KUALA LUMPUR, 3 Sept 2008: Gerakan will push for a Barisan Nasional (BN) Code of Conduct with an effective disciplinary mechanism at the next BN Supreme Council meeting, its Acting President Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon said today.
A BN Code of Conduct with stern disciplinary action for all members of BN component parties was very much needed to deter and discipline racist remarks and anti-social behaviour that jeorpardise national unity and BN solidarity, he said in a statement.
Dr Koh reiterated his call for such a code, and welcomed Deputy Prime Minister and Umno Deputy President Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s apology on behalf of Umno over the remark by a party divisional leader in Penang during the Permatang Pauh by-election last month.
"Najib’s sincerity has helped to ease somewhat the anger and tension arising out of (Bukit Bendera Umno division head) Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s insulting racist remark," he said.
Dr Koh earlier proposed the BN Code of Conduct together with provisions for stern disciplinary action following the uproar among the Chinese community and political leaders over Ahmad’s remark that "Malaysians of Chinese origin are merely squatting in this country and hence not entitled to equality."
He said although it might be argued that Ahmad’s remark was only his personal view and not Umno’s stand, it had definitely tarnished the image of Umno and BN.
"This is especially so when top party leaders were perceived as condoning it by not condeming it fast and firm enough.
"It was indeed yet another case of what the Malay proverb says, ‘nila setitik, rosak susu sebelanga’ meaning, ‘a drop of blue dye spoils a pot of milk.’
"BN may have many pots of milk because of the good work and goodwill BN has achieved and accumulated through over 50 years of nation building with the people.
"However, if too many drops of blue dye continue to be sprayed, all of BN’s pots of milk will eventually be spoilt. We may be reaching such a critical point of no return now," said Dr Koh.
He said therefore that BN itself and all component parties had to be very firm and fast in dealing with "such irresponsible and insensitive remarks and behaviour."
"Provisions for disciplinary action in the code of conduct should be applied automatically and immediately before any racist remark triggers off adverse chain reactions, leading to greater conflict.
"Moreover, if the remark or behaviour is serious enough, appropriate action under the Sedition Act and other relevant laws must also be taken at the same time.
"Any act that threatens national unity and inter-racial or inter-religious harmony must be dealt with very sternly," he said.
In the run-up to the Permatang Pauh by-election, Ahmad Ismail, in a ceramah, had said that the Chinese community were mere immigrants in the country and thus were not entitled to equal rights in Malaysia. – Bernama