KUALA LUMPUR: Amanah’s Mujahid Yusof Rawa said Putrajaya’s decision to disband the National Unity Consultative Council is proof the prime minister had succumbed to pressure from conservative Malay and Muslim groups.
Speaking to FMT, the NUCC member said he was disappointed with Najib Razak’s decision to do away with the council, which was set up in 2013 to reduce racial polarisation.
“This also means that three bills we proposed have been chucked out,” the Parit Buntar lawmaker said when asked to comment on the announcement made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Joseph Kurup at the Dewan Rakyat last night.
In 2014, the NUCC drafted three bills, with the assistance of the Bar Council, to replace the Sedition Act 1948.
The three bills were the Racial and Religious Hate Crimes Bill, which criminalises hate speech; the National Harmony and Reconciliation Bill, which bans discrimination; and the National Harmony and Reconciliation Commission Bill, which details how the commission would operate.
Muhyiddin Yassin, who was the deputy prime minister at that time, had then dismissed the bills as proposals.
Mujahid went on to lament that Najib had spent millions of ringgit on the council only to allow its demise due to a lack of courage.
“Is this the type of leader we want?”
When contacted, Kurup said there were plans to set up another consultative council with the intention of making it a more permamnent feature.
“The Cabinet is reviewing this,” he said, without divulging any details.
Kurup, who holds the national unity and integration portfolio, explained that the NUCC was disbanded after it had completed and handed over its national unity blueprint to the Cabinet. This was subsequently approved.
The blueprint, he explained, took two years to complete after holding 18 dialogues nationwide as well as rountable discussions.