I must tell Higher Education Minister, Dato Mustapa Mohamed, that the great educationist, Confucius, had said that admission of mistake is a virtue. So, please admit the blunder caused by the authors of the ethnic relations textbook used in the Universiti Putra Malaysia and close the chapter graciously.
It is indefensible to blame the Indians for the riot in Taman Medan, to accuse the DAP for triggering the 1969 racial tragedy and to label the Suqiu (Committee for Appeal formed by the Chinese Associations and NGOs prior to the 1999 general election) as extremists purely from the standpoint of UMNO wrapped up in the form of academic module purportedly meant for fostering national unity.
Mustapa's dismal performance in Parliament yesterday as reported in Malaysiakini had tarnished his 'so-far-so-good' image as a rare rational intellect in the UMNO when he attempted to justify the views in the controversial textbook as academic freedom.
Equally disappointing is his deputy, Dato Ong Tee Kiat, Vice-President of the MCA, who had failed to speak up but had to show his solidarity to his boss by attending together with Mustapa in the press conference in Parliament House yesterday when his MCA comrades had spoken strongly against the textbook.
Political survival reigned over conscience, as far as the duo were concerned, yesterday.