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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Malaysian of 2011



Traditionally, around end of December each year, news media like to ‘roundup’ the year’s important headline-making news, while Time Magazine likes to nominate who it considers as the most significant news-making person or institution of the Year; and of course Playboyannounces the Playmate of the Year wakakaka.

I prefer the latter, yes, I’ve to confess to having a wish to view Playmate of the Year wakakaka, but in this post I’ll forgo the girlie pictures and write on whom I believe to be the socio-political Malaysian of the Year 2011.

I reckon it’ll be boring to continue nominating RPK or Haris Ibrahim as they would have been nominated years before. Neither would I name Ibrahim Ali or Utusan Malaysia as newsworthy anymore as their strident shrill and sickening bigoted comments have become flat like an overexposed piece of keropok because of over airing wakakaka.

How about sweeties Ambiga Sreenevasan or Auntie Bersih? Both are wonderful sweethearts but I want someone more intriguing and who’s likely (has the potential) to make an impact on the political scene.

What about Dr Mahathir who in recent times has disappointedly been propounding the Chinese threat to Malays? I suppose he really meant the threats to UMNO-Malays rather than general Malays. No, not him!

Hmmm, I wonder whether Dr M has read a delightful summary of the year’s threats to Malays, in The Malaysian Insider’s piece MILF-PRON Special Report for 2011: Malays under threat, delightfully written by Yusseri Yusoff. Following are extracts of his article:

While Mahathir continued his series of warnings to the Malays by warning that the Malays could end up like the Palestinians who sold their own country out to the Jews, a new threat to the Malays reared its ugly head — Kentucky Fried Chicken could possibly be out of Malay hands.

Based on an unconfirmed rumour it was said that the majority owner of KFC in Malaysia Kulim Bhd could be sold off to a non-Malay company and therefore this would constitute a major threat to the ability of Malays to consume chicken fried in 11 secret herbs and spices.

The owners of Kulim Bhd Johor Corp denied the rumours. When asked whether they were the ones responsible for spreading the rumour the owners of the Radix Fried Chicken chain refused to comment They did however say that Radix Fried Chicken contained more that 11 herbs and spices as well as Tongkat Ali and quite possibly ginseng, for a stiffer fried chicken experience presumably.

Wakakaka, good one Yusseri, but sorry, no, you’re not my Malaysian of 2011 …

... and likewise nyet for Lim KS, Lim GE, Karpal Singh & his once-machai Dr Rama wakakaka, the Pak Hajis from PAS, or even the woman who made kerbau disappear by turning them into kondos, wakakaka.

Most certainly nyet also for Mr man man laiand his blue eyed boy and princess.

Neither would I consider blokes who used corrupt money/gifts to fly to Mecca to perform their Haj’s, or him who pompously claimed to be a solar-powered Malay saviour or his buddy who cowardly blamed a woman for his seditious sms-ed lies.

The man I have in mind is probably the most intriguing politician in Malaysia, a man (sorry ladies) who sits on the side of Coalition A, yet has been considered by/offered to Coalition B - in other words, he is seen as also ‘acceptable’ to side B.

Many have been the scenarios offered as to why he is the best UMNO candidate to head (not ‘helm’ for god’s sake, wakakaka), bizarre as it may sound, Pakatan Rakyat.

His principal proposer has been Dato' Mohd Ariff Sabri bin Hj Abdul Aziz who’s better known in the blogging world as Sakmongkol AK47, a blogger who’s generally unhappy with the way UMNO has gone songsang and grossly corrupt since its earlier nationalistic days. Incidentally, I read DAP has purportedly been headhunting Dato' Mohd Ariff Sabri.

By now, I’m sure you are aware I’m talking about Tengku Razaleigh, affectionately known as Ku Li, a once-powerful politician destined by his karmakismet and mea-lee to sit by the sideline of power politics for the last 25 years, and make many Malaysians wonder whether, by a mere but treacherous change of tide of around 40-ish UMNO party votes, he was the best Malaysian PM we never had?

Now, intriguingly, the question could he be the best PM we will have?

