7:03 pm - Tuesday May 30, 2017

EXTREMISM VS MODERATION: A POLITICAL SCENARIO IN MALAYSIA

EXTREMISM VS MOEDRATION

A colourful political ideology and belief system is slowly fabricated the Malaysian political environment. The act of extremism is prevalent in our society today. The believers are fusing together to spread their influence on the masses hoping that they will get bigger influence.

Malaysia is not an exception, the uprising of political ideology and beliefs that is foreign to us embrassed us. Obviously globalization brought the influence to us. Through the media and social media, the people learned and slowly carried on all kinds of political ideology and spiritual beliefs. Among themselves, they fuse together to shape an establishment and legitimize  violent action to go against the status quo.

The present Malaysia sees the developing number of political and religious extremism. Islamic faith and political establishment have been fouled by them. They are fundamentalists and extremists who are rejecting moderation as a way of life. The Lone Survivor movie dialogue, perhaps, is more appropriate to describe their character, “Anything worth doing is worth over-doing.  Moderation is for cowards.”

 Extremism in politics and religions are considerably the most pernicious and destructive and nihilistic form of human expression. It is not for sure when and how this form of  political and religious movement had begun. But during the 20th century, it was estimated about 100 million people become the victim of this inhuman act. Notably, as scholars examined political extremism began in several countries such as  the rise of Italian, Hungarian and Romanian fascism, Nazism, radical Islamism, and Soviet, Chinese and Cambodian communism. Other applications include a rampaging military (Japan, Pakistan, Indonesia) and extreme nationalism in Serbia, Croatia, the Ottoman Empire and Rwanda. Polish anti-Semitism after World War II and the rise of separatist violence in Sri Lanka.

All forms of political extremism exist when a group of people holds to an eternal principle, hatred, dissatisfaction and revenge. Jihadist is one of the extremist groups which believed that killing those who are not believing in God will be rewarded. For the extremist, democratic way and tolerance could not be compromised for it is delaying the process of overhauling the power from the hand of power.  Thus, to bring down  the government is part of their agenda.

The Bud of Extremism in Malaysia

In the beginning, Malaysia religious extremist groups started with a modest number of people. For example, the Maunah, this small group of religious devotee became  a threat to the Malaysian government when they act violently seized military weapons and killed two rangers.The  Al Arqam, started to spread its teaching, the Aurat Muhamadiah, with a small number of people then the group became bigger and aggressive and even mentally prepared to turn their organization into a militant group. The JI,  originated from Indonesia, having a tight connection to the Al Qaeda, an internationally known terrorist organisation to combat the US influence in the Islamic world.

However, political extremism, on the other hand lived in political organisations and the NGOs. The communist party of Malaya, for example, believed in revolution. The communist acts  of terror terrified the masses and  the government of Malaya. Before the Malaya gained independence in 1957, the interstate conflict between the government of Malaya and the Malayan communist party saw the British and the Malays fought against the bit  of extremism. “Order- Chaos- Order,” the most dirties communist tactic to gain power in the country led to the burning of  plantations, the extortion of the local masses and all forms of violence moves to undermine the government might.

Before the Mahathir era or before the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim from the Deputy Prime Minister’s post, political extremism was alien to the Malaysian society. But then later   when Anwar was purged out from the government for his despicable act, he became a protester, the act of extremism appears. The sacking of Anwar from the Malaysian cabinet got a worldwide coverage and world-wide supports. This made Anwar and his followers kept on pressuring the government through demonstration and aggression and confident that his method is feasible.  Anwar’s followers react violently by destroying public property, organizing demonstrations and protests condemning and humiliating the government without fear or favour. Anwar’s himself was a leader of the ABIM, who at one time called upon demonstration and protest as a means to go against the government in the Baling case.

The unprecedented political conflicts began to grow when Anwar established the party KEADILAN, later the parties coalesce with the DAP, the democratic action party, The PAS and the Socialist Party of Malaysia. Some  leaders of the party went  through a traumatic experience of being detained under the ISA. The question arises, do they actually fighting for the betterment of social and economic conditions of the country? Or fighthing for  a personal revenge. Their main aims are to revamp the law that had been given them a bad pain.

