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Abdullah must address the root causes and
not just hide symptoms of why race relations “not good, brittle and fragile”
three years after his premiership
(Parliament, Friday) : When the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had to meet the editors from the print and electronic media – the third time in six months – to offer “advice” on media coverage to make a success of the coming 50th Merdeka celebrations, it is both a positive and negative sign.
Negative that Abdullah had been influenced by his media-minders to believe that the media had somehow failed in this department as to require another Prime Ministerial “intervention” but positive in that it represented a recognition by Abdullah that something is very wrong with race relations and nation-building three years after his premiership, particularly after his departure from prepared text to deliver an off-the-cuff speech the previous day on how race relations was “not good, fragile and brittle” – “If it is knocked it might shake, but if it is knocked harder it might break”.
However, when the Prime Minister told the editors that he had instructed the Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to ensure national unity be forged and nurtured at the primary school, it is entirely negative as it shows that the Prime Minister has not understood why race relations is “not good, fragile and brittle” on the eve of the 50th National Day celebrations.
It is clear that the Prime Minister simply does not understand that after his keris-wielding for the second consecutive year at the Umno Youth General Assembly, in the midst of extremist, racist, incendiary and seditious speeches threatening May 13 riots, bloodshed and running amok, Hishammuddin has forfeited the confidence of parents that he is capable of being the role model of Malaysian national unity.
If Hishammuddin wants to win back public confidence as a leader for all races in Malaysia, he must demonstrate remorse, understanding and greater sensitivity as to why there had been such strong and valid reactions to his second keris-wielding in the midst of extremist, racist, incendiary and seditious speeches, altering the perception of the keris from a symbol of power and justice to a symbol of aggression and violence.
Unless and until Hishammuddin is prepared to do this, he will continue to be the problem rather than the solution.
Forcing the MCA Youth leadership to endorse Hishammuddin’s keris-wielding for the second consecutive year does not resolve any problem but will only lead to a greater loss of credibility of the MCA Youth le3adership – even among ordinary MCA Youth members.
Abdullah must address the root causes and not just hide symptoms of why race relations “not good, brittle and fragile” three years after his premiership and on the eve of the 50th Merdeka celebrations next year.
The problem faced by the country is not one of media manipulation and control but one of leadership and nation-building to create a Malaysian nation where all it is citizens, regardless of race or religion, can find greater community and commonality with each passing decade rather than the reverse.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman