Najib should walk the talk of a zero-tolerance policy for racism and religious incitement starting with Utusan Malaysia with zero-tolerance for delay in taking action

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has finally broken his silence, declaring a “zero tolerance” policy towards racism and pledging immediate action against those found to have made racial slurs.

It is welcome although belated – provided it is not an empty declaration. Najib’s belated declaration raised the question whether he means what he says for two reasons:

Firstly, it has taken him two long weeks to make his first public statement since the deplorable incident at the launch of the Merdeka celebrations of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Kulai, where the school principal Hajah Siti Inshah binti Mansor said: “Pelajar-pelajar Cina tidak diperlukan dan boleh balik ke China ataupun Sekolah Foon Yew. Bagi pelajar India, tali sembahyang yang diikat di pergelangan tangan dan leher pelajar nampak seakan anjing dan hanya anjing akan mengikat seperti itu.”

In my statement on Tuesday 17th August, I had asked the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to put the issue on top of the Cabinet meeting the next day for two reasons:

  • The severest disciplinary action must be taken against Siti Inshah, who is clearly unfit to be in the education service of a multi-racial society like Malaysia let alone a school principal – going against the very precepts of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy enunciated since April last year.

  • Defying the imagination that Siti Inshah could make such a derogatory, offensive, insensitive and racist statement at an occasion to launch the school’s National Day celebrations whose theme this year is “1Malaysia Transforms the Nation”.

Two Cabinet meetings had since come and gone – Wednesdays 18th August and 25th August – with the issue still unresolved. What is even more unbelievable, the “outspoken” MCA President Datuk Seri Chua Soi Lek could publicly deny that the government was “slow” in taking actions against the headmistresses from Johore and Kedah (where the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Bukit Selambau headmistress accused the Chinese pupils of being insensitive towards their Muslim peers by eating in the school compound during the fasting month of Ramadan and told them to return to China if they could not respect the culture of other races”).

Secondly, lack of “zero tolerance” against delay in taking action against racism. How long more is needed by Najib and Chua to establish whether the school principals of the two schools in Kulai and Bukit Selambau schools had made derogatory, offensive and insensitive remarks which completely negates Najib’s 1Malaysia policy, Vision 2020, the Rukunegara and the Malaysian Constitution rendering them completely unfit to continue as school principals?

Najib should not only declare a “zero tolerance” policy for racism but also for all forms of religious incitement starting with Utusan Malaysia.

After trying to incite racial tensions and hatred with baseless and irresponsible headlines and articles like “’Elak perang besar’ – Harussani enggan dedah pihak terlibat wujudkan ‘perlembagaan baru’” (17th August) and “Benar, ‘perang besar’ boleh berlaku di Malaysia” (18th August), Utusan Malaysia sought to stoke religious sentimens when for four consecutively days, it put Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng on its front-page headlines, viz:

  • “Nama Guan Eng ganti Agong – Disebut doa khutbah Jumaat. Umno Pulau Pinang Bantah” – 20th August 2010.

  • “Ahli kariah sahkan doa khutbah Jumaat guna nama Guan Eng” – 21st August 2010.

  • “Lagi nama Guan Eng dalam khutbah” – 22nd August 2010.

  • “Pasukan khas siasat khutbah guna nama Guan Eng” – 23rd August 2010.

Were these Utusan Malaysia front-page headlines to promote 1Malaysia and foster inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, accord and harmony or the reverse?

While there is controversy as to what had actually happened in the Penang mosques and suraus, what is clearly established is that there is no basis for the insinuation that Guan Eng had anything to do with the khutbahs or that he had intended any disrespect to Islam or Yang di Pertuan Agong.

The same applies to the latest “controversy” involving the DAP MP for Serdang, Teo Nie Ching, caused by Utusan Malaysia today publishing a front-page photo-story of her visiting Surau Al-Huda, Kajang in her constituency to give donations and speaking on the invitation of the surau authorities.

There is divided opinion in the Muslim community on the propriety of the event, but Nie Ching had acted out of fullest respect for Islam and her Muslim constituents and not to insult Islam.

The question that must be asked is whether Utusan Malaysia front-page coverage is to foster inter-religious harmony and goodwill or because of a larger agenda to do the opposite.

Najib should therefore walk the talk of a zero-tolerance policy for racism and religious incitement starting with Utusan Malaysia with zero-tolerance for delay in taking action.’

  1. #1 by Godfather on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 6:57 pm

    Can you guys stop asking him to walk the talk ? He has never walked and he has never talked. His life was always one of prevarication, one of coziness due to his background as son of Tun Razak. He won’t make decisions, and he can’t make decisions.

