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Two developments showing greater maturity of Malaysians on occasion of 50th Merdeka anniversary most welcome as it is time that the government and leaders move away from narrow sectarian approach towards a more nationalistic and broadminded approach on issues which should transcend race, religion, class or political differences

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Media Comment        
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Parliament, Wednesday): Two developments showing greater maturity of Malaysians on occasion of 50th Merdeka anniversary is  most welcome as it is time that the government and leaders move  away from narrow sectarian approach  towards a more nationalistic and broadminded approach on issues which should transcend race, religion, class or political differences to create greater national unity.

The two developments are: 

  • The announcement by the Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim that all parliamentary constituencies in the country will receive RM30,000 each for activities to celebrate the countryís 50th years of independence;
  • The directive by the Minister for Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) Chairman Dr. Halim Shafie to withdraw his letter barring private television stations from broadcasting speeches by members of the opposition.

It will be very sad if on the nationís half-a-century nationhood, Malaysian public life is still moored in narrow sectarian divisions on every issue including those  which must transcend race, religion, class or partisan politics. 

Both Rais and Keng Yaik are to be commended for showing that they are prepared to make a beginning to take a Malaysian nationalistic approach rather than narrow sectarian one, and to show that there are issues where all can come together as Malaysians. 

I hope these small beginnings can be broadened to larger  spheres of public life and to embrace more issues to bring about greater national unity instead of creating more and more division even on matters which should not be a subject of national disunity in the first place. 

Yesterday, DAP MP for Batu Gajah, Fong Po Kuan and I met Rais to discuss the channeling of the RM30,000 allocation for 50th Merdeka celebrations for the 20 non-Barisan Nasional parliamentary constituencies, which is a good new start.

(4/7/2007)  


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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