Cabinet must remember BN's spirit of consensus — Ti Lian Ker

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JUNE 10 — Never in our political history since May 13th 1969, are we in such dire need of a central power or authority to ease racial religious tempers and to provide national solutions or directions towards continue nation building.

Today we are at that crossroad (Thank God there’s more level headness and less tempers, rhetoric or heroic.) The recent unprecedented jumping of que of PAS President Ustaz Hadi Awang private bill proposed by Umno Minister Azalina has not only ruffled hairs but rattled the very foundation of Barisan Nasional that has always taken pride of their practice of consensus building.

For the very first time in Barisan Nasional history Umno has been taken to task publicly not by one component party but practically all components in the ruling Barisan Nasional. A political accord was struck between Umno and PAS but a political discord was also created from within Barisan Nasional. Umno who has always single out individual component parties seems to be singled out by components this time around.

Although the Prime Minister had attempted to appease component parties by saying that the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Private Bill is not Hudud, many were not convinced. Academicians and former civil servants notably former IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor had warned that the proposed private bill although from the outset seems to be just an ordinary amendment is actually a preliminary towards the introduction of Hudud.

Both protagonist and antagonist have been treading carefully this time around. Gone were the grandiosity of political rhetoric or posturing.  Credit must be given to them for their maturity in handling this highly emotive issue of the right to implement one’s religious obligations and the interpretations of the the Federal Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. Both sides have carefully put forth their arguments with sound legal and comprehensive arguments. The former days of picking on one word or sentence to stir up racial or religious emotions by skewing the arguments or points put forth by another are gone. This time around applaud must be given thar cool tempers and rational minds took the limelight instead of the circus and clowns of afore.

Taking it from here, it is my suggestion that the country’s leader must take stock and show leadership. The pros and cons have been put forth meticulously and rationally. The fears, apprehensions and suspicions that have touched the raw nerves of the minorities must be given it’s due consideration and concern and not swept aside like before. The old adage of the rule of the majority with due respect to the minorities must be practiced.

In this light, I am suggesting to our leaders to take positive initiatives and provide leadership as follows:

1. The Malaysian way of moving forward by consensus must be adhered to and no one race or religion should be allowed to take all or win all.

2. The spirit of give and take based on tolerance and compromises that has been the basis of our Constitution must not be forgotten. Our Federal Constitution today is a result of ingenious creativity whereby all compkex issues of race and religion have been cleverly articulated and outlined.

3. Like all debates, it must come to an end and be concluded. It is now time for the leadership to take ownership of the subjects or issues raised. There comes a time whereby leaders must provide the answers or chartered the way forward.

In this respect I recalled how Tun Dr.Mahathir has shown his leadership when there was anxiety of and pressure to continue the New Economic Policy that was ending in 1990.

Tun Dr. Mahathir had cleverly diffused the tensions of proponents to continue the New Economic Policy and the opposition thereof by forming the National Economic Consultative Council consisting of politicians, academicians, bureaucrats etc. whereby all were represented and none was sidelined. A potentially racially charged economic issue was cleverly subdued and settled by way of consensus building once again.

4. Now is the time for the leadership to provide such an avenue to iron out religious issues that have off-tracked our nation building and Vision 2020. Leaders of the likes of Tun Abdullah Badawi, Tun Haniff Omar etc should be roped in to chair another rounds of consultations towards finding an amicable solutions for all. This Consultative Committee in whatever name must be formed immediately towards finding and drafting a document to pave the way forward and out of the present political doldrums whereby all interest are taken care of and all fears and anxieties overcome.

5. In the meantime, PAS President Ustaz Hadi Awang who had shown better composure and cleverly designed a political “check” on the ruling party may score more political points by seeking for a postponement of his private bill to give chance for Malaysians to do it the Malaysian way ie consensus building.

* Ti Lian Ker is chairman of MCA Religious Harmony Bureau, MCA central committee member and MCA Kuantan division chairman.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.


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