Is it worth it for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to abandon his signature 1Malaysia Policy and the Global Movement of Moderates initiative for the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Malay rally?
These are the two major policy initiatives Najib would want to be remembered as his legacy as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia – one his local contribution to Malaysian nation-building and the other his contribution to global politics beset by the trials and tribulations caused by intolerance, bigotry, extremism and terrorism.
But in one fell stroke, he had destroyed both – and all for the placebo effect of the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Malay Rally in Kuala Lumpur!
One sycophant had described the “red show of force” at the Sept. 16 rally as “a signal that Malays have the numbers to defend their hold on political power and fill the streets with raw energy”, but the Malay hold on political power was never an issue, as at stake is only the question of the hold to political power of Najib and the UMNO incumbents.
The Bersih 4 overnight rally for 34 hours on August 29 and 30 was never an anti-Malay rally or a Chinese “show of force” to challenge Malay political power, which was why the participants came from Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, age, gender or politics and why there was never any fear of any racial conflict or clashes, as the “ammunition” some of the hundreds of thousands who took part in the Bersih 4 rally were armed with were just “smelling salts” and “goggles” as their only worry about the disruption to peace and social harmony were the police tear gas and water cannons.
It is true that Malay participation on the first day of the Bersih 4 rally was quite low, but this was more than made up on the second day of Bersih 4 with Malay participation reaching some 40% – as well as made up by the predominant Malay participation in previous Bersih rallies – 80% Malays in Bersih 1 in 2007, 70% Malays in Bersih 2 in 2011 and 60% Malays in Bersih 3 in 2012.
The Sept. 16 Red Shirts Malay Rally was a different creature altogether right from the start of its announcement immediately after Bersih 4, thick with racial charges and incitement, even with the imagery of a “racial bloodbath” with screaming slogans like “Kebangkitan Maruah Melayu”.
But the last things on the mind of the organisers of the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Malay rally were “Maruah Melayu” or “Maruah Malaysia”, as there had no interest whatowever for the issues which gravely undermined the honour and dignity of Malaysians and Malays, like the twin mega scandals of RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in the Prime Minister’s personal banking accounts, and the dangers of Malaysia faced in ending up as a rogue state with the collapse of the rule of law and a failed state with rampant corruption, socio-economic injustices and breakdown of good governance in the country.
The mystery as to who was behind the Sept. 11 Red Shirt Malay rally was solved with the Prime Minister’s trio of activities connected with it, viz:
1. Admission that the Red Shirts Rally was basically to show support to Najib when Kelantan UMNO leader, Tan Sri Annuar Musa announced the end of the Sept. 16 rally at Padang Merbok (lasting four hours instead of the scheduled 10 hours) that the Prime Minister called and conveyed from Kota Kinabalu his appreciation for the support shown to his leadership.
2. Najib’s praise and justification for the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Malay rally in an audio clip uploaded on his blog two days ago.
3. Najib defence of the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Malay rally as “a manifestation of the rise of Malays to defend their dignity and the country’s leadership from being condemned and humiliated” when addressing the Pesaka Assembly at Datarian Merdeka on Friday night.
In his speech, Najib said even though several illegal rallies had been held before this to challenge the dignity of the Malays, they were patient. But the Bersih 4 rally was the turning point when several participants went beyond the limit by stomping on the picture of national leaders and insulting the country’s leadership.
He said: “Slapped once, we did not do anything. The second time…nothing…the third time…nothing…but the fourth time had crossed the limit. Malays also have rights.
“The Malays will stand up when their pride is scarred, when their leader is insulted, condemned and humiliated. It’s enough, do not repeat such vengeful acts.”
Nobody had challenged the fact that the three previous Bersih rallies were dominated by Malays, who comprised some 80% in Bersih 1, 70% in Bersih 2 and 60% in Bersih 3.
Are we going to have a new myth and fable that Malay rights, honour and dignity were “slapped” once, twice and thrice in the three previous Bersih rallies?
The couple of youngsters who had foolishly stomped on the pictures of Najib and Hadi Awang must have gravely regretted that their folly and stupid acts had been used to unleash a storm of racism in the country.
Both DAP and Bersih 2 leaders had taken the first opportunity to deplore the stomping on the pictures of Najib and Hadi, and I agree with T.K.Chua a Malaysiakini reader who said in his letter that while the stomping on the pictures was not the right thing to do, “it is how we react to that stomping that defines our dignity”.
What Chua wrote deserve consideration:
“In any political event, it is always important to look at the intent. The intent of the Bersih 4 rally was not to insult a particular race or religion. It was to demand for good governance, strong institutions and clean government. These are universal objectives, certainly not with parochial, seditious or incendiary intention.
“Bersih can’t be held responsible for the idiosyncrasies of all individuals participating in the rally. Inevitably some will be more overzealous than others. However, did those who stomp on the picture did so because Najib and Hadi are Malays and Muslims? How about they stomped on the picture because Najib and Hadi have failed them as their leaders?
“I think there are subtle differences which we must take cognisance. I would prefer to think that it is not about race or religion; it is about frustration, unmet expectation and anger.”
Whatever the reasons, Malaysians should not stomp on the pictures of leaders as it is so easy for the whole episode to be distorted and misunderstood.
Be that as it may, the question Najib should himself ponder long and hard is whether it is worthwhile for him to abandon his two policy initiatives, the 1Malaysia Policy and the Global Movement of Moderates initiative, just for the sake of holding the Sept. 16 Red Shirts Malay rally?
Is it still possible for Najib to resuscitate and rescue the 1Malaysia and Global Movement of Moderates initiatives from oblivion or the graveyard?