An NGO has lamented Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali's (above) recent remarks urging the Pakatan Harapan government to fulfil promises related to the bumiputera agenda, branding it a "knee-jerk" reaction following the results of the Semenyih by-election.
Reminding Pakatan Harapan to stick to their manifesto, Centre for Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) vice-president Simon Lim Seng Chai said there is "no room for narrow communal posturing that harms the fabric that holds this diverse nation together".
"The tone of Azmin's message and the speed at which it was issued raises the prospects that the upcoming Rantau by-election will see heightened posturing of this sort.
"This is unsettling, considering Azmin's ministry oversees massive public funds involving the country's economic well-being.
"Political leaders should avoid knee-jerk reaction over the results of by-elections. Instead, they should focus on long-term national interests," Lim said in a statement today.
Azmin had on Sunday said that the Harapan government must be brave in fulfilling its promises, especially on the Malay and bumiputera agenda, without feeling apologetic or fearful of the criticism of others.
This came in the wake of the ruling coalition's defeat in the Semenyih by-election a day earlier. It was the second time Harapan had lost a by-election after coming into power last year.
"The current federal government swept to power last May on the promise of being a government for all. Pillar Five of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto pledges to 'create a Malaysia that is inclusive, moderate and respected globally'.
"It had also pledged to implement policies and programmes that unite the nation and create an inclusive society and maintain the harmony of multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia.
"The current administration should stick to the letter and spirit of the promise," Lim (above) added.
He said the Harapan government should learn from its predecessor, who lost the last general election as their "overt racial and religious pandering" was rejected by voters.
Cenbet is an advocacy group for moderation and good governance, whose co-president is former MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu.