KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17, 2014:
The issue of religion and race must be discussed in a non-adversarial approach, said Zaid Kamaruddin, vice-president of the Muslim non-governmental organisation (NGO), Ikram.
He said when looking at the Federal Constitution, everyone must look at it in its entirety, adding that if one were to pick and choose parts of the Constitution, there would always be something in someone’s favour.
Zaid pointed out that the Constitution was comprehensive and covered everyone’s rights.
He was speaking at a press conference this morning organised to show support for the joint statement issued by 25 concerned Malaysians, who were former high-ranking government officers, ambassadors and professionals.
The statement supporting the 25 was endorsed by 93 NGOs. Only 23 of them were present at the press conference.
Zaid said the time had come for people to stop seeing each other based on race, and called on everyone to be colour blind and see each other as Malaysians.
Zaid, when reading the statement issued by the NGOs, said often in a nation’s history, extremists had triumphed, not because they enjoyed the support of the majority, but because the majority was silent and idle.
He thanked the 25 for choosing not to be passive and for voicing their dismay and abhorrence at the current state of the nation.
“In the spirit of peace, muhibah and nation building, all Malaysians need to engage in a healthy, rational and civil discourse on pressing national issues and silence the voice of hate and extremism,” Zaid said in the statement.
Jihad for Justice chairman Datuk Thasleem Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Haj, who was also at the press conference, said Perkasa and Isma had been given undue importance, considering they were only small groups.
He said these two were fighting against a perceived threat which was non-existent.
“They (Perkasa and Isma) only know how to shout and make threats but are unwilling to come forward and hold proper discussions,” he said.
Thasleem pointed out that the Constitution protected everyone’s rights, and there was no need to make a hue and cry about just certain sections of it.
“Listening to Perkasa and Isma will only give a person ear-ache,” he said, calling on the media to starve them of the oxygen they needed to survive, which was publicity.