The Cabinet and the UMNO Supreme Council meeting on Wednesday should take a clear Malaysian stand against any rally seeking to provoke and incite tension and hatred of one race against another in Malaysia, whether the proposed Sept. 16 or Oct. 10 gatherings.
The fundamental right to freedom of assembly to peacefully advocate constitutional rights and liberties of Malaysians must be defended as a basic democratic liberty and human right of Malaysians, but there can be no right whatsoever to commit heinous crimes as inciting racial or religious tension, hatred and conflict in plural Malaysia.
It is in fact the basic duty and responsibility of any government to ensure that those who want to provoke or incite racial or religious hatred to create conflict, disharmony and chaos in plural Malaysia must be stopped in their tracks, and not allowed any room whatsoever to commit the heinous crimes of inciting inter-racial or inter-religious tension and conflict.
The Sept. 16 and Oct.10 rallies were conceived as Malay counter to the purported Chinese Bersih 4 rally of August 29 and 30, alleging that Bersih 4 was a Chinese show of force against Malay political power – which is a most irresponsible allegation totally without basis, as there was not a tinge of racialism at all in the Bersih 4 rally where Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, sex, gender or even politics converged in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu for a common cause for good governance and free, fair elections – issues which completely transcend race.
In insisting to see the Bersih 4 purely in Malay-Chinese terms, the presence of over 20,000 Indians as well as Ibans and Kadazans in Bersih 4 have been completely ignored and reduced into “non-persons” – which is most defamatory of Malaysian of all races at Bersih 4 rally and a most irresponsible act.
It is true that Malay participation on the first day of Bersih 4 on August 29 was far from satisfactory but Malay participation on the second day of Bersih 4 on August 30 easily shot up to some 40 per cent of the crowd, demonstrating not only the non-racial character of Bersih 4 objectives, but the ability of Malaysians regardless of race to take a common stand with Malaysians of other races for the common good of the populace and nation – like transparency, integrity and good governance.
Berish 1 in 2007 had easily some 80% Malay participation. Would it be right to regard Bersih 1 as a Malay show-of-force against the Chinese to entitle the holding of a Chinese counter demonstration against the purportedly Malay Bersih 1?
Of course not, because the Malays who came out in support of Bersih 1, 2, 3 and 4 came out not because they were fighting for a Malay cause – just as non-Malays came out in Bersih 1, 2, 3 and 4 did not do so for a Chinese objective – but because transparency, integrity and good governance are Malaysian causes which deserve the support of all thinking and patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race.
DAP had been accused of being the mastermind of Bersih 4, with DAP leaders accused of being in real control and command of the Bersih 4 overnight rally.
I had been quite a critic of police efficiency and professionalism in my nearly 50 years in politics, especially in terms of their statutory objectives to keep crime low and make the homes, streets and public places safe for Malaysians, investors and visitors.
But I had always the highest respect for the professionalism of the Special Branch in Malaysia, as thanks to the previous British administrations, Malaysia has undoubtedly one of the best and competent Special Branch in the world.
The Special Branch and police intelligence officers know that DAP was not the mastermind and DAP leaders were not in control or command of the Bersih 4 overnight rally in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
DAP supports Bersih 4, and our leaders and members all over the country, came out in support of Bersih 4, but we cannot claim credit for the success of the Bersih 4 in its ability to mobilise some 500,000 people regardless of race and religion to support a cause which transcends race – good government and free, fair elections.
But this truth, that the DAP was not the mastermind and not in control and command fo Bersih 4 overnight rally, does not suit the script of UMNO/BN political masters, who want to be able to blame the DAP for being the mastermind and the real persons in control and command of Bersih 4, so that they could further twist the story by claiming that Bersih 4 was a Chinese challenge to Malay political power in Malaysia and the need for a counter Malay rally like the rallies being mooted for Sept. 16 and Oct. 10 – which were openly framed and propagated as a Malay counter rally to a purportedly Chinese Bersih 4!
Unable to get much professional Special Branch support as there is no evidence of DAP being mastermind or in control or command of Bersih 4, the MCA leadership has instead offered to UMNO racists and opportunists its political endorsement instead.
This is why MCA leaders like the MCA President Liow Tiong Lai have suddenly come out publicly to denounce the DAP of “hijacking” Bersih 4 and “sowing the seeds of racial discord compromising peace and security of the nation” when there are no such evidence whatsoever.
But the baseless and irresponsible allegations by the MCA leaders are good enough as justification for UMNO racialists and extremists to promote a racist counter to Berish 4 by alleging that DAP had hijacked Bersih 4 and turned it into a Chinese challenge to Malay political power.
This is why I fully agree with the Kluang MCA division chief Gan Ping Sieu who criticised MCA President as “dead man walking” for failing to provide leadership to both members and Barisan Nasional.
Malaysia’s multiple crisis of confidence, political, economic, good governance and nation-building deepened today with the Malaysian ringgit hitting a new 1998 low this morning, breaching 4.3 ringgit against the US greenback as well as declining against the Singapore dollar to 3.019; while on the stock exchange front, the KLCI lost 18.13 points to 1,570.85.
I want to ask the Prime Minister whether Malaysia is aiming to achieve a hat-trick in reverse.
A hat trick in sports is the achieving of a positive feat three times in a game, or other achievements based on threes in some sports.
We risk achieving a hat trick in reverse if the Sept. 16 counter-Malay rally to the false and purported Chinese Bersih 4 rally in Kuala Lumpur is allowed to be held.
We have firstly the Bersih 4 rally on August 29 and 30 – which was turned into a “minus” when it should be a plus accruing great credit to the nation if the government accepts Bersih 4 as a great evidence of the thriving of Malaysia democracy.
There is then the second event of the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya on Sept. 2-4 which instead of being a show-case of Malaysia’s coming-of-age in the National Transformation Programme on accountability, integrity and good governance turned out to be the country’s worst global PR disaster for three consecutive days.
Is the Najib government going to perform a “hat-trick in reverse” with the holding of the Sept. 16 counter Malay rally against the purported and baseless Chinese Bersih 4 challenge to Malay political power, which will plunge an already-jittery national and international confidence in Malaysia and the Najib government to a new low?
Malaysia is in dire straits and facing a confidence crisis on a whole battery of fronts.
Najib and the Cabinet on Wednesday must demonstrate leadership to arrest and reverse the sharp fall of the confidence factor in Malaysia, and this is the reason why there is an urgent need for an Emergency meeting of Parliament as the country cannot afford to have a headless and direction-less government till Oct. 19 when Parliament is next scheduled to reconvene for the 2016 Budget meeting.
In the meantime, firm action must be taken against those who want to provoke and incite inter-racial and inter-religious peace and harmony in the country or Malaysia will hurtling in the direction of a rogue and failed state.
(Media Conference Statement at DAP Hqrs in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, 7th September 2015 at 2.30 pm)