Mah concurs, DPM's 'May 13' just reminder

Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong today concurred with MCA president Liow Tiong Lai that Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's recent statement on May 13 was just a "reminder".

Muhyiddin (right) reportedly said in aUtusan Malaysia piece that arecurrence of racial riots was not impossible.

"I have not read the whole thing, but since you want an one-line answer, then I agree with Liow that was a reminder, that we want a peaceful country," he responded reluctantly at a press conference at his new office in Putrajaya today.

He also said it's time for the moderate Malaysians to stand up and the country should treat them as heroes.

In his estimation of the Malaysian public, 15 to 20 percent hold leftist views, and a similar number lean to the right, while 60 percent are in the middle.

“Right now, the ones who make the most noise now are on the right, and they are the ones treated as heroes, and the media gives them the most coverage," he said.

"Every time a moderate speaks out, they are dismissed as having no position and no stand. Why do you want me to be black or white - so that I can be a hero?

"Why not make the moderate a hero. People in the middle are always considered as soft and useless. Why? I think the moderates are the majority (in the country).

"I agree with Liow's (right) view that the DPM want us to be more united. The PM and DPM are fighting so hard on 1Malaysia - why don't you ask me on this?” he queried the media.

"In a country where 60 percent are Muslim and 40 percent non-Muslim, why do we keep going on about our differences? Why should we continue politicising them?” he said, adding that we should focus on commonalities.

Political questions

Mah, who officially entered his minister’s office in Putrajaya for the first time today, seemed reluctant to answer political questions.

He was unwilling to comment on DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang'slatest broadside in which he said the cabinet was unfit to lead the country if ministers were of the same mind as Liow.

"If I am going to answer certain politicians who make statements every day, I will be a very busy person. I have not yet read his statement, normally I do not read so much," he said, adding he need to focus on his ministerial tasks.

Mah also said he's willing to "forgive" Penang deputy chief minister and Penang Hindu Endowment Board chairperson P Ramasamy (right), who he said had "attacked" him twice for being awarded the Hindu endowment board portfolio, as he need to work with the latter on Hindu matters.

"He attacked me twice in four days. I am also human; don't you think I would be angry? But I don't want to respond, I don't want politicking," he said.

"Let me find out the exact scope of my work. Then I hope to meet him and work with him. So, about his statements, I forgive him."

Ramasamy had said Mah’s acceptance of the position was testimony that Gerakan continues to be “subservient to Umno”, which leads the BN administration in Putrajaya.

Mah, who met Malaysia Hindu Sangam president RS Mohan Shan earlier today, said he agreed with the NGO that no politician should head a state endowment board as past experience had shown it resulted in too much politicking.

When asked if Ramasamy should be removed from his position as Penang endowment board chairman, he said, it was up to the Penang state government.

Mah also refuted accusations that he's not capable of overseeing the board. He believed that while Hindus should run the board, this was not necessary for the minister who oversees it and answers for it in Parliament.

He cited the education minister who is in charge of Tamil schools as an example, saying there is no need for the minister to be an Indian.

Nuclear power plants

Mah also promised that his department would be transparent and will seek public feedback on the heated issue of nuclear power plants where the government is still studying their feasibility.

"Transparency would be a good step forward, and is being done now. I will engage the public. It's a good thing to discuss. I get many good comments and suggestions, you know. Even fromMalaysiakini I learn a lot of things," he said.

The government was criticised for its plans to build two nuclear power plants where seven potential locations were shortlisted without public knowledge.

While Mah noted the NGOs were against the plan following the Japan nuclear leaking incident in 2011, he said there were articles and research that suggested nuclear energy is the way forward for the world.

"If nuclear for the country is 51 percent good and 49 percent bad, you will still need to make the decision. The rakyat's sentiment is important but ultimately the country has the responsibility to make the decision based on all the facts," he said.

'Spoke out of concern'

Meanwhile, Umno Cheras divisional chief Syed Ali Alhabshee said that Muhyiddin probably spoke out of concern as some parties had recently turned provocative.

"Tan Sri (Muhyiddin), he's concerned, he loves (the country).

"He doesn't want people to provoke each other and sparking the probability of another May 13. Nobody wants that. Malay, Chinese, Indians, all don't want that," the Umno grassroots leader said.

Syed Ali (right), who has been the Cheras Umno head for 18 years straight and was a two-term senator, lauded the BN model.

He said that even in Cheras, he has learned to defer to MCA and Gerakan's needs as the constituency had majority Chinese residents. 

"All parties have to take care of the harmony of the country," Syed Ali told Malaysiakini.





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