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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hisham justifies Umno's racial politicking by blaming 'weak' MCA

Hisham justifies Umno's racial politicking by blaming 'weak' MCA

'Reassurances' given by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to the US embassy for UMNO's heated racial rhetoric during its 2006 general assembly provides a telling glimpse into the mindset of the ruling elite that has controlled the BN coalition for the past 54 years.

Hisham justified the posturing by his Youth wing as necessary in order for Malays to vent their frustration at the other races because they felt they were lagging behind. According to him, the country’s "racial splits are now more pronounced" and the Malays still did not feel on par with other ethic groups.

Hisham then blamed the negative response on BN partner, the MCA, for being unable to 'manage' the reaction of the Chinese.

"This is typical of UMNO. At the end of the day, what he is actually saying is that UMNO can say whatever it wants and the others have to swallow it. But don't you think that if the Chinese did the same, they would be locked up under the Sedition Act?" PKR MP for Gopeng Lee Boon Chye told Malaysia Chronicle.

"Also, when Hisham says the Malay youth feel insecure, he should qualify it as meaning the UMNO Youth. When we go to the ground and even amongst PAS Youth, the response we get is they are fed of UMNO's racial politicking. Not of the Chinese or the Indians."

Dangerous and harmful

Adding credence to Lee's criticism was Hisham's argument that the same applied to the US embassy. The UMNO leader said that other parties in BN needed to 'understand' the emotional background behind Malay frustration and look beyond the heated words. On this basis, he assured the US officials that the BN would never allow the rhetoric to get out of hand.

“’This will never get out of hand, the government will not allow it,’ Hishammuddin assured the ambassador, but the US would need to adopt a long-term view similar to that of Umno’s national coalition partners,” US ambassador Christopher Lafleur wrote in 2007, according to a diplomatic note leaked on WikiLeaks.

During the 2006 UMNO assembly, Hisham was then Education minister and the MP for Sembrong. He and the deputy UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin offended the non-Malays when they raised the keris (or Malay short sword) and proclaimed Malay supremacy.

The act suggested that they were willing to shed non-Malay blood for the sake of their unsubstantiated claims of being defenders of the Malay race.

“Naturally, there would be a reaction to such venting. In the case of the Umno general assembly, it was a shame, Hishammuddin added, that the MCA had not been strong enough to manage the reaction,” said the leaked US note.

“The Malay relationship with the US featured ‘the same dynamic,’ and from time to time the US would be the object of emotional public criticism."

However, Pakatan leaders pointed out that Hisham's admission only underscored UMNO's immature and irresponsible attitude. They accused him and the UMNO elite of being willing to risk the nation's stability by continuously fanning racial fires to cling to power.

"Is there any guarantee that things won't get out of control. Hatred is a very powerful emotion. And furthermore, we can already see the damage on the psyche of the nation. The Malays feel separated from the Chinese, Indians and other races due to the unnatural peer pressure exerted by UMNO to hate and distrust the non-Malays," said Lee.

Musical chairs

Hisham is the cousin of Prime Minister Najib Razak and while they are close allies, Najib has fallen out of favour with the other power-brokers in the party.

On the other hand, Hisham, despite his weak record, is on the rise and many expect him to take over as Deputy Prime Minister in a succession musical-chairs played out and determined by party warlors including ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir has been accused of positioning his own son Mukhriz for the country's top job after current DPM Muhyiddin Yassin and Hisham take their turn.

- Malaysia Chronicle

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