November 17th, 2014 by Seputeh Office
Speaking at the inaugural launch of the United Nations’ International Day for Tolerance at Lim Kok Wing University in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said that the silent majority in the country must stand up and protest against religious extremism and bigotry.
“Today, religious differences are perceived as the most profound source of division among our people. Religious bigotry is in our news nearly every single day,” he said.
On November 11 last year, during his keynote address at the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council/ISIS Malaysia: Dialouge on Diversity, Diplomacy and Peace held in Kuala Lumpur, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib called on the country’s “silent majority” to drown out the voices of extremism. He said diversity should be celebrated and the right to co-exist should be defended.
Malaysians will agree that extremism , whether religious or racial , must be totally rejected. But the question that many Malaysians have been asking is why have the Prime Minister and his Cabinet not been leading the battle against extremists and extremism.
Why has the Prime Minister who has spoken so much about the concept of moderation and the need to reject extremism, failed to walk his talk?
In response to his speech last year, I had immediately cited three examples where Najib had failed to speak up or take action against extremism.
Firstly, Najib kept silent when Utusan Malaysia carried irresponsible, provocative and racist articles for months after the May 5 general elections.
Secondly, he again kept quiet when the former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah had warned the Chinese to prepare for a possible backlash from the Malays for their alleged “betrayal” against the BN. Mohd Noor has even said: “The Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship – that is true. Because they plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power”.
Thirdly, what was done against Ibrahim Ali who made provocative remarks?
On October 18 last year, Perkasa Chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali had said the Christians’ fight for the right to call God “Allah” conveyed that they have no name for their deity. He had also, at the Perkasa Selangor Conference 2013 held on October 17, urged the Prime Minister to ban the Malay bible the Al-Kitab from Malaysia in retaliation for the Christian community’s “ingratitude”.
Last month when defacto law minister Datuk Nancy Sukri revealed in Parliament the Attorney General’s decision not to prosecute Ibrahim Ali over his threat to burn the Bibles , there was massive criticisms and outrage against the decision , yet till today the Cabinet has failed to take a clear stand on this issue.
The Prime Minister and Jospeh Kurup must not stop at calling on the silent majority to drown out the voices of or stand up against extremism. Najib himself must walk his talk and lead the fight against extremism.