PETALING JAYA: PKR’s Batu MP Tian Chua has voiced disappointment over Putrajaya’s warning that opposition-friendly groups are raising racial or religious sentiments.
He said the government should instead study the matter in detail or provide the necessary facts to the people.
There was no reason to warn people against speaking out, he added, as Malaysians were mature enough to debate issues concerning them.
“No one should be issued a warning. Maybe their methods or language may be deemed offensive or not so pleasing to certain communities.
“But the people may also be saying it for the love of the country.
“Similarly, those who are fighting for Malay rights are not provoking racial hostility.
“They are raising the issue because they are also concerned about the matter or out of love for the country,” he told FMT.
The PKR vice-president was asked to comment on a statement by Patriot president Brigadier-General (Rtd) Mohd Arshad Raji Arshad that one reason non-Muslims shied away from joining the Armed Forces was because there was now a distinctive division along ethnic lines.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein had said this sort of statement was dangerous, and that it was something that was seen in the run-up to the election.
He added that there were limits to bringing up racial or religious sentiments.
Tian Chua said the Patriot statement was an indication that the government needs to go in-depth into the matter to allow for adjustments, amendments and reforms to overcome criticism.
“That should be the attitude of the government. Not trying to point a finger or intimidate by using the law to create fear within people.
“We should accept these statements with an open heart. Let us hear carefully why certain groups are raising certain issues,” he said.
If an association or group was wrong, he said, the government should state its points and provide reasoning to convince others.
“Don’t treat us (Malaysians) like kids… telling us don’t do this or that. It is not his place as a minister to warn people,” he said.
Politicians, he said, should not forget that during elections when Parliament is dissolved, the people, who are the bosses of the politicians, will elect the kind of politicians they agree with.
“The rakyat will judge politicians and which party is playing up racial issues. Let the rakyat reject them.
“Not the other way around.”