Thanks, Tee, for drawing votes for Pakatan

I wish to thank Utusan Malaysia columnist Dr Ridhuan Tee Abdullah for being so clever to suggest that Malay-Muslims have more rights because they form the majority in Malaysia. His articulate political reconnaissance will surely contribute a much bigger swing of votes to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) at the next general election.

By Thomas Lee

Tee has proposed in his article a formula based on the racial and religious breakdown of the 27 million population of the nation, to apportion the share of what is due to each community in terms of rights, festivities and celebrations.

His so-called formula is based on the statistical breakdown of races and religions in the Year 2000 census, where the percentages of Malaysians by religions were 60% Islam, 22% Buddhist-Taoism-Confucius, 9% Christian, 6% Hindu, 3% other races and religions.

Am I correct to interprete the Tee formula to mean that the numbers of residential houses, number of festive and religious holidays, allocation of land for places of worship and burial ground, permits and premises for business and trading, number of educational institutions and scholarships, quota of jobs in both the public and private sectors, number of professionals in all fields, or even the number of inmates in old folk’s homes, orphanages and prisons, must all be apportionable or assigned according to 60% for the Malay-Muslims, 22% for Buddhist-Taoism-Confucius devotees, 9% Christians, 6% Hindus, 3% followers of other religions?

Tee said that his formula can be applied in the context of the nationalisation (read: forced enforcement), including the justification on the rights of religious festivals and celebrations of all races.

He claimed that there was an overwhelming number of non-Muslim places of worship, with their festival celebrations actually drowning the Muslims celebrations even though the non-Muslims are the minority races.

As a university lecturer, Tee must provide tangible evidence from empirical observation and indepth studies to justify such a general sweeping assessment. Otherwise he stands condemned as a mere rumour-monger for his speculative conjecture.

The authorities should haul up people who make such unsubstantial and seditious allegations which could incite racial disharmony. 

Tee gave as an example the widespread celebration of Christmas, with the shopping malls going all out to promote the festival, although Christians constituted only 9% of the population.

Such an example reflects uninformed and shallow thinking, unbefitting someone who holds a doctorate degree and is a university lecturer.

Such a person simply does no understand that the Christmas celebration, although associated with the Christian faith, has now evolved into an international multi-racial commercial cultural festival. Christmas is celebrated nationwide in even a Shinto-Zen Buddhist country like Japan, with nothing much to do with the Christian faith.

It is sad, but true, that the real meaning and significance of Christmas, which is the birthday of the Lord Jesus Christ, has degenerated into a mere cultural event. Even a so-called “educated” person like Tee associates Christmas with Santa Claus. He has condemned a state executive councillor for taking a Santa Claus to meet his leader, implying that what he knows or understands about Christmas is merely all about Santa Claus.

Tee also accused the DAP, which he labelled the “ultra kiasu group”, of alledgedly raising sensitive issues that could lead to racial chaos similar to that of the May 13 riots in 1969.

If what the DAP has been doing since its establishment more than 40 years and is still doing — that is raising issues and fighting for true democratic practices, social justice, human, civil and constitional rights of the citizens — is being “ultra kiasu” (meaning extremely afraid of losing), then people like Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, Lim Guan Eng, the late P. Patto and many others would have been thoroughly broken and destroyed by their unjust incarceration under the oppressive legal instrument called the ISA (Internal Security Act), and the DAP would have disappeared from the face of this Earth years ago. It is simply their brave, bold and bona fide conviction and commitment to the causes of  democracy and social justice and their passionate love for the country that they have the strength and courage to go through the intense emotional suffering of separation from their loved ones while under detention.

To allege that the DAP, by implication its leaders, are “ultra kiasu” is simply the most unkindest cut of all, and armchair critics like Tee should be thoroughly ashamed to have made such an unjust allegation.

The DAP and its leaders have proven over the last 40 years that they have been consistent in their vision of a fair, just and united Malaysian Malaysia, and have worked and struggled truthfully and tirelessly, without fear or favour. The party’s clean, corrupt-free record is testimony to the character and conduct of its leaders.

Kiasu? Please conduct honest scholarly research studies into the political history of post-Merdeka Malaysia, Dr Tee. I also give you the benefit of doubt that you are not writing what you wrote to draw attention of the political bosses to the fact that you have truly become in essence a Malay as defined in the Federal Constitution, despite your ethnic origin as a Chinese.

AN AFTERTHOUGHT: Sometimes I wonder about the intellectual capacity or even the simple level of intelligence of many of the so-called doctorate degree holders in our country, given the way many of them articulate about the vital issues of the nation. For example, there is a Ph.D holder who did a thesis on the evil of the Internal Security Act (ISA), but then endorsed and supported the oppressive law. Another Ph.D holder and university lecturer wrote a thesis about social justice but made unfounded and unjust allegations against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

NOTE: Thomas Lee, who retired as a deputy editor in The Star in June 2009, has been a socio-political analyst for nearly 35 years.