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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ibrahim Ali and the Deathly Angpows


Pak Bui
Ibrahim Ali, MP for Pasir Mas in Kelantan, and president of the small Malay supremacy movement Perkasa, cuts an unfamiliar figure for most Sarawakians.
This is not a bad thing, since this ‘umno-friendly’ independent MP is among the lowest political life forms in the Malayan jungle.
He represents umno’s political orifice, through which a steady stream of racist rhetoric pours out. His prime motivation is to keep umno in power.
Amidst this effluent, you may recall a pattern of typically silly, far-fetched publicity stunts.
There was the pledge to wage ‘jihad’ on Christians, as part of a preposterous fantasy of a DAP-Christian plot to take over the country.
‘Comical Ali’ also issued a warning to Chinese people to stay at home and stockpile food during the Bersih 2.0 rally, a reminder of the ghosts of the May 13 killings.
His threat failed miserably: Bersih 2.0 demonstrators were defiantly multi-racial and peaceful.
Perkasa is a subcontractor for Umno. This self-proclaimed ‘NGO’ is responsible for making incendiary statements, urging Malays to hate and fear other ethnic groups.
Umno hopes that, by devolving some of its most pungent racial rhetoric to Perkasa, Najib would appear able to mouth platitudes to non-Malays like ’1Malaysia’ and ‘I help you, you help me’, even though all the while umno is feverishly ramping up insecurity among Malays.
This preaching of different messages to different constituencies is umno’s only strategy in its desperate efforts to avoid being voted out of power in the 13th general election.
Perkasa virtually invisible in Sarawak
Ibrahim Ali is the clown in Najib Razak’s court, dancing and singing fascist tunes.
It is hard to take Ibrahim Ali seriously, when U-turns and inconsistency have been his trademark throughout his chequered years in Umno, Semangat 46, PAS and now Perkasa.
Perkasa branches have been established in Sarawak, but this brand of shrill racism has, happily, been largely ignored. Most Sarawakians treasure our decent race relations.
The dogma of Malay racial supremacy, a typically Malayan form of politicking peddled by Umno and Perkasa, has never caught on in Sarawak.
Perkasa’s publicity stunt
As a rule, I ignore anything Ibrahim Ali says or does, even when he invites ridicule – as he did when he reneged on his promises to hold ‘counter-demonstrations’ against Bersih 2.0 and the 901 rally at Anwar Ibrahim’s verdict.
But Perkasa’s latest publicity stunt, holding an ‘open house’ for Chinese New Year, seems to have been engineered to create even more racial mistrust, and to spit in the face of our traditional
open house hospitality.
Malaysians of all races cannot accept that Perkasa could suddenly have a change of heart in relations with other races, when they have been spewing racist poison since they were launched by former premier and lifelong bigot Dr Mahathir Mohamad in March 2010.
This explains the anger over Ibrahim
Ali giving out cash in white envelopes at Perkasa’s so-called open house – only practised during funerals.
Some have said the insult was intentional, meant to degrade the Chinese at the open house. Other Chinese people point out that all races – Chinese, Malay and lain-lain – share a common trait of poor understanding of others’ culture. Indeed, all of us rarely make the effort to find out about others’ cultures.
Our children stand to be the real losers
This sorry episode highlights the seething racism that permeates Malaysian society, beneath the pretence of Asian courtesy and emphasis on ‘face’.
This open house fiasco was an argument over nothing. It played into the hands of the racists in Perkasa.
The real losers in this sordid squabble were not the lower-income Chinese happy to receive ten ringgit, nor the corpulent Ibrahim Ali, or the flabby First Couple.
We Malaysians and our future generations stand to be the real losers. The thieves running Malaysia are hoping that racial animosity will drive us to seek false security, by voting for racist parties like Umno, MCA and PBB in the upcoming general election.
If we continue to vote along racial lines, Umno will remain in power and continue draining our public funds, while throwing a few coins in the direction of hired mouthpieces like Ibrahim Ali.
Racism is a curse on our country. In addition to ‘imagined communities’, many Malaysians cling to an imagined racial superiority.
Some of us consider ‘race’ – a cultural construct – such an important issue that we would risk our children’s future on our witless quarrels.
Only by rejecting racial politics can we rid Malaysia – and Sarawak – of racist parasites.
Perhaps we can take hope in the observation that many Malaysians have changed. Most of us no longer fall for racial taunts like those issuing from Ibrahim Ali before Bersih 2.0 and at the ‘open house’.
The co-operation and racial
solidarity we witnessed in Bersih has changed many Malaysians forever. We need to spread this change to everyone else.

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