If the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, could set the example of walking the talk, Malaysia will be more united, successful and win greater respect and credibility in the international arena.
The latest example of Najib not walking the talk can be found in his prepared speech for the 32nd Chinese Cultural Festival in Kuantan on Saturday night, which the Prime Minister did not deem it important enough to personally attend.
In his prepared speech, Najib rightly said that the multi-racial population of Malaysia is not an obstacle but a source of strength for the country.
He said: “This strength and unique feature must be defended so that our nation will continue to be successful in facing the globalised economy that is getting more complex and challenging”.
He reminded Malaysians that peace and harmony in the country did not come about naturally but through efforts to find a middle path in nation-building.
He said that there were still Malaysians who did not appreciate the harmony enjoyed by all and viewed it as something frivolous.
He said: “Social peace and racial harmony should be preserved so that we will not run out of this capital one day.
“We must make it ‘The Malaysian Way’, a heritage to be inherited by our future generations.”
Sadly and unfortunately, Najib not only furnished another example of his failure as Prime Minister to “walk the talk”, but even more serious, showed himself as one of the Malaysians who does not appreciate the importance of the “capital” of social peace and racial harmony or that “peace and harmony in the country did not come naturally but through efforts to find a middle path in nation-building”.
Otherwise, Najib would not have countenanced the holding of a Red-Shirts “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 16, with the Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi not only giving the “green light” for such a racially-charged rally, but his double standards in banning the innocuous yellow Bersih 4 T-shirt calling for good governance and clean and fair elections while condoning the sale of the racist and highly-provocative red “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” T-Shirt.
Is this the act of a government grounded in “moderation” as “the Middle Way”, fully conscious that diversity of races, religions and customs is not an obstacle but a source of strength for the country and the need to uphold social peace and racial harmony which did not come about naturally?
As a result of the Red Shirts Sept. 16 rally, about 500 shopkeepers and 773 traders in Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur have decided to close their business for safety reasons to prevent untoward incidents.
Is this the hallmark of the Najib premiership which had not happened in the era of the previous six Prime Ministers, from Tunku, Razak, Hussein, Mahathir to Abdullah.
Was this because the previous five Prime Ministers had greater common sense or because the previous non-UMNO Ministers would have been more outspoken in their objection to such an outrageous idea?
It is not too late for Najib to show leadership and statesmanship and order the cancellation of the Sept. 16 rally solely by Malays, whether called “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu” or subsequently altered to the innocuous-sounding but still racially-charged “Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu” – especially as Sept. 16 is the 52nd Malaysia Day which should be celebrated all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region to mark the formation of Malaysia 52 years ago and not for any racial group or faction hijacking the name of the Malay race to hold a racially-charged and provocative rally which has led over 1,200 businesses in Petaling Street in KL to close shop on Malaysia Day!
Najib would have disappointed and let down the leaders and peoples of Sabah and Sarawak if the Red Shirts Sept. 16 rally is allowed to carry on, for it runs counter to the spirit and concept of a Malaysia transcending race, religion or region.
Najib was the Prime Minister who finally recognised the importance of Sept.16 by declaring Malaysia Day as a national holiday, but he would have destroyed all his services to make Malaysia Day a national holiday if the Red Shirt rally in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 16 is held as it represents a retreat and regression to our ethnic identities instead of moving forward to embrace a larger and more inclusive Malaysian identity and consciousness.
On Wednesday on Sept. 16, we must decide whether 58 years after Merdeka and 52 years after Malaysia, all Malaysians, including Najib, are prepared to be Malaysians and not just Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans. Let Najib be the first to answer.