February 26, 2015 by Suara Kebenaran
KUALA LUMPUR: DAP elder statesman Lim Kit Siang has welcomed the announcement by Umno President and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, after the Umno Supreme Council meeting last night that Umno will stay out of the Chempaka state by-election in Kelantan “although not for the reasons given”.
Lim noted that Najib said the decision was for the sake of Muslim “unity” as well as to allow the federal government to focus on its flood relief, rehabilitation and reparation works that are still in progress.
“It’s sad that 58 years after Merdeka, and six years after the launching of his 1Malaysia signature policy, Najib has reiterated talk about Muslim unity instead of Malaysian unity,” said Lim who is also DAP Parliamentary Leader and Gelang Patah MP.
Umno staying out of Chempaka, he said, must be followed by a clear-cut announcement that the party will not contest in any Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election.
“This can set in motion a virtuous, positive and statesmanlike process of national reconciliation to forge greater national unity and consensus to bring together all political forces and all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, into one common national endeavour to save Malaysia from the many dangerous travails and challenges – political, economic, educational, social, environmental – confronting the nation.”
Are national leaders in the country up to such a challenge?
The Umno decision to stay out of the Chempaka by-election should be a forerunner to promote a virtuous circle of moderation, tolerance, national unity and reconciliation, reiterated Lim, after a most prolonged, cacophonous and divisive period where the rhetoric of hate, intolerance, extremism and bigotry whether of race or religion, have held sway in the public domain raising disturbing questions about the future of Malaysia.
“There is no disputing the need to double efforts in the post-flood relief, rehabilitation and reparation works after the worst floods catastrophe in Kelantan in living memory in December 2014.”
However, he reiterated that a special meeting of Parliament last month or a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the December floods catastrophe in the East Coast would have been proof of greater concern about the failures of disaster management preparedness and the need to be better prepared to deal with future disasters.
Apparently, the possibility of Umno staying out of Chempaka had been very obvious from the start, according to Lim, as indicated by the sudden two-hour meeting of the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council last Friday night within 24 hours of the death of Tok Guru Nik Aziz on the night of Thursday, February 12 and the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Kelantan menteri besar in Putrajaya on Monday.
“This was also why in my third pre-Cabinet Open Letter addressed to the MCA president Liow Tiong Lai and Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong, before Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, I ended with these two last paragraphs”:
“What now is the next chapter in the devilish Umno/BN plot to destabilise, divide and destroy Pakatan Rakyat now that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has stymied their plans, as there will not be two simultaneous by-elections of Chempaka state assembly in Kelantan and Permatang Pauh parliamentary in Penang but only one.
“The least Liow and Mah can do is to advise the Umno and BN leaders to follow through with their original plan to stay out of Chempaka by-election to give PAS an uncontested victory, as well as to later stay out of the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election if Anwar’s pardon appeal is rejected.”
There are those who see Umno staying out of the Chempaka by-election as part of a Machiavellian plot to destabilise, divide and destroy Pakatan Rakyat so as to escalate a vicious cycle of plot and counter-plot to aggravate differences and contradictions inside Pakatan Rakyat and PAS, but this need not be so, stressed Lim.