The MCA vice-president then added that freedom of speech and expression under the Constitution includes the right to question or debate any policies.
He added that this right cannot be encroached upon, curtailed or suppressed by any politicians or parties by using religion, race or culture as an excuse.
Ti then said that Umno Youth chief Dr Akmal Salleh must practise humility and respect for the law and Constitution by allowing Malaysians to raise any concerns they have.
“Similarly, all Malaysians must respect Islam as the official religion, but at the same time must be vigilant about ‘political Islam’ as this trend during the 1980s and 1990s has brought tremendous damage,” said Ti.
He added that it “changed the fabric of the nation as it was more a political agenda and not religious agenda.”
“Politics can be damaging. Politicians using religion is dangerous and causes hardship and social calamities.
“This was proven historically in the dark age where politicians who used religion have a propensity for intolerance and persecution conducted by the secular powers for their own political ends,” he said in a statement on Sunday (Aug 27).
Ti’s remark came after Akmal said that those who opposed the “Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith” module to be introduced in public schools must be prepared to face opposition from Umno Youth, even if they are allies of the party.
This came after MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) voiced concern over the new module.
Ti said the concerns raised by Dr Wee and MCCBCHST were genuine, adding that Akmal’s statement was “brutish” and “uncouth”.
“Dr Wee raised concerns on the words used, ‘pioneer project’ and ‘expand’, (because the words) had caused doubts, confusion and (he was) seeking clarification. These were genuine concerns and rights that should be respected.
“It is this Umno Youth’s mannerisms that have damaged Umno and Barisan Nasional’s public image in the eyes and minds of the fair-minded Malaysians of all races.
“A word of advice to all concerned, let’s bring back the spirit of our founding fathers Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun Sambanthan of humility, respect and tolerance, and not chest thumping, growling or shouting political culture of the 1980s and 1990s,” Ti added.
On Aug 19, Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek launched the “Imam Al-Nawawi 40 Hadith” appreciation module which was aimed at fostering the values of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings or “hadith” at the school level.
The module will be introduced in National Religious Secondary Schools (SMKA) and Government-funded Religious Schools (SABK) before being rolled out to other public schools.
After various concerns were raised over the new module by non-Muslim communities, the Education Ministry had clarified that the new module would only involve Muslim students.