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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More than mob rule, Umno Youth: Najib must show leadership, be responsible

More than mob rule, Umno Youth: Najib must show leadership, be responsible

Amid growing calls for Prime Minister Najib Razak to take responsibility, and as UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin conveniently holidays in the Middle East, members of Malaysia's ruling party have rushed to defend a daring move to surround and threaten to set ablaze the PKR headquarters in Tropicana on Monday night.

The wild behavior of the UMNO Youth wing continued on Tuesday with leaders blustering their way through by insistaing that it was PKR leaders who were behind the death threat sent to their chief over the weekend. However, the UMNO Youth or Pemuda as they call themselves, offered no proof.

And neither has the police begun any action despite the unmistakable violence in the Pemuda's intentions.

“We know PKR leaders are behind the death threat to our Youth chief. That’s why we want to send the message, ‘Don’t ever play with us’,” FT Youth chief Rizalman Mokhtar was quoted as saying.

Pemuda, just a bit player, it is Najib

But play or not play with the UMNO boys, the issue really lies beyond the wing. As PKR leaders have pointed, the lack of police action shows that no Malaysian is safe in his or her home if the assailant is from UMNO or sister-group Perkasa.

UMNO spinners may tell stories of how restless youths in Pemuda have been chaffing to give Pakatan a dose of violence but were held back by their Oxford-educated chief Khairy or KJ as he likes to call himself. But really, Malaysians hardly care about what becomes of Pemuda and KJ, although this may be one reason why they are rushing to grab some limelight while they can.

What worries Malaysians - young and old, rich and poor - is how Prime Minister Najib Razak is running the country to the ground by stoking such political, racial and religious tensions, all in a bid to cling to power.

In the runup to the July 9 rally, more such provocations are expected as Najib desperately seeks a way out and save face after painting himself in a corner with his short-sighted strategies.

"There is now a concerted move to scare the Bersih organisers. But Tunisia and Egypt occurred and will also take place here but without the bloodshed we hope. We put the responsibility directly to Prime Minister Najib Razak," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

"His think-tank is advising a crackdown like Ops Lalang 2 but the will of the people cannot be stopped. It is not driven by Bersih or Pakatan. The people themselves want change, especially the poor people who want to get a share of the country's prosperity before it is all drained by Najib and the UMNO elite. Watch and see what happens on July 9, but we warn Najib once again, he is respnsible for whatever happens."

A defining moment for the Najib administration

The Bersih rally aims to gather citizens, who plan to march to the Palace and submit a memorandum to the King demanding eight key electoral reforms to pave way for free and fair elections. Yet despite the noble aim of the rally, Najib was foolish enough to immediately reject it. This set up the backs of the people who are now more determined than before to show they are serious about reforms.

The ruckus has also caught the attention of the international community who is watching to see whether Najib has the cailbre to defuse the situation or if he will resort to strong-arm tactics that will surely further damage the country's image for investors. National debt is rocketing and the last thing Malaysia needs is to see his paper reduced to junk bond status because of Najib's mishandling of the people.

Meanwhile, civil society leaders urged the police to take speedy action and not discriminate against any culprit.

At around 10.30pm on Monday, some 300 UMNO motor-cyclists wearing red t-shirts with the words 'Patriot' emblazoned across their chests circled the PKR office and yelled taunts and insults. They also threatened to harm Anwar and Bersih chairwoman Ambiga if the rally was not cancelled.

"The police must show that they are impartial in the way they protect the people. If they have been slow in taking action, then they must explain why. It is not good if the government is seen as condoning violence," Ramon Navaratnam, past president of Transparency International Malaysia, told Malaysia Chronicle.

"UMNO Youth's 'Patriots' demo not for free and fair elections, but to burn down political party building. Super!' ridiculed DAP MP for Petaling Jaya Utara, Tony Pua, on his Twitter.

- Malaysia Chronicle

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