JUNE 2 — If an ignorant man talks nonsense we can easily forgive him for you don’t expect any spectacular wisdom from an ignoramus. But when a person who is perceived as educated and scholarly speaks rubbish, you are rightly outraged.
This is exactly what happened when Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad, the former president of the Islamic Da’wah Foundation Malaysia (Yadim) and one-time lawmaker-turned-traitor to the voters who elected him, came out with statements which are clearly scandalous, seditious and atrocious regarding the non-Malays in this country.
Nakhaie questioned the loyalty of non-Muslims in the country, declaring that the community’s rights must be re-evaluated — obviously forgetting his own shameful past when he showed no loyalty to the party that sponsored him as a candidate and those who elected him. He had displayed a total absence of integrity without any qualms when he became a frog and leaped over to the Barisan Nasional. He is not in the least qualified to talk about loyalty.
According to him, the treatment of non-Muslims must be based on the agreed social contract; he pointed out that the government had been too gracious to the community. Nakhaie absolutely doesn’t understand that the social contract agreed upon is reflected in the Federal Constitution. The Federal Constitution is the outcome of that social contract. The rights and responsibilities of all Malaysians are laid out in this framework and guaranteed.
He is, of course, talking nonsense when he says: “Civil rights given to them include the right to vote, participation in politics, hold office, involvement in the military and so forth but we cannot just willingly give them everything.”
For the information of Nakhaie, these are unquestionable citizenship rights. For a one-time lawmaker to be totally ignorant of this fact indicates that he is hardly an enlightened leader and scholar. He shames himself by his ignorance and intolerance.
He declared: “If the agreement is broken then action must be taken against them. If they break our agreement then they are our enemy and must be expelled from the country. We must not compromise with them. We must be stern with them when it comes to the social contract agreed.” The social contract is only broken when narrow-minded and intolerant bigots like him preach hatred and spread lies to inflame a certain strata of our citizens to view the non-Malays as enemies. He should be charged for stirring up inter-ethnic passions which could be dangerous for our multi-ethnic Malaysia.
He proclaimed that it is important that high-level government positions not be awarded to non-Muslims for national security. “We cannot give them important government positions as it is not allowed for non-Muslims to become ministers in an Islamic state. Head of military must also not be given to non-Muslims.”
Nakhaie is totally ignorant of the Federal Constitution which laid the foundation for this nation to exist. He doesn’t understand the concept of “equality before the law” and that the Federal Constitution does not discriminate against its citizens. The rights of Malaysians are guaranteed under the concept of equality before the law.
It is unfortunate that in all his utterances and ramblings there is no notion of justice or understanding of our history. He is blind to the fact that all citizens irrespective of race have an equal stake in this land of ours with unequivocal and inalienable rights as conferred by the Federal Constitution under Article 8. For the information of Nakhaie, the government doesn’t confer these rights.
These citizenship rights and the responsibilities that go with it were put beyond the pale of discussion following our return to parliamentary democracy in1971 after the worst racial riots in our history in 1969. It is a criminal offence to question or challenge the citizenship of non-Malays.
Constitutional amendments in February 1971 had entrenched the citizenship rights of non-Malays. Nakhaie and others of his ilk have no right to question or challenge this citizenship. By doing so with impunity they only expose how selective our system of justice is. The wrath of the law is only applicable to those posing a threat to the BN, so it seems.
In light of this historical fact, the atrocious statements by Nakhaie and the rest who indulge in similar seditious statements call for immediate action on the part of the authorities. Action must be taken as a matter of urgency to preserve our peace and harmony and protect our unity. The long arm of the law must deal with them severely without fear or favour. Failure to act will only encourage the racists and the bigots to go on a rampage.
We are flabbergasted that Nakhaie is not able to comprehend a simple political logic of our country. Not all non-Muslims are against the BN. Many have slavishly supported and continue to support the BN. It is also a fact that not all Malays support the BN — a good number of them support PAS and PKR. In fact urban Malays are uneasy about the posturing of Nakhaie, Perkasa and Pembela. Umno lost many Malay majority constituencies to PAS and PKR in the last election. These are the realities of Malaysian politics.
There are also many decent and pious Malays in the rural areas who know what is right and wrong. They won’t be deceived by these conceited and misconceived bigots preaching lies and hatred.
To portray the non-Malays as a threat to the Malays is a foolish attempt to project oneself as the hero of the Malays. The Malays are not that naïve. They can see through this diabolical scheme to bring chaos to this land of ours.
While Nakhaie was raving and ranting against the non-Malays, not a single word was mentioned by him to upbraid the corrupt or condemn abuse of power. Nothing was said about the sad state of our judiciary or the selective prosecution of those seen as a threat to the BN. No concern was expressed over the loss of our freedom of expression or the right to assemble peacefully.
He has made a mockery of the PM’s 1 Malaysia catch-phrase, which was presented as all-embracing and inclusive, promising equal treatment and opportunity for all Malaysians. It is strange that even the PM has failed to protect his own slogan by not reprimanding Nakhaie for undermining his efforts in fostering unity. It seems, Nakhaie has a free hand to bury Najib’s 1 Malaysia!
* P. Ramakrishnan is president of Aliran.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.