‘Shooting’ in Parliament

By Mariam Mokhtar

During a parliamentary session last week, Deputy Foreign Minister A Kohilan Pillay called vocal overseas Malaysians “traitors” and said they had “breached loyalty to the King and country”.

He told the Dewan Rakyat: “The ministry monitors the behaviour and actions of not only people from the opposition parties but also tourists and those who reside abroad.”

Kohilan Pillay accused these Malaysians of giving foreigners the “wrong perception” of Malaysia.

But hasn’t he shot himself in the foot with his ludicrous charges?

Malaysians need not bother dishonouring the good name of the country and its leaders. Kohilan Pillay need only search in his own backyard and judge for himself how his government, principally the Umno faction, has tarnished Malaysia’s good name, both within and outside Malaysia.

But he is right. Malaysian missions overseas have an important role in fostering positive relations and promoting Malaysian interests.

In addition, the Prime Minister’s Office would elevate the national agenda, uphold the government’s stand, provide clarification on current political, economic and social developments and rebut any unfounded negative perception of the country.

Kohilan Pillay then revealed how the ministry would monitor foreign media reports and correct any unfounded allegations. If they’re already doing that, why worry?

Even if Malaysians choose not to berate their ministers for corrupt practices, irresponsible behaviour or unfair policies, there is plenty of non-political fodder for citizens who question the morality and poor judgment of their politicians.

A woman was flogged for drinking beer whilst children have been seized because one of their parents converted to Islam. The desecration of the cow’s head, the banning of Bibles, the ‘illegal’ use of the word ‘Allah’, journalists who violated the sanctity of the Catholic mass and the coerced conversions of some of the Orang Asli are a few of the religious injustices.

Men who abandon their wives and who refuse to pay child maintenance need not act responsibly. Their ex-wives can apply for financial aid from a RM15 million state-sponsored slush fund.

Errant husbands who wish to marry again, but without their wives’ permission, may take advantage of a loophole in the Syariah law and re-marry in neighbouring states.

A child as young as 10 is caned for eating the wrong kind of sausage, whilst under-aged teenagers are allowed to marry just so the statistics of illegitimate children and abandoned babies can be kept low.

The rape of Penan women arpenan baram women sexual abuse by loggers ignored and the true original peoples in Peninsular Malaysia – the Orang Asli – are not accorded full bumiputera rights.

The ancestral lands of indigenous folk of Sarawak and Sabah have been seized to make way for monuments to vanity like the Bakun Dam. This and other projects have all but destroyed the biodiversity of the land, caused massive pollution of land, water and air from the activities of mass-logging and oil palm planting. Our rainforests are depleted, risking climate change on a global scale.

People who dared to protest against illegal seizure of their lands have been threatened by thugs or arrested by the police.

Hundreds, including teenagers have been victims of police brutality or have been shot dead, or have died in detention. The public remains helpless.

Even learning institutions are not spared when school heads fail to lead by example and shamelessly espouse racist views.

Malaysia disgraced abroad

If Malaysians abroad are warned about making unfair comments, then the government should also tell certain prominent families that they should also behave properly when in the casinos of London, Monaco and Las Vegas. They should not expect to be bailed out from the public purse.

How about the seizing overseas multimillion-dollar assets and properties of well-connected people who paid for these in money siphoned off from public funds?

How is the Malaysian to defend his or her country when told that members of the Malaysian UN peacekeeping force had disgraced themselves by trashing and vandalising their quarters and desecrating religious symbols in eastern Europe?

How does the ordinary Malaysian feel about having to save hard to take his family on a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ foreign holiday, when those whose job it is to promote Malaysia as a tourism destination, clock up several thousand air-miles and spend a few million ringgit within a matter of months?

In their book ‘Small Acts of Resistance’, ex-journalists and human rights campaigners Steve Cranshaw and John Jackson show how courage, tenacity and ingenuity of ordinary people have managed to change the world.

The book describes how those suffering under repressive governments have managed to effect change, by simple individual actions.

For instance, Radio Solidarity picked up popular support that swept across Poland, by broadcasting ‘illegal’ news bulletins which countered official propaganda. What could the Polish government do? Arrest all the inhabitants of a town or a city?

The Turkish writer Yasar Kemal who wrote an article about brutality against Kurds, found himself charged under the anti-terrorism laws. When authors and publishers came to his defence and produced books and articles in support of Kemal, the authorities found the task of prosecuting hundreds of prominent intellectuals too cumbersome, politically embarrassing and idiotic, so the trials were abandoned.

To rid Peru of corruption and brutality, the public engaged in the mass public laundering of the national flag. Peru’s unpopular president Alberto Fujimori was soon toppled and he was later jailed for his brutal, corrupt rule.

Who knows? Zunar (left) and Radio Free Sarawak might be featured in the next edition of this book.

Kohilan Pillay’s veiled threat is a sign that the government is panicky about the increasing rumblings from citizens.

Perhaps, he should read the book and realise the impact on public lives by the small acts of ordinary people. Will his leaders change their ways? Or will they continue to betray the country and continue the mass theft from the nation and subjugation of its peoples?

