Friday, May 15, 2015

Demonising Liberalism – a mark of moderation?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Demonising Liberalism – a mark of moderation?

I am deeply concerned with the Prime Minister’s speech while launching the Institut Wasatiyyah 
(Moderate) Malaysia yesterday.

How ironic is that? I mean, when you are launching an institution that is supposedly promoting 
moderation, you attacked liberalism? I wonder whether the Honourable Prime Minister could see 
how absurd the two opposite stands that he was taking. Moderation is ok. Liberalism is not.

What is more disconcerting is the fact that the Prime Minister found it wise to paint liberalism – 
in one instance he called it “liberalisation” – with a really broad brush. He reportedly said:

"And because of that, come those who are called liberal Muslims, the LGBT, human right champions 
and others…."

He then proceeded to give an “example” of liberalism (he termed it “liberalisation”) that he deemed 

"We take the example of the student who was involved in the disgusting act in the UK recently. It has 
shocked us but shows that such elements (of liberalisation) exist among Muslims."

First of all, making child pornography and being in possession of 30000 child porn images with 
the intention of distributing them IS NOT liberalism. Nor a product of liberalisation. That is just plain 
sickness or mental disorder that needs to be addressed with countless hours of counselling. Liberals, 
liberalism or liberalisation do not advocate the breach of the law or criminal actions. Nor do they promote indecency or behaviours that are against common decency. To lump child pornography with liberalism is not only incorrect but is twisted in its 
logic and reason. It may also reflect a high degree of misunderstanding – or perhaps even non-
understanding – of the concept of liberalism.

Second of all, “human rights champions” are not ipso facto liberals. Human rights are not premised 
on liberalism although admittedly liberals are staunch believers in the concept of fundamental liberties 
and universal human rights. Human rights are premised on humanity. On the realisation that all 
humans are born with certain inherent and inalienable “rights” and entitlements.

In fact, to describe that those things are “rights” may even be inaccurate. Those inherent and 
inalienable “things” are what give humans dignity and qualify them to be called humans in the first 
place. They are more than mere “rights”. They are what which distinguish humans from non-humans.

For one to say that “champions” of human rights are undesirables who need to be ostracised and 
stamped with the word “unwanted cretins” is tantamount to one claiming that our Federal Constitution 
is also undesirable. Why? That is because our Federal Constitution so expressly GUARANTEES these 
“rights’ which we all call “human rights”! Please read article 5 to article 13 of our Constitution on these 

Branding “champions’ of human rights as “liberals” who could “ruin Islam” is a clear attempt at 
labelling people who are just merely exercising their legitimate rights in pursuing what is guaranteed 
by the Constitution as undesirables and perhaps even “enemies of Islam.” How twisted can an argument 

Liberals do not preach – and surely do not desire – a state of anarchy. They pursue freedom and 
liberty just as Islam and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. did. Freeing of slaves, for example. 
Coincidentally, article 6 of our Constitution prohibits slavery. The Prophet also preached rights for 
women and is known to have elevated the status of women by giving them the rights to inheritance 
which was then unheard of. That is equality before the law – also guaranteed by article 8 of our 
Constitution. The Prophet also established a judicial system where people accused of criminal acts are 
granted the right to be heard and would not be punished save in accordance with the law of the time. 
That, coincidentally is guaranteed by article 5 of our Constitution.

Of course, over the thousands of years the messages of the Prophet and God have been interpreted 
and re-interpreted to suit political ends and goals. So much so we are now having difficulty to even 
think for ourselves on what to do; what to read’ what to listen to and who to listen to etc etc. But the 
basic premise of the Prophet’s teaching is freedom and liberty.

Why do we than so easily judge people who pursue whatever is legitimately guaranteed by our Federal 
Constitution – the very document that we so loudly say is the social contract between citizens and this 
State of ours?

Malaysia must be the first schizophrenic State in the world. It displays a set of behavioural patterns 
in the international arena – in front of the United Nation assembly and audience at Oxford University – 
where it is apparently a moderate State and the pursuer of a Global Movement of Moderates. But 
internally and in front of certain inland Islamic and Malay audiences, the same Malaysia turns into a 
certain Mr Hyde, who laboriously preaches moderation while doing things which are the exact opposite 
of moderation.

Malaysia is in dire needs of a political counselling.

Political posturing premised on the needs for political mileage and survivability is all good for 
political life. But political posturing should not dictate public policies which must at all times be 
anchored only to the best interests of the State and nothing else.

The mess that we are in now is mainly caused by the infusion of shameless posturing into the public 
sphere and policies.

All of us, good people of Malaysia, could only hope that this will immediately stop.

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