— Tan Jin Huat
Malay Mail Online
October 3, 2015
OCTOBER 3 — The recent comments by Mohammed Yunos that have been reported in the press are uncalled for, offensive and not words from someone befitting the stature of a true leader. He was alleged to have said that Malaysia’s ethnic Chinese have the option of leaving for China if they are dissatisfied with their lives here. Further, he asserted that “They (the Chinese) have land or their country of origin China, and if anything were to happen to them they still have a place to rely on.”
I have often asked myself about the motivation behind such comments. What is there for him to gain from such comments?
From my observation of what has happened in our politics over the years, there may be a few guesses. First, those who shout loudest by playing the race card would like to position themselves for upward political mobility within their party. This has happened many times in the history of Umno. It is nothing new. Many Umno leaders have done that in the past. I can remember the speech of our current PM in his fiery speech about the Chinese at the TPCA stadium before Operation Lallang took place in 1987. Second, it is to gain political mileage within the party. In the past, those who have championed the race issue have risen quickly up the ranks of their party.
Third, the continual twisting of legitimate national issues in racial and/or religious issues seem to have a hidden political agenda. The current slew of comments has come out as a result of criticism of the Bersih 4 protest. The Bersih protest has nothing racial in its agenda but rather they have focused on legitimate national issues that need redressing. Bersih stood for (1) Holding free and fair elections; (2) Having a transparent government; (3) Strengthening the system of parliamentary democracy and (4) Saving the national economy. The red shirt protest or anti-Bersih protest has turned the issues into racial ones such as insulting Malays and Malay leadership. If Malay leadership has been “insulted” at Bersih, it is our PM because of the 1MDB issue. In any democracy, when a national leader is perceived to be corrupt with unexplained critical issues, then it is legitimate for the public to call for his resignation.
Then by twisting the issues and turning them into racial ones, I hazard a guess that the purpose is to achieve a two-fold aim: first, it is to purposely provoke other races especially the Chinese so that they will react in such a way that they will say and do the wrong thing. Then they can have a legitimate ground to pounce on them, and create a big hue and cry. However, so far there has been no real legitimate ground for Yunos to do so. So, I see this as a baiting game! Since the authorities have so far been seen to be selective in their prosecution, these people have acted with impunity and got away with what they have said and even threats; some wanting to slap the Chinese and others causing a riot in Petaling Street or Chinatown.
Next, there is the aim of shifting the blame to others and also diverting people’s attention from the real issues of the day. The diversion is needed to move the public attention from the need for proper and transparent governance in this country. But the urban public today are more discerning than before. The common proverb holds true: “You can fool some of the people some of the time. You can fool all people some of the time. But you cannot fool all the people all the time”.
Then, a religious justification is provided for the actions of the “red shirts”. Tan Sri Annuar Musa saying in a pro-Malay rally last month that acting in defence of Malay honour was permitted in Islam so long as other races were not oppressed in the process. Other Umno leaders are reported as saying that racism is in line with Islamic teachings.
Every day we see groups in Malaysia shouting their extreme ideology. The latest is the Hizbut Tahrir Malaysia (HTM) whose spokeman has said that “Malaysia is not just for Malays but for Muslims”. It was reported in Malay Mail Online on October 3 that “HTM aims to establish an Islamic state in Malaysia and a worldwide caliphate as part of its global network”. From the video clip, the waving of flags which had Arabic inscription and looked very similar to those flown by ISIS, an outsider would quite likely conclude that the group subscribe to an ISIS ideology. Now the religion card is being played by yet another group. It looks like this group if it continues will want to hijack what has been agreed in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.
The basis for the formation of Malaysia is the Malaysia Agreement of 1963, not the Merdeka declaration of 1957, though it is part of historical legacy. In the formation of Malaysia, Malaya ceased to exist, and the Federation of Malaya Agreement has been superseded by the Malaysia Agreement. Hence, Malaysia belongs to all its citizens whether they be Malays, the indigeneous people of Sabah and Sarawak, Indian, Chinese, and others.
What are the implications of the Malaysia Agreement?
First, Tanah Melayu has ceased to exist as rightly pointed out by Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz recently.
Second, All Malaysian citizens are not pendatang. Pendatang are those who are not citizens of Malaysia. In fact, every race whether Malay, Indians or Chinese were once pendatang. They originated elsewhere but have made Malaysia their home. We can easily think of our national leaders as having their origin from elsewhere. We can think of many Malay leaders as having originally originated from different parts of Indonesia or other parts of the world. Just think of our PM Mahathir, Badawi, Najib Razak, Zahid, Khir Toyo, Sanusi Junid among so many others in UMNO. Even our Tunku Abdul Rahman had Siamese blood.
To those who are shouting out the pendatang slogan, if you have pendatang roots and have become Malaysian citizens in the past, why are you a hypocrite by calling others pendatang when you yourself have pendatang status previously? To those so will create racial animosity and disharmony, which has been happening over the years. It is one reason why those whom Umno leaders call pendatang are not voting BN anymore in the General Election. It is because of such talk the greatest losers in the BN are the MCA, MIC and Gerakan, though they have a few good leaders.
It is best to drop such racial slurs or talk altogether when talking to one another as fellow Malaysians. Harping on these issues will not help the race relations in this country. I am very sad indeed that it is those in political power that are stoking the racial fires.
If we do not stop now, it is a matter of time that we will descend down the road like Syria. This is an appeal to the powers that be to stop before the downslide gets worse. I appeal to the powers that be because they have the power to control the situation which they are not doing from my perspective. Do the right and good thing for the sake of the country, not just for the sake of personal interest.