PETALING JAYA: Keeping silent is no longer an option, a member of the G25 group of prominent Malays said today.
Johan Ariffin, in saying that he empathised with human rights lawyer Azhar Harun (better known as Art Harun), said he understood his frustrations.
He said if anyone cared about the country, they must speak out and partake in civil society to make the changes.
The former deputy director of the Sabah Foundation said the call for action does not have to be violent or aggressive.
It could be in the form of a pressure group to express their displeasure, using the right channels.
“The so called ‘silent majority’ have been silent for too long. They are the first to complain while sitting in their comfort zones.
“Whatever happens, they are all affected by the current political, economic and religious over-zealousness on the part of the authorities.
“Perhaps they fear losing their jobs or business by speaking out. But they must remember their future is at stake here and their comfort is just short term,” he told FMT.
Johan was asked to comment on Art’s Facebook post yesterday, where he voiced out his frustration at the lack of gumption by the silent majority in the country to make a stand.
Alluding to the sense of apathy among a majority of Malaysians over issues affecting their lives, Art had said “the silent majority is a wasteland”.
‘Nothing to glue the nation as a people’
Former minister Zaid Ibrahim also concurred with Art’s observations, but lamented that Malaysia was a nation devoid of common aspirations, values and morality.
Zaid said there was nothing to glue the nation as a people, and there were many whose priority is defending God, “as if God needs it on a daily basis”.
“They are not interested in the human condition and the values of humanity.
“Then there are others who value money and positions above everything else.
“Political leadership does not provide guidance. Naturally, it becomes a quest for the selfish interests of the group, and to each his own becomes the norm.”
Zaid believes Malaysians have partly become who they are due to the education system and “what we teach the young”.
“The selfishness of the majority is also blinkered by material desires.
“It would be hard to break the cycle until the political leadership sees the light,” he said.
Art had also criticised those whom he said had chosen to remain out of the picture, saying they should stop complaining.
“And while you are what you have voluntarily and consciously chosen to be, stop your whining and get back to bed.”