by P Ramakrishnan
16 February 2014
Is that why no action is taken against these trouble-makers who whip up ethno-religious sentiment – because unrest is necessary for emergency rule, wonders P Ramakrishnan.
It was reminiscent of the lawless Wild West when rough-necks went on a rampage to assert their authority over the helpless town folks. There was nobody brave enough to stand up to the mayhem they created.
There was no Sheriff, no Deputy and no hero to take on these hooligans.
That was what happened last Thursday, 6 February 2014, when troublemakers took to the streets in a frenzy of hatred to incite and provoke Malay extremists to partake in acts that would threaten our peace and harmony. It was no ordinary gathering; it was a gathering of racists and bigots out to create mischief.
In blatant defiance of the law, these members of several Muslim NGOs gathered in the afternoon near the busy Puduraya bus terminal and government offices at Jalan Tun Perak in Kuala Lumpur.
Some participants stomped on the banner bearing the faces of DAP and PKR representatives. They then slaughtered four chickens and smeared their blood on the faces of Teresa Kok, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and Machang Bubok assembly member Lee Khai Loon (PKR) in a ritual intended to cause calamity in the country.
This bloody act was committed by these trouble-makers claiming to belong to the Council of Islamic NGOs as proclaimed in the banner to “Protest against insults of Malay leadership, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Islam and Malay dignity by a splinter of politicians, leaders and Chinese chauvinists”.
These claims are clearly far-fetched without any justification. Who in their right minds would want to insult the Yang di-Pertuan Agong? He is the national symbol of our unity. He is respected and held in high esteem.
But these mischief-makers blatantly claimed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agung was insulted. Can they provide concrete evidence when this insult was perpetrated and by whom?
Who would want to insult Islam? Malaysians are peaceful people and are sensitive to the ethos of the different communities and traditions. Who would want to court trouble consciously and disturb our harmony by being disrespectful?
What Malay leadership was insulted? Please don’t lie if you are truly a believer in the true sense of your religion.
Disagreeing with the policies and criticising leaders of the government doesn’t constitute an insult to the Malay leadership. In any case, the government may be dominated by Umno but essentially it is a coalition government albeit without MCA representation. But there are Chinese ministers and others from various communities in the cabinet which would suggest that the disagreement and criticism is not aimed solely at the Malay leadership but against the Barisan Nasional.
But these trouble-makers deliberately twisted the facts to give a racial angle to arouse the emotions of unthinking people who can be easily misled.
What was said was clearly and deliberately provocative and inciting.
Zulkifly Sharif from Pertubuhan Permuafakatan Majlis Ayahanda Malaysia (Permas) told Malaysiakini that “the chicken slaughter and blood smearing ritual was a hark back to the ‘bloody’ May 13, 1969 racial riots”.
“The blood represents the May 13 incident…It should be easily understood,” he said.
In other words, he is actually threatening a repeat of the May 13 incident. This is clearly seditious; it is an incitement; it is definitely a provocation. It had the potential to spark chaos and disturb our harmony. Things could go out of hand to the detriment of the nation.
It should have been nipped in the bud. The full force of the law should have landed on them so that it would not encourage similar provocative demonstrations and protests elsewhere.
But that was not the case. Where was the AG? Where were the police, the guardians of law and order? Above all, where was the Prime Minister, the supreme leader of the nation? Why did none of them criticise this act of lawlessness? Why were these racists and bigots not condemned for their reckless irresponsibility?
It is this lack of response from the keepers of the law that encourages this unbecoming behaviour. For it can be construed with justification that they will not face the wrath of the law and that they have the implicit backing of the law enforcement agencies.
This demonstration was held apparently as a reaction to Seputeh MP Teresa Kok’s New Year video entitled ‘OnederfulMalaysia CNY 2014’.
Various claims and accusations were made in connection with this video. But what was it all about? Was there any disrespect shown to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong? Was Islam insulted in this video?
It is very disturbing for Zulkifly to state with reference to the slaughtering of the chicken, “It is symbolic of the bloody incident, – meaning May 13 – this means we are sending a serious warning to Teresa Kok not to provoke and create something that threatens the peace and feelings of the Malays.”
Was he correct in what he stated? Did Teresa “provoke and create something that threatens the peace and feelings of the Malays”?
