KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Kit Siang believes that Malaysia is ill. And his diagnosis is based on news headlines which indicate that the nation is sailing in the opposite direction of 1Malaysia.
“With eight days to go before the National Day proper on Aug 31 and 24 days before Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region should be celebrating a new sense of pride and unity as Malaysians after 18 months of the 1Malaysia slogan and policy.
“But every 24 hours is demonstrating the opposite,” he said in a statement.
Citing headlines like Malay groups, such as Perkasa, calling for MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek's arrest, and the Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia's beating on the war drum, Lim expressed disappointment with the current state of affairs.
Lim said prior to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia proclamation, it was a comparative rarity for lies, falsehoods and extremist incitement of issues of race and religion to dominate public and political discourse.
“But what had been rare is happening with disconcerting frequency,” he added.
According to the DAP stalwart, clear cases of sedition were now committed with impunity, like calls for the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools which had been decided by the courts.
“On the other hand, there is agitation and escalation of irresponsible rhetoric to classify legitimate and rational public discussion and debate as sedition.
“And if such agitation is allowed, even Najib himself could be charged for sedition for unveiling the New Economic Policy on March 30 which called for an affirmative action programmes 'to consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of households' and to be 'be based on market-friendly and market-based criteria together taking into consideration the needs and merits of the applicants',” he said.
“This sickness is a total mockery and complete negation of Najib’s 1Malaysia to give Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region a new sense of pride and unity. It will render the Merdeka celebrations totally hollow and empty,” he added.
The Ipoh Timor MP called on Najib to provide the leadership and set the example to ensure that good sense, reason and rationality were fully restored to public and political discourses.