I don’t propose to go into why Anwar won’t be PM (lots have already been written on it), while the proposed replacements for him are mere moronic fantasies of some diehard anwarista cultists. Nor will DAP accept a PAS PM and naturally, vice versa. Thus Ku Li’s potential as a unifying figure to head Pakatan (post a '2nd-time incarcerated' Anwar) grows more significant.

I believe DAP will accept him and PAS perhaps grudgingly so, after some hard considerations of realpolitiks and their wish to be in a conhesive Pakatan government. PKR may come to the party after much budak-type rolling on the floor cum heels thumping merajuk-ing by someone wakakaka.

But, like Empat Ekor, much as we know the probability of winning runs into odds of one in several million, you can never win unless you play (buy the ticket).

So, all the arguments for Ku Li by Sakmongkol or any of his staunch proposers will be bloody useless unless Ku Li actually joins Pakatan. He must make up his mind now or it'll be too late.

Nonetheless, his intriguing (3rd time I've used this adjective to describe him) middle-of-the road potential to head and present a strongly unified Pakatan in GE-13 stares at us in the face.

Ku Li has to be my (socio-political) Malaysian of 2011.

UPSI midnight student rally photos




Photos: Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia, Adam Adli and Chris Kooi
Posted at Twitter and Flickr
- uppercaise

Najib's 2012 New Year gift to Malaysia





Malays are bashing the Malays.
Perkasa, Malay NGOs, Mahathir Kutty, Royalties and UMNO.
When you fall we will just look and celebrate.

The students are still detained in Tanjung Malim.
Continue to pressure the fuck up Government and PDRM.
Latest News:  Arrested students transferred to IPD Slim River because many people have surrounded Tanjung Malim Police Station.

Explain violent campus arrests, PKR, DAP tell Hishammuddin, IGP


January 01, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudin Hussein and the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Tan Sri Ismail Omar must justify the violent police action in arresting student activists in Perak, PKR and DAP demanded today.
The two opposition parties condemned the police for their heavy-handed action in dispersing some 60 undergraduates who held a peaceful sit-down demonstration in support of a fellow student activist and demanded academic freedom at the Sultan Idris University of Education (UPSI) in Tanjung Malim shortly after midnight.
“The police action today is in drastic contrast to their respectful actions during the student march to PWTC that resulted in the unfurling of the academic freedom banner,” PKR communications chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said in a statement.
“This violence makes a mockery of the Prime Minister’s Malaysia Day speech and so-called Transformation Agenda,” he added.
The opposition party claimed the police, including two Special Branch (SB) officers were heavily present in campus and took violent actions against what they said were 100 students instead of the 60 estimated by lawyer Fadiah Najwa Fikri, when the undergraduates refused to disperse as ordered.
Up to 17 students were arrested in the 2,30am incident and taken to the Tanjung Malim police station.
One student, Muhammad Safwan Anang, was allegedly beaten up, punched and kicked until he lost consciousness.
The president of student reform movement Gerakan Menuntut Kebebasan Akademik (Bebas) is warded at the Slim River Hospital with a broken cheekbone, PKR said in its statement.
The party claimed he had been assaulted by eight policemen and SB officers.
Tanjung Malim police confirmed with The Malaysian Insider they arrested 17 students in the incident but declined to furnish further details as they are still investigating the case.
DAP Youth secretary, Ng Wei Aik, slammed the police for their “extreme strength” to disperse the undergraduates whom he said had merely gathered in solidarity with Adam Adli Abdul Halim, a 21-year UPSI student who has come under attack for purportedly lowering a banner bearing the likeness of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak outside Umno’s headquarters in the national capital last month.
Ng noted the undergraduates from various other public universities were pushing for UPSI to drop its case against Adam Adli. “The undergraduates’ demand for academic freedom through a peaceful assembly is something pure and genuine. The violence police action last night appears to b a form of interference in the autonomy of the campus and has polluted UPSI’s sanctity as an academic institution,” he said in a media statement.
Ng, who is also Komtar assemblyman said, “DAPSY demands the police take full responsibility for their extreme violence towards the undergraduates involved and that legal action be taken against those who acted in breach of the law face.”

