LONDON: Members of the G25 shocked the nation with their open letter to PM Najib Razak recently, but in London last month, it was the turn of the Malaysian diaspora, to receive a pleasant surprise. Noor Farida Ariffin, the most visible face of the G25 addressed them.
Danny Quah, was the chairman of the talk. He is a Professor of Economics and International Development, and Director of the Saw Swee Hock South East Asian Centre of the London School of Economics (LSE). He said Farida’s talk was both “insightful” and “inspiring”.
Farida reminded the audience of Article 3 of the Constitution, which states that Islam is the religion of the Federation, and said, “...nevertheless, all religions will be practised in peace and harmony throughout the Federation. We are a secular society and we have a secular constitution.”
The G25’s open letter expressed grave concern about the strident voices of the supremacist NGOs, both religious and racial, and the religious authorities which assert excessive authority.
Farida explained that the letter was penned by concerned, responsible establishment figures, former diplomats, former secretaries-general of various ministries. They were not mere rabble rousers. She said, “We are practising Muslims, and the way they (the extremists) have interpreted Islam shows that their knowledge of Islam is very shallow. The Islamists have hijacked the religion.”
The G25 letter acted as a catalyst and Farida noted that many Malaysians took notice and lent their support to inspire the silent majority to speak out.
She reeled off the disgusting actions of the religious NGOs and religious authorities, which had prompted her and her peers to appeal to the prime minister to act before Malaysia slipped further downhill. The conversion of minors, the “Allah” word and bible seizures were some of the acts against non-Muslims. She said that Muslims were also subject to similar persecutions.
She mentioned the case of the relentless persecution of bookstore manager Nik Raina, and the shocking khalwat raid against Wan Saiful, the CEO of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas). She said, “At 3am, the moral police knocked loudly on Wan Saiful’s door. Six men who looked threatening, insisted on entering his hotel room.”
Despite protesting, that his elderly mother, was asleep, they were unapologetic and continued their thuggish behaviour. They were hoping to find a lady of the night.
With the acts of the moral police worsening, Farida advised Malays to challenge them whenever they attempted to intrude into their private lives. Farida described the experience of a Malay woman and said, “They even looked for men in the cupboards and in the drawers! Such was her shock and disgust, this lady going to migrate.”
Farida said, “People should sue the moral police so that the civil courts will remove this insane law from the statues.”
Constitutional experts tell her that state assemblies are passing laws, as if the entire field of Islam is within their jurisdiction. She said this concerned her deeply.
Farida said, “At the moment, Kelantan wants to implement hudud.”
She said, “Hudud is not Allah’s law. Hudud is only a minor part of syariah law. To impose hudud four conditions must first be in place. The state must be pious and god fearing. Poverty must be eradicated. There should be no gap between rich and poor. There must be employment for all.”
She said, “Corrupt businessmen, in cahoots with equally corrupt politicians, steal from the national coffers and get away with their crimes. An unemployed man steals to feed his family and gets his hands chopped off. Is this justice?”
Her critics had called her an apostate, because of her opposition to hudud. After describing the aftermath of GE12 and GE13 and efforts to woo the rural people, she said, “They are only implementing hudud for political reasons. Muslim politicians are hijacking the religion and they don’t care what happens to the nation or the people.”