2015, time for moderate Malaysians to stand up

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.

These humps in the economy and the social effects they entailed were why Umno Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed feels that calmer voices must prevail against those who are divisive.

“The economy is slowing down, so we need to remain calm. This is my advice to everyone. Chinese, Malays, Indians, Perkasa, everyone.

“Malaysia is a moderate country, not an extremist one,” said Nur Jazlan, who is known to be among the more progressive leaders in Umno.

The Public Accounts Committee chairman has been the target of insults by Malay right-wing group Perkasa, whose members have called him “bangsat” (despicable) for daring to criticise the movement and its cause.

Nur Jazlan also hoped there would be less race and religious issues being played up in 2015 and if they were, that people would not get too sensitive when talking about them.

Another Umno leader Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah hoped that more groups, such as the 25 Malay former civil servants who had called on the government to start a national dialogue to resolve conflicts between Shariah and civil laws, to come forward.

Other good examples, he said were the 33 individuals who have called themselves “Malaysian Moderates”, youth groups and students from the Middle East and the ones behind the #Iam26 campaign he said.

“We need to make 2015 the year of moderation, in our values, approach, our thinking and policies in all fields.

“Moderation is the soul of the Malaysian identity but lately, from an ethnic and religious stand point, it is seen as problematic,” said Saifuddin, who heads the Global Movement of Moderates.

For Aura Merdeka founder Tariq Ismail, the claim by a Muslim NGO, Isma, and Perkasa of representing Muslims and Islam was misleading, since the faith had never taught ethnic chauvinism.

“I can understand where Isma and Perkasa are coming from but their message is wrong,” said Tariq, who is a grandson of former deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

“There is no racialism in Islam. So if you want to talk about Islam, you cannot talk about race.”

If there is something that could motivate more moderates to come out is the fact that in reality, they are the silent majority, whereas extremists are the vocal minority.

This was alluded to by Sisters in Islam leader Ratna Osman who said that extremists did not represent the majority of Malaysians.

“I hope that peace-loving Malaysians will rise up and not let the country by manipulated by these extremists.

“They do not represent us as Malaysians and we should not let them spread their evil agenda,” said Ratna, whose organisation has also been targeted by religious conservatives. – December 31, 2014.

  1. #1 by lbn on Thursday, 1 January 2015 - 6:37 am

    Good common sense must prevail. Malaysia is a blessed place with no serious natural disaster. It’s time for moderates to make a stand and rid the extremists who are wrecking the nation to disaster and chaos. Let’s stop the rotting since the late ’60s and get to the road of progress and solidarity. Don’t exploit issues on race and religion. We should strive as one for the good of our nation. Sacrifice the present for the future happiness!

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 1 January 2015 - 9:28 am

    Moderate Malaysian should have stood up LONG TIME AGO. Long lasting damages have been done possibly even irreparable, certaintly some injustices never to be corrected. Moderate Malaysians are already guilty, just not condemned.

    Its really about avoiding damnation, redemption, avoiding complete failure.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Thursday, 1 January 2015 - 10:53 am

    2015 – Sure, at d beginning, HOPE, hope, hope 4 d better
    But by 31.12.2015, rakyat would have realised dat UGLY realities hv taken over

    Rakyat will continue 2 b skrued, raped n sodomised by both UmnoB/BN n PR, as well as unscrupulous traders (great opportunities when GST enforced)
    Rakyat believe dat even during national disasters, some politicians n their cronies still continue 2 make $$ out of them

    DON’T expect Umno/BN or PR 2 improve our lives; it’s every rakyat 4 himself/herself

    Care 2 bet d worth of 1 MYR (vs USD, SGD, GBP, CNY, JPY, AUD, NZD) on 31.12.2015?
    How much will every rakyat b IMPOVERISHED on 1.1.2016?

    Sorry, don’t know how 2 wish rakyat Happy 2015
    Only those still flying round d world on d peeM official jet (paid by taxpayers $$) can feel jolly happy in 2015

  4. #4 by winstony on Thursday, 1 January 2015 - 12:25 pm

    “They do not represent us as Malaysians and we should not let them spread their evil agenda,” said Ratna, whose organisation has also been targeted by religious conservatives. – End of quote

    Well, well, well.
    Another quote will answer this quandary very well:
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” – Edmund Burke
    So, the only way to counter evil is for good men and women to launch a continuous, vigorous offensive against such falsehoods.
    Just look at how vigorously the evil entity IS is going about with their media blitzkrieg while the rest of the world sits on its hands!!!!

  5. #5 by boh-liao on Thursday, 1 January 2015 - 12:52 pm

    Rakyat, esp those who stinge n save on every MYR and SEN 2 finance their children’s education overseas (paying fees in SGD, USD, GBP, EUR), oredi felt d currency pain between 1.1.2014 and 1.1.2015

    Have 2 tighten belts some more 2 save more MYR 4 d same amt of SGD, USD, GBP, EUR needed 2 pay 4 d kids’ education

    But some rakyat, belts oredi NO more space 2 punch more holes 4 tightening – waists also almost gone, worse than wasp-like

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