AFTER the Federal Constitution was drafted, one constitutional law expert explained the role and relationship of the Sultans and their non-Malay subjects. In the event of an extreme political party coming to power, the Sultans would act as the umbrella for the non-Malays.
This assurance has come to play now. The actions of His Majesty the Sultan of Johor was timely and reassuring to non-Muslims in this country.
Of late, religious extremism appears to be raising its ugly head in our society. It must be nipped it in the bud before it spreads and becomes a cancer in our society.
Bilveer Singh in his book, The Talibanization of Southeast Asia (2007), stated that this danger could become real unless countries in South-East Asia take the necessary precautions. Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Nanyang University of Technology in Singapore, and author of Inside Al’Qaeda said that the ideal policy for nations in South-East Asia would be to adopt a smart policy and not fall into the pitfalls of extremism and ethnic conflicts.
Religious extremism led to the war in the Balkans that resulted in the breakup of Yugoslavia.
Malaysia has been fortunate to have pragmatic leaders who laid the foundation for peaceful coexistence. The founding fathers accepted the social contract as an unwritten agreement for tolerance and acceptance of the various cultures that make this country unique. This was subsequently strengthened by the Rukunegara.
Time and again, the Prime Minister and his deputy have stressed on the importance of peaceful coexistence. However, negative forces continue to crack the cohesion of our multicultural society.
Let us not bow to extremism. Article 10 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the freedom we so much cherish. We owe this to our children and our grandchildren lest they accuse us of neglecting our responsibility to speak up in the name of fairness and justice.
Long live His Majesty the Sultan of Johor.