Race rhetoric provokes war of words

(The Malaysian Insider) KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 – Malaysians are used to race rhetoric in the media but the tone has become sharply provocative this month, particularly in the Malay daily Utusan Malaysia.

A series of columns by Noor Azam, a former political secretary to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, and Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah, a senior lecturer at the Defence University, has provoked outrage among minority communities.

The columns have also resulted in a war of words between the mass-selling Utusan and a few major Chinese papers, most notably Nanyang Siang Pau and Sin Chew Daily.

The temperature had been building up over the last few months, but has only recently reached a near boiling point.

Some of the most strongly worded comments in Utusan came in a two-part column by Noor that ran on Aug 12 and 13. In it, he said that Malaysia’s political power and wealth are being grabbed by the non-Malays.

“Democracy is useless if the power is held by people who are not from the Malay world,” he said. “Democracy is meaningless if almost all the wealth of the country is grabbed by the non-Bumiputeras.”

He thought a non-Malay prime minister would be acceptable if he were truly Malaysian. But he felt that in Malaysia, the identity of the Chinese and Indians was growing stronger, while the civilisation of the Bumiputera was being destroyed.

He added that the aim of closing the economic gap between the Chinese and Malays has failed. If no drastic action was taken soon, there would be more Chinese towns and neighbourhoods in the country, he warned. Malays should not allow this to happen.

Noor thought that Malays were destroying themselves because they were fighting among themselves. He urged Malay groups and movements in the country to join forces to form a national organisation.

“They should organise the power of the Bumiputeras,” he said, “to defend the political rights of the Bumiputeras.”

Read more at: Race rhetoric provokes war of words