Anwar morally unfit to become PM, says RPK


January 01, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — Popular blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin denounced Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as morally unfit to become prime minister, saying that Malaysians are unable to accept a homosexual to lead the country.
Better known as RPK, the self-exiled editor of the Malaysia-Today news portal was quoted in an Umno-owned national daily as crediting Anwar’s huge support to widespread public perception of the opposition leader as an “alternative” to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
It did not necessarily mean Anwar was a better leader or PM-designate, said the man who was once seen to sit in the PKR de facto chief’s inner circle.
“I don’t care. If you say is Anwar gay? I say maybe. But you cannot become prime minister. That is the reality,” said Raja Petra (picture) in an interview published today the Malay-language Mingguan Malaysia.
Raja Petra did not explicitly call Anwar a homosexual but said there was no room in Malaysia for someone who is gay and wants to become PM.
“In Australia, you can. You can be gay and even become a minister. In Malaysia you have to choose. I personally have no problems but if you want to become PM and be gay, in Malaysia you cannot.
“I am not defending immoral behaviour but that is your choice. If you choose that you cannot have this. In [the] UK, Australia you can have both,” he said.
Anwar, 64, is currently awaiting his verdict on his second sodomy charge, where he is accused of sodomising a former aide.
The High Court is scheduled to deliver its ruling on January 9.
The former deputy prime minister has vehemently denied the charge, saying that it was part of a ploy to destroy his political career.
In his harshest remarks against Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat yet, Raja Petra said the opposition pact needed to cut down on its campaign for Anwar, and that the fight for reform was beyond the political future of one man.
Saying that PR had “bigger fish to fry”, he stressed that the “future of this country does not depend on this one man.”
“I do not know if Anwar is guilty or not. For me the issue is not important. The question is, is he the best candidate to run the country? If you are a good person, you are surely ‘clean’. But if you can’t run the country, you can’t, it’s that simple.”
Raja Petra charged that Anwar’s performance as Selangor Economic Advisor has been unimpressive, and that he spent too much time going overseas for functions and lectures at universities.
The controversial blogger claimed he received complaints of rampant corruption in Selangor, saying that nothing had changed since PR took over from BN there.
“We tell him [Anwar] stay in the country and do your job in Pakatan. More than 60 trips abroad is too much...it is as if he is running away not knowing what to do,” Minguan Malaysia reported Raja Petra as saying.
Raja Petra stressed that politics in Malaysia needed to move beyond national leaders like Anwar or even PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak and more on structure and ideas.
“I think we do not need to talk about Anwar anymore. It is not about Anwar. When we talk politics, we talk about Najib-Anwar, Najib-Anwar.
“What if Najib gets a heart attack like his father? What if something happens to Anwar? He is not young, he is older than me...we will get new leaders…we must move on,” the blogger said.

Guy Fawkeses march against Assembly Bill



In the midst of New Year Eve revelry, some 200 people wearing Guy Fawkes masks paraded near Dataran Merdeka to protest against the Public Assembly Bill 2011.

The flashmobsters, who are linked to the Occupy Dataranmovement, started donning their masks and posing for photos at 11:30pm yesterday in the sidelines of a New Year concert taking place on the historic field.

guy fawkes merdeka nye 010112However, at 12:20am when the parade was well underway on Jalan Raja, police detained three members of the group who were distributing the masks. The masks and the group’s banner were also confiscated.

The banner read, “#OccupyDataran untuk Merdeka” (Occupy the square for independence, with #OccupyDataran being the movement’s Twitterhashtag).

The trio were released from a nearby mobile police station 10 minutes later, after their personal details were recorded.

“We asked why we were detained,” said one of the released detainees, who refused to identify himself despite being unmasked.
'We gathered, like everyone else'
“He (the police officer) said it was because we carried banners and wore masks. We retorted ‘what’s wrong with that?’ He could not answer, so he had to release us.

 “We proved that we were innocent. We merely assembled here peacefully like everyone else. What sets us apart is that we wore masks, but what’s wrong with that?

 v for merdeka 010112 07“We want to reclaim our right to assemble peacefully, and we have done just that. We did not trouble anyone.”

The Peaceful Assembly Bill had been passed by Dewan Negara on Dec 22, and now awaits royal assent before it can be gazetted into law.

Once in effect, the law would ban street demonstrations as well as assemblies within 50 metres of a list of prohibited places, which include schools, hospitals, places of worship, and bridges.

