NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Muslim NGO echoes police warning for Kugan’s funeral
Pewaris, a non-governmental Muslim advocacy group, today appealed to MIC president Datuk Seri Samy Vellu to urge the Indian community not to get involved in any protest demonstrations during tomorrow's (yesterday’s) funeral procession for A Kugan, a suspect in a car theft case who died while in police custody.
Pewaris deputy chairman II, Rahimuddin Md Harun, told a press conference here that any protest during the procession was inadvisable as it might offend the sensitivities of others.
Yesterday, Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar issued a warning that police would take stern action if the procession was used to stage illegal protest demonstrations.
Kugan's remains will be brought from the University Malaya Medical Centre near here to the Batu 14 Puchong crematorium for final rites before being cremated. Kugan, 22, was arrested on Jan 15 on suspicion of being involved in the theft of luxury cars. He died on Jan 20 while detained at the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya. The case has been classified as murder. — Bernama 27 Jan 2009
Malaysians want harmony
Malaysians still appreciate peace and harmony and the MCA will play its role to strengthen unity among the various races, said party president Ong Tee Keat. He said the racial composition of guests at the MCA Chinese New Year open house celebrations on Monday was encouraging.
“The joyful celebration at this year's open house shows that the rakyat still appreciates peace and harmony between the races, religions and cultures of this country. As a Barisan Nasional component party, MCA will continue its efforts to further strengthen this unity. Even in other celebrations such as Christmas, we celebrate it Malaysian style,” he said at the open house at Wisma MCA here.
Observing his first Chinese New Year as MCA president, Mr Ong said he was confident that the positive and hardworking attitude of Malaysians' would help the country pull through global financial crisis.
Mr Ong said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sent his wishes but could not attend the open house celebration at the last minute as he was unwell. 'I was informed by the Prime Minister's office this morning (Monday morning) that he is not well. I hope he gets well soon,' he added.
Meanwhile, party vice-president Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said he was happy to see people from all walks of life attend the open house. “I hope this merry occasion will continue and that the spirit of unity can be strengthened. What is important is that we all must work together. Let's lift our spirits in the Year of the Ox and may we emulate the strength of the ox to work hard in facing the challenges,” he added.
Former MCA president Ong Ka Ting, who was also present, said it was important to stand united during this challenging period. “I hope the Government will make more strategic policies and that the rakyat will be more prudent and continue to work hard as many things still need to be done,” he added.
MIC president S. Samy Vellu said unity among races was still strong and should always be cherished. “Even overseas, Malaysians, regardless of race are proud to say they are from Malaysia. This unity is in our hearts and cannot be changed,” he said when met at the Gerakan open house at Wisma PGRM.
Gerakan president Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the auspicious occasion was an opportunity to learn from the spirit of the ox which represents perseverance, dedication and loyalty. -- THE STAR/ANN 28 Jan 2009
Worse situation if change is delayed: Muhyiddin
The Barisan Nasional (BN) should take drastic action to arrest the decline in support. And, the ruling coalition of 13 political parties should do this fast, Umno Deputy President aspirant Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Saturday.
"We are not concerted in our efforts. Because we are late in instituting changes, many think that Umno will not change. If we take too long a time to change, the people will not wait for us. The pre-March 2008 (the last general election where the BN lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament) situation still has not changed. We must be more effective and do extraordinary things in extraordinary times," he said at the prize-giving ceremony of the Tan Sri Muhyiddin charity golf tournament at the MINES Golf and Beach Resort, here.
Muhyiddin, who is also International Trade and Industry Minister, said it was not only Umno - the backbone of the BN - that needed to change, but also all other component parties.
"The longer we wait to initiate changes, the longer we change, the situation gets worse. The people are not going to wait for us. We also have to look at the BN component parties, be it MCA, Gerakan, MIC or other component parties. We need drastic changes and Umno must take the lead in this. We are fearful of the situation. There are many programmes that must be implemented and grassroots leaders must work with the leaders at the top to institute these changes," he said.
On the economy, the Minister said Malaysia was far better in facing the latest global economic crisis than many other nations. Muhyiddin, who accompanied Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his just-concluded visit to Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates said although the nation was not in economic recession, the global economic situation was not getting any better.
