Do you need some Tongkat Ali, Kit Siang asks ministers over Ibrahim Ali Bible issue

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Published on: October 18, 2014 | Last Updated: October 18, 2014 1:54 PM

Has the principle of collective ministerial responsibility degenerated as Putrajaya keeps its silence over the controversy surrounding Datuk Ibrahim Ali's threat to burn the Malay-language Bibles, asks DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang.

He said the Cabinet seemed to have avoided taking a stand on the matter after de facto law minister Nancy Shukri had stated, in her parliamentary written reply, that no action would be taken against the Perkasa president.

"Was the lack of 'Tongkat Ali' the reason why the Cabinet abdicated from its collective responsibility?" asked Lim in jest, borrowing Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong's analogy yesterday on the fading support of the 1Malaysia brand.

Tongkat Ali is a plant which is used traditionally by men as a stimulant and is believed to have aphrodisiac qualities. Lim, over the past week, had been relentless in asking for justification on Nancy's parliamentary reply and had asked the minister to come clean on why Ibrahim was let off the hook.

He had said that the Parliament was entitled to a full and satisfactory reply.

Lim said that although Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was out of the country, the Cabinet should not make it an excuse to abdicate from its collective responsibility and to take a stand on the issue.

"Had Nancy correctly reflected the common stand of all cabinet ministers on the issue, or had she given a wrong, incorrect and unacceptable response?" asked Lim, adding that it was inconceivable if ministers from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak, who supported Najib’s initiative of a moderate Malaysia, endorsed Nancy's statement.

"It is no use that MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sarawak, Sabah and even Umno 'moderates' praised Najib for his recent speech at the United Nations General Assembly against religious intolerance and extremism when they themselves are not prepared to walk the talk," he said.

Lim said that Malaysia, once referred to as a model of a peaceful, stable and harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious nation, has come under unprecedented threat in recent years.

"The volume, frequency and venom of hate speech on race and religion, promoting extremism and religious intolerance in the country in the past four years had outpaced all such hate speech in the country in the previous four decades," he said.

It was not a surprise, he said, that in the latest survey by Pew Research Centre, nearly one-third of Malaysians saw religious and ethnic hatred as posing the greatest danger.

The Washington-based research group’s "Greatest Dangers in the World" survey showed 32% of Malaysians cited religious and ethnic hatred as the biggest global threat today.

In contrast, 22% of Malaysians surveyed pointed to nuclear weapons, 16% to environmental damage, 13% cited increasing income inequality and 12% highlighted AIDS and other diseases.

"Concerns about religious and ethnic hatred ranked the highest in Malaysia among Asian countries, followed by Bangladesh (30%), Indonesia (26%) and India (25%)," he said, in a statement.

The onus, he said, now lies with Najib who has yet to convince Malaysians that the principles of moderation, which were the thrust of his UN speech, applied equally to his nation-building policies at home. – October 18, 2014.


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