Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 21st January 2010:
If an Inter-Religious Council cannot be formed now to resolve the Allah controversy, then there is no way such a council could be revived under the Barisan Nasional although it was first established by Tunku in the first decades of nationhood
The failure of the Cabinet yesterday to address the issue of reviving an Inter-Religious Council set up during the premiership of Bapa Malaysia and the first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman in the early decades of nationhood to resolve inter-racial problems and conflicts starting with the “Allah” controversy is a serious and irremediable setback for the 1Malaysia slogan and policy of the new Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Not a single Minister, whether from MCA, Gerakan, MIC, UMNO or the Sabah and Sarawak Barisan Nasional parties was brave, principled or far-sighted enough to table the subject for formal discussion and decision at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.
In October, Najib was so euphoric about his 1Malaysia slogan that he took it to the world stage to recommend its extension to a “1World” vision!
It was the height of presumption for Malaysia to ask the world to extend the 1Malaysia slogan to a 1World vision when Malaysia and the Barisan Nasional component parties under Najib had never been so disunited in the nation’s 52-year history – even the Makkal Sakthi spawned by Najib to replace MIC caught the disease and quickly split into two factions shortly after its official launch by the Prime Minister.
The 1Malaysia slogan has been shredded into tatters with the country and people torn into unprecedented divisions – with the “ALLAH” controversy for instance creating the dichotomy between (i) Malaysians who can use the term “Allah” from those who cannot; (ii) Christians who can use “Allah” in East Malaysia but not in West Malaysia; and (iii) the sheer lack of political will to restore an inter-religious council which was initiated by Tunku Abdul Rahman in the early decades of nationhood to resolve inter-racial differences and conflicts and promote inter-racial understanding, goodwill and harmony.
Because of the lack of political will to set up an inter-racial council, we have the sad spectacle of the Gerakan President Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and the MCA President Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat plumbing for the second-best option of advocating either inter-religious “the tarik” sessions or inter-religious talks which lack proper representation and legitimacy, with the formal mandate and authority whether as a statutory body or other official status to act in an official capacity.
Can Tsu Koon, Tee Keat and all the other Ministers explain why they dare not even broach the subject of establishing an inter-religious council in the Cabinet?
If an Inter-Religious Council cannot be formed now to resolve the Allah controversy, then there is no way such a council could be revived under the Barisan Nasional although it was first established by Tunku in the first decades of nationhood – marking a serious and irreparable damage to Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor