An enlightening article by By Dr. Azmi Sharom.
“Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.”
“The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?”
Malaysia Today –
In 1835 Malays made up nearly 90% of Malaya’s population. In 1947 this number was closer to 50%. Therefore during a time when Malayan political consciousness was awakening (the 1946 British introduction of the Malayan Union which effectively placed the entire peninsular under direct British rule galvanised what can be described as the Malayan left and the forefathers of the current ruling elite), it could hardly be described as homogenous.
The 1957 Federal Constitution of Malaya reflected this change in the personality of the country. It was and is a strange creature that combines liberal democratic ideals and what can only be described as racially based preferential treatment. It also has elements of religiosity (the establishment of the scripture based Islamic law as the personal law for Muslims for example) which appear to contradict Article 4 of the constitution which reads:
“This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void”
Race and religion litter the document in a way that scream “different treatment for different people”; a situation, which a mere 12 years after the excesses of Nazi Germany and nine years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (a United Nations document which Malaysia as a prospective new member would have to respect) would seem out of place with the growing zeitgeist of the time. However, considering the socio political situation at the time, with an indigenous population feeling overwhelmed both in numbers and in economic disparity, the nature of the constitution can be accepted as an understandable compromise.
Yet, if one were to examine the Constitution as a whole and if one were to also study the history behind this seeming paradox, then what can be discovered is that at the heart of this “supreme law” of the country, and arguably at the heart of the founding fathers of the nation, lay a desire to create a pluralistic and equal society.
The question that lies before us is where did it all go wrong, and is there any possibility of repairing the damage done?
This paper will examine the issue on two main grounds that the author believes lie at the crux of the problem facing plurality in Malaysia, race and religion.
Article 3 of the constitution reads:
“Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation”
Does this phrase mean that Malaya was to be an Islamic state? The answer is clearly in the negative for two main reasons. Firstly one has to look to the Reid Commission Report and it states that the Alliance (this were the three political parties that made up the Malayan government at the time, the United Malay National Organisation, the Malayan Indian Congress and the Malayan Chinese Association, UMNO, MIC and MCA respectively) upon examining the draft constitution had this to say:
“The observance of this principle…shall not imply that the State is not a secular state” [Report of the Federation of Malaya Constitutional Commission page 73].
It is very clear therefore that Malaya was not to be an Islamic state. This is not an assertion made by the Reid Commission, it is an assertion made by the very people who were to become the government of the newly independent nation. This statement combined with Article 4 which places all laws in the country under the overarching principles of the Constitution means that to claim Malaya was meant to be theocratic in any way is disingenuous.
The contention that Malaya is a secular country is further strengthened by the decision of the Supreme Court (the highest court in the land – now known as the Federal Court) in the case of Che Omar Che Soh  where it was held that secular law governed the nation and Islamic law was confined only to the personal law of Muslims. Article 3 was taken to mean that as far as official ceremonial matters are concerned Islamic form and rituals are to be used.
With regard to religious freedom Article 11 is explicit: “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and subject to clause 4 to propagate it”. Clause 4 allows the state governments (and the federal government in the case of the federal territories) to control the propagation of religion to Muslims. This is not limited to non Muslim propagation to Muslims; it includes Muslim to Muslim propagation as well.
Harding suggests that “…the restriction of proselytism has more to do with the preservation of public order than with religious priority” [Law, Government and the Constitution in Malaysia page 201]. He argues that even states like Penang which does not have Islam as its official religion has laws regarding propagating religion to Muslims therefore there can’t be an assumption that Islam is deemed superior in some way. If we were to work on this premise, then it would appear that this limitation, as restrictive as it is, does not actually stop individuals of any faith from choosing their religion.
This can be seen in the Supreme Court decision of Minister of Home Affairs v Jamaluddin Othman . In this case a Muslim convert was detained under the Internal Security Act. It was held that such a detention has to be made for the purpose of national security. The conversion of this individual does not breach national security and furthermore his detention was in breach of his freedom to choose his religion as enshrined in Article 11. Thus, although the propagation of religion to Muslims is restricted, their freedom to choose their religion would appear to be not.
