The group of vocal retired Malay civil servants dubbed G25 is planning to petition Malay rulers and all federal lawmakers to support its bid to stem rising Islamisation in the country, representative Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin said today.
Noor Farida said the group had initially urged Putrajaya to review Shariah criminal offences and assert the supremacy of the Federal Constitution over Islamic state laws, but conceded its efforts have stalled as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak might now be “preoccupied”.
“We saw the prime minister earlier this year and broached this idea, he was quite receptive. But whether he is going to act on it is a different matter. Unfortunately, now he’s rather preoccupied with other things,” Noor Farida said in a talk organised by the Jeffrey Cheah Institute.
“Plan B is for the Conference of Rulers to set it up. Of course, Islam is under their jurisdiction. We are seeing the rulers, we want to see all of them.
“We are also seeing the governors, the chief ministers, trying to sell this idea,” she added, referring to the establishment of a consultative council to review the issues G25 has brought up.
Noor Farida said G25 is also concurrently trying to meet up with MPs from both sides of the political divide to propose a parliamentary caucus on the matter, should the first two plans fail.
In January, G25 representatives had met Najib’s political secretary, Datuk Jailani Ngah, to discuss the final details of their meeting with the prime minister, which was also attended by director-general of the Malaysian Islamic Religious Development Department (Jakim) Datuk Othman Mustapha.
There has been no new update since.
The former ambassador to the Netherlands also said that G25 is currently expanding its focus from just tackling Islamism and conservatism to important national issues such as good governance, rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions.
“We are linking up with civil society, we’re trying to work with the people of Sabah and Sarawak … Because people there have no time for Islamic extremism,” she added when detailing the group’s future.
In a strongly-worded open letter in December last year, the group expressed its dismay over the unresolved disputes on the position and application of Islamic laws in Malaysia, which it said reflects a “serious breakdown” of the division of powers between the federal authority and the states.
The group was named for the original 25 influential retired Malay civil servants who signed the open letter, but its membership has since more than doubled.