    Better to pose the question to Rosie.

  2. #2 by undertaker888 on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 7:01 pm

    kita tidak perlukan cikgu cikgu seperti perempuan bohsia siti inshah. kamu boleh balik kampung jadi bohsia berzina dengan mat rempit. Lepas itu buanglah bayi kat longkang Dan sungai.

  3. #3 by tunglang on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 7:08 pm

    Dear Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
    Have you heard the saying, TALK IS CHEAP.
    Let’s hope you will WALK THE TALK, OK?

  4. #4 by lorry_driver_malaysia on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 7:50 pm

    walk the talk… sure, u help me, i help u, boleh??

  5. #5 by lorry_driver_malaysia on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 7:54 pm

    let’s have a deal… u help me to promote 1 Malaysia, i help u to build more chinese and indian schools. Boleh??

  6. #6 by yhsiew on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 8:57 pm

    How to believe Najib’s words when Utusan (controlled by UMNO) continues to churn out racial and religious incitement articles?

  7. #7 by dcasey on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 10:23 pm

    “It has taken him two long weeks to make his first public statement” – Kit

    I got the feeling that his declaration of “zero tolerance on racism” is as empty as his 1Malaysia. He is all alone with his slogans, declarations and rhetorics, as even admitted by UMNO’s KJ. So how does 1Najib sound?

  8. #8 by Jong on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 10:38 pm

    “zero tolerance” does not apply to his UMNO ‘machai’!

  9. #9 by alaneth on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 11:37 pm

    This issue of the media & print especially Utusan & B.Harian caught my attention since 2006. In fact I wrote to a local daily’s editor to complain about this, but of course, the commercial print is controlled by the ‘Boleh’ govt, so each media don’t print ‘Letters to the Editor’ with opinions against another newspaper.

    In 2006, I wrote this but was never published, so I take the opportunity to publish it here :

    Media Should Not Show Extremism in Expression

    Dear Editor,

    I am a subscriber of _____ and I praise the liberal approach in your selection of articles, commentary and letters which gives a balanced view of news, information and advertisements.

    As my office subscribes to another local daily, I occasionally give quick glances through the paper. I am surprised and dismayed that the news and article expression approach is unbalanced and to a certain extent biased. The back page containing the top world news stories will always contain articles on the brutality of Israeli forces towards Palestinians, violence against Muslims and how the West is bullying others. Even in the previous relatively peaceful times in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict situation, the above issues were given special focus. Most of these news were translated from news agencies such as Associated Press and Reuters but captions under the photos are observed to be written locally with strong language, probably written under extreme anger.

    On 18 Jun, an article in the ‘Letters to the Editor’ page titled “Bahasa Melayu terpinggir di negara sendiri” (scanned & attached) contain a suggestion for a by-law to disallow the use of other languages except Bahasa Melayu and English in signboards. This suggestion was untimely when the government is continuously promoting racial harmony. What actually is the author of this article thinking when he is writing this? (See attachment – underlined in red).

    Malaysia has been rated highly for press freedom in Asia. In view of a multi-racial, multi-religious plural society of Malaysia, let the press be an instrument of unity by showing tolerance and a balanced approach in the news and articles published taking into account the sensitivities of all races and religions.

  10. #10 by alaneth on Friday, 27 August 2010 - 11:43 pm

    Hey, another interesting thing to note in the “World News” section in Berita Harian & Utusan…

    We always see news on war, injustice, violence against Palestinians, Iraqis & muslims in big bold newsprints. Even the smallest news or event can see a big bold newsprint.

    But when Pope John Paul died, almost every newspaper in the world has its news in headlines & prominent places, but B.Harian has only a small tiny print of it in a hidden corner.

    Now we clearly see double standards & the constant featuring of the former will stroke tensions…

    It will not be long to go, just wait for the next GE for Pakatan Rakyat to oust the ‘Boleh’ govt & stop their biased newspapers from being circulated like what they are doing to our ‘Rocket’ publication.

  11. #11 by alaneth on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 12:03 am

    A zero-tolerance policy for racism and religious incitement also should see DAP and Pakatan Rakyat against Hudud in a stronger stance.

    Do you want to see Malaysia being famed around the world for stoning, hands chopped off etc? even if it is only for Muslims, we will be in the great hall of shame!!! What will happen to our already bad FDI? Investors will run away & the majority of moderate Malaysians will migrate. We will become like Iran or even worse Somalia !

    That is why I remain firm on my stand from day one that if given a choice between PAS & UMNO, I will never support PAS. I will make undi rosak. I never ever support PAS in Pakatan Rakyat. Kudos to Pakatan’s leaders who has lashed out against Nik Aziz’s stand including YB Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Zaid Ibrahim & Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.!

