Malay groups band together to fight those who are anti-Islam, warn of May 13 reoccurence

BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam targeted their anger towards Hindraf and its leader P. Waythamoorthy (pic), whom they claim had been provoking the anger of the Malay-Muslim community here by demanding that Dr Zakir Naik be sent back to India. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — A group of 22 Malay NGOs today jointly formed a new front dedicated to oppose “rude and dominant” groups who have questioned the tenets of Islam and the rights of Muslims.

Calling themselves the Barisan Bertindak Melayu Islam (Bertindak), the group targeted their anger towards Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and its leader P. Waythamoorthy, whom they claim had been provoking the anger of the Malay-Muslim community here by demanding that controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik be sent back to India.

“But today’s meeting with its slogan ‘Melayu Bangkit’, is to remind and give a stern warning to the individual named P. Waythamoorthy and Hindraf, and those who behave like P. Waythamoorthy and Hindraf, to not continuously touch on Islam and Malay rights, akin to being thorn in the flesh.

“Because the effect of this can bring about untoward threats and we are worried that the black history of May 13 1969 would recur,” Bertindak secretariat head Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz.

The movement said that Malay-Muslim sensitivities were hurt when issues such as the granting of a permanent residency (PR) to Dr Zakir was questioned, alongside others such as attempts to amend the Law Reform (Marriage and Divorce) Act 1976 (Act 164) which disregarded the interest of Muslim converts.

Other issues which Bertindak views as inflammatory are the protest against the proposed amendment to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act or RUU355 as it is known by its Malay acronym, questioning mosque sermon contents, and attempts to make the Rukun Negara the preamble to the Federal Constitution.

In February, a proposal was brought forward by a group of seven activists calling themselves “Rukunegara Muqaddimah Perlembagaan” (RMP), to push for the Rukunegara or National Principles to be made a preamble of the Federal Constitution.

The Rukunegara are five principles introduced by the government following the race riots of 1969. They are: belief in God, loyalty to king and country, the supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law, and civility and decency.

As the name “National Principles” suggest, they are philosophies rather than rules, and contain ideals that the government hoped would encourage national unity in the wake of deadly racial unrest.

In the press conference today Bertindak also suggested that Putrajaya again outlaw Hindraf, alleging that the movement had crossed its limits.

“It must also be reminded that how rude Hindraf was, by attempting to sue the British government in 2007, demanding a US$4 trillion payout (RM13.5 trillion), claiming that the British government brought them (Indians) to Tanah Melayu and exploited them as hard labourers.

“Likewise the issue played up by Hindraf which questioned the demolition of several Hindu temples, without realising that the Hindu temples in Malaysia are the most and not balanced with the ratio of the ethnic Indians and the Hindu faith,” Bertindak said.

However, the movement said that it does not aim to cause a rift with the ethnic Indian communities or other non-Malay communities, adding that it believe many share its vision and hopes to live together peacefully.