Friday, January 24, 2014

Dialogue on religion: Only Umno-free S’wak can lead


William Mangor

January 24, 2014
Local opposition are of the opinion that the "ultra rights in Umno" won't allow the federal government to accept Pakatan Rakyat's invitation.
KUCHING: Pakatan Rakyat here believes only Sarawak can lead the way in finding a middleroad to the current racial and religious tension in the country.
State PKR deputy chief See Chee How said it was unlikely that ruling Barisan Nasional in Peninsular Malaysia will accept Pakatan leadership’s unconditional  invitation to dialogue on the matter.
“I doubt it will make any headway at this juncture because the ultra rights in United Malay National Organisation (UMNO), being a party which is the core of the BN coalition, is the main cause of the problems.
“Any hope for such unprecedented national effort will have to come from Sarawak, not only because Sarawak is the only state in Malaysia where Umno has not establish its direct political presence, but also because of its multi-religious communal fraternity,” See said.
He said the socio-religious fabric in Sarawak was very different from the peninsular and this was affirmed by rational statements from Senior Minister Dr James Masing and  Assistant Ministers Abdul Karim and Daud Abdul Rahman, taking a common stance in the cause which is customarily championed by the state opposition.
“It is quite clear that the relationship amongst the political leaders in the state are more cordial and it is certainly not uncommon that they expressed common concerns on matters affecting the state.
“The harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious communal fraternity and rapport amongst Sarawakians is unrivaled in our country of diversity,” he said adding that this was reason enough for the Taib Mahmud led state government to propose and initiate a ‘rainbow’ round table discussion on the issue.
“State government is urged to take initiative to hold a ‘rainbow’ rountable of all component parties in Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Rakyat (PR), other political parties and Non Government Organisations (NGO) to discuss matters and find solutions to problems affecting the state and the country.
“The dialogue should also discuss and find common solution to address the effects of price hikes which has affected rural Sarawak the worst and the fading rights and privileges of East Malaysians under the Malaysia Agreement, ” he said.
See added that the silence from BN’s top leadership was indicative that they did not see an ‘urgency’ in the matter.
See was commenting on Pakatan Leadership Council’s invitation to BN for an “urgent” discussion on racial and economic issues plaguing the rakyat.
Pakatan is particularly concerned about the recent rise in racial slurs as well as attempts to evoke the May 13 incident.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said Pakatan was willing to cooperate with the government to serve Malaysians’ best interests.
“This is so that if there are any signs of racial tension, it can be handled well to save the rakyat, especially those in the lower strata of society.”
“We urge the prime minister cum BN president Najib Tun Razak to immediately rise to this call and hold discussions with us on how to resolve the tensions that have been rising,” said Anwar.
~ Free Malaysia Today

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