DEMI kepentingan nasional, mungkin; namun untuk memenuhi keperluan Barisan Nasional (BN), mustahil. Demikian tegas dan jelasnya pendirian Majlis Pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat berhubung isu kerjasama dengan BN
Seharusnya ketegasan ini dapat menyimpulkan betapa kukuhnya tautan semangat, azam dan wawasan di kalangan saf kepemimpinan Pakatan Rakyat. Walau cuba disergap dengan silap mata media bahwa ada kecenderungan di kalangan komponen Pakatan Rakyat untuk bekerjasama hatta menubuhkan Kerajaan Perpaduan, mereka tidak mudah keliru atau hilangan kawalan.
Memang benar Presiden Pas, Hadi Awang ada mengisytiharkan kesediaan partinya untuk bersemuka dengan mana-mana pihak, termasuk Umno dan BN. Namun itu adalah langkah untuk mencari perpaduan dan kesepakatan dalam hal kepentingan rakyat. Maka apa yang dimaksudkan oleh Hadi sengaja dimanipulasi untuk mengatakan beliau mahu dan bersedia berunding menubuhkan Kerajaan Perpaduan. Jauh panggang dari api!
Memang begitu lazim politik. Sepotong ayat boleh ditafsir beberapa lapis makna dan maksud. Bagaimanapun kali ini, kebeningan perjuangan dan matlamat politik Pakatan Rakyat amat menyerlah. Sidang media bersama di antara Anwar Ibrahim, Hadi Awang dan Lim Kit Siang di bangunan Parlimen 22 Jun lalu benar-benar menjadi obor yang benderang bagi semua.
BN seharusnya dapat dipimpin oleh obor perjuangan Pakatan Rakyat yang cukup terang ini. Obor ini dinyalakan oleh keikhlasan dan ketelusan. Kenyataan Hadi diapi-apikan oleh pihak tertentu, terutamanya media arus perdana untuk menggerhanakan hubungan dan juga melakar keretakan dalam Pakatan Rakyat.
Lelucon ini sudah tentunya untuk memenuhi keperluan dan kepentingan BN terutamanya Umno yang hayat politiknya tinggal “nyawa-nyawa ikan”. Betapa tidaknya, tiap kali Umno bersuara politik, rakyat, khususnya orang Melayu sukar mempercayainya. Namun sebagai badan politik Umno masih perlu terus bersuara; tidak kira dalam isu apa jua.
Malangnya, suara Umno sering sumbang dan serba tidak kena.
Inilah sahaja pilihan yang ada dan yang mampu dilakukan Umno. Ia berharap suara ini akan kelihatan sebagai satu realiti dan bukan fantasi. Maka diciptakanlah impian sebuah
Kerajaan Perpaduan. Konsep ini dijaja sebagai bertolak daripada keperluan dan kepentingan nasional. Bagi yang lemah semangat dan lemah daya penakulan politik, impian ini akan segera mendorong mereka untuk menjadikannya realiti.
Oleh itu mereka akan mudah menggerakkan dayausaha untuk menyokong pelaku-pelaku projek Kerajaan Perpaduan supaya menjadikannya satu kenyataan.
Ini sebenarnya matlamat Umno dan Barisan Nasional. Ia ingin menggerakkan naluri massa supaya “memaksa” dan “menekan” setiap aktor dalam rundingan Kerajaan Perpaduan dengan memberikan sokongan kepada mereka. Melalui jalan ini Umno berharap rakyat akan terpandang kembali akan kewujudan Umno dan memberi sokongan kepadanya supaya menjadikan impian Kerajaan Perpaduan satu kejayaan.
Sebagai satu strategi politik, pendekatan Umno-BN ini bertujuan serampang dua mata. Pada satu perspektif ia mahu mengabsahkan kewujudan Umno-BN dan pada dimensi lain, ia diharap dapat mengkucar-kacirkan saf pimpinan Pakatan Rakyat dan meleburkan perpaduan di kalangan penyokongnya.
