MCA chief on promoting moderation and checking extremism

MCA chief on promoting moderation and checking extremism
Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

In his interview with The Star, the MCA president touches on extremism, moderation and how opposition parties have swayed Chinese voters. Here are excerpts:

On extremism and racist views

Ahead of the MCA general assembly, where delegates are expected to speak up loudly against what many see as the increasing volume of groups and individuals with extreme views, the MCA president has delivered the first blow.

"We are disturbed by the increasing loudness of extreme views. It does not matter where they come from because the MCA cannot accept such fanaticism.

"If we do not stop such extremism, we are worried that it will become entrenched and worse, become an accepted, if not tolerated, political culture," said Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

He said these unrestrained views were evident in comments made in the social media, where racial insults were traded without thinking of the implications on race relations.

He said there were also groups which made demands that had hurt the feelings of other communities, adding that the MCA was upset with calls from some "minor politicians" for the abolishment of vernacular schools.

"My advice is this - go and read the Federal Constitution first. Don't make remarks that are offensive and seditious.

"Don't attempt to be popular by making an issue of decisions that had been agreed on by our founding fathers. Please stop it," he warned.

He said vernacular schools had become popular because Malaysians were aware of the importance of China and India as huge markets.

"Likewise, the Middle East and Indonesia are important to us. We should leverage on the linguistic assets of Malaysians with their ability to speak many languages to compete in these markets.

"It is myopic of politicians who attempt to limit our language skills. In many European countries, their people can speak at least three languages," he said.

Moderation in Malaysia

The MCA has cautioned that any tendency towards extremism must be curbed fast because it could turn explosive.

"Malaysians must never take the country's stability, harmony and peace for granted.

"We should instead be vigilant."

Liow pointed out that the silent majority in the country loved peace and harmony, and that more people should come out to speak on good values and moderation and make their stand known.

Commending The Star's campaign on moderation, Liow urged more people to come forward to voice their support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's views on moderation.

"This is especially crucial at this juncture when the world is besieged by what the Islamic State (IS) is promulgating.

"We condemn IS' actions as this is not what Islam stands for. What they are doing is against Islam and in Malaysia, we must protect and promote moderate values at all times," he said.

On DAP and PAS

Liow has also hit out at the DAP and PAS, saying the former should apologise to the Chinese community for campaigning for the Islamist party in the 2013 general election.

"They told the Chinese voters that PAS candidates were good and that they would never form an Islamic state but two years later, they are now attacking each other.

"But thanks to DAP, many moderate and good Barisan Nasional candidates were rejected in favour of even PAS candidates with a record of extremist views.

"For example, the DAP helped PAS win in a federal constituency where the PAS candidate was known for protesting against every concert and his extremist tendencies," he said.

Liow said many Chinese organisations had now started to urge the community not to support PAS.

He said PAS' bid to table its Private Member's Bill in Parliament to turn Kelantan into an Islamic state months after the general election last year was yet another eye-opener.

"DAP has asked the Chinese community to vote for PAS, saying PAS is more liberal than Umno and that PAS is for a welfare state and not Islamic state.

"It is obvious that the Chinese community is upset over what PAS is doing now as well as DAP's inability to justify its ally's actions."

Liow said the people should not believe in DAP any more because it was only good at political gimmicks.

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