Ismail Sabri’s absence from the annual Christmas high tea illustrates his inability to live down his past to prove he is Prime Minister for all Malaysians and his Keluarga Malaysia slogan is for an inclusive Malaysian family regardless of race, religion or region
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri’s absence from the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s (CFM) annual Christmas high tea illustrates his inability to live down his past to prove he is Prime Minister for all Malaysians and his “Keluarga Malaysia” slogan is for an inclusive Malaysian family regardless of race, religion or region and not for any one race, religion or region.
A Malaysian Prime Minister who really understands the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukun Negara principles would not have missed the annual Christmas high tea or at least, ensure that he would be officially represented.
Malaysia cannot succeed as a Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Dayak country – it can only succeed as a Malaysian nation.
Before the Sheraton Move conspiracy in February 2020, when he became a Senior Minister, then Deputy Prime Minister and later the ninth Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ismail Sabri was a leading advocate of the “Malay First” ideology who was prepared to use lies and fake news to attack his political opponents.
For instance, he had alleged that the Pakatan Harapan government was under the control of DAP and the Chinese in Malaysia, and that DAP was behind the PH government attempt to ratify the International Covenant for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to suppress the Malays and Muslims which were all lies and fake news.
He should ask his Foreign Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, who was the Foreign Minister in the Pakatan Harapan government, whether DAP had any prior knowledge of the speech by the then Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 to ratify all UN instruments related to the protection of human rights.
In actual fact, DAP leaders were as surprised as anybody else by Mahathir’s speech in the UN on the ratification of the UN covenants.
I had my grave doubts about Ismail Sabri’s conversion to an inclusive “Malaysian First” mindset when he coined the “Keluarga Malaysia” slogan on becoming Prime Minister but I was prepared to give him a chance to live down his past.
Ismail Sabri has failed in this task, not only by his absence at the annual Christmas high tea last Saturday but by his government’s performance since he was sworn in as Prime Minister - the 2022 Budget and the government’s dismal performance in the massive floods especially in Selangor and Pahang.
The question must be asked: Does Ismail Sabri accept the Rukun Negara as the nation-building principles of a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural nation?
If so, why has he allowed Ministers and Deputy Ministers in his Cabinet who do not subscribe or uphold the Rukun Negara nation-building principles?
Indonesia seems to have done a better job in uniting its 278 million people with its five Pancasila principles than Malaysia in uniting her 33 million people with its five Rukun Negara principles.
The five nation-building principles of Pancasila are:
- Belief in the Almighty God
- Just and civilized humanity
- Unity of Indonesia
- Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations among representatives
- Social justice for all of the people of Indonesia
The five nation-building principles of Rukun Negara are:
- Belief in God
- Loyalty to King and Country
- Supremacy of the Constitution
- Rule of Law
- Courtesy and Morality
Why is Pancasila more successful in Indonesia than Rukun Negara in Malaysia?
One reason is that Indonesian government leaders accept Pancasila but not all the Malaysian government leaders accept Rukun Negara.
Since 1993, the Indonesian Ministry of Religious Affairs holds the Indonesian Christmas Celebration, and the Indonesian Religious Affairs Minister regards himself as a Religious Affairs Minister for all religions in Indonesia and not just one religion.
But in Malaysia, we have a foreign preacher who had been given permanent residence status who preached hatred, intolerance and extremism and recently cautioned Muslims against participating in non-Muslim festivals as wishing Christians “Merry Christmas”.
The recent catastrophic floods in Selangor and Pahang have proved this foreign preacher wrong, that Malaysians of all religious faiths are not extremists, intolerant or exclusivists as Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia work together, drawing on peaceful aspects of Islamic teaching to encourage respect for religious pluralism and the fundamental dignity of every human being.
The whole country awaits the Prime Minister’s explanation for his absence at the annual Christmas high tea and his failure to send an official representative.