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Monday, August 11, 2008

Open Door? Closed Door? Back Door? Najib: Bar Council’s persistence caused extreme reaction

As usual, I continue to be personally very dissappointed with Najib's response which got coverage in The Star. I find his statements in the press quite unacceptable in many parts, and not befitting the future leader in this country. Let me share my thoughts here:



Najib: Bar Council’s persistence caused extreme reaction

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council’s persistence in going ahead with a forum on conversion to Islam has triggered extreme reaction from certain quarters, which in turn would threaten the country’s harmony.

(Seng comment: I find it ridiculous and unacceptable, that the Star can be so quick to blame this on the "Bar Council's persistence". The Star once again became the "Judge, Jury and Executioner" in the court of government propoganda.

It is obvious to me that if The Star wants to point a finger, point it at the 300+ protestors. They were invited to participate, but for some reason chose to protest - PKR must look into this issue promptly. Sadly, these protests do more harm than good.

Notwitstanding the protestors whom in my mind are the chief culprits, what exactly did the Bar Council do wrong?

Their main objective was to discuss the present conflicts of laws pertaining what's currently happening on conversion to Islam. These are current conflicts that will continue to exist, even if there is / isn't discussion. So, what is so wrong to discuss solutions to improve present conflicts?

I am puzzled. Does any of the Star Readers know what was the Bar Council's objectives in setting up these meetings, if every information that they know about came from The Star only and nowhere else? Did the Star tell its readers these objectives?

If not, was it a balanced article?

Or is The Star merely government propoganda?

Do you think this particular article by the Star has the effect of further promoting racial unity? Or to keep Malaysians further divided?)

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he had expected the extreme reaction to occur as the council ignored advice to call off the forum.

“We had expected this to happen. I’ve already said this before, don’t make it an open forum, do it behind closed doors. There will surely be some form of extreme reaction that will occur (if it was held openly).

(Seng comment: What does Najib means when he said to do it behind "closed doors"? Wasn't the present meeting "behind closed doors"? I mean, it's not exactly in an open padang right?

So, how does Najib define, determine and decide whether it is "open door" or "closed door"?

Is it based on the publicity of such meetings? Yes, the Bar Council announced the existence of this meeting to the public well before they held such meetings. Is this so wrong?

Personally, I thought it was a very good thing for the Bar Council to announce publicly that such a meetingis going to be held. This is because it would allow all stakeholders to participate in the meeting. This is a lot better than the Bar Council ass-u-me-ing who are the stakeholders and who are not. Such decisions should be left to the society. Announcing such meeting in advance with the purpose of inviting stakeholders to the discussion is a good and commendable thing.

Ok. Since Najib thinks this is wrong way, what is the solution that Najib proposes? Surely it's not to do nothing? The government already knows of this problem for an extremely long time, but what has the government done so far? Nothing?

Unfortunately, when the status quo is perpetuated, this becomes unacceptable to the society over time.

Ok. Perhaps Najib wants to do it behind "closed doors", and let's ass-u-me his definition is to not announce its existence. So, if we don't announce, how do we know and how do Najib know all stakeholders views will be represented fairly? Does Najib claim to "know it all"?

This is obviously a political tool and a political statement by Najib, to further entrench his political power in public through mass media intimidation and propoganda. He's basically saying - you can't hold this meeting without my approval. Yes, you have the Police permit, but you must have my endorsement first. So, what he's saying is that the Bar Council cannot go to the toilet without Najib's endorsement first.)

“We’ve expected the incident to happen because the issue that was to be discussed is sensitive,” he said after launching the Federation of Malay Economic Bodies (Gabem) exhibition and convention at the PWTC here yesterday.

(Seng comment: To me, Najib did not sufficiently explain why. Why is a civil discussion on legal matters pertaining to conversion to Islam sensitive?

In fact, he could have done the opposite, which is to support the Bar Council and Bar Council's aim to resolve present law conflicts. But he didn't.

Instead, questions must be asked - does Najib want the present legal conflicts to perpetuate and to continue?

For example, Najib could have condemned the extreme reaction, saying that Malaysia is a moderate country, and the government do not tolerate fanaticism. He could have taken the position that in Malaysia sensitive issues can be discussed openly in a civilised and respectful manner by all parties involved. But he didn't.

Instead, he seemed to relish on the fact that this protest had occured. The Police also seemed not interested in protecting the rights of the Bar Council participants.

This is seriously not right.)

Najib was commenting on the abrupt conclusion of the Bar Council’s controversial forum on conversion to Islam on Saturday, in which groups of protesters held a noisy gathering outside the Council’s headquarters demanding that the organisers stop the function.

Asked if the Internal Security Act would be used against the forum’s organisers, he said that would be up to the police and Home Ministry.

Najib also said that the basic pillars of the Constitution should be accorded full respect if Malaysians wanted to live peacefully and harmoniously.

(Seng comment: Najib and UMNO should adhere to this advise, especially with regard to the Judiciary - see my previous article on the Petition here - http://fusioninvestor.blogspot.com/2008/08/important-read-this-petition-and-sign.html).

He added that Malaysians of different races should respect the sensitivities of each racial group and the basic tenets of the Constitution.

“As a society comprising different races, Malaysians have displayed the spirit of tolerance and respect to the other races.

If we try to dissect or argue against the basic terms that was agreed upon in the Constitution, then it will surely cause endless arguments which can affect our country’s peace and stability,” he added.

(Seng comment: Now, this is simply nonsensical! Najib's imaginary accusations are unfounded! Instead, he throws more fuel to the fire of fear further.

At no time did the Bar Council intends to change the Constitution. It's a silly accusation, because the Constitution can only be changed in Parliament anyway, and the Bar Council will definitely be unable to muster the necessary 2/3rds majority! The Opposition do not have 2/3rd majority! The Opposition do not even have a majority! It is silly for Najib to say this!

In fact, because the Constitution is safe, it is an excellent opportunity for the government to use this platform to explain to the public why it holds the position that it holds.

A true leader who has its entire nation's heart should be someone who continually find ways to make Malaysia a better place for all Malaysians to live in. Daily.

There are currently serious problems pertaining to matters of law, when someone converts to Islam. What is so wrong to want to discuss and resolve this conflicts of law? What is so wrong, if after the discussion ends, the council then submits a report to the government for government's consideration?

So, what's the worst thing that can happen with such a discussion?

What does Najib fear from these discussions?

Lack of representation from UMNO? If so, why not just send UMNO representatives? If one person is not enough, send 2. If 2 is not enough, send a team! The government has the most money in the country, surely they can afford the best minds?

The focus is legal conflicts - is UMNO a legal expert? What is really the fear?

Or is Najib merely being opportunistic to enhance his personal and political goals? We are right in the middle of UMNO elections season, so, does Najib now wants to throw his weight around with "Islam issues"?

Or does Najib wants to continue to keep Malaysians divided? A divided society makes it easier for the government to control. A united society makes it difficult to control. And yet, we know that divisions especially along racial lines are not in the best interest of Malaysians.

Do we seriously want a future Prime Minister who does not have Malaysians' best interests at heart?)

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