Hishammuddin – apologise for “keris-wielding” episodes to restore confidence as a symbol for national integration among students

During the debate in Parliament today on the Youth Societies and Youth Development Bill, I called on the Umno Youth leader and Education Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to apologise for his “keris-wielding” episodes to restore confidence as a symbol for national integration among students in the nation’s schools.

This raised the heckles of UMNO MPs in the House particularly Datuk Badruddin bin Amiruldin (Jerai) and Idris Harun (Tangga Batu) who demanded clarifications which I rejected as I had only ten minutes to speak as the second last speaker on the Bill.

As a result, the last MP in the debate, Razali Ismail (Muar) started his speech on the “keris-wielding” episodes, allowing Badruddin to go on a rampage to accuse me of being disrespectful and contemptuous of Malay culture and the Yang di Pertuan Agong in not accepting the keris as a national symbol.

In rebuttal, I made it very clear that I accepted without reservation the Malay keris as part of the national emblem, and that when the Yang di Pertuan Agong unsheathed and kissed the keris, it was a symbol of justice.

However, what was unacceptable was when the Umno Youth leader wielded the keris in the context of extremist and communal demands utterly insensitive of the feelings and rights of all communities in the country. I reminded Umno MPs that at the recent Umno Youth general assembly, an Umno Youth delegate even asked when Hishammuddin was going to use the keris now that he had wielded it twice — highlighting the totally unacceptable circumstances of the keris episodes.

The Youth Societies and Youth Development Bill is aimed at youth development which includes the following objectives:

  • To build youth character;
  • To develop patriotism among youths;
  • To spread the principles of the Rukun Negara.

Furthermore, the Youth Minister has been given powers to issue policies or directives on youth development.

I asked how Malaysians are to be assured that there would be no abuse of powers by the Minister or the Barisan Nasional government in discharging the powers under the Bill when Barisan Nasional leaders had been setting bad leadership examples for national unity and national integration.

With the limited time available, I cited three instances:

  • Hishammuddin’s “keris-wielding” history in unacceptable contexts turning him into a symbol of national division and disunity when he should be the symbol of national unity and harmony in his capacity as Education Minister;
  • The complaint by third-year biotechnology student, Sheena Moorthy of the misconduct of the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Seri Dr. Jamaludin Jarjis in making racist and derogatory remarks about Malaysian Indians when he met Malaysian students in California last week.
  • The latest ruling by Maybank requiring legal firms on its panel to have 50% bumiputra equity partnership.

I also asked why the National Integrity Plan and its principles were not specified as among the objectives to be promoted under the rubric of “youth development” when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had made anti-corruption and promotion of integrity the paramount commitment of his administration.

Referring to the sacking of five cabinet ministers by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono yesterday to bolster his government’s national and international credibility in the fight against corruption, I said the same thing should be done in Malaysia.

Also highlighted was the abuse of power by the Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Liow Tiong Lai who had forced the All-England doubles champions Koo Kien Keat and Tan Boon Heong to campaign for MCA in the Machap by-election last month by appearing at the “Malaysia Love Badminton Campaign” in Machap.

Koo and Tan are the badminton heroes for all Malaysians regardless of party affiliation and it was wrong for Liow to politicize Koo and Tan’s winning the All England doubles championship to get political mileage for the MCA in the Machap by-election.

Their coach Rexy Mainaky had publicly stated that he would not have allowed Koo and Tan to go to Machap had he known about the MCA programme beforehand.

The pressures put on Koo and Tan in Machap had adversely affected the duo, resulting in their poor under-performance at the Asian Badminton Championships in Johore Bahru immediately after their Machap trip and their first-round elimination at the recent Singapore Open.

Liow Tiong Lai should publicly apologise for politicizing and pressurizing the badminton doubles champions resulting in their underperformance, when it is the hope of all Malaysians transcending political differences that Koo and Tan can reach greater heights for the country in winning an Olympics Gold as well as bring home the Thomas Cup.

  1. #1 by kelangman88 on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 8:51 pm

    Yeah, Hishammuddin causing me to become racist than ever. I’ll never vote for BN. I will even vote for PAS.

  2. #2 by izrafeil on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:16 pm

    i respect the Chinese leaders for not going to their respective political party meetings wielding Chinese Fighting Swords or the Indians with their Indian Swords/Daggers!

  3. #3 by a-malaysian on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:21 pm

    kerismmuddin intention is very clear, no doubt about that. No one in bn will ever have the courage to admit and apologise for the mistake they make.

