need to rally a coalition of moderates; those willing to reclaim their religion, and pursue the path to peace.”
I cannot count more than two fully committed moderates in the Cabinet who are willing to take up the cudgel of moderation against extremism and rally behind a coalition of moderates to reclaim their religion and pursue the path to peace. Read the rest of this entry »
by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
12 November 2014
New people’s movement Negara-Ku is set to carry out its “reclaim Malaysia” agenda nationwide with a roadshow beginning in Malacca tonight to return rationality, open and civil discussion, moderation and harmony to Malaysia.
“Kembalikan Negaraku” or “Return My Country” aims to take back Malaysia from racism and extremism, and provide a platform for safe debates, even on controversial issues such as the court’s recent decision on Negri Sembilan’s Islamic enactments on transgenders.
More than just focusing on issues themselves, the movement’s founder and chairperson Zaid Kamaruddin said they wanted to promote a climate where Malaysians could discuss matters without getting emotional.
Their aim was to also put forward the fact that all differences could be discussed with the Federal Constitution as a reference.
Zaid also said the roadshow was not just about promoting the movement but to draw all other civil society groups that wanted to promote healthy relationships among communities. Years before Negara-Ku, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched his 1Malaysia concept when he took office in 2009 but the slogan has since petered out.
“We support all other efforts that promote the coming together of Malaysians, to be able to express what they want,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »
Malays and Islam are not under attack in Malaysia. It is multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia which is under siege by intolerant and extremist forces which are trying to turn moderation into a dirty word in Malaysia
It is the supreme irony of ironies.
While the government continues to propagate the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates, this time at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit currently being held in Beijing, Najib had never been so weak and impotent at home to check the forces of hatred, intolerance and extremism rearing their ugly heads.
On the day that Bernama reported that the Prime Minister’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) proposal had received praise from the APEC foreign ministers meeting in Beijing before the 22nd APEC Summit, an ex-UMNO Minister had opened fire on Najib’s GMM initiative, claiming that Christian fanatics in Malaysia had seized on Najib’s concept of moderation and exploited it for their own interests.
Former Information Minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maiddin claimed that the Malays and Islam were under pressure due to the concept of moderation, asserting that there were signs the concept was on the wrong track.
He cited with approval a recent statement by Johor Umno youth vice-chief Khairul Anwar Rahmat, who said that moderation was unsuitable for certain issues, claiming that it reflected the thoughts and opinions of the Umno grassroots.
Read the rest of this entry »