The controversy that shouldn’t be, over the memorandum of the Gang of 9, continues in Malaysiakini’s Letters’ column. Admittedly there’s a slight lag between the publishing of such letters and the actual events.
One reader, JR Jacob, said:
It comes as no surprise that the non-Muslim ministers who sent the memorandum calling for a revision of the current laws that deprive non-Muslims of their legitimate religious rights have been ticked off by the BN government for their 'shameful act'. To me, such a preliminary dismissal of the memorandum is nothing more than the political reaction of the 'offended' politicians themselves who are out to please those who voted them in.
These politicians, in whose hands religion has become an ugly tool, act in collusion with certain overzealous religious clerics and exploit religion as a lasso to rope in the masses so that they can stay in power. Nothing more than that.
Hmmm, so we have cowboy politicians in UMNO then! And oh, don’t forget PAS who ‘supported’ PM Ahmad Abdullah Badawi on the untouchable sacredness of Article 121(1)(A)
But another reader, A Concerned Malaysian, wrote:
… is it a case of mere grandstanding by the concerned ministers, taking into account the amiable character of the current prime minister, by whose generosity, if I may emphasise, appointed them to the positions they are in the first place.
I shudder to think what would be the consequences should all ministers and divisional heads of the current coalition resort to similar action.
I wonder whether he remembers that the BN is a coalition, and that Cabinet ministerial posts in political alliance are usually 'shared' after some serious negotiation, and not dependent on the PM's largesse? But then, ……..
Another reader, Joe Public said, commented:
The memorandum sent by the nine non-Muslim ministers to our prime minister was a move most welcomed by most of the citizens I have talked to, though they said provided it was not a sandiwara.
The move was described by Pak Lah as ‘unprecedented’, but to us, it has long been overdue. For the past 22 years under Dr Mahathir Mohamad, leaders of the other BN coalition parties appear to be nothing more than yes-men.
I wonder if PAS was not pressuring UMNO on a sensitive Islamic issue, would those 9 be asked to withdraw the memo?
I’ll give Malaysiakini reader, Saif, the final word:
… the cabinet is about collective responsibility and consensus. The handing over of the memo shows us the quality of ministers that we have in the cabinet who cannot even fathom the need to raise the issue as a cabinet agenda first and the insensitivity of doing otherwise. Now, they all look both foolish and cowardly, showing how opportunistic these ministers truly are.
Mate, all politicians are opportunistic and some indeed cowardly, I grant you that. Foolish, hmmm, …….. in this case I don't know ........