Yesterday, Penang UMNO staged a demonstration in response to the kangkung-theme flash mob organised by PKR Machang Bubuk assemblyman, Lee Khai Loon.
I have no objection to Penang UMNO staging a peaceful demonstration but all right-thinking Malaysians must be horrified that the Penang UMNO demonstration was a blatant and shameless incitement of racial and religious hatred, tensions and conflict in Malaysia which must be condemned by all patriotic and peace-loving Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or political affiliation.
If any of the Pakatan Rakyat parties had been involved in such-like demonstration as the one conducted by Penang Umno, unashamedly and blatantly inciting racial and religious hatred, tensions and conflict, the police would have acted immediately and the Pakatan Rakyat leaders involved would have been behind bars awaiting trial for sedition.
Why is there no action by the Police and the authorities to stop such dangerous, irresponsible, incendiary and seditious incitement of racial and religious hatred, tensions and conflict by Penang UMNO yesterday Umno protesters yesterday indulged in the worst form of political gangsterism and thuggery, threatening with the rhetorical question: “Does DAP want another May 13” and carried the most blood-curdling racist and religious slogans and banners, even with one banner in blood red with the screaming words: “Because of DAPs leaders mouth, May 13, 1969 happened…Want some more?” and other inflammatory banners like “ABCD – Asal Bukan Cina DAP” and “DAP is the enemy of Islam”.
DAP was not in any way involved with Lee Khai Loon’s “kangkung” flash-mob demo against Najib and there is no justification except the height of base and irresponsible politicking to implicate the DAP with the incident.
Khai Loon has said that he had never meant to insult the Prime Minister but to highlight the people’s burden and hardships as a result of the price hikes.
I admit that I was taken aback when I first saw news report about the flash-mob demo of the stuffing of kangkung into the mouth of Najib’s effigy, as it would be regarded as quite offensive in some quarters and I knew that it would be distorted and manipulated by irresponsible elements out to incite and inflame emotions, even trying to racialise it as an attack by the Chinese against a Malay Prime Minister.
This is a great fallacy because Najib is not a Malay Prime Minister but should be a Prime Minister for all Malaysians.
Furthermore, it is not only Chinese, but Malays, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans who are taking part in the “kangkung tsunami” of videos, jokes, sketches, even crossing national boundaries to become a most embarrassing international news on BBC and Singapore Straits Times.
The flash-mob demo of the stuffing of kangkung into the mouth of Najib’s effigy is in poor taste but I agree with Anwar Ibrahim that the butt dance by pro-government groups comprising army veterans in front of Bersih co-ordinator Ambiga Sreenevasan in 2012 was much worse than the “kangkung flash mob”.
But no Umno protests had ever been staged against the utterly tasteless butt dance!
While Malaysian politics and public affairs can gain from the absence of incidents like the “kangkung stuffing into the mouth of Najib’s effigy” and the butt dance , there can be no excuse or justification for anyone, whether the political leadership, their controlled media or their cybertroopers, to distort and escalate the dangerous and irresponsible incitement of racial and religious hatred, conflicts and tensions or even worse, the failure of the Police and the authorities to put an immediate stop to such inflammatory and incendiary provocations which undermine inter-racial and inter-religious peace and harmony in the country.
This is not an isolated incident as there had been a recent series of inflammatory and incendiary statements and actions seeking to provoke a breakdown of inter-racial peace and harmony through lies and falsehoods.
For instance, the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was accused by Umno cybertroopers of being racialistic and responsible for the closure of Selangor Giatmara vocational school in criticising it as catering for one race only. I asked Guan Eng about it and he said he had never uttered a single word about Selangor Giatmara.
Then there was the case of a school board member of a Chinese primary school in Kota Tinggi who told a Muslim convert teacher to take off her “tudung” to continue teaching at the school. This is wrong and should be a lesson to all Malaysians to be sensitive and to respect the different religions and customs in plural Malaysia. But this is a wrongdoing of an individual, who has since apologised for his action. What is most deplorable is that there are attempts by UMNO cybertroopers to put the blame of the incident on the DAP, when nobody from DAP knew about it or had condoned the wrongdoing.
Now, there is an attempt to drag in the DAP to give a communal twist to the kangkung flash-mob in Bukit Mertajam when it has nothing to do with the DAP.
This is the time for Malaysian patriots and moderates, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, to dissociate and denounce in no uncertain terms the irresponsible and dangerous ploys and antics of extremists who want to inflame and incite racial and religious hatred, tensions and conflict in the country like the Penang demo yesterday.
In fact, I call on Malaysian patriots and moderates regardless of race, religion or political affiliation to come forward to save Malaysia from extremists inciting racial and religious hatred, tensions and conflict.
All patriotic Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans, and regardless of whether they are in Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, want peace, harmony and tolerance to continue as the hallmarks of Malaysian nationhood.
They should step forward to expose and isolate the dangerous extremists who want to inflame and incite racial and religious hatred, tensions and conflict for their short-term opportunistic objectives as the overwhelming majority of moderates in Malaysia cannot remain silent but must act immediately so as not to allow a tiny handful of extremists to destroy Malaysia.
(Media Conference Statement in Kulai on Sunday, 19th January 2014 at 10am)