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A National Reconciliation Commission with powers to demand politicians fully explain their racist, sectarian or extreme statements is necessary to achieve the Merdeka promise of a united and democratic Malaysia
by Lim Guan Eng
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP calls for the establishment of a National Reconciliation Commission with powers to demand politicians fully explain their racist, sectarian or extreme statements is necessary to achieve the Merdeka promise of a united and democratic Malaysia. Relying on public pressure and moral persuasion, politicians with extremist views would be publicly shamed if they have to explain their intolerant views.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak call to Malaysians to celebrate 50 years of nationhood, sacrifice, tolerance and co-operation will not succeed by merely calling on politicians to stop "raising contentious issues in a contentious manner" and cast all polemics aside on the occasion of the 50th Merdeka celebrations. Najib lacks credibility in making such a call in that he was amongst the UMNO politicians who pandered the racist line, especially in an UMNO Youth anti-Chinese rally in the TPCA stadium in 1987 that had posters asking for the kris to be bathed in Chinese blood.
However even if Najib wants to atone for the past mistakes makes, he should prove his sincerity by banning racial political parties. Refusing to treat Malaysians as Malaysian First but focusing on Malay, Chinese or Indian unity is the greatest obstacle to forming a Bangsa Malaysia where our national identity takes precedence over our ethnic background. Allowing only multi-racial political parties, upholding justice and rule of law is the only route to achieving the Merdeka promise of a united and democratic Malaysia.
Just as discrimination begins where justice ends, double-standards exists where there is absence of rule of law. How can we forge the passion for one nation bonded by one common legacy when Malaysians are artificially divided into first and second-class citizens of bumis and non-bumis?
How can we have faith in our system of governance when double-standards in the rule of law exists where all 37 charges against Port Klang assemblyman Datuk Zakaria Md Deros and five of his business partners pertaining to contravening the Companies Act 1965 are withdrawn by the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) whereas CCM continues to pursue 85 charges against Credit Tip Off Service Sdn Bhd(CTOS) under the Companies Act. To date no reason in the public interest is given for withdrawing the charges against Zakaria just as no reason is given for pressing charges against CTOS.
Good governance requires justice at its core. Where can there be justice when papers such as The Sun that promotes the Malaysian way in preference to racial unity is vilified by Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin as supporting the DAP? Is promoting racial dominance and extremism a virtue whilst those that promotes diversity and tolerance a crime?
If Najib is serious about stopping political parties from sowing racial hatred then he should practices what he preaches by start with his own party. Further he should set up an independent National Reconciliation Commission (NRC) that would compile all remarks made by politicians and have powers to demand a full explanation for promoting a sectarian, exclusive, bigoted and extreme vision of Malaysia that is completely at variance with the common, inclusive, tolerant and diverse vision of Malaysia envisaged by our founding fathers during Merdeka.
A NRC would allow decent Malaysians with both moral courage and moral outrage to punish those who rely on extremist and racist views to divide us and hide abuses of power, corruption and discriminatory acts. By compiling and publishing racist statements made by politicians as well as demanding a full explanation for such unacceptable remarks, public and moral pressure can be exerted to isolate such politicians as not part of Malaysian way of life.
* Lim Guan Eng, Secretary-General of DAP