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5:27pm 05/02/2024
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Malaysians should respect Najib as a man, as a leader and as a fellow citizen
By:Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi

At first glance, many may be surprised at the title of my piece and may be a bit turned off by it.

In this piece, I will show how Malaysians may be as bad or even worse than leaders like Najib who robbed the country, or like Hadi who disrespects everyone, even those of his own faith.

Yes, I mean it! From recent comments on Najib’s pardon issue, many Malaysians are in an uproar, and they fail the test of rationality, compassion and a wider sense of spirituality.

In the Islamic value system, Muslims are not allowed to call a person convicted of a crime and is serving the sentence, by the crime he or she committed as a form of a joke or social label.

Thus, the convict can no longer be called a robber or a rapist or any other name unless it refers to a legal issue in the small confines of the administrative aspects of a particular concern.

In the realm of the public, the dignity of the person must be respected.

The Prophet Muhammad severely warned Muslims from making derogatory remarks on the musyrikin or unbelievers killed in holy wars between Islam and that side.

He said these people had families and we should respect the families of the dead, or else they would take revenge and escalate the bad relationship with Muslims in perpetuity.

This is both a politically and spiritually sound advice.

Thus, I advise all Malaysian Muslims and non-Muslims to pay some respect when mentioning Najib for the sake not only of his dignity but also that of his family and party, Umno Baru.

We have seen some personalities like Tony Pua and Hassan Karim making public comments that may sour the relationship between PH and Umno.

Is this a heroic act of responsibility or simply a populist act of resentment that both have no important roles that were given to them?

Although both these gentlemen are great Malaysians, far greater than I will ever be as a mere scribbler of comments and speaker of issues, that does not merit them the right to criticize other partner parties in public and in a forceful manner.

In Islam, advising one’s own leader, family, tribe or party requires the art of not shaming the intended person or party.

Advice can be circulated to the circle of the leader and sometimes direct to the leader with an important play of words that is both humble and precise but not humiliating and derogatory.

Calling out the faults of one’s own party speaks of immaturity or ill intent, and does not serve anyone any good but only to make the person noticeable and popular, two key ingredients in vote marketing.

The most serious crime of any similar kinds of politicians is to criticize a partner party in public and humiliate one of its leaders or former leaders.

Malaysians easily forget that if it were not for Umno and Zahid, PN would have been in control. Thus, if Umno wants to fight for its fallen leader, then it is their own right.

Another serious crime is to accuse the Pardons Board headed by the YDP Agong as colluding or “making crime easy” the life of corrupt politicians.

We are not ruled by machines or computers. When Anwar’s pardon was addressed immediately after the swearing-in of Tun Mahathir in 2018, that was a special treatment that no one opposed as “cutting the line” of thousands of applications.

Anwar was special. You and I are not. The same can be said of Najib as a man who once was the prime minister of this nation.

Is that too much to expect or ask for? Anyone of us would give preference to our loved ones or parents over others who registered first to meet with us as an important public figure. To do any less would not be culturally accepted.

Of course, giving projects to loved ones over others is not something to be condoned at all.

Malaysians who placed a blind eye on their own sense of morality in voting for BN in 1999 and 2004 were as guilty as politicians like Tun M for bringing the culture of corruption and denigration of a human being like Anwar.

Malaysians who voted for BN then, non-Malays and others, are to be blamed as much for the country’s present malady. Don’t deny it.

What about 2018, when Malaysians again voted for Tun M as the leader of Pakatan Harapan?

We all did it, including me. We knew that Tun M was the cause of our moral and financial decay as a nation, but we wanted to eliminate a present and dangerous evil that was Najib then.

So, why are we accusing Anwar and PH as well as the Agong for “compromising” the sentencing of Najib? Please search our souls before we destroy it further beyond repair.

We must trust Anwar and the YDP Agong for now, as it will take time and many more “compromises.”

Those who are married for more than 30 years understand the concept of patience, acceptance and compromise in a family situation as well as the larger family context.

Our neighborhood also requires such compromise and patience.

Don’t our nation and our leaders, too, deserve the same?

(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)

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Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi
Najib Razak

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