PETALING JAYA: The war of words between DAP's Charles Santiago and the federal government continues, and MP Klang is now training arms with Education Minister Maszlee Malik over hints that he is a liar.
"Calling me a liar is a serious accusation. Maszlee should be careful about his words and, more importantly, focus on his job," Santiago said today, hours after Maszlee said Santiago's proposal appeared to be the Prime Minister has too much power the "ultimate lie."
"He had to prove me wrong because defense is an easier option.
"We are the new Malaysia, voted on by the people on the basis of reforms and inclusivity. It is therefore important that people's voices are reflected in political decisions.
"In addition, the education system is in disarray and much needs to be done to get back on track.
"It's been 13 months (since Pakatan Harapan took power) and it's about time Maszlee got started," Santiago told FMT.
Earlier today, Maszlee said a cabinet led by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had always made decisions by consensus, after Santiago called for a rethinking of the PH decision-making process amid debate over the move to introduce khat into the Bahasa Melayu curriculum.
"I believe other cabinet members can vouch for this. Issues such as the Rome Statute, Lynas, ICERD and others have been openly discussed," Maszlee said in a statement.
Mahathir also responded sarcastically to Santiago yesterday, saying that "I will seek the permission of Santiago in the future" when he wanted to make a decision.
"I'll get his views. He's on the same level as me," he added.
Santiago also called on Maszlee to say whether the government approved Dr. Zakir Naik's controversial preacher in the country and, if so, when the decision was made.
According to Mahathir, as other countries closed the door on Naik, who was wanted in India for money laundering and terrorism-related charges, Malaysia was forced to accept him.
Naik is under fire from a Hindu PH leader over reports comparing Hindus in Malaysia with Muslims in India, saying they were the first to enjoy more than 100% rights in Malaysia compared to Muslims in India.
"Zakir's malicious words have explosive potential to cause racial unrest and he is using a religious platform to sow bitterness among Malaysians," Santiago said
"Obviously, he leans back like a trapeze artist to indicate the will of Mahathir, who refused to extradite him despite India's request."
Santiago said that tomorrow's cabinet meeting will have to consider Naik's "meddling in Malaysian politics" and make a decision that puts peoples interest and national security above everything else.