All right-thinking Malaysians find it very distressing that there was not only the most irresponsible and reckless appeals to race and religion during the general elections campaign, racism took on even worse forms after the 13th general elections results.
Even my contesting in Gelang Patah was turned into a racist issue with the former Prime Minsister Tun Dr. Mahathir who led the charge in spewing racist lines and falsehoods, alleging that I was contesting in Gelang Patah because I want:
• the Chinese in Gelang Patah and Johor to “reject working together and sharing with the Malays”;
• the Chinese in Johor “to dislike and hate the Malays” to create “conflict and antagonism between the races”;
• create “an unhealthy racial confrontation” between the Malays and Chinese in Johor, which will be “disruptive and will not be conducive to the development of Malaysia”.
Recently, in his blog on “Racial Polarisation”, Mahathir continued with his inflammatory, incendiary, seditious statements to pit one race against another, based on lies and falsehoods.
Among other canards, the lies and falsehoods Mahathir is guilty of in this blog include:
• Accusation that DAP “whipped up” hatreds of the Malays;
• That the black 505 ceramahs throughout the country to protest 13GE fraud and malpractices were manifestation of “Chinese racism” despite the presence of Malays as the majority in many of these black 505 ceramahs; and
• The dastardly lies that DAP rejected the concept of Malay/Chinese/Indian “kongsi” alleging: “The DAP wants the Chinese who already dominate the economy, to dominate Malaysia’s politics as well. It is clearly racist and reject inter-racial sharing of power and wealth as advocated by the BN.”
I want to express my outrage that a former Prime Minister for 22 years could be so irresponsible and reckless as to spout such lies and falsehoods, including my hatred for the Malays.
During and even after the 13GE, I have been depicted as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and even responsible for provoking the May 13 riots in 1969 for allegedly shouting anti-Malay slogans in street processions in Kuala Lumpur from May 11 to 13,1969 although I was never in Kuala Lumpur in that period as I was in Malacca on May 12 and Kota Kinabalu on May 13, 1969.
Apart from missing one parliamentary term from 1999-2004, I have been MP for ten terms from 1969, i.e. for a period of 39 years. I challenge Mahathir or anyone for that matter to quote a single speech that I have made in Parliament in the past four decades which is anti-Malay or anti-Islam.
In fact, I welcome an independent commission of inquiry to identify those responsible for all the incendiary, inflammatory, seditious and racist speeches, statements and articles before, during and after the 13GE resulting in serious racial polarisation in the country.
Here, I wish to make a personal statement.
Recently, I came across a poem which I wrote 56 years ago for my class magazine in Batu Pahat High School in 1957 when I was 16 in Form III, viz:
One for all and all for one
We care not what colour, creed or religion you belong
For aren’t each of us Malaya’s son
Then why let silly racial quarrels prolong?
This has always been my watchword throughout my public life, and I find it utterly abhorrent for Mahathir or anyone for that matter who are prepared to resort to such falsehoods as accuse me of hatred for Malays.
Anyone in Malaysia who hate Malays, or for that matter, any racial or religious group in the country, whether Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans cannot be true and patriotic Malaysians.
In my 47 years in politics, I have always regarded myself as a Malaysian first and last. I have never regarded myself purely as a Chinese, but as a Malaysian of Chinese ethnic descent whose loyalty is unswervingly to the Malaysian nation, having common cause with all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region to build a better Malaysia for all Malaysians.
On the eve of the 13th General Elections on May 4, 2013, I urged voters to mark the coming-of-age of the Malaysian Dream, uniting Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region in a common national vision and destiny to build a more united, democratic, free, just, competitive and prosperous nation for all Malaysian citizens.
In fact, it was in pursuit of this Malaysian Dream that which prompted me to contest in Gelang Patah – not to create a “racial confrontation” or to incite the Chinese in Johore to hate the Malays, as alleged by irresponsible UMNO leaders.
Of course, the battle of Gelang Patah was to launch off a political tsunami in the 13th general elections from the south, and end Johore as a Barisan Nasional “fixed deposit” state, which was achieved with PR winning five parliamentary and 18 state assembly seats.
But the the fulfilment of the Malaysian Dream was the other objective, which I spelt out publicly in my statement of April 8, 2013, as follows:
“I have a Malaysian Dream, which I am sure, is shared by Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or time.
“The Malaysian Dream envisions a plural society where all her citizens are united as one people, rising above their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences as the common grounds binding them as one citizenship exceed the differences that divide them because of their ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural divisions .
“In this Malaysian Dream, we all owe undivided loyalty to the country, we share in one motherland and we come together as one people to develop the greatness of the country deriving from the best from the diverse races, religions and cultures which have made a home in Malaysia so that Malaysia can become one of the leading nations of the world in all fields of human endeavour.
“This Malaysian Dream does not exist only today. It had existed even before the founding of Malaya and Malaysia.
“Let the Battle of Gelang Patah fulfil the Malaysian Dream of a united multiracial Malaysian people rising above race which was envisioned by the great Johore Malay leader and founding UMNO President Datuk Onn Jaffar six decades ago.
“Although Onn was founder President of UMNO, he became increasingly dissatisfied with UMNO’s racist and communalist polices, leading him in 1951 to call on UMNO to open up membership to all Malayans as well as proposing that UMNO should be renamed as the United Malayans National Organisation.
“When his recommendations went unheeded, Onn Jafaar left UMNO on August 26, 1951 to form the Independence of Malaya Party (IMP).
“Sixty-two years after Onn’s call for the opening up of UMNO to non-Malay members and to change UMNO to mean United Malayans National Organisation, it is most fitting and proper that the banner of a Malaysian Dream of all visionary and patriotic Malaysians down the ages be re-hoisted to seek support and endorsement from the people of Gelang Patah, Johore and Malaysia in the 13th general elections.”
I hereby call on Malaysians to be united by a Malaysian Dream regardless of race, religion or region, in a common national vision and destiny to build a more united, democratic, free, just, competitive and prosperous nation for all Malaysian citizens.
Finally, it is a waste of time to talk about National Reconciliation when there is no sincerity in addressing the issue of electoral reform, which is one of the main reasons why many people expressed unhappiness before, during and after the 13th general election. While establishing a Parliamentary Select Committee to monitor the Election Commission is a good start, there been no mention of other substantive reforms such as following up on and implementing the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform. This includes separating the Election Commission into three parts – one in charge of registering voters, another in charge of conducting elections and another of redrawing constituency boundaries.
If Prime Minister Najib is really sincere about a national reconciliation, I propose the first step of recommending to the Yang Di Pertuan Agong to replace the entire Election Commission, starting with the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman, as they no longer enjoy public confidence as per Article 114 (2) of the Federal Constitution. Only then can the process of national reconciliation truly start – on a fresh page.
[Speech (2) in Parliament on the motion of thanks on Wednesday, June 26, 2013]