Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Monday, 25th June 2012:
Is Najib prepared to declare that those who regard Chinese and Indians as “kaum pendatang” are lunatic, anti-national?
In trying to downplay the “pendatang” (immigrants) slur oft made against non-Malay Malaysians, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is admitting to two things:
In his dialogue with Chinese youths at University Malaya yesterday, Najib urged the Chinese community not to be offended by people who call them pendatang (immigrants) because such remarks are made by a handful of “lunatics” with “loose screws”.
He said those who utter such remarks intentionally say so to hurt the feelings of the Chinese community and that his administration does not share such views.
He said: "I hope we are not too hurt by one or two comments. In every community, there are always one or two individuals whose heads are not quite right."
Najib’s answer would be most assuring if it is true that it is only “one or two lunatics” with “loose screws” who made such offensive, insidious and anti-national remarks.
However, this is not the case.
In actual fact, the “pendatang” slur is most potent proof of the failure of Malaysian nation-building in the past five decades as well Najib’s 1Malaysia policy, as it is not confined to “one or two lunatics” but infected the highest levels of politics and government because of decades of Biro Tata Negara (BTN) indoctrination of civil servants and public officers.
Najib’s own special officer to the Prime Minister, Datuk Nasir Safar for instance had labeled Indians and Chinese as “pendatang” and added insult to injury in declaring that “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese especially women came to sell their bodies”.
Two years ago, at the launch of the Merdeka celebrations of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Kulai, the school principal Hajah Siti Inshah binti Monsar said:
“Pelajar-pelajar Cina tidak diperlukan dan boleh balik ke China ataupun Sekolah Foon Yew. Bagi pelajar India, tali sembahyang yang diikat di pergelangan tangan dan leher pelajar nampak seakan anjing dan hanya anjing akan mengikat seperti itu.”
Malaysians of course still remember the incident in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election in August 2008 where an UMNO division chief referred to the Malaysian Chinese as pendatang orang tumpang and totally untrustworthy Malaysians.
The “pendatang” slur is not the result of “loose screws” of “one or two lunatics” but the result of decades of the poison of anti-national indoctrination by state agencies like the BTN perpetuating Malaysians into two classes of people.
What has the Najib administration done under its 1Malaysia policy to develop an official policy backed up by a national consensus that only “lunatics” with “screws loose” would make the “pendatang” slur, and classifying it as a divisive, treacherous and anti-national point of view which must be condemned by all patriotic and rational Malaysians?
Malaysia will be celebrating our 55th National Day on August 31. Is Najib prepared to send out a clear and unmistakable message that in line with his 1Malaysia policy, those who continue to regard the Chinese and Indians as “kaum pendatang” are lunatic, positively anti-national who must be condemned by all rational and patriotic Malaysians in unequivocal terms and who should have no place in Malaysian politics or public service?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor