Flower power on May 13 to deflect racism and hate

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PETALING JAYA (May 10): In an attempt to trump racist remarks enunciated after the 13th General Election (GE13), civil society will hold a candlelight vigil to remind Malaysians that unity discourages racial politics. The initiative aims to commemorate May 13 using flowers, candles and lamps to symbolise that “love conquers fear and fraternity overcomes racism” on Monday, 8pm at Dataran Puduraya in Kuala Lumpur. “We, Anak Bangsa Malaysia, reiterate that in a democratic system, it is the inalienable right of citizens to vote for their candidate of choice without fear. “All political parties must accept the choice of the people, irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds,” said seven non-governmental organisations (NGO) in a statement. They are the Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia, Malaysians for Beng Hock, Warga Aman, Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas), Women Section of KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Kill The Bill and the Malaysian Indian Progressive Association. The group will also join an initiative called the Vanilla Boys and Girls Love tour to distribute yellow flowers to people in an effort to promote “love, peace as well as free and fair elections.” They also claimed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak showed no respect for the right of the citizen to choose its own government when he attributed Barisan Nasional’s poor performance in GE13 to a swing among Chinese voters. “He has also chosen to ignore the underlying socio-economic and urban-rural dimensions that caused the election results,” they added. The NGOs also perceive the recent spate of racial sentiments, fuelled by Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia, as an indicator of Umno’s impending internal struggle. “Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has openly expressed his disappointment with Najib’s leadership in managing GE13. It clearly shows that another round of in-fighting within UMNO is imminent. “UMNO warlords will begin to demand Najib to take responsibility for the poor general election result compared to 2008,” the statement read.   “This, we believe, is the reason why Najib has resorted to racist rhetoric in apparent contradiction with his moderate 1Malaysia slogan. “As Anak Bangsa Malaysia, we say enough is enough. We must reject all forms of hatred and fear and attempts to segregate our people,” they said. In conclusion, they called on all political leaders to stop fanning ethno-religious sentiments to divide the people in their greed and quest to stay in power.