Saturday, June 23, 2007


Excerpts from an NST report on Pak Lah’s speech in Sarajevo.I don’t know if it was out of shame or anger (or both), but it made me wince.

Build nation the Malaysian way, PM suggests to host.

DATUK Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday proposed Malaysia as a template for similarly multi-ethnic, Muslim-majority Bosnia and Herzegovina to reinvent itself in the wake of civil war.

"In a plural society like Malaysia, the need to be just and fair towards all without distinction as to race or religion forms an integral component of the principles in developing a stable, peaceful and prosperous country," Abdullah said.

Justice and fairness necessitated a philosophy of growth with equity as expressed in the New Economic Policy. "The need to ensure an equitable distribution of the country’s wealth is a challenge for us because economic disparities continue to exist among the various ethnic groups."

As the religion of the majority Malays, Islam had been made "the unifying rather than dividing factor in the Malaysian political system" and applied for its universalism, Abdullah said.

[Now this is the strange bit. It reads like an afterthought or a later scribal insertion. How else to explain a statement like this – addressed to Malaysians – when he was reportedly speaking to a foreign audience in faraway Bosnia-Herzegovina]

"We publicly declare to the people of Malaysia that it is the intention of the government to nurture into being a progressive community that is firmly rooted in the noble values and injunctions of Islam but compatible with modernity.

[Then it's back to platitudes]

"You can accurately say that the government in Malaysia is Islamic-based, but it governs fairly and justly on behalf of all the multi-ethnic and multi-religious citizens of Malaysia.

"Islam Hadhari calls for the enhancement of the quality of life for everyone, regardless of religious belief. This has ensured domestic peace and gives Malaysia a good name internationally as a tolerant society," he said.

"In a multiethnic country, no one group can rule alone. Everybody has to be involved and no one must feel marginal, set aside or insignificant."

The prime minister was conferred the Golden Pin, the university’s highest honour, for academic achievement and his contributions to economic development.

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