Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 21st August 2010:
Forget about Talent Corporation and the other grandiloquent transformation initiatives of NEM and Tenth Malaysia Plan if Najib cannot stop extremist forces exploiting race and religion from rearing their ugly heads
This should be a special and unique month not only in the 53-year nation-building of Malaysia but the 18-month premiership of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the theme of the Merdeka month celebrations from August 1 to September 16 is "1Malaysia Transforming the Nation" - first time after Najib's full-year premiership and less than six months after the unveiling of the transformative NEM.
Messages and the spirit of Malaysian unity and inter-racial and inter-religious goodwill, harmony and solidarity should be pervading all nooks and corners of the country and infusing Malaysians with what they are saying are doing in these six weeks to put into practice and action the 1Malaysia slogan which Najib had proclaimed since becoming Prime Minister in April last year.
But the opposite had been the case as never had Malaysia been so divided, discordant and un1Malaysia in the past two decades, with persistent, irresponsible and inflammatory incitement of the politics of race and religion in recent months to stoke racial and religious animosity and hatred in plural Malaysia, going against the very grain of what 1Malaysia stands for.
Even the schools and the young generation of Malaysians are not spared, as illustrated by the cases of the racist outbursts against school children, one in the south in Kulai and the other in the north in Sungai Petani, demonstrating utter contempt and intolerance of 1Malaysia and our ethnic, religious and cultural diversity which are the country's richest assets by school principals who should be the "role models" and standard-bearers of Najib’s 1Malaysia!
The NEM and the Tenth Malaysia Plan had both warned that the time for transformation is NOW, even painting the apocalyptic scenario of Malaysia on "a burning platform" if Malaysia is to successfully escape from the twin nation-building and economic crisis to become a developed, high-income nation with inclusivity and sustainability in 2020.
But the escalation of irresponsible and incendiary politics of race and religion by the powers-that-be (with Pakatan Rakyat component parties of DAP, PKR and PAS playing the nation-saving role of fire-fighters to douse racial and religious fires) cannot but raise the question whether Najib and his Cabinet Ministers have the shortest memory in the nation's history as compared to all previous Cabinets - forgetting so quickly the dire warnings of NEM and Tenth Malaysia Plan.
It is no exaggeration to say that the country can forget about Talent Corporation and the other grandiloquent transformation initiatives of NEM and the Tenth Malaysia Plan and say goodbye to both foreign and domestic investment as well as Vision 2020 of a high-income developed nation if Najib cannot stop extremist forces from within his own camp who are dangerously exploiting the politics of race and religion from rearing their ugly heads.
The ball is in Najib's court.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor