I have written to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak seeking a meeting on the establishment of a Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on Low Yat Race Riot to ensure that there will be no recurrence of race riots because of petty crime.
In my email to the Prime Minister, I also suggested that the terms of reference of the Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on the Low Yat Race Riot should include the following seven items:
• How Malaysia can be a world model of a successful, united, peaceful and harmonious multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation;
• Whether the police could have acted pre-emptively to prevent the petty crime of mobile phone theft from being transformed into a race riot involving a few hundred people;
• The attack on journalists;
• The role of social media with Ministers blaming it as a main culprit of the Low Yat Mob Incident;
• Whether one major cause of the Low Yat riot was the incessant incitement of hatred as a result of irresponsible politics of race and religion in recent years.
• Whether the Low Yat Incident is proof of the failure of nation-building policies, particularly the Prime Minister’s 1Malaysia signature policy and decades of Biro Tata Negara’s “racist” courses.
• A blueprint to ensure that there will be recurrence of race riots from petty crimes, which is particularly important for a plural society like Malaysia.
Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz , former Cabinet Minister who was Minister for International Trade and Industry for two decades, had spoken up in the aftermath of the Low Yat Race Riot and warned that Malaysia has everything to lose if it ever sees a repeat of the deadly May 13 race riots.
Rafidah will make an ideal chairperson for the Royal Commission on Truth and Reconciliation on Low Yat Incident, and there are many eminent and respected Malaysians who could make great contributions as members of this commission, including Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, former Cabinet Minister Tan Sri Dr. Rais Yatim, former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, former top civil servant Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, NGO leader Datuk Seri Ambiga Sreenivasan, National Laureate Samad Said and Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing, Catholic Bishop for Malacca-Johor.
Malaysia as a country should discard the bad national habit of “denial syndrome” or “sweeping under the carpet” unpleasant and unhealthy national events instead of facing frontally with the problems plaguing the country to deal with the root causes so as to find a long-term solution.
This was the prevalent government attitude all these decades and why there was no commission of inquiry to identify the causes of the two major race riots of May 13, 1969 in Kuala Lumpur after the 1969 general election and the 2001 Kampong Medan riot in Selangor so as to prevent any future recurrence, but one example of “sweep things under the carpet” after another!
Sporadic events and outbursts after the Low Yat Incident have highlighted the folly of continuing with such “sweep things under the carpet” mentality and ignoring the root causes and the supporting factors conducive to the outbreak of racial incidents – which must be taken seriously in a plural society like Malaysia.