IPOH, Jan 10 — The managing director of Kumpulan Karangkraf Datuk Hussamuddin Yaacub has started a campaign aimed at restoring interracial harmony in plural Malaysia amid growing divisiveness over communal rights.
In his opinion piece in Malay daily Sinar Harian today, published by the group, Hussamuddin called Malaysians to support his campaign called “Uninstall Hatred dan Reboot Malaysia”.
“We all have one similarity, which is to throw away the hatred in the community so that we can live harmoniously with other communities.
“I hope this will be a good start to unite all Muslims and the people of Malaysia. We have to stop talking about hot issues and the leaders should find solutions. Everything has a solution, it’s just whether we want to do it or not,” he wrote.
In his opinion piece, Hussamuddin said interracial and interreligious ties in Malaysia have been simmering for the past 20 years.
He alluded to the recent nationwide uproar over Chinese New Year decorations in a Puchong school, triggered by the vice-president of a fledgling Malay party Putra as an example of the deterioration of racial and religious harmony in the country.
He reminded the government that seemingly petty issues could potentially turn into powder kegs and destroy Malaysia’s multiculturalism if handled poorly.
When the tanglung decoration was protested at the school, seven ministers, including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Ismail had to go to the school to protect it.
“This action by the ministers is not productive. It will only cause Muslims who never hated tanglung to hate (it) now.
“This is because when the jawi issue was protested by Dong Zong and non-Malay leaders, the Malay leaders were quiet. This is what makes the Malays angry,” Hussamuddin wrote.
He said the previous government’s management of racial and religious matters was not good, but added that the current government was also handling it poorly.
“Our leaders have to stop this. Don’t let the Jawi and Dr Zakir Naik issues be prolonged. These are all small matters. I urge all leaders, public and the media to not exaggerate such issues.
“The non-Muslim leaders should explain to Dong Zong. Leaders from DAP and PKR have to understand the contents that were written in Jawi in the three pages of the primary school textbook.
“If the non-Malays can accept this, then the Malays may not be questioning tanglung decoration in schools or the issue of Chinese vernacular schools,” he added.
Hussamuddin stressed that even he would not accept any education policy where all subjects are made compulsory to be taught in jawi script.
“But right now it’s only three pages and it’s so difficult for us to accept it. If we want to live in harmony, we should be open to the introduction of jawi,” he said.
Hussamuddin also alluded to controversy surrounding Mumbai-born preacher, Dr Zakir Naik — popular with Muslim Malaysians but who is regarded as offensive by non-Muslims.
He said the preacher was only one person and played down concerns that he is to be feared, despite his widespread influence.
Hussamuddin called for speeches that are not beneficial and insulting others to be replaced with content that mirrors the Quran.
“I suggest that the religious minister and ustaz who teaches in schools to include the spirit of al-Quran on people instead of condemning people.
“Not only the Chinese and Indian should improve themselves, but also Muslims should also improve themselves. The leaders should be brave to take action in uniting everyone,” he wrote.