    Also applause to Karpal Singh’s famous “Over my dead body” remark about Malaysia being an Islamic State against PAS in parliment some time ago.

    Hey, one more thing. Of course I’m against the Boleh govt, but if given a choice of a corrupt govt & Hudud, I’ll better choose corruption as we are still what we are. We have jobs, work, money etc.
    We may live in a corrupt country, but it is far better to live in a Hudud country with sanctions & undevelopment similar to Somalia.

  12. #12 by yfour0921 on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 12:35 am

    Damn, I should have chosen to pursue law degree, apparently its minimum entry requirement is only UPSR certificate LOL

    Gobind Singh, it would be a disgrace if you cant win this.

  13. #13 by johnnypok on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 2:38 am

    Talk is cheap. Empty promises also a plenty.

  14. #14 by boh-liao on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 3:27 am

    Words! Words! We are all so sick of words!
    Is that all those UmnoB/BN blighters can do?

  15. #15 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 3:32 am

    Parliament should amend the Penal Code to include a new offence i.e. that of making a mockery of the country’s judicial system.

    I can’t believe the judge did not admonish people in the public gallery for clapping! Instead he just politely reminded them!

  16. #16 by undergrad2 on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 3:34 am

    ooops wrong thread

  17. #17 by vic on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 9:07 am

    uncle Lim, you also racist lar… Penal Code penalty for you also,

    You are one hypocrites politicians, say you want unity and all but have you walk the talk? you racist pot calling kettle black even go against the Sekolah Wawasan that supposed to unite all childrens. Hypocrites la you…

    You racist, when peoples say Balik China, you’re angry but you yourself always being chauvinist. You fight this so called racism issue when it is hitting Chinese only, so that you got votes… And that makes you a racist you know?

    Old man and absolutely racist, that is how ugly you are. And hypocrites too. Of course you always not satisfied ma.. you cause more trouble than good

    You also walk the talk la.. dun just BS. There are a lot of racist Chinese also, what you’re doing? Of course you do nothing, you also one of them.

  18. #18 by boh-liao on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 11:40 am

    NR has warned d people against spreading “half-truths” on racial issues n said d goment has zero tolerance of racist remarks
    Wonderful! Y tolerate maha racist MMK?
    Good news is Palestinian politicians want MMK as a peacemaker in their strife-torn land
    NR shld oblige n send MMK there, 1 way ticket

  19. #19 by digard on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 12:14 pm

    I for one do like how NTN (Najib The Noodle) makes decision and executes them: Trying most hard to please everyone (The Noodle); fearing most of all to antagonize anyone.
    So he has developed his own method to implement contradictory positions in a single go. “Zero tolerance for racism” fits snugly with “No knee-jerk responses. Let’s try to look the other way as long as possible. If not possible any longer, let’s be as lenient as possible” in Najib’s own little world. At least, he hopes it will fit, as long as he can hope and wish for it to be compatible.

    Maybe Mahathir can help him: “Yes, some items in Utusan expose a racist tendency. I agree. But any intervention would mainly hit members of a single race. So any action against Utusan would be racist by default. And I don’t condone racism. On the contrary, my non-action against Utusan is fully in line with my stand of Zero Tolerance For Racism. I walk the talk!”

  20. #20 by aukin on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 4:21 pm

    I am fully agreed with Kit that the zero-tolerance against racism starts with Utusan Malaysia which l strongly believe is one of the main culprits in breeding racism against non Malays. Since no action has been taken against the newspaper to stop racist remarks, certain readers take it as face value that they are also entitled to voice their racist remarks against others publicly. I expect stern immediate actions to be taken against the newspaper in the next racist remark. l await that very moment !!!!!.

  21. #21 by boh-liao on Saturday, 28 August 2010 - 6:29 pm

    Taking action on Utusan M means taking action on UmnoB, since Utusan M is owned by UmnoB n d mouthpiece of UmnoB
    So, how 2 whack own backside aaah? Never!
    How 2 hv a harmonious multi-racial nation? Never!

    D ONLY way 2 stop Utusan M is 2 vote PR into Putrajaya n then charge ultra-racist Utusan M kakis as anti-national scaremongers out 2 create racial riots in d nation n destabilise d nation

    BTW, in Penang, another case of a Malay teacher making derogatory, offensive, insensitive and racist remarks 2 nonMalay students
    Getting biasa lah n dis is d month of Ramadan, n Merdeka, coinciding with Phor Thor (Hungry Ghost Festival)
    Any coincidence, Hungry Ghosts during waktu siang?

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