The Muslim world is facing its version of cultural revolution and Malaysia is bidding for leadership in the chaos.
Malaysia knows that on its own, in a divided Muslim world landscape, it has no chance.
It has Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the helm of the government. Indeed, this is not sufficient for the country to make an impact in the Islamic world.
Seen as an influential Muslim with a global status, Dr Mahathir is at the end of his extended career.
It is a choice that he made, that is getting reverence from Muslims around the world as a champion of the Muslim cause.
To enhance that reputation, he is pushing Malaysia in a new direction. Nevertheless, this direction is fraught with dangers and is an uncharted territory.
SAUDI ARABIA OUT!
The grade of leadership chosen by Dr Mahathir to reinforce Malaysia’s stand in the Muslim world speaks volumes.
Saudi Arabia is not among the countries invited. They are Turkey, Qatar, Iran and Pakistan.
Media reports outside Malaysia suggest that Malaysia did not extend the invite to Saudi Arabia. This says it all.
Malaysia is going in a direction where it will confront the Saudi regime frontally.
It has invited the ‘enemies’ of Saudi Arabia to a summit dubbed the KL Summit not to impress Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salam. Right?
Instead, it will raise eyebrows in Riyadh and Dr Mahathir’s response to the eyebrows and tantrums from Saudi Arabia will be tacitly chaotic!
OH EYE SEE!
What we expect is another ‘Oh Eye See’ moment in Kuala Lumpur. Dr Mahathir was the Prime Minister in 2003 when the Organisation of Islamic Countries or Conference at Putrajaya.
He raised havoc with his comments on the Jews being the masters of the world. This is still haunting him.
Now, he adds the Saudis in the list of ‘frenemies.’. It is a historic breaking point in the search for Muslim unity.
The least would have been to send an invitation to MBS. The best would have been to call all OIC countries to join! Niet. Confrontational, Malaysia risk inflaming the tinder box.