Umpan Umno-BN ini tidak mengena. Majlis Pimpinan Perpaduan Rakyat adalah lebih berwibawa dan bijaksana daripada apa yang dapat dibaca oleh Umno-BN serta pakar strategi medianya. Meskipun pada pusingan awalnya kelihatan apa yang dirancang Umno-BN ini hampir berjaya, namun kecekapan, kecekalan dan hemah pemimpin-pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat mengatasi semuanya.
Sekaligus ini membuktikan bahawa mungkin pada usianya, majlis ini boleh dianggap terlalu muda namun hakikatnya ia sudah jauh melepasi umur pembentukan atau formatifnya. Majlis ini dengan tenang dan bergaya mengisytiharkan kepada kawan dan lawan bahawa ia adalah satu entiti yang sarat dengan integriti dan berhemah tinggi. Pakatan Rakyat makin popular di mata rakyat. Kenyataan ini amat sukar dan tidak dapat dihadami oleh naluri BN. Deklarasi 22 Jun yang dibuat di bangunan Parlimen adalah amat simbolik.
Inilah pakatan kental yang layak menguasai dan mewarisi demokrasi Malaysia pada waktu yang terdekat ini.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDERBy Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 – Datuk Seri Najib Razak appeared to play the religious and race card today when he appealed to PAS to reconsider the proposal for a unity government with Umno.
The Umno president also dismissed the notion that a unity government would fly in the face of his 1 Malaysia concept, even though a number of non-Muslim groups, including political parties in his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, have expressed concern.
But he appealed to PAS to act in the name of Malay and Muslim unity.
“PAS should not let politics prevent it from doing something which is beneficial for Malay/Muslim unity,” he told reporters at a public function today when asked to comment on how many Malay groups had been disappointed with PAS for rejecting a unity government with Umno.
On Monday, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders rejected Umno’s unity government proposal, and proclaimed all issues surrounding the fiasco which brought the fledgling opposition coalition on the brink of collapse resolved.
Instead, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the de facto PKR leader, said the alliance of PAS, PKR and DAP would focus on their preparation for the next general election and a potential takeover of the federal government.
PAS continues to be in turmoil over the unity government proposal which not only affected ties with its political partners but has caused friction in the party as well.
Sensing the weakness in the opposition alliance, Umno has moved in an attempt to cause further division in PAS and in PR by pressing ahead with the concept of Malay and Muslim unity.
Today, Najib said that any move to strengthen Islam should be encouraged, in what was an obvious move to appeal to the concept of Islamic brotherhood within PAS.
The prime minister believed, however, that the country’s multi-racial nature would not be affected by a more united Malay-Muslim community.
“Just because there is a unity government does not mean the non-Muslims will be neglected. They will still have a role.”
Khoo Kay Peng
Mukhriz Mahathir: “The objective of the 1Malaysia concept mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not achievable if there is no unity among the Malays.”
Like other UMNO ministers, the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister is equally attracted to the idea of Malay unity as the mother of all solutions to our woes and weaknesses. Interestingly, this idea of Malay unity was mooted and enthusiastically supported by a party in distress.
The UMNO-led BN coalition has seen its multiracial support dwindled to a historical low level. The massive lost of support and five consecutive defeats in by-elections would have jolted any political party to reconsider and revamp its political rhetoric and platform.
For UMNO to continue harping on Malay unity has surprised many observers, including myself. The electoral impact of such unity call is almost similar to PAS’ Islamic state ambition. It will drive away many non-Malay supporters. The outcome would be an untenable BN.
The next surprising moment is the reactions from BN component parties. MCA’s Chua Soi Lek has given contradictory opinions on this issue. He supported a unity talk between PAS and UMNO but insisted that this should not be done to marginalize the non-Malays. Chua, despite his experience and seniority, has failed to learn the lesson of Malaysian politics.
Can Chua assure us that the unity talk will not lead to a more race-centric and myopic government?
