I AM going to start my epistle with this quote “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
This is why I am appealing to our Malay leaders in Pakatan Harapan to wake up from their slumber pronto or they will not wake up at all in the next general election.
By-election turnouts are usually fuelled by committed voters. Voter apathy contributes to much lower voter turnout compared to a general election. Dispassionate and disenchanted voters stay away from by-elections. Semenyih was no different, in this case about 14% lower voter turnout.
That is, 7,633 less people came out to vote than in the GE. However, while Barisan Nasional/PAS posts a 7.7% lower vote than in the general election, PH votes dropped a massive 24%. The margin of victory by Barisan/PAS is 1,914 compared to the 1,998 GE14 margin by PH over Barisan/PAS total.
However, 5,562 less people voted for PH compared to a drop of only 1,650 for Barisan/PAS. Considering this massive net 3,912 less votes for PH (if it were to drop an equal number of voter as Barisan/PAS did), I would postulate that had the swing of votes, which would be mainly Malays, went from PH to Barisan/PAS the margin of victory would have been much larger and Barisan/PAS would not see any drop in its vote total compared to GE14.
It is therefore quite safe to assume that PH lost in votes were from its voters not turning up, not because of natural by-election apathy but out of disenchantment of PH performance thus far.
I have been travelling around the country on various matters over the last few months and it has dawned upon me that by and large the Malays hate the corrupt and are not that easily persuaded by religious or racial extremism. But they are longing for a decent and compassionate leadership.
By and large all these loud voices of extremism do not speak for them. Otherwise, I would be spat at everywhere I go.
Instead, I was always welcomed, even when some were a bit hesitant at first. But the minute the ice was broken, we knew all of us were the same. They want what every other Malaysians like you and me want. A safe, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia where they can earn an honest living, raise their children and embrace their fellow Malaysians of all shapes, colour and faith. They want honest leadership from their politicians. Honest capable leadership.
But PH has failed miserably where it matters. It has failed the eye-test of competency and honesty in its government, which it had promised to replace the old regime with.
When you accept people with fake degrees in your leadership appointments, your message is:Integrity does not matter to you either.
When such leaderships show obvious arrogance to clear cut issues like logging awards, wives appointed to official positions and the likes, the message is “we are no different than those we have replaced”.
Competency is a massive issue at present with ministers who seem to be talking without thinking. Black shoes, swimming pools and Finnish model when the basic of teaching and what is being taught cannot or would not be addressed. No tolls and then not really, no tolls and let’s have flying cars instead.
Compulsory vaccination, then later backtracked. Don’t even mention the ICERD. The word ICERD is so taboo that it is dangerous to even say it out loud in the corridors of powers. Every pronouncement they made seemed intent on destroying the credibility of competency of this new government we have elected.
The toll is a bread and butter issue. Treat your voters, nay, your citizens, with respect. Do not insult their intelligence. No one you talk to on a daily basis goes to work or send their kids to school after 11pm. Please. If you cannot do it, be honest about it. Minimum wage is about a decent living, not about what your work is.
Then there is the politicking. What is with the impatience and the backstabbing and the jockeying undermining sitting ministers?
Where are the voices of reason and leadership to counter extremists of religion and race?
Why the disquiet and the acquiescence in the face of religious extremist demands and voices of hatred?
Should we not remind ourselves that on September 16, 1963, Malaysia was born? In 1970, the idea of a nation was enshrined within its Rukun Negara, a philosophy worthy to be repeated and reminded to all today:
WHEREAS OUR COUNTRY, MALAYSIA nurtures the ambitions of:
Achieving a more perfect unity amongst the whole of her society;
Preserving a democratic way of life;
Creating a just society where the prosperity of the country can be enjoyed together in a fair and equitable manner;
Guaranteeing a liberal approach towards her rich and varied cultural traditions; and
Building a progressive society that will make use of science and modern technology.
This is our moral compass and idealism. Where has all that gone? Why have we taken these sacred and profound ideas and replaced them with chauvinistic, bigoted, exclusive through scare and hate mongering rhetoric of supremacist politics and religious extremism?
Indeed, I implore our politicians and especially the leaders of this nation – our prime minister and the ministers – where are your principles in upholding the aspirations and ideals of our Rukun Negara? Malaysians need leadership. Instead we are getting appeasement towards the extremist elements in our society.
