Archive for April 2nd, 2008

Hindraf 5 ISA detention – Hamid single-handedly destroying Abdullah’s reputation

Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar is single-handedly destroying the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s reputation that he is belatedly delivering his reform pledges though more than four years behind time by his refusal to immediately and unconditionally releasing newly-elected Selangor DAP State Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah A. Manoharan and four other Hindraf leaders, P. Uthayakumar, V. Ganabatirau, R. Kenghadharan and T. Vasantha Kumar from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention.

Hamid’s comment on Samy Vellu’s call for the release of the five Hindraf activists could be used against the Home Minister himself. Noting Samy Vellu’s claim that his call was not a “publicity stunt”, Hamid said that was “his right as the leader of the Indian community to fight for the cause” and that “if he was in Samy Vellu’s shoes, he might have done the same thing”.

Clearly, Hamid had done the same thing and was not looking at the ISA detention of the Hindraf 5 afresh in the light of the unmistakable message of the March 8 “political tsunami” in wanting an immediate end to injustices and abuses of power like the arbitrary and unjust ISA detention of the Hindraf 5, but was purely looking at the issue in his capacity as an Umno leader who must defend his turf in the upcoming Umno General Assembly, subordinating and sacrificing his Ministerial oath of office to give top priority to national interests as the new Home Minister to steer the country from its past history of human rights violations and abuses of power particularly in ISA detentions.

In obstinately refusing to accede to demands for the immediate and unconditional release of the Hindraf 5, even without calling for an instant review of the ISA detention of the Hindraf 5, Hamid is showing utter contempt of the verdict of the Malaysian voters in the March 8 “political tsunami”. Read the rest of this entry »


Linguistic Supremacy and Hegemony: The Roads Not Taken post-1969

By Farish A Noor

(Below is an excerpt of an essay I am currently writing entitled: “The Many Roads Not Taken post-1969′)

Our failure to develop a Malaysian language for us all:

One of the most glaring failures of the Malaysian nation-building project is our failure to develop a national language that is actually used as the lingua franca of all Malaysians. While the laborious debate over whether BM should be termed ‘Bahasa Malaysia’ or ‘Bahasa Melayu’ has been raging for decades, it is clear that Malaysia’s plural society remains divided along linguistic-cultural lines. The thorny issue of what constitutes the ‘mother tongue’ of so many Malaysians has led to at least one major political conflagration among the component parties of the BN, which in turn was used as the justification for the nation-wide security crackdown called ‘Operasi Lalang’ in 1987. Ironically it is well known to all and sundry that despite the ethno-linguistic posturing of the hot-headed communitarian leaders of the BN over the issue in the 1980s, these very same elites continued to speak to each other in English in private.

The hypocrisy of our leaders – from all parties – on the issue of the national language is something that no mature Malaysian ought to be stranger to by now. In fact, the issue of our national language (or lack of) has been one of the many punching-bags of Malaysian politics and every single communitarian-minded leader has jumped on the linguistic-nationalist bandwagon at least once in his or her political career.

This is perhaps one of the saddest things about Malaysia’s postcolonial politics and the development of Malaysia post-1969: It has been the case that almost every single ambitious and aspiring politician in this country has sought to rise to power by playing the communitarian card, touching on the hot buttons of race and language. It was only recently that BM was re-designated as ‘Bahasa Malaysia’ after it had been re-defined by nationalist politicians as ‘Bahasa Melayu’. The merry-go-round turns until today, and it would be prudent for us to go back to our early history to recover the moment where this country missed the point and went off track for good. Read the rest of this entry »