Talibanism, extremism threat must be countered

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By Ramon Navaratnam

There have been too many Taliban happenings for comfort in Malaysia in recent times. This is worrying and one wonders what and how much the Government is really doing to arrest these sinister Taliban trends, despite the enormous powers it has under the new stringent laws.

Has the Government’s frequent calls to adopt and practice more Wasatiya, or moderation, become merely rhetoric or is the Government and our leaders of all shades, actually still serious and committed to make us all a truly moderate Malaysia?

I have no doubt that the vast majority of Malaysians, including my Muslim brothers and sisters want moderation in Malaysia – and not extremism of any kind and form, from any quarter.

Yet some religious leaders propound extreme views that condemn the iconic and artistic Eagle sculpture in Langkawi and even ask for it to be destroyed.

Wither Talibanism? What and where next now? Will someone with more extremist views call for the destruction of even our highly-respected and revered National War Memorial, the Tugu Negara, in Kuala Lumpur?

Already many Hindu temples and Christian churches have been attacked. Bigots condemn other races and religions and some get away with it. There is a growing feeling among non-Muslims that “creeping religious radicalism” is rearing their ugly heads all over the country.

They feel threatened and are worrying like most of their Muslim brothers and sisters.

We have Little Napoleons, and then Little Talibans and now we face Big Bigots.

Soon we could have more dangerous terrorists, if we do not fight Talibanism more resolutely and sustainably. After all, history teaches us that it was the Little Talibans who became Giant Talibans who destroyed global historical religious monuments, now lost forever to the whole world.

It’s the extremists who caused many countries to become failed or failing states, with a severe breakdown of law and order. I am sure our sharp security experts will advise us that we run the risk of developing more Taliban trends, if we don’t take tougher action to defeat them in their early stages of development, before it’s too late?

New strategy

With all these worrying Taliban trends, there definitely has to be a new or revised overall security strategy, to counter the rise of Talibanism and extremism.

There has to be a stronger political and a stouter struggle for greater Wasatiya against Taliban trends. This is essential if we are to overcome rising extremism, in order to forge ahead and soundly beat extremism, in all forms, whenever and wherever it is found.

It may be lurking in schools, colleges, universities, Government and private offices, communities and even in the uniformed services and many other places.

The duty of our elected Government, who depend on our support to survive, is to look after the long term interests and sustainability of Malaysia as a united, moderate, progressive and prosperous nation, for all Malaysians.

Hence, if and when Malaysia is to absolutely win the war against extremism and Talibanism, we have to garner the full resources and power of all Malaysians.

It is especially necessary for all our leaders of influence, particularly the royalty, sincere politicians of all shades, community captains, the NGOs and the vital voters, to unite firmly to wage a Jihad or struggle for Wasatiya against extremism and Taliban trends.

In the end, if God Willing, we continue to have general elections, it’s the Malaysian voters who will determine if we have true Wasatiya or allow our beloved country to be overcome by extremism and state capture.

Therefore, we appeal to the Rakyat to only vote for all politicians and leaders who honestly promote Wasatiyah and reject extremism and Taliban tendencies and trends.

We have to resolve to have a Jihad (struggle), to uphold Wasatiya against extremism and Taliban trends – or lose the war against extremism and fail as a united and progressive nation.

The choice is ours and ours alone. So please vote wisely soon.

Selamat Hari Malaysia!

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is the Chairman, Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies

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