You have successfully driven more voters away from Umno and BN into the arms of Pakatan, says P Ramakrishnan.
Yes, Perkasa and Isma, you must be congratulated for doing a job deserving of applause.
What Pakatan has failed to do – i.e. drawing voters in droves away from Umno and Barisan Nasional to support Pakatan – you have succeeded beyond Pakatan’s wildest dreams. You have successfully driven them away from Umno and BN into the arms of Pakatan.
Just because opposing views have been muted that does not mean that your shrill and strident rhetoric has been received without question. Far from it. Indeed, many moderate and concerned Malaysians – both Malays and non-Malays – have been revolted by your extreme and uncompromising views that continue to threaten national unity and harmony. You have compelled these concerned people to make a stand for the good of the nation.
But many like you and those of your ilk mistakenly think that you gain the upper hand in the political arena by heaping blame for the misery of the poor Malay on those who have nothing to do with it. These innocent people did not cause this misery; they are not the cause of this unfortunate situation.
The moderate Malays have reached a point when they can no longer tolerate your intolerance, insolence and vituperation against those who don’t see eye to eye with you.
Those at the recent Umno general assembly faithfully echoed your vitriolic views and went on a bashing session against those deemed as their enemy. There was no let up, no attempt to compromise, no common sense displayed for the good of the nation.
What was spewed was undiluted, unbridled hatred and venom which perhaps made those gathered feel ‘syiok senderi’ within the walls of the assembly. But the sentiment felt beyond the confines of those walls was one of shock and unbelievable trauma – sentiment that reverberated across the country.
It was all about race and religion and the monarchy at the Umno assembly when none of these was under attack or threat. There was no challenge whatsoever over these issues. But it was made to look as if there were crazy people out there running around confronting these sensitive issues, hell-bent on creating chaos.
Good, decent people have run out of patience with this group that has been spewing out such venom. Refreshingly, in a move that holds out hope for the nation, 25 prominent, concerned and caring Malays have come out boldly to express their outrage at the direction this country is heading and to demand rational dialogue on the position of Islam in a constitutional democracy.
According to their statement, they “are deeply concerned about the state of debate on many issues of conflict on the position and application of Islamic laws in Malaysia”.
These are no ordinary Malays and Malaysians. Among those who signed the statement were Datuk Noor Faridah Ariffin, former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands;Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Haji Din, former secretary-general, Home Ministry; Tan Sri Ahmad Kamil Jaafar, former secretary-general, Foreign Affairs Ministry; Tan Sri Dr Aris Othman, former secretary-general, Finance Ministry; Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican, former director-general, Health Ministry; Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, former secretary-general, Finance Ministry; Tan Sri Mustaffa Babjee, former director-general, Veterinary Services Department, Datuk Seri Shaik Daud Md Ismail, former Court of Appeal judge; and Hendon Mohamad past president, Malaysian Bar.
Taking a forthright stand, they fearlessly stated, “It is high time moderate Malays and Muslims speak out. Extremist, immoderate and intolerant voices as represented by Perkasa and Isma do not speak in our name…
“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.”
In the statement, the signatories said, “As moderate Muslims, we are particularly concerned with the statement issued by Minister Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, in response to the recent Court of Appeal judgment on the right of transgender to dress according to their identity.
“He viewed the right of the transgender community and Sisters in Islam (SIS) to seek legal redress as a ‘new wave of assault on Islam’ and as an attempt to lead Muslims astray from their faith, and put religious institutions on trial in a secular court.
“Such an inflammatory statement from a federal minister (and not for the first time) sends a public message that the prime minister’s commitment to the path of moderation need not be taken seriously when a minister can persistently undermine it.”
The Prime Minister, sadly, is not setting the trend and leading the nation as expected of a leader. Very regrettably, he has not condemned or chided those advocating acrimony, animosity, rancour, resentment and bitterness He is simply echoing the sentiments and views articulated by these extremists.
This did not go unnoticed by these 25 brave and courageous Malaysians: “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.”
These exemplary, eminent Malaysians who had worked with the government – and for the government – have reached a stage where they can no longer tolerate these extreme elements, who are clearly a threat to our way of life. By taking this bold stand, these eminent Malaysians have earned our undying gratitude and respect. They have gone beyond race and religion to be on the side of justice.
What is happening – and has been allowed to happen – is not in the larger interest of the nation. What is happening is a concerted effort on the part of a minority to concentrate power and position in their hands to serve their selfish interest – for the benefit of the few at the expense of the many who want an inclusive and caring society that will take care of the needy and the deserving.
Well-meaning and caring Malaysians must speak up to send a clear signal that Umno and the PM do not represent the moderate and accommodative views of the majority of Malaysians, who only want to live in peace and harmony.
As was stated by William Faulkner, writer and Nobel Prize laureate, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
Certainly, it would change our beloved Malaysia.