Regrettable that there are UMNO leaders who are defending undemocratic, violent and extremist behaviour like obstruction and roughing up of DAP MP for Kluang Liew Chin Tong when visiting Pasar Ramadan Kluang to distribute dates and spread message of harmony and solidarity
It is most regrettable that there are UMNO leaders who are defending undemocratic, violent and extremist behaviour like the obstruction and roughing up of DAP MP for Kluang, Liew Chin Tong, when visiting Pasar Ramadan Kluang to distribute dates and spread the message of harmony and solidarity.
I commend the UMNO Youth leader and Minister for Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin, for condemning such thuggish and extremist behaviour, tweeting that such behaviour is contrary to the meaning of the month of Ramadan.
It would appear that this inability to realise the meaning and significance of Ramadan also afflict some UMNO leaders, like Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and MP for Muar, Datuk Razali Ibrahim who could defend such thuggish, violent, extremist behaviour like the roughing up of an MP going about his duties.
My Muslim friends tell me that fasting in Ramadan is not just abstaining from food and drink, but also abstaining from bad practices, whether malice, suspicion, vulgarity, immodesty, arrogance, ignorance and thinking ill of others – which definitely include the roughing up of an MP out on a mission of harmony and solidarity visiting Pasar Ramadan in his constituency.
We are living in a very troubled world, where the voices of extremism and fanaticism want to hijack public discourse and mainstream space by preaching hate, distrust, suspicion, intolerance and conflict.
These are the real enemies of a peaceful, harmonious united, progressive and prosperous multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural Malaysia as they want to create disunity, division and discord by setting race against race and religion against religion.
Malaysians do not want to see in the country the bombings and killings of innocent people as happened in Manchester, London, Paris, Jakarta, Mindanao or most recently in Teheran, whether by Islamic State or other extremist and fanatical elements – which will be Malaysia’s future if the voices of hate, intolerance and extremism are allowed to hijack public discourse and mainstream space in Malaysia.
Moderate Malaysians must wake up to these dangers and not lose out by default to the extremists and fanatics, by ceding ground in public discourse or mainstream space by their failure to take an uncompromising stand of zero tolerance for extremism and fanaticism.
The question is whether patriotic and moderate Malaysians can unite to save the country from irresponsible forces of disunity, division and disunity.
Malaysia is not a nation of one race or one religion, but a nation of diverse races, religions and cultures.
Malaysia as “Instant Asia” should not just be a draw for tourists to come to Malaysia from all over the world, as the racial, linguistic, religious and cultural diversity of Malaysia is a national asset and not a liability for Malaysian nation-building.
Malaysia can become a world-class nation if we can leverage on the best qualities and values of the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures which meet in confluence Malaysia, but Malaysia is doomed as a nation if we allow the voices of extremism and intolerance free rein in our national life.
My visits to the Ramadan bazaars in Johor, Penang, Selangor and Sabah since the beginning of Ramadan have reinforced my conviction that regardless of race, religion or politics, Malaysians on the ground want and cherish peace, tolerance, understanding and mutual respect.
Malaysians regardless of race, religion or politics must learn from the lessons of failed states which have allowed the voices of hate, intolerance and extremism to prevail over the voices of reason, love, compassion, tolerance, goodwill, solidarity and mutual respect, and gone down the slippery slope of national division and destruction.
The greatest challenge of Malaysia in the coming years is whether we can build on the goodwill, solidarity, tolerance and mutual understanding and respect of the diverse races, religions and cultures or allow the voices of intolerance, hatred and extremism to destroy the bonds of reason, love, compassion and unity we have built in the past and replace them with hate, mistrust, intolerance and extremism which could only end with greater national discord and division.