Archive for category nation building

Pak Lah’s inaugural blog most welcome but is he prepared to consistently take up the cudgel to champion moderation against baneful developments like the upsurge of intolerance and extremism and the sedition dragnet which have created a climate of fear

Former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s inaugural blog on Malaysia Day yesterday is most welcome, especially as it addressed the biggest issue haunting Malaysia since his premiership – the rearing of the ugly head of intolerance and extremism among a raucous few preaching the politics of hatred and falsehoods, causing the worst racial and religious polarization in the history of plural Malaysia.

As a result, we have the sad spectacle yesterday of the former Higher Education Minister, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, who as Chief Executive Officer of the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMM), which is one of the initiatives of Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who have to ask for no media coverage of a forum on the country’s future co-organised by GMM because of the climate of fear engendered by the recent selective and malicious sedition dragnet.

Although the “no media coverage” was to protect the participants at the GMM forum from falling victim to the current sedition spree, there is the feeling that even Saifuddin himself may not be safe from the sedition dragnet, although he was former Deputy Minister and hand-picked by the Prime Minister himself to be the CEO of GMM!

It would appear that the only persons who need not fear the sedition dragnet are those who had since Abdullah’s premiership and who have become more blatant in the Najib premiership been inciting racial and religious hatred and conflict through lies and falsehoods, the very people who had succeeded in forcing Abdullah’s early retirement as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bringing Malaysia back to the ‘middle’

― Ahmad Iskandar
The Malay Mail Online
September 10, 2014

SEPT 10 ― At the formation of Malaysia, its leaders charted a course for a nation where a multiracial society would live within a democratic framework that embodied the spirit of harmony and understanding. On 16 September 2014, Malaysia will be 51 years old. From recent developments, it seems that Malaysia is veering away from the ideals envisioned when it was first formed.

In recent years and months,Malaysians have been relentlessly bombarded with hateful statements from the likes of Perkasa, Isma and other Malay ethnocentric groups. They have questioned the loyalty of their fellow Malaysians and suggested that the majority of non-Malays are a threat to Malays and national unity. Hiding behind the mask of race and religion, they claim to represent the voice of the majority of Malaysians particularly Malays.

Much more worrying are government ministers who pander to these groups. In efforts to gain political mileage and consolidate their waning support, they have made irresponsible statements and sowed seeds of discord among the communities, and behaving in ways unbecoming of those appointed to public office.

Blatant racism such as this has upset Malaysians at home and abroad. Many took to social media to express their disappointment at the current state of affairs. While some have blamed the media for sensationalising racial and religious issues; a portion of the responsibility should also fall on the shoulders of Malaysians for failing to take a united stand and voicing the strongest possible condemnation to these acts of blatant racism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Testy times call for soul searching of the Fourth Estate

Terence Fernandez
The Malaysian Insider
10 September 2014

It has been a testy time for the media with the powers that be. In just two weeks, we have had a reporter from an online portal detained for sedition in Penang, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi demanding an English daily retract and apologise for a news report which depicted him as being a chauvinist (which the paper duly did and apologised) and attempts by a lawyer representing a well-connected firm to compel yours truly and a colleague to reveal sources who were quoted in a front page report last month.

On a separate note, there is also the ongoing repartee between the Malaysian Press Photographers Association (MPPA) and the family of a MH17 victim following a fracas at the Nirvana Memorial Park on September 2 when a grieving family member punched a photographer and broke his camera for allegedly invading their privacy.

Meanwhile, colleague Azril Annuar has been preoccupied entertaining the continuous requests from Kajang Police for statements on an article quoting Rafizi Ramli on the reason for the “Kajang Move” that saw PKR leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail contest a vacated Kajang state seat to enable her to throw her hat into the menteri besar ring.

As we now know, Rafizi was charged for sedition on August 28. Read the rest of this entry »

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Define sedition for us simple folk

By Dato’ Dr Amar-Singh HSS and Datin Dr Lim Swee Im | MMO
7 September 2014

SEPTEMBER 7 — The recent spate of illogical arrests for alleged sedition has confused many of us. It seems that any simple statement can be viewed as sedition and seems to depend on personal interpretation. In view of this can we suggest that the authorities circulate guidelines as to what constitutes sedition from their point of view.

To aid us some examples are listed below. Which of these would be considered seditious? Please enlighten us so we can be careful not to upset the sensitivities of the government. Please note that we are just quoting what has been said by others or reported in media and in no way are uttering these potentially seditious comments.

Example 1: Describing our national football team as duds?

