Malaysiakini Letter

Let 2012 be a year of less religion-racial extremism

Hannah Yeoh  |  Published:  |  Modified:

A new year dawns and an opportunity exists for the creation of an inclusive Malaysia

As we step into the new year, my hope and urge for Malaysians in 2012 is that there is more inclusiveness in the laws and practices in our multi-ethnic and multi-religious country.

Many incidents in 2011 have left Malaysians wondering if the current Barisan Nasional administration is sincere in its motto of 1Malaysia when it has on many occasions failed to protect the rights of minority ethnicities and religions in the country.

BN’s failure in admonishing groups such as Perkasa, who have been on a warpath against non-Muslim communities, is a clear indication that the nation’s leadership is non-receptive towards the needs and rights of all Malaysians.

The recent episode, involving threats by the extremist group Perkasa against a harmless appeal by National Evangelical Christian Fellowship’s reverend Eu Hong Seng for rights of all in Malaysia to be protected, should no longer be tolerated in the coming year.

Reverend Eu’s call for Article 153 of the federal constitution to be read in a manner that would ensure an inclusive approach to protecting all Malaysians, not just one section of citizens, is fair and timely to say the least.

Why have such requests been received so negatively by the BN, and its associates, and such aggressive reaction meted out? Does the mere mention of Article 153 justify such reactions, especially when non-Malays discuss it? Has Malaysia not developed and moved forward in its thinking?

I strongly support parliamentary and DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang’s suggestion for “an independent and dispassionate study [to be] made as to who must be held responsible for the worsening racial and religious polarisation in the past 32 months” in Malaysia. Only then can the country truly adopt and implement concepts such as 1Malaysia.

2012 offers us all an opportunity to create a more modern, forward thinking and developed Malaysia, one that caters for the rights of all equally.

While I take this opportunity to wish Malaysians a Happy New Year, I would also like to remind Malaysians that the power to ensure the country moves in the right direction is in your hands.

With the opportunity provided in the next general election, it is a chance for us to weed out extremists in the administration and ensure a better Malaysia.

Hannah Yeoh is Subang Jaya state assemblyman and DAP Selangor treasurer.

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