Place strategy

Hatred has no place in nation building

Comment by Mustafa K Anuar

MUHYIDDIN Yassin’s reported allegation that there may be a program of Jews and Christians in complicity with Pakatan Harapan to Christianize and colonize Malaysia naturally shocked worried Malaysians.

Not only have the former prime minister’s inflammatory remarks during the election campaign rattled the country’s Christians, but they are also likely to raise alarm bells among Muslims, some of whom have already acquired a siege mentality.

Hate speech and fear campaigns must stop. Otherwise, we might see the creation of more Zul Huzaimys among us.

Actor Zul Huzaimy recently expressed his intention to “slay the infidels” during a rally in support of PAS.

Zul is said to have stoked feelings of violence against non-Muslims and advocated intolerance in our multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

Although he has since issued an apology – after receiving a public backlash – and is also the subject of a police investigation, such a gruesome expression should tell all concerned Malaysians that he is not s does not integrate well into a democratic framework and is therefore reprehensible.

As Election Day approached, we saw hatred and suspicion building in some biased political discourse and analysis, which in turn made the rounds on social media for consumption by a wider audience.

Singer Jamal Abdillah, for example, recently called on voters to reject the DAP and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) because he alleged that if the PH formed the government, tahfiz schools risked being closed and there was a possibility that the azan (call to prayer) will be limited.

He eventually apologized to both DAP and PH for slandering them based on hearsay.

Malaysians have also been warned, for example, by some individuals and politicians that the China-based DAP is communist, godless and in some video clips the party would be detrimental to the interests and welfare of the majority Malay community as well than Islam.

Such a so-called warning is aimed at creating a siege mentality among Malay-Muslims so that they only seek help and protection from – and vote for – politicians and parties who claim to be their savior.

As noted above, a vision of being under siege could have the potential to embolden or provoke certain individuals within the community to cross the line into inciting violence against the Other.

Of course, two wrongs don’t make a right. DAP’s Nga Kor Ming made inflammatory remarks that voting for Perikatan Nasional (PN) would be tantamount to letting the Taliban run the country. It’s stretching the imagination, and no less alarmist.

Some, as a result, have adopted a holier attitude than you, so the only way to salvation is to vote for a particular party which can also protect Malay Muslims and Islam on earth.

Such a mindset appears to have prompted Sik PAS Youth leader Shahiful Nasir to warn that those who voted for coalitions of parties other than PAS and PN, namely PH and Barisan Nasional, would go to hell. It appears that playing God can be part of a political strategy.

Free speech is not meant to provide a platform for hate speech, much less a platform that encourages violence against fellow citizens. This is a flagrant abuse of freedom of expression, which must be accompanied by responsibility.

In a diverse society like ours, politicians and other political actors should avoid sowing hatred or even inciting violence as a means of soliciting electoral support from your people, which is as debased as it is evil.

Hating each other does not build a nation, especially at a time when a collective effort of diverse Malaysians is needed to help move our beloved land forward. – November 19, 2022.