Another protestor, student Raihana Ambok Dalek, had a different grievance.

 “I’m not against the government, but I am against the corruption. Who can control the corruption? Who can uphold the law?” she said.

‘Ideas are bulletproof’

The group intended to re-enact a scene from the 2006 movie 'V for Vendetta', where the protagonist, V, used a Guy Fawkes mask to conceal his identity while attempting to bomb the British Parliament which was the seat of power for an autocratic government.

v for merdeka 010112 05The explosion occurred just as the building’s iconic Big Ben clock tower marked November 5th in the film, and was witnessed by thousands in the streets of London, also wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

The mask has since been used as a pop culture symbol of rebellion against oppression, and had also been adopted by the hacker group Anonymous, and the global Occupy movements.

 “I think the message is symbolic and simple enough for people who have seen 'V for Vendetta' and what V stand for.

“V is only a symbol. The mask is only a symbol. Behind the mask is an idea, and ideas are bulletproof,” said one protestor.

Two flashmobs

At the stroke of midnight, the flashmobsters unfurled their banner and posed for more photos, using the nearby Sultan Ahmad Said building’s clock tower as background while fireworks lit the sky.

They also waved hand gestures that are normally used to signal opinions at the movement’s meetings, such as ‘agree’, ‘disagree’, and ‘get to the point’, before wading through the crowd of tens of thousands who had gathered to attend the concert and celebrate the New Year.

guy fawkes merdeka nye 010112During the procession, a separate flash mob took place in front of the former Federal Court building, where Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Se-Malaysia (Gamis) president Akam Ikram led a group of over 100 to pray, sing, and chant slogans like “youths love Malaysia”, “youths love peace”, “youths love Islam” and “God is Great”. However, his speeches could barely be heard over music from the nearby concert.

Several people who had come for the Occupy Dataran flashmob appeared to be confused by the commotion and joined Gamis’ crowd when the procession passed by, until they realised the mistake and moved on.

The Gamis group was later dispersed by police too.

Police dispersed Occupy’s meeting

When the New Year celebrations were over, the Occupy Dataran’s members gathered for their weekly meeting near Coliseum Theatre, about 500 metres from where the procession started.

The movement’s media working group later claimed that police dispersed the meeting of about 60 people, citing orders from the police officer in charge of the Dang Wangi district.

v for merdeka 010112 02However, it said it was able to reconvene the meeting near a bridge along Jalan Raja.

Prior to midnight, the surrounding crowd also shot several signalling flares into the air. When asked, the working group disclaimed responsibility and said it were probably from “random (New Year) revellers”.

The Occupy Dataran movement was formed on July 30, and has had meetings - known as the KL People’s Assembly - at or around Dataran Merdeka every Saturday night since despite occasional police interference.

It seeks to reclaim public spaces as democratic space for people to discuss ideas, and experiment with direct, participatory democracy.

The movement is leaderless – there is no hierarchy, resolutions are passed by consensus, and roles such as moderators and coordinators are frequently rotated.

January 9, 2012: A Repeat of Paulian (Augustine) Judgment?


by Terence Netto
As political theatre, Anwar Ibrahim's 18-stop campaign swing through severalstates ahead of the January 9 verdict in his sodomy trial is certain to play to overflow audiences, judging from the size of crowds that have attended his appearances on the ceramah circuit the last month or so.

And now with Police and protesters against the 'Free Anwar Campaign' at work in Kelantan and Sabah respectively, obtruding like flies at mealtimes, Anwar's campaign swing is certain to generate the publicity and crowds that should keep it in the headlines.

With the verdict in Sodomy II hanging like the proverbial sword of Damocles over Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting, audience-size at his ceramah and their appetite for what he says are sure to be whetted by curiosity about his fate.

Few things are as potent a magnet for the curious as the specter of impending doom on someone who flaunts defiance.  As the hand of judicial fate closes in on Anwar, the opposition leader's peripatetic resort to the courtroom of public opinion resembles similar odysseys of the modern era in politics.

In these episodes, charismatic leaders seen as embodiments of causes that resonate across national boundaries, find themselves facing overwhelming state-power against which they have had only their appeal to the masses to offer as defence.

