KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Death threats against the organiser of a recent pet-a-dog event is not a hallmark of a moderate Islamic country as touted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday, former minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said on Twitter.
Instead, the former law minister accused “all Malay political leaders” of being “cowards” for doing nothing against a growing group that uses Islam as a means of hate.
“Wasatiyah is Arabic for moderate. So long as we use Arabic expression everything is fine … U organize a dog show and u get death threats,” Zaid said in a series of tweets on his account @zaidibrahim.
Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak attributed Malaysia’s rise as a modern and progressive Islamic nation to the use of the ‘Wasatiyyah’ (moderation and balance) approach as the basis of the national administration.
State news agency Bernama reported Najib saying the approach rejected the elements of obsession, fanaticism and extremism which caused the people to be rigid and fail to appreciate anything done for the good of all.
Syed Azmi Alhabshi, one of the organisers of the controversial “I Want to Touch a Dog” event last weekend has been the target of hate-filled messages threatening to injure or kill him.
Detractors have also spread rumours and allegations claiming that Syed Azmi is a covert Christian or a Shiah Muslim out to spread liberalism or alternative teachings.
He has since been forced to issue an apology yesterday and had turned to the police and online regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for assistance.
Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, however, on Thursday said the matter is out of MCMC’s hands, and should instead falls under the police.
“Its clear to me that all Malay political leaders are cowards. The Hate gang use Islam to destroy the Malays and they do nothing … The Hate gang hate others who are different from them,” added Zaid on Twitter.
Malaysia currently does not have any laws governing hate speech, relying instead on the controversial Sedition Act 1948.
The independent body National Unity and Consultative Council has proposed three laws outlawing hate speech and discrimination, but is opposed by right wing government supporters who claimed the proposed laws will undermine the rights of Malays and Muslims.