PETALING JAYA: There are a multitude of ways that religious and racial relationships can be improved, but renaming a road is not one of them, says MCA Youth chief Nicole Wong Siaw Ting.
"Instead, the government should devotedly reform our country towards a prejudice-free one by strengthening communications and interactions between religions.
"Is renaming a road as Jalan Harmoni all it takes to foster harmony between religions? Are there really no significant matters to attend to that one starts to occupy oneself with trivial matters?" said Wong in a statement on Monday (May 27).
She was responding to a suggestion by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa that a stretch of road in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, where several places of worship are located, be renamed to Jalan Harmoni.
Referring to Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil's campaign to revert the name Bangsar South to Kampung Kerinchi, Wong questioned if there were any improvements brought by that renaming exercise.
"Even if we name a road as something as simple and meaningless like Jalan 15, as long as we can persist with empathy and tolerance, then Malaysia definitely will become increasingly harmonious," said Wong.
"By the same token, if the government fails to initiate and encourage religious harmony, then anyone can easily stir up sentiments by taking advantage of this sensitive spot and fanning the embers.
"Then it is highly questionable that anything can be resolved by adding any number of Jalan Harmoni in our country," she added.
Wong said many Malaysians could not but help feel disappointed that Islamic Affairs Minister Mujahid had done nothing practical to improve religious relations.
"In the Seafield temple riot, he had also failed to act on time and the issue ultimately escalated.
"Similar to many other Pakatan Cabinet ministers, Mujahid had neither any notion where lies the source of the problem nor the idea to address the underlying issue properly.
"They always try to fix the symptoms, but not the root cause, with band-aid solutions," she said.