Sunday, July 13, 2014

Yes, Negara-Ku has an Agenda, Ambiga tells Utusan

Published: 13 July 2014
Newly formed Negara-Ku’s agenda is to promote unity, peace and harmony, and those who criticise it are trying to deflect Malaysians from issues of racism and extremism, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today.
“Of course, Negara-Ku has an agenda. It is an agenda for unity, peace and harmony,” Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider in a text message.
“Everyone who loves this country should support this agenda. Those who criticise it are merely trying to deflect from the pressing issues of racism and extremism that threaten the fabric of our nation. What is their agenda, I wonder?”
The former Bersih co-chairperson was responding to Awang Selamat’s column in Utusan Malaysia today slamming the newly formed non-governmental organisation (NGO) as a smokescreen to further Ambiga’s political ambition.
Awang, a pseudonym for Utusan’s collective editors, had demanded that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) reject any formal application from Negara-Ku unless its name was changed to “AgendaKu”.
"Let it remain an illegal body, unless the name is changed to AgendaKu. That is more befitting Ambiga's record and reputation," said Awang today in Mingguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of Utusan Malaysia.
Ambiga said she and national laureate Datuk A Samad Said were only patrons of the movement, and that she had never claimed it was her own personal initiative.
“It is a movement of the people set up by concerned citizens and NGOs and chaired by the respected Zaid Kamaruddin.
“We accepted the honour of being patrons because the cause is timely and most worthy.”
The former Bar Council president said any action taken by RoS must be within the boundaries of the law.
She said checks by Negara-Ku’s members found there was nothing unlawful in adopting such a name.
“We have examined it ourselves and can see no legal impediment to our use of the name Negara-Ku (not Negaraku).
“Nevertheless, we continue to be inspired by our beautiful national anthem that unites all Malaysians.”
She said Negara-Ku was an initiative by concerned citizens unable to remain on the sidelines while leaders did nothing to stop certain quarters from destroying the nation’s harmony.

The new movement was launched on Thursday to heal Malaysia and restore hope, given the recent challenges that continue to threaten the peace and harmony of its multi-ethnic and multi-faith society.
Touted as the "people's movement to reclaim our nation", it is chaired by Zaid, the secretary-general of Ikram, and its patrons are Ambiga and Samad.
Some 68 civil society groups and NGOs have endorsed Negara-Ku, which is aimed at mobilising and empowering people to return to the basics of the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement and Rukunegara.
Ambiga had previously said the movement sought to provide the correct information to meet the challenges facing Malaysian society.
This would be done through videos, social media and forums and talks “to get people to listen, to question and to think," she said recently.

Awang Selamat today said Negara-Ku was a desperate platform to restore the image of the opposition pact, namely PKR and DAP.
It said that after failing many times to garner the support of the rakyat, including through the Bersih rallies, Ambiga was now hiding behind the name Negara-Ku, which was similar to the national anthem.
"The excuse that this NGO supposedly wants to encourage harmony, tackle extremism and racism is just a smokescreen. It is disgusting.
"In Malaysia, anybody can form an NGO but do not use the name Negaraku, especially for political purposes. Do not think you are so honourable, for I worry that this will attract extremism.

"Many know who Ambiga is. The anger of Malaysians, particularly Muslims, over numerous issues has yet to die down," he said in the column titled "Agenda Ambiga?" – July 13, 2014.

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