Race takes front page

And it’s not even about races where gold medals are up for grabs. This kind of race that is so dominantly taking up the front pages of our news portals is as absurd as the sodomy case being made into national news and political fodder.

Just two days ago was our National Day. Hari Merdeka. Celebrating 51 years of “self-rule”. Our “beloved” Prime Minister stood in front of Malaysians just two days ago and so solemnly said:

No one citizen is recognised as being of a higher position than another in this nation. This nation belongs to all of us. Whether we rise or fall as a nation, depends on all of us.

Behind that timely call for national unity, which incidently is found in almost every National Day speech since 51 years ago, lurks the ugly head of racism that the very people ruling the country today have.

What we have in the front page news today is about this one Ahmad (UMNO politician) who, during the campaigning in Permatang Pauh, likened the Chinese in Malaysia to “squatters”.

This is most definitely not the first time that we’re hearing about how some foolish UMNO politicians have spouted utter nonsense which I can only pray is something that they don’t believe in. In fact, during the same campaign, didn’t our very own Deputy Prime Minister also say that the Chinese in Malaysia should be happy that Lee Chong Wei today is still called Lee Chong Wei, and not some other name like, say, Muhammad bin Abdullah?

Currently, this Ahmad of UMNO who called Malaysian Chinese “squatters” is under fire from DAP and MCA.

Our Prime Minister, who so “lovingly” claimed that this country of ours belongs to all of us without exception, literally brushed off the anger and protests by various people (although almost all were Chinese, and God only knows why) by saying that he will “ask Ahmad not to do it again”. He went as far as being apologetic for Ahmad, saying that “You know-lah what happens during campaigns”, like as if that’s a legitimate reason for what Ahmad said.

That aside, I find this rather amusing:

Several DAP leaders today lodged a police report against Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail for calling the Chinese immigrants, which the MCA’s Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn described as seditious.

“The DAP wants Umno leaders to take stern action against him; moreover, the police should also investigate him under Section 4 (1) of the Sedition Act 1948,” said Ng [Wei Aik], who lodged a report at the Patani Road police station in Penang with Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N Rayer.

Meanwhile, Fong said the matter of citizenship for non-Malays should not be questioned, just as some religious issues should not be called into dispute.

“An apology from Ahmad is not enough. A sedition charge should be considered against him,” he told reporters in Putrajaya.

More from Malaysian Insider HERE.

If I may say so, I find two things very glaringly wrong here.

1) Fong Chan Onn said that the matter of citizenship “should not be questioned, just as some religious issues” are in Malaysia.

I have an issue with things that “should not be questioned”. Because for one, what Ahmad said was not “questioning” per se, but more like “stating” something that is so obviously a lie. And secondly, I believe that issues, whatever they may be, are supposed to be subject to intellectual discourse, and not lumped into a whole pile of “things that should not be questioned”.

2) What constitutes sedition?

No, I’m not liking what Ahmad said. In fact, I’m as outraged as any other person would be. But the Sedition Act is flawed in my opinion. And it should not be something that people use whenever they hear or read something that they don’t like.

In my opinion, this Ahmad character should be held fully responsible for his very irresponsible remark. As the president of the political party involved, Pak Lah should be more firm in dealing with what is an absolute disgrace to his speech calling for the solidarity of Malaysians far and wide. A mere telling off that might or might not happen behind the scenes is just not going to cut it.

It is because of the lack of any firm action whatsoever that the matter has boiled up to what it is today. Had Pak Lah reprimanded the man, and took disciplinary actions, making it crystal clear that utterances like these are not to be tolerated, the matter would be much subdued, and not blown up to the point where the Sedition Act is being flaunted.

But then again, as I’ve said, this is definitely not the first time that politicians, particularly from UMNO, who have said things like this. It is precisely because of the lack of any real disciplinary action that we are getting more and more of these issues cropping up every now and again, and becoming more and more regular.

Note: PKR is not without it’s own flaws, some very similar to this Ahmad case here. Before PKR turns into a new-era UMNO, I hope it learns from the mistakes of others.


3 Comments on “Race takes front page”

  1. Paul Warren says:

    But isn’t Badawi’s response here no different from how he responded to Hishamuddin’s Keris?

    Badawi obviusly approved it. Too late to deny it now.

    Did he tell off his SIL tehn for also supporting the keris incident?

    Badawi is a little mad up there. That is why he keeps contradicting himself all the time and says things thatare directly opposed to the general attitude taht UMNO takes on issues relating to other races.

    That statement of Ahmad’s equally applies to the Portugese too. After all the Chinese did come into Malaya before the Portugese did.

    Wonder how Jeanne Badawi Abdullah (formerly Jeanne Danker) reacts to this. Does she feel she has a better standing compared to the Chinese just because she is now married to a Malay and claims to be a Muslim too? If so what about her father and her siblings?
    I agree that it is precisely his reaction, and lack of action thereafter, that has contributed much to the quality of politicians we are seeing from UMNO today.

  2. basho says:

    Thank you for your perceptive observations. I would add further that I agree with you that nothing should be beyond intellectual discourse including the question of citizenship for Malaysians of Chinese and Indian descent. The case for their citizenship is so strong and the case against is so weak that it is not something that Chinese and Indians should be worried about. Certainly it should not be branded as something that cannot be discussed. Nothing should be beyond discussion. It is precisely this kind of censorship of public discourse that breeds misunderstanding and stymies the resolution of problems.

    Furthermore, it is not right to use the sedition law against people. This is an unjust law that must be dispensed with as soon as possible. Instead it should be replaced with a law making it illegal to make racist comments (as in for example the UK). This would directly target the statements and actions of people who hate others merely because they are different.

  3. bow says:

    As he claimed he is a PM of all Malaysians in the country, he needs to show us he means what he said, but as an umnoputra leader, he have to protect and defend his own member. It’s time for us to see what type of leader is him.

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