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Thursday, July 10, 2014

HARMONY IS A TWO-WAY STREET

By SSK

Today, 68 civil society groups and non-governmental organisations got together to form a new movement called Negara-Ku, which is co-chaired by Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said.

The mission and vision of Negara-Ku is to “reclaim the nation in the face of all the extremism and racism which are being allowed to grow.”

Offhand this appears to be quite a noble cause but on close scrutiny it begins to look more like Bersih, an anti-government movement. The statement issued during the launch itself is already very political and anti-government in tone.

“There is no leadership being shown, and what leadership there is seems to condone the divisiveness,” said Ambiga, clearly meant as a criticism of Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak.

In short, the government, or Najib’s administration, is being blamed for what they call ‘divisiveness’ plus the alleged increase in racism and extremism. This is the usual ‘it is all the government’s or Umno’s fault’ blame-game that the opposition is fond of playing.

Even if we agree that the country is badly divided and that there is an increase in racism and extremism, we cannot deny the fact that the opposition, too, is playing the race and religion card to the hilt.

Can we deny that the focus of right-wing Chinese movements to push for Chinese schools is not divisive? What about the move to abrogate Article 153 in the Constitution and the call to end the Bumiputera policies, in particular regarding education?

Even if I were to agree that racism and extremism is a problem in Malaysia (which in previous articles I have) I would not agree that this is being perpetuated by the government or Umno. The opposition, too, is guilty of playing the race and religion card in its effort to win votes.

Hence Negara-Ku should try to be non-partisan and less an opposition platform to hit the government if it wants to get the support of the liberals and support from both sides of the political divide. As it is, Ambiga and Samad are already tainted by their involvement in the opposition movement Bersih.

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