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
KOTA BARU, June 21 —PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat said today any talk on unity government should be pursued through a proper channel and the talk should revolve on Islamic issues and not the Malay.
“It cannot ignore decisions made at PAS meetings and it should not be decided at one’s whim and fancy.
“If one wants to pursue the unity story, let them table it to the PAS Central Committee first, have it deliberated at the state level and then bring it up to the opposition alliance. Now the opposition alliance is angry with us,” he told a news conference at the mentri besar’s official residence here today.
Denying that he is a headstrong person, Nik Abdul Aziz, who is also Kelantan mentri besar, said instead he was ‘istiqamah’ (steadfast) in pursuing the truth.
He said he had opposed the unity talk proposed by PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as he stuck by the decision made at the party’s muktamar in Ipoh last year when it had agreed to go along with the opposition alliance.
“Some people had labelled me as a stubborn person because I do not accept the unity government. Let me tell you that I am not stubborn but I am being istiqamah.
“Stubborn means being adamant in defending what is wrong. When we know something is wrong but we will not back down, that is stubborn. But when we know what is true, what is right, that is istiqamah.
“So if there are certain quarters in PAS, who want unity with the opposition pact and at the same time they want unity with Umno, then it spells trouble. Do not do that,” said Nik Abdul Aziz.
He said he had yet to meet PAS Deputy President Nasharudin Mat Isa and the later had also not contacted him to resolve their disputes over the unity talk.
Nik Abdul Aziz, who had urged Nasharudin to resign as PAS president and Member of Parliament for Bachok and join Umno if he persists the unity government agenda, said he would attend a meeting with Abdul Hadi and Nasharudin along with other PAS leaders tomorrow to trash out their differences.
On Umno Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement that Umno and PAS should start their relations anew, Nik Abdul Aziz said Umno should apologise to PAS first. – Bernama
The Umno want to regain its 2/3rd majority and is not really interested in Malay unity, said observers who commented on the recent development in the tug of war between pro and anti-Umno talks in the Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).
While it is clear Malay unity will not pass without Anwar Ibrahim being recognized as a Malay political leader with large Malay support, the PAS is now having a cold shoulder too about helping the Umno survive.
The Umno is facing a tough political battle, being the largest Malay party in the country with the most Parliamentary votes but missing the famous 2/3rd majority that could help it rule with iron fist. It approached the PAS to hand it over the 23 odd seats that the Islamic party holds in the August Parliament and which is sufficient for it to regain its lost 2/3rd majority. But alas, things are not going the right way for the Umno at this very moment.
On Saturday, things became blurry for the Umno in its urgency to get the PAS to abandon the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) alliance. The Secretary General of the PAS Mustafa Ali, said to be in favor of the Umno-PAS deal, said that at this moment, the party is not interested to discuss the unity talks with the Umno.
“I have to state that the PAS is not interested in any talks or in any deals with the Umno at this moment in time. This include the unity talks or future collaboration as a unity government,” he said in a short email to Harakahdaily.net this Saturday morning.
Harakahdaily said the response of the PAS Secretary General was in response to the Deputy Prime Minister’s statement that the PAS must start talks with the Umno immediately on the formation of a Unity Government in Malaysia.
FROM CEYLON NADU WEBSITE
- Extrajudicial Killings
- State Responsibility for Enforced Disappearances
- Arbitrary arrests and Detention
- Forcible Returns of IDPs
- Threats to Journalists and Media Restrictions
- Recruitment of Child Soldiers
- Safety of Humanitarian Workers
- Culture of Impunity
“Police and military investigations into the killing of Tamils [and] ddeaths in custody have too often been poorly handled and remarkably few convictions have resulted. . . . from November 2004 to October 2005 the police [fatally] shot at least 22 criminal suspects after taking them into custody. . . . in one of these cases had an internal police inquiry been opened.”
“[D]uring 2006, witnesses in Mutur identified to the Magistrate most of the perpetrators of more than 20 incidents of murder and abduction. The Police in Mutur arrested no one.”
