PETALING JAYA: The war of words between DAP’s Charles Santiago and the federal government is continuing, with the Klang MP now training his guns at Education Minister Maszlee Malik for implying that he is a liar.
“Calling me a liar is a serious accusation. Maszlee should watch his words and, more importantly, focus on his job,” Santiago said today, hours after Maszlee said Santiago’s suggestion that the prime minister appears to wield too much power is “an utter lie”.
“He has to prove me wrong because being defensive is the easier option.
“We are a new Malaysia, one which was voted in by the people on the premise of reforms and inclusivity. It is therefore pertinent that the voices of the people are reflected in policy decisions.
“Besides that, the education system is in shambles and much work needs to be done to get it back on track.
“It’s been 13 months now (since Pakatan Harapan took over power) and about time that Maszlee started work,” Santiago told FMT.
Earlier today, Maszlee said the Cabinet headed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad has always made decisions by consensus, after Santiago called for a review of PH’s decision-making process in the wake of debate over the move to introduce khat in the Bahasa Melayu syllabus.
“I believe other Cabinet members can vouch for this. Issues such as the Rome Statute, Lynas, ICERD and others have been openly discussed,” Maszlee said in a statement.
Mahathir also sarcastically responded to Santiago yesterday by saying “I will ask for Santiago’s permission” in the future when he wanted to make a decision.
“I will get his views, he is the same level as me,” he added.
Santiago also urged Maszlee to state whether the Cabinet had approved controversial preacher Dr Zakir Naik’s stay in the country and, if so, when the decision was made.
According to Mahathir, since other countries have closed their doors on Naik, who is wanted for money laundering and terrorism-related charges in India, Malaysia was forced to accept him.
Naik is under fire from Hindu PH leaders over his reported comparison of the Hindus in Malaysia to the Muslims in India, saying the former enjoyed more than 100% rights in Malaysia compared to the Muslims in India.
“Zakir’s malicious words have the explosive potential of stirring a racial riot and he is using a religious platform to sow bitterness among Malaysians,” Santiago said.
“It’s obvious that he is bending over backwards like a trapeze artist to curry favour with Mahathir, who has refused to extradite him despite India’s request.”
Santiago said tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting must discuss Naik’s “meddling into Malaysian politics” and come up with a decision that would put the people’s interest and national security above everything else.