Najib Razak has no interest in Electoral Reform


April 16, 2017

Najib Razak has no interest in Electoral Reform–Should he?

by Teck Chi Wong

http://www.newmandala.org

Mr. Teck Chi Wong, a former journalist and editor with Malaysiakini.com, is currently pursuing a Master of Public Policy at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy.

Malaysia’s enthusiasm for electoral reform is arguably at its lowest point, after being high on the tide in the past 10 years as reflected by successive Bersih gatherings from 2007 to 2016.

But electoral reform is now more important than ever, particularly after the 1MDB scandal. If the authoritarian and corrupt political system is not overhauled, it will seriously impede the country’s ability to achieve high-income status in the long run.

In Malaysia, growth is never purely about the market. The state has been, and still is, playing important roles in steering and managing the economy. In fact, Malaysia was regarded in the 1990s as one of the successful models of the ‘development state’ in East Asia, which through learning and transferring resources to productive sectors had successfully industrialised the country and lifted many of its citizens out of poverty.

These East Asian developmental states, including Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, shared some common characteristics. Many of them (except Japan) were authoritarian regimes in the 1970s and 1980s. But all of them were strong in facilitating policies and learning from others for growth.

On top of that, being authoritarian also helped these countries to stabilise their political landscape and therefore create a business environment which encouraged foreign investment to flow in. However, in Malaysia, it came at a tremendous and bloody price: the racial riots of 1969.

Key to this development model is the quality of the state. But it is difficult for these authoritarian regimes to maintain or improve their quality in the long run. Authoritarian order means that a lack of appropriate checks and balances for those in power leaves the system susceptible to corruption. At the same time, social and economic development gives rise to new needs and demands of accountability and integrity from the publics. As a result, political and social tensions emerge.

The East Asian developmental states approached this problem differently. Both South Korea and Taiwan had since democratised in 1980s and 1990s. Intense political competitions subjected those in power to greater checks and balances, and therefore reduced the most blatant forms of corruption.

Singapore, meanwhile, is an outlier. Despite not much progress in terms of democratisation, the city state has been outstanding in eliminating corruption. Many would point to the tough law and the high salaries of politicians and civil servants for the reason behind low corruption in the country. But exactly how Singaporean leaders could be disciplined despite no strong institutional checks and balances is still subject to debate, although this could possibly relate to their strong desire to guarantee Singapore’s survival in the international market and the region.

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Zahid Hamidi, Keruak and Najib Razak–Patronage and Corruption is rampant in Malaysia today

Malaysia is stuck in the middle. Not only is it in the middle-income trap, but it is also wrestling between authoritarianism and democracy. The quality of its institutions, including its cabinet system, parliament and judiciary, has been on the decline and they cannot mount any effective checks and balances against UMNO, the dominant ruling party. Resultantly, corruption and patronage are widespread in the government.

This has serious implications for the economy, particularly when the country is seeking to leave the middle-income trap. To entrepreneurs, rent-seeking is simply more profitable, as reflected by the fact that most of the wealth of Malaysian billionaires is created in rent-heavy industries, like banking, construction, housing development and resources.

All of these forces are embodied in the recent 1MDB scandal. Although Prime Minister Najib Razak is accused of embezzling billions of public funds and the scandal has rocked investor confidence, no institutions can hold him accountable and no amount of public pressure can force him to step down. As long as Najib is controlling UMNO, his position is solid, as opponents are eliminated from the government and the party. Zahid Hamidi knows this well since Hishamuddin Tun Hussein has been appointed as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department to hold him in check.

If there is one lesson we can learn from South Korea and Taiwan, that would be democratisation can help to change the underlying political structure and strengthen the quality of the state. Through intensified political competition and appropriate checks and balances, the public can put more pressure on those in power to be more accountable and focus on economic development.

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In fact, the difference between South Korea and Malaysia is particularly stark now that Park Guen-hye, the former President of South Korea, was impeached. This happened just within months after the corruption scandal involving Park’s best friend erupted in October last year.

In Malaysia, the overhaul in political structure over the long run must be achieved through electoral reform, which includes making the Election Commission independent and reducing gerrymandering and malapportionment. As long as the electoral system is not changed, UMNO can remain in power by holding onto its support bases in rural areas. The recent controversies surrounding redelineation process just again highlight the need for reform.

