Archive for category nation building
BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS AND MD IZWAN
The Malaysian Insider
31 December 2014
As Malaysians bid farewell to 2014, moderate Malaysians have been urged to stand up and beat back the tide of hate and bigotry that have inflamed communal relations throughout the year.
A group of progressive Malays today hoped that Malaysians would be able to reclaim the national conversation on race and religion and reject extremist elements brought about by certain quarters.
This, they argued, was because it was up to each individual to preserve the tolerance, moderation and respect that had been an enduring feature of the country’s pluralistic society.
“Moderation has to be promoted not just because that is what our forefathers wanted for us,” said former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam.
“But because it is one of the ways which our country will remain peaceful and harmonious,” he said in a text message to The Malaysian Insider.
Musa said 2015 would be even more challenging for Malaysia socially and economically, given the depressing forecast on the world economy. Read the rest of this entry »
Malaysians must stay strong, hopeful and confident despite a year of great adversities with three air disasters, worst floods disaster in decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism to build a common, united, moderate and prosperous future for all Malaysians
2015 New Year Message
It is so easy to give way to despair at the tides of adversity Malaysians have to go through in 2014 and to write off the future for Malaysia – the unprecedented three air disasters in a year (MH370, MH17 and QZ8501) which no other country had ever had to experience, the worst floods disaster in recent decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism putting to the ultimate test the Merdeka and Malaysia national compacts of 1957 and 1963 to be an oasis of multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural harmony, tolerance and co-existence in an increasingly troubled and fractious world.
Every cloud has a silver lining and this holds true for the adversities Malaysians had to undergo in 2014 – the air disasters and the worst floods disaster in decades galvanizing Malaysians to stand in sympathy, support and solidarity with the victims and the aggrieved and the rise of moderates, best exemplified by the Open Letter by 25 Eminent Malays to the Prime Minister and the snowballing of support by ordinary moderate Malaysians regardless of race, religion, politics or region to save Malaysia from the bigots and extremists.
Malaysians must stay strong, hopeful and confident despite a year of great adversities with three air disasters, the worst floods disaster in decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism to build a common, united, moderate and prosperous future for all Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »
Call on Najib and Cabinet to endorse the Open Letter of 25 Eminents to send a clear message to the nation and the world that Malaysian government fully committed to moderation against intolerance, extremism and bigotry
The Open Letter by 25 Malay former top civil servants and personalities on December 8 asking the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to show leadership against festering extremism and intolerance is undoubtedly the No. 1 News Event of the Year.
Never before has an Open Letter by the citizenry struck such a resounding chord in our multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation, as evidenced by the enthusiastic support from all groups of Malaysian society, not confined to Malays and Muslims, like ‘I am #26’ online petition with over 5,000 supporters; “KamiJuga25″ (We, too, are 25),signed by over 1,600 supporters; 95 NGOs in Malaysia, 22 Muslim activists and a multitude of support demonstrated by diverse groups and strata of Malaysian society in the past fortnight.
But the reaction has started, and the assaults on the 25 Eminents will escalate in personal attacks, character-assassination and viciousness employing the full resources of the intolerant and extremist media and social as we witnessed in the past two days.
This is the time for all moderates, crossing race, religious, gender, age and even political party lines to take a stand for moderation and marginalize, isolate and defeat intolerance, extremism and bigotry which are the greatest threats and enemies of a plural society like Malaysia.
This is the time for the positive politics of inclusion to replace the negative politics of exclusion! Read the rest of this entry »
COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
20 December 2014
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not mince his words. Not since he started in politics and definitely not now, more than a decade after stepping down as Malaysia’s fourth prime minister.
But there are days where you wonder where is he coming from. Today, he said the Malays’ grip on politics was weak due to disunity and them having to beg from other races for support to remain in power.
“Now Umno, PKR, and PAS have to beg for support from DAP Chinese to win the general election. When we become beggars, we no longer have power,” he said in his keynote address at a youth leadership programme in Kuala Lumpur.