As various times in their careers, Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the late Philippine oppositionist Benigno Aquino, Polish trade union leader Lech Walesa, and Czech playwright Vaclav Havel were in situations similar to Anwar's present position.

The choice each faced was either incarceration by the forces of repression or anointment by the masses as their leader-liberator of national destiny. The historical moment is electric when personal and national dilemmas are so starkly juxtaposed.

Credibility gap

In the courtroom of public opinion, the case against Anwar in Sodomy II has met with the same credibility gap that the sex video purporting to show him in a transaction with a sex worker had already encountered: A want of public belief in its authenticity.

Details like the timing of the release of the sex video and the identity of the people involved in its procurement and dissemination are more notable in retrospect than at the time of its emergence.

Sodomy II was limping along in the High Court, several months after the sensational fanfare of its opening in January 2010, when the sex video was released.
pakatan ceramah shah alam 041211 anwar hadi
It soon acquired the aura of a life-support machine being hooked up to a trial that had become moribund.

After its sensational start, Sodomy II entered a long interregnum in which issues of due process, specifically a stint of it to the defence – the object of several challenges by Anwar's lawyers – became the central point of the whole trial.

When a trial reaches that stage, a hitherto riveted audience may lose its concentration and its interest gradually falls away. The reason for the drifting away of interest from Sodomy II was that all of the earlier focus, particularly to a Muslim audience (towards whom this case was wholly aimed), revolved around the question of "Did he do it?"

Audiences driven by that singular focus are not unduly concerned with procedural issues. But procedural issues are what really matter in law.

Just as science became modern as an empirical process for the confirmation of truths established by scientific methods of inquiry, so law as a modern conception became legitimate when justice was seen to be the result of whatever just procedures had led to.

A want of just procedures was what Anwar's defence was vehement in protesting as Sodomy II proceeded even as public interest in the trial waned as it declined into a cockpit of procedural issues.

Symptom of the national malaise

In the interim, however, Anwar did not stay still. He campaigned on the speaking circuit, taking his case against sundry deteriorations in the body politic to the country's final arbiter: the people who will the ones who will vote and ultimately decide.
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Those deteriorations – the steady drip-drip of corruption and abuse of power, and the opacity of the electoral process – played out in the background to his sodomy trial.

Soon the trial became just another symptom of the national malaise that the opposition leader has been railing against since his travails began after his sacking from UMNO and the government in September 1998.

Thus, it is not farfetched to say the final arbiters of our national condition are no longer much concerned with the verdict to be delivered on Jan 9.

They are more curious to see how Anwar is comporting himself under threat of the Damoclean sword which is why his 18-stop campaign swing is headed for high attendance and – what is now becoming quite clear – intrusive police attention and trammels.

www.malaysiakini.com

Malaysia would be a better place without Umno - true or false?