To many, for Malaysia to regain its shine after the 1MDB scandal, Najib must go. But that would be just a tiny first step on a long journey to reform and democratise its political and administrative institutions.

 

Malaysia: Ceremonial Titles for Sale to Status Conscious Desperadoes


April 11, 2017

Malaysia:  Ceremonial Titles for Sale

by Dr.M. Bakri Musa, Morgan-Hill, California

http://www.bakrimusa.com

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A prominent businessman who had hosted more than one Agong (King of Malaysia) as well as many Sultans was hauled away in his orange lock-up attire, desperate to hide his face, on charges of trying to bribe the Sultan of Johor over recommendations for a federal royal honorific title.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) has yet to release the suspect’s identity, or the charges. The social and mainstream media have already condemned him, Malaysia’s corruption personified. It is rare for the two often very contrasting views to coincide.

Conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the complementary if not necessary role of the other half of the equation, recipients of his alleged bribes. If we were to focus on that instead, it would expose this corrosive and despicable aspect of Malaysian society. The man, as well as MACC Chief, the Sultan of Johor, and a few others would then emerge as heroes, and Malaysia the better for it. As for who the true villains were, we would have to wait.

The suspect was also alleged to have “brokered” on behalf of aspiring Malay knight wannabes among rich non-Malays, those willing to fork out huge sums for the privilege of donning the white songkok and the accompanying monkey suit during official functions.

The irony does not escape me. Non-Malays, the Chinese in particular, may be resentful if not disdainful of Malay community and culture, the consequence of being excluded from the New Economic Policy. Their elite however, are not at all bashful in pursuing feudal Malay titles. That reflects more the financial, social and other clouts such titles confer in contemporary Malaysia, less the honorees’ respect for Malay values.

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UMNO’s Hulubalangs (Warriors)

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Hulubalang- in-Chief: UMNO’s Najib Razak

Cases of Malaysian royal titles being bought, or allegations thereof, are not news. They are also far from being mere allegations. There is a portrait, viral in the social media, of a mongoloid-looking character barely out of his teens, all prim and proper in his official pose as a Malay hulubalang (warrior). I wonder what great service this prodigy had rendered.

I was once at a social function in America hosted by one of Malaysia’s many Sultans here on a private visit. I found myself in a quiet corner with some of the guests. The conversation drifted on the many titled ones in the crowd, and of royal awards generally. To clarify and confirm what I thought I was hearing, I inquired as to the prevailing price of such titles, specifically with this Sultan, known for his exuberant generosity in dispensing such honors. When told, I replied with nonchalant casualness that it was well within my affordability range. With the other sultans, the rates could be doubled, I was told.

Imagine my surprise when a few weeks later I received a phone call from Malaysia. The caller identified himself as a “Raja” and “well connected to the palace.” He wanted to pursue “the topic we had discussed!”

I burst out laughing and assured him that I had only been joking. He kept pressing me, unconvinced by my reply. He was so persistent that I had to hang up on him. I did not know whether he was genuine or a con artist trying to rip me off. I was not interested to find out.

Thus, when the Sultan of Johor exposed that bribery attempt, it elicited a yawn in me. What was new? There was indeed something new, or at least unusual. First, the manner of his revealing it – on his social media. My inquisitiveness then took over. Why him, and of much greater significance, why now and the manner?

When I was a surgeon in General Hospital Johor Bharu in 1977, a colleague was banished out of state within 24 hours for allegedly being rude to a sultan. No trial, no due process. Imagine trying to bribe one! I expected the royal keris to have been sharpened, as in days of yore, not a posting in social media. Not many would dare even consider bribing a sultan, except perhaps the Sultan of Sulu. That would not be a bribe as he has no official function or power, and thus no favors to bestow.

It is safe to conclude that the Johor Sultan was not the suspect’s first or only attempted bribee. It is also safe to conclude that he must have some familiarity with sultans generally and that of Johor specifically.

In Malay culture, peasants bringing tributes to their Sultans is the norm, much like Hindus their deities. That businessman could be trying to be a humble and loyal rakyat.

If MACC were to focus only on the briber, then this case would be no different from the many others. The same dynamics, comparable greed, and similar motives; only the personalities differ, and of course the size, nature, and purpose of the loot.

Circumstances create heroes. This is the rare and unique opportunity for the MACC chief to prove his mettle, to be a true, honest, and devoted public servant, as he without end claims to be. “Flip” this alleged briber; make him a prosecution witness instead of the defendant. Offer him immunity and a deal he could not refuse in return for the “goods” he would deliver.

It would not be an easy choice for the suspect. Coming from a culture that bred the feared Triads, not dissimilar from the Mafia, with its code of silence enforced with unimaginable brutality, being truthful would not come naturally, not to mention could be very dangerous. On the other hand, the prospect of a long jail sentence, and leaving behind your foreign wife and young children, is not palatable either.

Then consider the potential rewards, of being hailed a hero for exposing the seedy aspect of the royalty class, by Malays and non-Malays alike. He would then be truly deserving of his Tan Sri title.

He had it easy thus far, out on only RM200K bail. Peanuts to someone like him and in these days of the depreciated ringgit. From another aspect, the price of one Datukship from a cheap Sultan.

Imagine if he were to reveal all. A special tribunal, as provided for in the constitution (thanks to Mahathir), would have to be empaneled to prosecute those alleged corrupt Sultans. Imagine the electricity once the charges were proffered. Najib would sigh a huge relief as it would wipe off the festering 1MDB scandal from the front pages. His ardent defender, aka Attorney-General Apandi Ali, would also emerge as a hero among honest Malaysians, instead of as now, a renegade and protector of the corrupt.

On the political front, in one fell swoop Najib would outstrip Mahathir in striking fear and terror among the sultans. They are still chafing at their collective treatment by Mahathir in the 1980s and 90s when he stripped them of their personal immunity as well as their veto powers over legislations. The sultans have been asserting themselves lately, in tandem with Najib’s increasing vulnerability. Their not assenting to the National Security Act of 2016 was a non-too-subtle manifestation of this new assertiveness. The so-called First Lady of Malaysia outflanking the Queen and the various Sultanahs in the gaudy ostentatious arenas also did not sit well with the royals.

Expect UMNO newsletters Utusan, Berita Harian and The New Straits Times reprising the 1980s, filling their pages with lurid titillating details of royal peccadilloes.

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Forest City Project in Johor

What prompted Sultan Ibrahim, the son of the only sultan ever convicted of murder, to expose this alleged bribery? The Johore Royal Household is the wealthiest not just in Malaysia and not just among Sultans. Its involvement in the massive Forest City Project would ensure its wealth would remain undiminished for generations no matter how profligate their princes and princesses. Perhaps the amount of the alleged bribe was insulting.

Forest City is drawing much negative reaction, in part because of the mega sums, massive Mainland Chinese involvement, and unknown environmental consequences. To many Malays this development rekindles painful humiliating memories of what his great grandfather did to that little island across Selat Tebrau.

Then there was the sultan declining to offer himself for election by his brother rulers to be Deputy King a few months ago. As all kids know, the difference between not wanting versus not being given can be hard to discern. There is not much fraternal love lost between him and his brother rulers. This exposé could be payback time.

This high-profile case will not end up in the usual NFA (No Further Action) file. The only question is whether the suspect, together with MACC chief, AG Apandi Ali, and the Sultan emerge as heroes or renegades?

Reassessing Mahathir


September 28, 2016

COMMENT: We Malaysians must be a bunch of sentimental fools and free riders. It speaks volumes of who we are that we have to depend on a 92-year old politician to bring about change. In the first place, he created this situation by removing all his rivals like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tun Musa Hitam and Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim in UMNO, and second by dismantling our system of checks and balances to create a powerful Executive Branch.

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It surprises me to read this piece from Mariam Mokhtar who I thought was a critic of everything Mahathir stood for. She is mistaken to think that the man will change our political landscape. He is not a Renaissance man. He is an old school politician through and through.

I hold him accountable for what he has done to our country during 22 years of his rule. Mariam mentions his Look East Policy. Well, that policy which was initiated by the LDP in Japan, and later rejected after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1988 by the Japanese people, is crony capitalism. UMNO run by Najib Razak today is a party of crony capitalists and kleptocrats.

Mahathir now advocates good governance and the Rule of Law, yet when he was in power, he destroyed our institutions including the Judiciary. The system sucks and there is no leader with the character and integrity to lead us out of the rut at this time. We are condemned to stay in a state of moral crisis for some time to come.–Din Merican

Reassessing Mahathir

by Mariam Mokhtar

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

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Everyone knows that former PM Mahathir Mohamad’s alignment with the opposition is the result of his failure to oust Prime Minister Najib Razak on his own steam. You may call it a desperate move, or you may call it daft. But does the rakyat have a choice?

With Malaysia in deep crisis, and the opposition’s failure to stand united, could Mahathir be our saviour?

At his recent talk in London, he said, “There is common interest between me and Anwar Ibrahim. He appreciates that the problem of the country is the PM, that he should be removed.”

He criticised Najib’s alleged lack of vision, saying, “This PM regards high income as a sign that we are developed. High income must be accompanied by high productivity. Or else we will price ourselves out of the market.

“He has revised the pay scale several times. The operating cost of the government is so big that there is not enough money left for development.

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For the economy to grow, you must have the rule of law. You must have good governance.–Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

“It is not about money alone. It is about the quality of life in Malaysia – better education, a higher standard of living and people doing research work. These are what would make a developed country. If we go by income alone, then Saudi Arabia would be a developed country.”

He called on concerned Malaysians to join the opposition “if you wish to help us overthrow this government.”

On encouraging foreign investment, he said Malaysia needed to create an environment conducive to business. “For the economy to grow, you must have the rule of law. You must have good governance.”

He reminded us that under his rule, the concept of Malaysia Incorporated was used to treat the whole nation as one big company, and added, “It is important not to abuse power” and to fight corruption.

When asked if he was untouchable, he said, “My coming here to talk is not something which the government likes. Every time I say the wrong thing, the police question me. Desperate people do desperate things.”

Not everyone is a fan of Mahathir, but Malaysians are hungry for change and many are prepared to listen to his message.

One man said, “I was sceptical at first. But I have noticed that over several months, he has given major concessions. For instance, although at first he only wanted to see Najib ousted, he said at a recent talk that Umno-Baru must be destroyed.”

Another Mahathir sceptic said, “I came with an open mind. I admit that I am not his fan but when he spoke, I thought he made a lot of sense. I found myself nodding in agreement to most of the things he said.”

Addressing the question of a candidate for PM, Mahathir said, “It is for the people to decide.” Referring to his son Mukhriz, he said, “If he can be popular enough to win elections and become PM, that is his right.”

The statement was met with applause. Was it for Mukhriz or was it for Mahathir’s magnanimity?

MCA, UMNO lapdog, flexes its muscles to no avail


September 17, 2016

Cowardice rightly understood begins with selfishness and ends with shame.”- José Rizal, ‘Noli Me Tángere

The spat between the MCA’s Ti Lian Ker and UMNO’s Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz is not about the disparity of power between the component parties of BN but rather the continuing existential crisis of the MCA that it has been unable to overcome since losing the support of the Chinese community.

MCA, UMNO  lapdog, flexes its muscles to no avail

by Cmdr S, Thayaparan

Whereas the MIC has accepted its role as the water boy to UMNO, MCA desperately attempts relevance in a turbulent time of ‘Melayu’ political upheaval.

There has always been a disparity of power within Barisan Nasional (BN). However, parity of power was never the currency between the MCA plutocrats and UMNO potentates who shaped the national agenda and serviced the gravy train that enabled this country to remain in relative functionality for decades.

These schemers were aided by a polity willing to subscribe to the so-called social contract, as long as the people could pursue their economic agendas and live in relative harmony.

Ti’s contention that BN playing the ‘jaguh kampung’ (village champion) was causing BN to lose cosmopolitan votes is the kind of pussy-footing that that seems to be the only stratagems that the MCA these days is capable of coming up with.

I hope Pakatan supporters are not naïve enough to think that there is no nexus of connections between MCA plutocrats and DAP operatives working together for mutual benefit, which goes far beyond political profit. The same applies to UMNO and its so-called political enemies.

First off, BN is not playing the ‘jaguh kampung’, UMNO is in a ‘fight to the death’ struggle with Najib refuseniks and is attempting to keep their rural voting bases safe from the clutches of a newly revitalised Malay power group. The reality is that the rural demographic in the Peninsula and UMNO’s vote banks in Sabah and Sarawak are holding BN together, and this is because of UMNO and not because of BN.

