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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The outsourcing of outrage


It is Friday morning. The unemployed youth gets up and stretches his arms. His mind wanders, and he summons his mates in the neighbourhood.
“What should we protest today?” he asks his friends. One friend browses the newspaper and comes up with something.
“Who is preparing my speech?” the youth thunders. His friend meekly puts up his hand. “Make sure the contents are provocative enough to draw attention.”
The guy preparing the posters and placards asks: “Boss, in how many languages you want them?” The youth digs into his pocket and takes out a few crisp RM100 notes and quips: “Leave it you, lah…”
The discussion moves onto the attendance. “So-and-so cannot be relied on to get the numbers. We’ll need reinforcements from the neighbouring taman… RM50 a head should be enough.”
Someone poses: “What should we call ourselves this time?”
“Leave it to the boss,” another in the group says. “He studied up to Form Three. He is the brainiest of us lot.”
At 1.30pm, the crowd descends on a government department, carrying placards and shouting slogans. The 'boss', clad in Arabesque robes, gives a fiery speech and the cameras start rolling.
Today he is the leader of the ‘Protect Our Race’ protest, after heading the ‘Save Our Religion’ protest the previous week.
Look closely enough at footage of the protests, and no doubt you’ll see the same faces week in, week out, shouting slogans and making speeches.
Dear readers, welcome to the new world of ‘instant’ NGOs and the rent-a-mob whose presence has been causing uneasiness among the public. They are willing to do anything and everything for a price because no one questions their legitimacy.
Are these NGOs registered under the Registrar of Societies? Can they show documents to prove this? If not, why is the media giving them recognition and respect by referring to them as such, instead of a loose group of rowdies?
Bank accounts have been frozen, but...
The latest that these rabble-rousers have latched onto are speeches made by opposition MPs in Parliament. Although bank accounts have been frozen, there seems to be plenty of money left over for posters, banners, food, and ‘attendance allowances’.
The latest subject is what they say is the “erosion of Malay rights.” Since May 9, what rights or privileges have been taken away, eroded or curtailed? The only issue that comes to mind is the removal of some high-flying people from their highly-paid posts.
That is definitely not eating away anyone rights, but undertaking a cleansing exercise so that there will be more money to look after the rights this very mob claims to defend. If hands have been in the cookie jar over the years, there is every reason for everyone – irrespective of race, religion or creed – to worry.
Last Saturday, about 2,000 people representing “330 NGOs” from around the country gathered for the Himpunan Kebangkitan Ummah (Rise of the Ummah) rally at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kuala Lumpur.
“The assembly was organised as a protest against any quarter questioning the position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V; and to reject the proposed recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC),” reported the New Straits Times.
But who has questioned the position of His Majesty? If anyone has done so, shouldn’t the long arm of the law be reaching out to them? Why such intuition, allusion, extrapolation and reference when no one has uttered a word against the monarchy? Only an insane or illiterate person would venture that far.
Is this for real, or were the leaders picking out non-existent issues to mislead the people? One of the posters read: “Jangan ancam Melayu-Islam” (Don’t challenge Malay-Muslims). Who has challenged them? Everyone of sound mine accepts the fact that Malay is the official language and Islam is the official religion.
Now, to the UEC. I don’t see any reason for its recognition to lower the esteem of Bahasa Malaysia. It should be viewed just as another qualification which is recognised by the government.
Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki (photo) said by recognising the UEC, Malaysia would lose its identity in building a united country, and that no other nation has the system that Malaysia does. “We do not agree for other recognition of certificates other than what we have now as we cannot have two or three systems,” Asyraf was quoted as saying.
Really? How come Malaysia recognises O- and A-level qualifications from the United Kingdom? And aren’t Malaysians aware that some of these so-called defenders of the race, language and religion that there is exactly where they send their children for their pre-tertiary education?
Has this divided the nation? Why then allow local private colleges to conduct courses for these examinations (and allow the chairpersons and board members of these schools to be amply rewarded)?
Enough is enough. The elections were held. There were winners and losers – part of the democratic system. While the vanquished can have their say in forums like the Dewan Rakyat, they should not undermine the victor and the public by instigating people to take up cudgels for political pragmatism and convenience.
After the 13th general election, Utusan Malaysia reported then-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak’s speech and carried the infamous front page heading: “Apa lagi Cina mahu?” (What more do the Chinese want?). It was subsequently used to even quell dissent within the BN ranks.
Shouldn’t right-thinking Malaysians be asking now what this mob wants?

R NADESWARAN says that the rent-a-mob are barking up the wrong tree. Comments: citizen.nades22@gmail.com - Mkini

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