Friday, August 03, 2007

Moral Courage

It is of great relief that there are at least ministers with moral courage left in the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration. As reported by Malaysiakini, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Bernard Dompok has received rare support from the opposition for breaking ranks on the Islamic state issue.
He argued that the nation’s founders did not have in mind an Islamic state when the Federation of Malaysia was formed in 1963.

“I think my colleagues in the government will forgive me for saying that I will not agree that we are an Islamic state,” added Dompok, who is leader of Sabah’s United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation.

Dompok is the first minister to speak out on the controversial issue after a gag order was issued in wake of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s ‘Malaysia is an Islamic state’ remark two weeks ago.
I must certainly voice my support to Bernard whose demonstration of tremendous moral courage suffered the ignominy of being unreported in any of the muzzled mainstream newspapers.

Malaysia is a "secular state with Islam, the official religion of the country" and not, as otherwise proclaimed as an "Islamic State". And it must remain so until the day our Federal Constitution is amended, if at all.

It is of great regret that the leaders of other major component parties of Barisan Nasional, in particular Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon have had absolutely nothing to say against Datuk Seri Najib's declaration.

It is clear to me that despite the oft-repeated rhetoric that MCA and Gerakan are parties who will present the conscious of the people to their UMNO counterparts from within BN, they have failed to do so. And if they did indeed make "whispers" to the UMNO leaders, they had shown no moral courage to stand up for the rakyat when their "whispers" are brushed aside with absolute ease. In fact, for even attempting to make "whispers", the 2nd tier leaders in UMNO will reward MCA and Gerakan's effort (if any at all) with stern threats and warnings.

The lack of response to the issue of such importance from Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon and Datuk Seri Samy Vellu, reflects either their agreement with UMNO, or a total lack of moral courage and conviction to stand up for the very rakyat they claim to represent. They are a disgrace to their party, and definitely a disgrace to the people.

It is hence no wonder the anybody, particularly the younger generation, with an independent and critical mind, barring those seeking connections to wealth and power, will steer well clear of these parties. It will also explain with little surprise, Jeff Ooi's decision to dump Gerakan for DAP.

I'd strongly recommend that the leaders of the BN component parties, or any of the country's youth leaders contemplating a political party, to read the above book on "Moral Courage: Taking Action When Your Values Are Put to the Test". Or you can buy it cheaper here @ Amazon.com.
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