The government’s attempts to monitor the actions of its citizens are an ill-use of resources. It may try to jam the airwaves and halt the flow of digital information.

But how will it extinguish the flame of courage, or destroy the human spirit, or quash the tiny acts of bold defiance or witty disobedience in Malaysians who value the ideals of living in a democratic and free society?

  1. #1 by tak tahan on Monday, 29 November 2010 - 10:06 pm

    Bolehland’s idiotic and sickening affairs will become good fodder for comedian.Gold medallist for jaguh kampung and jaguh buffoon.

  2. #2 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 29 November 2010 - 11:15 pm

    I wonder what other real substance has he got, to make these charges against Malaysians who stay abroad? Of course as a Deputy in Foreign affairs , he has plenty of airline time depriving the Indian Quota on overseas travel! he just refuses to see and to tell the truth just because of being made A DEPUTY MINISTER od FOREIGN AFFAIRS!!
    If he is just being truthful to his ancestors, he should just collect the gaji and shut-up.

  3. #3 by drago2008 on Monday, 29 November 2010 - 11:55 pm

    There are so many sycophants in the Govt who will not think twice before they open their foul mouths to talk nonsense and trying to gain brownie points. Kohilan Pillay should have reserved more thoughts about his own kind who are living below the poverty line in the estates instead of being a collaborator and trying to please his master. Same goes for people like that certain Tee guy.

  4. #4 by sojourner on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 12:05 am

    Check out Project Exodus: Living in Exile at http://www.mudframes.com/projects/exodus . I’m sure small acts of referring a suitable candidate and help spreading the word on this initiative counts a lot. It doesn’t take much to ask if someone wants to be photographed or not; neither does it hurt to be photographed yourself if you fit the criteria. I think it’s one of a few brilliant ideas of looking at the issue.

    I’ve spoken to a few friends. Sadly, they dismissed it as “pointless”, and lack of any enthusiasm. Strangely they’re the very people who are vocal about change. But when it comes to spending 35 seconds in facebook to help broadcast this initiative, they give excuses of being the busiest man on earth, needing to work…etc. Rubbish indeed. I’m speechless. That’s our young malaysian generation living in msia.

    I’m sure someone reading this would pick this project up and, given the power of the internet, this would spread like wild fire. Come on guys. It’s just an innocuous photography project. Are you afraid of getting …thrown jail for recommending a friend to be photographed?

    You tell me.

  5. #5 by undertaker888 on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 12:15 am

    kohilan and a snake in the garden. which one would you whack first? i guess that says it all.

    yes we are traitors in revealing their robberies, plunderings, pilferings and so on. if that is considered as traitor, so be it. we are just a traitor to them but not the country.

  6. #6 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 12:16 am

    Those are called ham kah cha.n.Real bitchy prostitutes.No pride,dignity,respect and principle people.

  7. #7 by Thor on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 2:16 am

    Idiots!, I would prefer to call most of them.
    Whenever these bustards open up their blardy mouth, they’re truly real basterd indeed.
    Robber accusing others of robbing and thief accusing others of stealing.
    Dey thamby!!!
    Do you know what a traitor is?
    Well! go and ask your boss wife who loves to masquerade and bestowed herself with the title of “first lady” in front of the world.
    Our king and queen is very much alive, you know, and they’re the only number one in position.
    Got no respect for our queen and really lowered her dignity as well and ai’nt that a traitor?
    Watch your foul mouth, Thambi Kohilan!
    Yuck…! your name really sucks, man!!!

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 4:06 am

    Yabadabadoo! Who r d real traitors?
    Lots of them n we see them everyday!

    UmnoB/BN kakis n their cronies n mah chais who steal fr d rakyat 2 enrich themselves n r leading us to bankruptcy, who divide n rule, who blatantly bend n twist all rules n regulations 2 terrorise d rakyat n hang on 2 their power
    Just look at what goes on in our courts n parliament – traitors who made us all a larfing stock in d eyes of d civilized world
    So, hey A Kohilan Pillay, looking 4 traitors? Look no further, just look WITHIN your BN n there r lots dat u can hang them high

  9. #9 by monsterball on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 7:02 am

    Leave it to a MIC politician to sir up trouble.
    They are very good at that.
    Election is near…..race and religion politics must be intensified…magnified….terrified….diversified….and all the “fied” you can think of.
    MIC must lead in this matter….followed by Perkasa gorillas….to get all frightened and vote for peace.
    This is signs of desparados.

  10. #10 by Comrade on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 8:00 am

    A Kohilan Pillay is yet another creep
    Another one who is talking cheap
    Your own BN backyard is full of “cow d*ng”
    Just take your pay and watch your tongue

    May People Power shows its real colour
    Vote in PR to be our nation’s saviour
    BN must hand over power peacefully
    Carried out in the spirit of democracy

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 9:15 am

    Foreign Ministry’s role is to cultivate and maintain the country’s positive international image. Of course ordinary Malaysians have a part to play in this. We’re not going to have a good image if our citizens use our ingenuity to plan bombing in Bali; or like Lin Mun Poo, hacked into U.S Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and FedComp; or child prodigy Sufiah Yusof, admitted to Oxford University at the age of 13, had taken to hiring herself out over the internet as a prostitute at the rate of £130 per hour.
    But as Mariam Mokhtar suggests none of these individual antics are comparable to antics of Malaysian politicians and elites in shooting down the country’s image by either personal misconduct or mis-governance, which is first cause of ordinary Malaysians abroad criticizing their own country.

