24 January 2008
Parti Keadilan Rakyat notes with deep concerned that as the 12th general election is approaching, certain quarters have began to play up the sentiment of fear and insecurity to win votes.
We are alarmed by recent comments on May 13 by certain BN politicians. Their standard reminder to the voters would be that the ruling coalition could not afford to lose the election, otherwise the ethnic bloodshed of May 13 maybe repeated.
It is disappointing that statement carrying such implicit threat came from national leader like YB Chew Mei Fun, Parliament Secretary to Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.
The May 13 incident was a black spot in Malaysian history. The outbreak of ethnic clashes in the incident was the doing of irresponsible politicians and parties.
Since the tragedy in 1969, there have been a lot of initiatives by both governmental and non-governmental sectors to promote national integration. Although much greater improvement in our inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations is still needed, Malaysians should have the confidence to declare proudly that such ugly conflict will never be repeated today.
We should also unambiguously and unanimously reject attempts by any forces in the society aimed at undermining racial harmony to achieve political goals. Racialism and the rhetoric of hate have no place in modern civilized society.
Hence, we call upon all parties, especially the ruling parties to stop using May 13 as a bogey man to intimidate voters. All political leaders must refrain from making remarks which are misleading and factually inaccurate.
We call on all candidates—both ruling and opposition parties to make a firm pledge for not exploiting the public fear of violence. The public ignorance of our own national history has given these irresponsible leaders the opportunity to create tension and conflicts in the society.
The government has the duty to provide a level playing field for election. It is also its responsibility to ensure that the voters can choose their representatives in a peaceful and secured atmosphere, and free from intimidation.
Thus the government must make an open and firm commitment that it would do its level best to protect public security and to guard against all threats of violence—including from its own party members.
At the same time, we also call upon the police force to act neutral and professionally. The police should act immediately against any words or action that insinuating racial violence.