I was encouraged that in line with the spirit of Ramadan, beloved Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, has urged all Muslims to guard their words and refrain from making wild allegations or spreading slander.
This is on top of seizing the opportunity for extra blessings and seeking repentance from Allah, he said in a blog post today.
But I am certain, that this benevolent advice, from the premier is not confined to just Muslims but to all Malaysians, members of the cabinet, politicians, political parties, civil society members, educationist, lecturers, sitting and retired members of the judiciary, members of our professional bodies, our nation’s security service groups, religious leaders, and members of the households, after all, every religion advises their followers from doing evil deeds and certainly malicious defamatory comment!
I am certain that the premier’s advice will include race and religious baiting, seditious and bigotry attacks, assaults, bullying and all forms of hate crimes!
Basically, anything that violates our penal code and most importantly, our infamous Sedition Act 1948 and Section 298A of the Penal Code?
But sadly, the reality on the ground is the very opposite, which brings great shame and humiliation to the aspirations of our founding fathers!
Today, one cannot park a vehicle at a Ramadan bazaar, without an altercation of a worst kind, as seen recently in a video of such an event in Kuah, Langkawi, Kedah, that has gone viral internationally with a police report made, or a motor accident taking place where third parties gang up making an accident, a race issue and cause grievous bodily harm to the motorist and damage to the vehicle and in some cases, in the very presence of our ‘law and order’ guys, the verbal vulgarity shown, when residents ask outsiders parking indiscriminately blocking residents free movement into their own residences, or the mentally sick and extremist baiting of minorities to fights for no apparent rhyme or reason!
One such incident, the ‘infamous slap affair’, took place right in the presence of the Prime Minister, which was nationally televised.
Did the law take its course in that incident or was it circumvented?
Sadly in all these acts, a statesmen response did not come which would put a halt to such race and hate crimes!
Is political expediency more important, then, to protect the nation from political shenanigans, thugs, outsourced NGOs and mischief makers, no matter how high, they are in the political tier, out to cause race and religious rifts and turmoil?
As such, rightly or wrongly, the present situation gives the perception, that it is alright for certain cross section of our demography to take the law and matters into their own hands and cause mischief, in a multi-racial and religious country and try to cover up that act of mischief, with a preemptive police report abusing due process?
This must be addressed in the spirit of Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia aspirations!
It is a pity that we are not having a conversation nationally, why this is happening and how to plan a national plan of action to address and curb it!
It is a pity,that instead, we have hate groups fueling and encouraging the rot, which threatens all that we have worked for 60 years post-independence.
There are groups, with umbilical cords to mentally challenged politicians, very well financed and active, whose preoccupation seems to be to highlight our differences at each and every facet of our lives, rather than the similarities, that brought us together pre-independence, to exclude rather than include us, in national policy planning conversations, as if we do not exist or matter, to sideline and sidestep partners and stakeholders in 1Malaysia.
I am certain Premier Najib, is aware who I am alluding to, and it is important that he takes these groups to task as he is the nation’s Prime Minister and our leader!
Last week, I asked a group of ex-servicemen during my dialogue sessions on addressing community grouses and woes, why the anger and hate crimes increasing in our beloved nation?
And their reply was, they really do not know.
They agree that these groups who are being attacked, verbally abused, defamed, threatened have not personally hurt them, but the vernacular media and politician’s statements and comments are giving a portrait that paints them, in very negative light raising anger and animosity towards the former!
They were sorry this is happening and want to do their best to uphold and uplift the nation’s 1Malaysia aspirations!
As Malaysia, ASEAN and APEC lead consumerist and human rights advocate, in the twilight of my life, I cannot but plead with both the government and my colleagues, in the media and civil society, to come together and address a national conference of unity and reconciliation, which is much needed before our beloved nation, historically known for its unity in diversity, moderation, secular and pragmatism is torn asunder by race and religious fanaticism, bigotry, extremism and violence destroying all that has been achieved through the sheer sacrifice, commitment, dedication, honor, dignity, decorum and statesmanship of our founding fathers!