Worsening 3Rs – Dr M to be blamed?

Dear Editor,

I read with interests Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement that racial-religious-royalty (3Rs) incidents had deteriorated (https://www.malaysia-today.net/2019/08/24/race-religion-and-royalty-3r-incidences-have-doubled-says-muhyiddin/) . As we countdown to our 62nd National Day next weekend, this is indeed sad.

Of late, two raging controversies have dampened the collective spirit of solidarity as a nation. The first is on Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, and the other is the government’s fumbling over the teaching of khat in primary schools starting next year.

By now, most of us are already familiar with how these issues took a downward spiral, as public debate over this became overtly laced with rabid racism and religiosity. Happening on the eve of our National Day and just over a year of Pakatan Harapan in power, this is a most unfortunate turn of events.

At the heart of these controversies is the Mahathir administration’s failure in providing a consistent and strong leadership in nipping the issues in the bud.

Take Zakir Naik. On the one hand, PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that the controversial Islamic preacher had crossed the line when the latter belittled the Chinese and Indians. Barely a few days later, Dr Mahathir said that he had not changed his stance about not deporting Zakir.

And then, there is the khat controversy. Initially, Dr Mahathir was adamant that this would be taught for all Year Four students starting next year. Crumbling under public pressure, his government backtracked and said it’s only compulsory in national schools. In a media statement that was vaguely couched in political language, the Ministry of Education announced that it was not compulsory for national-type primary schools.

Such inconsistencies had only allowed opportunists to sow racial-religious sentiments. If the government do not act swiftly or decisively (or worse, allows it to fester for political expediency), then, the man on top ought to shoulder the responsibility.

Perhaps Muhyiddin ought to be reminded that PH is the government of the day and it is its duty to clamp down on opportunists stirring the 3R issues.

Another issue is the handover to Anwar Ibrahim. The PM seems to be moving the goalpost again and again with regard to the timeline. This unnecessarily heightens anxiety.

Max Lim Chia Jen
Johor Baru