The Problem with Moderate Movements in Malaysia

This is my response in RPK article at Malaysia-Today (  I am putting it here as reference if anyone would find it beneficial.

The problem with the moderate movements in Malaysia is their skewed definition of moderate itself. These people just wake up and say I am the moderate person in Malaysia. Come and join me and be branded as the moderate person in Malaysia. The problem is that they fancy themselves as a role model for moderate Malaysian but others are seeing them as extremist in one form or another.

Take for example people like Marina, Haris and Zaid Ibrahim. They considered themselves as the moderate role model, but to the main stream Malays and Muslims, they are the liberal. While many understood that the Taliban is a form of extremism because they take religious ruling in restrictive and rigid manner, liberal is also another form of extremism because they are being extremely casual with religious ruling. This LKS is no difference. He may fancy himself and his DAP as the moderate solution to the extremist world, but for many of the Malays they are seeing him and DAP as a chauvinist, extremist party.

The crux of the problem is that to these people, you are moderate if you fulfil my yardstick of moderation, otherwise you are an extremist. There are 30 million people in Malaysia, save half for the kids and not matured enough, so we would have at least 15 million versions of moderation in Malaysia. That is why these so call moderate movements are going nowhere. For those politicians who supposed to support the so call moderate movements, they probably do not even agree with the definition of moderation by these people (like do you think PAS will ever consider people like Marina and Zaid as moderate?), but they tagged themselves along to win vote as long as such movements are the in thing according to the political fad of the country. Once it is over, screw you.

So before they try to go further to fancy themselves as a moderate solution to Malaysia, they have to find the reference point that is acceptable to others, not merely by their own definition and expectation. Once the reference point is set, it is like a pole in the center, whoever deviates from the pole, they are the extremist. For Muslim, we have no problem finding the reference point as we have the Quran and the Hadith of the Prophet that is unanimously agreed upon by the majority of the Muslims (hence known as Sunni). Well, what about Shiah? Don’t they disagree with the majority of the Muslims? True to the sense that the Shiah has their reference point that is different from the Sunni and to the Sunni, the Shiah are the extremist because they deviate from the pole of Sunni and vice versa. But that is not the point of discussion. The point is that don’t call yourself Sunni or expect others to call you a Sunni when you are not in the pole of the Sunni reference point. The same as don’t call yourself as a Shiah or expect others to call you a Shiah when you deviate from the Shiah reference point.

Back to the issue in Malaysia, the problem in Malaysia is that not everyone is Muslim. So we cannot force the non-Muslim to subscribe to the “moderate definition” of the Muslim, and so to the non-Muslim, DON’T FORCE THE MUSLIM TO SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR DEFINITION OF MODERATION. In my opinion, in Malaysia, the constitution should be the reference point. The reason is because the constitution is an agreed upon values that seek the compromise from each party. No doubt you will dislike with some, but those are necessary as they are the compromises for the need of others. For example, with regard to proselyting people into your faith, a level of compromise has been is achieved to allow religions other than Islam to freely do that as long as they don’t do it to the Muslim, given the sensitivity of the Muslim who are the majority in this country. If you can respect these compromises even though you dislike it then you can call yourself moderate. Otherwise, you are just an extremist only seeking for your own satisfaction.

Come to the issue of Bible raid by JAIS. The Christians (supported by the moderate Muslims wannabe like Marina and Mujahid) accused JAIS (representing the Muslim) to be the extremist while JAIS also accused the Bible society as extremist. Now who is the actual extremist? If we all can agree to use the constitution as the point of reference, we can easily answer that. The one who deviates or violates from the constitution would be the extremist. That if we all agree to come to the common term. But if every party only wishes to satisfy their own definition of moderation, forever we will not achieve any moderation.

To conclude, people like Marina, Zaid, LKS, LGE and their like are not the solution to moderate Malaysia. They are actually the problem. They are either confused people, or people with agendas. Confused people will not solve any problem. Worse are the people with agendas. They take opportunity by creating problems.


5 thoughts on “The Problem with Moderate Movements in Malaysia

  1. Pingback: Are 90% of Malay Extremist? | Grandmarquis's Blog

  2. Wan Tan Man

    Why does your article seem so desperate to tarnish the idea of a moderates movement.

    “Back to the issue in Malaysia, the problem in Malaysia is that not everyone is Muslim. So we cannot force the non-Muslim to subscribe to the “moderate definition” of the Muslim, and so to the non-Muslim, DON’T FORCE THE MUSLIM TO SUBSCRIBE TO YOUR DEFINITION OF MODERATION.”

    Nobody is forcing the ‘muslims’ to subscribe to (the moderate voices i.e. Marina, Haris, Zaid Ibrahim etc) definition of moderation, and the moderation they are talking about isn’t necessarily about Islam (they are definitely not Islamic role models) hence the moderate role models encompass all races. This myopic behavior has to be countered with rational behavior. You are so desperate to create negativity out of something positive, and therefore the arguments just miss the point.

    1. grandmarquis Post author

      Well we should also ask the question who give them the right to brand themselves as moderate? As thought others who are not subscribe to their standard is consider extremist.

      I wrote down clearly, it is not moderation, but tolerate. We are just clarify the misconception propagated by these people.

  3. Gil

    The moderates are always:
    1)English speaking/educated background
    2)Well to do
    3)Preaching the movement in English

    If they really want to preach the ‘extreme kind’, they have to change their approach in order to get their message accross.

  4. MuSyadz

    I agreed with you with the fact that moderation (as you presented) is indeed a relative concept, abstract and sometimes presumptuous of many aspects.

    However, your example of JAIS seizing the Malay bibles, and the party at fault is the one who violate the constitution is not clear.

    Constitution is just as any documents, are open to interpretation, and the one who is responsible to “interpret” (and consequently vanguard constitution as the Rule of the Land) is the judiciary branch of our country, through tedious process of trials and legal cases.

    and again – there is this process of finding what’s right since not everyone is highly confident that our judiciary system “is not influenced”. And not to mention the religious and cultural tone that always interplay with any policy made in our country. You might not realize this but this moderate voices are using the constitution as their argument, for many occasions, and they are not necessarily wrong.

    In my opinion we need people like them, to encourage dialogue and thinking capacity of fellow Malaysians. Our religious leaders should be up to date and more eloquent in explaining to them on religious matter, rather than clinging to terms of haram, halal, kufur, and counter-productive labels like liberals and conservatives.


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