By Ranjeetha Pakiam
16 December, 2007
PETALING JAYA: The silent majority of Malaysians has spoken up for peace. Fed up with the unrest that followed street demonstrations and illegal rallies, a coalition of non-governmental organisations, calling itself Damai Malaysia, made its stand in a memorandum to the prime minister yesterday.
Twenty representatives met Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to hand over the document that rejected street demonstrations and the use of racial and religious issues to incite hatred among Malaysians.
Abdullah appreciated the fact that the silent majority had spoken up, saying this showed that Malaysians were a peace-loving people.
“I appreciate the message of support. The rakyat is angry that some parties have gone overseas to drum up support against our country by making false accusations and stories.
“It is as if they don’t love their country. They are greedy for power, so they do not care about what happens to the country.
“They are so obsessed with their beliefs that they do not think of the damage they are doing to the country and its people,” he said after receiving the memorandum from Damai Malaysia co-ordinating chairman Mohd Saiful Adil Daud at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base.
Abdullah hoped more Malaysians would see the need to protect public safety and not abuse the freedom to speak.
He also spoke on the negative impact of street demonstrations on retail businesses and the tourism industry, which had suffered losses after cancellation of hotel rooms and tour bookings.
He reminded the people that street demonstrations were not part of Malaysian culture.
“We have been successful so far not because we have such demonstrations, but because we uphold the sanctity of the law and the sovereignty of the Constitution.
“This is why Malaysians have enjoyed peace and political stability for so long, while still being able to voice their opinions and beliefs freely.”
Damai Malaysia is a coalition of 395 NGOs representing 1.5 million Malay-sians who have declared their stand against street demonstrations.
It is made up of 75 Chinese-based NGOs and 20 associations which are Indian-based with the rest being Malay.
Saiful said the coalition was formed recently to oppose all forms of street demonstrations which disrupted peace in the country.
He said the memorandum had been drafted during a forum held on Dec 6 at Kelab Sultan Sulaiman.
“As peace-loving citizens, we are responsible for supporting the government in its efforts to put a stop to all this nonsense.
“If there are issues affecting some people, they should go through the proper channels instead of resorting to such measures,” Saiful said.
The coalition plans to invite former appellate court judge Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah to speak on clauses in the Federal Constitution which touched on racial integration as well as Bumiputera privileges and the rights of others.
'Silent majority' speaks out against protests