Stop fawning over leaders, politicians told

KOTA KINABALU: Politicians should stop fawning over their leaders and instead be daring enough to point out their mistakes, former Sabah chief minister Datuk Harris Salleh said.

Noting that the “budaya cium tangan (the hand-kissing culture)” had become prevalent among some Malaysian politicians, he said such a practice was of no benefit.

Take on the boss if the boss is wrong,” said Harris, 78, adding that during his term as chief minister from 1976 to 1985, even senior state civil servants stood up to him if they thought he had made a mistake.

Speaking at a convention on Sabah issues organised by the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) here Saturday night, Harris said although some Barisan Nasional politicians had lately become vocal about matters involving the state, this should not be taken as they wanting to join the Opposition.

“I don’t think Sabahans want to join the Opposition. It will be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire,” said Harris, who is known for his candour.

He said any significant change in the country’s administration must start with Umno, adding that the Government and Opposition must have the courage to acknowledge and tackle the serious challenges facing the nation.

These include permanently inculcating unity among the races, eradicating money politics and changing the autocratic and monopolistic system of the Government.

Harris said it was difficult to promote national unity when Malay and non-Malay students wore different school uniforms, invariably distinguishing Muslim and non-Muslim students.

“Consequently, Malaysian children are made to feel different from each other. Surely, a common uniform could be designed to satisfy the requirements and sensitivities of all races and religions,” he added.

RUBEN SARIO
Star Online
31/08/08

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