A group of prominent Malaysians have banded together to protest the racially-tinged rhetoric that has blanketed the country in the aftermath of the 13th General Elections.
The 67-strong group says there is a need for national reconciliation and is calling on politicians, the media and activists to exercise restraint in words and actions.
They are also calling on them to work for change through peaceful means, saying the country needs, more than ever, to heal its wounds and unite.
The group includes people like lawyer Art Harun, dancer Ramli Ibrahim, academic Farish Noor, actor Hans Isaac, musician Pete Teo, beauty queen Deborah Henry and activist Marina Mahathir.
Below, is their statement, published verbatim:
We the undersigned are concerned Malaysians from various communities that have always respected one another since well before independence. Our Malaysia was founded on this diversity and our hopes for the future, as envisioned in Wawasan 2020, are built on this mosaic of races, cultures and religions, which have enriched one another since the time of our forebears.
In the aftermath of the 13th General Elections, we have been saddened by the racial tone of statements made by some of our political leaders as well as some media and blogs. The election results may not have pleased everyone but precisely for this reason, we need to unite and heal our rifts, rather than create more divisiveness.
For the past few years the citizens of Malaysia have been exhorted to show their support or not for the government in power through the ballot box rather than through other means. This they did on May 5, yet some of them have been called ungrateful for peacefully exercising their democratic right to express their opinion. They all voted for a better Malaysia and should not be blamed if their vision differs from what the government thinks it should be.
For politicians and the media to fault one community for their results goes against the spirit of our founding fathers, our Rukunegara, Wawasan 2020 and 1Malaysia. Pitting one community against other Malaysians because they allegedly rejected the government in power sets up dangerous divisions within our society and markedly raises the threat of violence.
All parties have agreed that change is needed in our beloved country, whether it is called 'transformation' or 'ubah'. Changes in mindsets and attitudes are much needed for us to take our place in the globalised world today. This change must be achieved through peaceful means, including through the ballot box. It is therefore disappointing that the same old fear tactics are being used with the implicit threat of violence.
It is the democratic right of all Malaysians to lodge any objections to the election results due to concerns about fraud or mismanagement. However, this should be done by individuals or civil society groups submitting such objections to the Election Commission or through the court system, rather than by dissemination of unverified and unsubstantiated information through social media.
We agree with the need for national reconciliation and, therefore, call on all politicians, the media and activists to exercise restraint in their words and actions and work for change through peaceful means. After a fractious election campaign, we need more than ever to heal our wounds and unite to make a better Malaysia.
This statement is endorsed by:
1. Alan Bligh, emcee & voice-over talent
2. Alan Yun, actor
3. Aishah Sinclair, Actor & TV host
4. Amir Muhammad, book publisher
5. Art Harun, lawyer
6. Asha Gill, TV & radio host
7. Azah Yasmin Yusof, TV host & counselor
8. Carmen Soo, actor
9. Celina Khor, TV host & entrepreneur
10. Christopher Tock, social entrepreneur
11. Datin Azimah Rahim, education activist
12. Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir, writer & activist
13. Datin Sofia Jane, actor
14. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria, PROHAM committee member
15. Datuk Bernard Chandran, couturier
16. Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng, PROHAM treasurer
17. Datuk Khutubul Zaman Bukhari, PROHAM member
18. Datuk Ramli Ibrahim, dancer & choreographer
19. Datuk Yasmin Yusuff, emcee & actor
20. Deborah Henry, Miss Universe Malaysia 2011
21. Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, medical specialist
22. Dr Azmi Sharom, academic
23. Dr Daniel Ho, pastor
24. Dr Farish Noor, academic & writer
25. Dr Hartini Zainuddin, children’s rights activist
26. Dr Ong Puay Liu, academic
27. Dr Zaha Rina Zahari, financial consultant
28. Elaine Daly, TV host (Miss Universe Malaysia 2003)
29. Harith Iskander, actor & comedian
30. Hans Isaac, actor
31. Ida Nerina, actor & director
32. KJ John, OHMSI
33. Jema Khan, businessman
34. Jonson Chong, educator & activist
35. Joyce Wong, blogger
36. Jules Tang, TV & radio personality
37. Kartini Kamalul Ariffin, TV host
38. Khoo Kay Peng, political analyst
39. Kuah Jenhan, actor & comedian
40. Lina Tan, TV executive producer
41. Lina Teoh, documentary filmmaker and former Miss World 2nd runner-up
42. Low Ngai Yuen, TV host & arts entrepreneur
43. Maya Karin, actor
44. Niki Cheong, digital culture commentator
45. Norhayati Kaprawi, women’s rights activist & documentary maker
46. Pete Teo, musician & filmmaker
47. Prof Emeritus Shad Saleem Faruqi, academic
48. Puan Sri Elizabeth Moggie
49. Rafidah Abdullah, TV host & screenwriter
50. Ravindran Navaratnam, TIE Malaysia
51. Sazzy Falak, actor & entrepreneur
52. Serena Choong, radio & TV host
53. Shanthini Venugopal, performing arts practitioner
54. Sharifah Zuriah Aljeffri, artist
55. Sonny San, fashion consultant
56. Sue Quek, development practitioner
57. Tan Sri Dato Dr. Michael Yeoh, ASLI
58. Tan Sri Datuk Yong Poh Kon
59. Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, businessman
60. Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, CPPS
61. Tunku ‘Abidin Muhriz, IDEAS
62. Toh Puan Dr. Aishah Ong, welfare activist
63. Vanidah Imran, actor
64. Will Quah, emcee
65. Zainah Anwar, women’s rights activist
66. Zain HD, RandomAlphabets
67. Zhariff Affandi, social entrepreneur