Malaysia is seeing a fight between Pakatan Harapan coalition partners who are engaged in a public war of words over two thorny issues, the presence of controversial Indian Muslim preacher in Malaysia and imposing Islamic calligraphy in vernacular schools.
A Democratic Action Party or DAP member took jibes at Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad saying there are signs of a ‘creeping Mahathirism’ in the country.
DAP central executive committee member Ronnie Liu says Dr Mahathir’s penchant for ploughing through with his policies, even if they were at odds with Pakatan Harapan’s stand, was a sign that “Mahathirism” is making its way back.
“To allow Mahathirism to continue to grow and fester, we would (betray) the public,” says Liu in a statement today.
He says ‘Mahathirisms’ is creeping in after a year in office and this lays to rest any notion Dr Mahathir wanted to right the wrong done in the past and do things differently.
Dr Mahathir’s call for other Malay parties to join Bersatu, the party of the Prime Minister, imposing the Khat in vernacular schools unilaterally, a third but controversial national car project that kick-started last week and the slow progress in the repeal of several repressive laws are signs of ‘Mahathirism’.
Dr Mahathir is yet to reply back as he did against another DAP member, MP Charles Santiago, who once again hit out at a Bersatu minister today.
While Santiago sought a ceasefire today in the war of words between him and several government leaders over his call for a review of Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) decision-making process, he attacked Minister Maszlee Malik.
Santiago told the Education Minister off after the latter leapt to the defence of Dr Mahathir saying, “linking Mahathir to unilateral decisions is baseless and a blatant lie”.
Santiago urged the minister to ‘Watch your words, do your job,” adding “the education system is in shambles and much work needs to be done to get it back on track.”
But speaking to reporters at an event, he says he did not want to prolong the issue with Pakatan leaders. He insisted that he only suggested a measure that could help reduce problems in the country.
Nevertheless, he says he will put the issue to rest after the Prime Minister responded to his criticism yesterday.
Yet, the strife between Bersatu — which is an all Malay party — and the DAP continues with Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof saying Malays have compromised too much with “racists”, urging them to rise.
His comments were on the thorny issue of implementing khat lessons in the Standard 4 Bahasa Malaysia textbook which means non-Muslim students will have to take up those courses.
Without specifying who he is talking about, Redzuan says Malays have compromised too much with racial demands that are too racist.
He adds it is time for Malays to rise up and defend Malay culture before it is destroyed, the Malay language newspaper quoted him as saying.
On Zakir Naik, the DAP is pressing Dr Mahathir over what they call his ‘interference’ in the affairs of the country particularly touching on subjects like conversions to Islam and whether other faiths in the country are in the right or wrong.
Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran has called for action against controversial preacher Zakir Naik “for questioning the loyalty of Hindu Malaysians”.
“Zakir is an outsider who is a fugitive and has little knowledge of the Malaysian history, therefore, he should not be given such a privilege to run down Malaysians, what more question their loyalty to the country,“ says Kulasegaran in a statement.
Kulasegaran is a member of the DAP. Dr Mahathir is intransigent on the topic of Zakir Naik’s stay in Malaysia.
The Prime Minister said, Zaik will not be deported to India as his life is in danger and there is no guarantee India will not mistreat the Islamic preacher.
The latest round of anti-Zakir Naik momentum in Malaysia came after the preacher’s most recent talk in which he claimed that Hindus in Malaysia are more loyal to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi than Dr Mahathir. -/TISG