Many Malaysians have attested to this and it is supported by the extremely poor performance of the team. Most of us just want a good football team we can be proud of, and feel that speaking out would be constructive. But it can be construed that criticising the team is an affront to our national pride of “Malaysia Boleh” and may “raise discontent or disaffection amongst the … inhabitants of Malaysia” as stated under the Sedition Act 1948.

Example 2: Calling non-Malays “pendatang”? Read the rest of this entry »

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What next?

By Christine Lai | TMI
September 6, 2014

“Even the Chinese like it; they buy a lot”. I looked more closely at the piece of lingerie in my hand. Yes, that’s right, lingerie or in plain English — underwear of the female kind. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. What, now even underwear has gone racist, is it?

I wanted to ask the enthusiastic salesgirl, “So how about the Indians, they don’t like?” But I kept my peace. Who knows, if I open my big mouth and get overheard by some zealous patriot who feels insulted about their ‘rights’ to inner fashion, I might get a slew of police reports lodged against me. Which pity our men-in-blue, they may then have to waste their precious time hauling puny little me in for investigation under the Sedition or whatever Act for promoting ill-will and inciting hatred in society. Look, they already have their hands full with honourable MPs, ADUNs, oh, and don’t forget university lecturers. I should just keep my mouth shut and pray like a good Malaysian.

Which I do. Pray, I mean; though I am not too sure about the “good” Malaysian bit. Nowadays if I listen or read too much, sometimes I wonder. After all, sometime back my ‘kind’ has been called ‘pendatang’ and recently anti-Malay, anti-Islam, anti-bumiputra and arrogant. And if I voted opposition, for sure I am classified anti-government. That’s a lot of A’s but all not ‘good’. Despite that, I am still Malaysian, right — at least I think so. Last I checked my Kad Pengenalan, it’s still blue and the words imprinted on it.

If I were made of lesser stuff (not that I am great stuff, but just a matter of speech), I would really be very doubtful of my status as a Malaysian. I am supposed to feel good about being Malaysian, especially with all that ra ra ra parade, videos and speeches made just about a week ago, on August 31st. I anticipate being treated to a second round in about two weeks’ time come Sept 16th. More of that “How far we have come as a nation united in diversity” line, blah blah blah. Which apparently for some means that I can only be Malaysian if I do, say or think certain things a certain way, like ‘them.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, politics, age or gender to unite to save Malaysia from the New Despotism

Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, politics, age or gender must unite to save Malaysia from the New Despotism which showed its ugly face on the 57th Merdeka anniversary.

Who would have imagined that the 57th Merdeka anniversary would see a quintuplet assault on Malaysian nation building, democracy, the rule of law, press freedom and academic freedom as illustrated by the following instances:

1. Escalation of the rhetorics and politics of racist and religious extremism with UMNO Ministers, leaders and cybertroopers enjoying immunity and impunity for making the most racist, incendiary and intolerant utterances;

2. A slew of malicious and selective prosecution of Pakatan Rakyat Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen on sedition and other criminal charges which could lead to the most number of parliamentary and state assembly by-elections in Malaysian history, resulting from disqualification of MPs and SAs convicted of criminal offences.

3. The most number of selective and malicious prosecutions on sedition and other criminal charges aimed stifling dissent in the country.

4. Malaysiakini reporter, Susan Loone, being investigated for sedition for carrying out her journalistic duties.

5. The first academician, Prof Azmi Sharom, charged for sedition for giving his legal opinions on legal and constitutional developments in the country – which is the most serious attack on academic freedom in recent times.

Patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, politics, age or gender must unite to save Malaysia from this New Despotism which the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has initiated on the occasion of his sixth Merdeka Anniversary.

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IGP has single-handedly reduced to shambles in less than 24 hours Najib’s three 57th Merdeka Day messages on unity, confidence and prosperity

31st August 2014 should go down in history as the 57th Merdeka Anniversary for the nation’s independence in 1957 when the country rose from more than a year of drift and polarisation since the 13th general elections in May last year and the unprecedented twin air disasters of MH 370 and MH 17 which claimed a total of 527 lives from all over the world to forge greater national unity and purpose and build a model successful multi-racial and multi-religious nation which is united, harmonious, confident, progressive, competitive and prosperous.

But this was not the case. Instead, 31st August 2014 would go down in Malaysian history as one of its “black letter” days where one man, the Inspector-General of Police, single-handedly reduced to shambles in less than 24 hours the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s three 57th Merdeka Day messages on unity, confidence and prosperity.

