Malay proficiency and culture should not determine loyalty

KUALA LUMPUR: Loyalty to the country should not be founded on proficiency in the national language and cultural customs, says a former Umno information chief.

In the "Keluar Sekejap" podcast, Shahril Hamdan said the non-Malays' loyalty should not be called into doubt simply because they had not been assimilated as Malays.

"There is a goodness in the integration model that is practised in Malaysia.

"(Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) should not issue statements that question the loyalty of non-Malays. Just because they are not Malays and are not practising the Malay culture, it doesn't make them any less Malaysian.

"If we are unable to cultivate love and respect between one another, there will still be division even if we are fluent in Malay," he said in the podcast, which he co-hosted with Khairy Jamaluddin.

Khairy, a former health minister and Umno Youth chief, said being fluent in Malay would put an end to some discussions on the loyalty of non-Malays.

They were discussing Dr Mahathir's controversial claim that Indians were not completely loyal to Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir's remarks, made in a recent interview with Chennai-based Tamil news channel Thanthi TV, have drawn criticisms from politicians and other parties and led to several police reports lodged against him.

On another matter, Khairy said the various comments on a DAP MP's proposal to include non-Muslim constitutional experts in a committee studying the conflicts between shariah law and the Federal Constitution were counterproductive.

"Criticisms should only be on the person's stance and not translate it to actions.

"I believe that responding, rejecting or condemning it (the statement) increases the tension.

"Every time we passionately disagree, we have to remind ourselves that there's a limit," he said.

He was responding to the torching of Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham's home in Ayer Tawar, Perak last week.

Ngeh in a Facebook post said the fire was successfully contained, with no casualties reported.

The police have since then detained a man to aid in investigation.

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