The only way forward for this country is for all Malaysians to unite and lend each other strength without any room for racism or parochial mentality, a veterans’ association said.
The National Patriots Association’s (Patriot) target was Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who during a recent sermon said: “Tanah Melayu is only for the Malays”.
“The last thing we need is for someone to publicly declare that Tanah Melayu is for the Malays,” said Patriot president Brig-Gen (rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji.
“Wisdom has escaped Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin when he did just that in a recent video sermon.”
Arshad reminded Asri that Malaysia is for all Malaysians, adding that no one disputed the fact there’s a dominant race in national identity.
“Rather than fanning the fire to the already high tempo of socio-religious discourse, he should urge all Malaysians to stay united to face the economic challenges ahead.”
Arshad said by stating that China is for Chinese, India is for Indians, Western countries are for whites and Tanah Melayu is for Malays to make his point, the Perlis mufti has “instigated an unwelcomed mockery that may rip further our fragile inter-ethnic relations, and the peninsula-Sabah and Sarawak distrust”.
He also asked why Asri side-stepped all the scandals that riddled the previous Barisan Nasional administration, which governed for more than 60 years with a near-monopoly of a dominant race.
“Scandals were aplenty, from Bank Bumiputra Finance in the 1980s to the mother of all scandals, 1MBD (1Malaysia Development Berhad).
“Yet, Asri said little or nothing at all against the perpetrators of those scandals.”
Asri and all Malaysians should instead be concerned about the nation’s economic health, Arshad said.
“We in Patriot are concerned about our economic situation and how badly our people will be affected in the impending world economic downturn.
“We are facing numerous challenges, many inherited from the previous administration plus new ones. If not handled well, our nation and people will suffer a long period of poverty at best, or lead us to a national break-up and economic chaos.”
It is, therefore, important that all Malaysians, including Asri, to comprehend the new socio-economic-political construct of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s “shared prosperity”, he said.
“He’s setting a clear direction forward,” Arshad said of Dr Mahathir’s address to mark Pakatan Harapan’s first year in power on May 9.
Under the “shared prosperity” concept, the government will, among others, provide a decent standard of living to all Malaysians, to ensure that all people will benefit from the nation’s wealth.
The key to the concept is fairness, equitable, inclusiveness, and justice.
Arshad said with a national debt and liabilities now at RM1.1 trillion, declining gross export, high household debt and cost of living pressure expected to continue for those in the B40 group, there is simply no time for race rhetoric. – TMI