Have a Safe Hari Raya

By Kee Thuan Chye
Yahoo! News
August 8, 2013

DO and RE: Selamat Hari Raya, Mi.

MI: And the same to you both.

DO: How has it been?

MI: I think this Raya is not like many other Rayas of the past.

RE: I know what you mean. I feel the same.

MI: Sorry to bring this up on this festive occasion, but things are looking bad.

DO: We must try and look on the bright side, no?

MI: Hard to ignore the bad. My son’s university fees have to be paid soon. You know he’s in the U.S. And the ringgit is getting more and more weak against the U.S. dollar. It’s like after GE13, the ringgit just lost control.

RE: It’s also depressing the Fitch Ratings revised Malaysia’s outlook to negative. The Government has been spending too much and not getting enough revenue. Our credit fundamentals are weak.

DO: We need budgetary reform and increase in our GDP. The PM will have to see to that.

MI: That’s saying the obvious! The government debt has gone up to 53.3 per cent of GDP. Our deficit is up, at 4.7 per cent, compared to 3.8 per cent the year before, and meanwhile we’ll be incurring further deficit. And this year, civil servants have already got two salary increments. A third one is coming in January. The Government is also committed to paying BR1M, this time higher than RM500.

RE (chuckles): Will there be money left for spending on development?

MI: I don’t know what goes on in Najib’s head about development. You look at the 118-storey Warisan Merdeka coming up near KL Chinatown. The development I see there is people connected to the project are going to make a lot of money for themselves.

RE: You read what Zaid Ibrahim said?

MI: Ya, our leaders are not helping to develop the Malays. Instead, they are scaring them about the Chinese, about losing their privileges –

RE: Even about Malay royalty being threatened. And of course, also Islam.

DO: The Malays must surely know these can’t be true.

MI: Then how did Umno win nine parliamentary seats more in GE13?

RE: Zaid’s right. Our leaders should instead equip the Malays with skills, educate them about handling money prudently, make them more competitive, especially students. Get them to excel in their studies. All these are for the good.

DO: True.

MI: I like the word he used – “opiate”.

RE (chuckles): Ya, really strong word. Marx used to say religion was the opiate of the people. For Zaid, it’s Malay rights and everything else related to Malay identity. The Government keeps dishing this out with the promise to uphold these rights, etc. And it numbs many Malays from realising that they are still poor despite these rights.

MI: They don’t realise that the Government that should be helping them is actually not doing much to get them out of poverty.

DO: I think what Najib said in his Raya message is something we should pay attention to, though. At least, we can still celebrate Raya in a peaceful country. (Checks his smartphone for the quote) “So on special occasions such as this, for the sake of our beloved country, foster and continue to sow the seeds of unity among us.”

MI: He should address that specially to his deputy.

RE (chuckles): Heh! That Muhyiddin sounded like a batu api when he said non-Muslims were insulting Islam. Whereas Muslims, he said, did not insult the religion of Christians and Hindus.

MI: He forgot about the cow’s head.

RE: And other incidents.

DO: But he came out later to say he didn’t refer to non-Muslims. He only said, “certain parties”.

RE: Not much difference laa. Besides, as DPM, he shouldn’t be saying such things. But like Zaid said lah, that’s what our leaders do instead of taking real measures to help the Malays – they play with their emotions. They get them angry.

MI: And they’re doing it more and more this time around because the Umno party elections are coming up in a few months.

RE: This is the sickening part lah. We all have to put up with this nonsense because of the party elections. Because the Umno leaders want to get noticed. So they can get elected. Worse than a pack of gorillas.

MI: They take part in all this grandstanding to show they are more Malay than Malay, more Umno than Umno.

RE: Even so, racial politics has never been as bad as it is now. Look at the Seri Pristana school canteen incident. At the racist treatment the whistleblower’s daughter got from her teachers and fellow students. And the Shah Alam school principal who told her students to go back to China and India. These things happen because our leadership is sending out the wrong signals.

DO: I’m just afraid that the way things are going, a racial incident might happen and this could lead to widespread violence.

MI: Actually, that would be a boon for the ruling party. But that’s just my opinion. It’s important now for those who feel provoked to keep cool and not retaliate. Just treat it as part of the silly season before the party elections. And then wait for things to settle down after the elections.

RE: I agree. We need to learn from the past. Don’t give the ruling party any excuse to move in and do something we will all regret.

DO: I agree, too. I prefer harmony. I’m even scared by all these shootings and attempted murders happening the last two weeks. Why all of a sudden so many?

RE: Good question. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Some of the shootings seem so random. People who don’t seem to have a reason to be targeted are also shot at. And the shootings are happening in so many different parts of the country.

DO: Ya, like the assistant shopkeeper in Kulim. The gold merchant in Ampang. The security firm owner in Ipoh. The businessman in Kota Kinabalu. And the man who was shot in Bukit Mertajam. You’re right, it’s all over the country.

MI: Don’t forget the schoolteacher who was shot dead in Kulim on July 18.

RE: And you both haven’t mentioned those who got shot who were ex-convicts. Like the van driver N. Jeevandran in Parit Buntar, and the ex-security guard B. Balamurali who was shot dead in his home in Cheras.

DO: How laa? We have the death penalty for illegal possession of firearms. Are these gunmen licensed owners?

RE: If they’re not, they probably get their guns from somewhere.

MI: Is there a pattern to all this?

RE: I’d like to know.

DO: All I know is, it’s making people more tense.

RE (chuckles): You’d better be on guard every time you see a motorcycle pull up beside your car.

DO: Oh, no! Don’t frighten me more!

RE: And don’t walk on the streets or stand at a traffic light.

DO: But stay at home also not safe!

MI: Well, let’s all try and stay safe. Selamat. Selamat Hari Raya.

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling books No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians and Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More!

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Saturday, 10 August 2013 - 7:25 pm

    With so many shootings going on, I wonder if I still have the mood to celebrate Merdeka Day?

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