(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): I call on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to conduct clean and fair campaign not only in Sabah but also in the national general election.
Mahathir visits Sabah today to begin a nationwide tour purportedly to explain the political situation to counter the "strong propaganda effort waged by certain quarters leaving many Malaysians confused".
He said that "the people’s confusion stemmed from the lack of information" and that it is his duty to clarify the situation.
If Mahathir is right, then the first thing he should do is to sack the Information Minister, Datuk Mohamad Rahmat who has clearly failed in his information duties by disseminating misinformation to the people!
The question Malaysians are asking is why Mahathir could go to Sabah to speak to the people while Dr. Azizah Ismail, the wife of ousted Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is banned from addressing a gathering in Sabah yesterday.
The police, aware Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was to be the guest of honour, gave permission for the gathering which was attended by about 3,000 people, with the directive "that no speeches be made".
The police have brought shame and dishonour to the country in imposing a "gag order" on Azizah.
By its ham-fisted "gag order", the police has created the impression that the Prime Minister is afraid of Azizah.
Is the police "gag order" on Azizah at the behest of the Prime Minister? Why is the police so afraid of free speech and assembly, when they are fundamental liberties enshrined in the Federal Constitution? Would the police ever dare to consider imposing a similar "gag order" on the Prime Minister and other Federal Ministers in Sabah?
Malaysians must be very concerned at some of the statements being made by national leaders which, if not curbed, can undermine the nation-building process.
Although Malaysia is faced with a triple crisis - political, economic and moral crisis - Malaysians are fortunate that they are not faced with a racial crisis, and it is the duty of all political leaders, whether the government or the Opposition, to steer away from the politics of race - whether directly or indirectly by engendering fear among the races.
It is in fact a matter of national pride and comfort that although the country is facing an unprecedented triple crisis, there is no racial tension or conflict - and rightly so, as the people’s aspirations for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance is not a racial issue.
On Tuesday, Mahathir said Malaysians need to rally together now more than ever to foil attempts at destabilising the country. In his Chinese New Year message, he alleged that "certain groups within and outside the country are pitting the various races against each other so that riots would occur and development stopped".
Thinking Malaysians are alarmed by this new line by the Prime Minister, which is a most unhealthy one. I urge the Prime Minister and the government to set a good example to steer away from the politics of race as well as the politics of fear while the country grapples with the triple political, economic and moral crisis.
Malaysians do not know what Mahathir is talking about when he alleged that "certain groups within and outside the country are pitting the various races against each other so that riots would occur and development stopped". He should name these "certain groups" if he has evidence or stop such irresponsible politicking.