PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has called for a review of the decision-making process by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Presidential Council in the wake of the government’s decision on khat as well as other issues including controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik.
In a statement today, he said there appears to be too much power in the hands of the prime minister, which should instead be shared equally among the PH component parties.
“Controversial issues in government involving race and religion should be coursed through the council,” he said.
“We can’t get rid of former prime minister Najib Razak only to become just like him.”
The recent stir over khat saw Chinese and Tamil interest groups up in arms over the government’s plan to introduce the Malay-Arabic form of calligraphy in the Year 4 Bahasa Melayu syllabus for vernacular schools next year.
Santiago said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Education Minister Maszlee Malik must have been aware of the sensitivities surrounding the subject before the idea was put forth.
“And why wouldn’t the people be suspicious? The PH government is protecting controversial preacher Zakir Naik,” he said, adding that Naik has permanent resident status in Malaysia despite being wanted by India for allegations of money laundering and terrorist activities.
He also noted the government’s U-turn on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and its withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
“In the next week, the government will backtrack on its manifesto commitments when it renews Lynas’ operating licence,” he added.
“The government clearly doesn’t have a good track record to win the confidence of the people.
“Mahathir, by now, should be able to read the mood of the people. And he must understand that arbitrary decisions, without consultation, will not get him far.”