MOST Malaysians would strongly salute the Sultan of Johor for his stand in ordering the owner of the Muslim-only launderette in Muar to stop its discriminatory practice or risk being shut down by him, “Dressing down for laundrette” (The Star, Sept 27).
His Majesty boldly stated, “I cannot accept this nonsense” and accurately reflected the feelings of all patriotic Malaysians who think of themselves as Malaysians first and foremost!
The Muar launderette owner should indeed be told that he would be undermining national harmony and unity and setting a horrible precedent if he and his extremist supporters are allowed to carry on with this blatant public discrimination. He obviously has no empathy or respect for other religions, as is required of him by all normal standards of ethics and civility.
As a dedicated non-Muslim Malaysian, I can claim that almost all non-Muslims and fair-minded Muslim Malaysians will strongly support the Sultan of Johor in his stand that “Islam teaches the faithful to be tolerant and respect other people and their faiths.”
We hope other religious leaders would also follow the great royal example set by the Sultan of Johor in saying: “Extremism has no place in my state.” His rejection of extremism could be backed up and followed through by all religious leaders, the Federal Government and state and local government agencies to promote genuine national unity in our country in accordance with the letter and spirit of our Constitution and the aspirations of our founding fathers.
I would respectfully submit that unless the authorities take tougher action to counter extremism in our country, all the socio-economic gains and the peace and harmony we have enjoyed so far will decline, to our national detriment and dismal future.
Indeed, Malaysians are carefully watching the performance of our authorities and we are hoping that the Sultan of Johor’s courageous call to stop the nonsense of extremism and discrimination will be heeded. We will also thus exercise our electoral rights accordingly in GE14.
TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM
Asli Center of Public Policy Studies