    Developing the country’s image or brand – in our case a progressive and harmonious country of multi racial and religious peoples under a competent and legitimate political leadership – is sustainable only if that image is in consistent accord with reality on the ground and not contradicted by desecration of religious symbols, images of places of worship being pelted with Molotov cocktails and vandalized, crime on the streets unabated matched by custodial deaths, all of which arise, one way or another, from misguided, ill conceived, short sighted government ploys and policies, conceived or implemented….

    Because of these kinds of policies we have an Opposition Head charged twice for sodomy with salacious details of soiled mattresses, lewd language and what have you, with Human Rights Watch urging the Malaysian Govt to drop the charges and decriminalize consensual homosexual conduct. How does Foreign Ministry want to repair damage to image of religious tolerance and moderation where women were whipped for drinking a can of beer, or the snatching of bodies in conversion cases? Or restore image of a unified country with one segment of populace feeling entitled to racial supremacy/dominance and the other side feeling alienated, with Opposition leaders’ being called political whores/prostitutes for challenging the very ethnocentric policies that contradict the PM’s central platform of “1 Malaysia” and which his brother had gone on public record as “bastardised” in terms of implementation and cause our standing measured by international indexes on corruption and educational standards to fall ???

    The central point here is that in order for the country’s positive image to be sustainable, the qualities of the nation and its peoples projected must have an authentic foundation. Repeated attempts by advertising, political logos or slogans to develop a positive brand onto a nation that does not have the requisite policies or the quality of politicians to support and legitimate it, will be an exercise in futility!

    On the other hand if the government policies are good and sustainable, individual antics of citizens will be treated an exceptional aberration that does not spoil the overall good image of the country. For example, Singapore still retains its image as disciplined, non-corrupt and squeaky clean no matter that one of her enterprising citizens, Grace Quek @ Annabel Chong, a former pornographic actress now living in the United States, in 1995 set a world record by having 251 sex acts with about 70 men over a 10-hour period.

    Countries generally get the image/reputations they deserve, and more often the bad reputation is not so much due to the dent of isolated individual or even politicians’ peccadilloes of being videotaped in sex acts but due to recurrent effects of bad, unintelligent and contradictory official policies. And the right way to fix that reputation/image is to address and set right the policies (or absence of policies) that caused the reputation in the first instance!

  12. #12 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 9:35 am

    A judge, appointed n sworn 2 upkeep d rule of law, does not allow a defendant complete access 2 documents dat may b used 4 his defence
    Isn’t dis judge unpatriotic n a TRAITOR?

    Teachers who insult their students 2 go back 2 India n China, n stir up racial tension
    R they not TRAITORS?

    MIC politicians who cheated on n exploited Indian Malaysians, including members
    R they not TRAITORS?

    Editors of our msm keep mum abt d atrocious injustice n corruptions committed by BN
    Editors of our msm dare not expose d wrong doings of BN n criticise UmnoB/BN
    R they not TRAITORS?

    N d list of TRAITORS
    goes on n on …………………..

  13. #13 by artemisios on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 10:31 am

    1) Sodomy 2.0

    2) Perak Power Grab

    3) Racist Little Napoleons get away scot free, BUT those who sought justice (reporters, rappers, opposition MPs) get threats/arrested

    4) RM5 billion scrap metal

    5) Mongolian national gets murdered but ZERO justice delivered

    6) Teoh Beng Hock

    7) 14-year old kid drives without license – police SHOOTS him – 19 times – even tried to transform the kid’s shoes into a parang

    8) Our police more interested in setting up road blocks for “kopi” & stopping cars with a lone female driver in the middle of nowhere INSTEAD of fighting crime

    9) PAID protests against opposition-ruled state govts – Just check the back of komtar everytime there’s a protest against Penang Govt. Don’t be surprised when you find 50 empty buses.

    10) “I help you, you help me”

    So, Kohilan Pillay,… you were saying?

  14. #14 by dagen on Tuesday, 30 November 2010 - 11:12 am

    The kohilan remark is much too stupid and need not be given any byte space in this blog site at all.

    Here (digest form) are some interesting news (to me at least):

    1. Dr mamak objects jib’s tower. Huh? But ^%)%$#& but he … what the …

    2. Malaysians endured london sub-zero weather to protest isa. Bravo fellas. Well done. Bravo to all you.

    3. French scopene scandal investigation gathering pace. YES. YES. Chirac is shaking in his boots. And I am believe some one here is defecating in his pants.

    4. Ketuanan Melayu is not about making malays tuans, said kerismudin bin lembudin. Yeah agree. Ask Joe Ahmad. He will agree too. It is about making umnoputras tuans actually.

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