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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hansard causes further 'hang Ambiga' furore

A copy of the Parliament Hansard detailing Sri Gading MP Mohamad Aziz's ‘hang Ambiga' faux pas circulated online by a DAP leader has generated fresh criticisms against the controversial Umno politician.

snapshot from a page of the Hansard, originally posted by Rasah MP Anthony Loke and later shared 400 times, has generated a furore of discussion among netizens.


The netizens were outraged by Mohamad Aziz's exhortations not to let "pendatang asing" (foreign migrants) and "awang hitam" (colloquial expression used to refer to Africans and dark-skinned migrants) run riot in our country.

NONEThis remark was made immediately after the Umno MP insinuated that Bersih co-coordinator Ambiga Sreenevasan should be hanged for her role in organising a mass rally in Kuala Lumpur two months ago.

Loke's photo was also picked up by DAP Penang which reposted it on its Facebook page, throwing in a question: "And why waspendatang asing, 'awang hitam' mentioned?"

In response, many DAP-linked netizens openly accused Mohamad of labelling Ambiga a 'pendatang asing' and 'awang hitam'.

A netizen clarifies

Some netizens however questioned if the excerpt really represented Mohamad Aziz's speech and questioned if he was actually referring Ambiga as "pendatang asing" and "awang hitam".

"Can't explain what he means, because (that's) just a part of the conversation," said one commentator.

NONEOne of the more level-headed of the commentators took pains to access the full Hansard and read through the MP's speech before coming to the conclusion that:

"The excerpt does not show how Sri Gading's speech started, which was focused on immigration (gejala pendatang asing) and how foreigners are settling down here and stealing our 'hak keistimewaan'.

"He then moved on to talking about diplomats attending Bersih (which he referred to as rusuhan). He then asked if these diplomats helped finance Bersih. He's accusing Ambiga of helping foreigners (to) meddle in our affairs and causing unrest in our country.

"Looking at the context of his entire speech (not this excerpt), he is critical of foreigners coming here and causing trouble, and foreign powers (that in his mind) are influencing local affairs by paying for street demos. He is not calling Ambiga a pendatang."

Tian Chua told to leave the country

Downloading the full Hansard of that fateful day's proceedings from the Parliament website, Malaysiakini verified that the BN MP's speech was indeed centering around foreign immigrants, which he claimed were causing a rise in crime.

In particular, Mohamad Aziz blamed the Bangladeshi migrants. He also singled out Singaporean diplomats and an Australian politician for allegedly interfering in our country's affairs during the Bersih 3.0 electoral reform rally on April 28.

His controversial remark in asking whether Ambiga should be hanged was part of his argument but the bulk of it was about the migrants, and his comment on ‘pendatang asing' and ‘awang hitam' was phrased in that context.

Without the benefit of the full Hansard, most netizens however jumped to the conclusion that Mohamad Aziz had accused Ambiga of being a foreigner and a dark-skinned person.

NONEWhatever the case, brickbats continue to fly at Mohamad Aziz as netizens blackball him for his remarks which they claim disparaged Malaysians of Indian descent, if not his apparent bigotry towards migrants.

But Mohamad Aziz was not alone in espousing his bigotry on that day.

During the heated parliamentary debate, at least two other Umno representatives - Lipis MP Mohamad Shahrum Osman and Silam MP Salleh Kalbi - urged Batu MP Tian Chua to leave the country should he believe that the country is no longer safe for Malaysian citizens.

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