Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 25th January 2012:
Najib's attempt to promote the "Global Movement of Moderates" is nothing but a political scam
Dato' Seri Najib Abdul Razak has been pushing his international agenda of "The Global Movement of Moderates" (GMM) and most recently delivered a keynote address at the inaugural "International Conference on the Global Movement of Moderates" (ICGMM) last week.
In his forward message in the conference's programme book, Najib said, "the time has come for moderates of all countries, of all religions to take back the centre, to reclaim the agenda for peace and pragmatism, and to marginalise the extremists."
Let me state upfront that the DAP fully support and concur with Najib's statement for "all religions to take back the centre" and "to marginalise the extremists". It is a position that DAP Secretary-General, Lim Guan Eng has preached in his address at our 2010 party convention where he called for a "Middle Malaysia".
He had stated clearly that "in DAP's Middle Malaysia we prefer co-operation not conflict, consultation instead of confrontation and an inclusive shared society rather than an exclusive separate society."
However, while Najib had sought to portray himself as a leading moderate, he has failed, intentionally or otherwise, to practise what he preaches by providing fertile ground for racism and religious extremism to prosper in Malaysia through UMNO-supported vehicles such as Perkasa.
The fact that Perkasa has with growing intensity over the past few months sought to increase religious friction between Muslims and Christians with inflammatory and unfounded statements, published in the UMNO-owned mainstream media proves that Najib is either hopeless or devious in the fight against extremism.
The latest statement by Perkasa secretary-general that "The faith of Islam, of Muslims is under siege in Selangor... Perkasa is concerned of a more aggressive Christianisation attempt, especially with Khalid [Ibrahim] in charge of the exco portfolio for Islam," seeks to fan the anti-Christian sentiments in the country.
It was only 2 years ago when Malaysia suffered the worst cases of arson and attempted arsons on churches throughout Malaysia and the freedom provided to Perkasa and its ilk to do its worst will not lead to any peaceful outcome.
Dato' Seri Najib, as the Prime Minister of the country, and a self-proclaimed "Voice of Moderation" has failed to even once admonish Perkasa, the UMNO members involved or the party's mouth-piece Utusan Malaysia for promoting racial hatred and stirring religious intolerance and extremism. On the contrary, Najib has more than once, made policy U-turns to placate Ibrahim Ali, the Perkasa supremo.
Without sincerity and political will from the top leadership, Perkasa has the tacit approval to do its worse in the light of the upcoming general elections to sow fear into the hearts of the Malay-Muslim community in order to protect the vote bank for UMNO.
The game that UMNO and Perkasa are playing, regardless of the outcome of the next general election, is a highly dangerous one which may forever tarnish Malaysia's reputation as a moderate country. It will leave Najib in history as the Prime Minister who failed moderation.
* Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara