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Friday, June 29, 2012

Hanging Ambiga: Umno has DEEPLY hurt the feelings of the Indians


Hanging Ambiga: Umno has DEEPLY hurt the feelings of the Indians
Some UMNO leaders can never learn from history. Over 50 years holding on to power has made them arrogant.  It is always threats and racial tinges that have made them survive thus far. But the equation has now changed in Malaysian politics. UMNO is no more seen as a political entity that is likely to survive in the next general election.
Threats and racial overtones have now even climaxed to uncouth statements demanding for a person’s life.  An UMNO MP’s suggestion that Ambiga is a traitor and should be hanged is too much for the Indian community in the country to swallow.
Ambiga exploded many myths
Ambiga Sreenevasan, the co-chairman of Bersih 3.0 − a coalition of NGOs (non-governmental organisations) which seeks to reform the current electoral system in Malaysia to ensure free, clean and fair elections − has proven to UMNO that the Bersih rallies in the past had seen people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds working in unison as Malaysians.
She has exploded many myths long held by UMNO leaders that multi-racial Malaysia cannot work as a team. UMNO is thus not pleased with Ambiga. UMNO has all this while speciously thought that only they can lead the country with their divide-and-rule policies stained with an unfair electoral process.
Just recently it was reported that an UMNO MP had derided Ambiga to the extent that she was labelled as a traitor and went to suggest that “she be hanged” for treason. Just because Ambiga was involved in the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28 this year and has won the hearts of majority Malaysians the MP invidiously labelled her as a traitor and  equating her to the Al-Ma'unah leader who was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death about a decade ago.
The Al-Ma'unah was a militant terrorist group − headed by the leader Mohamed Amin Mohamed Razali − at Bukit Jenalik on 6 July 2000 and brought to trial for charges of "waging war against the King". This became the first people convicted of such offence in Malaysia. Amin and his two lieutenants, Zahit Muslim (ex-police VAT-69 commando) and Jamaluddin Darus, were sentenced to death.
The dye is now cast
Though the MP was later forced to retract his statement by the Speaker in parliament he did not say sorry to Ambiga for his uncouthness. His demeanour has hurt the feelings of the Indians in the country. The dye is now cast as the damage has already been done.
In fact derogatory terms were freely used to label Ambiga by some bigots who supported UMNO.  They had no qualms over using disrespectful words such as “pariah” and even “sex nuances” to vitiate her. This has actually backfired and become an ignominy to UMNO.
Ambiga has been harassed for too long while the police and Najib are keeping an elegant silent about the whole issue. Before this was the setting up of burger stalls in front of her home by a group of disenchanted traders, followed by a group of so-called army veterans who went to perform “butt exercises”.
They must be mindful that beef is not consumed by devote Hindus. Ambiga is a Brahmin and a vegetarian. This blasphemous act by those zealots is very offensive to all Hindus and those respectable citizens of the country.
The Indians are today disappointed by all these crackpots, as they were not reproached by the UMNO leadership. Najib as the prime minster has perceptibly been silent over this matter − feasibly thinking that all these “uncivilised” actions by some irresponsible fanatics could bring him some brownie points to uplift his sagging image.
Ambiga is a devoted Hindu and is a Malaysian lawyer who served as the President of the Malaysian Bar Council from 2007 to 2009. A distinguished personality she was conferred honorary doctorate in law by University of Exeter.

