KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 — Another group of Malaysians have come up with an open letter in support of reasonable, rational and informed dialogue today, adding to the lively discourse following a similar message by 25 former high-ranking civil servants last week.
Calling itself #KamiJuga25, Malay for “We are 25 too”, the group aims to get “everyday Malaysians” to chip in the conversation in support of the original 25 signatories, not just from the Malay-Muslim community.
“In almost every letter we have seen distinguished recognisable names listed in as signatories. This letter is intended to allow for the everyday Malaysian to also say ‘kami juga 25’,” co-creator Azrul Mohd Khalib told Malay Mail Online.
“It is intended to complement existing efforts and to strengthen the voices which are getting louder by the day,” added Azrul, who is part of social movement called Malaysians for Malaysia.
In the letter addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the group urged Malaysian leaders to deliver a country that “promotes inclusiveness and celebrates the unity of its people through diversity”.
“We also believe that it is not only Malay Muslims who have a voice and stake in this country, it is every Malaysian who believes in a common vision and shared destiny, ideals which are no different to when Malaya became independent and Malaysia was born,” the 38-year-old said.
An online copy of the letter was also uploaded online on global petition platform Change.org, and the group aims to get the public to take a photo of themselves and spread it through social media using the hashtag #KamiJuga25, in support of the campaign.
Azrul said he was inspired to draft the letter together with writer and activist Mohani Niza following the letter by those dubbed “prominent Malays”, and saw it as an opportunity to further strengthen the moderate and progressive voices.
Admitting the flurry of other open letters and petitions similarly inspired by the original 25, Azrul however applauded the positive vibe resulting from the environment.
A group called Aura Merdeka has launched a petition called “I am #26” on Monday, while a group of 93 civil societies had yesterday urged all stakeholders to start an honest discourse on the Federal Constitution and the direction in which Malaysia is headed.
“We are of the belief that it is necessary for a clear and resounding articulation of the voice of moderates and the much talked about silent majority. The more letters and articles which vocalises this, the better,” he said.
“Too long we have allowed the voices of arrogance, bigotry, ignorance and prejudice to speak for all of us. No more.”
In a strongly-worded open letter earlier this month, the group of 25 influential Malays called on the federal government to review Shariah criminal offences and assert the supremacy of the Federal Constitution over Islamic state laws in the country.
The group, dominated by some of the country’s most senior-ranking civil servants who have since retired from duty, expressed its dismay over the unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in Malaysia, which it said reflects a “serious breakdown” of the division of powers between the federal authority and the states.