PETALING JAYA – Moderates have welcomed the concerns raised by the Malay Rulers about the country’s unity and harmony, hailing them as being timely.
Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said the recent actions and statements in the name of Islam, which have the effects of portraying Islam as an intolerant and factious religion, contradicted the aspirations of the Federal Constitution and the Rukunegara.
“This injunction by the Malay Rulers reaffirms the dignity of every Malaysian and underles the country’s unwavering commitment towards a more inclusive nation.
“Suhakam calls on individuals and other interest groups to stop acting against the spirit of tolerance, which can result in confusion and disunity, and to seriously take heed of the Rulers’ statement and injunction,” Razali said.
“We have no place for any holier-than-thou attitude nor for any superiority complex in any context,” said the former international trade and industry minister.
Rafidah said each person must be allowed to keep their own faith, adding that Islam invokes Muslims to subscribe to the principles of moderation.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said the actions by extremists and bigots are destructive and not conducive to nation-building.
“We will continue to implement various programmes to strengthen unity in our multi-religious and multi-ethnic society based on the Federal Constitution and the five principles of the Rukun Negara.
Zubedy founder Anas Zubedy said he was glad that the Rulers raised the issue.
“Recently, I have been promoting the idea that we have to bring the Rukun Negara to the forefront, and make sure we use its ambitions and principles as our parameters, regardless of whether you are a politician, business leader, religious leader or citizen,” he added.
G25 member Tawfik Ismail said while the Rulers are the heads of religion in their respective states, it appears that in the last few years, politicians have ignored the Rulers’ powers over religion.
The son of Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, added that the level of tolerance among Malaysians is quite high and that people are too busy making a living to worry about the rhetoric.
Islamic Renaissance Front chairman Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa said that part of the preamble to the Rukunegara clearly states liberal value.
However, “liberal” has been demonised to mean areligious and decadent, he said.
“When we demonise a dignified terminology, this is what we are witnessing – a society that has become intolerant to diverse opinions and lifestyles; a society that has difficulty in embracing multiculturalism and plurality,” he said.