THE recent approval for the construction of two mosques in Ayer Hitam in Johor is good news indeed for the constituency.
Its MP Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong was informed last week that the two new mosques finally received the go-ahead.
The project, shelved by the Finance Ministry after the general election last year, got the approval in a letter dated March 18, 2019, from Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
In an emotional plea for the mosques to be constructed in Parliament last October,
Dr Wee said the people must not be victimised for supporting Barisan Nasional.
The two mosques are Masjid Ar-Rahman in Kampung Parit Awang, which cost RM1.05mil, while Masjid Al-Hidayah costing RM1.75mil is in Kampung Parit Haji Ali.
The four-term MP is very proud that there are 100 villages in Ayer Hitam, comprising 95 Malay villages and five Chinese new villages. The constituency is a showcase of multi-culturalism.
The area also features some iconic tourism attractions.
The semi-rural constituency boasts a l06.9m long dragon which is a walk-in tunnel and a 20m-tall Ji Gong statue in two temples, arguably the longest and tallest of its kind in the world.
Away from the political rhetoric and noise, Malaysians are good examples of moderation and they forge close friendships with each other.
In Negri Sembilan for example, nurse Siti Haifah Osman, 30, said: “Kita macam satu keluarga (we are like a family)”, referring to the six staff and 18 patients – eight Malays, three Chinese and seven Indians – at the Mawar Haemodialysis Centre in Rantau.
The Tzu Chi Foundation also helps patients who are from poor families, said Siti Haifah who has been with the centre for eight years.
Her colleague Wong Yoke Yean, who is Chinese-Indian, has been with the centre for 11 years. She acts as the translator for the patients.
Both of them have expressed their fear that the centre may face closure at the end of this month due to legal complications.
It is heartening to see how ordinary Malaysians care and support each other.
Unfortunately, political rhetoric has persisted with some racial slurs spewed by politicians to create unease.
Malaysians are unhappy with such statements that tear at the harmonious fabric of the nation.
MCA shares its concern.
This has led to the MCA assembly to pass a resolution last December calling for the dissolution of Barisan.
But the dissolution did not happen after Barisan’s three partners – Umno, MCA and MIC – failed to arrive at a consensus on the resolution earlier this month.
The Barisan constitution requires consensus on such issues.
The outcome has not come as a surprise though, considering the historical ties that bind the coalition.
While MCA has decided to stay on in Barisan, the party acknowledged the road ahead is riddled with unparalleled challenges.
Dr Wee made it clear that Barisan in general and the Umno and PAS collaboration in particular must not go against provisions in the Federal Constitution and the Barisan constitution.
The opposition bloc’s approach, he said, is issue-based, using universal values and for all Malaysians.
While MCA’s decision may be deemed politically incorrect or could even further erode the party’s popularity, it has its bright side too.
Johor MCA Youth chief Ling Tian Soon said Umno and MCA have extensive networking on the ground built over the decades.
“Umno has branches in all the 95 Malay villages and this is very important, especially for rescue work like during a flood. We can send help quickly,” said Ling in explaining the importance of working together.
As for MCA, it has recently rolled out MCA 2.0 at the party’s 70th anniversary celebrations on March 2.
The party will not let up on its strong service to the community, but it acknowledges the vastly different political landscape of current times and vows to be an effective opposition to continue being a voice of the people.
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