Najib should show immediate leadership to end the unprecedented racist nastiness arising from poor Umno/BN performance in 13GE or he would have reneged from his promise to be Prime Minister for all Malaysians

The 13th General Elections results on May 5, 2013 have caused double disappointments, as both the contending coalitions, the Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional, have different reasons to be upset by them.

Pakatan Rakyat supporters are rightly outraged that the victory due to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat, as testified by the 51% popular vote for Pakatan Rakyat as compared to 47% popular vote for Barisan Nasional, have been snatched away from them because of the dirtiest general elections in the nation’s history.

Barisan Nasional leaders and strategists on the other hand are exasperated that their triple strategies of “Money Money Money”, “Lies Lies Lies” and “Fear Fear Fear” had failed to achieve their intended results, viz recapture of two-thirds parliamentary majority and regaining the state government in Selangor.

But what is of great concern to all thinking, rational and patriotic Malaysians is the unprecedented racist nastiness which have been allowed to surface and gain momentum in the two weeks after the 13th General Election results – initiated of all persons by Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself when he dismissed the 13GE results as a “Chinese tsunami” when it was a Malaysian and urban tsunami.

Najib’s deplorable statement was the signal for the race-baiting and further racial polarization in the past fortnight, such as the provocative and inflammatory Utusan Malaysia (UMNO organ) front-page headline “Apa Lagi Cina Mahu”; former Court of Appeal judge Mohd Noor Abdulla’s incendiary speech pitting the Malays against the Chinese, which I described as the most racist and seditious speech made publicly in the past 44 years; UiTM pro-chancellor Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Rahman Arshad revealing he was a “closet racist” when he was Director-General of Education when he called for the abolition of Chinese and Tamil vernacular schools; and worst of all, the call by some Malay groups to boycott Chinese businesses as a form of vendetta for the 13GE results.

It cannot escape notice of Malaysians and impartial observers, whether in the country or abroad, that during the 13GE campaign and after, it was the UMNO/BN parties and leaders who were guilty of indulging in communal campaigning and race-baiting, starting with the baseless, mischievous and malicious allegation by former Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir, that I was contesting in Gelang Patah to cause a “racial confrontation” and that I was urging the Chinese to hate the Malays.

In contrast, the Pakatan Rakyat leaders whether from DAP, PKR and PAS, were asking Malaysian voters to reject and rise above the past politics of race, corruption and cronyism and embrace the new politics transcending race about their common Malaysian identity, integrity, freedom and good governance!

We are now starting the third week after the 13th GE results of May 5. Najib has wasted too much time and he should show immediate leadership to end the unprecedented racist nastiness arising from poor Umno/BN performance in 13GE or he would have failed and reneged from his promise to be Prime Minister for all Malaysians.

It is not just ordinary Malaysians as well as impartial observers inside and outside the country who can see that it is the irresponsible UMNO/BN elements especially Utusan Malaysia who are responsible for the unprecedented racist nastiness in the country.

This is also very obvious to non-partisan civil servants in the country, as evident from the interview given by the National Unity and Integration Department director-general Datuk Azman Amin Hassan in New Straits Times yesterday, who called for an end to the racist “blame game” after the 13GE, and admitted that the “emerging trend” in the 13GE with “young Malaysians voting across the racial lines” is “a sign of unity”.

Is Najib and the Cabinet at its first meeting on Wednesday prepared to fully endorse Azman’s statements?

Azman’s interview with NST reporter Tan Choe Choe should be compulsory reading for all Cabinet Ministers before their first meeting on Wednesday.

Better still, Azman should be invited to give a briefing about the new racial nastiness which have surfaced in the country after the 13GE results and which must be ended immediately with leadership by example by Najib and the Cabinet if all the talk of “national reconciliation” is to have any meaning.

I commend the following sections of Azman’s interview for special attention by Najib and his new Cabinet:

Question: What prompted you to call on politicians and the media to stop inciting racial tension on May 13?

Answer: After GE13 (the 13th General Election), some people were taken aback and started this blame game, even though Barisan Nasional won with a simple majority.

There was unhappiness expressed against the Chinese and all that. This is bad for the nation. We’ve got to look at what really happened, what caused the shift in Chinese support — and it isn’t communal or racist. It was a breakdown of MCA’s strength within BN because of a leadership tussle. From interacting with them, I found that they don’t see anyone up there in MCA (that they recognise) as their leader. There is a vacuum in BN, so, there was a shift in the Chinese vote towards DAP because the latter was very strategic. The same goes for Gerakan. The Chinese feel none of these parties were aggressive enough in fighting for their rights. We should look at the issue from many perspectives, but there are people who just looked at it along racial lines.

