Mahathir should put aside UMNO-initiated "Malay Unity" talks and respond to BA invitation to BN for "National Unity" talks

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang 

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad should put aside the UMNO-initiated "Malay Unity" talks and respond to the Barisan Alternative invitation to the Barisan Nasional for "National Unity" talks for three important reasons:

UMNO’s proposal for "Malay Unity" talks and the Barisan Alternative’s invitation to Barisan National  for "National Unity" talks is a  battle for the soul of Malaysia in the new era - whether Malaysia should move courageously forward as a Bangsa Malaysia treating all national ills and  issues of socio-economic justice, human rights and good governance as the equal concern of all Malaysians regardless of race or whether the country should return to the old communal politics of "divide and rule".

It is sad that when more and more Malaysians are thinking of themselves as Bangsa Malaysia and reducing the saliency of their ethnic differences, there are political leaders who are desperately trying to recommunalise Malaysians and Malaysian politics.

The MCA for instance has been quick to parrot UMNO’s call for "Malay unity" with its call for Chinese Unity, with the MCA Vice President Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting calling on the Chinese "to close ranks and emulate the Malay political parties in setting aside their differences for the betterment of the community".

The MCA call for Chinese unity is misplaced, as Keadilan has rejected the proposed "Malay Unity" talks while  PAS has taken the  position that it would not attend talks with UMNO if they were solely to discuss Malay unity. It is also mistimed - after  the Suqiu Committee had succumbed to the politics of communal blackmail to compromise on seven of its 83 election appeals.

It is also  most mischievous. Can the advocates of "Malays Unite" or "Chinese Unite" explain how their formulas could resolve  the multiple crisis of confidence afflicting Malaysia as a result of corruption, cronyism, unjust rule of law, selective prosecutions and justice, violation of democratic freedoms and human rights,  political persecutions and discriminations culminating in a divided nation  losing her competitiveness in the international marketplace in the era of Information Technology and globalisation?

The Barisan Nasional Supreme Council had not even met to take a position on the UMNO-initiated "Malay Unity" talks. Would the individual Barisan Nasional component parties be allowed to take their separate stand on the Barisan Alternative’s invitation for "National Unity" talks, to be followed by a Barisan Nasional Supreme Council meeting - or is this completely unnecessary and irrelevant as all the decisions would be made by UMNO or Mahathir?


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman