Leaders from various political parties and NGOs are united in their call for moderation and tolerance.
PETALING JAYA: DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng today conveyed his party’s belief that it is for the good of Sabah and Sarawak that they should remain as partners with Malaysia, but he urged the Federal Government to bring about policy changes that would benefit “ordinary” East Malaysians.
In his Malaysia Day message, he likened Sabah’s and Sarawak’s union with the Federation of Malaya to the 307-year-old Scottish union with the United Kingdom and said the East Malaysian states should benefit more from the partnership.
“Sabah and Sarawak must be treated as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.“New policies must therefore be designed to benefit ordinary Sabahans and Sarawakians and replace old policies that favour cronies of BN from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.”
DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang said that the overwhelming majority of Malaysians were believers in moderation and Malaysia’s future would be assured as long as the “Malaysian Dream” transcended self interests.
“The voices of extremism and intolerance, however, come from a raucous minority and we must keep faith with the overwhelming majority of Malaysians from all races, religions and regions, who believe in moderation and the middle path of unity, harmony, tolerance, justice and fair play for all Malaysians,” he said.
MCA publicity chief Lau Chin Kok also called for moderation and tolerance, saying he was speaking amid challenges to a harmonised Malaysia posed by extremist factions.
Lau said, “As Malaysians, we need to solve the unity issue the Malaysian way, just like our forefathers did.”
He added that differences amongst Malaysians should not be a hindrance to progress towards a moderate and tolerant society.
Gerakan President Mah Siew Keong urged Malaysians on both sides of the South China Sea to continue to live up to the original intent of the founding fathers, who emphasised common well-being.
A similar sentiment was expressed by K K Eswaran, president of the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He said, “We certainly cannot deny that the Malaysia of today is the result of a tireless journey of hope, inspiration, aspiration, determination, co-operation and resilience.
“We must also be reminded that Malaysia Day has enlarged our embrace of our brothers and sisters from Sabah and Sarawak.”
The Coalition on Plan of Action for Malaysia (GBU) and Persatuan Kesedaran Komunity Selangor (Empower), however, criticised the recent use of the Sedition Act to silence government critics as a stain on the Malaysia project. They questioned the act’s effectiveness in suppressing extremism.
“These repressive laws and electoral irregularities reinforce existing barriers for marginalised people who are already finding it difficult to make their voices count: women, the Orang Asal, Sabahans, Sarawakians, the urban poor, and people of diverse sexualities and genders,” said Yasmin Masidi of Empower.