Friday, September 5, 2014

BARU BIAN: Najib’s hollow lip-service to 1Malaysia

5 September 2014
It was with more than a touch of cynicism that I read about the PM’s assurance to the people that the government remains committed to the 1Malaysia philosophy and will ensure that every citizen has a place under the Malaysian sun. It is easy to say the right things, especially when reading from a prepared script, but we have been witnessing so many instances of perceived repression and selective persecution by the authorities that it only makes the PM’s assurance sound sadly insincere.

The relentless charging of opposition politicians and even academics for sedition during the past few weeks suggests a crackdown by the government against voices of dissent, reminiscent of Ops Lalang. The lame statement by the PM’s office that sedition charges are a ‘court-matter’ and nothing to do with the government was met with sarcasm and incredulity. The PM and his officers should give the citizens some credit for intelligence and think carefully before feeding us with such inane excuses. Besides, the PM had insisted that the Sedition Act will be repealed – he even said it on the BBC in London last year. Why are the authorities still laying charges under this outdated act if it is to be repealed?

If the PM is serious about moderation and the 1Malaysia concept, let him speak up on issues that are truly a threat to our harmony and unity.

One such incidence is the Jemaah ISIS calling for the people of Sabah and Sarawak to be slaughtered because they are ‘kapir’ (infidel), and insulting the ‘semi-naked’ Dayaks in Sarawak. These seditious and racist remarks are intended to cause hatred and instability amongst the races. Why are these Jemaah ISIS people not being arrested for sedition and criminal intimidation?

Then there was the incident where PERMAS and other Council of Islamic NGOs at their chicken blood and ‘Reward for Slapping Teresa Kok’ stunt in February called for non-Bahasa Malaysia speaking people to leave Malaysia. No-one from these groups was charged for their shocking actions – in fact, the Home Minister freely shared his opinion that the threat to slap Teresa Kok was not an offence.

The Malay/Islamic supremacist groups in this country have become bolder in their outrageous behavior and their hate-inciting tirades because our leadership has been pandering to them, fearful about offending them. The fact that they are now training their sights of the Borneo states and our people should be a warning sign to the PM and his ministers. Our indigenous people have been here longer than some of these extremist racists have been in Peninsula Malaysia. Some of our people who live in the interior still speak their own languages and no Bahasa Malaysia. Where do these arrogant extremists think our people should go? This land is our land and we will not be bullied by ignorant racists and bigots.

The people of Sabah and Sarawak have been marginalized and disenfranchised for decades. Do we now have to put up with insults from people who have benefitted from our sacrifices? Just last week, there were reports that the army had rejected outright Dayak applicants just because they had tattoos. Although the Army Commander said that there is no such law, there was no denial that such practices were actually carried out. This has caused much unhappiness among our Dayak community. All these incidences are giving the secessionist groups’ justification for their cause and attracting support for them. The authorities should take note.

Our Home Minister has consistently been reported and now appears to be a minister for only select groups of people, judging from the statements he has been making and the statements of others he has been echoing. Calling other races arrogant (or insolent) is fine for those like him, but opposition members and academics are hauled up and charged for saying perfectly harmless things. This assault on the people’s freedom of expression is a retrograde move which will backfire on the PM’s government.

If the PM is really serious about 1Malaysia, he should start behaving like the PM for all and show some real leadership. It is clear as day that the authorities are practising selective persecution while the PM chooses to remain silent on these inflammatory and divisive matters. His so called elegant silence ceased to be elegant many moons ago and is now only pathetically deafening and dismal. While other neighbouring countries are progressing and prospering, Malaysia is regressing to the dark ages of repression, persecution and intimidation with the added aggravation of hateful actions by emboldened religious bigots and racists. Is the hopeless and emasculated leadership going to allow this country to self-destruct and burn? Or will they cease harassing opposition members and right-minded citizens and start taking serious steps to stop the dangerous racial and religious bullying by the bigots? Is this too much to ask from the BN leaders?


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