COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
February 03, 2014
Can Malaysians take a joke? Can Malaysians take satire or parodies?
Well, it would seem that there is a segment of society that takes offence at jokes, satires or parodies – and these people are usually your generic Umno member.
This past few days, Malaysians have been treated to the spectacle of some Umno members, including Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, taking offence at Seputeh MP Teresa Kok’s Lunar New Year greeting video clip.
And they want action taken against her, notwithstanding that she has a right to self-expression and not be dictated by others on what she should say in her new year greeting and how she should say it.
Has Malaysia reached a point where everything said is seen as an attack against Umno or the Malays?
Every right-thinking Malaysian (this excludes Umno) should defend this right because it is easy to see where the likes of Shafie Apdal are taking this although Kok has denied the satirical video clip she uploaded on YouTube a few days ago was an insult to the Malays, the security forces, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife.
“I hope they stop it as the false allegations can cause racial tension. They should research on Mandarin and Cantonese before making baseless accusations as they are only embarrassing themselves,” said Kok, who is also a DAP national vice-chairman.
Kok said the video, titled ‘Onederful’ Malaysia CNY 2014, was meant to be humorous and directed at those who spoke Mandarin and Cantonese.
The thing is, any video or writing critical of Umno and the government is being framed in racial and religious terms.
And if Umno cannot control the discourse by demolishing the argument, it will want to intimidate Malaysians by constantly waving threats of punitive action. That would be the only way to shut criticisms.
Or as Kok suspects, Umno’s intention in playing the racial card could be a ploy to divert the rakyat’s attention from the real issues affecting Malaysians, like the rising cost of living.
Such games and diversions are not necessary. Counter her arguments if need be but without threat, which has now made her video clip even more popular.
That popularity does not make satire a national threat. It just makes the accusers a bigger joke. – February 2, 2014.