My people, my enemy

By Free Malaysia Today

Malaysia is not facing an external threat. Our military force need not flex its muscles or be put on red alert. Our neighbours do not pose a danger to us. But yet the menace is there: it is not coming from outside; it is originating from inside the borders. The peril we face today is the result of our own doing. The opposing armies are politicians of various badges. Throw in the religious bigots, racist madcaps, wacky supremacists and the pot is ready to boil over. Judging by all the strident noises made, the situation is getting out of control. It is reaching a pitch of hysteria as overt and covert intimidations are made.

A partisan newspaper is adding more fuel to the fire and the government itself is creating a climate of fear with its repeated resurrection of the May 13 ghost. Even the schools have become breeding ground for intolerance and hatred. Some may think it is all posturing, especially with the next general election looming. Others may dismiss the clash of tempers and raw emotions as mere play-acting, which will end in goodwill and handshakes. The incontrovertible fact is, the threat of civil strife is real and ever-present.

Our boast is Malaysia is a good lesson in racial harmony, political stability and religious tolerance. This is true except that it sounds hollow. It rings false when bull-headed politicians throw principles out of the window, when die-hard extremists issue threats of retaliation in defence of failed policies, when parochial-minded racists cast slurs with impunity, when obnoxious supremacists flaunt their repulsive doctrine without a care for others who have humbly toiled to build the country to what it is today.

The faces of an important segment of the population have become so hideous to the dominant race that they want them all to go back to their ancestral motherland. They think that this broad, sunlit land has no place for so-called “passengers”. If they had their way, they would like to do what many countries the world over had done with horrendous effect – ethnic cleansing or genocide. Numerical strength has bred in them so much arrogance and insolence that co-existence has become an alien, repugnant political vocabulary. They would rather shed blood than smoke the pipe of peace.

The government knows the tension is palpable. Unfortunately, it relishes the prospect of seeing the country careening down the slope. Why? Simply because keeping the country on the edge of the precipice will work to its advantage. By playing on the anxiety of the people, it can prolong its stay and go on feasting on the wealth of the country. With uninterrupted hold on power, comes the licence to browbeat the opposition, to cow the other races, to force through draconian laws. In all those 50 long years, the country had witnessed many tumultuous events – the shout of freedom, the war of the running dogs, the Crush Malaysia campaign, the race riot, the infamous Operasi Lalang, political tsunami – some were defining moments, some a blot on the record. Some were credible threats, some an excuse to muffle dissent.