KUALA LUMPUR: Action must be taken against those who stir up controversies because the damage inflicted by racial and religious extremists will take generations to repair, said MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
“We must take decisive measures to punish the culprits and deter others from making further damaging remarks (before the situation worsens),” he said.
Malaysia, said Liow, was currently undergoing a tumultuous time with extremists stirring up controversies like hudud and the conversion of minors that would destroy society’s peace and harmony.
“These events are a cause for worry as Malaysians are under the impression that the social fabric of this nation is tearing at the seams,” said the Bentong MP.
“If they remain unchecked, the extremists will multiply and society will be increasingly polarised. By then, it may take generations to undo the damage on the country.”
For the sake of national unity and harmony, Liow said a system to safeguard all Malaysians must be established to ensure the country’s future.
“A responsible government bears the duty of protecting racial harmony and we cannot allow the extremists to hold us to ransom,” he said when launching the “Harmony Bills: Why Malaysia Needs It?” forum at Wisma MCA here yesterday.
The forum, the first to be held by a political party, is aimed at collecting feedback and suggestions from the Chinese guilds and organisations on three proposed bills – the Racial and Religious Hate Crime Bill, National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill and the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Bill.
Former Malaysian Bar president Lim Chee Wee, who is also the deputy chairman of the National Unity Consultative Council’s (NUCC) working committee on Law and Policy set up to draft the bills, assured the public that these would not affect the Federal Constitution.
“It is to strike the right balance between freedom of speech and that which harms society,” he added.
Another committee member, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, said the bills took into account the Constitution, Rukunegara and Malaysia’s social contract, history, culture, among others.
Their objectives, he said, were to punish racial and religious hatred, and prevent unfair discrimination based on religion, race, descent, place of birth, gender and disability.
MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun suggested for the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Bill to include clauses inquiring into complaints of incitement of hate against the Rulers as well as religious and racial hate.
The draft of the bills can be found on www.nucc.my under articles/resources.
‘Harmony Bills the right step forward’