The pathetic statement by the Communications and Multimedia Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak that fielding more Malay candidates in the next general elections does not make DAP a multiracial party is the latest proof of the narrow-minded and petty mentality of the present UMNO leadership, which is completely bogged down by the politics of race and the failure of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia Policy.
Malaysia is a plural society and the racial, religious, linguistic and cultural diversity of the country is a national asset and not a liability.
Malaysians will continue to be Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks, Kadazan-Dusun-Muruts, Orang Asli or Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Taoists, Sikhs but the success of Malaysian nation-building will be measured by our ability to create an overarching common national identity where we are Malaysians first and race, religion, region and socio-economic status second – in othe words, where despite our racial, religious, linguisticm, cultural and socio-economic differences, we accept each other as Malaysians first above all else.
In this context, UMNO Ministers and leaders like Salleh Said Keruak should welcome DAP reaching out to get more Malay, Dayak, Kadazan-Dusun-Murut and Orang Asli support and emulate the DAP example to graduate from Malay to become Malaysian leaders instead of decrying such a development.
Is UMNO prepared to emulate the DAP’s example and reach out to all non-Malays and non-Muslims by welcoming them into UMNO ranks?
Is Salleh a Minister for Malays only or a Minister for all Malaysians?
Are UMNO Ministers and leaders prepared, 66 years after founder UMNO President Datuk Onn Jaffar suggested it, consider opening UMNO doors to non-Malays to become an inclusive Malaysian political party?
When will UMNO become an inclusive Malaysian political party and open its membership not just to Malays and Muslims but to all Malaysians or will it forever remain an exclusive party for Malays and Muslims only and Datuk Onn’s vision of 1950 will remain forever a pipe-dream?
If UMNO takes tentative steps to be an inclusive Malaysian political party opening its doors to all Malaysians, I will publicly welcome and laud such a landmark development and not throw stones and gripe like Salleh Keruak that just opening its doors to non-Malays would not make UMNO an inclusive multi-racial Malaysian party.
The Salleh Keruaks must learn to be Malaysian leaders and not bogged down by exclusive communal dynamics which prevent them from transcending communal barriers to rise to an inclusive and larger Malaysian consciousness and identity.
Salleh is Najib’s new czar for information and multimedia communications.
Two days ago, he said he would chair a special team comprising representatives of the Attorney-General’s Chambers and the police to deal with the misuse of social media spreading hatred and religious extremism in the country.
DAP leaders and I have long been victims of UMNO-Barisan Nasional cybertroopers misusing the social media to disseminate lies and falsehoods about the DAP, like the lies that I had led illegal and anti-Malay anti-Islam street processions in Kuala Lumpur causing the May 13 riots in Kuala Lumpur in 1969, when I was never in Kuala Lumpur during the relevant period, or that the Israelis had offered RM1.2 billion to the DAP in the last general election in exchange for a Israeli naval base in Port Dickson when it was a downright lie unlike the fact and scandal of RM2.6 billion “donation” in Najib’s personal bank accounts before the 13th General Election.
Yesterday, we read about the new lies on the social media that Parti Amanah Negara was backing DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for prime minister.”
As Amanah communications director Khalid Samad said yesterday, only “crazy people” will believe in such “crazy lies”.
Will Salleh’s special team investigate who are the UMNO/BN cybertroopers responsible for such lies which are calculated to spread hatred and foment conflict and tension in our nation?
In his speech at the launch of Wisma Hua Zhong in Seri Kembangan, Selangor yesterday, Najib gave an undertaking to “fight tooth and nail” against any form of terrorism and any form of extremism, whether it is religious or racial extremism.
While Najib’s vow is most timely with the Islamic State (IS) outrageous attacks in Jakarta, Istanbul and Paris, and reports of police success in the arrest of a Malaysian citizen who is an Islamic State (IS) operative at Setiawangsa LRT in the midst of carrying out a suicide attack in the country, it is a matter of concern that the Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) initiated by Najib is now headed by a person not highly regarded by Malaysians as an epitome of moderation.
In this connection, Najib and the Cabinet should give serious study to a recent report entitled “Indonesian and Malaysian Support for The Islamc State”, that a “genuinely” moderate Islamic agenda is the proper counter to thwart the Islamic State (IS) militant group.
The report, produced by the United States Agency for International Development, said Malaysia’s counter-terrorism efforts had achieved some success but was curtailed by government support for conservative Islamic interests.
It said Putrajaya’s right-wing bent, borne out of the need to arrest Umno’s declining support, alienated an important Muslim population that could have helped in combating the militants’ influence.
It said that Malaysia’s “moderate Islamic image” projected internationally is not reflected in domestic policy that is increasingly sectarian and hostile, not only to minority religious rights but also to progressive Muslim views.
What is Salleh’s response, and that of Najib and the Cabinet, to this report which cast doubts about the political will of the Malaysian government to combat terrorism and extremism, whether religious or racial?