Pakatan MPs slam don over racial formula
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders lashed out today at prominent Utusan Malaysia columnist Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah for suggesting that Malay-Muslims have more rights because they form the majority in Malaysia.
PR leaders from PAS, PKR and DAP also took issue with the National Defence University lecturer, who is a prominent Muslim convert, for accusing non-Muslims of putting their own interests above that of the country’s.
They accused him of acting in the interests of Umno and for living in a world that no longer exists.
In his regular column in Mingguan Malaysia today, Ridhuan also put forward a formula based on the racial and religious breakdown of the country’s 27 million population, to apportion the share of what is due to each community in terms of rights, festivities and celebrations, adding that no one should question the “social contract.”
“What he is doing is not right. As a Muslim, we want to emphasize that Islam teaches justice. Everyone has rights. We do not accept a rule where only one race’s rights are protected simply because they are the majority. We cannot deny the minority,” said Khalid Samad who is the PAS Shah Alam MP.
The PAS man said that the problem with how democracy in Malaysia is understood is that it tends toward the majority rule, instead of being based on principles of justice.
“Even if there was one Buddhist in a village, he must be allowed to celebrate and practice his faith because it is his right. Just because the Malays are the majority, Islam does not say we can go around and oppress others,” stated Khalid, who sounded upset when told about the arguments made in Ridhuan’s latest article.
He added that while the original social contract of the country did provide some form of protection for Malays so that they would not be left trailing behind, that was in the past and even then that did not mean that other races were not considered as equal citizens of the country.
“It is disappointing that Ridhuan Tee is becoming more UMNO than Muslim. As a Muslim convert, he should be concentrating his efforts in trying to show the truth and justice within Islam, and not trying to win acceptance from the Malay-Muslims minorities who buy into this racist sentiment.”
Ridhuan had also taken the opportunity to hit out at people who questioned the large government allocation for mosques and the comparatively smaller sum set aside for houses of worship for other faiths, in what is understood to be a direct jab at DAP’s stand over the issue.
He also labelled DAP as an “ultra-kiasu” party, meaning that they were willing to do anything to retain their position for fear of losing it.
“Are the number of churches and the pile of houses of worship, to the extent of sinking the number mosques and suraus, not considered as rights? Have we ever prevented them from going to church every Sunday? Do not compare with the Muslims because we worship differently. We have different needs. Similarly goes the requirements for jamaah prayers.
“Hence, the concept of equal rights and the equal opportunities should be based on the formula that has been outlined in the constitution and by proportion of races (religions),” wrote Tee.
PKR Information Chief Tian Chua laughed when he was told about Ridhuan’s written outburst in Utusan, dismissing it as a desperate attempt to serve the interests of the UMNO elite.
“I personally do not feel threatened by this, I laugh … this is desperate. Tee is not acting alone. He is making justifications for his big boss. Right now, UMNO is cornered, and they need to find some way to justify their position,” said Chua, who is the Batu MP.
The outspoken opposition lawmaker asserted that UMNO no longer had a raison d’etre, and by doing this it was a way to tell the non-Malays in the country to “not muck around with Umno, because it might unleash something nasty.”
“In the past, their (UMNO’s) language of violence and supremacy was implied more than expressed.
“Now it is so openly racist, something is wrong,” said Chua.
Pakatan Rakyat-ruled states such as Penang and Selangor were singled out by the Mingguan columnist as being under the “ultra-kiasu party” and no longer serving the interests of the Malay-Muslims, which according to him were under siege.
“Just look at the shopping malls, although Christians are only nine per cent, the Christmas and New Year 2010 celebrations are incomparable to the Hari Raya and the Islamic New Year. If you do not believe, visit the states ruled by the ultra kiasu and its allies, and the shopping malls of their allies throughout the country,” stated Ridhuan.
The DAP’s Liew Chin Tong agreed with his PR colleagues and lashed out at Ridhuan for his views and ideas which are “really behind time.”
“All this talk about race doesn’t really help anyone. We need a society which lifts everyone up. Sixty per cent of household family income is below RM3,000. Among this 60 per cent are also Malays.”
Liew, who is also Bukit Bendera MP, argued that equal opportunity was pivotal as the issue of poverty moves well beyond racial lines.
“He must be mistaken if he thinks that people all around the world thought that Malaysia was an ideal place to live in during the 1950s.
“That is why the message of Pakatan is clearer. Under the Pakatan Common Policy Platform, it is stated that in order for Malaysia to move on there is an urgent need to address the issue of equal opportunity of the lower-earning income group,” said Liew.
He also noted that Ridhuan’s article further validates the impression that UMNO is currently split between ultra conservatives and more liberal minded individuals.