No compromise with those who touch 3R issues, says PM

PETALING JAYA: Criticism against the government and the Prime Minister are acceptable but not when 3R (royalty, religion and race) issues are being touched on, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said that he would not compromise with any party that touches on the sensitive issues, adding that freedom of speech enshrined in the Federal Constitution does not mean the freedom to criticise and insult at will.

"The Malay rulers, by consensus, have requested the government to take firmer action to prevent this because they feel it is unfair. They (Malay rulers) are attacked but cannot respond.

"... everyone says they want to defend the Malays; the parties are Malay parties, but they insult the Malay rulers... I will not compromise with those breaking this rule.

"The police will act firmly and I ask the Attorney General to review and bring it to court for the court to decide," he said in an interview broadcasted on television Wednesday (May 1) night.

Citing the example of allegations of royal involvement in the purported establishment of a casino, Anwar said the government would not compromise with parties that touch on the institution of the Malay rulers.

He added that touching any issues involving the 3Rs would potentially trigger racial tensions among Malaysians.

Anwar also said that he would leave such cases to the justice system to decide whether the perpetrators should be punished or not.

In the interview, he also emphasised that the unity government had never sidelined the Indian community, citing various initiatives had been taken to empower the group instead.

"Our approach is to assist the Bumiputra, but this does not mean it's a zero-sum game.

"Helping the Malays doesn't mean we sideline other groups. That's why I always stress to the Indian community not to be angry or jealous about Bumiputera programmes," he added in the one-hour long interview called "Soal Jawab Perdana Menteri."

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