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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Beating drums of war for a lost cause

A failed politician, Mohd Ali Rustam, is beating the drums of war to warn the non-Malays they face dire consequences if they insult the Malays and their leaders.
He even has a band of ardent fighters ready to do battle once the clarion call to action is sounded. His ‘army’, the National Silat Federation, will presumably be the vanguard in the battle to uphold Malay dignity and power.
But Ali Rustam is playing with fire with his madcap scheme. In a country where all the races have put down their roots firmly in the soil, any attempt to upset the delicate balance is an invitation to civil strife. The horrors of a civil war (if that is what the misguided silat warriors want) are too chilling to contemplate.
Yet, the shadow of a civil war lurks ever so menacingly over the daily lives of the people. Every incident - trivial or serious - rapidly mutates into something ugly with heavy racial undertones. Unfailingly, politicians from the dominant race will show up to lend support to any cry for vengeance. Even the police force is quick to go into combat mode to crush the perceived ‘enemy’ whenever people rally for a just cause.
Who are the enemies? The enemies are all those who poured in their thousands onto the city streets to show their utter displeasure with the government of the day. The foes are all those who fought hard to expose the wrongdoings of a prime minister. The adversaries are all those who do not belong to the dominant culture and religion.
It has become a disturbing habit among Malay politicians to bay for blood whenever other races become highly critical of unfair and unjust government policies. Or when the holder of the highest political office on land is scorned for his wayward ways. Then the issue becomes a contest to preserve the dignity of the Malay leaders and their rulers.
Every so often blood-curdling screams rent the air as warriors take to the stage to denounce their fellow citizens for their audacity to voice their rights to a fair share of the economic cake or a bigger slice of the political pie. Inevitably, the spectre of May 13 is resurrected to scare the wits out of them.
It is time such crude display of vitriol and anger be laid to rest permanently and the ‘master race’ realised that all the citizens in this broad land cannot forever be pushed to the wall. This is their birthplace and this is where they will make their last stand. They will not run to the lands of their ancestors in distant climes in times of mortal danger.
Red demons of bigotry
But trouble is brewing. A mist of fear is settling all over the land because the most powerful man in the country has lost his moral compass and is leading the nation down the path to certain ruin if left unchecked.
Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, though democratically elected, has made a mess of his democratic credentials.
Yet, Najib wants to stay in power and this is what is fuelling public anger. This was what drove the engine of protest on the city streets when the common masses vented their wrath. The sole purpose of the massive outpouring of resentment is to tell Najib that he cannot stay in office when the odour of corruption and scandals becomes overpowering.
No one is insulting the Malays or the rulers. But devious Najib had stooped low by subtly fanning racial sentiments and encouraging the red demons of bigotry to unleash their fury. All his lieutenants are following in his footsteps. All are conjuring up dark images of violence to scare the non-Malays.
Now, there is talk of war. Ali Rustam and his warriors, schooled in the ancient art of self-defence, want to take to the battlefield to defend Malay dignity and self-respect. Their cause is a lost cause because they are merely protecting Najib.
Thoughtless Ali Rustam and his equally mindless crusaders would be better employed combating corruption than spilling blood in a war in which there can be no winners.

PHLIP RODRIGUES is a member of the Malaysiakini team.

1 comment:

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