Malaysia would be a better place without Umno - true or false?
Who is responsible for destroying racial unity in this country? Which forked-tongue party with the tacit support of their soul mate – a xenophobic NGO – is using race and religion to divide the people?
It is palpably not the Opposition. The Opposition on their part are seriously working with the marginalized minorities as well as the majority race in instilling peace and unity in the society.
Ethnic diversity is no doubt a distinctive feature of Malaysia but the Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling parties – led by the ‘Big Brother’, UMNO – opt to promote individual self-serving racial schema all in the name of promoting the interests of their own ethnic group against the other. This has led to a divisive kind of politics in the coalition since the country’s independence and it has caused grave disunity among the people of various races and religions.
The only party in the country that often uses race, religion and ethnic ‘rights’ to stay relevant in politics is UMNO. For this reason, UMNO does not deserve to talk about racial unity.
Constitution was carved in good faith
Article 153 visibly states that it is the King's responsibility “to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article”. Sadly, some racial zealots are using this Article as a weapon of aggression just to score some brownie points in politics. This symptom is not boding well for the country. Malaysians in general have never questioned the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak. The minorities among them only demand that their positions too be acknowledged by the majority race.
Notably, the Constitution was carved with good faith to create a united Malaysian race. It explicitly covers the special ‘position’ of the indigenous and unreservedly recognizes the ‘rights’ of all Malaysians. The Constitution is not deliberately tilted towards any single group of citizens to favour them more then the others. The lexis ‘rights’ and ‘position’ are semantically disparate, though. Unfortunately, some UMNO politicians and their soul mates care more to argue on the deeper structure of the terminology.
A Malay lawmaker has this to say: “When politicians talk of the special ‘rights’ of only one group of people, it smacks of unfairness, as the Constitution also implicitly prescribes for the ‘rights’ of other Malaysians.”
There is a harmonious gamut to the positions of all races in the country in the Constitution, which some politicians prefer to ignore. They are immaturely trying to practise divisive politics by toying with the issue of ‘a chosen people’ versus ‘ the marginal group’ and this has perceptibly caused covert but marked disunity among people of different races and religions in the country.
As commented by the Malay lawmaker, “No one disputes the Constitution and no minority groups are for civil strife just by asking the majority to be fair to them as the rightful citizens of the country.”
UMNO and some deep-seated NGO leaders are too quick to demean those who bring to facade the above notion – erroneously implying that any attempt to honestly decipher the semantic of the Constitution is to question UMNO and undermine what they term as ‘the unity foundations they have long built’. Too many political observers, this is too opinionated in temperament.
The lawmaker added: “The Constitution belongs to all Malaysians and not any political party per se. Some politicians are actually destroying racial unity in manipulating the neat foundation of the Constitution when they insinuate that the minorities must accept themselves as second-class citizens.”
To reject a government
More often than not, the word ‘unity’ becomes a hallowed formulate expansively used by UMNO just before elections to win support. The word disappears from their political repository just after an election. Unity rhetoric is only for UMNO’s political expedient. In truth, national unity has virtually been shattered by the UMNO government.
Unity in its truest sense can only be seen if the rights of all Malaysians are taken care of. For that matter, safeguarding the indigenous rights does not come at the expense of the legitimate interests of the minorities. It is a fundamental human right that the minorities in any nation are treated fairly. When the minorities come to realize that they are neglected in all societal sectors they are bound to have animosity against the majority. They, therefore, deserve the right to reject a government that advocates injustice and unfairness.
A sociologist has this to say, “A social contract bounds the rights of all citizens. Nothing absolute pertaining to race is actually sealed in a social contract. The deprived in the society need to be helped. Poverty eradication involves people from all ethnic groups – not just confined to a single race. The poor among all races have to be factored in. Racial unity prevails when a government is sincere in narrowing this gap.”
Promoting racial unity for UMNO is like playing a hide and seek game. To the sociologists, the framework for racial unity has to be based on the true aspirants of the people – the majority and the minority. UMNO’s mode of silencing the parties representing the minority ethnic groups in the BN coalition with a ‘Big Brother’ mentality – on the issue of rights and special position of the indigenous has not helped promote good racial relations in the country. UMNO cannot call for unity and yet with the same breath spew out racist remarks against the non-Malays. Neither is it right for UMNO to rancorously create an imaginary Christian onslaught on Islam, as this has given rise to a widening gulf of misapprehension between the Muslims and the Christians in the country.
Cycle of poverty
It is an accepted reality that not all Malaysians are ready to totally shed their racial identity and call themselves Malaysians. For this ideal to morph into reality it may take another few generations. But UMNO does not seem to have the formula for this quandary. First, the poor and marginalized Malays, Indians, Chinese and the Indigenous are those that need to be helped to pull them into a level playing ground. As practised by UMNO, enriching a selected few among their cronies is not the solution to national unity.
