Can only Muslims protect Muslim interests?

JUNE 15 — Change is not an easy thing. After decades of Umno-inspired insularity, we are in the throes of an era of big changes.

There was a time that Malaysians had absolutely no problem with a person from another race leading them. My grandfather would proudly name Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun Fuad Stephens as politicians he admired without thinking for a second they were not Malay. It was simply not an issue for the folks of his generation.

Fast forward 30 or 40 years and we have an opportunity to show the world that we reward performance and commitment regardless of race.

Our new but vastly experienced prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had selected the activist lawyer Tommy Thomas to be our new attorney general. I had liked him since his work for the Socialist Party to get them registered. I knew he was a man who believed in justice.

Of course, dissenting voices loudly rose against Tun’s choice. A few other names were floated but Tun stuck to his guns. Despite a hiccup, Tommy Thomas was installed as our AG. I have no doubt that his first campaign, to investigate 1MDB, will be his greatest triumph.

What interests, or to be quite honest disgusted, me was the rhetoric of the Islamofascists who simply could not accept the idea of a non-Muslim AG. According to them, such an AG would simply not protect their interests.

This raises some red flags. If only a Muslim AG (perhaps they meant any kind of leader but let’s stick to AGs for now) can represent Muslim interests, then are all non-Muslim interests in our country not represented?

Our previous AG was a Muslim. This would mean he did not represent the interests of 30 per cent of the nation. Funnily enough, that did not perturb our Islamofascists.

And if the AG was Muslim, does this mean he would represent the interests of Muslims without fear or favour?

Our previous AG, a Muslim, was appointed after his predecessor was pushed out. Rumour has it that he was preparing to prosecute the then-prime minister himself. Would this mean that our previous AG can be objective about government activity?

He also famously dismissed the famous 1MDB case and cleared everyone involved of wrongdoing. This is despite damning reports from the US department of justice. Was he representing the interests of Muslims then? Or perhaps just one Muslim in particular?

This is the outcome of insular thinking. In truth, anyone can represent the interests of anyone else. It does not matter who they are but rather what they are made of. Their character.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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