She was one of eight recipients of the US Secretary of State “International Women of Courage” Award in 2009. Marc Barety, the ambassador of France to Malaysia, granted the Legion of Honour insignia to Ambiga in 23 September 2011. She was recognised for her contributions to the human rights defence.
Alternative to UMNO
UMNO can remain arrogant. But history has proven that no political party in any part of the world can remain in power forever. In the Malaysian context the indications are that UMNO is becoming less relevant to the Malays. PAS is now becoming the alternative to UMNO.PAS is gradually and surely overtaking UMNO as a party that represents the majority Malays.
Malays are, as most would expect, embracing PAS, PKR and even DAP.
PAS as a relatively moderate and unassertive political party is being cherished not only by Malays and Muslims but also the Chinese and Indians. The people have not heard a single PAS lawmaker or member in the past hurling abusive words against a Chinese or Indian in the country. Their piety and strong leaning towards religion has made them behave thus.
No Malaysians have ever heard of uncalled-for loutish terms such as “pengkhianat”.  “pendatang”, “kesal diberi kerakyatan”, “pecat kerakyatan”, ”Cina babi”, “penumpang”, “tak suka boleh balik ke negara asal”, “kurang ajar”, “pelacur” “celaka”, “pariah” coming from PAS (or the Opposition) lawmakers or members. Such is the graciousness of the God-fearing people in PAS. They are the bigots in UMNO and some NGOs allied to UMNO that have disaffected the Indians and Chinese in the country by using all the boorish expressions against the non-Malays.
These foul-mouthed words were never heard of from other natives in the country against the Indians and Chinese. The majority of them are willing to live together as Malaysians. But rhetoric on race relations by UMNO has actually become a sham and this has made the people more polarised.
The Indians and Chinese are only made up of less than 35 percent of the population. They are here to stay as this is their country.  It’s UMNO’s bad policies of 55 years that have failed to bring all the races together and they should now stop blaming the non-Malays for not supporting them.
Indians especially are not as fortunate
First of all the non-Malays in this country are not considered as “natives” by UMNO and they do not enjoy the privileges given to the “natives”. But as ordinary human beings they have their pride and many have struggled against all odds to survive. Many have become successful and many others have not.
The Indians especially are not as fortunate as the Chinese or the Malays. Over 60 percent of Indians in the country are in the poor cluster. With poverty comes deprivation that usually brings to humiliation. This should not be the reason for demeaning the Indians.
The majority being deprived, poor and underprivileged they have always been mocked by politicians. They even had a novel “Interlock” used in schools that did not portray the poor Indians in a couth and mild fashion.
“Interlok” is a 1971 Malay language novel written by Malaysian national laureate Abdullah Hussain. The novel was included in the syllabus for the Malay Literature subject as compulsory reading for students in Form 5 in schools throughout Malaysia.
“Interlok” caused a controversy when detractors claim that the novel contained derogatory words to describe Malaysian Indians as "pariah". The book has since been withdrawn from the syllabus.
Not sensitive to the feelings of the minority
It looks like some of these UMNO bigots are not sensitive to the feelings of the minority in the country. Post-2008 general election saw many unpleasant events happening in the country, which included the stomping of a severed cow head in public, temples and churches being desecrated, the mock Hindu funeral rites in front of the chief minister's home in Penang. This has offended both the Indians and the Chinese.
The Indians and Chinese were often branded as “pendatang” when over 90 percent of these people today are Malaysian-born. By virtue of been born in the country shouldn’t they be considered natives of this country?
Irrefutably, the ancestors of all Malaysians can be traced to “pendatang”. The theory says some came to this country very much earlier and some others very much later. But today we see a big generation of Malaysians almost all were born in this country.
This racist politics of UMNO became more overt beginning 1981 when Mahathir Mohammad (by virtue of the same theory can be described as a product of “pendatang”) − took over office as prime minister. His divide-and-rule policies have made race relations in the country become murky and more divergent.
UMNO lacks the political will to make all Malaysians unite and live together as Malaysians. UMNO’s agenda is to play a Malay-centric politics and this has left the country polarised until today.
No ordinary person
Ambiga is no ordinary person in our society. She has become the new icon of the Indians as well as the other races in the country. Her name is today on the lips of every Malaysian not because she is a traitor but a saviour of the country’s democracy.
The Indians rejected UMNO and BN in the last general election (2008). It was Hindraf under the leadership of Uthayakumar that significantly brought about to the demise of MIC leader’s political career and BN’s loss of a few states to the Opposition.
Samy Vellu lost to the PSM candidate in Sungai Siput. Many other MIC and PPP candidates lost in that election. BN also lost its two-thirds majority in parliament.
The Indians and Chinese together with the Malays gave victory to many Opposition candidates then. They did not hesitate to vote for PAS. Many PAS candidates won with a big majority because of their votes,
Najib is off beamed by keeping an elegant silent on so many sensitive matters affecting race relations in the country.  With all these tomfooleries by some UMNO chauvinists it has reflected badly on Najib and UMNO. MIC and PPP can forget about getting crucial support from the Indians. UMNO, MCA and Gerakan can also forget the same.  .
The relentless attack on Ambiga by some UMNO extremists just because she is an Indian, a Hindu, a woman and comes from a minority group has offended not only the Indians but also the majority of the Malays, Chinese and women in the country.
Malaysia Chronicle

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