Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Tuesday, 26th January 2010:
Would Tsu Koon raise in Cabinet tomorrow setting up of unity desks in all ministries and government departments to foster national unity and inter-racial, inter- religious and inter-cultural understanding on the ground?
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon yesterday called on media organisations to set up a special desk to be known as the Unity Desk to assist the government in improving mutual understanding among the multi-racial people in the country.
He said at the opening of the Media and Unity Symposium that the special desk could serve just like any other desk in the organisation, but with greater focus on efforts to foster national unity as well as religious and cultural understanding.
He suggested that media organisations with various and multi-language mediums should give priority to improving national unity and harmony by interacting frequently with one another to make the effort a success.
There is merit in Koh’s proposal and if there is any reservation, it is why Koh as the Minister responsible for KPI and national unity, should be tinkering at the edges of the problem of national unity when he should be grappling with the central issues as to why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1Malaysia slogan and concept have failed to live up to the early promise to inspire unity and solidarity among the diverse races, religions, cultures and regions in the country?
It is most unfortunate and shocking that Koh typified the Barisan Nasional Cabinet of being in deep denial in refusing to acknowledge that the recent arson attempts and acts of vandalism on houses of worship and the “Allah” controversy have gravely discredited the 1Malaysia slogan, caused great setbacks to nation building and undermined Malaysia’s attractions as magnet for foreign investments, tourists and students.
Is this why there is no sense of urgency among Cabinet Ministers that the discord arising from the “Allah” controversy should not be allowed to be dragged out and the Cabinet must find a speedy resolution not only to salvage the 1Malaysia slogan and concept, but to remove doubts and concerns inhibiting foreign direct investments, tourists and students from coming to Malaysia.
In fact, the government’s mishandling of the “Allah” controversy is making more Malaysians to think of emigrating overseas because they have lost confidence in Najib’s 1Malaysia.
Tsu Koon’s proposal that media organisations set up unity desks begs the question why the government is not setting an example so that all Malaysians will leave government offices with one strengthened conviction – that Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation which can be a model for the world?
For a start, would Tsu Koon raise in Cabinet tomorrow the setting up of unity desks in all ministries and government departments to foster national unity and inter-racial, inter- religious and inter-cultural understanding on the ground?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor