Was lack of “tongkat ali” the reason why the Cabinet abdicated from its collective responsibility from taking a stand on Nancy’s parliamentary answer on why Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible?
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak was in Milan yesterday for the Asia-Europe (Asem) Summit, but this cannot be the excuse why the Cabinet had abdicated from its collective responsibility from taking a stand on the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri’s parliamentary answer on why Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible.
Had Nancy correctly reflected the common stand of all Cabinet Ministers on the issue binding every Minister in accordance with the principle of collective responsibility, or had Nancy given a wrong, incorrect and unacceptable response, especially with reference to her statements that Ibrahim was not prosecuted because he was defending the sanctity of Islam and his action was protected by Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution.
Has the principle of collective Ministerial responsibility in Malaysia degenerated in practice to mean “that no one is responsible”?
Or, to quote the Gerakan President Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, was the lack of “tongkat ali” the reason why the Cabinet abdicated from its collective responsibility from taking a stand on Nancy’s parliamentary answer on why Ibrahim Ali was not prosecuted, as it is inconceivable that Ministers, whether from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah or Sarawak, who support Najib’s initiative of a Global Movement of Moderates could endorse the answer given by Nancy in Parliament – making them collectively responsible for her answer.
It is no use MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sarawak, Sabah and even UMNO “moderate” Ministers praising Najib for his recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly against religious intolerance and extremism and even pledging “full and strong support” when as Ministers of the Najib Cabinet, they are not prepared to walk Najib’s talk by refusing to compromise with any form of extremism and religious intolerance, like Ibrahim’s immunity from the sanctions of the law for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible.
Najib had often touted Malaysia as a model of a peaceful, stable and harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious nation in the world, with the people committed to moderation in all forms of action, decision, attitude and words, and rejecting all extreme, fanatical and violent views.
In his speech to the MCA General Assembly only last week, Najib reiterated that in whichever country he visited, he got reactions from foreign leaders, saying they are impressed with Malaysia and asking: “What is the secret to Malaysia’s success?”
The foreign leaders don’t see how a complex community can live in a peaceful and harmonious environment.
But Malaysia as a model of a peaceful, stable and harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious nation has come under unprecedented threat in recent years.
The volume, frequency and venom of hate speech on race and religion, promoting extremism and religious intolerance in the country in the past four years had outpaced all such hate speech in the country in the previous four decades – and one such example is the irresponsible threat by Ibrahim Ali to burn the Malay-language Bible, which was never uttered before.
This explains why in the latest survey finding by Pew Research Centre, nearly one-third of Malaysians see religious and ethnic hatred as posing the greatest danger to the world , a concern shared by Indonesia amid simmering religious tensions in both countries and the rise of violent militant Islamist groups.
The Washington-based research group’s Greatest Dangers in the World survey showed 32 per cent of Malaysians cited religious and ethnic hatred as the biggest global threat today.
In contrast, 22 per cent Malaysians surveyed pointed to nuclear weapons, 16 per cent said environmental damage, 13 per cent cited increasing income inequality and 12 per cent highlighted AIDS and other diseases as major global threats.
Concerns about religious and ethnic hatred ranked the highest in Malaysia among Asian countries, followed by Bangladesh (30 per cent), Indonesia (26 per cent) and India (25 per cent).
In the global survey of 44 countries among 48,643 respondents, Malaysia is one of the 12 countries which see religious and ethnic hatred as posing the greatest danger to the world, viz:
The Pew Research Centre study was conducted from March 17 to June 5. If it is conducted today, the saliency of religious and ethnic hatred as posing the greatest danger to the world would have risen to a higher pitch, especially after taking into account three new factors, viz:
(i) Nancy’s parliamentary reply on why Ibrahim is not prosecuted for his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible which is still not contradicted by the Cabinet or the Prime Minister.
(ii) the “white terror” regime of seditious prosecution blitz to stifle legitimate criticism and dissent so as to create a climate of fear, while expressions of extremism and religious intolerance enjoy legal immunity and impunity; and
(iii) the continued upsurge of extremism and religious intolerance, to the extent that Najib’s brainchild, the Global Movement of Moderates and GMM operatives are regarded as subversive and “seditious”, gravely hampering their operations.
Najib has made a most laudable and praiseworthy speech in the United Nations General Assembly condemning extremism and religious intolerance as the real threat to global peace and security.
However, the Prime Minister has yet to convince Malaysians that the principles of moderation he enunciated in his UN General Assembly speech apply equally to his Malaysian nation-building policies at home, including having no truck with extremism and religious intolerance displayed by Ibrahim Ali in his threat to burn the Malay-language Bible.
Or is it necessary to stock Cabinet meetings with ample supplies of “tongkat ali” every week the Ministers meet?