Question: It’s easier to talk about it along racial lines.

Answer: It’s easier, yes. But what we should do now is move forward, to look at Malaysia first. The nation should come first, not political parties or our differences. If we want to look at our differences and condemn each other, there’s no end to it. There’s a new cabinet now and a new government — let’s see how we can reconcile with each other. We need to come together, to have this strength and move forward.

On May 28, our department is inviting some academicians, community leaders and politicians to give their comments on what actually happened at GE13 and after that, what’s the next step for the country. This is what we should do when we look at reconciliation and there’s still hope that we can resolve this issue amicably. Yes, as Malaysians we will face this kind of problem from time to time, this kind of flaring of tempers, but we will cool off soon after and be more sensible and less sensitive. But we need some intervention because if we let it (fester), it will be bad for Malaysia.

Question: Why is it always easier to fall back on race?

Answer: In Malaysia, our politics is still race based, so there’s still this demarcation by race when it comes to the election. But there’s been a shift — not just the Chinese shift to DAP. I’ve talked to the youths and the Malay Pas boys told me that they voted for DAP. They told me it’s because they are Pakatan — that there’s an understanding between Pas and DAP.

Ten years ago, you would never see an Indian boy or a Chinese boy voting for Pas and you would never see Pas supporters voting for DAP — never. Yet today, we can see this happening, especially among young voters. They are different.

So, this is (a demonstration of) the democratic space that we have today. It is transparent, everyone has a chance to vote and this is a new emerging trend we can see among youths.

Question: Are you happy to see this? I mean it seems to show that the people are really coming together to vote across racial lines.

Answer: Yes, you’re right. When they talk about the democracy, this is the real thing that’s happening at the grassroots level.

In that sense it is good. But when people are not happy with the results, when they have lost or when they didn’t win enough because they didn’t get a two-thirds majority, they don’t feel it (is a positive thing). To get a two-thirds majority in the world today is not easy any more, even a simple majority is good enough in the politics of today but these are the things that the old-timers are not willing to accept. This is the gap between the young and the old-timers like me. The way we think is different.

It’s Gen Y — they are all for the new media and they interact easily on it and you can see a lot of things are bridging the gaps (between the races). They interact with each other on issues. In that sense, they are more open.

Question: So, these youths are exposed and deliberating more on national issues than ever before?

Answer: Yes, they are more interactive. So we, the ones more used to the conventional ways, must adjust. These youngsters have a very different way of thinking. This has been expressed in 2008 and more so now in GE13. The new media is very influential because even if the information they get may not be correct, they tend to believe it because everyone else is talking abut it.

Elsewhere in his interview, when asked about the role of the media in the race-baiting and racial polarization during and after the 13GE results, Azman said:

Question: What about the media?

Answer: When I read some of the headlines, I felt it was too much. I was very alarmed and very concerned about it. Even though it was meant for Malay readers, the way the arguments went could incite the general public. It was worrisome and I think the Home Ministry should intervene and put a stop to it, not only to that paper, but any other paper that crosses that line. We need to give a balanced report. In a multicultural and multiracial society, we should be conscious about these things. But sometimes when I read the paper, (it feels like) they have also lost their minds; they became very emotional and hit (certain communities) hard. It’s very bad for nation-building.

I fully share in Azman’s reactions, concerns, fears and hopes. The question is whether Najib and his Cabinet Ministers are on the same page as the National Unity and Integration Department Director-General and whether the first Cabinet meeting on Wednesday will send out a clear and unmistakable message to end the new racist nastiness in the country, including action by the Home Ministry against Utusan Malaysia for its spate of irresponsible, racist, provocative, inflammatory and seditious articles both before and after the 13GE.

Only yesterday, Mingguan Malaysia carried lies about “Red Bean Army” – “pasukan tentera siber tajaan DAP iaitu Red Bean Army (RBA)…bertanggungjawab menyebarkan bagitu banyak fitnah serta tohmahan yang membahayakan ketenteraman awam…mengapi-apikan sentiment anti-Islam, anti-Raja Melayu dan anti-Melayu”.

