Fully support Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah to have zero tolerance for incitement of racial and religious fear and hatred in plural Malaysia

The speech yesterday by Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah not to tolerate attempts to incite racial and religious hatred which would provoke hostilities in Perak should be the national policy of the country.

I call on the Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim to have zero tolerance for incitement of racial and religious fear and hatred in plural Malaysia as it can destroy the country.

This zero tolerance for the toxic politics of lies, fear, hate, race and religion must be evident from the start of the Anwar premiership with firm action taken against those exploiting racial and religious differences in plural Malaysia.

In my 57 years of political life, I have travelled to and visited more parts of Malaysia than an average Malaysian, and I can say with conviction that there is no anti-Malay, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Kadazan, anti-Dayak or anti-Muslim, anti-Buddhist, anti-Hindu, or anti-Christianity sentiments on the ground, but certain political personalities and political parties continue to poison the minds of the people that the Malays and Islam are under threat.

This dangerous practice reached an unprecedented level during the recent 15th General Election campaign.

Where does the threat to Malays and Islam come from?

In my 57 years of public life, I have never accused anyone of being anti-Malay, anti-Chinese, anti-Indian, anti-Kadazan, anti-Dayak or anti-Islam, anti-Buddhism, anti-Hinduism, or anti-Christianity, and yet I have been accused of being a racist, anti-Malay, anti-Islam, a communist, and lately an Islamophobe, without any iota of evidence whatsoever.

For this reason, in the aftermath of the prevalence of fear and hate speech on the social media in the 15th General Election, I welcome the recent event where 100 ethnic and religious groups gathered at a Christmas dinner to usher in the Yuletide festivities, which was attended by more Muslims than Christians. More such events to enable Malaysians to understand the different religions in the country should be held.

As Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman hoped, Malaysia should be “a beacon of light in a difficult and distracted world”, and one aspect where Malaysia can be “a beacon of light” to the world is to be a model country of inter-religious peace, tolerance, acceptance and harmony.

Maybe the time has come for the government to establish a Commission with the specific task to promote inter-religious understanding and harmony in the country and to uphold Article 3 of the Constitution on Islam as the religion of Malaysia but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony.

There should also be a special section in the police force to deal with hate speech which promote hate and fear among the different racial and religious groups, especially on the social media.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Veteran