FMT LETTER: From Robert Phang, via e-mail
Happy New Year! I am sure that all Malaysians wish and pray that 2014 would be a better year than the last. But are our prayers in vain when we are so divided as a nation and so petty as to quarrel over God?
When we pray, we do so in the name of God, by whatever name we call Him. We have done so without much problems in the past because to God belongs all. We have done so since independence and the founding of Malaysia. Our Prime Minister teaches us to raise one finger and holler 1Malaysia and yet today we are like a nation in tatters.
As an old man of 74 who had seen our independence and formation of Malaysia, I’m troubled by the fractious state that we are in today. Our leaders are so articulate, our government’s cabinet is filled with highly qualified people and yet all that they seem to be capable of is to shout out rhetoric. But these are just hollow cries with no sincerity to resolve one simple thing that should bind us together – our love for God.
I was troubled when Jawi raided Borders Bookstore and charged a Muslim store manager for doing nothing more than selling books. I congratulated Nik Raina Nik Rashid for being brave enough to not yield to the oppression by Jawi. I congratulated Vincent Tan and his son Robin when they fought the Borders case and won. As testimony, Malaysians hailed Nik Raina as one of 10 inspiring Malaysians. That is the power of the ordinary people – to discern right from wrong. And yet what has become of our country’s leadership?
Why do our leaders encourage religious bigotry? Perhaps the Minister of Home Affairs has forgotten that High Court Judge Zaleha Yusof had declared state religious laws as ultra vires when it goes against the Federal Constitution? Again Perhaps the Minister has forgotten that the same Judge had chided him for abdicating his constitutional duties in not bringing law and order by clarifying the laws? What is the Attorney-General doing, keeping mum over these legal issues?
For that reason, I congratulate Selangor police chief Mohd Shukri Dahlan for being bold enough to tell the Umno protestors that they would be contravening the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) if they proceeded to protest in front of the churches. I salute him for saying that the Police “will take stern action”.
That sternness has since diffused the situation and the protest in front of Our Lady of Lourdes church did not materialise. I salute Marina Mahathir and her Sisters-In-Islam for their bravery in standing for solidarity in defending religious harmony and rational thinking.
Yet for all these salutations, I must remind our government leaders that they have failed in their duty to restore peace and harmony in our society. They should not allow opportunistic politicians to take centre stage. All our government leaders have betrayed the trust we placed in them to preserve law and order in a non-partisan way. Instead of restoring some semblance of rationality, they have allowed the situation to get out of hand.
On record , I’m noted to be bold , constructive personality with a view to secure a very close objective in nation building. My forte is the prevention of crime, corruption and to promote and instill GOD relationship between the various committees, one nation , and the government of the day. Such it is my character to speak without fear or favour in addition to the above mentioned characteristic. Of course please only consider the actual role I’m playing in this nation building direction.
I’m not certain if the things I have said above will gain me any favour with our government leaders. But my conscience is clear and the voice of truth cannot be suppressed. I’m an old man and if what I have said will bring peril to myself, so be it, for in God I trust. I am sure God is looking at us from a distance and do not want us to quarrel over Him.
The writer is a Justice of Peace and chairman of the Social Care Foundation