PETALING JAYA: A lawyer and activist today criticised those who label individuals or groups as “liberals” or “secularists” for advocating a way of life which is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.
Azhar Harun, better known as Art Harun, said the concept of liberalism was well embraced in all other parts of the civilised world, where the struggle for equality, emancipation, freedom, liberty and universal human rights is seen as the duty of every peace-loving citizen.
In Malaysia, however, those who uphold such concepts are ridiculed, threatened and seen as a danger to society, he said.
In a Facebook post today, he said such individuals as well as organisations like G25 and Muslim NGO Sisters in Islam (SIS) were often painted as drunkards and purveyors and advocators of free sex and homosexuality.
He added that they were also accused of championing “pluralism”, the definition of which had been “deliberately twisted” to mean the belief that all gods are the same instead of the embrace of different cultures by people of different ethnicities and faiths.
However, he said in his experience, no one had advocated such things in Malaysia.
“What is being championed by these so-called liberals and secularists is this. They say matters concerning the private life of the people should be left private.
“Privacy should be respected. It is not the state’s duty and the state ought not to have the power to invade into the private life of its citizens unless the exercise of such rights could threaten the society at large or the state.
“Who is a danger to society? People who just want to be left alone minding their own business?
“Or people who would love to impose and force their way of life on others by whatever means?”
In his post, he referred to a comment he had seen about a book authored by G25 which was recently banned for being “prejudicial to public order”.
According to the commenter, he said, G25 advocates free sex, sex outside marriage and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“Just because there are articles in the book that say that the people should be left alone and that the Federal Constitution ought not to be re-written to allow Islamic rules that impinge on the private life of the citizens.
“Now, if I say the Chinese should be allowed to rear pigs, am I advocating the eating of pork? Or if I say the state should not be empowered to be moral police, am I advocating an immoral way of life?
“But that is how it is played. They create a game out of it. And they create their own rules for that game. And the game plus the rules are all designed to be a game that is impossible to win.”