Uproar in Dewan Rakyat, MPs blame each other over racial and religious conflict

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat was in uproar today after religious and race issues were raised in the lower house, leading members of Parliament (MP) from both blocs to point fingers and blame each other.

The commotion started after Sungai Siput member of parliament (MP) S. Kesavan questioned National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Aro Dagang on whether racial and religious conflict, as well as division among the people, were caused by politicians due to extreme political campaigning. 

"The country experienced a harrowing journey in 1969, which led to the establishment of a New Economic Policy to ensure socioeconomic balance in the community. 

"We also have the five principles of the Rukun Negara to be abided by all quarters but the main reason why we are divided is due to leaders of political parties, who during political campaigns bluntly proclaim certain races (in the country) as immigrants.  

"This has contributed to division (among us), not government policies or programmes," he said. 

Following this, Aaron during his ministry's winding-up session for the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) mid-term review urged MPs to stop political rhetorics,  starting from the Dewan Rakyat session. 

"Our issue is that (as MPs) we can be quite selfish when in politics. We only do things that benefit us by using racial and religious sentiments which are sensitive and can divide the people.  

"This has always been our problem from the start, we have our own agenda and we are being very selfish. We don't care how our speech will impact (the people). 

"However, I cannot give my comment on whether such claims (made by Kesavan) are accurate or otherwise and we need to judge (the situation) ourselves as leaders," he said. 

Following this, opposition MP Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan (Perikatan Nasional-Tasek Gelugor) questioned past statements given by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and claimed that many of the statements also tried to create racial tension among the people. 

"I agree with the question raised by Sungai Siput. However, would you agree if sentences such as 'if you voted wrongly, you will be like Kedah' announced by the prime minister himself are irresponsible?

"Don't you think it needs to be stopped, surely it is not a good example set by a prime minister?" said the Tasek Gelugor MP.

Following Wan Saiful's question, the House erupted, with both blocs pointing fingers at each other until it was put to a stop by Deputy Speaker Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor. 

"This is the minister's session to wind up, please be seated. I agree with what was said by the minister, please stop such rhetorics," said Ramli.

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