Gods we can live with

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim viewing the damage at the Metro Tabernacle Church in Desa Melawati with Hulu Kelang Assembly Azmin Ali right behind him in blue

JAN 9 — The country is in a mess.

The homemade bombs trying to bring down churches, and people outside mosque trying to bring down ideas, these are just Malaysia’s ‘chickens coming home to roost’.

We have some serious problems, and we need some serious people to solve it.

We have for far too long been crafty in putting everything off and imagining eventually our problems will go away.

The prime minister argues that the open support his party and its leaders gave the mass protest yesterday over a “word” has no connection to the church attacks. Come off it, Mr prime minister, just come off it.

When you condone a hostile environment, there will always be an idiot who will take it one step too far.

That is why leaders have to consider their actions and not just get carried away by blind populism.

There are no quick fixes, but a good place to begin would be to be honest about things.

Our multiculturalism is not built on equality. Article 3 and its “definition by precedence” over the last three decades actually lend credibility to the Muslim right-winger. It does. So in many ways you cannot fault the protestors for being belligerent, they are only acting consistently with what they believe is the ‘modus operandi’ in Malaysia.

The only thing different now is the people who are expected to take a subsidiary role are unwilling to do so anymore.

This is why there is open friction in the country now.

Either we move to what is globally more acceptable or push on with the idea Malaysia will always be the exception to how other multicultural societies operate. One or the other, not something in-between.

Obviously I’ll be pitching for the former, and pitching hard.

And I welcome those who take the opposing view. But they cannot have their cake and eat it too. They will have to open themselves to critique and be willing to be critical of their own ideas.

No country will have people agreeing with each other on all issues. They just have to agree that the system which they live under is all-inclusive, driven by balance and places a premium on the rights of individuals.

But in the short-run, we need some stop-gap measures.

The police will have to show even-handedness in the way they deal with law-breakers.

The government has to side with the rule of law, even if that means making decisions which may be vote-losing for now.

Both the police and government leaders don’t have to talk about the Internal Security Act (ISA). Investigate and with evidence charge people when they have broken the law. Don’t use a tumultuous time as an opportunity to rationalise the use of draconian laws.

We Malaysians have to just accept we have as a people have not dealt with our deep divides, leaving it to national leaders to show the light. It is time we purchase our own lamps and light up our mental faculties, not torch down other people’s symbols.

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