Archive for November 8th, 2007

Hisham’s keris-wielding – Is Abdullah PM for all Malaysians or just UMNO President?

The mass media are in a swoon with adulation for the speech by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi at the Umno General Assembly in his capacity as Umno President.

However, they had completely glossed over the most disappointing parts of Abdullah’s speech, as in coming out to defend and validate Umno Youth Leader Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s keris-wielding antics in the past two years, Abdullah had shown that he has subordinated his promise to be the Prime Minister for all Malaysians to his position as Umno President.

When Abdullah lashed out at those who had criticized Hishammuddin for the brandishing of the keris at the last two Umno Youth general assemblies, claiming that such criticism was done to spread fears among the non-Malays, Abdullah had chosen to ignore or forget that among those who objected strongly to Hishamuddin’s keris-wielding in the last two Umno Youth general assemblies were component parties of the Barisan Nasional, particularly MCA, Gerakan and MIC.

Or have MCA, Gerakan and MIC been “desensitized” to accept that there was nothing wrong with Hishamuddin’s keris-wielding antics in the last two Umno general assemblies and that it was MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders who were being irresponsible and immature in expressing strong protests against such keris-wielding?

Last week, Hishammuddin had said that despite nation-wide controversy and protests he would continue to unsheath the keris at the Umno Youth general assembly this year until the non-Malays become “desensitized” to it.

Had Hishammuddin been given an assurance by MCA, Gerakan and MIC leaders that they have become “desensitized” to the keris-wielding antics to encourage Hishamuddin to wield the keris for the third year consecutively at the Umno Youth general assembly on Wednesday?

In Parliament later on Wednesday, I had criticized Hishammuddin’s “desensitization” stance as akin to the Boiling Frog Syndrome. Read the rest of this entry »


Even UMNO’s Morons Are Teachable

by M. Bakri Musa

Hishammuddin’s decidedly subdued speech to UMNO Youth at the party’s recent General Assembly was in mark contrast to his racist histrionics of last year. This showed one thing: even these morons in UMNO are teachable after all.

Last year we witnessed the revolting spectacle of Hishammuddin repeatedly stabbing the sterile chilled air of the PWTC Conference Hall. The only thing missing was the foam frothing from his wide, open mouth to make that silly scene really complete as a sandiwara (shadow play). Read the rest of this entry »


Deepavali greetings to all!

It is customary to send out “Happy Deepavali” greetings to all Hindus on this auspicious day marking the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil.

This year however many Malaysians, both Hindus and non-Hindus are not in a mood to feel “happy”, as they are in “protest” mode with increasing signs of lack of proper respect for all religions in the country and especially after the insensitive and sacrilegious demolition of the 40-year-old Sri Maha Mariaman Temple in Kampung Rimba Jaya in Shah Alam when Deepavali was just a week away.

Such a backdrop makes Deepavali even more significant for it must be a day to fortify resolve for light to overcome darkness and good to triumph over evil in order to end the long list of injustices and wrongs in our nation, 50 years after Merdeka.

Deepavali greetings to all.


PM AAB is PM for his family only

by Loh Meng Kow

PM AAB is reported to have said to the UMNO GA yesterday that since the list of richest individuals in the country was not led by Malays, NEP targets had still not been achieved. On record, the NEP objectives did not have the objective of making Malays the richest persons in the country. The PM’s statement shows that UMNO leaders can add to the list of NEP targets as it wishes, and hence NEP should read never ending policies.

Clearly the PM did not utter those words without having thought about the issues. NEP as implemented has always involved using government funds for the intended beneficiaries. When it was the intention of the government to create the richest Malay to head the list of richest individuals, now announced by the PM, the government adopts the policy to give public funds directly or indirectly to private individuals so that he/she can become the richest individual Malay in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysia: Normalising the Unacceptable

By Farish A. Noor

The dangerous thing about sectarian politics is how it becomes normalised so easily and quickly. Taking a leaf from the book of Speer and Goebels, the old Fascist maxim proves itself true time and again: Once the public is made to realise that they are impotent and unable to affect change, the ruling elite can hoist almost anything upon them. One affront leads to another, and the common tactic is to follow-up a public outrage with yet another that is even more outrageous. Hence when politicians issue their sexist slurs and the the media reacts to them, the tactic often favoured by some is to reply with a racist slur even more unpalatable to most right-minded adults.

We have seen this strategy employed so often by now: The rise of the extreme Hindu right in India was a case of leap-frogging from one insulting comment against Muslims, Christians and other minorities to the next. Likewise the shift to the right that is seen in Europe today was occasioned by extreme right-wing politicians vying for media attention and out-doing themselves by playing to the gallery.

Malaysia of course is no exception to the rule and during the last five decades the tone and tenor of Malaysian politics has been set by the standards of racialised communitarian politics that is divisive to the country. Again and again we have seen Malaysian politicians come to power by playing the race – and now increasingly religion – card above all else, pandering to their own communities at the expense of the rest. And over the past three years in particular the country has witnessed the rising of its political temperature thanks to the amateurish pyrotechnics of loud politicians standing on the soapbox to play to the communitarians in their midst. The precedent was set three years ago when the leader of the Youth Wing of the ruling UMNO party – Hishamuddin Hussein – brandished a keris – the traditional Malay dagger – in a symbolic act of defiance that many regarded as frothy bravado and little else. In the context of multi-racial Malaysia where racial sensitivities run deep, such gestures can have the effect of antagonising the non-Malay and non-Muslim communities further and deepening the racial divide that already splits the country in many ways. Read the rest of this entry »