LOOKING at the recent events taking place in our country, it’s not difficult to conclude that race relations must be at the lowest ebb now.
And it’s happening as we mourn the loss of one of Malaysia’s favourite sons who spent his entire life fighting for the country he loved and called home. Distinguished ex-police officer Tan Sri Yuen Yuet Leng must have found it extremely painful seeing what he and his colleagues had built disintegrating before his very eyes, and that those who shed their blood and helped make Malaysia a great country are now referred to quite freely as pendatang and even told that they should go back to their countries of origin if they are not happy here.
One deputy minister was so caught up with the Petaling Street incident, where the Chinese ambassador visited Petaling Street, he even threatened to “slap” Chinese Malaysians if they took their grouses outside the country to what he called their godfather from China. The threat was such that even without the actual act taking place, the crack and echo of the word lempang (slap) has reached the far corners of this country, causing much ire among the Chinese population.
Our politicians need to be reminded that to be good leaders, they must be well disciplined, do not get easily ruffled and not make racially charged and hurtful statements that can break race relations. I still remember Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak a few year ago during his visit to Chennai, India saying it was important to recognise all those who contributed to nation-building irrespective of their ethnic background.
For the majority of non-Malays who have long been citizens, especially those born after Merdeka, Malaysia is the only country they know. They are not citizens of China or India and cannot pergi balik India or pergi balik China.
The Chinese have proven that they are loyal and responsible citizens. During the Emergency, our police force had one of the best Special Branch units in the world manned by officers 90% of whom were Chinese. It was the SB that helped break the back of the communist terrorists and contributed in no small way to make this country a safe and secure place where all, irrespective of race and religion, can work, raise their families and share the bounties fairly and proportionally. More can be done in the equal distribution of wealth, though.
I would like to commend the Malay Rulers who have intervened to remind politicians and NGOs not to stoke racial and religious tension to garner support. The Bersih 4 rally and the counter rally by the red shirts added fuel to the fire, as racial slurs were hurled openly. Perhaps we need to rethink if these rallies serve any useful purpose.
Meanwhile, will all the “warring” parties take a step back from the brink to mull over the advice of the rulers? Please remember that this country does not belong to politicians; it belongs to the rakyat.
LT COL (R) MOHD IDRIS HASSAN
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