(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Rehearsals under the supervision of the Prime Ministerís Department 4P Committee (marching, parading, uniting and organising) are being held for the 43rd National Day Parade on Thursday, August 31, in Shah Alam which would be participated by 53 contingents, 55 bands, 15 groups on vehicles and 17 floats.
The National Day Parade is to be held for the first time at the Dataran Merdeka, Shah Alam which is supposed to be in line with the Visit Selangor Year 2000.
However, the 43rd Merdeka Month Celebration Committee and its Chairman, the Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir should give serious and urgent consideration to shift 43rd National Day Parade from Dataran Shah Alam back to the Kuala Lumpur Dataran Merdeka so as not to defeat the Merdeka Month Celebrations theme of promoting "the togetherness of 22 million Malaysians".
Eight-month assemblyman Mohamad Khir Toyo may have by-passed UMNO veterans in the Selangor UMNO to be elevated to the highest government post in Selangor, but this does not mean that the new Selangor Mentri Besar Mohamad is the most suitable and qualified person to be a leader for all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion in Selangor.
In fact, in his very first statement after his appointment last Saturday, Mohamad Khir committed the serious blunder and misjudgement, when totally without cause or provocation, the new Selangor Mentri Besar went chest-thumping and sabre-rattling, talking about UMNOís preparedness to "make any sacrifice, even bloodshed" to protect Malay special rights.
Mohamad Khir seemed to be competing for the leadership of UMNO Youth instead of proving that he is acceptable as a leader for all Malaysians in Selangor, regardless of race or religion.
Mohamad Khir should explain why the first thing he could think of as Selangor Mentri Besar is "bloodshed" in multi-racial Malaysia?
Day after day, there has been no remorse or sense of contrition on the part of Mohamad Khir for his irresponsible "bloodshed" statement, nor has an apology been forthcoming.
Under the circumstances, it is most inappropriate for the 43rd National Day Parade to be held in Shah Alam in Selangor, as a political leader who could resort to extremist, desperate and bankrupt talk of "bloodshed" in a multi-racial Malaysia, which must be regarded as complete taboo in any acceptable political vocabulary and debate, should not be allowed to dishonour and disgrace the National Day Parade and celebrations by hosting them.
With his unabashed talk about "bloodshed", which he has refused to apologise, Mohamad Khir symbolises the "division" and not the "togetherness" of 22 million Malaysians.
If the 43rd National Day Parade is held in Shah Alam and Mohamad Khir continues to refuse to withdraw and apologise for his "bloodshed" statement, right-thinking and patriotic Malaysians from all races and religions would be justified in boycotting it.
I call on Mohamad Khir to publicly and unreservedly withdraw and apologise for his "bloodshed" statement, not only to demonstrate that he is humble enough to own up to his blunders and misjudgments, but as an example to all political leaders in the country that all talk and threats of "bloodshed" in any political dispute in Malaysia is total taboo which must be condemned as grave anti-national activities which cannot be condoned by any quarter.
If Mohamad Khir is not prepared to withdraw and apologise for his "bloodshed"
statement, then his swearing-in as the new Selangor Mentri Besar should
even be cancelled for a new Mentri Besar to be named.