"There are some sub-sectors which have already reported a downturn in exports. Electronics and electrical industries have already been hit. The first economic stimulus package is just a start. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also Finance Minister, has announced that there is a possibility of a second stimulus package. Malaysians must remain resilient. Although we are not in recession, we must take steps to cushion the impact of the crisis," he added.
Meanwhile, the charity golf tournament Saturday netted RM20,000, which was handed over to the Gaza Humanitarian Fund run by Berita Harian. – Bernama 28 Jan 2009
How many of you detected the ‘hidden messages’ and the contradictions in the message by the Malays compared to the non-Malays? And I must add that as much as I do not like to use the terms ‘Malays’ and ‘non-Malays’, I have no choice because this is how the mainstream media and the politicians always talk. So I have to use the ‘normal’ vocabulary or else many may not understand what I am saying.
How would the citizens of America be called? Would the ‘original’ inhabitants of the land be called ‘Indians’, or ‘Red Indians’, and the immigrant British, Italians, Germans, Jews (from Russia, Germany, Italy, France, the Middle East, etc.), Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Malaysians, Indonesians, Filipinos, and what have you, be called ‘non-Indians’ or ‘non-Red Indians’?
I am just using the ‘agreed’ standards adopted by Malaysia. The Malay, the ‘Lord of the Land’, is called Bumiputera, or son-of-the soil, and all those who came slightly later are called non-Bumiputera.
Okay, I know this opens up an entirely new debate. What about Tian Chua, some may ask, whose family came to this country 500 years ago, and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose father was born in India? Mahathir is Bumiputera and Tian Chua is non-Bumiputera. If ‘he who came first to Malaya’ is the yardstick, then Tian Chua would be Bumiputera and Mahathir would be non-Bumiputera, many will argue.
Unfortunately, it does not work that way at all. Even if Mahathir himself were born in India and even though Tian Chua is 20th generation Melaka Malaysian, Mahathir would still be Bumiputera and Tian Chua would be non-Bumiputera. And that is why I, who was born in England, am also Bumiputera, while many of you whose grandfathers and/or grandmothers were born in this country are non-Bumiputera.
Now, before you scream ‘not fair’, remember, life is never fair. So quit grumbling like a good non-Bumiputera. You are the ‘pendatang’ whether you like it or not.
Okay, let us look at what Pewaris said: any protest during the procession was inadvisable as it might offend the sensitivities of others. He meant, of course, the sensitivities of the Malays when he said ‘others’. ‘Others’ here means those who are not Indian. He knows the Chinese will not be sensitive about the matter so he did not think that ‘others’ meant Chinese as well.
Saying that Malaysia’s race relations has improved is not enough, especially when it is Barisan Nasional politicians who are talking. This is mere rhetoric and even those making the statements know this is true. We need to do more than just talk. We need to act as well.
How can we explain why an estimated 90% of those who die in custody are Indians when Indians are not 90% of those behind bars? I have been behind bars many times myself and I can tell you that those who share the prisons or detention centres with me are not 90% Indians. In fact, 90% of the ISA detainees are Malays while the majority of those under EO are Chinese (with quite a number of Indians as well of course). In the lockups, more than half are Malays. In some lockups, depending on where it is, it is an almost all-Malay population.
This means the high number of Indians killed behind bars does not reflect the proper ‘racial quota’. Is it any wonder that the Indians are upset? And if the Indians demonstrate their unhappiness, who are those ‘others’ who are going to become ‘sensitive’ about it? Certainly not the Indians, and the Chinese could not care a damn.
The Malays and Barisan Nasional politicians must guard what they say. What comes out of their mouths reflect what’s in their minds. And what’s in their minds is that Malay ‘sensitivities’ come first and the sensitivities of all others are not important. How can we shout about how much improved Malaysia’s race relations are when what you say does not give this impression?
Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN) once threw a dinner party back in 1999 (before it became PKR) and the food had beef in everything, even in the vegetables. I asked the organiser why he did not provide for a vegetarian alternative for the Hindus and vegetarians. Even the vegetables were ‘not halal’ to Hindus and vegetarians.
The reply the organiser gave me was that Malaysia is a Muslim country so they have prepared a ‘halal’ menu according to the Muslim tradition. The non-Muslims will have to learn to live with this, the organiser added. They can always not touch the food, the organiser said.
Why would anyone want to come to a dinner party and not eat the food? Would they rather not come? The late MGG Pillai pointed this out to me and said that keADILan should be more sensitive to the feelings of those who are Hindus or vegetarians. At least one vegetarian table should have been prepared, he said.