“[T] the army – assisted by pro-government Tamil paramilitaries – is also engaged in a deliberate policy of extrajudicial killings and abductions of Tamils considered part of LTTE’s civilian support network. Targeted assassinations have been particularly frequent in Jaffna and parts of the east, often victimising civilians with no connection to the LTTE.”
TO READ MORE PLEASE GO TO :
“Before going to Australia I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, Holland and all major cities of India, but I got the worst work place experience from Australia”
The recent wave of assaults on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney has been denounced as racism by Australia’s Indian community.
The attacks have caused outrage in India, and prompted Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to reassure the Indian government that Australia is not a racist country.
Here, Australian residents from South Asian backgrounds share their experiences of living in a multi-ethnic society and give their verdict on whether Australia is a racist country.
ATTACKS ‘WERE RACIST’
Gagandeep Kaur, a university lecturer living in Sydney, thinks the police are turning a blind eye to the problem.
Indian students are going through a rough time at the moment. I witnessed the Harris Park episode [the scene of one attack]. The student was ready to give a statement, but the police didn’t record it as he had failed to get the registration number of the attackers’ car.
Police are patrolling Harris Park and helicopters are also being used. Many people comment that it is waste of taxpayers’ money. But they do not understand that these students pay hefty fees and taxes, more so than the whingeing locals.Victorian police says that the Indians attract attackers by flaunting their iPods and laptops. But every second person has iPods and laptops, so why do these attacks happen only to Indian people?
Education is the third largest export of Australia. If the government cannot ensure the safety of the students who pay the fees, then they should give up the education trade.
Paul Prasad, a manager in the telecoms industry, decided to return to India after feeling he was bullied by his Australian colleagues.
Before going to Australia I lived and worked in Saudi Arabia, Holland and all major cities of India, but I got the worst work place experience from Australia.
My employer and management were very supportive but my colleagues hated me and bullied me. They created an unbearable environment just because I got the highest increment in performance appraisal.
I left Australia when I was earning Aus $110,000 [US$ 80,020] per annum – without having a job in India – and I have no regrets.
I don’t think it’s a race problem. If it was, people from Africa and the Middle East would be affected too. The root cause of all this is the sudden rise of the number of Indian people in all levels of society. Middle-aged Australians are worried about losing their jobs to young and educated immigrants from India.
Australians have to understand that their country is a home to many nationalities and their economy is doing well with the support of immigrants.
The government should be tough on people who spread hatred and violence in the society.
All national channels in India give much attention to the incidents in Australia. I think it’s a good thing. The average Indian likes Australia very much and it is an ambition of middle class families to send their kids to Australia for higher education.
Surya Setiyaputra, a PhD student from Indonesia, points out that it’s not just Indians who suffer racist attitudes.
I am a councillor in one of the student organisations that supported and organised the rally in Sydney last Sunday.
I believe that racism is truly alive in Australia and it’s not just the Indians who suffer from it. People from other countries and backgrounds have also been victims.
In my view, the Australian federal and local governments have contributed to the separation of local and international students and have empowered people with racist views.
For example, international students in Victoria are not entitled to travel concessions, unlike their domestic counterparts, creating divisions among students.
Uttam Niraula, a reporter in Sydney, says he has experienced the discrimination faced by foreign students.
I am certain there is racism in Australia. It’s everywhere – on the bus, on the streets, in the police station. I feel sad that people from different skin colour are not mixing in the community.
There is huge discrimination against international students. Australia has granted visas for hundreds of thousands of international students, but if you see the living conditions of many South Asian students, you’ll be shocked.
I think the Rudd government should take immediate action to improve the environment. The students’ movement is very powerful and unaddressed anger can lead to more violence.
ATTACKS ‘NOT A RACE PROBLEM’
Anoop Chopra, a teacher in Perth, thinks that the real reasons behind the attacks have nothing to do with racism.
Australia is a great place to live. I have seen racism among very few Australians but have never experienced it directly.
Indians are a relatively new migrant community in Australia and the local population is still ignorant of our culture, religion and values.
