by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
The Ant Daily
OUTSPOKEN: 2013 has been a very traumatic year for Malaysia. We have a prime minister who is seldom in the country. We have his wife who has been proclaimed as the first lady of Malaysia or FLOM and who has been given the privilege of using government facilities as if she is a member of the cabinet or government.
We have a racist Home Minister who behaves more like a gangster than a sober and responsible cabinet minister. He is out to flog the Shiites by demonising it as being a deviant sect.
He is out to blemish the image of Mat Sabu, the number two in PAS, as being a follower of this sect and asking him to prove that he is not one. This is the first time someone is being asked to prove his innocence rather than the authorities proving that he is guilty.
The minister seems unaware that the majority of the people in Iraq are the followers of the Shiite sect and he had praised the country as being peaceful while it was under the minority rule of the Sunnis led by the late Saddam Hussein. He might have forgotten how Saddam had tried to annihilate the Shiites while he was in power.
He is also thinking of establishing the Syariah Police squad to hunt the Shiites.
We also have non-governmental organisations specifically formed to fight for Malay rights. That the rights have been there, used and overused, misused and abused by the elite in power was never acknowledged.
Against all logical evidence and advice, the government felt it necessary to proclaim that the word Allah is only the prerogative of the Malay/Muslims, making the country a laughing stock in the international Islamic community.
Umno Baru, at its annual gathering recently, felt that the country’s constitution should be amended to specify that the Islam the country has as the official religion should be mentioned as being Sunni – Ahlil Sunnah Wal- Jamaah (ASWJ).
And at this gathering also, a call was made that the country’s slogan should be One Melayu and not One Malaysia.
Amidst all these cacophony of calls and counter calls, the prime minister has stayed mute.
He also has turned a deaf ear to all rumblings and anger shown by the people. He has condoned the actions of his lieutenants that had gone against his concept of national unity and religious moderation unless of course this was only meant for political consumption.
His speeches and his actions are the very opposite in nature.
He embarked on the apartheid approach to economic development by instituting the Bumiputra Economic Empowerment Programme, whereby only one ethnic community would be given the sole attention of overcoming economic disparity. He had put aside the economic needs of the dispossessed of other Malaysians.
Corruption in the country had now become a culture and the agency in charge of combating this disruptive and evil menace is powerless in tackling it effectively due to reasons best known to it only.
Malaysia was formed by the coming together of Malaya, Sabah or North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore. Singapore was, however, dismissed from this federation. It is now an independent sovereign country and progressing well.
As it is today, from the actions by the federal government, Sabah and Sarawak have not been accorded the same status as equal partners in this federation. They have been treated like colonies of Peninsular Malaysia. But the leaders in these two territories seemed to be very servile to the actions of the federal government.
Only now, loud rumblings to the need to adhere to the 20 and 18 points agreed upon when the federation was formed can be heard. This was not heard before.
The country had since its formation experienced peace and harmony. The various communities respect each other and also respect their religious practices.
It was only when Umno Baru took power that cracks to this understanding began to appear. The people should realise that this has been deliberately done by Umno Baru so as to maintain its stranglehold on power. People will have to be wise to these machinations.
All Malaysians should unite and bring back that Malaysian spirit that was there before during the time of the first prime minister to the third, before Umno Baru came into being.
2014 should be a year of awakening and realisation by the people that the country has had enough of this mismanagement, uncontrolled corruptive practices and maladministration, and ethnic and religious rhetoric created by Umno Baru, the devil incarnate.
Ahmad Mustapha Hassan is a former press secretary to second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and the writer of the book, “The Unmaking of Malaysia”.