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Joseph Kurup: Minister of unity or disunity?

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 04:12 PM PDT

FMT LETTER: From Ravinder Singh, via ee-mail

Speaking at the 30th anniversary dinner of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) Joseph Kurup, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of National Unity, said: "We can't allow issues that might just be a storm in a teacup to take a turn for the worse, abruptly turning it into a perfect storm, destroying what took us years and years to build." – Beautiful words!

He also said the government has "taken a zero-tolerance approach and sometimes contentious position on religious bigotry". Empty words, at least until now!

Racial and religious provocations by the likes of Ibrahim Ali (burn the Bibles), Ridhuan Tee (about Thaipusam); Zulkifli Nordin (Hindu deities), and some other Muslims have been going on not for days, but for years. Yet not a murmur from the Minister of National Unity until the chest beating at the dinner.

The Minister should state openly his stand on racial/religious bigotry – what does it mean to him? Does it mean, to him, that racial bigotry by Muslims is not only acceptable, but also encouragble by not stamping it down?

Does racial/religious bigotry only mean the non-Muslims hurting the feelings (sensitivities) of the Muslims? Does racial/religious bigotry mean intolerance by the non-Muslims of the insults thrown at them by the Muslims in the likes of those mentioned above?

Joseph Kurup owes the non-Muslims a proper explanation, case-by-case, why all the incidents of insulting their sensitivities on religious matters by the Muslims such as the above have been coolly tolerated by the government. Why are they being protected from the same laws that would be applied swiftly if any non-Muslims were to do or say similar things concerning Muslims and Islam?

The "zero-tolerance approach" is an eyewash until we see the likes of those mentioned above being charged under Chapter 15 of the Penal Code, i.e offences relating to religion.

Instead, what we have seen is the government bending backwards all the way to defend these racial/religious bigots. Yes, Ibrahim Ali was saying the right thing for holy books with mistakes should be destroyed by burning and not by dumping in the dustbin. The Bibles had a mistake as they used the word "Allah". So said Dr Mahathir, and echoed by the rest of the government. By defending them, the government is encouraging not only them but other like minded bigots, to boldly take up the mantle of driving wedges between the Muslims and non-Muslims.

Joseph Kurup, tell us if you dare go against Dr Mahathir, the de facto Prime Minister, by charging Ibrahim Ali or any of the other Muslims who have brazenly insulted the non-Muslims, not once, but over and over again?

To my Muslim friends and all good Muslims, I do not mean to offend any of you. I am aware that Your Holy Book does not license the Muslims to berate the non-Muslims and make fun or insult their beliefs and cultures. It is those who do not follow the teachings of the Quran that cause problems.

Joseph Kurup, your name suggests you are a Christian. If so, please be reminded one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour". As a layman, what I understand from this is – be honest. Are we, the non-Muslims, not your neighbours? Don't say you don't tolerate racial/religious bigotry and the same time don't take action against the likes of Ibrahm Ali.

So Joseph Kurup should be honest with his "zero tolerance approach" and throw the Penal Code at Ibrahim Ali and the like, without proffering any "explanation" as to why their actions do not come within the ambit of the law.

Or, tell us honestly, if positions were reversed and Ibrahim Ali and his ilk were non-Muslims, and they did what they did to Muslims, would you not be quick to throw the same book at them? What is needed is the removal of bigotry in the enforcement of laws. We not only have racial and religious bigotry, but also law-enforcement bigotry.


The other side of PM Najib Tun Razak

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 04:09 PM PDT

FMT LETTER: From Huan Cheng Guan, via e-mail

Which Prime Minister in the country has never uttered negative words against political parties or people? It is Najib who took over as PM at a political crossroad during GE12. Even though the Opposition has been going for the jugular to weaken his repute and prestige,  Najib has delivered his promises in his commitment to serve the country and people.

He approved the Economic Transformation Programme, the Government Transformation Programme, and the 1Malaysia concept not because of glitz or glamour but for long-term progress beyond his reign of power.

His effort to repeal ISA and the Printing Presses and Publications Act shows his sincere belief in democracy. He could have clamped down on NGOs and activists in the post-Bersih period but chose otherwise to uphold freedom of expression and assembly.

Today, his timely reminder that Umno members should avoid money politics to protect the party's image during its internal elections this October is evidence of his stand against corruption.

Poisoned by opposition propaganda, many have a negative perspective of our PM despite the fact that the government has distributed the Bantuan Rakayt 1Malaysia twice since its inception and the third disbursement coming later this year (to be gradually increased to RM1,200). More than 5.2 million households or 79.5% of all households in the country have benefited from this scheme. Opposingly, the Opposition has only given broken promises to the rakyat and brickbats for the government.

The latest Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) revealed Malaysia is enjoying improved economic conditions and rising business confidence following the surge in infrastructure spending. In fact, the recent general election has lifted Malaysia's economy in the second quarter.

The report also stated that Malaysia is experiencing an improvement investment opportunities while cash flow pressures eased. Apart from that, 37% of businesses (up from 32%) reported confidence gains spelling a more robust recovery for the country.

While critics lambast the Prime Minister's spending for the rakyat no thanks to Opposition propaganda, Malaysia ACCA head Jennifer Lopez said much of the capacity growth was fueled by government spending.

Globally, many are ignorant that the GECS found both business confidence and optimism on the economy continuing to rise in the second quarter of this year, with nearly half of the GECs (47%) feeling that the state of the economy was improving.

This is the highest level of optimism on the national and global economies in two years and the strongest year-on-year improvement in three years. Do you hear PM Najib boasting about this? His elegant silence stems from the fact that all he did has been for the rakyat.

When things go wrong, all fingers point to our PM but when the country enjoys growth, many choose to look the other way. It is time we see the other side of Najib – the real Prime Minister and not the image painted by his enemies – and give him credit and respect.



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