Najib’s wasatiyyah campaign would have no credibility unless he could rescue the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) from the suspicion of a semi-underground organization inciting sedition, and take one step further, empower GMM to play a global role to mobilise world moderate opinion against Islamic State (IS)
In his Aidiladha message, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak reiterated that he would keep faith with the “moderation” pledge he made at the 69th United Nations General Assembly last month.
Najib should realize that his wasatiyyah (moderation) campaign of justice, balance and excellence would have no credibility whatsoever unless he is seen as upholding all these principles not only in the international arena but also in his government policies inside the country.
A news report today that an Umno delegate has called on the Umno General Assembly to discuss abolishing the Chinese vernacular school system on the baseless and spurious ground that it promoted racism and anti-establishment sentiments is the latest testimony of the failure of Najib’s wasatiyyah (moderation) campaign promoting the values of justice, balance and excellence.
The Umno delegate’s proposal to raise the intake of Malay and Indian students and teachers in Chinese schools to 60 per cent is the best proof that Najib’s five-year premiership has not only failed to foster justice, balance and excellence, but has provided a field day for immoderate, ignorant and intolerant viewpoints to spread and flourish.
This is no surprise when his two most important initiatives on wasatiyyah have proved to be such dismal failures.
Firstly, his 1Malaysia campaign, which is going the way of the pet project of his predecessor, Tun Abdullah, i.e. the totally forgotten “Islam Hadhari” project. But there is one important difference: the Islam Hadhari project was abandoned after Abdullah’s forced resignation as Prime Minister but Najib appeared to have himself given up the ghost of his 1Malaysia signature programme, a final triumph for his Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassim who repudiated the 1Malaysia project right from the beginning declaring that he was always “Malay first, Malaysian second”!
Secondly, the pathetic end of his brainchild, the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), which was conceived as the king-pin of his legacy not only to Malaysia but to the world community in his stirring call on “moderates of all countries, of all religions to take back the centre, to reclaim the agenda for peace and pragmatism, and to marginalize and reject extremism in all its forms because the real divide is not between East and West or between developed and developing worlds or between Muslims, Christians and Jews. It is between moderates and extremists of all religions”.
At present, the GMM which he initiated is operating like a semi-illegal organisation, when it had to ask the media not to report the proceedings of the GMM forum on the “Future of Malaysia” with NGOs, because the GMM cannot ensure the freedom and liberty of the participants and protect them from the sedition “white terror” which had deluged Malaysia for over a month.
Najib’s wasatiyyah campaign would have no credibility unless he could rescue the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) from the suspicion as a semi-underground organization inciting sedition, and take one step further, empower GMM to play a global role to mobilise world moderate opinion against Islamic State (IS).
What is the use of Najib talking about the three main ingredients of wasatiyyah – justice, balance and excellence – when every day, there are ample examples in Malaysia of the contemptuous disregard or violation of these values, whether in the seditious dragnet against opposition leaders and activists resulting from remorseless selective and malicious investigation and prosecution under the Sedition Act; gaining world infamy last week in being named as “one of the most corrupt nations in the world” in a recent survey by Ernst & Young; or another proof of the mediocrity of Malaysia’s higher education in being excluded for the fifth consecutive year from the Times Higher Education (THE) Top 400 World University Rankings 2014 and the admission by the University of Malaya Vice Chancellor that Malaysia’s premier university is not ready to join the Top 400 Universities scrutiny until 2018!
Has Najib any plan or strategy to rescue the Global Movement of Moderates from the baseless swamp of suspicion that it is not promoting moderation but has become quite a subversive organisation inciting sedition in the country, or is Najib resigned to write off the GMM as another of his failed projects?
The majority of Malaysians want the see the GMM succeed for regardless of race, religion or region, I am confident and convinced that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians are moderates and not extremists, who want to see inter-racial and inter-religious harmony, understanding and goodwill being constantly strengthened instead of being weakened and undermined.
If there are any reservations about the GMM, it is whether Najib is prepared to allow GMM full rein to promote moderation and marginalise extremism, whether nationally or internationally.
Let Najib empower GMM to play a global role to mobilise world moderate opinion against Islamic State (IS), starting with an international conference. Probably, GMM can co-operate with the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (with Tun Abdullah newly appointed as chairman) to organise the international conference moderates to mobilise opinion against Islamic State (IS).