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Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

15 Mar 2021

By Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

When I read the report on the verdict of the High Court Judge on the Kalimah Allah issue, I had mixed feelings.

First, I heaved a sigh of relief that somewhere in Malaysia there actually is wisdom and a heart of acceptance of 'others', but then a cold hand gripped my heart as I thought that this would probably be used by Malay and the so-called Islamist parties as their rallying cry of ummah unity or Malay unity.

One Bersatu leader who used to helm IDEAS and spouting progressive thoughts, now he himself seems bereft of 'ideas' except to echo veteran politicians of race and religious discords.

One would think that the educated elite would outthink a madrasa student but in Islam, apparently, everyone seems poorly 'educated'.

What happens to Malaysia for the next 60 years will be determined on how many academics, NGOs and political leaders react to this verdict. Their reactions will determine whether Malaysia will burn with such issues for the next 60 years and beyond, or move positively forward and join the race of human beings on the global stage of respect for one another regardless of faith and color of skin.

This is the time when we should hear from lucratively paid professors of academia in social science and religious studies to pronounce a clear commitment to history, universal faith and political stability.

Will these public academics paid by Malaysians of all races, religions and cultures through their taxes make a stand for progress or slink under their desks for fear of their contracts, titles and promotions?

I think I know the answer to that but I won't insult anybody's intelligence.

This is the time for political parties who do not pronounce the idea of Ummah Unity or Malay unity to step forward and say a statement or two supporting our progress forward. Or, will such political parties also slink under their desk for fear of offending the 'big boss' who holds millions of MP grant money per year and merely squeak a statement of non-commitment to the issue?

I think I know the answer to that but I suspect many Malaysians do, too.

The group called Gerak Independents with MAJU as its base has clearly made their statements advising Muslims to seriously look into their faith and balance its principles within the construct of nation building and future relations to the larger world scenario.

GI called for a wider conscience of humanity and wider appreciation of the verdict as enshrined in the clear teachings of Islam itself.

The statement was read by none other than a Malay-Muslim leader who represents not only a Malaysia of the past but also a Malaysia of the future, Tawfik Tun Dr. Ismail.

Will progressive NGOs purportedly claiming progressive and moderate ideas and ideals of Islam also stand out tall and proclaim a similar statement made by Tawfik Tun Dr. Ismail, or will they too suffer a lapse of 'forgetfulness' as that individual who once was from an entity called IDEAS?

I do not expect Malay leaders from PKR or Amanah to make any statement for they all fear that the Malay voters will leave them in droves. God forbid that there should be any statement from DAP as that would be a boon for the race- and religion-based parties which keep calling the DAP enemies of Malays and Muslims.

My greatest fear is that of the Christians in Malaysia, if they start making statements defending the verdict, then it would definitely be 'game over' for the next 60 years.

If I had my way, I would advise my Christian brethren to hold their peace and let the test of Malaysia be on the shoulders of others who love this country as intended in the formative stage of its constitution.

Non-Malay NGOs and activists should view wisdom to speak to be better than freedom to make statements as this would fuel the extremists and conservative elements of unthinking citizens who think they are 'protecting' their religion.

So, which way would Malaysia go? I already have my answer and have placed my bet but for once, I wish I would be wrong and lose the bet.

Our future has always laid with our own conscience and sense of decency, acceptance and a moderate education in critical thinking. The nation needs no more than just that.

(Professor Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor at a local university.)

- Published by www.sinchew.com.my