Muhyiddin should heed Najib’s New Year Message to be “responsible in government” and “doing what is right, not what is popular”

One wonders whether the Deputy Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and the Barisan Nasional/UMNO leaders read or pay any attention to the carefully-crafted speeches of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, especially those preaching responsibility, moderation, inter-racial harmony and national unity.

I wish to call on the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to give some thought to the New Year message of the Prime Minister which is less than four-days old.

In the conclusion of his 2014 New Year Message, Najib said:

“If we are to be responsible in government, it sometimes means taking difficult decisions which are unpopular. Leadership is about looking to the long-term: about doing what is right, not what is popular..”

Muhyiddin should heed Najib’s New Year Message to be “responsible in government” and “doing what is right, not what is popular”.

If he had done so, he would not have egged on UMNO Selangor by giving it public support to its plan to hold protest demonstrations outside Catholic churches tomorrow.

But Muhyiddin chose to ignore Najib’s injunction of “doing what is right, not what is popular” and instead of directing UMNO Selangor to act as a responsible political party and not to incite racial and religious tensions and hatred, he gave UMNO Selangor his “blessings” for the confrontational and provocative plan to hold demonstrations outside Catholic churches tomorrow – an action no political party claiming to be responsible and patriotic would ever do.

I am glad good sense and reason have finally prevailed and UMNO Selangor has cancelled its planned demonstration outside a Klang church tomorrow – but this is “no thanks” to Muhyiddin but was the result of legitimate and overwhelming public pressures from all right-thinking Malaysians transcending race, religion or class who feel very strongly that what Selangor UMNO was planning to do was completely outside the pale of acceptable civilised behaviour for any political party, NGO or citizen in a plural society like Malaysia.

Muhyiddin has failed miserably the test of “doing what is right, not what is popular”, forfeiting the claim to be a Malaysian statesman as he remained only as an Umno opportunist.

It is most unfortunate however that although Selangor UMNO has backed off, other Muslim groups including those linked to Selangor UMNO leaders have vowed to continue with their planned demonstrations.

It is no use Selangor UMNO calling off its planned demonstration while outsourcing it to proxies – which was what Umno had been doing in their special relationship with Perkasa in the past four years.

Muhyiddin must redeem his major failure as Deputy Prime Minister of a multi-religious nation by conveying in the strongest and most convincing terms to all groups and individuals that there should be no protest demonstrations outside places of worship, whether mosque, church or temples in a multi-religious nation like Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah