KUALA LUMPUR: Two prominent advocates of moderation, who had been involved in the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM), have left the organisation.
Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, a pioneer trustee to the GMM, tendered his resignation to chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail a fortnight ago while former ambassador Datuk Redzuan Kushairi had also informed the chairman of his intention to move on.
Wong had cited his intention to commit his time to “domestic moderation issues” and the media business, of which he is The Star Media Group managing director and chief executive officer (CEO).
Redzuan, who played a key role in the organisation, had provided important input as a former diplomat to, among other pla-ces, Uzbekistan, Britain and the United Nations.
This came months after Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah resigned as CEO when he decided to join PKR and was replaced by former PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa.
It is understood that some advocates of moderation were not comfortable with Nasharudin’s continued membership in PAS and his Islamist stand.
While Nasharudin maintained that he had always championed moderation and was ready to make something of the GMM, he had told The Star that this “should not have to come at the price of one’s principles”.
His criticisms of the Group of 25 (G25), comprising eminent retired Malay civil servants and personalities seen as moderation advocates, have not helped to improve his image.
The last straw for these moderation advocates came when he reportedly warned that G25 was too extreme, even for a democratic country like Malaysia.
Nasharudin had reportedly chastised the group and said its individuals should be more aware of Islamic law and Islam’s position in the country.
Nasharudin was also quoted as saying that the views espoused by G25 were dangerous and could be seen as challenging the religion’s position.
Supporters of G25 had since felt that the GMM CEO had “gone overboard with choice of words in his criticism” and said that Nasharudin did not have a record in moderation activities.
When contacted, Wong confirmed that he had submitted his letter but declined to elaborate on his decision.
It is understood that Wong and his fellow moderation partner, Anas Zubedy, will be focusing their resources on reaching out to Malay youths, especially in rural areas, via the social media platform while keeping their urban support base.