PETALING JAYA: Think tank Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) has urged the government to clarify its position on several issues raised during the Malay Dignity Congress on Sunday, warning that silence on the matter may be perceived as “tacit endorsement” of the same.
In a statement, Cenbet co-president Gan Ping Sieu said under normal circumstances, issues raised during non-governmental gatherings would be a private affair.
“But Sunday’s gathering was graced by the prime minister and attended by senior members of his administration,” he added.
“Their presence would have lent an officious air to the event.”
The Malay Dignity Congress was jointly organised by Universiti Malaya, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Universiti Putra Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi Mara.
Organisers said it would focus on problems faced by the Malays in the fields of education, religion, culture, politics and the economy.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who attended the event despite calls for him to give it a miss, said the discussions would revolve around Malay dignity. He also said the congress was not about political parties, and that as a Malay, he had the right to attend.
Gan, however, said “highly contentious” issues had been raised, including reviewing the social contract, closing down vernacular schools and reserving senior governmental positions for only one community.
“Worse still, the event was co-organised by public universities, which is most unbefitting of tertiary academic institutions for students for all communities which are largely funded by public coffers.
“The government needs to set the record straight on its stance over the resolutions raised,” he said.
Until then, he added, the views would be “perceived to have the tacit endorsement of the administration”.