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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Minority Rights


By batsman

Prior to 2008, it is claimed that the non-Malays were too frightened to stand up for their own rights with the threat of genocidal massacre hanging over their heads. In fact PAS had to make a pledge to defend non-Malays with the lives of PAS members if ever UMNO makes good its threat of launching another May 13 style genocidal massacre.

“The best laid plans of mice and men gung go awry.” Does PAS now rue the day it made this pledge? Are there people who now claim that PAS’s pledge had nothing to do with the non-Malays gaining enough courage to vote for the opposition during the 12th GE?

Now that the non-Malays have stood up to fight for their rights, the question is how far and how independently should such a fight take? Many non-Malays now oppose PAS’s stand on beer, sexy concerts and gambling, although many still support it or at least refuse to be drawn into the debate. Hindraf has shown a disconcerting proclivity to choose an isolationist “bugger off” approach when their demands are not met although there are still many staunch Indian supporters of the PR. Many Chinese have taken a strident anti-Islam stance while some have become members of Islam Hadhari. Has PAS chewed off more than it can swallow?

Will the non-Malay struggle for their rights take on an independent air and refuse cooperation and coordination with PAS and maybe even be in opposition to it?

The same trends are being seen in East Malaysia. Many complain that the Sabahans have not yet woken up, but will they rue the day when the Sabahans do wake up?

The other “fixed deposit” state of Sarawak has advanced much farther along in trying to shake off BN domination to the extent that participation of West Malaysian based political parties in Sarawak opposition politics is now seen as part and parcel of West Malaysian domination.

The question is – can the struggle for rights be controlled once it is ignited? Should it be controlled?

Obviously there are limits. Most people would put the limits at violence or independence movements arising out of the minorities’ struggles for their rights. Many insist that the minorities’ struggles for their rights should come under an umbrella of opposition groupings to unseat BN domination and BN abuse of power. Still others think that the various minorities should police themselves and be responsible for the discipline and statements that issue from members of their communities.

What is MCLM’s stand on this since it specializes on civil liberties and minority rights come under the arena of civil liberties? Do minorities have the right to choose an independent path for themselves whether as opposition entities or on the national question of minority autonomy?

More than this, what is PAS’s stand on this? What is the DAP’s stand on this? Can PKR explain its stand on this issue too? Does PAS’s pledge that it will defend non-Malays against another MAY 13 still stand? Does it still stand when some non-Malays take anti-Islam positions?

So many questions – not enough answers. Maybe the BN can provide some answers. What is the BN’s stand on the struggle of minorities for their rights?

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