FMT LETTER: From Hema Krishnan, via e-mail
Tun Dr Mahathir opined that the imminent 13th General Election would be all about race rather than issues that matter. I beg to differ. This time around, the spawn of youngsters, urbanites, intellectuals and sentient voters would determine the polls result. And, their votes would not be based on ethnic factors, but by sound, cogent judgement on the respective track records and the performance as well as the professional ethics and maturity the of contending political parties and politicians.
To date, Malaysians are generally multi-lingual, some, able to speak more than four languages. We are indeed a multi-cultural and multi-religous society and lead varying norms of life. I believe that the divide line is not marked by the disparity of languages, cultures, norms and religions.
The divide is only created by the ruling coalition, with Mahathir taking ethnocentrism to a whole new level when Malaysia was under his tyrannical, vile, racist thumb spanning more than two decades, threatening to die in his boots. Now, as an octogenerian, not only he is sticking his nose around, he makes a cretin look like a savant and vice versa through unwarranted public proclamations.
This divide and rule concept was expediently applied by the British to lord over Malaya and Mahathir perfected it for very selfish reasons so that he can stay in power and plunder while the people are one dimensionally preoccupied with racial prejudice.
It’s been nothing but race aspect as trumpcards for the present day ruling regime, pun, intended, incumbents, mainly divided into Umno, MCA and MIC to stay in power via the brainwashing of the rakyat that without a minister belonging to a particular race based political party championing his or her race, all would be lost.
In that case, it wouldn’t be erronous to say that the rolling up together, the merging of the three major political parties under the coalition of BN has miserably failed to capture the Malaysian spirit.
Things are changing, slowly but surely and all the right reasons to renounce racial and misogyny nuances which are being portrayed by BN via it’s offshoots by the selective and relentless harassments and wild allegations towards Ambiga, Lim Guan Eng and Maria Chin which are, collectively, having the Malays, Chinese, Indians and others riled up as Malaysians.
Right minded Malaysians are furious for the mistreatment of Ambiga because like her, Bersih is colour blind; it’s a shared aspiration and vision and Malaysians from all walks of life can relate to it. The testimony is the massive turnout of Malaysians in all 3 of Bersih rallies.
While MIC have stepped up in criticising the Seri Gading MP’s statement devolved into question on it would be politically correct to have Ambiga sentenced to the gallows for treason at our King when her only and noble intention is to put a full stop to rigged elections reeking of shenanigans, it rings hollow amongst politically knowledgable Malaysian Indians who are taking Vell Paari and Palanivel’s voice out with a pinch of salt, so to speak.
Many Indians have bones to pick with MIC’s bigwigs and the same is true with Umno and MCA’s honchos, with the respective races they claim to represent, protect and champion, creating an internal dissension of sorts which would be the monkey wrench for unity within the coalition. This is the case scenario that is having Malaysians highly dissatisfied and outraged.
Whilst Pak Samad got glaringly left out from brickbats for being Bersih’s co chairperson, Maria Chin and Ambiga got slapped by lawsuits, with the latter further being subject to reprehensible, relentless, incessant hostility both in public and private life.
One can argue that Pak Samad is being left off the hook because of his age and his reputation as a National Laureate, abreast with Usman Awang is a sanctity in its own right, one that must be preserved at all cost, his race, not being a matter of consideration . At the same time though, Ambiga is not a nobody, again, race not taken into consideration; she is an international icon, abreast with Aung San Su Kyi.
In March 2009, Ambiga became one of the eight recipients of the 2009 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award. In the ceremony, the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented: “Ambiga Sreenevasan, has a remarkable record of accomplishment in Malaysia.
“She has pursued judicial reform and good governance, she has stood up for religious tolerance, and she has been a resolute advocate of women’s equality and their full political participation. She is someone who is not only working in her own country, but whose influence is felt beyond the borders of Malaysia. And it is a great honour to recognise her and invite her to the podium.”
This honourary event received next to nothing in terms of coverage and attention from the mainstream media. The event was figuratively swallowed whole and when questioned, the downright lame and ludicruous excuse was that Ambiga was dressed inappropriately, that she was clad in a saree and didn’t cover her head with a ‘tudung’ (hijab) Pray tell, are we living under Taliban rule?
Now, we have three races in question and the discrimination is held out for all and sundry to see and judge. Racism gnaws peace and prosterity from within; it wouldn’t foster balance, maturity and development. Instead, it breeds ill-will and prejudice and herd mentality, impeding human, economy, society and the physical augmentation of a country.
Racism is advantageous for few and a great disadvantage for the rest and the rest is simply fed-up. It is high time our politicians play by this veracity which is now being upholded by many Malaysians instead of race based political scare tactics.