A. Samad Said right to criticize UMNO’s “Malays and Islam are under threat” hysteria

By Lim Kit Siang, MP for Gelang Patah

samad said malays not under threatWith the approach of the UMNO General Assemblies 2014 from Nov. 25 to 29, there is a build-up of the rhetoric and hysteria that “Malays and Islam are under threat”.

National laureate A. Samad Said made a most pertinent point when he pointed out that despite claims of a growing threat against the Malay community, the country’s leadership has remained in the hands of Malays and is still led by a party which claims to represent the Malay community.

I agree with Pak Samad that it is most peculiar that allegations of Malays under threat are constantly being played up, which is why he advised the Malay community not to be too obsessed about claims that Malays are under threat.

Pak Samad had asked the most relevant question:

“How are Malays under threat? How can religion (Islam) and Malays be threatened when those in power have been Malay for over five decades?

“What have they (Malay leaders) been doing for five decades (if Malays can be under threat)?”

What Pak Samad prescribed is most apt, and I don’t think it could be gainsaid by anyone, that if the country’s more than five-decade-old UMNO Malay leadership cannot put the Malay community at ease, then it should surrender power to let other Malays rule.

Why should the country’s race relations be held to ransom every time UMNO hold its annual General Assemblies for UMNO leaders to hype the imaginary spectre of Malays and Islam under siege, when what could be under threat is only the continued political rule and survival of UMNO leaders – like the disgraceful paper by the former Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) vice chancellor, Ibrahim Abu Shah warning that “If Umno loses, Malays may never rule again” with the threat that the future of Malays would be “dark and unfortunate” or the insidious and pernicious racialism of the Minister for Communications and Multimedia, Ahmad Shabery Cheek, irresponsibly alleging that Malays were not welcomed in Pakatan Rakyat-run Penang.

All the six Prime Ministers from the nation’s independence in 1957 were Malays – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein, Tun Mahathir, Tun Abdullah and currently Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Have they all, or some or one of them, betrayed the Malays as Prime Minister to cause the Malays and Islam to be still under siege 57 years after Merdeka?

Of the six Prime Ministers, Tun Mahathir had been Prime Minister for the longest period – 22 years 3 months, compared to Tunku’s 13 years; Razak’s 5 yrs 4 months; Hussein’s 5 years 6 months ; Abdullah’s 5 years 5 months ; and Najib’s more than 5 years 7 months.

Will Mahathir bear the biggest responsibility for Malays and Islam to be under siege in 2014 because of his longest premiership in the past 57 years?

Will UMNO delegates and the country be provided with a checklist as to how each of the six Malay Prime Ministers in the past 57 years had failed to uplift the Malays and Islam as to cause them to be under threat at present?

If Malays and Islam are under threat, it is not just the concern of Malays and Muslims, but the concern of all Malaysians regardless of ethnicity and faith, because we are all one people who want a successful Malaysia to rise from our diverse races and religions.

Patriotic Malaysians do not want Malays and Islam under threat, just as we do not want non-Malays in Malaysia, whether Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Orang Asli or Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism to be under threat.

If Malays and Islam are under threat, they should be the concern of all non-Malays and non-Muslims, just as any problem of Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, Orang Asli or Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Taoism under threat in Malaysia should be the concern of all Malays and Muslims in Malaysia!

I would in fact call for three-day extension of Parliament for a full debate on “Are Malays and Islam under threat?” for we must build a Malaysia where the Malays and Islam are not under threat – just as the non-Malays and non-Muslim religions are not under threat.

Otherwise, Malaysia would have failed in our constitutional compact to create a an independent and sovereign democratic State founded upon liberty and justice, where “Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony”, ever seeking to defend and uphold peace and harmony among its people and to perpetuate peace among nations.

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