On Reforms

It is a delicate balance to try and make people realize the need for reforms and their fear of reformers who are after all proposing tinkering with closely held beliefs and faith. 

By batsman


There are many types of reforms concentrating on different aspects of life. There are social reforms, economic reforms, political reforms and religious reforms. 

RPK himself has warned against fighting on too many fronts. So with so many types of different reforms and with limited strength and resources, it is good to know which reforms come first and which may be left for later. 

I think we can safely say that economic reforms can be left for last (at least until political power is won) although it is good to know what to do once political power has been won and it is not a bad thing to think about it even now. However, no much action should be taken except maybe to expose the mistakes of the BN government in economic policies and its connection to abuses in terms of corruption. 

It is pointless to talk about social reforms until political power is with the reformers, although the hope of social reforms is a driving force to achieve political power in the first place. So the talk should just be about the hope of social reforms. 

The same goes for religious reforms. Right now there is suppression and violence practiced on reformers. This suppression and violence has to be removed. The right of free speech must be achieved and reasoned debate made possible before reforms can be truly accepted by the people. In the meantime, only the hope of reforms may be discussed by reformers. 

This leaves political reforms. Again, political power must be on the side of the reformers before any reform is possible, but political reforms are most directly connected to political power. This is where the concentration and effort must be directed. 

Most intelligent people will be able to realize that political power is the key to any reforms and political power may be won only if the people realize the urgent need for reforms. Unfortunately this realization is not evenly spread out among the population. Some people realize the need more than others. 

The task therefore is to help the others realize not only the need but also the urgency for reforms. This cannot be achieved if reformers attack closely held beliefs and faith of the people in a blind and uncaring manner. It is a delicate balance to try and make people realize the need for reforms and their fear of reformers who are after all proposing tinkering with closely held beliefs and faith. 

As such reformers should only talk about religious reforms only when the abuses are apparent and the hypocrisy of UMNO hadharis plain to see for the majority of people. The main effort should still be political reforms against corruption and abuse of power. 

Needless to say, those arrogant people who have committed themselves to the winning team of foreigners and foreign influence are in no position to engage in this complex and difficult task. The main complaint against these people is that they already look down on Malaysians and Malaysian beliefs and faiths. They therefore cannot handle the subtleties involved in winning over the majority of the people. 

A secondary complaint is that foreign battles and concerns should not be fought on Malaysian soil or be imposed on the Malaysian struggle for reforms. This would be a dangerous distraction and open the way to wasteful fighting on several fronts. 

For example, foreigners are obsessed with controlling and putting down Islam all over the globe. This is one fight we definitely do not want in Malaysia. Hopefully intelligent people who realize the need for reforms also realize that Malaysians cannot afford to fight battles over Islam on behalf of foreign masters. 

On a microscopic scale, the same applies to the affairs of different racial and religious groups in Malaysia. The reforms that Muslims discuss among themselves should be the internal affair of Muslims as long as actions and policies of Muslims do not affect non-Muslims in a bullying way. This means non-Muslims have the right to defend themselves but not the right to interfere when Muslims discuss matters relating purely to Islam and no other faith. The same goes for Christians, Bhuddists and Hindus. 

This does not mean that people should keep quiet and practice self-censorship when it comes to anything touching on other races and religions. This is the UMNO way and the UMNO way does not work anymore. People should speak freely yet politely if their interests are affected but should also know better to keep quiet if it is a purely internal affair of other faiths. This is the paradigm shift that is necessary if effective reforms are to be successful for all people, all races, all faiths and all political persuasions (including reforms in UMNO by the way). 

Again an example – All people should have a say about Ketuanan Melayu because Ketuanan Melayu tries to dominate and threatens other races. However, when Muslims discuss Ketuanan Melayu in terms of the sanctions of Islam, I think the rest should listen attentively but keep their own counsel. This discretion also applies to Muslims when other religions practice their faith without threatening or bullying Muslims. 

I think this is the correct way to give respect to each other. This is respect for each others’ right to self-defence, but not to interference, abuse and domination.