Utusan Malaysia today said Low Yat Plaza is a ticking “time bomb” waiting to explode.
I say it is not just Low Yat Plaza but the whole of Malaysia is a time bomb waiting to explode if race hatred, religious tolerance, breakdown of rule of law and the collapse of good governance are not resolved urgently.
I fully agree with former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah who yesterday expressed the hope that everyone would bury the hatchet to strengthen the relationship among the different races in the country.
This is why I had called for a Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on the Low Yat Race Riots last Sunday to ensure that there would be no recurrence of a petty crime of theft of a mobile phone mushrooming into a race riot involving hundreds of people.
Malaysia cannot continue to adopt the “sweeping under the carpet” mentality, which was why there had been no Commission of Inquiry into the May 13, 1969 race riots to learn from the disasters of our history to ensure an united, peaceful and better future for all Malaysians.
There is an urgent need for a Royal Commission on Truth and Reconciliation on the Low Yat Race Riots whose primary objective is to prevent any recurrence of the incident whether in Kuala Lumpur or elsewhere in multi-racial Malaysia of a petty crime mushrooming into a racial riot, and its terms of reference should include:
· 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 Incident;
· Whether a major cause of the Low Yat riots was the incessant incitement of hatred as a result of irresponsible politics of race and religion in recent years.
There are many Malaysians of distinction, who could command the confidence of Malaysians in their independence and credibility, to serve on the Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation on Low Yat Race Riots to present a blueprint to prevent any recurrence of the incident in future.
Former Cabinet Minister who was Minister for International Trade and Industry for two decades, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, who warned after the Low Yat riots that Malaysia has everything to lose if it ever sees a repeat of the deadly May 13 race riots, would make an ideal Chairman of the Royal Commission of Truth and Reconciliation.
There are other distinguished Malaysian personages who could serve on the Royal 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.
(Speech at the Penang DAP Hari Raya Aidilfitri Open House in Kepala Batas on Sunday 19th July 2015 at 2 pm)