Political agenda disguised


Ch’ng Teng Liang looks at the motive of those who demonstrated against the Penang state governent on 5 February, ostensibly in defence of Malay illegal hawkers.

I am amused but also feel worried to witness the recent demonstration carried out by a group of angry protestors, mostly youngsters in yellow T-shirts, who set fire to a huge cardboard effigy of the Penang Chief Minister on Friday, 5 February 2010.

The protestors, gathered under the name of Gabungan Melayu Sedaq, said to comprise more than 30 NGOs, had wanted to hand to the CM a memorandum highlighting perceived discrimination and oppression of Malays by the state government.  The memo demanded that the Penang state government should cease all action against illegal Malay stalls and pay compensation to the affected stall owners instead. It further called on the Penang government to develop a blueprint to solve the problems of Malays in other sectors who have allegedly been side-lined.  When the demonstrators failed to meet the CM in person, they turned angry and hurled racist accusations, before burning the effigy of the CM.

This scene reminded me of a similar episode which occurred at the same place, a week after the 8 March 2008 General Election.  It was also on a Friday afternoon that the state Umon leaders led hundreds of their supporters to gather at the Komtar state administration centre to protest against the newly elected Pakatan Rakyat state government that had allegedly shown “disrespect to the Malays” and “attempted to abolish the NEP”.