They used the propaganda for “change”. This is noticeable in the party’s announcement. Change means very drastic. Looking at the present government, it has still retained a simple majority in the parliament. What does the slogan means if not applying a radical means of achieving change. They wanted the masses to bring down the government through malicious propaganda for change. It is mirrored in their campaign, accusations without facts, picture of  distortion and bias report writing are used  to portray the evil side of the government. They accused the government as “infidel”, they challenged the constitution, the King and the Sultan,  religious institution and  the government policy pertaining to the Malay race. Those acts are the bud of extremism, instigation and incitation are intended to mobilise the masses and make the public unrest.

Perhaps, because the Malays inherited the moderate culture long before the existence of the modern government, no drastic action is taken to stop the protesters and those humiliating the government. Moreover, the government is willing to sacrifice the ISA,  the sole law that enables to prevent the act of aggression, the government was indeed taking a moderate approach in solving the issue.

Courteous and politeness which are inbuilt in the Malay culture makes unification and integration feasible. It has shown that the UMNO, the biggest Malay party in the nation can go together with the Chinese and Indian party to make the Independence Malaysia and the government is surviving until today.

For that particular reason, the government was able to leverage the economy of the country. Malaysia is a third  largest economy of South East Asia. Within a short period Malaysia becomes the important industrialized country. On the income distribution, there are 5.8 million households in 2007. Of that, 8.6% have a monthly income below RM1,000, 29.4% had between RM1,000 and RM2,000, while 19.8% earned between RM2,001 and RM3,000; 12.9% of the households earned between RM3,001 and RM4,000 and 8.6% between RM4,001 and RM5,000. Finally, around 15.8% of the households have an income of between RM5,001 and RM10,000 and 4.9% have an income of RM10,000 and above. The literacy rate is increasing and the majority of Malaysians is getting an education regardless of race and religion. Malaysia is successful to uplift its economy because the three races who have different values and belief system hold firmly to the concept of moderation.

Not extremism, not radicalism and not fundamentalism could bring together the masses of different race, culture and belief system into one common end. Extremism contradicts to a peaceful coexistence. Prejudicial mind is unitary of the extremist qualities. When an extremist group becomes bigger and stronger, they will look down upon another group of different believers and perceived as enemies. As Frank Jerome says in “ Law of the Modern Mind”, “once we have cast some other group in the role of the enemy, we know that they are to be distrusted-that they are evil incarnate. We then twist all their communication to fit our beliefs.  The masses are not identical, experience is not equal. Nevertheless, men are continuously surviving. Not because they agree with our term and condition, but because of human tolerance and moderation in behaviour tied them together.

Malaysia’s Concept of Moderation

Malaysia progress with the concept of moderation, although the constitution gives some provision to the Malay race, but  the government has not neglected to look into the wealth of the Chinese and Indians community. Each race is allowed to keep up their importance to a point of success. The decision on each community are being made based on the collective thinking of the three races.

Today, not the Malays, not the Chinese and Indian understood the concept of moderation that has been so long embedded in the Malaysian administrative policy. The Chinese and Indian, blames the government for giving more privileges to the Malays and the Malays, on the other hand, particularly the UMNO fears that their privileges will be taken away. The Ultra Malays UMNO as well as the Chinese and Indians become too extreme. They fail to think one important  aspect that inherent in the Malaysian political culture. It really is about moderation.

Moderation in character and thinking is considered  a key to the development of humanity to a peaceful living. Any religion believed that a peaceful society can only be reached through the moderate character of each member of the society. In ancient Greece the concept of moderation means doing things not in excess manner and it became a principle in human life. In Islam moderation is encouraged as to attain to the honest teaching of Islam.

In the Malaysian political perspective, moderation means a complimentary behaviour among races and of those who govern and to be ruled. In Malaysian political system, which comprises of various races and religious beliefs, the constitutional monarchy that laid down before us, is fair and balance, those who govern must respect the sensitivity of other races. Unity and racial integration are a a prime mover of Malaysian democracy.

Therefore, does moderation mean the act of cowardice. Or it means the opposite. But it means a great deal to us? Our leaders and our forefathers had managed to create racial coexistence within a different cultural and religious background of society.  The Malays, the Chinese and Indians fought for the Independence together, They fought communist brutality even though the majority members of the Communist party were among the Chinese.  They faced the confrontation of Indonesia’s aspiration to break off the formation of Malaysia., they helped to eradicate the abject poverty, They expelled Islamic radical movement. The feel of moderation that we owned, the compromise mind that we possess, the Malays, the Chinese and Indians trudged  to success. As Benjamin Franklin says, “moderation in all things-including moderation.

 

 

 

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