KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang today reminded Malaysians to take pride in their cultural diversity, warning against the creep of extremists seeking to polarise the nation along racial and religious lines.
The MP for Iskandar Puteri noted more Malaysians today were boldly declaring themselves “racists” and using communal issues for their own private agenda at the cost to the nation’s plurality and harmony.
“Malaysia has recently become a very polarised nation because the extremists in our society have been allowed to exploit race and religion to poison the Malaysian national life, so much so that what had been accepted as part of Malaysian life has been distorted and painted as a grave threat to different communities and religious faiths.
“In fact, we have reached a stage where there are Malaysians who pride themselves as racists, something which is completely unacceptable in the past five decades,” he said in a statement.
The DAP lawmaker’s statement follows the recent controversy over Ponggal, to mark a bountiful harvest among the Tamil community, and Lunar New Year decorations at a Puchong public school.
Lim said Malaysians today are a mix of multiple cultures and described this trait as being “Malaysia-plus”.
“Malaysians are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans who have come out of their own universes to interact with other communities; to learn, appreciate and accept that Malaysia is not to be identified with any one community but with all the different communities who have made the land their mother country.
“In other words, a Malaysian is a Chinese who is not 100 per cent Chinese but has an extra dimension which could be described as Malaysia-plus; a Malay who is not 100 per cent Malay but with a Malaysia-plus dimension; and an Indian who is not 100 per cent Indian but with a Malaysia-plus dimension,” he added.
Lim said Malaysia’s core principles for unity are written in the Rukunegara.
He urged Malaysians to hold fast to the Rukunegara, tying it in with the national commitment to improve social unity in a progressive democratic country.
“Nobody will feel proud of being a 100 per cent racist, for it will be going against the Rukunegara and everyone will try to be a Malaysian.
“This is what the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukunegara seek to build, and whatever the setbacks and vicissitudes, we must not forget or abandon them, but return to them for sustenance, hope and inspiration to build a united, just, equal and democratic Malaysia,” Lim added.