I apologised to Mr Pillai and promised to take him to dinner later to make up for it. “Oh, it’s not about me,” he replied. “I am just pointing it out to you.” And he went and whacked the chicken and fish. Mr Pillai was not grumbling because he could not eat what had been prepared. He was more concerned about the party’s image and what people might say about a ‘multi-racial’ party that caters only to the Muslim diet and tells those guests who can’t eat the food to “jangan makanlah kalau tak boleh makan.”
Malays are always concerned about their ‘sensitivities’. But when others also get ‘sensitive’, the Malays get upset and get the impression that the non-Malays are becoming too much and too demanding. This is a Malay country. Why are the non-Malays complaining so much? If they don’t like it then why not they go back to India or China or wherever they came from?
But that’s just the point. They came from Malaysia, just like everyone else. They can’t go back to China or India. They did not come from China or India. They came from a town somewhere in Malaysia, the place where they were born. And they are as Malaysian as everyone else. How to make the Malays understand this?
There is no way we can reinstall the program in their heads. We can’t even reformat the hard disk. The old program is so corrupted and the hard disk practically destroyed. We need to buy a totally new hard disk. This is what Malaysia and its race relations have been reduced to.
Indonesia is not safe for the Chinese, many Malays will tell you. They kill Chinese in Indonesia. And that is why many Chinese have left Indonesia and have migrated to another country. The Chinese are more fortunate in Malaysia. In no other country are the Chinese as lucky as the Chinese in Malaysia. This is the belief of most Malays.
Well, in November 2008, Indonesia passed the Non-discrimination Act (UU No. 62/58) that makes it a crime to discriminate against any ethnic group. Indonesia’s aim is to unite all the races. Sure, there may have been problems in Indonesia in the past. Malaysia too has been having problems on and off since even before Merdeka. But Indonesia is trying to change all that. Malaysia is not only perpetuating racial problems but we even have institutionalised racial discrimination.
Indonesia is no longer the ‘cowboy’ country that it once was. It has taken a giant leap into the new Millennium. They even give the opposition parties equal time on the government-owned television networks. Malaysia, unfortunately, is now far behind Indonesia. I know many Malaysian Chinese who have shifted their business interests to Indonesia. If we are not careful all our money is going to exodus to our neighbour and one day, soon, we are going to be poorer than that largest Muslim country in the world.
Then what will come next? Indonesian maids will stop coming here to work? Instead, Malays will go to Indonesia to work as maids? Don’t laugh! It not only is not funny, it can even happen, though maybe not in the immediate future.
In the 1960s, the Pakistanis used to go to England to work as labourers. 50 years on and many Pakistanis are now the towkays while the ‘whites’ work for them. Stand on Oxford Street and see for yourself. Look at all the Rolls Royces passing by. The ‘white skins’ are driving the cars while the ‘brown skins’ sit in the back seats. Okay, some Pakistanis still work as the kuli. Not all are towkays. But the streets are no longer being swept by the ‘brown skins’. The ‘white skins’ do that dirty job. And the ‘white skins’ rent apartments owned by the ‘brown skins’.
Muhyiddin Yassin talks about Umno going downhill and what they should do about it. The problem is, he is totally clueless about the reason. The doctor can’t cure the disease until he can diagnose what is wrong with you. My late father was suffering from heartburn, said his doctor, and he recommended anti-acid tablets. After he suffered a heart attack and died at a young age of 40 plus, the doctor said maybe it was not heartburn after all. Maybe it was a mild heart attack that became worse because it was not treated.
A friend of mine, DJ Tate, went to the Tawakal hospital because he was not feeling well. Just fatigue, said the doctor, go home and rest. Tate phoned me to tell me he would not be joining me at Anwar Ibrahim’s house for tea that day. He was not feeling well, he said. He hung up, slumped into the chair, and died within seconds. Five minutes later the wife phoned to say that Tate had died. I was shocked. I spoke to him barely a few minutes before that.
Yes, unless the doctor knows what is wrong with you he might recommend an afternoon nap or some anti-acid tablets. You then lie down and die. Umno needs a better doctor than all those quacks. It is dying, not just tired. And unless they treat it with the right medication Umno is going to soon be buried like how I buried my father and Mr. Tate.