MODERATION & MINORITY RIGHTS – ARE WE PRACTICING WHAT WE PREACH ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN/APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST?
Foreign Minister, Anifah Aman is reported to have stated at the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York that Malaysia seeks to bring forth the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiative to the United Nations (UN) through a Resolution to negate the propagation of extremism and radicalization.
And among its core objectives is, to douse the flames of hatred and stem the influence of extreme and myopic ideas of intolerance, xenophobia and racial hatred.
Not just that!
That it was imperative for communities of different race, religion, and culture to band together in seeking common peaceful aspirations and celebrate our diversity rather than be influenced, and enticed into extremist traps.
I just cannot disagree with any of those aspirations, which are all lauded!
And knowing Anifah the way I do, he is being very honest and committed to this agenda, without any notions of hypocrisy!
But my difficulty has always being the contention that all nations should not just work towards moderation, preserving dignity, human rights of races and their religious persuasions, at the global stage but these need to be entrenched and grounded in as a key and core nation building pillar domestically, which gives one credibility to claim to be prophets of moderation!
But can we today honestly do so, with the current chaotic narrative that is going on in Malaysia with all kinds of religious extremists, fanatics, racial vigilantes and bigots undermining the tenets of race and religious life in multi-racial Malaysia?
Inexplicably, I understand during the same time frame Anifah was not the only Malaysian politician who was throwing out noble and civilized beatitudes at the world stage!
At the 11th Asean Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime and the second Asean Ministerial Meeting on the Rise of Radicalisation and Violent Extremism, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi seem to have gone on a “self-righteous joy ride” in wanting to advice the Myanmar government while taking pot shots at their Nobel Peace laureate.
We have taken offence also with the ASEAN chairperson’s statement on the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State, in Myanmar but, are we forgetting that ASEAN works on consensus?
I wonder what would have been the official replies by both Anifah and Zahid, if foreign head of states or other members of the diplomatic fraternity had asked them on the rise of radicalization and violent extremism, the confirmed involvement of Malaysians in areas of international conflict embedded with IS fighters be they in the middle east, Indonesia, Philippines or soon in Myanmar?
More importantly, are we are a moderate country at this stage of time?
In all humility I also wonder what our response and reply would be if we were asked what ever happened to Pastor Raymond Koh, following the professionally executed abduction of the 62-year-old pastor and charity worker in broad daylight on Feb 13.
And why stop there!
What about the intolerance displayed by religious bigots and vigilantes who are going around infringing the civil rights of non-Muslim Malaysians, which is now downright public, going viral at times, which is causing fear and alarm among peace loving Malaysians of all races and religious persuasions while those expected to serve and protect seem in a state of political and administrative comatose?
This despite the supremacy of secular law in Malaysia as upheld in 1988 in the Supreme Court case of Che Omar bin Che Soh vs Public Prosecutor!
Despite so, religious bigots, fanatics, extremist are continuing to impose dominance on non-Muslims or insist on their religious superiority when nothing like that is embedded in the Federal Constitution!
Perhaps, as the saying goes, charity should start at home and we should stop self-righteously lecturing others, while, conveniently and in political expediency, closing both eyes to the deterioration of race and religious relationships and over grown polarization from cradle to grave which is a grave injustice to the nation’s founding fathers and the aspirations of Malaysia Prime Minister’s Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia policy?