Elegant silence on racism

By The Malaysian Insider

AUG 22 — The silence in condemning racism in the country from among the elected leadership is deafening, if not elegant.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia appears to be overwhelmed by the vitriol and venom of chauvinistic groups like Perkasa and the Malay Consultative Council (MPM), or school principals who utter racially-tinged statements without thought.

But the prime minister has not said a word about the school principals.

Instead, he swiftly ordered investigations into claims that khatibs or prayer leaders in Penang were replacing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s name with that of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng during Friday sermons.

It begs many questions.

Is he the prime minister for all Malaysians?

Does his elegant silence means he agrees with such racially-tinged statements by school teachers?

Does he condone the statements being made by MPM, Perkasa and its indefatigable chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali?

Najib’s deputy and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has been ambivalent about the issue although he took the decisive step of setting up a task force to probe Johor school principal Siti Inshah Mansor’s allegedly racist remarks following a failed initial attempt by the Education Ministry to placate parents.

The former education minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today said racist principals are a minority. Yet, he failed to see the point that after 53 years of independence, this kind of teachers should not exist in the system.

Would their fathers, respectively former prime ministers Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and Tun Hussein Onn, condone such behaviour from civil servants or anyone for that matter?

Thus far, there has only been some criticism coming from Barisan Nasional (BN) allies such as the MCA, MIC and Gerakan in what is seen as an issue peculiar only to the peninsula.

But if Umno and BN now are incapable of being honest brokers for all Malaysians and are unwilling to take a stand against right-wing and racist rhetoric emanating from the likes of Perkasa and the Johor principal, can the citizens surmise that Umno and BN adopt a similar stance to these people?