ACCCIM calls for reassessment of harmony initiatives

KUALA LUMPUR: The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) wants the federal government to reassess the implementation of the National Harmony Bill and the establishment of a Reconciliation Commission.

Expressing profound concern over the persistent narrative of racial and religious tensions, ACCCIM urges a reconsideration of these initiatives.

Its president Tan Sri Low Kian Chuan said the ACCCIM feared that such narratives, if left unchecked, would have detrimental effects on the country, incite hatred and create division among the people.

"Fostering strong national unity, racial harmony and understanding among a multi-racial society is the recipe for the country's sustainable success. This must be upheld at all costs.

"It is therefore timely for the enactment of the National Harmony Bill and Reconciliation Commission members to affirm the seriousness of the government to foster a united Malaysia free from any form of discrimination," he said in his speech at the ACCCIM's Chinese New Year celebration here today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the guest of honour at the event.

National Unity Minister Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang told the Dewan Rakyat last year that the government has no plans to introduce a new bill to tackle 3R (race, religion, and royalty) issues.

The minister had said that the National Unity Special Task Force in 2019 proposed enacting the Racial and Religious Hate Crimes Bill, National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill, and the establishment of the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission.

All these proposals, he said, were not considered suitable for implementation at that time.

Low, in his speech at today's event, also highlighted other key elements for the country to move forward.

Political stability, said Low, is a necessary condition for an enabling business environment.

"Businesses generally stand a little chance of doing well when the political condition is not stable.

"The chamber welcomes and supports the prime minister's strong commitment to securing a stable government, repairing the country's international standing and the government's unrelenting war against corruption.

"It will bolster the confidence of investors and ensure policy continuity," he said.

Low also stressed the need for a gradual approach and proper sequencing of economic reforms, which could minimise economic and social pains as well as achieve better institutional outcomes.

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