Over 70 percent of the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak are still poor after many years of independence. Over 65 percent of the Malays are still in the poor category despite the long years of NEP. The marginalised Indians constitute 58 percent of the poor within this community. The Chinese too are not spared by poverty. 35 percent are still under the poor category within this community. Building richness solely within a single racial group is not going to bring unity or harmony to the society.
Many bigots, opportunists and self-serving leaders in UMNO prefer to ignore the fact that there are also many deprived people from among the minorities who need help in many ways. Unity does not mean that UMNO and their BN parties should come together to help themselves with the nation’s wealth, with UMNO taking the biggest share. Racial unity also becomes a mockery if all opportunities are given to a single race with crumbs thrown to the minorities. Practising tokenism for the minorities will only demoralize the marginalized more.
A local economist has this to say: “Preferential treatment of a single race may not augur well for the nation when there are many who are equally deprived in the society. In a need-based economic approach to nation building would see a better Malaysia for all. UMNO does not need to enrich the rich but empower the poor from among all the races to drag them out of the cycle of poverty and into the level playing ground. This will help promote racial unity in the long run.”
Destroyed by UMNO
Our Constitution holds dear that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law without discrimination on the basis of race and religion. One crucial factor that divides the people and can cause disunity is their economic status. If there is a wide economic gap among races in the country there is bound to be dissatisfaction and animosity. The deprived can be people of any ethnic group – Malay, Chinese, Indian or the Indigenous – and a government that does not address this problem is bound to cause widespread racial disunity.
Malaysia's racial unity is actually being destroyed by UMNO. It is because of UMNO that Malaysia is more polarized then ever. It is because of UMNO that religious and racial tensions are wittingly brought up for political reasons without any regards to what harm it has done to our social fabric UMNO in the last five decades has used the diverse populace to divide instead of uniting them. They have been very successful in dividing and ruling them by using unfounded fears involving race and religion.
The racial composition in the civil service, the police, the judiciary and the armed forces does not reflect a Malaysian society. The education process itself has not brought to national unity. When affirmative action becomes a farce, racial disunity starts rearing its ugly head. The marginalized – in employment and education – among all citizens have to be factored in if Malaysians aspire to game together on a level playing field. Racial unity cannot be achieved by promoting a single race at the expense of the minorities.
A comment from a local educationist: “When educational opportunities are tilted towards a single race this breeds discontent among those deprived of the opportunities. When schools and colleges are built exclusively for a single race this breeds racial disunity.”
Only meant for a single race
Corrective measure to racial unity is to help all including the marginalized groups. The case of some ultra and extreme right-wing Malay NGOs and organisations that are vigorously promoting that this country is ‘only meant for one race and one religion’ – when others are forced upon them through the inconvenience of history – is off beamed and a perfidious scheme to distort racial unity.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution safeguards the interests of all Malaysians – Indigenous and non-Indigenous. No single ethnic group in the country should claim absolute rights above and beyond others. If this Article is read and practised in good faith it should not cause any racial tension in the country. There is essentially nothing to debate on this issue. It is crystal clear that the rights of all people are guaranteed by this Article. It is UMNO and some malodorous NGO members that prefer to exploit on it to manipulate, disunite and alienate the Malays from the non-Malays.
UMNO seems to hint that the minorities should know their place and accept the status quo. Apparently, any challenge to they being the ‘master’ will invoke the ire of UMNO. There can never be national unity if a single ethnic group can own the biggest share of the nation’s wealth. There can never be national unity if schools and colleges are identified by race and religion or only meant for a single race. There can never be national unity if the minorities are not well represented in the government. Race and religion cannot be the excuse for UMNO’s failure in integrating the races.
A religious scholar from a local university remarked: “No Christians or Hindus would wish to make enemies of Muslims and vice versa. The minorities do not have the slightest inkling to provoke the majority.”
A change of government
The NEP has been soiled by the greed for riches. There has been twists and delusion of the policy that now has already divided the nation. The rich are becoming filthy rich and the poor are becoming dirt poor and this is apparent within any single ethnic group. Racial unity is debased when social and economic justice have been ignored.
The catchphrase “1Malaysia” remains an empty and meaningless slogan. The sloganeering is not about racial unity but just a red herring meant to draw away attention from the prolongation of discriminatory policies. UMNO is impeding the growth of a Malaysian culture by making bizarre claims and prompting others to sow racial divisions and animosities to tilt any balanced social relations.
It has been acknowledged by most political observers that UMNO's political hegemony over BN and the country is tearing down the dreams of our founding fathers – to build a united Malaysia based on our race mix. As human beings the minorities and the marginalized among this mix are just asking for their basic rights as citizens. The onus is on the majority in any country to take care of these minor entities. Racial harmony cannot be preserved if the minorities, marginalized and downtrodden are deprived even of their basic rights. But the people cannot expect this to come from UMNO’s fanatical supporters.
The people are so disunited today that only a change of government can bring about a meaningful transformation to a better Malaysia.
Malaysia Chronicle