One of the 25 top former civil servants, who recently issued an open letter calling for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to show leadership in the face of intolerant right wing groups, has launched a barrage of scathing criticism against Perkasa and Isma.
According to a report in Sinchew Daily today, former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands Noor Farida Ariffin slammed the two NGOs for resorting to personal attacks instead of arguing on the points raised in the letter.
She said that if claims from Isma and Perkasa that they represent the majority of Malays are true, that would be a cause for concern.
“This is because these two groups clearly have low standards, are poorly educated, intellectually challenged, incapable of seeing their own racism, intolerant, blindly obedient and are destroying the fabric of our country’s society,” the daily quoted Noor Farida (left) as saying.
She said, they (the 25 former civil servants) were deeply concerned that if these religious extremists and bigots were not kept in check, the whole country would suffer, the SinChew report said.
Noor Farida and 24 others issued an open letter that also called on like-minded moderate Malays and Muslims to speak up for a rational and informed discussion on Islam in the country.
Its signatories include former director-generals and secretary-generals of various ministries and government departments, a founder of the National Heart Institute, several former ambassadors, a former court of appeal judge and a retired military officer, among others.
'Detrimental' to economy
In response, according to the Malay Mail Online, Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali questioned what these former civil servants had done for Malays during their service.
The online news portal also quoted Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman calling the letter’s signatories an "expired bunch".
"They represent people who are outdated and this is because they were educated in the colonial era where the importance of Islam and Islamic education were not stressed," Abdullah Zaik reportedly said.
Sinchew reported that Noor Farida said Malaysians should heed the lessons from Pakistan and Afghanistan, where religious extremists have terrorised the population and caused the country’s wealthy and well-educated to flee, taking with them their wealth and skills.
If the same were to happen to Malaysia, she was quoted as saying it would be detrimental to Malaysia’s economy.
She added that since the letter’s publication, it has been well-received by Malays and non-Malays alike, including from parliamentarians who have voiced support.
She said some have even suggested that the 25 former civil servants from a movement of moderate Muslims to stem the rising tide of religious extremism.