ALL true Malaysian moderates will warmly welcome Wong Chun Wai’s sound article, “Moderates Unite” (The Star, Jan 4).
He reflects the voices of the majority of Malaysians who yearn for national unity, peace, stability and progress with a good quality of life for all.
He says that moderation has become the People’s Movement. But has it really? I believe that it is still taking root, but steadily growing.
The original G25 of prominent former civil servants, who I am proud to state were my former colleagues, have shown characteristic strong leadership and considerable courage. They have now been rightly buttressed by another 10 eminent Malays, with excellent records of our traditional service to God, King and country!
They are all committed to defending the Federal Constitution and build national consensus on the proper interpretation and fair implementation of the Constitution.
Theirs is a deeply responsible and patriotic response to the negative and disruptive views of a relatively few fanatics and extremists at the fringe, who are trying to hijack our beloved country. There are some misguided extremists who are said to want to emulate the worst kinds of fanatics in countries like Afghanistan!
But as Wong carefully points out, these extremists have no credible track record. Their contributions, if any, especially pale into insignificance, when compared to the achievements of dedicated service to our country by the G25 Plus Malay intellectuals. The G25 were also quickly and strongly supported by the 33 multiracial personalities and leaders, of which I am a proud member.
We are all now ready and able to strengthen the G25 Plus and other Malaysian leaders and NGOs in any initiative to form a Movement of Moderate Malaysians (MMM).
The question now arises as to what should be the future initiatives. When and how should we move the MMM forward?
Firstly, my answer to this vital question of when is - as soon as possible!
This MMM must be formed soon. That is, well before the extremists recover from their shock of the G25 attack against their racism and religious bigotry that can wreak havoc on our lovely country.
The next question is - How do we form this MMM?
An informal Coordinating Consultative Committee (CCC) could be formed among the leaders of the different moderation groups and other NGOs who share the noble values of the MMM.
Thirdly, this CCC should choose, by consensus, a leader of impeccable record like Tun Musa Hitam, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah or someone of similar proven leadership, outstanding calibre and high integrity, to chair this CCC and plan a programme of policy and action.
Fourthly, the MMM and CCC should be multiracial and multireligious and comprise leaders who are well known for their consistent moderate public views and stance against extremism from all quarters.
Finally, The Star and its enterprising CEO Datuk Seri Wong deserve our enthusiastic backing for his initiative to start the Voice of Moderates. However, I think that his belief that “this spontaneous movement will grow larger, on its own” is somewhat over-optimistic.
Historic movements of this nature, magnitude and significance have to be carefully nurtured if they are to grow from strength to strength.
This is why I would also propose a MMM Fund to finance a small secretariat, that could follow-up on the decisions taken by the CCC. Too many organisations have started off well but fizzled out because of inadequate administrative and financial capacity.
If every true Malaysian donates just RM5 to a designated bank account, the MMM should be able to collect enough funds to sustain the MMM that all moderates want.
The MMM has to grow and contribute to the expansion of moderation on a sustainable basis.
Let’s seriously consider the proposals above, modify and improve them, and then let’s launch the MMM soon — and Go Forward Malaysia!
Let that be our 2015 resolution.
TAN SRI RAMON NAVARATNAM