One Black Malaysia on Black Thursday

By Sim Kwang Yang

As your read this, on Thursday May 7, the entire nation’s eyes are trained on the otherwise sleepy town of Ipoh, where the sitting of the Perak State Legislature should bring the political and constitutional crisis in the silver state to a boil.

I am writing this the day before Black Thursday, on May 6. I can hear the national heartbeat up a few notches, wondering what will happen in Ipoh tomorrow.

The Police seem to be the most nervous of all people.

They have decided to close down 13 routes in Ipoh, as if ready for a commando attack from terrorists. I can imagine the feverish planning and preparation going on somewhere deep in the bowel of the police department now, the massive mobilisation of personnel from various police units, the placement of the FRU with their fearsome arsenal at strategic spots around Ipoh, and the road blocks along the North South Highway north and south of Ipoh. They are the ones who make the May 7 such a date full of tension.

They have already arrested my friend Wong Chin Fatt, and will probably charge him with the Sedition Act. His only alleged crime is to hold a press conference and appeal to all like-minded Malaysians to wear black apparel on Black Thursday everywhere. His real offence is the parodying of the new PM’s catch phrase, by calling for One Black Malaysia. That chap has imagination and a way with words.

I am not that worried for Chin Fatt. Nobody is likely to beat him to a pulp while in detention. He is a knowledgeable and scrappy young man who is not easily cowed. In fact, the persecution will probably elevate his political and social stature overnight, and he now gains stature as another martyr for the cause of Malaysian democratisation, alongside Raja Petra Kamarudin et al.

Will Chin Fatt’s arrest silence the opposition and social activists alike? I doubt it. These people thrive on persecution. Because of Chin Fatt, black has suddenly been elevated to the exalted position of an iconic symbol, this time, not about the death of democracy in Perak, but about the injustice that has visited upon the person of Wong Chin Fatt. He has added another dimension to the meaning of One Black Malaysia on Black Thursday!