PETALING JAYA, Aug 7 ― With the nation nearly 56 years old, matters concerning Malaysia should no longer be framed in terms of individual communities but the country as a whole, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said in his Aidilfitri message today.
Using Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia’s provocative post-Election 2013 headline ― “Apa lagi Cina mau?” (What more do the Chinese want) ― as a pointed reference, the Gelang Patah MP lamented how the country continued to be mired in communal discord.
"It may be understandable for such questions to be asked in the first decade of nationhood, but something is very wrong when such questions are asked in the sixth decade of nationhood," the 72-year-old veteran politician said in a statement.
"Recent events particularly in the past three months, have given rise to valid and legitimate concerns about the success of [the] Malaysian nation out of the diverse races, languages, religions, cultures and territories in the country, in the sixth decade of Malaysian nationhood,” he continued.
Last month, a Shah Alam headmistress reawakened latent anger over racism in schools and the government after she lashed out at non-Malay students for being unruly during an assembly, allegedly telling them to “Balik India dan China” (Go back to India and China).
Apologising later, she claimed she had not singled out the non-Malays with her invectives, saying she also told Malay student to “Balik Indonesia” (Go back to Indonesia).
Before that, a storm erupted over photographs distributed online that showed non-Malay pupils eating in a bathroom at SRK Sri Pristana in Shah Alam during Ramadan.
The incidents and other previous cases in the same vein led to accusations of perceived tolerance for racism within the government and the civil service that some blamed on programmes conducted by the National Civics Bureau (BTN).
"Something is very wrong in Malaysian nation-building with the recurrence of national controversies from jibes like 'Balik Cina', 'Balik India' or even 'Balik Indonesia',” Lim said in his statement.
"This is time for national reflection by all Malaysians who love this country and who have no intention to migrate to another country, [on] how to make Malaysia more united, harmonious, resilient, developed and prosperous for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation," he said.
“Let all Malaysians ponder the question: ‘Apa Lagi Malaysia Mau?’”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had introduced his 1 Malaysia concept after taking office in April 2009, in an attempt to meld the country’s disparate racial communities into a more tolerant society.
But the, according to the prime minister, intentionally-vague concept failed to receive universal support among Malaysians or even the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Once a prominent brand that was affixed to nearly all government initiatives, 1 Malaysia has not enjoyed as much emphasis since Election 2013, the nation’s closest and most divisive general election.