The reality is that, unofficially, UMNO has given up on urban voters and it is the responsibility of MCA to shore up support and make the case for UMNO and not BN. I am sure the  outspoken MCA operative is aware that there are many UMNO-elected officials who do not support Najib but are only interested in their political survival that translates to UMNO’s survival.

After getting a spanking from Nazri, like a chastised child the MCA central committee member claims, “Now that the ultra-Malays who destroyed Tunku Abdul Rahman’s Alliance are out of BN and in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), BN leadership must seize this opportunity to navigate BN to its rightful 1Malaysia course or the spirit of the Alliance’s founding years of Tunku Abdul Rahman,” which is again horse manure disguised as a mea culpa.

The thing that’s destroying MCA

The contradiction is obvious. First, Ti claims that UMNO’s continued use of Malay nationalism for the support of rural voters is destroying BN’s chances in the urban areas, and then he paradoxically claims that with the ejection of so-called “ultra-Malays” from the parties – the very ones who reject the Najib regime – things could get back to normal.

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The problem is that the so-called ultra-Malays are the ones in charge of UMNO now. Moreover, I do not mean people like Nazri (photo above ) who has had run-ins with the ultra-Malay component of UMNO, but would rather be attacking the Najib refuseniks than trading shots with a so-called “partner”.

This is the problem with throwing in with UMNO, the very basis of power-sharing is based on communal preoccupations that either conflict with each other or are manipulated to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

If you want to survive in the game, then you have to spin the racists’ rhetorics for your partners but most importantly, have the support of the community you claim to represent. This is why Nazri has it both ways. This is why he gets to play the realpolitik card against the MCA operative, alluding to the former’s desire for political rejuvenation and the slim chance of it because of the lack of his community’s support and at the same time, slay UMNO-Melayu sacred cows.

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And therein lies the problem. How does a race-based party operate when it has lost the majoritarian support of the community it claims to represent? How does a race-based party offer dissent or advice when it has to rely on the generosity of UMNO to remain politically relevant? How does a race-based party counter the supposedly race-blind propaganda of the opposition when it does not have the support it needs to offer a counter-narrative because the Chinese community it supposedly represents has abandoned it?

As I wrote in ‘MCA’s long day’s journey into night’, “What is really destroying the MCA is not the propaganda of the DAP but the acceptance by a large voting demographic of the Chinese community that no representation in the government is better than MCA representation.”

In addition, this is not the first time Ti has stirred the pot. Some time back, Ti made the claim that the Federal Constitution was not inherently racist but those with racist intent manipulated its provisions.

I actually thought that MCA was on to something and singled out Ti, writing, “However, the MCA political operative did show some cojones when he said ‘we can consider amending or ratifying our constitution to free ourselves of racism’ but of course, he qualified this with the most overused, disingenuous, servile and obnoxious Malaysian excuse of ‘come a day when we are there – a matured and democratic nation’.”

However, Ti made the same nostalgic claim when he talked about bridge building and ‘Alliance’ cooperation when he correctly pointed out that the constitution needed to be amended, in his own waffling way. He makes the same claim in this mea culpa, alluding to the halcyon days of Alliance politics.

But as I quoted from Mavis Puthucheary’s article, ‘Malaysia’s Social Contract – Exposing the Myth Behind the Slogan’: “In the first 10 years after Independence, the balance of power between the two main parties, UMNO and the MCA, was more or less even. After 1969, however, the balance of power within the ruling coalition shifted significantly in favour of UMNO and the political system itself became less democratic.

“Although both parties fared badly in the 1969 elections, UMNO leaders who had secured control of the government concentrated their efforts on regaining Malay support while still maintaining the power-sharing structure.”

In other words, for BN there is no going back. Unfortunately for MCA, this new alliance spearheaded by the powerbrokers in Pakatan Harapan and the Najib refuseniks is the closest things we will get to the flawed Alliance strategy of yore.

The MCA’s sin is that it does not have the courage either to support its partner, UMNO or leave BN.

http://www.malaysiakini.com –OPINION

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

COMMENT

By Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

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.

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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.