In spite of that they make a genuine effort to welcome us in their homes and make us feel comfortable in their country.
When an Australian is bashed, we call it a crime. When an Indian is bashed, we call it a racist crime.
The so-called racist attacks on Indian students have been blown out of proportion by the Indian media. The real reasons have nothing to do with racism.Over the last few years Australia has taken a substantial number of students who otherwise would have gone to the UK or the USA. It is a deliberate attempt by some selfish and unscrupulous businessmen to discredit Australia for their own vested interest.
Or could it be that India feels a bit spiteful that Australia is not sending its team for a Davies Cup match to India due to security concerns?
Karthik is a PhD student living in Melbourne. In his view, the Indian students have failed to get integrated into Australian society.
I’ve been living in Melbourne for the past four years. I certainly don’t believe that Australians are racists and that Indians are victims of any kind of racist abuse. This issue is being blown out of proportion.
The crime rate in Melbourne is high. Most of these crimes are petty robberies that happen late at night. Because many Indian students have part-time jobs that finish late in the evening, they often become victims of these petty crimes.
And when it happens, the news spreads very fast among Indian people and they get enraged quickly as they don’t really know the nicer side of Australian community.
Many Indians who have lived here for a while will have a completely different perspective.
FROM MALAYSIA TODAY
According to Karpal, Najib had vowed to bathe the keris or small sword with Chinese blood in a speech in 1987. The Bukit Gelugor MP demanded the PM apologised for the racist remark or be exposed as a hypocrite and the 1Malaysia slogan as meaningless verbose. However, Najib denied the accusation and refused to apologise.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The Barisan Nasional leadership and Cabinet should collectively admit the 1987 errors over Ops Lalang mass arrests and the controversy over dispatching of staff unversed in Mandarin to hold senior posts in Chinese primary schools
Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang
Veteran Chinese educationist Sim Mow Yu has said that Parti Keadilan Rakyat adviser and former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should apologise for what he had done over the 1987 Ops Lalang mass arrests under the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the controversy over dispatching of staff unversed in Mandarin to hold senior posts in Chinese primary schools.
As one of the Ops Lalang ISA detainees served with a formal two-year detention order and incarcerated at Kamunting Detention Centre, Sim is most qualified to speak up on these subjects.
The Ops Lalang detention was my second ISA detention, which lasted 18 months as compared to 17 months in my first ISA detention in 1969-1970.
DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and I were the last two of the Ops Lalang ISA detainees incarcerated in Kamunting Detention Centre to be released in April 1989 – serving the longest Ops Lalang ISA detention after all the other 49 Ops Lalang detainees had been earlier released from Kamunting in various batches.
Anwar has admitted that he was wrong in the dispatch of staff unversed in Mandarin to become principals and senior assistants of Chinese primary schools which resulted in the subsequent Ops Lalang mass arrests.
Anwar had admitted that what he had done in 1987 was wrong and he has now taken a stand on mother-tongue education which is in accord with justice and fair play for mother-tongue education in plural Malaysia as well as the higher national interests of enhancing Malaysia’s international competitiveness.
However, are all the current Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders who had been collectively responsible for the 1987 Ops Lalang mass arrests and controversy over dispatch of staff unversed in Mandarin to senior posts in Chinese primary schools prepared to follow the example of Anwar and admit that what they had done twenty years ago were wrong?
Such Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders would include the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Gerakan chief and Minister for Energy, Water and Communications, Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, the MIC President and Works Minister, Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and the Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz.
Najib was in 1987 the Umno Youth leader and what he did in 1987 was even more infamous than the keris-wielding incidents involving the current Umno Youth leader, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in the context of extremist and communal demands in utter disregard of the rights and sensitivities of all races in a plural nation.
What did Najib do in 1987? A Government White Paper entitled “Towards Preserving National Security” tabled in Parliament on 23rd March 1988 recorded that in an Umno Youth rally led by Najib on 17th October 1987, banners bearing strong words were displayed, including one which said: “SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD”.
