PETALING JAYA: Amanah communications director Khalid Samad has applauded Prime Minister Najib Razak for his recent speech on wasatiyyah (moderation) but laments that Najib “never practises anything he preaches”.
Najib, speaking on Wednesday at an international conference, spoke of the importance of wasatiyyah in leadership and governance.
Khalid said the problem with Najib was that he would always say the right things but had not proven through practice that he truly believed in them.
“We are in complete agreement that we have to have moderation, that we need to find compromises, that we need to build bridges between the different communities,” he told FMT.
“The question is whether this is what Umno really does.
“I think that everyone will agree that in reality, Umno keeps the extremists close to it and uses them for political mileage. These extremists include certain groups which want to question people’s citizenship.”
Khalid, who is Shah Alam MP, was referring to a coalition of 22 Malay NGOs called Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam. The group includes Perkasa, the Muslim Consumers Association Malaysia, Muafakat, Yayasan GPMS and Pembela.
Recently, a spokesman for Bertindak, Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz, alleged that the granting of citizenship to non-Malays in the years after Malaysia gained her independence had violated certain terms of the Federal Constitution. He called for a review.
Khalid said: “If you want to be a moderate government, then you have to listen to the people. But that’s not what the BN government is doing.”
Recently, when fielding questions in the Dewan Rakyat, Najib said the biggest challenge to promoting moderation was the ease with which hatred was spread.
He said this was why it was crucial for the government and the opposition to be on the same page in meeting the challenge.