    Now they are trying to bring in the Agong and maybe later swear on their koran to dispute thier wrong doing. What a bunch of monkeys running this beautiful country into shit.

    50 years is ENOUGH
    Vote For A Change
    Vote For Any Opposition
    Give Them A Chance To Change For A Better Malaysia
    Remember bn Is A Useless Grouping Of Self Serving, Corrupt, Dictator, Power Crazy, Racist, Kris waving, etc, etc type of parties.

  4. #4 by anakbaram on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:29 pm

    Judging by the increasing number of sadistic crimes reported as commited by youth in this country, we need not ask ourself why. It is just that the very same people, the country’s leaders, who are supposed to show good examples, are leading us to damnation. The very peole who are supposed to look after the intrest of every Malaysian of any race are teaching us to hate. They are teaching us to be racelst. If anyone else say of his or her own race and religion like these people do they would no doubt brand with all sort of names. Worste still, they be arrested without trial. They may be jailed for say the truth. Shame on the peole.

  5. #5 by bbtan on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:32 pm

    “…when Yang di Pertuan Agong unsheathed and kissed the keris, it was a symbol of justice.”
    Yes, and it was a ceremony for all Malaysians. What kerismuddin did was wield the keris threateningly, “untuk perjuangan UMNO”, against other Malaysians.

  6. #6 by lakshy on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:37 pm

    Let the boy play with his toy. Looks like he has no other way to be a credible leader than by using race and religion. Malaysia is in the club of doom indeed.

    But his doing so has been a boon for the opposition. Many fence sitters and supporters of bn may begin voting against bn.

  7. #7 by toyolbuster on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:37 pm

    Hisham the black sheep of the family.
    Why can’t he be like his grand-dad or even his dad.
    Why can’t he be like his cat or the worms in his stomach.
    Then again, if you look at all the children of past BN leaders who are in politics today, they are all the same. Just as dumb and dumber. I say Hisham, what is 2 + 2.

  8. #8 by bbtan on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:39 pm

    It is pleasing to read izrafeil’s comment @ 9.16 pm.
    Thank you.

  9. #9 by mandela on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:42 pm


  10. #10 by RealWorld on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 9:51 pm

    “Talking about dumb and dumber, go ask Hisham how “funky” her naughty daughter is!” – mandela

    Do you need to stoop so low and insult family members???

  11. #11 by lucia on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 10:06 pm

    kerismuddin apologise? ha!! never! not on your life! for them (UMNOputera) to apologise is really impossible because they are so high and mighty thinking they are always right. OTOH, if it is the opposite, a non UMNOputera did/say just some little thing they don’t like, the were quick to demand an apology.

  12. #12 by Jonny on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 10:32 pm

    I would vote for either the Rocket, Moon or Justice. Never the Dacing.

    No confidence & hurt by the injustice and mockeries of the Dacing.

  13. #13 by JACK THE RIPPER on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 10:42 pm

    The Keris is a symbol of Pahlawan. For someone doing the right thing & Stand for the rightful. – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

  14. #14 by Godfather on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 10:58 pm

    Kerismuddin apologise ? Why should he ? A succession of UMNO leaders have done the same thing and they never apologised. They play to the gallery – the ignorant – and they don’t care how they hurt the feelings of other races. The only way to stop this nonsense is to vote out these UMNOputras who are totally insensitive. When UMNO implodes, only then will these clowns apologise.

  15. #15 by anakbaram on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 11:10 pm

    Good thinking Godfather!! So may we say that as of this day on he shall be known as Kerismuddin!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. #16 by pwcheng on Tuesday, 8 May 2007 - 11:48 pm

    Do not expect a sadist to apologize for any of his wrongdoings. We know they are masters now taking over from the Orang Putih
    (The Chinese can only blame their fate for being unfortunate to have autistic leaders at that time) and now we have to bear the pains and don’t know for how much longer. History has proven that however powerful you are, if you start to abuse your power it will cause your own downfall. There will be a repeat of the fall of the Roman Empire, only this time it will be the fall of the Malay empire.

    Anyway I think all Chinese are injured by their various actions and discrimination and any Chinese who says otherwise are not Chinese but traitor.

