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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Getting serious on national reconciliation

Does Najib have an answer as to why a former judge and former premier can go on making not only seditious but racist remarks?
COMMENT
So much ‘pressure’ is being put by the federal government on the opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact to accept the outcome of the May 5, 2013 general election if the latter is serious about ‘national reconciliation’.
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has even gone on to say that Pakatan’s acceptance of the 13th general election result is the ‘main premise’ for reconciliation.
In fact the premier is trying very hard to appear sincere about reinstating the heavily compromised peace, to the point of claiming that the government was planning to set up a national consultative council on unity where issues concerning race, religion and policies can be discussed.
But for that to happen, Najib wants the opposition to accept the May 5 GE result.
In other words, the prime minister is saying he would only get serious about the topic of national unity if all quarters no longer questioned ‘how’ BN won the 13th general election.
While Najib dictates terms to Pakatan and all Malaysians who are against electoral fraud, his fellow Umno sycophants are sparing no efforts in hijacking any form of ‘ceasefire’ between ruling government Barisan Nasional and Pakatan.
One was the the former Appeals Court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah who a week after the 13th GE decided to court attention by calling for the defence of Malay rights.
“The result of the 13th general election and the Chinese tsunami shows that the Chinese have forgotten about the bond established 55 years ago. Expect a backlash from the Malays,” he had said then at forum organised by the Federation of Peninsula Malay Students and the UiTM Alumni Association.
Contrary to Najb assurance that the country’s peace and stability would be given top priority, Mohd Noor unabashedly promised that the Chinese community would be ‘punished’ for letting the BN government down in the May 5 general election.
‘Harassing’ the non-Malays
Cheating at the polls and national unity are two different issues that Najib as leader of the BN coalition needs to address; however, by placing an ultimatum on ‘national reconciliation’, the premier has proven that he is not interested in bridging the dangerously-widening gap between the Malays and the non-Malays.
It is this nonchalant attitude being displayed by Najib that has prompted the likes of Mohd Noor to take it upon themselves to ‘harass’ the non-Malays.
More recently, Mohd Noor again stepped on the toes of the non-Malay communities when he called for the integration of vernacular schools into the national school system, saying their separateness was offensive to the Federal Constitution.
Delivering a lecture organised by the Muslim Consumers Association on June 19, Mohd Noor did not think twice before proclaiming that the existing vernacular schools—officially known as “national-type schools”— be changed into schools that teach pupils to gain proficiency in their mother tongues as opposed to using them as media of instruction for other school subjects.
“We should remove the labels of SJKC and SJKT; they are divisive,” Mohd Noor had said.
Were the labels ‘SJKC’ and ‘SJKT’ offensive as Mohd Noor believes, how is it that prior to the 13th GE, millions of ringgit were donated to the vernacular schools by Najib?
Were these donations then a form of bribe to the Chinese community in exchange for their votes?
Or has Mohd Noor taken it upon himself to play the Malay hulubalang or ‘warrior’ in defending all things-Malay?
National reconciliation a ‘serious business’
Do Najib and Mohd Noor understand the gravity surrounding the subject of ‘national reconciliation’?
Had they been, the duo would have refrained from making statements no less seditious in nature.
Likewise, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad too has thrown caution to the wind each time he makes statements that are seditious.
However, at the end of the day, it is Hindraf founder, lawyer P Uthayakumar who gets sentenced to 18 months’ jail for penning a letter of a seditious nature against the government to former British prime minister Gordon Brown six years ago, and PAS vice-president Husam Musa who gets nabbed enroute to Padang Merbok for the ‘Black 505′ rally for uttering ‘seditious’ words.
Husam was detained by the police under Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948 in connection with a statement by him that those attending the gathering on June 22 were engaging in a jihad (holy war) and therefore can be considered martyred if they died in that cause.
Be it Uthayakumar’s jail sentencing or Husam’s arrest, these recent developments as far as DAP leader Lim Kit Siang goes, clearly reflect that nothing has changed despite Najib claiming ‘transformation’ was taking place.
Lim cannot help feel perplexed as to why justice continues to elude the opposition front.
The DAP veteran wants to know if Husam’s words were considered seditious, why were the “the series of seditious statements” by Mahathir not viewed as such?
“Malaysians are asking why the police have not even questioned, let alone remanded, former prime minister who had been guilty of making a series of seditious statements before, during and after the 13th general election, utterly reckless of the damage he was doing to inter-racial harmony with his racist lies and falsehoods,” Lim asked after Husam was arrested.
Does Najib have an answer as to why a former judge and former premier can go on making not only seditious but racist remarks, both that not only jeopardise any chance at ‘national reconciliation’ but are also detrimental to the nation’s peace, stability and security?
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.

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