These are downright lies and falsehoods, and I am hearing of “Red Bean Army” for the first time!
This is not the first time Utusan Malaysia has concocted lies about DAP – who will forget its monstrous lie about the DAP wanting to create a Christian Malaysia?

At the end of his interview, Azman said the National Unity and Integration Department “is ready to move forward”. The more important question is whether Najib and his Cabinet are ready to move forward by ending the unprecedented racist nastiness initiated by irresponsible and disloyal individuals and groups. Is Utusan “ready to move forward”?

  1. #1 by Jeffrey on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 11:30 am

    Leadership is difficult when the leadership position at helm of party itself depends throughout on the appeasing of extremist and reactionary faction within the party.

  2. #2 by bruno on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 11:35 am

    I think that Najib is lost for words.Must be gasping.

  3. #3 by Jeffrey on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 12:06 pm

    Right from beginning when the PM introduced NEM, the Perkasa chief in a one-day Bumiputera Economic Congress held on 29th May 2010 bashed the NEM for sidelining of Malay interests which resulted in the PM’s rolling back on his initial deconstruction of the NEP plans and saying that he would never unroll that which his father as architect had started. That was then. Now the point will be made to him that he doesn’t need Non Malay votes to win the GE – but he needs their votes to stay in party helm.

  4. #4 by Cinapek on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 12:07 pm

    I salute National Unity and Integration Department director-general Datuk Azman Amin Hassan and his courage for saying what needs to be said. People like him and Air Asia X’s CEO are like beacons in these troubled times of extreme racism. Many right thinking people can see what is wrong and damaging to the country but does have the platform or the avenue to say these things without being dragged into court on trumped charges of sedition.

    But sadly, I have a feeling courageous people such as Datuk Azman Amin would not be able to survive long in the public sphere. The bigots in the BN administration will be screaming for his head. And I think he knows this too but still went ahead for love of King and country.

    “Learned” people like the retired Court of Appeal judge and the UITM Pro Chancellor are the other extreme and chose to fan further the anti Chinese sentiments despite the overwhelming evidence that says otherwise. I have a simple question for the ProChancellor. He has asked for the vernacular schools to be abolished to promote unity among the young. By the same token, is he prepared to open up the various elite residential schools, Mara Science schools and UITM to the other races? He must not practise double standards. Practise what you preach.

    Utusan has asked “apa Cina lagi mau?” I would like to ask “apa UMNO lagi mau?”

    The Govt is controlled by UMNO/Malays
    All Govt institutions are majority Malays.
    The PDRM and Armed Forces are predominantly Malay and all the top officers are Malays.
    All GLCs are controlled by Malays
    The plantation industry are controlled by Malays
    The banking industry are controlled by Malays
    The judiciary are predominantly Malay and the top jurists are mostly Malays.
    The transport industry are controlled by Malays
    The list goes on……

    So why do we still have this Chinese bashing?

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 2:46 pm

    A weak leader cannot lead. He has to bend, sway and appease all the time according to the circumstances. This leads to flip-flop ‘leadership’ which cannot last very long. Don’t expect very much from Najib as his priority is now focused on his very own survival at the up-coming party polls. Further, his very poor choice of Cabinet ministers, from a very untalented pool, has clearly defined what the country is in for – mediocrity.

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 4:07 pm

    I think Zahid Hamidi should stop insulting China.
    China has a long memory – as long as the GREAT WALL and great learning as ancient as 3,000 BC, I think.

    To Chinese, Zahid is a young upstart throwing a temper tantrum. If he were not the HOME minister, no one would care 2 hoots. But as the home minister, what he has said is totally unacceptable.


    Zahid must now resign. Period.

  7. #7 by kseanggoh on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 7:02 pm

    I do not understand why Pakatan Raykat’s leadership, Dato Seri Anwar, Dato Seri Tok Guru Hadi Awang and Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh cannot together issue a strong statement to censor him, after all you all now are speaking for the majority of the population. This would diffuse the racial situation and have an upperhand on the BN by being the party for all races.

  8. #8 by tuahpekkong on Monday, 20 May 2013 - 11:57 pm

    Najib and many of his Cabinet Ministers from UMNO are certainly on a different page from the National Unity and Integration Department DG. Instead of endorsing Azman’s statements, they may even want him to retire early. Azman was expressing an impartial view, to UMNO radicals like Dr M, being fair to others means being unfair to them. So to them Azman’s views were unfair. After over 30 years of publishing lies and falsehoods, Utusan has now become a consummate liar.

You must be logged in to post a comment.