'I was asked why I'm afraid of Malays uniting'
MP SPEAKS | I was asked: “Kenapa takut Melayu bersatu?” (Why are you afraid of the Malays uniting?")
I am not afraid of Melayu bersatu, if this is to lead the way for a Malaysian campaign for achieving a golden age for Malaysia as a top world-class nation of unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity.
Whether it is Melayu bersatu, Chinese bersatu, Indians bersatu, Kadazan bersatu, Dayak bersatu or Orang Asli bersatu, l would be afraid if it is based on fake news and hate speech to incite inter-racial and inter-religious polarisation and even conflagration, especially with desperados and opportunists who could openly exclaim with impunity racist and irresponsible statements like “Rindu May 13! Rindu Darah!” (Longing for May 13! Longing for blood!)
All Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, should be concerned at the recent upsurge of fake news and hate speech to incite inter-racial and inter-religious polarisation, to the extent that there was a headline in an electronic media yesterday: “Remembering Nik Aziz as nation drowns in polemics of race and religion”.
One of the most urgent tasks of nation-building today is to save Malaysia from being drowned in the polemics of race and religion, and as PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said at the regional lawyer association Lawasia’s Constitution and Rule of Law conference yesterday, political leaders should try to shift the national conversation away from race and religion to one focused on addressing the welfare of the poor.
Working alongside academics and professionals, Anwar said this could be a way to redeem the narrative from “bigots”.
This is why what the former Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism president A Vaithilingam said about the late Nik Aziz Nik Mat would have been horrified at the proliferation of racist and anti-religious remarks that are now commonplace in the Malaysian cybersphere bears pondering by all Malaysians.
All the more why Malaysians should not allow the desperados and opportunists to succeed as they want the real-life in Malaysia to emulate the chaos, licence and anarchy in the cyberspace as a result of untrammelled dissemination of fake news and hate speech to incite inter-racial and inter-religious polarisation.
Vaithilingam also said that Nik Aziz would not have approved of PAS' alliance with Umno as he was a far-sighted Islamic leader keenly aware of Malaysia’s multi-cultural composition.
The nation seems to have lost its way.
Five days ago, The People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary.
Forty years ago, when Chinese Malaysians visited China, it was a from a rich country to a poor and backward nation. Today, the reverse is taking place – as a visit from Malaysia to China is to a more developed, advanced and more prosperous nation.
In 40 years of its economic reforms, the World Bank reported that China has brought 850 million people out of poverty while its per capita GDP had increased 24 times.
How does Malaysia compare with China, which does not have a New Economic Policy (NEP)?
Malaysia’s per capita GDP increased by some eight times in the past four decades, while the United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, said recently that Malaysia had undercounted the number of poor, that the reported 0.4 percent of households or approximately 27,000 households below the poverty line income (PLI) is a gross underestimation.
Last week, there were reports that Malaysia is even losing out to Vietnam which increased its per capita GDP by over 20 times in the past four decades.
We should not continue to be bogged down by false issues created by the upsurge of fake news and hate speech but to strike out courageously in the direction of a New Malaysia, compete with the rest of the world instead of fighting among ourselves on fictitious issues, and prove to the world that Malaysia is a success from the confluence of the four great civilisations in the world – Malay/Islamic, Chinese, Indian and Western – instead of a basket-case of a failure from the Clash of Civilisations.
Can the Malay Dignity Congress tomorrow lead the way for a Malaysian campaign to achieve a golden age for Malaysia as a top world-class nation of unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity?
LIM KIT SIANG is MP for Gelang Patah.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.