At the forum on “Legacy of Tunku Abdul Rahman” at New Era College in Kajang on 10th February 2014, I called on all moderates and patriots in Malaysia, whether in Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat or those outside the two political coalitions to unite and isolate extremists and traitors of the country who want to foment racial chaos and religious conflagration through incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension.
I said that I believe that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians, whether in DAP, PKR or PAS in Pakatan Rakyat, or in Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and the other component parties in Barisan Nasional, or outside the two political coalitions, do not want another May 13 riots in the country as they want, like Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman, love, peace, harmony, solidarity and prosperity to prevail in Malaysia.
But all the moderates in Malaysia, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat or outside the two political coalitions, must act to unite and isolate extremists and traitors of the country who want to foment racial chaos and religious conflagration through the incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension – or they will lose by default and allow the irresponsible and reckless few to hijack the national agenda which can only lead to ruination and sent the country down the abyss of a failed state.
I see shades of this great battle of “patriots vs traitors” in Malaysia in the punch-up between the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) and Perkasa, with Perkasa President Datuk Ibrahim Ali calling NUCC members as “anti-nationalist” and the NUCC Chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman responding that NUCC members are “patriots” fighting to stem racial and religious discord.
If not for the gravity of issue concerned, it would be hilarious for Perkasa, headed by a professional rabble-rouser, to call the NUCC a “threat to national unity” when the NUCC is headed by the former Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Samsudin bin Osman, who is currently Chairman of EPF and President of Putrajaya Corporation, the local government of Putrajaya.
Ibrahim Ali said the NUCC is not fit to advise Putrajaya on race and religious issues and wants it to be scrapped and replaced with Malay NGOs which would promote “real and true unity”.
I am surprised that Ibrahim Ali did not claim that a NUCC without Ibrahim Ali cannot pretend to advance national unity and repeat his recent boast in Penang he is “1,000 million times better than Anwar” to be Prime Minister of Malaysia – whatever that means. But it does give an idea of the character and personality represented by the Perkasa President.
Rational and moderate Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, need not waste time on Ibrahim Ali’s fulminations.
What is important is that moderates in Malaysia, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat or outside the two political coalitions, must never lose sight of the imperative need to unite and isolate extremists and traitors of the country who want to foment racial chaos and religious conflagration through the incessant incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension.
Is the NUCC vs Perkasa battle a precursor of the great battle of “patriots vs traitors” for the soul and future of Malaysia?
Samsudin told The Malaysian Insider: “We’ve had two meetings so far and what showed up in these meetings is that all of us love the country so much and want to see a solution to what’s happening now.”
He also refuted Perkasa’s view that some members of the NUCC were partisan and not representative of the Malaysian population, saying the 30 members of the newly formed council were concerned that the recent acts of provocation had brought discord to national unity.
Samsudin insisted that every member of the NUCC was “working very hard” to get to the bottom of racial and religious issues and to propose solutions to the government as soon as possible.
He said: “Yes, we are all from different backgrounds and don’t have the same political affiliations but we have one thing in common – we all love Malaysia so much and are determined to restore harmony and unity.
“Our members are sincerely and earnestly working to find solutions and I have not heard any of them say they want to ‘cari gaduh’ (pick a fight).”
Samsudin said Malaysians, in general, were peace-loving people, noting that there were hardly any problems in the past.
“We have been here (in Malaysia) together for many years and there were no desecration of places of worship and others.
“So, we want to promote acts that show we are indeed peace-loving.”
In the past few months, the only people who want to “cari gaduh” are Ibrahim Ali, Perkasa and other like-minded NGOs like the self-styled “Council of Islamic NGOs” responsible for the disgraceful “slap and chicken” demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 6, offering a reward of RM1,200 (now raised to RM2,000) to any who slaps DAP National Vice Chairperson and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok for her “Onederful Malaysia CNY 2014”.
I have reservations whether the NUCC can be effective in promoting national unity and restore racial and religious harmony as finally all this will depend on whether the Najib government has the political will to implement a National Unity Blueprint.
But the NUCC should be given a chance, as Malaysian patriots and moderates to explore every possibility to advance the cause of national unity and restore racial and religious harmony, peace and solidarity.