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Friday, June 27, 2014

Should the far right only decide the Malay/Muslim community’s agenda?

Part of the crowd comprising supporters of right wing group Perkasa protesting the use of the word Allah by non-muslims on October 14, 2013. – The Malaysian Insider pic, June 28, 2014.Part of the crowd comprising supporters of right wing group Perkasa protesting the use of the word Allah by non-muslims on October 14, 2013. – The Malaysian Insider pic, June 28, 2014.
Who speaks for the Malay/Muslim community? Political parties such as Umno, PAS and PKR? Or the likes of Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Datuk Zulkifli Noordin and the Isma leadership?
Who else?
Fact is, why is the Malay/Muslim community allowing the likes of Ibrahim Ali, Zul Noordin and the Isma fellows dictate the agenda for the country's most dominant demography?
These people are poor advertisements or poster boys for Islam and the supposed tolerance of the Malays – nature's finest gentlemen, according to the British.
There was a time when men like Datuk Onn Jaafar, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, former Bank Negara governor Tun Mohd Ismail Ali were the ones who showed the finer side of the Malays.
But now, we have the few who are prone to rash and incendiary statements that want to provoke and incite rather than lead and influence the community to a better and peaceful future.
Why are the rest of the Malays quiet? Do they agree with this few or have given up to set things right? Do they want these few to represent them just as some extremists appear to dominate the narrative in countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq and other Muslim nations?
It is about time other voices come to the fore and show the finer nature of the community. Too much is at stake for them to keep quiet and let the loud and swaggering far right take centre stage.
We are talking here about the very future of Malaysia, the future of multiracial Malaysia and the future of multi-religious Malaysia.
Do we want to see a Malaysia that is less what it set out to be in 1963 and more a country of extremes and dominated by the few with a blinkered vision. Is this the Bangsa Malaysia that was envisioned in "The Way Forward" speech of 1991?
The reality is that we are all Malaysians and the majority are the Malays. They have to step up and take charge with their fellow Malaysians to take Malaysia forward as a country for all.
Educated Malays cannot trust the country's politicians or Umno to articulate their views or hold the line against extremism. They have to do it themselves and they have to do it right from today.
Malaysia is too precious to be left to the extremists who appear to want to instil their version of the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant. It is time we all stand up and let the far right know that they are the fringe and we are the centre.
That Malaysia is a country for all, in peace and harmony. Not for the few who spook and bully people to follow their narrow and racist path.
- TMI

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