To the next level: liberty


Of course, Article 153 in the Federal Constitution would also need to be removed, as would the NEP, the quota system, preferential treatment for the Malays and Bumiputeras of East Malaysia, and so on. Everything will be based on merits and survival of the fittest following the laws of nature. 


Raja Petra Kamarudin

“National reconciliation plan needed now,” said PKR Secretary-General Saifuddin Nasution.

“The government must tackle issues of rising cost of living and racial and religious tension “immediately”, rather than wait until the unveiling of the National Reconciliation Plan (NRP) several months later.” 

“They must prove they are serious (about national reconciliation) through confidence-building measures for the rakyat. Issues such as cost of living, racism and religious tension need immediate action.”

“This will act as a litmus test as to the prime minister’s sincerity in reconciling the nation. We can’t wait another three months, until the NRP is unveiled, to tackle these issues.”

“The NRP should also focus on economy, good governance, freedom and democracy. But the rest can wait until the next few months. Right now we welcome the NRP, but we need a solution to the people’s anxiety and turmoil straight away.”

“After the prime minister proves he is serious about this, we can move towards long term solutions for issues such as freedom of the media, democracy and subsidies.”


There are many things Saifuddin raised, some short term and some long term, and some that are beyond our means and some within our means.

Anyway, what may be of immediate concern and a problem that has been festering for quite some time is the problem of racism and religious extremism brought on by the race and religion politics that has been the forte of Malaysian politicians since long before Merdeka.

We must remember that the creation of PAS itself (then called PMIP or the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party) back in 1951 or six years before Merdeka, following the first Pan-Islamic Malaysian conference in 1947, was because of the disagreement within Umno over Islam. There were some in Umno’s religious wing who felt that the party was not Islamic enough so they left to form an Islamic party.

Parti Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya (PKMM) under the leadership of Dr. Burhanuddin al-Helmy, which was a Malay nationalist platform, sponsored that particular conference. Hence Malay nationalism and Islamic politics worked hand-in-glove at that time.

So, to correct Saifuddin on one point, this is not a recent problem but something that has been around since soon after the end of the Second World War in 1945. Malay nationalist politics and Islamic politics have been in existence for 69 years since the time of my grandfather.

And now I am a grandfather myself. So that makes five generations altogether. How do you change something that has been the culture for five generations?

And it would be easy if this were just the political culture of the ruling Barisan Nasional. Then we just get rid of Barisan Nasional. But this is also the opposition political culture. Hence changing government will not change things. We need to restructure the entire society. And social re-engineering is easier said than done. A lot of sacrifices and compromises need to be done. Are we ready and prepared for that?

“The NRP should also focus on economy, good governance, freedom and democracy,” said Saifuddin. Okay, let us say I agree with him. Let us say this is what we need to do. How will we do it then?

Those famous four words: economy, good governance, freedom and democracy. Politicians love using these four words. And they tell us this is what we need for a better Malaysia. But how do we achieve that? Are we ready to sacrifice and compromise to achieve these? If not then this is empty rhetoric.

Let me propose some solutions and see whether we can agree on them.

We need to remove race and religion from all forms, identity cards, and so on. No longer would you need to declare your race and religion. You are just Lim Guan Eng or Anwar Ibrahim.

Then we do what Indonesia did at one time. All Malaysians must have Malaysian names. No more Chinese, Indian, or ‘other’ names such as Christian, Hindu or Muslim names. Hence no one would know what race and religion a person named Hernanto Ludirja is.

Dewan Bahasa can come up with a list of 1 million Malaysian names for boys and girls. I will be the first to volunteer to change my name to Upu Tenribong Daeng Rilaga after my great-great-great-great-great (15 times ‘great’) grandfather. Tell DYMM Tuanku Sultan Selangor that I ‘chop’ that name first.

Then all vernacular schools and mother-tongue education will be banned. Only one type of national school will be allowed with the National Language as the medium of instruction and English as the second language.

Islam will be removed as the religion of the Federation or the ‘official’ religion of Malaysia. There will be absolute religious freedom and Muslims can decide what religion they would like to follow or even become atheists if they want to.

Allah will be nationalised and everyone would be free to use Allah as the name for God whether you are a Muslim or not.

There will no longer be MAIS, JAIS, JAKIM, or whatever. All will be closed down and replaced with multi-religious departments under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Religions that has authority over all religions.

Religious marriages would no longer be compulsory and every Malaysian, Muslim or otherwise, can register a civil marriage and live as husband and wife (or husband and husband or wife and wife for gay couples).

There is so much more that can be done and these are but some examples of the long list.

Now, before you scream and say that this is taking things a bit too far, allow me to go back to what Saifuddin said. Saifuddin said we must have more freedom and democracy and we must eradicate racism and religious extremism. And for 69 years since 1945 this is the problem the country has been facing — five generations as I have explained.

It took five generations to get to where we are today. Do we want to waste another five generations to repair this damage? The country would burn long before that. So we need a quick fix and fast track solution so that this can be solved in just one generation. So this would be the only way to do it or else it will all just be idle talk.

I want to take this discussion beyond just democracy and freedom, which Saifuddin talks about. Democracy only serves the majority, not the minority. I have already explained in earlier articles that democracy is the tyranny of the majority over the minority.

Regarding freedom that Saifuddin talks about, we also need to expand that and take the discussion up to the next level, the level beyond just freedom. It must be the level of liberty. And liberty means religion needs to be removed from our lives. Only then will we see real freedom, once we achieve liberty.

With this, both racism and religious extremism can end by the next generation. It is a huge sacrifice and compromise but necessary if we want to achieve what we hope to achieve, a racism-free and religious-extremism-free society.

Of course, Article 153 in the Federal Constitution would also need to be removed, as would the NEP, the quota system, preferential treatment for the Malays and Bumiputeras of East Malaysia, and so on. Everything will be based on merits and survival of the fittest following the laws of nature.

And by 2050 all Malaysians will live as one huge happy family of 40 million citizens.