Why so nervous about Negara-Ku? Ambiga asks Isma

Ambiga said Isma should produce facts to back up its allegations, after president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman accused Negaraku to be against Islam as the religion of federation and the rights of the Malays. — File pic
Ambiga said Isma should produce facts to back up its allegations, after president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman accused Negaraku to be against Islam as the religion of federation and the rights of the Malays. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 10 — Prominent lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreneevasan, one of the patrons of newly-formed movement Negara-Ku, is baffled by Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia's (Isma) attack against the coalition right after its launch today.

Ambiga said the Islamist group should produce facts to back up its allegations, after Isma president Abdullah Zaik Abd Rahman accused Negara-Ku to be against Islam as the religion of federation and the rights of the Malays.

“He will have to explain how that is so. Why is he so nervous about the movement?” Ambiga told The Malay Mail Online in a text message, referring to Abdullah.

“The movement is based on the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement and the Rukunegara. What is his problem with that?” she added.

Earlier today, Isma claimed Negara-Ku to be a new front for humanist, liberal and religious pluralist movements in the country.

“You can put any name you want, we know who you are and who you work for,” Abdullah Zaik said in a statement.

In response, Ambiga said none of the Negara-Ku members were hiding and urged the Isma chief to name the person he thinks is behind the group.

“He is entitled to his views. But that is precisely the mindset we are fighting. Is he saying he is against unity and that racism and extremism is fine?” the former Malaysian Bar president said.

Ambiga and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said, who were both previously co-chairman of the electoral reform watchdog Bersih 2.0, launched Negara-Ku earlier today.

The two touted the group as a "people's movement to reclaim the country".

It is chaired by Bersih steering committee member and vice-president of Muslim group Ikram, Zaid Kamaruddin.

Negaraku is endorsed by over 60 civil society groups and NGOs.

Isma had attacked Ambiga in a series of campaign against the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) last year, claiming the lawyer as one of the alleged mastermind of the human rights lobby group.