    Drawing parallel to their argument that we are infringing on their culture do not hold water per se. Drawing out the Kris with the intention to threaten is not found in any culture unless they are from the stone age. Likewise I am sure many of us can still remember them banning the Chinese Lion dance. That age old Chinese culture holds no threat or harm and yet they ban it. But here they are holding the Kris with intonation of threat and yet they insist it is acceptable including the man who says he is the PM for all races. Silence means consent, there is no two way about it. That is clear-cut bullying and abuse of power. On top of that they have cunningly made use of the Royalties as a shield for all their wrong doings. Another example is the new Agung palace and there is already indication of them making use of sensitivities to shield all their misfeasance. The day of reckoning will come and we will not be sorry for them as we are truly hurt to the bones.

    We really want to be loyal to this country where we know no other countries other than Malaysia, but please do not hurt us and discriminate us to such extent that we can’t even see a stain of fairness. For 30 over years I had sacrificed the best part of my life for the government and yet today every corner I turn I am met with discrimination.

  17. #18 by ihavesomethingtosay on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 12:09 am

    I believe that Hishammuddin & JJ should never apologise to both the Chinese and Indian community, and I am hoping that MCA & MIC will keep really quiet, this way, it will definately cost them dearly in the comming GE.

    Hishamuddin & JJ be proud of what you did, said, be really really arrogant!

  18. #19 by dawsheng on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 12:47 am

    Let him be, let him use it if he wants to. But hope he will remember everything he did with the keris will have a price, for it ‘ll be an eye for an eye. Justice will prevail and truth will see light of the day.

  19. #20 by Tai Lo Chin on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 1:50 am

    Hishammuddin will not apologise. He told MCA Youth that the waving of the keris was ceremonial. He said that the keris is on the Umno flag…It is a symbol of Malay culture. You give keris as gifts to non-Malays. MCA accepted the explanation. Indirectly MCA told the Chinese and people like uncle Kit, “see, there are more interpretations. Don’t know what is wrong with you guys to give the worse interpretation”. Well we know MCA. It depends on UMNO’s patronage.

    But we all know what it means. When he waved keris in UMNO general assembly, his audience knew what he meant. One of them asked, “Dato now that you have unsheathed the keris and waved it twice, when are you going to use it?” So what are we talking here? The use of keris is explained differently to different audiences.

    If “the Barisan Nasional government were indifferent to the increasing concerns, anxieties and fears of non-Muslim Malaysians about their religious rights and sensitivities as well as their human and family rights” it is because non-Muslim Malaysians are not united.

    We have MCA, Gerakan MIC fighting with DAP all because of self-interest. Where there’s no united front, UMNO could easily divide and rule and do whatever it wishes. Any person who can unite the different non-Muslim Malaysians under one banner deserves the Nobel Prize Award.

  20. #21 by kurakura on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 2:16 am

    After winning the coming elections (hope not) , he will yield double Keris….and apologise when the next next election is near…..and the cycle goes on……

  21. #22 by accountability on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 6:15 am

    BN is bankrupt of ideas…

    they are resorting to primitive and tribal practices, as well as gangsterism to stay in power… ie. UMNO

    while the cronies in the BN are just interested in sucking money from govt projects through rent-seeking… ie. MCA, MIC, Gerakan, SUPP, etc

    BN, esp UMNO, has shamelessly shown their ugly racist side – so don’t expect any ethical actions or decisions from them

  22. #23 by DiaperHead on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 7:20 am

    “…when the Yang di Pertuan Agong unsheathed and kissed the keris, it was a symbol of justice.”

    When the King unsheathes the keris, long a symbol of Malay political hegemony, he is sworn to uphold and protect the Constitution.

  23. #24 by DiaperHead on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 7:21 am

    “..and puts the keris to his lips” sorry for the omission.

  24. #25 by sotong on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 8:37 am

    Some people are brought up with to with certain behaviours eg. aggression, intimidation, bullying, violence and etc.

    These bahaviours are dangerous to the society.

  25. #26 by k1980 on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 9:58 am

    The Chinese leaders should now go to the BN party meetings wielding a pair of handguns ala Cho Seung-hui

  26. #27 by Counterpoint on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 10:27 am

    This archetype of the ketuanan jerks that thinks only of himself doesn’t have the word “apologize” in his dictionary. How can such a small minded and tactless person gets to helm the Education Ministry completely defies logic. The Minister of Science is another despicable example.

    And here’s what our PM, who views this very seriously, is planning to do about it.


  27. #28 by sotong on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 11:25 am

    Bad and weak leadership allows criminal behaviours to go unpunished/challenged……..eventually setting a bad example to the young that danagerous behaviours like aggression, threat, bullying and violence are normal or acceptable behaviours in the community/society.

