Monday, September 8, 2014

Speak up, but don’t talk down to us


COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
Published: 7 September 2014

Does Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak truly believe that the Federal Constitution must be upheld? – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 7, 2014.?


Does Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak truly believe that the Federal Constitution must be upheld? – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 7, 2014.?Often, it is what's left unsaid that makes more sense. Just read what Datuk Seri Najib Razak said on Thursday, what Datuk Seri Idris Jala had to say on Friday night and what Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said on Saturday.
* Among the many things the Prime Minister said, this is what stood out: "The silent majority of moderate Malaysians must stand up for the voices of moderates to be loudly heard. Every citizen has a place under the Malaysian sun. To ensure our national unity, we must uphold the Federal Constitution."
There was a time, a long time ago, when such words would create a nice, warm and fuzzy feeling among many Malaysians. Not anymore.
We have heard similar words from Tun Abdullah Badawi and other national leaders and after a passage of time, have come to view them for what they are: grand sounding statements not backed by real belief.
Got a few questions for the PM. Does he consider himself a moderate? If he does, he must belong to the silent majority because he has done precious little while groups, especially those friendly to Umno, tear this country apart with their rhetoric and complete disdain for the Constitution.
Does he truly believe that the Federal Constitution must be upheld? If he does, why is it that important provisions that guarantee freedom of religion and speech have been trampled upon without even a pip squeak from Putrajaya?
See, words can really lift up morale even in the most dire of situations. Think Winston Churchill during the most desperate times of World War 2. And Tun Dr Ismail just after the May 13 riots.
But words must be accompanied with sincerity and a track record to have any effect.
* Among the things that Idris Jala said at a function on Friday was this: "The government will allow discourse of various issues but not to the extent of the discoursing causing fault lines and the destruction of the social fabric in Malaysia."
Datuk Seri Idris Jala presumes that Malaysians need permission to think and voice opinions. – The Malaysian Insider pic, September 7, 2014.Datuk Seri Idris Jala presumes that Malaysians need permission to think and voice opinions. – The Malaysian Insider pic, September 7, 2014.Here is the disturbing fact about the statement above: it is inaccurate, presumptuous and basically, wrong.
Jala presumes that Malaysians need permission to think and voice opinions. We don't, especially not from a government that not too long ago professed that the days of "government knows best" are over.
But even if we accept at face value that statement from the Pemandu chief, please explain how journalist Susan Loone's reporting or academic Azmi Sharom's opinion on a legal matter cause the "destruction of the social fabric". Both these individuals have been charged under the Sedition Act for doing their jobs respectively – reporting and giving an informed and educated opinion on a matter of public interest.
Few in Malaysia want everything to go up in smoke, knowing full well that zero sum mentality may be useful in a boardroom but utterly dangerous in a nation. That said, there are enough citizens unwilling to just stay silent with the excesses, corruption and injustice around us.
We would love our leaders and politicians to lead in the fight against injustice. Or at least, to know right from wrong. Honest from dishonest.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein says there will be no compromise on race, religion and the Malay Rulers. – The Malaysian Insider pic, September 7, 2014.Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein says there will be no compromise on race, religion and the Malay Rulers. – The Malaysian Insider pic, September 7, 2014.* Among the things that Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday at the Semberong Umno division meeting was this: "We will not compromise on pillars in nation building, namely race, religion and the Malay Rulers."
By and large, Malaysians are God-fearing people. And the cardinal principles of all the major religions are the same: justice, fairness, equality, love and peace.
And who would want to touch on religion and the royalty? We are citizens of Malaysia and the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara are our principles. Why the need to raise anything against that as an issue?
And how can a Malaysia built on these principles go wrong? Also important is the notion that only God is infallible. The rest of us, despite our lofty worldly positions, are mere mortals. – September 7, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/speak-up-but-dont-talk-down-to-us#sthash.hS0g5QD9.dpuf

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