COMMENT | I was about to complete my speech to be delivered at the Dong Zong meeting today when I received a message from the organiser: "Meeting cancelled".
Police had obtained an injunction to stop the gathering; on the ground that there will be a breach of peace and public order may be affected by allowing such a peaceful meeting to take place.
I was not surprised although disappointed that under a Pakatan Harapan government, those who threatened violence and sought to instigate riots had won the day.
I expected the police to be partial during the BN days, but not now. I expected them to tell the "would-be rioters they will be punished if they proceeded with their threats".
Nothing, it seems, has changed. The Chinese are not able to get the same kind of protection as the Malays who famously organised the Malay Congress. Dong Zong was merely trying to organise a peaceful gathering, but the security forces felt they were unable to protect them.
I had a similar experience eight years ago when I was invited to speak at a forum in Penang on Article 11 of the Federal Constitution; to explain the meaning of religious freedom in the country. I was heckled and abused by a group of Malay NGOs, calling me, amongst others, a lapdog of the Chinese.
I was halfway delivering my speech when the police advised me to stop. The police had a permit for the meeting cancelled on the ground that they would be trouble if I had continued — a victory for the hecklers and those who had no respect for the rights of others.
The cancellation of the gathering organised by Dong Zong means that in our country, rights can be trampled by threats of violence, those who use force and the promise of a riot — like a repeat of May 13.
The police do not think they can maintain public order and peace if the Malays threaten to use force and violence on the non-Malays. Democracy is now dead.
This is where we are now. The Malays-Muslims group will be encouraged to continue their harassment on non-Malays because of the weakness of our security apparatus to maintain public order.
As a Malay, I feel ashamed that these small group of Malays-Muslims would go to such lengths to deny others their basic rights.
Despite that, they are still taken seriously by the police. What has caused them to have such an attitude and behave like thugs? It must be their education and the values they were taught.
Our education minister probably disagree with me, but how else can we explain such behaviour?
It has to do with the failure of Islamisation policy enunciated in 1988. Islamisation policy, we were told, means the assimilation of Islamic values in our education and administration of the country.
We were told that with Islamisation, we would be a liberal democracy ready to achieve developed status in 2020.
The policy was so cleverly presented that a prominent Chinese leader supported it, telling me that "a rose by any other name is still a rose". It turned out to be not a rose, but a sharp thorn that has destroyed our unity, segregate our people and trampled on the country's democracy.
Then we were told that Islamic values mean humanistic values, which are universal in nature. It did not turn out that way.
The product of our Islamisation policy is seen in the conduct and behaviour of our leaders and younger members of various NGOs when faced with issues they dislike or disapprove.
They are vile, uncouth and fascinated with fascist ideas and exhort violence on those they do not like. They have a complete distaste for human rights and democracy and the rights of minorities.
Where are all the Islamic values of tolerance, compassion and respect for the rights of others? None to be seen.
After 30 years of abject failure, our leaders still want to persist with another wave of Islamisation policy. The grand design to use Yadim to promote dakwah in schools, colleges and universities is a sign that their appetite for more indoctrination of failed ideas and values has not been satisfied.
What new things will they teach the Malay-Muslims youth that will change the character of the Malays?
I hope not more fascination with violence and the denial of basic rights of others who do not belong to their group. Fascism has taken deep roots in our country and they can appear in many forms, including the use of religion to spread their ideas. I don't know if we can overcome them now.
The only small hope we have is the presence of multiracial parties in the country. I hope more Malays will join them. They appear to have less fascination with ideology, and more committed to defending human rights and economic justice for all Malaysians.
The Malays will learn to be less righteous and less virtuous, and more respectful of the rights of others. They will be humble and appreciate the contributions of others.
The association with the Chinese will make them more focused on business and the economy. They will see the world differently and appreciate the beauty of the multicultural diversity of Malaysia.
I believe they will learn to be more tolerant and moderate in their thinking. Being isolated from indoctrination, they will have more time on improving their education, livelihood and seeking a fairer share of the nation's wealth.
In short, they will be better off.
ZAID IBRAHIM is a former minister.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.