@NajibRazak - #KamiJuga25
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Yang Amat Berhormat Dato' Seri,
We, the undersigned Malaysians, wish to express our admiration, faith and support to the call recently stated so eloquently by 25 courageous and respected individuals. Their words have inspired us all and electrified the nation. As many other Malaysians, we stand together with them.
And like everyone else who support their concerns, we too have a stake in building this country.
We call upon the leadership of this country to stand with other fellow Malaysians in delivering on the belief and promise of a common vision and a shared destiny: a just, free and caring nation of ideas, of dreams and of promises which promote inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity.
The letter by the 25 distinguished Malaysians brings into perspective the need for us to put an end to our petty differences and false promises, the racism and the bigotry, the intimidation and the blind hatred. For far too long, these unfortunate attributes and the sins of our fathers and those before, have strangled our politics and each other.
Those who speak in arrogance, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice do not speak for us.
After all, the Malaysian story has been shaped by every language and enriched by every culture. We are a nation of Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and many other faiths and non-believers. This diversity is our strength.
We have chosen to hope and be together over fear and bigotry, the unity of purpose over conflict and disunity. To those who seek to sow conflict and discord, know that we reject the idea that we need to dominate and discriminate in order to progress as a people and a country. We believe in a shared destiny as Malaysians.
To do that, we must begin to reject the following false premises that are being kept alive by those who seek to sustain a “divide and conquer” system exploited by our previous colonial masters to cage our spirits, stifle our voices and oppress those who speak out against injustice. We reject:
· That only Muslims can speak on matters which affect Muslims, and that non-Muslims and other fellow Malaysians must stay silent. We should never stay silent in the face of injustice, tyranny and persecution inflicted upon our brothers and sisters. We must speak up for each other.
· That being critical, speaking in opposition or supporting a contrarian view are tantamount to being anti-Malaysia, anti-Islam, anti-monarchy and anti-Malay. Such reasoning only serves those who wish for their actions to be hidden from public scrutiny, to be immune from accountability and act with impunity.
· That moderation and concepts such as liberalism and humanism are in contradiction with Islam and are undermining its position as the religion of the Federation. Historically, Islam is actually one of the world’s great religions with rich liberal and humanist traditions. It introduced fundamentals such as a woman’s right to work and inheritance, emphasized rational discourse and critical thinking as to not be dependent solely on faith. The position of Islam as the religion of the Federation is not in doubt and statements of such are merely a tactic to distract.
· That Islam is under attack in Malaysia. Islam is not under attack in our country.
We cannot and must not stand silently by and allow faith to be misused as a weapon to suppress peaceful dissent, intellectual discourse and opinions and to oppress those who would challenge and support contrarian positions. It is unjust and we should never tolerate the use of faith to divide us.
We believe in the words and example of the Prophet Muhammad as well as those of leaders of the world’s greatest religions in recognising the existence and rights of other faiths and treating their believers with respect, dignity and acceptance.
We strengthen our respective faiths and those of others through dialogue, listening and understanding rather than dogma and unquestioning obedience and compliance. We learn from other religions, cultures and ourselves. That is how we grow stronger together.
Malaysia cannot stand in the eyes of the world and claim that it is a model country for moderation and progressive Islam when it violates the very guarantees and teachings of the religion regarding other faiths, oppresses and punishes moderates, rewards and protects extremists and radicals.
As Malaysians, we must find the courage within us to acknowledge and fight injustice. If we disagree with others, let’s not ban them. Let’s engage, discuss, argue and work to convince. The Federal Constitution of Malaysia guarantees the right to freedom of expression.
Great moments are born from great opportunity. This is one such opportunity.
This letter is an opportunity to build and strengthen bridges rather than widen gaps and obstacles. If we are to seek a new way forward, it must be based on mutual interests and mutual respect. It must be demonstrated in both words and actions, especially from those who are Malaysia’s leaders.
We cannot afford to be silent. We must stand up and speak out. We ask that fellow Malaysians join us by signing this letter.
This is our country. Together, that is our destiny.
The individuals who endorse this letter:
1. Bibiana Peter, Composer and Producer
2. Abdul Haleem Rahiman, Manager
3. Anna Koh, Housewife
4. Mooreyameen Mohamad, Marketing and Sales Manager
5. Ruzita Khalid, Lawyer
6. Mohani Niza, Writer
7. Arlene Tan, Radio Host and Producer
8. Jenny Liew, Songwriter
9. Dr. Patricia A. Martinez, Former Associate Professor
10. Cheryl Leong, Software Licence Manager
11. Janell Shalom Bani, Project Manager
12. Kee Thuan Chye, Writer and Actor
13. Rodney Koh, Lawyer
14. Adriene Leong, concerned Malaysian
15. Susanna George, Trainer
16. Shariza Kamarudin, Senior Project Officer
17. Aida Mohd Redza, Dance Choreographer
18. Ros Matthews, Retired Nurse
19. Edward Soo, Lawyer
20. Archana Divi Chandran Mohan Pillai, Capacity Building Officer
21. Azwan Ismail, Engineer
22. Sharyn Lisa Shufiyan, Columnist
23. Gowri Krishnan, Radio Host and Assistant Producer
24. Maimuna Hamid Merican, Lecturer
25. Melissa Mohd Akhir, Activist
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