He added that even if the country achieved developed-nation status, the Malays might be left behind. Read the rest of this entry »
Let the police return of the 31 Christian hymnals start a virtuous cycle of inter-religious respect, tolerance and acceptance in the country for the next 12 months and end the rhetoric and politics of hate, extremism, intolerance and bigotry
The Police deserves commendation for the return of the 31 Christian hymnals to Catholic priest Father Cyril Mannayagam in Tangkak last night and an amicable settlement of the latest religious standoff in the country over the police seizure of the books which were meant for Orang Asli parishioners.
The police and various government agencies should learn from such an uncalled-for spat and be aware of their role and duty to be extra-sensitive to promote and not to undermine inter-racial and inter-religious understanding and relations.
I fully share the sentiments of the Sabah Speaker and former Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak, who expressed dismay at the “never-ending problem” of religious controversies over the Allah word issue, hudud and the confiscation of Bibles, hymns and other Christian literature published in Bahasa Malaysia and that “Just as one incident is solved, another one cropped up”.
Let all Malaysians hope and pray that the Sabah Speaker is not correct when he blogged that “it is beginning to look like this is going to be part of the Malaysian ‘culture’ for a long time to come”, urging that Sabah and Sarawak should not “slide down the slippery slope that some states in West Malaysia appear to be heading for” but should continue to take the lead in “maintaining the solidarity between those of different religious faiths”.
Let the police return of the 31 Christian hymnals in Johor start a virtuous cycle of inter-religious respect, tolerance and acceptance in the country for the next 12 months and end the rhetoric and politics of hate, extremism, intolerance and bigotry which had dominated and poisoned inter-racial and inter-religious relations in the country. Read the rest of this entry »
NGOs CALLING FOR RATIONAL DISCOURSE IN SUPPORT OF 25 CONCERNED CITIZENS
We, a group of Malaysian NGOs fully support the recent open letter from a group of 25 personalities that identified themselves as “a group of concerned citizens of Malaysia” to urge the government to hold a public discourse on Islamic law vis a vis the Federal Constitution. The 25 individuals, who identified themselves as “moderate Muslims”, comprised of, among others, retired civil servants, judges and ambassadors.
We applaud the courageous action of these towering figures to stand up and publicly address sensitive yet critical issues plaguing our nation. Too often in the history of nations, the extremists have triumphed not because they enjoyed majority support, but because the majority were silent and idle. Like similar minded NGOs working for the love of our nation, these 25 senior citizens chose not to be passive and have voiced their dismay and abhorrence at the current state of the nation.
We share their sentiment that “there is a real need for a consultative process that will bring together experts in various fields, including Islamic and Constitutional laws, and those affected by the application of Islamic laws in adverse ways”. We would further add that a similar process of consulting relevant experts and stakeholders, be applied to matters related to the process of legislation of other laws too. These should be undertaken in an ambience of transparency, best practises , mutual respect and permeative consultation. Read the rest of this entry »
Petitioning The Prime Minister of MALAYSIA
Azrul Mohd Khalib
Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Seri,
We, the undersigned Malaysians, wish to express our admiration, faith and support to the call recently stated so eloquently by 25 courageous and respected individuals. Their words have inspired us all and electrified the nation. As many other Malaysians, we stand together with them.
And like everyone else who support their concerns, we too have a stake in building this country.
We call upon the leadership of this country to stand with other fellow Malaysians in delivering on the belief and promise of a common vision and a shared destiny: a just, free and caring nation of ideas, of dreams and of promises which promote inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity.
The letter by the 25 distinguished Malaysians brings into perspective the need for us to put an end to our petty differences and false promises, the racism and the bigotry, the intimidation and the blind hatred. For far too long, these unfortunate attributes and the sins of our fathers and those before, have strangled our politics and each other.
Those who speak in arrogance, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice do not speak for us.
After all, the Malaysian story has been shaped by every language and enriched by every culture. We are a nation of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and many other faiths and non-believers. This diversity is our strength.
