Government White Paper on Towards National Harmony

The Government White Paper

The Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, told the joint opening session of the UMNO Kaumn Ibu and UMNO Youth that Malaysia can revert to democratic rule only after Parliament passes amendments to Constitution relating to sensitive issues set out in the Government White Paper, titled “Towards National Harmony.”

The DAP strongly objects to this political blackmail. The government’s proposals should be tabled in Parliament and debated, without any Sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of MPs that they will all be sent home and Parliament dissolved if they do not do as they are told.

The White Paper stated that “Parliament is after all the trustees for the peoples of Malaysia; the guardians of the nation’s heritage and hopes.”

If the government sincerely believes in what it states in the White Paper, then it would not blackmail Parliament in this undemocratic and unparliamentary fashion.

With each passing day, the question as to whether there can be meaningful parliamentary democracy in Malaysia under the present government becomes more and more pressing.

We are fast sliding towards a stage where the practice of racialism is a virtue and the criticism of racialism an offence.

The DAP must seriously warn the government that if the democratic process ceases to be meaningful to the aspirations and deeply-felt needs of the people of Malaysia, to advocates of democracy will become irrelevant to the demands of the time, and be rejected the replaced by the ready advocates of violence who have been patiently waiting in the wings for their chance.

The White Paper on “Towards National Harmony” said the Malaysian Constitution needs to be relevant to the problems and conditions of the society for which it provides the framework of government.

Nobody can challenge this statement. But the crucial question is: Who decides the relevance of the Malaysian Constitution? The people of Malaysia, as represented by the elected representatives, or a mere ruling clique?

If Parliament, as the government White Paper professes, is “is trustees of the peopls of Malaysia,” then Parliament should be allowed to debate and decide on the government’s constitutional proposals without coercion and intimidation.

The DAP therefore calls on the Malaysian Prime Minister to declare that the Parliament will be allowed to freely, frankly and fully discuss the government’s constitutional amendments, without fear, intimidation or blackmail.