RECENT comments by Malaysian writer James Wong about the support, or lack of it, for the US invasion of Iraq are misplaced.
It is further damaging when he has put a religious slant on it by saying that non-Muslims support the Americans because of a fear of Muslims.
This is hardly the case. The outpouring of feeling by way of demonstrations, memoranda to the US Embassy and British High Commission and letters to the editors of newspapers clearly indicate the mood of Malaysians, not only of different religions, but from all walks of life.
Of course, everyone is entitled to his opinion, and there may be war advocates, but it is believed that the number is small, and nowhere near what has been suggested by Wong.
Malaysians are not against the American people. In fact most of them have an affinity for things American. They have grown up with McDonald’s and John Wayne.
They sport Levi’s and swing a can of Coke. They have the highest regard for Harvard and Yale. It is just that they believe that war, with consequent untold suffering, is not the answer to the problems of the world.
There is also another reason for Malaysians to be unhappy about this war. It will be disruptive to the economy of the nation.
Shipping and insurance costs will rise. Middle-Eastern markets for Malaysian products and commodities will rock bottom.
Local bourses might suffer. There will be a decline of tourist arrivals. Airline companies will be hit.
Hence, it is rather irresponsible for anyone to suggest that a proportion of Malaysians are all for this war. And bringing a religious element to it in this multi-ethnic society might inflame local sentiments, with ugly results.
DATUK DR S. VIJAYARATNAM,
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