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Irony of ironies – Wasatiyyah for the world but no wasatiyyah at home

Irony of Ironies – Wasatiyyah for the world but no wasatiyyah at home. Instead, there is growing tataruf.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been promoting the Wasatiyyah (moderation) principles of justice, balance and excellence in the past few years in his international campaign for the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) embracing all nations, religions and communities, but at home, there is the growing phenomenon of tataruf, which has been described by the former CEO of GMM as the opposite of wasatiyyah and denotes inclination towards the peripheries, extremism (including violent extremism), radicalism and excess.

The assault of film director David Teoh in front of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Najib during a Transformation Nasional 50 (TN50) dialogue session at the Prime Minister’s residence on Wednesday night is a slap on the Prime Minister’s Wasatiyyah campaign of the past few years – an incident which would not have happened in the past 60 years under six Prime Ministers of Malaysia!

Another instance of the absence of wasatiyyah is the false and malicious police report lodged by University Utara Malaysia (UUM) lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusof against Selangor Speaker and DAP Selangor State Assemblywoman for Subang Jaya, Hannah Yeoh, accusing her of proselytization of Muslims with the publication of her autobiography “Being Hannah” three years ago.

If Kamarul Zaman had understood and been influenced by the wasatiyyah principles of Islam on moderation and the golden mean, rejecting extremities and radicalism, he would not have lodged the false and malicious police report against Hannah Yeoh, who was describing her personal journey to be a good Christian so as to be a good Malaysian – a journey Rukunegara wants all Malaysians to take, for all Malaysians to be respectively good Muslims, good Buddhists, good Christians, good Hindus, good Sikhs and good Taoists so as to become good Malaysians.

A social media commentator hit the nail of the head when he said: “Ahli akademik itu secara sengaja mempolemikkan isi kandungan buku itu dan mempolitikkannya kerana penulisnya pemimpin DAP. Tujuannyua ialah, memberi gambaran buruk tentang DAP kpd pengundi Melayu Islam…

“…ia sengaja dibuat utk memberi gambaran kpd umum bahawa DAP musuh Islam. Label ini memang sengaja di promosikan dan selari dgn kemahuan politik Umno.”

Is this the teaching of wasatiyyah?

These are only two of many incidents in the past few years which demonstrate that Malaysian nation-building efforts to create a united, tolerant harmonious, forward-looking and progressive multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation which is also a world-class nation had been facing great obstacles from very un-wasatiyyah forces and elements.

There are at present insidious, divisive and disruptive forces which are falsely trying to persuade Malaysians to believe that the forthcoming 14th General Election is firstly a battle between Malays and the Chinese; and secondly, that it is a battle between Islam and the enemies of Islam.

Attempts to frame the forthcoming the 14th General Election in these two contexts will be the very antithesis of the wasatiyyah values of moderation, justice and balance, because they are downright false, untrue and lies.

The forthcoming 14th General Election is not a battle between Malays and Chinese, nor is it a battle between Islam and the enemies of Islam.

The 14th General Election is a battle between Malaysians vs Malaysians.

It is for Malaysians, regardless of race or religion to ponder deep and hard why Malaysia in the past six decades had failed to live up to the promise when we achieved Merdeka on August 31, 1957 to be united, harmonious, democratic, progressive, prosperous multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation; save Malaysia and re-set nation-building directions and policies for Malaysians to compete with the rest of the world and not to fight among ourselves and lose out in the international race of nations for development and progress.

Falsely trying to frame the forthcoming 14th General Election as firstly a battle between the Chinese and the Malays, and secondly, as a battle between Islam and the enemies of Islam, are both great disservices to the Malaysian nation and people.

But even more heinous and treacherous are attempts to create the landscape and environment as if the 14th General Election will indeed be a battle, firstly between the Malays and Chinese; and secondly, Islam versus the enemies of Islam, for both go against truth and reality and the very principles of wasatiyyah.

This is why all political parties and leaders must forswear the politics of lies, hate and fear, not only during the general election campaign, but in the run-up to the next polls, and establish a mechanism where such politics of lies, hate and fear can be exposed and halted.

DAP leaders forswear the politics of lies, hate and fear to exploit the primordial racial or religious sentiments of the people, and to practise the politics of honesty, truth, peace and harmony in multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia.

Are the UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders, in particular the Prime Minister who had been preaching wasatiyyah principles in the past few years, prepared to respond in like fashion?

DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah
Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 19th May 2017