Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Umno under threat, not Malays and Islam, forum told


BY LEE SHI-IAN

Published: 25 November 2014


National laureate A. Samad Said says it is absurd for Malays and Islam to be under threat in Malaysia when all the positions of power are filled by Malays. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, November 25, 2014.

National laureate A. Samad Said says it is absurd for Malays and Islam to be under threat in Malaysia when all the positions of power are filled by Malays. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, November 25, 2014.
Malays and Islam are not under threat in Malaysia, it is Umno which is feeling the heat, a forum in Kuala Lumpur heard last night.
National laureate A. Samad Said asked how could Malays and Islam be under threat in Malaysia when all the positions of power were filled by Malays.
"All of Malaysia's past and present prime ministers, deputy prime ministers and even the home ministers have been Malays," Samad told a 200-strong crowd who turned up at the Mandarin Court hotel for the forum, "Are Malays and Islam under threat?"
Samad said from the early days of independence, Malays had occupied all the powerful and influential positions which decided Malaysia's direction.
"Look at the police and the military, Malays make up the majority, including all the high-ranking positions. So why are Malays and Islam under threat?
"The question of Malays and Islam coming under threat only pops up during general elections and Umno general assemblies," Samad said.
DAP adviser and Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang concurred, adding that the only Malays under threat were the elite and Umno, following disappointing outings in the general elections of 2008 and 2013.
"It has been reported that Malays are in danger of becoming Red Indians like in the United States. But why are Malays staring at this possibility?
"This is a question which should be answered by the (all) six prime ministers (from Umno), including Datuk Seri Najib Razak," Lim said, adding that even former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should reflect on his 22 years leading Malaysia and answer why Malays are in danger of becoming Red Indians.
Lim said the actual issue was not Malays and Islam under threat, what was actually under threat in Malaysia was all races and religions.
"Look at the international figures and rankings, it does not lie. Malaysia is in the top 50 of global terrorism rankings," Lim said.
"Our education figures are pathetic and slipping every year. Putrajaya should be focusing on this instead of practising hate politics and fear tactics."
Constitutional expert Dr Abdul Aziz Bari said the 2008 and 2013 general elections provided a clear answer to whether Malays and Islam were under threat.
"Umno is under threat. That is why Malay rights group, such as Perkasa and Isma, sprung up. Malays and Islam are safe," Aziz said.
"The lack of a two-thirds majority for Barisan Nasional means the government cannot simply make any changes in Parliament."
Aziz said he did not understand why Perkasa, Isma and Umno were behaving like madmen, constantly going on about Malay rights and Malays being under threat.
"The special rights and position of Malays are enshrined in the Federal Constitution. So why do these groups constantly focus on history?
"It is because Umno has failed to lift the Malays economically, that is why the position of the ruling coalition has come under threat."
Aziz also criticised former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad for saying Malays will be like Red Indians if PAS and Umno did not cooperate.
"Hamid does not understand history," Aziz said, warning that if PAS joined forces with Umno, there would be less checks and balances on Putrajaya.
"Look, even Najib is getting a headache over the attitude of some of the Umno members," Aziz said, to loud round of applause from the crowd.
PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa had a different view, saying he agreed that Islam and Malays were under threat.
"I disagree with putting Islam and Malays in the same breath, as Islam is above Malays," Husam said, explaining that Malays could not be above Islam.
"Why do I say Malays are under threat? It is because of the psychological war carried out by Umno and led by Isma and Perkasa," Husam said.
A month aftDAP adviser Lim Kit Siang says Umno leaders have a lot to answer for the 'threat' felt by Malays. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, November 25, 2014.DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang says Umno leaders have a lot to answer for the 'threat' felt by Malays. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, November 25, 2014.er the 13th general election last year, Husam said a survey carried out by Merdeka Center showed that 26% of Malays felt they were under threat.
"However, after a strong propaganda effort by Barisan Nasional and Malay NGOs, a whopping 55% of Malays now indicate that they feel under threat."
Husam said the effect of the propaganda war could not be denied, the longer Umno continued to run Malaysia, the more Malays would feel like Red Indians.
"NGOs have been using Islam for racist issues, the religion has been used and expanded for political expediency," Husam said.
He said the major difference between PAS and Umno was that the former prioritised Islam while Umno prioritised Malays.
"Racial segregation is very evident in Barisan Nasional, in Malay-majority areas, only Malay leaders approach and talk to the voters.
"But Pakatan Rakyat is different, all the leaders will go down to the ground and talk to the crowd, whether they are Malay or non-Malay."
Husam said the formula of “KeMelayuan” practised by Putrajaya would not make Malays and Islam strong, but put them under threat.
Forum organiser, Roketkini.com coordinator Edry Faizal told The Malaysian insider that the forum had been organised because it was an issue which involved the rakyat.
"Lim had raised the issue in Dewan Rakyat but nobody wanted to debate the matter. So we felt organising a forum was the next best thing.
"At least we would get direct questions from the rakyat and to start the ball rolling," Edry said after the forum.
Edry said the question of whether Islam and Malays were under threat was something which had been raised directly or implicitly by various groups, including Malay non-governmental organisations.
Activist Siti Kassim, who was present at the forum, told the panel that Malays like her were the real ones under threat.
"Islam has been used by political parties for their own benefit, that is the real issue and problem," she said.
"Malays and Islam are intertwined, when the subject of Islam is raised, Malays are hooked as well."
She said both PAS and Umno were equally guilty as both parties were attempting to be more Islamic than each other.
"Umno is simply reacting to PAS by trying to portray itself as being more Islamic than PAS," Siti said. – November 25, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/umno-under-threat-not-malays-and-islam-forum-told#sthash.7QhLYC90.dpuf

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