Najib calms down 'war of words' among BN leaders

Friday, 20 August 2010 16:26

PUTRAJAYA - Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak broke his silence over the recent row among leaders of the Barisan Nasional component parties and called for a spirit of consensus to solve problems.

The Prime Minister said the BN, as a highly experienced coalition, had the capability to manage all problems in the common interest.

"They can discuss (these problems) at any time and I, as the BN chairman, will give all parties time to offer their views and suggestions," he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the National Finance Council, at the Finance Ministry, here, according to Bernama.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, was asked to comment on the recent statements by several BN leaders which touched on racial sensitivities.

He said he understood that some BN component party leaders were forced to issue statements which touched on racial sensitivities.

The Umno-MCA war of words escalated after the Chinese-based party attempted to push hard for the abolishment of the 30 percent bumiputera equity target.

During the MCA’s Chinese Economic Congress over the weekend, the party had also called for economic liberalisation and a merits-based and needs-based system to enhance Malaysia’s competitive edge in the global arena.

This did not go down well with several Malay leaders, including Malay rights group Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali, who warned that Umno would lose Malay votes if it bent to the MCA’s will.

Both Muhyiddin and Hishammuddin joined the fray later, with stern warnings to remind Chua not to forget the BN struggles when fighting for the rights of the Chinese community.

Muhyiddin reminded Chua that the unfair distribution of wealth had resulted in the May 19, 1963 riots, the worst in the multi-racial country’s history.

Chua shot back, citing his disappointment with the DPM for using the 1969 riots to warn him.

Chua also said that Hishammuddin’s response was an indication that “some BN leaders” had failed to learn from the coalition’s failures in the 2008 general election, which saw it lose its two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Dr Chua also said he was not afraid to share views with political foe DAP, provided it was for the good of the community.

Meanwhile, International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed said Friday that uncertain political conditions and "prolonged polemics" could affect the government's effort to attract more foreign investors.

He said it was the responsibility of all to ensure the country remained peaceful and prosperous.

"The government works hard to attract as many foreign investors to the country for the benefit of the people," he told reporters after breaking fast with teachers, parents and students of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pak Badol in Bachok yesterday, according to Bernama.

He was asked to comment on the call by MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek for the gradual removal of the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity in all sectors of the economy.

Mustapa, who is Kelantan Umno chief, said foreign investors had been eyeing Malaysia and that he hoped that the polemics would not scare them away.

He also said that any demand should be based on what was provided for in the constitution and in the spirit of Barisan Nasional consensus.


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