Now Kit Siang calls Khairy a ‘rabid racist’

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today hit back at Khairy Jamaluddin for calling him a “borderline racist” by pointing out that even former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was opposed to the aborted Umno-PAS unity talks.

“I think Khairy wanted to call Dr Mahathir a ‘borderline racist’ but dare not do so, and is using this way to hit out at the former prime minister,” said Lim in his latest blog posting.

He added that Dr Mahathir had repeated his opposition to any Umno-PAS Malay unity government talks at the Pandan Umno division motivational course on Saturday.

On Saturday, Umno Youth chief Khairy defended the aborted unity talks between Umno and PAS, and called Lim a “borderline racist” for his criticism.

Khairy had said that Lim’s accusation that the proposed dialogue between Umno and PAS was against the concept of 1 Malaysia shockingly implied that Malay-Muslim unity was not good for the country.

Last week, Lim challenged what he felt was the absurdity of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call for Malay and Muslim unity, and mocked the prime minister by asking if Umno would give the nod to Chinese unity talks or similar discourse for other communities as well.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have already rejected Umno’s unity government proposal and proclaimed all issues surrounding the fiasco, which brought the fledgling opposition coalition to the brink of collapse, resolved.

But the Umno president, in asking PAS not to reject a proposal which he said would be beneficial to Malay Muslims, had appeared to play the religion and race card.

In his blog posting, Lim said Khairy’s allegation was laughable as the Umno Youth chief had made an uncalled-for attack on the Indian community during a live telecast at the Umno General Assembly in November 2007 and because of his infamous outburst about the alleged marginalisation of the Malays in Penang.

“So long as Khairy can continue to play with impunity his role as a rabid racist, the prime minister’s 1Malaysia concept as a unifying force for all Malaysians regardless of race will remain suspect.”

Meanwhile Lim said he was also taking the fresh promise of merit-based national scholarships with a “heavy pinch of salt”.

Najib had on Saturday night announced a new category of Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships which will start from next year.

“The scholarships based purely on merit and regardless of race are welcomed,” said Lim.

But heis sceptical because of repeated disappointments with previous promises of “meritocracy” by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Firstly, he said six years ago, Malaysians were promised a system of “meritocracy” in the annual intake of university students but this proved to be a “fraudulent” meritocracy.

There continues to be two incomparable university entrance examinations, the world-class two-year Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM) and the inferior one-year matriculation course, he said.

Lim said if the government really wanted to stop the fall in standards in public universities, only the best lecturers and students must be recruited.

He said the first step was to have one common university entrance examination along with a programme of positive affirmation to ensure those from a socio-economically backward background get special assistance to get into universities but based on need and not race.

Secondly, he said the government gave assurances last year that 20 per cent or 400 out of the 2,000 PSD scholarships for foreign universities this year would be allocated solely on merit.

Lim said this has turned out to be an empty promise as many SPM top scorers with 11 to 16As denied were denied these scholarships.

He said any scepticism about the new PSD scholarship would be understandable because of the absence of a genuine 1 Malaysia mindset where all Malaysians regardless of race get equal treatment.