We have chosen to hope and be together over fear and bigotry, the unity of purpose over conflict and disunity. To those who seek to sow conflict and discord, know that we reject the idea that we need to dominate and discriminate in order to progress as a people and a country. We believe in a shared destiny as Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »
By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
December 18, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Another group of Malaysians have come up with an open letter in support of reasonable, rational and informed dialogue today, adding to the lively discourse following a similar message by 25 former high-ranking civil servants last week.
Calling itself #KamiJuga25, Malay for “We are 25 too”, the group aims to get “everyday Malaysians” to chip in the conversation in support of the original 25 signatories, not just from the Malay-Muslim community.
“In almost every letter we have seen distinguished recognisable names listed in as signatories. This letter is intended to allow for the everyday Malaysian to also say ‘kami juga 25’,” co-creator Azrul Mohd Khalib told Malay Mail Online.
“It is intended to complement existing efforts and to strengthen the voices which are getting louder by the day,” added Azrul, who is part of social movement called Malaysians for Malaysia.
In the letter addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the group urged Malaysian leaders to deliver a country that “promotes inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity”.
“We also believe that it is not only Malay Muslims who have a voice and stake in this country, it is every Malaysian who believes in a common vision and shared destiny, ideals which are no different to when Malaya became independent and Malaysia was born,” the 38-year-old said. Read the rest of this entry »
Never before have there been so many time-bombs ticking away in Malaysia which could spell disaster for the nation if they are not defused or detonated
(Speech at the DAP Gelang Patah forum “1MDB in RM42 billion debt – Is Malaysia on the Verge of Financial Turmoil” in Johor Baru on Tuesday, 16th December 2014 at 8 pm)
My first book “Time Bombs in Malaysia” in 1978 quoted my speech in Parliament on the Third Malaysia Plan in July 1976 where I warned that several time bombs were ticking away in Malaysia and unless these time bombs were defused, Malaysia could be blown to smithereens.
I would never imagine that today, more than 36 years later after the first edition of “Time Bombs in Malaysia”, we are faced with even greater dire straits as never before in our nation’s history have we a situation where so many time-bombs are ticking away in Malaysia which could spell disaster for the nation if they are not defused or detonated.
The RM42 billion 1MDB scandal, which is the subject of tonight’s forum, is one such Time Bomb in today’s Malaysia.
This mega financial scandal, exposed by Pakatan Rakyat MPs Tony Pua and Rafizi Ramli, is now also being questioned by UMNO forces led by former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir, his cohorts like Tun Daim, to the extent that a police report against 1MDB has been lodged by an UMNO division leader, creating huge waves in UMNO.
Until the seventies, when there was greater regard for good governance, public integrity and financial probity, the biggest financial scandal was the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal.
The then Prime Minister, Tun Hussein Onn, who could not stomach any corruption or misuse of power, was shocked by the RM65 million Bank Rakyat scandal and insisted on parliamentary accountability and a White Paper was issued following a Price Waterhouse inquiry into the Bank Rakyat scandal – and the RM65 million Bank Rakyat was the subject of parliamentary debates and scrutiny in 1979.
Since the eighties, corruption and financial scandals increased by leaps and bounds from the RM2.5 billion Bumiputra Malaysia Finance (BMF) scandal, the RM600 million Maminco tin-buying scandal and the RM1.5 billion Co-operatives Finance scandal in the 80s, to the RM30 billion Bank Negara foreign exchange scandal and RM11 billion Perwaja scandal in the 90s, and the multi-billion ringgit Scorpene and defence procurement scandals and the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal in the last decade.
Now, Malaysia has shot into the stratosphere of mega-financial scandals running into tens of billions of ringgit which is becoming the rule rather than the exception, with the RM42 billion 1MDB Scandal reigning currently as the King of Mega Scandals – and I leave to Tony Pua who, together with Rafizi, have become the unchallenged authorities on this “mother of all scandals” to elaborate later at this forum.
But the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal is not the only Time Bomb now ticking away in Malaysia. We are faced with a host of economic, financial, political, education, race and religion, nation-building Time Bombs which if not defused or detonated will spell disaster for Malaysia. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »