Kit Siang: Will four varsities organise 'dignity' conferences for other races?

Modified 4 Oct 2019, 5:24 am

DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang questioned if the four public universities organising the Malay Dignity Conference would hold similar events for the other races.

"Would these four universities be organising a Chinese Malaysian Dignity Congress, Indian Malaysian Dignity Congress, Kadazan Dignity Congress, Dayak Dignity Congress, Orang Asli Dignity Congress and most important of all, a Malaysian Dignity Congress?

"There can only be dignity for Malaysia if every ethnic and religious group enjoys dignity – which would be in keeping with the fundamental principles in the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukunegara," he added in a statement this morning.

Lim also asked if the Malay Dignity Congress would, among others, craft a strategy for Malaysians to be self-confident and combat imaginary fears and demons so that it could usher in a "golden age" for the nation.

The congress comes amid the DAP leader's repeated claims that fake news and hate speech perpetrated by Pakatan Harapan's political rivals, namely Umno and PAS, have sown the seeds of discord among the various races.

According to the event secretariat's chief executive Zainal Kling, the congress was organised in response to certain quarters allegedly challenging and questioning the position of the Malays and Islam.

However, Lim did not comment on whether it was appropriate for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to officiate the congress, which would be attended by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa as well.

The conference, which is to be held at Stadium Malawati in Shah Alam on Sunday, is organised by Universiti Malaya's Malay Excellence Studies Centre in collaboration with UiTM, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Sultan Idris Education Universiti.

'Bersatu using public universities as a tool'

Previously, Umno vice-president Khaled Nordin - who is also a former higher education minister - alleged that Mahathir's party Bersatu was using public universities as a tool to organise the congress.

Meanwhile, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said it is unacceptable for public universities to organise such events.

"While universities have a certain degree of freedom, it does not allow them to indulge in activities within the campuses or outside for the pursuant of political objectives particularly promoting a racial agenda," the former UKM political science lecturer said in a statement.

Political activities on university campuses have been allowed following amendments to the University and University Colleges Act last year. Stifling of political activities on campus had been one of the biggest criticisms aimed at BN in the past.

Ramasamy questioned if Education Minister Maszlee Malik or the cabinet had given the green light for the varsities to host the event.

He also questioned why PKR president Anwar Ibrahim was not invited and accused the organisers of playing politics by bringing Mahathir and PAS together.

Yesterday, Anwar revealed that he did not receive an invitation for the event and cautioned against using the congress as a platform to stoke racial and religious tension.

However, the organisers later claimed that there were no specific invitations and that all political leaders were welcome to attend the conference.

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