Saturday, February 13, 2010

Muhyiddin Statements Could Instigate Racial Tension

Saturday, 13th February 2010

Today is the day Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should learn former US president, Ronald Reagan’s favourite phrase: “Trust, but Verify”.
If he had learnt the phrase before today, the deputy prime minister would not look silly for castigating the Penang government which he alleged had cancelled the annual Maulidur Rasul procession.
He accused the Pakatan Rakyat government led by Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng of not supporting the aspirations of Muslims.
All this based on a report by the Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia.
The moment when I heard Najib appointed this man as the DPM, I knew that this will mark the fall of UMNO. How could UMNO nominated someone who is racist to assist the PM to lead this multi-racial nation. As long as this man is remained as DPM, PR aim to wrest federal power from BN will soon becoming
In other words, Muhyiddin appeared irresponsible for stoking racial and religious tension when talking about the apparent cancellation of the Maulidur Rasul procession in Penang, where Malays have been complaining about being sidelined.
The responsible thing to do would have been to double check with the Penang state government and not rely on what is reported by Utusan Malaysia, which has stretched its credibility in the past when reporting about Umno’s political foes.
To paraphrase Reagan, trust, but verify.
It is no good to parrot what Utusan said without checking. Then it becomes a game of Chinese whispers, which has been an ongoing past-time in Penang where even the lawful enforcement against illegal hawkers is turned into a racial issue.
After all, Muhyiddin is a national leader, not a petty politician trying to break into the big time by grabbing attention where possible. Even former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a Penang son himself, weighed in on the matter based on the erroneous Utusan report.
National leaders have to be statesmen and above the fray. They have to carefully consider what they say or do because even an involuntary nod of the head or the wave of hand could signify something to their followers. All the more so when it comes to matters of faith in a country treading gingerly over the ‘Allah’ ruling.
Someone who wants to lead Malaysia one day must avoid the temptation of playing the race or religious card, be it behind closed doors or out in the open, especially in issues which Umno leaders have always deemed ‘sensitive’.
Muhyiddin must know this.
His words and actions, even when slamming his political foes based on an unverified Utusan Malaysia report, will add credence to cynics who wonder if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia has the full support of his own administration.
Trust, but verify. Reagan practised it well and was a popular US president. Muhyiddin would be wise to follow the dictum.

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Jaringan Orang Asal Representative Dispelled From Attending Public Forum On GTP Organised By PM Department

Tuesday, 9th February 2010

1Malaysia True Colour Prevails.

Najib 1Malaysia, the concept that aims to unite Malaysian multi-racial, really showed it real colour when it denied Nicholas Mujah, a representative from Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA)from attending it forum held in Pullman hotel here last Thursday.
Please see the press release below. This press release can be also read at Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia

Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) strongly condemns the discriminating act by the Prime Minister’s Department in dispelling a community representative from participating in the public forum that was organised by the department that aims to gather information and feedbacks on numerous issues so as to understand and resolve the perennial problems of the people.

Nicholas Mujah, a representative of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) was asked to leave the forum for no apparent reason by the organisers.

The Sarawak Lab, part of the national circuit, was held on 9 February 2010, at Pullman Hotel Kuching and was chaired by Idris Jala.
I attended the opening of the GTP by CM Taib at Borneo Convention Centre on 15th January 2010. In his  introductory speech on Government Transformation Program (GTP),  Idris Jala invited all Malaysians to give input to Pemandu for the success of  1Malaysian concept. If what written here is correct, meaning Idris Jala and the rest of his team are liars, 1Malaysia is moving towards doom! Dispelling Nicholas Mujah is not only insulting the organisations that he represented but also an insult to the Iban...Bukittunggal
The Participants include senior government officers consisting of officers from various ministries, Resident and District Officers and the Sarawak Attorney General. Various plantation companies were also present as well as community chiefs and a few individuals who were interested in the public forum. Participants took part in three discussion labs; socio economic, native customary rights (NCR) and the Native Court. 
One of the feedbacks from the NCR group was given by Hassan Sui who addressed the disputes caused by the lack of accountability and transparency of government agencies such as the Land and Survey Department as well as plantation companies such as Pelita, and shared his recommendations. Another feedback by Temenggong Stephen Jussem stated that the ongoing manipulation and intimidation against the Tuai Rumahs to certify native land and boundaries, should stop.
Mujah had already participated for the first part of the forum in the morning session. During the morning tea break, he was pulled by one of the organisers to a room and was told to leave the forum as the event is only for invited participants and government officials. 
Mujah protested that the forum is for the public and continued to insist that he should be in the forum. However, the organisers later told Mujah that the directive to eject him out of the forum came from the top.
The organisers of the forum were wrong in ejecting Mujah out. Mujah, a well-known community representative and NCR activist, in advocating Orang Asal rights plays an important role in providing feedback as well as recommendations for this public forum. He should not be stopped from attending the forum, unless the Prime Minister’s Department is not serious in addressing this issue and this event is just another window dressing for the public.
JOAS questions the accountability of the public forum that does not include the participation of a community representative and organisers that lacks of responsibility to be inclusive of all rakyat so as to ensure a transparent and open public forum to discuss upon the most important issues that are faced by the indigenous peoples of Sarawak today.
Until the government moves forward towards a meaningful solution with the full and effective participation and the free, prior and informed consent of the Orang Asal as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), NCR land disputes will continue to take place throughout the state, to the detriment of the rights of the indigenous peoples of Sarawak, the sustainable development of the Sarawakian population and the image of the state of Sarawak and Malaysia, contrary to the spirit of 1Malaysia.

Yours truly,

Adrian Banie Lasimbang
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)
Indigenous Peoples network of Malaysia

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