KUALA LUMPUR,Dec 14 – Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has come late to the party on the issue of multiculturalism.
It is ironic and laughable that the former Sabah chief minister is preaching multiculturalism to Pakatan Harapan (PH) when the coalition has always been practising it as a core principle of its struggles.
This is the incredulous response of PH leaders towards Shafie’s preaching of multiculturalism in his efforts to justify calling for a new leadership in the opposition coalition.
Klang MP and DAP politician Charles Santiago stressed that the idea of racial unity and equality has in fact been part of PH’s agenda and manifesto, and its individual coalition parties’ policy values, since 2018.
“What Shafie has been saying is not that different from PH’s manifesto in 2018. The question of opportunity and equality for all was already embedded in our agenda,” he said when contacted.
But he also suggested that Shafie’s true intention may be to wrest power from PH leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“What Shafie is actually trying to say is: dump Anwar and I want to replace him.”
At Warisan’s annual general assembly on Saturday, Shafie suggested that PH consider a change of leadership if it wants to win the next general election.
He highlighted the multiculturalism that exists in Sabah, suggesting the same should apply throughout the nation.
Meanwhile, Perak PKR chief Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak emphasised that PKR has always been a multicultural party since its inception and still pursues the fight to build a stronger nation in line with constitutional principles.
However, he also touched on the idea of Warisan extending its presence to Peninsular Malaysia, saying it was welcomed but required further cooperation from Shafie.
“If Shafie believes that Warisan should make its presence known in the peninsula, then perhaps, this must be reflected by himself and other party members working together in forming an egalitarian society unlike the ideals of Umno, Pejuang and PAS,” Farhash said when contacted.
Amanah deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, meanwhile, stressed that the party has always welcomed racial unity, and Shafie’s statements on multiculturalism while talking about having a new opposition leadership were nothing new.
In fact, Shafie had talked about it extensively while Warisan was still supporting PH.
“We always applaud and recognise all races fighting injustice in our country, so his call for multicultural unity is okay for me,” Salahuddin said when contacted.
But, PKR member Kim Quek took a harsher tone, suggesting that Shafie sell the idea of multiculturalism to the “racist enclave of Bersatu, PAS and Umno”.
“PH has fought courageously against all odds all these years for reforms that will transform the country from a racist kleptocracy to a united and progressive Malaysia, and even proved its mettle in this direction by unseating the age-old and outdated regime,” Kim said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
He said PH would have very well been on its way to pushing its agenda forward if not for former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s betrayal, and suggested that Shafie quit his reverence for Dr Mahathir if he sincerely wanted to do good for the country.
Sabah PKR leader Raymond Ahuar also queried how Warisan aims to spread its agenda of multiculturalism to the peninsula when its campaign for the Sabah election was rejected by the state’s various ethnicities.
He pointed out that during Warisan’s campaign in Sabah, the state was plastered with billboards featuring Shafie’s image.
Raymond added that Shafie failed to propagate the true message of unity during his campaign, and was rejected by the Kadazandusun and Murut communities.