Moderates must speak up for Malaysia

September 15, 2016

Moderates must speak up for Malaysia

We the moderates must speak up now before it’s too late. We must not let the future generation say that the majority who are moderates and liberal have allowed the few who are extremists and narrow minded to destroy the country.–Tan Sri Mohd. Sheriff Kassim

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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.–  Edmund Burke.

We deserve the leader we get. We get Najib Razak–the incompetent, dishonest, lying and corrupt Prime Minister in our country’s history. Thank You, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for teaching and mentoring him –Din Merican


By Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim

Historians have noted that it took only a few evil men to use the ideology of hate and the promise of eternal glory to justify the atrocities that killed millions of people in Europe and in Asia during the last world war. The majority of the population were good people and totally innocent of the crimes but by their silence, they allowed the atrocities to happen on such an unprecedented scale.

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Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim

Years after the war, and even today, people are still asking how such state – sponsored terror could have happened in the twenty-first century. The young of today feel ashamed and disgusted that the previous generation did not do anything to stop the madness before their countries were plunged into war, with disastrous consequences. The lesson learned from what happened not so long ago is that it takes only a few to do terrible damage to the country if the majority who are good people are complacent and do not care about defending the values that make us a united Malaysian nation.

Muslim countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and in this region are seeing the same ambivalence among the moderate majority in the population, allowing the few who claim they know about religion to use it as an ideology in their violent crusade to change society and eventually the country, from secularism and democracy to Islamism and theocracy. In many of these countries, the poor, the angry unemployed youths and the social misfits are easily attracted to the call for jihad, especially those who have been indoctrinated from young in their religious education to hate everything that originates from the West, like human rights, constitutional freedoms, music, pop culture, art exhibitions, statues and sculptures, St Valentine’s Day, Christmas celebration, yoga etc. These values and artistic pleasures are denounced by extremists as liberal ideas and alien cultures which have no place in the Islamic state. The chaos and internal instability which follow the rise of religious extremism to change the value system towards religiosity create so much gloom and despair that many of the best people in Muslim countries simply give up and migrate to western countries.

In Malaysia, we have a relatively socially advanced society as a result of the country’s economic modernisation and its exposure to external influences. Further, its racial and cultural diversity, the higher level of urbanisation and the bigger size of the middle class compared to other Muslim countries make Malaysians feel at ease with modern lifestyles and social interactions among the races. Its education system is basically secular in content and there is no hate ideology in it. The young can find jobs and absolute poverty is practically non-existent. The government’s caring policies have shielded the poorer population from the difficulties of daily life. All these factors help to insulate the country from extremism.

Nevertheless, the growing tide of religious excesses and intolerance for diversity is a cause for worry especially with the close alliance between race, religion and politics, which is creating suspicion that the national leaders are knowingly allowing the conservative ulama to dictate their strict interpretation of Islam and their social values on us Muslims. The silent majority among Malaysians are watching with concern at the Arabisation of Malay – Muslim society because if this trend accelerates, it will create divisions among the Malays, with the extremists calling themselves true followers of Islam and labelling others as infidels. When Muslims are divided along sectarian lines, the potential for conflict is very great.

Image result for Najib and Harussani

Three Peas in a Disaster Pod–Malaynisation and Arabisation

As we are seeing in the Middle East today, when Muslims fight each other in their sectarian wars, they will find somebody to be the scapegoats for their failures. Usually, it’s the Jews and the Christians who get blamed. We are seeing that in Malaysia too. When a Muslim is seen in the compound of a church, the whole Christian community is accused of conspiring to subvert Islam. States compete with each other to issue fatwas to ban everything that is associated with western values, not realising that Christianity or imperialism has nothing to do with these values. Those who criticise the religious bullying are threatened with the Sedition Act. If the critics are Chinese or Indians, they are called ungrateful pendatang as an insult.

We must not allow sectarianism and intolerance to grow their tentacles in our country and therefore we must speak up for moderation in Islam and mutual respect in our race relations, as loudly as we can. We the moderates must speak up now before it’s too late. Let it not be said by the future generation that the majority who are moderates and liberal have allowed the few who are extremists and narrow-minded to destroy the country.

Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff bin Mohd Kassim is the former Secretary-General of the Treasury, Ministry of Finance and Chief Executive, Khazanah Nasional and a member of the civil society group G25.

6 thoughts on “Moderates must speak up for Malaysia

  1. It’s UMNO that made all this possible, and it will be UMNO that will perpetuate it.

    So will you, Tan Sri, vote against UMNO?

    If not, please go back and enjoy the following chairmanships which, without UMNO, (Lama or Baru), you wouldn’t have got :-

    Non-Executive Chairman
    Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia Berhad

    Non-Executive Chairman
    Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Berhad

    Non-Independent Non-Executive Chairman
    Edgenta PROPEL Berhad

    Chairman, Chairman of Nominations & Remuneration Committee and Chairman of Investment Committee
    Plus Expressways Bhd

    Non-Executive Chairman, Chairman of Audit Committee, Chairman of Remuneration Committee, Chairman of Nomination Committee and Chairman of Risk Management Committee
    Scientex Berhad

  2. I respect what the author wrote above.

    But, “moderate” is a political position that neither endures nor inspiring. Often defending the Constitution requires patriots to die for the cause. Mother cat defending her kittens also might die fighting with stronger predators. Dying is not moderation in any definition by any dictionaries.

    We should not allow Islamists to claim center or the main stream conservative of our political spectrum. To that end, there must be enough right-thinking people to unequivocally claim to be the conservative, the vanguard of traditions and of what has been working (albeit not perfect) so far.

    In politics, positioning is vital. It determines the party long-term survival and thriving. Claiming your opposition party to be of far left or far right is committing suicide, from the get-go in a stable society. Claiming yourselves as liberal while forming a weak-by-definition “moderate” has the similar effect of committing political suicide.

    Islamism is neither conservative nor far right, as some confused pundits would like, with confused good intention, you to believe. Self-government was a revolutionary idea borne in USA 240 year ago. The revolutionary idea is still impacting the world now. In this revolutionary idea, people’s attitude toward government has changed toward “government of, by, and for the people”. Therefore, the attitude of the people toward governments should be the yardstick to measure right, center, and left positions of modern politics. The far left is communism who believes the government should control the production of society. The far right is the anarchism, which wants no government at all. Slightly to the right of communism is socialism which wants heavy government intervention. Slightly to the left of anarchism is libertarianism which wants minimal government. Somewhere between libertarianism and socialism is the center, which could be called Americanism, which treats government as necessary evil and exists only for protecting the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Islamism believes in collectivism, that is, some centralized power to drastically change (such as cruel punishments) society in the image of an idealized Islamic state. Islamism is therefore at the far left of the political spectrum viewed from people who subscribe to self-government, the brainchild of American revolution.

    BTW, fascism such as NAZI is also at the far left of the aforementioned political spectrum. There is no coincidence that the name “NAZI” stands for German Socialist Worker Party. Categorizing fascism as far left must have been a surprise to some readers here. But it is true as long as you believe the attitude of people toward government should be the yardstick to measure the political spectrum.

  3. Mr/Ms Shiou’s strange classification of political ideologies.

    The terms “left” and “right” in political discourse came from the days of the French Revolution where those who wanted radical change in society sat on the left side of the national assembly and those who were less radical sat on the right side.

    The correct term is National Socialist German Workers Party, not German Socialist Worker Party. The radical anti-capitalist elements (led by Ernst Rohm) in the Nazi party were eliminated by Adolf Hitler during the Night of the Long Knives. The Nazi party then went into alliance with the big capitalists-industrialists such as Krupp. Krupp made heavy use of slave labourers during WW2.

    Shiou is also all confused about the differences between anarchism (anti-capitalist, anti-state, very strong emphasis on individual rights and freedoms, emphasises co-operation between people) and libertarianism (pro-capitalist, very strong believers in competition and the “magic of the marketplace). Kropotkin and Bakunin are some of the most important thinkers in anarchism.
    Anarchism was influential amongst some Republicans during the Spanish Civil War.

  4. Majority moderates in malaysia derive from government grants and employed in government or GLC positions. Naturally, their voting privacy is at stake to vote at their free will. Many are forced to vote for government or risk losing on their jobs and promotions. Family security and fame comes first.

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