Jeswan Kaur| February 13, 2014
Free Malaysia Today
Umno’s image is in shreds, but does Zahid Hamidi care?
Violence apparently comes easy to Umno politicians and those associated with them, as they have illustrated so many times in words and deeds.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said to be one of the Umno president’s most trusted lieutenants, obviously does not care that the public thinks so lowly of his party or that his outrageous defence of blood-spilling thugs serves only to deepen our suspicion of his being a violent man himself, as alleged in a suit brought a few years ago by businessman Amir Abdullah Bazli.
Amir said Zahid allegedly administered punches on his face in public in 2006, leaving him with a fractured nose and swollen eye. Zahid denied the allegations and applied for the case to be dismissed, which finally happened in 2010.
He then decided to counter-sue Amir, citing humiliation and emotional trauma as a result of the accusation.
Thankfully, the Court of Appeal in 2012 had the wisdom to rule against Zahid’s bid to strike out the assault suit. The three judges in the panel ordered him to pay RM5,000 in costs and respond to the action.
Amir’s suit was eventually settled out of court at the end of last year.
But despite claiming to have been traumatised by the smear on his alleged reputation, Zahid seems not to have learned his lesson.
How else can we explain his apparent refusal to chastise the group that wants violence done on one of his political opponents?
Indeed the tone of his statement on the matter indicated that he was all for Teresa Kok being slapped in the face for allegedly insulting Muslims with her video, as if the Prime Minister and his wife represent Islam.
Zahid told reporters it was unnecessary for the authorities to investigate Kok’s allegation of harassment by the Council of Islamic NGOs.
He has instead ordered the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission to investigate complaints made against Kok over her satirical Chinese New Year video.
Of course, Zahid is only one of Umno’s many enemies within who are doing further damage to the party’s already tattered image.
Last month, a Hulu Selangor Umno Youth leader reportedly attacked Second Deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan with a punch on the neck over a school transfer issue.
Is violence or the threat of it part of Umno’s strategy in silencing critics or those who dare complain about the depressing state of the nation?
Interestingly, the mob that killed chickens in their anger against Kok and other opposition figures were professing to protect the sanctity of Islam, a claim we have been hearing a lot lately from groups with a similar violent bent, even as they complain about unfair western portrayals of Islam as a violent religion.
And Umno, despite claiming to be a better protector of Islam than its rivals, does not seem to care that the religion ends up as collateral damage from the words and deeds of these hypocrites.
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.