Friday, March 4, 2016

Kula hopes gov’t interfaith panel will not succumb to bugbears

DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran said the government’s formation of an interfaith committee to promote harmony among the different religions was a laudable move provided it does not succumb to the usual hazards.

The MP for Ipoh Barat enumerated these hazards as political expediency overriding moral imperatives, manipulation of religion for one-upmanship, and the conduct of a veneer of discourse as cover for projection of supremacist versions of a creed.

“The government in forming this interfaith committee to promote harmony among adherents of the different religions in Malaysia must match deed to word,” urged Kulasegaran.

In respect of his past initiatives in promoting equality of economic opportunity and in encouraging racial and religious harmony, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has wavered when the going gets rough,” noted the federal legislator.

That is why the public is sceptical that the latest initiative which entails the formation of an interfaith committee will succeed in making headway against the reactionary forces ranged against it,” he asserted.

Kulsegaran said conflicting signals from Najib had undercut his initiatives at the start of his administration seven years ago.

“He wanted to liberalise ethnic quotas in certain economic sectors but backpedalled when Malay right wingers reacted adversely to the measures.

“Then the PM initiated the Global Movement for Moderates (GMM) but allowed that laudable gesture to droop in the face of strident calls from religious hardiners that no quarter be given to liberal interpretations,” narrated Kulasegaran from a list of Najb’s prevarications.

He said the PM’s wavering led to his nominated chief of GMM, Saifuddin Abdullah, to leave the NGO because of the lack of sustained conviction behind the initiator of the body.

“The PM’s track record at promoting his own initiatives has been less than stellar and so the interfaith committee is met with deep scepticism as to its efficacy,” observed Kulasegaran.

On Feb 14, the government annouced the formation of a 35-member interfaith committee to promote harmony among people of the different faiths in Malaysia.

“The proof of the pudding lies in its eating,” observed Kulasegaran.

“Laudable measures must be hailed even when we know hope makes a good breakfast but is likely to wind up as a lean supper,” said the lawyer.

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