Najib tried to create history this Merdeka Anniversary when he broke with the tradition of pre-recorded Merdeka speeches and spoke “live” on Merdeka Eve on Saturday night to make “eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart” connection with all Malaysians to show the spirit of patriotism. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Batu Sumpah Movement

Batu Sumpah Movement

(via tweet)

At the launching of Batu Sumpah movement Keningau this morning, I quoted: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”.

At this morning’s annual routine ceremony for Batu Sumpah, Keningau District Office locked up its compound to prevent public access to Batu Sumpah.

At first Keningau DO gave approval for the routine ceremony. Very flattered that permission was withdrawn/compound locked when they learned that I would be here.

But there’s more than a silver lining for every cloud. The ridiculous lock-up of Keningau Batu Sumpah has inspired a Batu Sumpah movement.

Orang Asal NGOs 1st responese was to produce a replica of Batu Sumpah with the inscriptions of 3 oaths for the ritual ceremony to be performed – outsmart the lockout.

This has led to the idea to place a replica of Keningau Batu Sumpah in every Kampung in Sabah – fantastic step to spread the Batu Sumpah awareness in Sabah.

If there is a Batu Sumpah in every kampung – hundreds, thousands? – come about, must thank person who locked up the Keningau DO compound to block access to the Batu Sumpah.

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Malaysia Reborn

Allan CF Goh

Malaysia Reborn is full of charms,
With white beaches and tall swaying palms.
The redolent air is fresh and cool,
Blowing with gentle, caressing balm.
Native animals are free to roam;
Forests grow in protected freedom.
Myriad flowers bloom in ecstasy,
Their habitats are saved by wisdom.

This country is a peaceful nation,
Where people live in real maturity.
Each respects the other’s differences,
Celebrating our diversity.
Malaysians embrace creative life;
Citizens live with true harmony.
They pursue fruitful activities,
Undisturbed by vile cacophony. Read the rest of this entry »

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The idea of Merdeka, without the sentimental flashbacks

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
31 August 2014

Selamat Hari Merdeka! Fifty-seven years ago, Tunku Abdul Rahman declared independence for Malaya and six years later, that nation formed Malaysia with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

Most Malaysians probably know the history of Merdeka, and if not, there are a slew of television commercials and newspaper articles on the August 31 independence day and about Malaysia.

And if you don’t know, there are a number of government-linked corporations and public-listed companies to give you a truncated version of the country’s history through their annual commercials for Merdeka Day.

Here’s the thing. Why do we go back to history to explain what Malaysia is? Why do either have a walk through time as sponsored by national oil firm Petronas although the video idea first came from Indonesia tobacco giant Dji Sam Soe. Or even videos of how big the Malaysian family is? Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Malaysians to turn the recent unprecedented twin air disasters into a new beginning to forge national unity although country never so divided and polarised since Independence

57th Merdeka Day Message

At every annual Merdeka Day celebrations we are reminded that the country is now free from the clutches of colonialism. No longer subject to powers except those elected by us from amongst our own.

57 years since Merdeka was announced, Malaysians have undergone a number of phases, trials and tribulations that have empowered, matured and given birth to a nationwide awareness of their rights as human beings in a plural country, with differences in race, religion and culture.

What is the meaning of the 57th Merdeka Day celebrations?

Are we truly free and independent Malaysians or are we swayed and blinded by the illusion of independence and freedom perpetuated by government-controlled propaganda of the traditional mainstream media? Read the rest of this entry »

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Rethinking the Malaysian community

– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
30 August 2014

When I was invited by my colleagues to deliver a talk to a group of final year architecture students at UiTM on the subject of Community Center for Malaysia, I ended up talking about what being a Malaysian community means to me. From the reaction of the 80 strong students, no one had ever given a talk closest to the one I delivered ever since they set foot at UiTM. The following is an extraction of my power point presentation set in an essay format. I want to share these thoughts with all Malaysians, particularly with my Malay and Muslim friends, relatives and colleagues. I am sorry to say that I have the perception that of all the races in Malaysia, the Malays seem to be the least in understanding what being a Malaysian is all about.

I want to say that I can understand if a Malay says that they want to be Muslim first because God is greater than country but that does not give a blank check in being ill mannered and obnoxious and downright threatening to other religious adherents in order to get a certain point across. It also does not mean keeping in a lock-up two young teenagers just for wishing Muslims the breaking of fast by eating Bak-kut-teh. It also does not give any right for Muslims to threaten to ‘slap’ an elected female representative or threaten to burn the holy books of the Christians. Malays and Muslims may disagree with me and even despise me but from where I am standing the loudest and most common bigots and racists in this country are…the Malays, especially from Perkasa and Isma. Read the rest of this entry »

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Raising a family of true Malaysians

– Prof Dr. Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi
The Malaysian Insider
27 August 2014

In many senses, it seems funny that Malaysians, particularly the Malays, find great difficulty in the idea of a united, harmonious and happy Malaysia. I am a Malay. All my Malay friends at UTM and other universities and all my relatives and that of my wife are… racist. If I were to invite all of them to a marriage ceremony, the number would easily reach 3,000. Based on a simple sampling of 5% of this population that I engage in socialising, I have established that they know nothing about the idea of “Malaysia”. All they know is the condition of “we just have to tolerate those immigrants and make sure they don’t make us like Singapore” mind set. I have always thought that some of my friends and relatives whom I respect as very pious Muslims would be different, but they too turn out to be racist when political issues are discussed. It came as a shock to me. I thought that Islam would be one of the answers to eliminate racism, but apparently, the “Malay-view” interpretation of Islam always take precedence. Islam is NOT the problem but its racist interpretation is. I know this for a fact because of my vast reading of Islam, thousands of hadiths and many versions of Qur’anic Tafsir.

In this Merdeka celebration, the “idea” of Malaysia seems only in a dream or in a Petronas or a DiGi commercial. The idea of Malaysia does not exist in our schools, in our public universities, at our housing and our cities. But I still remain optimistic. Why? Because my family is NOT racist. My wife who is a retired teacher is not racist. My 28-year-old lecturer daughter educated at IIUM is not racist. My 26-year-old journalist daughter educated at TAR College and Taylors University is not racist. My 23-year-old son in his third year at UCSI University is not racist. My 20-year-old SEGi University daughter is not racist. And my 18-year-old Inti University son is also not racist. How did I manage to form my own small country of “Malaysia”? There are a few simple strategies that I had developed. I will save the most important one for last. Read the rest of this entry »

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Which side are we on?

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
27 August 2014

Are Malaysians willing to stand together as Malaysians, or do we adopt a ‘tidak apa’ attitude as long as we are not affected by circumstances around us? – Reuters pic, August 27, 2014.Are Malaysians willing to stand together as Malaysians, or do we adopt a ‘tidak apa’ attitude as long as we are not affected by circumstances around us? – Reuters pic, August 27, 2014.Every morning, Malaysians awaken to a call: which side am I on?

Do we speak up for the poor, the marginalised, the bullied, the oppressed, the homeless? Or do we just shrug our shoulders and count our blessings that we are not with the disadvantaged?

Are we troubled when the law and the Constitution is treated as an inconvenience, something to be trampled on by the powerful? Or do we happily pretend that as long as we are not directly impacted, a cavalier approach to the law and principles set out by the Constitution is not on our list of concerns?

Do we discard our sloth and apathy when we hear or read about individuals or groups being punished for what is right and for standing up for a better Malaysia? Read the rest of this entry »

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United in grief, but still a nation divided

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
24 August 2014

Yes, Malaysians are united in grief over the twin tragedies of Flight MH370 and Flight MH17. How could anyone not be moved to tears and feel a sense of hollowness by the numbing loss of both these incidents?

But let us not demean this period of mourning and introspection by milking the shooting down of the aircraft for cheap political gain or gimmicky headlines. There has been no shortage of attempts by Barisan Nasional politicians and the mainstream media to turn the Flight MH17 tragedy into the coming out party for the Najib administration; supposedly a showcase of the Prime Minister’s empathy, diplomatic skills and great skill at uniting this nation.

Lost in all the mulch has been the fact that Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been prime minister of Malaysia for more than five years, and not three months. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to review all flawed judgments by the Malaysian judiciary whether because of racial bias or corruption in the past 26 years after the first judicial crisis of 1988

After the 13th General Elections of May 5, 2013, the country was shocked with the appearance of a former member of the judiciary making racist and seditious statements and speeches undermining the unity, harmony and goodwill among the different races and religions in the country.

One of the most racist and seditious speeches in the nation’s history was made by the former Court of Appeal Judge Mohd Noor Abdullah at the forum titled “GE13 post-mortem Muslim leadership and survival” organised by UiTM Malaysia Alumni Association and Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semanjung in Kuala Lumpur in May 2013 where Mohd Noor warned that the Chinese Malaysians must be prepared for a backlash from the Malay community for their “betrayal” in the recently concluded 13th general election.