Are MCA and Gerakan leaders prepared to ask all Umno and Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders to emulate Anwar’s example and admit that they had acted wrongly in the crisis of 1987?
Is the next Cabinet meeting prepared to end the historic wrongs in 1987 by adopting a formal Cabinet decision to openly and publicly admit that what the various Barisan Nasional component parties led by Umno had done in that year in these two episodes had been wrong?
Are the other Barisan Nasional component parties and leaders prepared to demand that both Najib and Hishammudin admit that they were wrong – the former for the “SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD” slogan at the Umno Youth rally in 1987 and latter for the keris-wielding at Umno Youth general assemblies in circumstances threatening the multi-racial fabric of our nation?
See video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qx6uOQO-ao
By Wong Choon Mei
Since assuming office on April 3, Prime Minister Najib Razak has tried to rally popular support with his ‘unifying’ 1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now slogan, but after nearly three months, none of his countrymen including himself is any wiser as to what it means and how it can take the country forward.
On Monday, at the start of a two-week parliamentary sitting, he was grilled by fellow lawmakers.
The 55-year old PM tried to slither his way around racial issues but met his match in DAP chairman Karpal Singh, who caught him out after an intense session on the much-criticised 1Malaysia concept.
Sadly, Najib’s 1Malaysia has become the butt of jokes around the country, with even his mentor, ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad, saying he had no idea what it meant. And this despite Najib mounting a multi-million ringgit no-costs-spared publicity campaign.
Perhaps it is time for Najib to learn that he cannot gloss over tough issues with cosmetics. Substance prevails over form, especially in an increasingly young and educated Malaysia.
Even more ineffective than Abdullah
As the PM approaches his 100 days in office, he has little to show to the nation except a penchant to resort to force and harsh police crackdowns to quell dissent, as witness the nearly 200 arrests over the Perak crisis.
Likely to leave behind even less legacy than his predecessor Abdullah Badawi, his regime stands in danger of being remembered only for clamping down on other countrymen, especially the Chinese for wearing black, drinking kopi ‘O’ or wearing black headbands to signify solidarity with the Perak folk – victims of a power grab he staged in February.
Najib is the sixth Umno prime minister to govern the country since independence from British rule in 1957. He is also the most unpopular and the least trusted by the people.
According to Karpal, Najib had vowed to bathe the keris or small sword with Chinese blood in a speech in 1987.
The Bukit Gelugor MP demanded the PM apologised for the racist remark or be exposed as a hypocrite and the 1Malaysia slogan as meaningless verbose.
However, Najib denied the accusation and refused to apologise.
He also denied that his 1Malaysia plagiarized chunks of the DAP’s Malaysia for all Malaysians concept, counter-accusing DAP of deviating from the ’spirit of the constitution’.
“There is a vast difference in the concepts. Malaysians Malaysia is not drafted based on the constitution,” Najib told Parliament.
“People should not be fearful or be apprehensive because 1Malaysia ensures the ethnic identity of each race is respected and it is an asset which we are proud of.”
Gush of hot air and hypocrisy
His comments imply that he would defend Ketuanan Melayu or Malay supremacy – a controversial issue that has not been spelt out in the country’s constitution but somehow is often used by his Umno party to rally support against the other ethnic groups.
And this would be in direct contrast with what he has said about 1Malaysia so far. Up till now, Najib has tried to imply the slogan envisioned a seamless society with equal rights for all citizens.
But today in the august house, he rubbished his own slogan.
No wonder, the PM has not been in a hurry to clarify what 1Malaysia is about. Even after his session in Parliament today, no one – including himself – has any idea what the slogan is about.
And the reason is simple.
It is meant to be a nice-sounding slogan and much like a chameleon, meaning whatever that should be meant in different situations at different times.
Yes – pretty much a gush of hot air and hypocrisy, plus a convenient political tool to mask his inadequacy.
“If Bangsa Malaysia, inspired by Vision 2020, is in its final stages, then 1Malaysia is a guide to help speed us to towards achieving the goal,” the PM expounded.