Parliament reached rare unanimity yesterday when MPs from both sides of the political divide united to unanimously adopt a motion in an emergency meeting to condemn the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 last Thursday in Ukraine as a heinous and barbaric crime against humanity, killing 298 passengers and crew on board.
The rare unity shown by Members of Parliament yesterday mirrored the unity of Malaysians transcending race, religion, region or politics shown by Malaysians in the past week at the second airline disaster and tragedy to hit the national airline, Malaysian Airlines and the nation in less than five months – the MH 370 disappearance disaster with 239 passengers/crew on board on March 8 and the MH 17 disaster on July 17.
While Malaysians unite in grief and sorrow, extending condolences, support, sympathy and solidarity with the bereaved families, relatives and friends of the 537 victims of the two air disasters, as well as encouragement and support to the MAS employees so that they will be not be demoralised, all Malaysians should pause and ponder why we are only capable of unity when there is disaster and catastrophe but not during ordinary times.
Under the shadow of the two air disasters in less than five months, with the country still reeling from the shock and trauma at being the epicentre of these two catastrophes with world-wide repercussions, Malaysians must be reminded afresh of the truth and power of the adage “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”.
This is therefore the time when Malaysians should talk the language of unity, moderation, tolerance and justice and not the language of division, extremism, hatred and injustice.
However, Malaysia seems to have lost its national direction in the past 14 months, abandoning not only the two key initiatives of 1Malaysia and the Global Movement of Moderates initiated by Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he became the sixth Malaysian Prime Minister five years ago, but heading towards a “failed state” status with the country never more divided and disunited.
It is no exaggeration to say that the nation had never seen greater racial and religious polarisation as in the past 14 months when the language of division, extremism, hatred and injustice sought to drown out the voices of unity, moderation, tolerance and justice.
The two air disasters, MH 370 and MH 17, in less than five months have been salutary reminders of the perils of such racial and religious polarisation, bringing Malaysians back to the reality and truism that regardless of race, religion or politics, we are one Malaysian people who must remain united to face the challenges of the future, whether adversities, achievements or triumphs.
Can the country benefit from the shock and trauma of the two air disasters of the past five months to end the racial and religious rhetorics of division, extremism, hatred and injustice of the past 14 months?
Can Members of Parliament take the unity and unanimity shown yesterday on the barbaric and uncivilised downing of MH 17 another step further to show unity and solidarity to end the racial and religious rhetorics of division, extremism, hatred and injustice in the past 14 months?
For example, if I had attacked individual Barisan Nasional leaders and accused them of causing the May 13 riots in 1969, I would have immediately, and rightly, been arrested and charged in court on a variety of offences for such irresponsible conduct. But why are there double standards when accusations have been made publicly and repeatedly against me for the lie and falsehood that I was the cause of the May 13 riots in Kuala Lumpur when I was not even in Kuala Lumpur during the May 13 riots in 1969, or any time after the May 10, 1969 General Elections with no action whatsoever from the police or the authorities?
Again, if any DAP leader had threatened May 13 riots in the country, he or she would have to face the full weight of the law – and rightly so, because all Malaysians cherish peace, harmony and unity in our multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation. But why is it that the May 13 threats had been openly made at least three times this year by racial and religious extremists and chauvinists without any action being taken by the police or authorities?
This is not the language of justice which is conducive to the fostering of national unity and promotion of a national motto for all Malaysians that “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”.