He said: “The Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship – that is true. Because they plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power”.
Mohd Noor’s racist and seditious speech was defended on the ground that it was “as a whole constructive and within the boundaries of what is in the federal constitution”, and in line with his expertise as a former judge.

Up to now, Mohd Noor has not been able to quote chapter and verse as to which article or part of the Malaysian Constitution justified his making irresponsible, fictitious, inflammatory, racist and seditious allegations that the Chinese in Malaysia “plotted to seize political power even though they already have economic power” or his criminal and gangsterish threat of a “Malay backlash” to a completely non-existent “Chinese betrayal towards the Malay’s hand of friendship” ? Read the rest of this entry »

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Zam, are you “Malaysian first, Malay second” or “Malay first, Malaysian second”?

Former information minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin wondered in his blog what if the roles were reversed in the case of a Malay woman threatening an elderly Chinese man with a steering wheel lock following an accident, how would the “Chinese press, Chinese social media, Chinese parties and Chinese NGOs reacted if the person punished was a Chinese”.

He asked: “Wouldn’t they have considered the punishment to be racist since it was a small case?” he asked in his blog posting.

Zainuddin was commenting on the Kuantan Magistrate’s Court decision to fine Siti Fairah Asyikin Kamaruddin, also known as Kiki, RM5,000 and ordering her to engage in 240 hours of community service.

Kiki landed in trouble after a video of her threatening the senior citizen Sim Siak Heong went viral online.

It is shocking and the height of irresponsibility for a former Cabinet Minister to frame an issue on law-breaking through such racial and even racist lens.

Even more reprehensible and deplorable is his dismissal of “Chinese press, Chinese social media, Chinese parties and Chinese NGOs” as communal organisations utterly bereft of Malaysian nationalism or patriotism.

Zainuddin should first answer whether he is “Malaysian first, Malay second” or “Malay first, Malaysian second”, for it is only when he regards himself as in the former category that it is worthwhile, useful and productive to engage in any discussion with him pertaining to any subject whether concerning nation-building or fostering harmonious and congenial inter-racial and inter-religious relations in our plural nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysians must be reminded of motto “United we stand, divided we fall” and should talk the language of unity, moderation, tolerance and justice and not the language of division, extremism, hatred and injustice

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”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Najib should be a voice of moderation to fulfil the aspiration of our 1957 Merdeka Proclamation to make Malaysia “a beacon of light in disturbed and distracted world”

The call by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in Shah Alam yesterday for unity between followers of Islam’s two biggest schools, Sunni and Shia, is probably the first good news not only for Muslims but also for Malaysians in this year’s Ramadan as the past 12 days of the holy month in the Muslim calender have been dominated by negative voices of unreason – raucous, divisive and extremist – threatening the very fabric of Malaysia’s multi-racial and multi-religious nationhood.

Najib’s message to the Muslim world to learn to set aside whatever differences among the different denominations and coexist peacefully if it intends to guarantee its own future applies equally true and pertinent to the diverse races, religions and cultures in Malaysia if the Malaysian nation is to fulfil its Merdeka promise in 1957 to be “a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world” and not to become a basket case instead in the international arena.

Najib ‘s call for the unity of Sunni and Shia is particularly welcome as Middle and Moderate Malaysia, both Muslim and non-Muslim, had been most upset by a campaign of persecution and vilification of Shia Muslims, with calls at the UMNO General Assembly last December to spell out the definition of Islam as “Sunna waL Jamaah” in the Federal Constitution as well as recent developments in Syria and Iraq. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muhyiddin’s clarification most welcome although taken with a big pinch of salt – calls for BN-PR National Reconciliation Roundtable to check racial and religious polarisation and reach national consensus to end May 13 threats

I welcome the clarification by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin claiming that his May 13 remark at a Ramadan event in Pagoh last Friday was “manipulated”, denying that he was making any May 13 threat to non-Malays and non-Muslims as he had merely expressed fear that such clashes could happen if Malaysians do not preserve harmony.

Speaking in Kedah last night, Muhyiddin said it is not wrong to issue such reminders, which applies to both Malays and non-Malays.

I have said publicly that I would be the first to applaud Muhyiddin if he had spoken as Deputy Prime Minister of all Malaysians to all Malaysians on the imperative need to prevent a recurrence of May 13 racial riots and safeguard national unity in a multi-racial and multi-religious society so as to be a model of harmony and solidarity of a plural nation for the world, but this was not what he did.

If Muhyiddin’s Pagoh speech had been “”manipulated,” then the culprit is none other than Utusan Malaysia, the mouthpiece of Umno. Read the rest of this entry »

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