Who can count more than two Ministers in the Najib Cabinet who are committed moderates in the great battle between moderation and extremism – the raison d’etre for the foundation of Najib’s Global Movement of Moderates?

I said yesterday that the “ruckus” in Parliament on Monday created by the Selangor UMNO/Barisan Nasional chief, Datuk Noh Omar, the UMNO/BN MP for Tanjung Karang had thrown up a teaser – whether the majority of UMNO Ministers, MPs and leaders are like Noh Omar, who are not prepared publicly to endorse Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiative and yet deny being an extremist.

Actually, the “ruckus” had done more, as it also raised the fundamental question how Najib’s GMM initiative could have any chance of success when it is impossible to identify more than a handful of committed moderates in Cabinet and UMNO/BN leadership!

For instance, how many Ministers and UMNO/BN leaders are fully committed moderates dedicated to the moderate agenda of the GMM campaign, as repeatedly spelt out by Najib in various international forums in the past four years, as follows:

“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.”

I cannot count more than two fully committed moderates in the Cabinet who are willing to take up the cudgel of moderation against extremism and rally behind a coalition of moderates to reclaim their religion and pursue the path to peace.

Are there more than two Ministers in the Najib Cabinet who are prepared to publicly declare themselves as “moderates” in the great battle between moderation and extremism which was the raison d’etre for the existence of the GMM!

Will Cabinet Ministers who regard themselves as committed moderates in the great battle between moderation and extremism please stand up and identify themselves?

This goes for the UMNO/BN political leaders as well!

Apart from the two “moderate” Ministers in the Cabinet, the rest seems to be either extremists or “nominal moderates” – or Malaysia would not have been plunged into the worst racial and religious polarisation in more than four decades of nation-building, with hate speech and incitement of racial and religious tensions and conflict without having the face the wrath and sanctions of the law becoming quite commonplace.

The MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sarawak and Sabah Ministers may claim to be moderates, but they are at most “nominal’ or token moderates, who dare not take a stand against the extremists who preach intolerance and hatred against other faiths – demanding for instance that the Perkasa President, Ibrahim Ali should be prosecuted for his threat to burn the Bible as well as demanding that there should be zero tolerance for any threat to burn any holy books of any religion in multi-religious Malaysia.

The first three Prime Ministers of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein, would be most dismayed if they are alive today to see the sad state of racial and religious relations in the country where, instead of celebrating the country’s ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, reckless individuals and groups are seeking with immunity and impunity to denigrate and diminish this diversity.

Will this height of denigration and demonization of the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity reach a new climax at Umno General Assemblies at the end of the month?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah