I find it sad and unfair that Dr Maszlee Malik is made to justify his position as the Education Minister-designate. I would not like it if I were to be in his shoes. Like it or not Dr Maszlee will need to nip this in the bud. He must remove the uncertainties.
A leader must be totally determined to remove uncertainties, failing which, Dr Maszlee would lose power and influence and in the long run will fail and fall. We cannot afford to let the Ministry of Education fail.
Either Dr Maszlee clarifies the uncertainties and confusion of his distractors and come out on top, or submit to the uncertainty, and end up the victim. There is nothing more crucial in legitimate leadership and power as the ability to remove uncertainties.
May I humbly suggest Dr Maszlee make a clear stand of support on the following:
1. Unequivocally support the ambitions of the Rukun Negara, especially items 2 and 4 to “maintain a democratic way of life” and “ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions”.
Some feel that there is a reluctance among certain groups of people in taking a strong stand towards the Rukun Negara because of their wish to change the character of the country towards a more theocratic state and curb the liberal character of the nation.
By standing firm with the Rukun Negara Dr Maszlee will disassociate himself from these groups.
2. Explicitly stand by the Amman Message, a statement calling for tolerance and unity in the Muslim world, issued on Nov 9, 2004, (or 27th of Ramadan 1425 AH) by King Abdullah II of Jordan at an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Islamic scholars (ulama) and leaders of 50 countries.
They unanimously agreed on three fundamental issues (which became known as the ‘Three Points of the Amman Message’):
- They specifically recognised the validity of all eight Mazhabs (legal schools) of Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadhi Islam; of traditional Islamic Theology (Ash’arism); of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim;
- Based upon this definition they forbade takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims;
- Based upon the Mathahib they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.
Among the Malaysians who signed the statements were former prime minister Abdullah Badawi, Anwar Ibrahim, Khairy Jamaluddin and Professor Hashim Kamali.
Should Dr Maszlee take this stand he would remove any uncertainties among those who feel that he will not practice diversity and inclusion with the Muslim community.
3. Call for a dialogue with the distractors. Deal with their concerns. Ask for feedback and seek their opinion. I have seen Dr Maszlee making presentations. I am sure he will be able to manage the distractors and find a justly balanced understanding and compromise.
Should Dr Maszlee make the above stand and act on them, I have a strong conviction that he will be able to remove the uncertainties surrounding his appointment. I for one, will support him.
Anas Zubedy is a businessman and an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.