Ramadhan: A Time for Reconciliation

To some observers in Malaysia, it seems that the Barisan Nasional government is still engrossed in empty slogans and lavish, hedonistic portrayals of actions around the country. Many of the public find these portrayals less-than-credible. BN does not seem to be aware of this widespread public perception.

The public may only trust a “transformation” if it starts at the top. If your father tells you to stop smoking and goes on smoking himself, you will not stop. Patriotism beyond good taste is counter-productive.

Before the rise of Anwar‘s opposition strategy, which was not very well executed, the opposition to BN could be crippled. Anwar himself was ultimately crippled, although many have doubts about the “character assassination” involved. The opposition tactics recently have been prone to the same lack-of-awareness of the image they themselves were creating by their own behaviour, and so can still be crippled. Nevertheless, the crippling style of BN still smacks of “jungle politics” in that there is no respectful debate between the various factions of the Malay-Muslim community.

It is for this reason that we feel UMNO and PAS should form a coalition. The Federal Constitution gives the Malays clear special position and priority of power in this country, and they need to be united in the face of the significant non-Muslim minorities that do not exist in any other Muslim country. It is political, rather than racial, logic that the Malay-Muslims should be united in the face of hostile attempts to ridicule the special position of Islam in the Federal Constitution and other offenses to the Malay-Muslims’ deepest convictions.

Even with Anwar on the scene, the opposition is still being crippled. What the people might like to see is an honest and serious introspective of the present government’s policies and real impacts, which could take place from within as a form of self-regulation were UMNO to unite with PAS. We really only see opposition from the Kelantan Mentri Besar, Dato’ Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who, according to the late Syed Hussain Alatas, puts forward his particular Islamic legal school of the meaning of “Muslim State”, and Anwar, who of course wants all the power of leadership, not only some of it. Very few Malays would agree any more to see him vested with such power.

In order to regain true grass-roots credibility, and reduce the fear that many citizens (especially students) still have of BN for various reasons, self-transformation at the upper and upper-middle leadership levels must provide a model for the national transformation programs now being touted as rendering political opposition unnecessary.

The leadership profile at all levels must be changed, and quickly, to save the Malay-Muslim leadership in Malaysia, which is under constant criticism and undercover attack by the non-Muslim races both within and without the country, in spite of “1Malaysia” slogans and projects. The BERSIH 2.0 demonstration had to be called off especially because of outside support for opposition efforts, which Malay Muslims really do not want.

Such outside meddling can only be countered by true transformation at the top of the existing power structure, and uniting UMNO with PAS Malay-Muslim can only strengthen this process of rescuing the true Malay-Muslim polity which all Malaysian citizens should long to embrace and live peacefully. There is no better time than Ramadhan to achieve all these. And there is no better time to ask Allah to make all that easier than NOW.

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