    The keris, to majority of Malays (excluding those MPs who said it is part of their culture) and other races, is a symbol of justice. But the way and circumtances it was used is a national disgrace!

  28. #29 by burn on Wednesday, 9 May 2007 - 3:25 pm

    not only Umno Youth leader…
    DPM should also apologize, remember this words…
    “to bath the keris with chinese blood”.
    and also some half past six ministers with their remarks…
    “kalau tak suka, you boleh keluar dari malaysia”, “babi”, “kafirs”…

  29. #30 by crosstalk on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 12:26 am

    Let us show we cannot be easily cowed and bullied by UmnoBN with their arrogant and racial discriminatory acts and measures by voting for DAP in the coming general election.

    Let DAP teach Umno and its ‘bbc’ like Mca,Mic and Gerakan a bitter lesson in the GE by giving our support to the party.

  30. #31 by undergrad2 on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 2:33 am

    ““…when the Yang di Pertuan Agong unsheathed and kissed the keris, it was a symbol of justice.”

    Has anyone noticed that the Agong does not put his hand on the Koran and swear to do the utmost to preserve and protect the constitution?

    Would this not negate claims that the country is an Islamic state?

    You see the President of the United States with his hand on the bible at the swearing-in ceremony, yet the United States believes in the separation of church and state.

  31. #32 by Tai Lo Chin on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 5:46 am


    Inconsistency or hypocrisy? LOL, one of the Presidents of the United States also believed in the separation of sex and fellatio. Nice distinction. As you said somewhere the Americans made laws against racism. However that does not stop some whites from continuing to discriminate under other guises. They can turn hypocrisy to the level of art, if you ask me.

  32. #33 by Jimm on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 11:41 am

    That’s normal tactics for HH to apply in order to gain some support from the younger UMNO packs. Can’t blame him as THO don’t really make a huge impact (front-end) of the UMNO struggle back then. He is the ‘silent’ master at the back of the house to assist the others to negotiated for Independence. So, HH have to ‘re-live’ some form of ‘struggle acts’ to shows that he knew what it takes to win back then. SAD LAD…
    I would said that HH normally will stand in front of a full size mirror to run through rehearses to make sure he really look convincing at any public addresses. Why ? Because THO is a rather soft spoken person. That’s why his tenure are rather short back then. It could be just an honour for him for all his contributions. Hardly reach one full term. They knew what to do for him back then.

  33. #34 by Jimm on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 11:51 am

    Why ?

  34. #35 by Jimm on Thursday, 10 May 2007 - 11:52 am

    THO is a much rather soft spoken and ‘quiet’ leader. HH cannot follow his footsteps in this modern packs to gain ground.

  35. #36 by akarmalaysian on Friday, 11 May 2007 - 12:29 am

    its umno that he can yield his kris around…try asking him to yield in the coming general elections thru out the country whr other races are and tell these folks directly into their face abt unity and see wat the outcome hes gonna get.as i hv said…umno is nothing without the other component parties.and definitely HH is just like a kutu running around samy vellus toupee.

  36. #37 by Boneka on Wednesday, 16 May 2007 - 11:37 pm

    In this case the Minister of Education has displayed his trueself- that he IS a racist. How do we expect all the (Malay) teachers not to follow his example? How to “intergrate” lah? He is a disgrace to education which is supposed to teach unity and respect for others!?

  37. #38 by sk88 on Saturday, 26 May 2007 - 1:29 pm

    I think integration is dangerous for the survival of UMNO or for that matter MCA and MIC. The moment there is unity, there will no discrimination and eveyone has to be treated alike. If this happens, there will be no motivation for the existence UMNO, MCA or MIC.
    Threat of violence is certainly an effective tool to instll fear in the minds of the people to comply. This has been done periodically and wielding a keris is a good example.
    Certainly, wielding a parang would not look too sophisticated for a minister. Therefore, the keris wielding.
    Apologise? What apology? He is just carrying out his duty, isn’t he?

  38. #39 by VoiceOfMalaysian on Saturday, 26 May 2007 - 9:36 pm

    Kerismudin act can be linked to 13th May 1969 tragedy.

    The tragedy took place on 13th May …. just 2 days after the 23rd annivessary of UMNO formation on 11 May 1946.

    So who incite the Malays? Could be another Keris wielding UMNO leader of that time..

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