It seems that the video was in Mandarin. Do these rabble-rousers understand Mandarin? Could it be possible that while translating misrepresentation could have occurred?
Why not broadcast this video over TV so that the truth can be unveiled and facts revealed to the entire nation before things get out of hand through misunderstanding and misrepresentation? This is what should be done if we are really interested in the truth. But would the BN dare to do this? Or will it take advantage of this mindless reaction for its own political purposes?
These mischief-makers went beyond threatening. They even offered a bounty to anyone who is willing to slap Teresa. Just like in the Wild West when rewards were offered to bring in the outlaws “dead or alive”, and bounty hunters would take up the offer and go after their quarry. Similarly, in this instance, a reward of RM500 was offered which was later increased to RM1,200.
Imagine if one stupid hothead goes up to Teresa and slaps her, what would happen? Perhaps those with her may react and assault him which could in turn lead to a racial conflict. Is this what they want to happen? Is it a ploy to create unrest and unleash an ethnic clash that would benefit the BN?
The situation was so serious and yet there was no urgency to address it. Even Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi foolishly and flippantly trivialised the whole episode by claiming that it was not a threat to Teresa and unbelievably stated that it would have amounted to nothing except if a death threat had been issued against Teresa. For a Home Minister not to see the danger in this emotionally-charged affair is mind-boggling.
Not to be outdone in foolishness, the Housing and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan also criticised Kok, saying that she should not play victim when threatened by Muslim groups as the DAP had “relentlessly attacked the position of Malays and Muslims…The DAP had also insulted the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Islam”.
If that was the case, how did the DAP garner so many Malay votes, make a break-through in the Umno fortress of Johor, and get its Malay members elected as members of parliament? Without Malay votes, this could not have been possible.
How ridiculous they are can be seen when Zulkifly accused the politicians whose faces adorned the banner of manipulating the price hike issue. According to him, “The increase of prices of goods has been turned into a kind of propaganda to bring down Malay leadership. They are trying to provoke hatred and belittle Malay leadership.”
The lives of Malaysians have become a nightmare because of price hikes which have made life very difficult for people. It is felt by everyone on a daily basis and their sufferings are nation-wide. It is not confined to any ethnic community.
To blame these four leaders as manipulating the price hike to bring down the Malay leadership is grossly unfair and wrong. It is utter nonsense!
The price hike demonstration organised by various NGOs in Penang effectively debunked the atrocious statements and the sweeping claims made by the trouble-makers.
More than 1,000 turned up to oppose the price hikes and the implementation of the GST. The crowd was largely Malay with good support from the Chinese and the Indians. What transpired was heart-warming and encouraging. It showed that whatever ploy that is used by Umno and its henchmen to drive a wedge between the Malays and non-Malays will not work.
The Seberang Jaya Municipal Councillor Zulkifli Saad said the gathering was a show of solidarity among Malays, Chinese and Indians.”We are not racists, this is a gathering of people.”
Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) spokesperson Badrul Hisham Shaharin, better known as Chegubard, asked who were the Malays who felt insulted by Lee’s act of stuffing kangkung into a replica of Najib.
“Hello! Who says Malays are insulted? We are insulted because we have a PM who cannot manage the country,” he said.
He also warned groups who threatened violence and racial riots, saying that their non-Malay brothers and sisters would be protected even if “one hair of yours is disturbed”.
Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said that anti-price hikes groups would protest in all the states, culminating in a massive protest in Kuala Lumpur on 1 May, themed Gasak Sampai Tumbang (GST).
Rafizi emphatically said, “There is also no link between race and price hikes.”
“It is just their way of putting fear in us as they are racists,” he claimed.
“If there is one Chinese youth among us who is threatened, 10 Malays among us will be there to protect him,” he assured, followed by shouts of support.
Afif Bahardin, the Seberang Jaya representative, drove home a valid point rather forcefully, “The price hike is suffered by not only DAP, PKR or Pas but by Umno members as well.”
It is this kind of solidarity building up that is worrying Umno. Their usual divide-and-rule policy is no longer working.
Race and religion can no longer be an effective campaign strategy to retain power.
So, it seems, an unrest is necessary for emergency rule and is that why no action is taken against these trouble-makers?