Why can’t the Malay leadership in the PH Government step up, invoke and reiterate the need to uphold the ideals of our beloved Rukun Negara? Explain and exhort why the most important and critical value the nation must uphold, is unity of all races. To not listen to any voices that intend to divide but be the voice of reason, unity and progress for all Malaysians.
Why can’t the Malay leadership in the PH Government take the lead, stand up and proclaim that the Malays have nothing to fear but fear itself? That we, the Malays, are a race capable of leading a progressive and developed nation, competing with everyone else on equal terms proudly. That is the reason we deserve to be in leadership, not because we are entitled to it.
Who at PH has the character, courage and capability to show that he or she can lead the Malays and the whole nation as its leader for a modern Malaysia? Who among all of you elected representatives are going to stand up to be the leader for ALL Malaysians and not for specifically Malays first and then only for the rest?
And what is this with the cowering to the extremist elements in the Malay-Muslim community?
I am appalled at the knee-jerk reaction of the so-called insults to the Prophet, peace be upon him, and Islam. Are we going to allow the Malay society to degenerate into a foaming in the mouth outrage community at the slightest hurt to its ego and so called sensitivity like in the Middle East and Pakistan? Do we intend to have government religious policing of citizens’ opinions based on extremists’ interpretations of what insults and whatnot entails? Isn’t it better to use the religious agencies we have to reform our institutions and to explain to the people that Islam is a peaceful and inclusive religion?
People challenging ideas and values are normal. It’s how we learn and grow. Having unusual, “radical” or “extreme” views does not mean that the person is insulting to Islam or others, but promoting citizens to snitch on others as a means to punish people is a concern. Instead of looking at the means on how to catch on people who allegedly “insulted” Islam, our leaders ought to look at the root cause of why these people appear to be so hateful of Islam. These people are angry. Some are lashing out but most have remained silent.
There are a number of factors that contributed to the shaping of anti-Muslim sentiment among some segments of the public.
While politicians who are riding on Islam to wrestle power are a big reason, segments of the media, and religious leaders have also played a role in stoking anti-Muslim bigotry. Just as other faith- based groups have a responsibility to lean in, Muslim communities also need to lean in. So, when Muslims see those preaching divisive rhetoric about Islam, they need to stop it.
Then, you have people in the administration and institutions who are closely connected to the established extremist elements of Islam.
Our leaders need to rein in these elements and make it right again.
The Prophet, peace be upon him, had non-Muslim neighbors and family members who he loved, cared for, and had strong bonds and relationships with. If Islam taught Muslims to kill and hate all non-Muslims simply because of their faith, then he should have been the first to do it. However, that was not the case.
The Quran clarifies the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims as being one that is based on love and compassion. The Quran states Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who fought not against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity. (Quran 60: 8).
The Prophet, peace be upon him, himself was insulted throughout his life but never once did he punish those who insulted him. Umar Ibnu Khattab was a most cruel opponent of Islam, who was intent on his murder. Did the Prophet, peace be upon him, ever made a condemnation against him? Never. Umar eventually converted and became the second Caliph of Islam.
In a healthy, cohesive society, contentious issues ought to be debated. But there’s a fine line between curiosity and ridiculousness, and all too often it seems that the questions we get – no thanks to some hysterical media and populist politicians –are of the latter kind. It is a false notion that Islam teaches Muslims to hate all non-Muslims. Instead of accepting sweeping generalisations of a religion that is over 1400 years old, it is advisable to examine the Quran and see what it teaches in this regard. Does Islam actually teach Muslims to hate and commit violence against non-Muslims?
To all those out there insisting and screaming for punishment for such insults towards the Prophet, peace be upon him, and Islam, you are bringing nothing but shame and disrepute to Islam. You are showing that instead of being a great religion of peace, Islam is intolerant, thin-skinned, draconian and harsh.
So, dear Malay leadership of Malaysia, please wake up and lead as decent, unemotional but passionate leaders for all Malaysians. Be kind hearted, compassionate and progressive Muslims who can be admired by non-Muslims for that is what brings respect to Islam.
Great leaders are great listeners, and therefore my message today is a simple one – talk less and listen more. The best leaders are proactive, strategic, and intuitive listeners. They recognise that knowledge and wisdom is not gained by talking, but by listening. Being a leader should not be viewed as a license to increase the volume of rhetoric.
The world has seen enough violence and hatred carried out in the name of our religion. We need to show that we are different and we are admirable human beings.
An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind and heartless.
Source : The Star