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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dr M 'bapa opportunis': Racial-religious bigotry the end of BN


Malaysia Chronicle

Pakatan Rakyat leaders accused former premier Mahathir Mohamad of being the nation's ‘bapa opportunis’ or 'the father of all opportunists’ after his venomous attack against PAS and his overt support of Umno's continued use of racism and religious bigotry to scare the public and tighten political control over the country.

“Who was the one who said Melaya mudah lupa, who was the one who said it was shame for the Malays to still need handouts from the government, who was the who reverted the teaching of Mathematics and Science to English,” PAS vice president Mahfus Omar told Malaysia Chronicle.

“But now, how come the Malays are suddenly so pitiful that they can be bullied by the Chinese and the Indians? What sort of Malay unity is Mahathir talking about when he is accusing PAS of being Malay opportunists? Or is he saying that any Malay, as long as he is not an Umno or Perkasa supporter, is anti-Malay?”

The last straw

Indeed, Mahathir known for his sarcasm and political ruthlessness got more than he bargained for when he wrote on his blog that meritocracy would push the Malays to the social and economic fringes. He also warned the community not to trust PAS, saying the Islamist party did not defend Malay rights and only wanted its votes.

The ferocity of his attacks raised eyebrows especially in light of a recent outbreak of racial and religious intolerance manifesting itself in a noisy row between Umno and MCA. The alarming and escalating rhetoric of several Umno leaders including Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Defense Minister Zahid Hamidi did little to shore up public confidence in their government.

Finally, when two school headmistresses were caught telling their Chinese pupils to go back to China and one of them even likening the Indians to dogs, it was the last straw.

A livid public threw the book at Mahathir, while calls have grown for Muhyiddin to step down as Education minister. Prime Minister Najib Razak was also slammed for his timid leadership and exhorted to take a firmer hand.

“At the end of the day, it confirms what Malaysians already think about Umno and BN. The public’s hatred for their corruption and divide-and-rule policies was already evident in 2008. Now, it would have even doubled,” Pantai Jerejak assemblyman Sim Tze Tsin told Malaysia Chronicle.

Death knell

Nevertheless, opinion polls such as Nobisha’s online survey (www.nobisha.com) have been appearing on Umno blogs, stating 66 percent of Malay voters still believed BN would win the next general election. Only some 33 percent gave Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat a chance.

When asked if they believed that Umno had carried out effective reforms, 44 percent said ‘no’, 36 percent said ‘yes’ and 20 percent were ‘unsure’. What about Pakatan? Has it satisfied their expectations – 48 percent said ‘no’, 24 percent said ‘yes’ while 28 percent were ‘unsure’.

Nonetheless, Pakatan leaders were unswerving in their belief that racism and religious bigotry would sound the death knell for Umno and BN in GE-13.

“In the 2008 GE, we were given even less chances of winning, but we still did the impossible. Things are never what they seem and this is the stupidity of Umno and BN. They must really get it into their heads that it is not just about public relations and media spin - reality is what counts in the end,” Mahfuz said.

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