If Najib truly believe that his 1Malaysia vision should be realised, he should start taking action by taking a clear stand against religious bigotry, says Ronald Benjamin.
The reluctance of religious authorities to return the Bibles to the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM), and their high-handed behaviour in interrupting a wedding and funeral, clearly shows that Malaysia is moving towards a dangerous horizon.
There is a power vacuum due to weak political leadership that has been filled by extremists.
It is obvious that the political leadership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak lacks courage to pull the bull by its horns by clipping the wings of religious zealots.
This prolonged crisis of silence makes him incapable of leading a complex society in Malaysia.
Najib’s 1Malaysia concept is one example that a vision that is supposed to unite the multiethnic society has been a clear failure because he was not able to get his own ministers, party comrades, religious bureaucrats and Umno-owned media Utusan Malaysia< to buy into his vision.
A strong leader would have had assembled like-minded people in his cabinet and the bureaucracy to realise his vision.
Many rational Muslims and non-Muslims rejected BN in the last general election not because they rejected the 1Malaysia vision in toto, but they saw the PM’s hypocrisy and the lack of integrity where words and action do not meet.
For example, while the PM speaks about 1Malaysia – on one hand he opposes pluralism, which is basically the nation’s inherent character.
He lures the Christians by endorsing a 10-point solution to solve the ‘Allah’ issue before the Sarawak state election, but lacks the strength of character to stick to its principles.
For a nation to progress, it cannot be camouflaged by public relations exercises but it has to be rooted in character where integrity, courage, and a sense of truth prevails.
One could conclude that Najib has basically deceived Malaysians with his public relations exercise which is flawed because it lacks character.
Anything that is void of character would be ultimately exposed. The leeway and authority given to religious zealots who have a simplistic view of religion is akin to surrendering the nation to imperial powers.
This is because the people’s fundamental rights to freedom will be sacrificed to cater to the ideological views of these fanatics who intend to control the thinking of the population to stay in power in the same way as imperialists would like to control economic resources by controlling the politics of a given country.
The notion of the common good of society is clearly absent in this type of ideology.
If Najib truly believe that his 1Malaysia vision should be realised, he should start taking action by taking a clear stand against religious bigotry and take the necessary action when these religious zealots transgress constitutional principles and the common good.
Integrity and competence are vital in resolving inter-ethnic and religious issues.
It seems Najib lack both of these qualities that are derived from character.
The letter was written before PM Najib’s statement urging the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) to respect the attorney-general’s decision that the case on the seized copies of the Bible is closed.