KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — A DAP leader has called upon the Malaysian media to reject the race-based politics of hate, blaming local practitioners of still being stuck in defining things in racial terms.
The party’s Johor chairman Liew Chin Tong said in a speech on Saturday that for the “grand coalition of Malaysia” to work, everyone must think as Malaysians first and focus on the common interests as a nation, and not as Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban as an insular interest.
“In the real world, our free media — because Pakatan Harapan government has no desire to control the media — is still stuck in the old way of defining things in racial terms.
“If only the media can utilise their newfound freedom to create, to promote and to highlight the Malaysian-ness of Malaysians rather than playing the dangerous race game.
“By Malaysian-ness I mean to reject racism and narrow religious interpretation, to embrace diversity, to emphasise on the economy and common interests, and to put politics of hate to rest,” he said upon receiving membership applications to join DAP at Iskandar Puteri, Johor.
He pointed out that being a multi-ethnic society, Malays and non-Malays are often divided in their perceptions, views and experiences.
This division is sometimes further exploited and made use of by opportunists to further their political agenda, Liew explained.
However, he argued that despite the differences Malaysia continues to hold together as its citizens have many things in common.
“If we care about unity in diversity; the differences in language, religion and culture will not be a burden but a strength and asset, and not necessarily the source of troubles.
“Despite 13 years of massive racial campaign by Umno since Hishammuddin Hussein’s waving of kris in July 2005 that signified Umno’s right turn, Malaysians of all ethnic groups came together to vote out Najib Razak’s kleptocratic government in the 2018 general election,” he noted.
Liew observed that with PAS’ cooperation with Umno in the 14th General Election while playing up the race and religion card, the leaders of the then opposition had to cooperate or face defeat.
Another common ground was the effort to oust then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and to fight a kleptocratic regime.
Unfortunately, after more than a year in power the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition is losing popularity among the public and here, Liew blames the media.
“Today, however, public sentiments seem to go sour. With lies and fake news, including ones perpetrated by those claiming to be religious and those facing massive corruption charges in court, some people are beginning to hate the government.
“The perception is that both Dr Mahathir and DAP are blamed by Malays and non-Malays. The blame is loud especially in the cyberworld,” he said.
He said that for Malaysia to succeed as a nation, it requires “Malaysian-thinking Malaysians” to be at the forefront.
Liew, who is also the deputy defence minister said that the nation must collectively devote its energy to ensure that the centre holds to stop things from falling apart.