By CT Ali
I am not interested in talking to the converted. Certainly not to those of you who passionately believe that Dr Mahathir Mohamad did not abuse the office of prime minister to make his children insanely rich.
Nor do I intend to engage those among you that have consigned body and soul to the cause of Pakatan Rakyat unconditionally – for even in Pakatan today there are those whose conduct and beliefs bring into question their ability to be open, accountable and responsible should they be given the responsibility of government.
For those of you that vehemently insist that Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, or any other religion is the only salvation of the human race, I bid you to leave us and not trouble us with your self-righteous indignations.
I intend to speak to those among you that have clarity of purpose to listen, hear, understand and debate this vexed issue of “compulsion” – especially in relation to religion – vis-à-vis to what Nurul Izzah Anwar did or did not say in her recent comments at a public forum.
In truth, it is really as much an issue of compulsion as it is of politics. More of politics.
I am not going to refer to any quotes from the Quran, the Bible, the Torah, the Tripitakas, the Bhagavad Gita or any other holy books for I am not that scholarly a person.
I have no emotional revulsion against any religion for we must all realise the good all religions have also done.
Today we live in wondrous time. On Tuesday night, I read Obama’s tweet: “This happened because of you. Thank you,” proclaiming himself winner over Mitt Romney.
A few minutes later I receive an e-mail from my cousin MK in Kuala Pilah updating me about his lunch with AJ, earlier at the new Chinese restaurant at the Lake Club in KL.
I am sharing what happened on Tuesday night because what happened in the US and the news from Kuala Pilah reached me instantly at the click of my mouse.
Now if you know this, then you will also know that what Nurul said or did not say in the name of religious freedom also reached me the same night.
Now we know that others have waded into this issue – each for his or her own personal gain and I do not intend to give them further gain by quoting what they have said. Suffice to remind you of what Andy Warhol said: “In the future, everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes.” So let them look for their 15 minutes of fame elsewhere.
What I want to try and do here is this: gaze into the abyss, into a Malaysia without Umno.
It is as worrying to me as it is exhilarating. It fills me with apprehension at a future without Ketuanan Melayu and that “Bumiputera” safety net in business at work or play for us Malays and yet invigorating for my senses as I face a future that will demand much of the Malays – as much as it would demand of anyone else that calls Malaysia their home.
Whoever wins or loses in this general election, there is no denying that we are on the verge of changing Malaysia for the better. We are no longer fighting hubris, our politicians are. And none more so than those desperate politicians from Umno-led Barisan Nasional.
And how desperate are they? Let me tell you how desperate.
They troll the ranks of Pakatan looking for who will be their nemesis.
They seek here, there and everywhere for who in Pakatan could become the rallying point for that final surge needed to knock BN into that “lintang pukang, helter skelter” mode triggering Umno’s free- fall towards oblivion.
Who will rally the rakyat into stampeding towards the opposition ranks? Who? We know Anwar Ibrahim is a constant. Everything you would expect a leader to have endured physically and mentally, Anwar has endured. He has been to hell and is now back with us.
But Anwar, Lim Kit Siang, Abdul Hadi Awang are yesterday’s people. Still relevant but age is a punishing master and sometimes politics asks for more than what the aged will give.
So who will venture against Umno? Only one name emerges. One solitary name: Nurul Izzah.
Future is Nurul
Umno has now lined up the big guns against Nurul. JAIS, Ibrahim Ali, Nazri Aziz, Hishammuddin Hussein, Muhyiddin Yassin, Mahathir… did I forget anybody?
Umno has already told us that Anwar is pro-Christian. Now Nurul is blasphemous towards Islam.
To be honest, I do not know what it is that she has said, nor do I care to read the countless articles by all giving their spin on what she was supposed to have said against Islam.
I have held my peace so far – one, because I did not want to wade through all that has been written so far for and against her on this matter, and two, I did not want to add my writings to the lot.
I ask that each and every one of you go and read what you can read about what Nurul said or did not say. I have made up my mind about this matter and it is this.
This will not go away. Like an old, hungry, desperate toothless crocodile that has seized a baby antelope for lunch, Umno, in all its wisdom, has decreed that this (Nurul) is its most dangerous opponent and so the attacks on Nurul will not stop.
It won’t stop because Umno, like that old desperate, hungry and toothless crocodile, will not let go until and unless we shoot it dead so that Nurul can live.
For Nurul, I would suggest that she move on. Do not give credence to those who seek to discredit, defame or cause you distress by hurling accusations that you support apostasy.
We know you for what you are: a courageous daughter, a dutiful wife, the proud mother of two cuties and the defection-proof member of parliament for Lembah Pantai.
And even if she does not say so, she is our future.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.