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Speech by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 29th September 2010: 

Let Najib declare on his return from his "Rise, Moderates" speech in UN whether he is prepared to "galvanise" the moderates in Malaysia to draw the line against the rise in extremism, whether racial bigotry or religious intolerance, led by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Razak in his just-completed foreign trip made a strong call for global moderation, not only making it the theme in his maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly but also publicly commending United States President Barack Obama for the latter’s “courageous public position” in dealing with Islamophobia in condemning the proposed burning of the Quran by a Florida pastor and urging Obama “to galvanise the moderates, bring in the non-governmental organizations and social movements so that more people could see the importance of taking a moderate stance”.

He told Malaysian media at the end of his six-day visit to the United Nations and the United States that his proposal for a “Global Movement of the Moderates” aimed at rallying leaders and intellectuals of the Islamic world to come forward and state their stand openly and firmly against extremism had received positive response, enhancing Malaysia’s profile particularly in the West.

Najib should know that the question all Malaysians are asking is when he is going to walk the talk and provide leadership in the country to galvanise the moderates, NGOs and social movements in Malaysia to take a stand against the rise of extremism – both racial bigotry and religious extremism – in the past 18 months of his premiership.

What is most ironical is that the rise of extremism in Malaysia, both racial bigotry and religious intolerance, is under the patronage of his No. 2 in government, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

This is why for 47 days, as DPM and Education Minister, there is not only government inaction against the two school principals who made incendiary, insensitive and racist statements against students in school, there is not a word of condemnation from Muhyiddin against such open challenge and contempt for Najib’s 1Malaysia concept.

This is also why there is a such a recrudescence of the worst form of racial bigotry and religious extremism from Biro Tata Negara which, instead of instilling national unity and integration, has been doing the opposite – fomenting inter-racial and inter-religious misunderstanding, distrust and division.

When the latest BTN scandal was exposed, with the BTN Deputy Director Hamim Husin at a Puteri Umno closed-door session in Kuala Lumpur proclaiming that the rights of the Malays was to rule the country, and casting racial epithets at the Chinese and Indian communities in the country, referring to the Indian community as “si botol” and the Chinese community as “si mata sepet”, what were the official reactions?

There was no denial from the BTN but only complaint that the privacy and confidentiality of Hamin’s talk to Putri Umno had been violated – while Muhyiddin who was holding the fort when the Prime Minister went overseas in his foreign forays maintained a stony and thunderous silence!

What is most shocking and outrageous, Muhyiddin helped to fan the rise of extremism when he jumped in and demanded that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng answer allegations made by Penang UMNO Youth on the state government’s financial source to fund its poverty eradication programmes, declaring that Muslims do not want to be associated should gambling money were used for the programmes.

In the case of Penang UMNO attack on Guan Eng and the Penang State Government for funding its welfare programme for Muslims with “unclean” money from Penang Turf Club money, the Penang state government has disclosed that the Penang Turf Club contributions are only channeled towards the eradication of hard-core poverty among the non-Muslims but not in the case of Muslims.

But what is most outrageous about Muhyiddin’s irresponsible intervention is that the Deputy Prime Minister seems to be unaware that the Prime Minister Najib himself had replied in Parliament to DAP MP for Rasah, Anthony Loke that the federal government does not separate its revenue from halal and non-halal sources in its consolidated funds.

Is Muhyiddin now going to be consistent and demand in Cabinet and Parliament that the Federal Government’s consolidated funds should be divided into halal and non-halal sections?

Let Najib declare on his return from his “Rise, Moderates” speech in UN whether he is prepared to galvanise moderates in Malaysia against the rise of extremism, whether racial bigotry or religious intolerance, which is led by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin?

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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