Are the majority of UMNO Ministers, MPs and leaders like Noh Omar, not prepared publicly to endorse Najib’s Global Movement of Moderates initiative and yet deny being an extremist?
The “ruckus” by the Selangor UMNO/Barisan Nasional chief, Datuk Noh Omar, the UMNO/BN MP for Tanjung Karang in Parliament yesterday has thrown up a teaser – are the majority of UMNO Ministers, MPs and leaders like Noh Omar, not prepared publicly to endorse Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiative and yet deny being an extremist.
It would be interesting for a such a vote to be taken.
That this question has to be asked four years after Najib has launched his GMM campaign with very uncertain answers is a sad reflection of the failure of another signature policy of the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Najib’s first signature policy failure was the infamous case in early 2010 when his Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in response to my challenge, declared that he was “Malay first, Malaysian second” in a unqualified repudiation of the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia Policy!
Yesterday, when Noh Omar tried to be a hero during my speech on the Prime Minister’s Department during the committee stage of the 2015 Budget, I challenged Noh Omar to declare his stand whether he is a “moderate or extremist” in the context of Najib’s promotion of the GMM initiative, where in his third speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, 2014, he said:
“The fight against extremism is not about Christians versus Muslims, or Muslims versus Jews, but moderates versus extremists of all religions. We therefore need to rally a coalition of moderates; those willing to reclaim their religion, and pursue the path to peace.”
Despite being repeatedly challenged, Noh Omar refused to declare that he is a “moderate” as defined by Najib’s GMM campaign, and instead sought refuge in a meaningless statement: “I want to declare in this House, as an MP and a Malaysian, that I obey the law of the Constitution and Rukunegara”.
Noh Omar is unable to state where in the Constitution or Runkunegara is there justification or authority for Perkasa President, Ibrahim Ali, to threaten to burn the Bible without having to face the wrath and sanctions of the law.
It was therefore no surprise that Noh Omar refused to respond when I pointedly asked him whether he would agree to a zero-tolerance policy for any threat to burn the holy book of any religion in Malaysia.
I had earlier said that just as there should be a zero tolerance for corruption, there should be a zero tolerance for any threat to turn the holy books of any religion in multi-religious Malaysia – whether Quran for Islam, Bible for Christianity, Tripitaka for Buddhism, Vedas for Hinduism, Torah for Judaism, Guru Granth Sahib for Sikhism and Tao Te Ching for Taoism?
Noh Omar had never agreed to any policy of zero tolerance for corruption (which is why Malaysia’s corruption problem is so grave and rampant) and it is asking him to do the impossible to agree to a policy of zero tolerance for any threat to burn the holy books of any religion in multi-religious Malaysia.
But if so, how can Noh Omar qualify to be a “moderate” in the context of the contest between “moderates and extremists” in the fight against extremism?
But what is most educative and informative is that the Nor Omar “ruckus” in Parliament has also thrown out the teaser – whether the majority of UMNO Ministers, MPs and leaders are like Noh Omar not prepared publicly to endorse Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiative and yet deny being an extremist!