Najib warns of ‘crushed bodies’, ‘lost lives’, ‘ethnic cleansing’ if status quo not kept

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

In a speech that is bound to raise the already high political-temperature in the country and drive investors further away, Prime Minister Najib Razak used violent language in his opening address to his Umno party, vowing to defend their five-decade stranglehold on the federal government even if it meant crushed bodies and lost lives.

“This is the most shocking and irresponsible statement to come from a PM although many of us in the opposition have been warning of a major showdown. But it also brings to the fore the fact that Najib is not as confident as he pretends to be. In fact, he is desperate because the chances are very high that Umno-BN will lose,” PAS central committee member Nizar Jamaluddin told Malaysia Chronicle.

At the 61st Umno annual assembly, Najib – who is the party president – was cheered by members as he led them through reverberating shouts of Hidup Umno (the Malay equivalent of Long Live Umno) three times. Umno pundits had actually been expecting a slightly cooler reaction with many members waiting to grill Najib for his 1Malaysia plan, tepid performance and recent flip-flops on a series of political and economic issues. 

“Even if our bodies are crushed and our lives lost, brothers and sisters, whatever happens, we must defend Putrajaya,” Malaysiakin reported Najib as saying. Putrajaya is Malaysia’s administrative capital.

Racial cleansing

In his hour-long speech, Najib even warned of the possibility of ‘racial cleansing’ such as in Rwanda and Bosnia if unnamed parties continued to challenge and debate the preferential status now enjoyed by the Malays.

Some of the Pakatan Rakyat leaders who recently and openly debunked Umno’s claim of special rights include PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar, who created a mini-tsunami in the country with her Malaysia or Malaysaja series of articles. She has challenged Najib, former premier Mahathir Mohamad and ultra-Malay rights group Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali  to public debates, which all three men have shunned.

Malaysia’s federal constitution does not state that Malays have special rights or rights that are above the other ethnic groups. However, there are clear provisions that the Malay community is entitled to special positions in the economic and educational sectors.

Nonetheless, this is not the way Najib sees it or is willing to acknowledge it to be.

“What I am saying is not surprising. In the 20th century, we have seen cases of punishment without trial in the United States, the holocaust tragedy in Europe, the slaughter of Palestinians in the Middle East and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Rwanda. Imagine, what is the outcome, if every generation of Malaysians question the social contract which were agreed upon by their forefathers,” said Najib.

Pakatan calls for calm

Meanwhile, Pakatan leaders have called on Malaysians to stay calm and ignore Najib’s invective. They slammed him for the “grossest” hypocrisy, pointing to his maiden speech to United Nations last month where he called for moderation and even offered Malaysia’s help in creating a  movement of moderates over extremists.

“Shame on Najib for trying to frighten the people. This is the worst type of scare-mongering and bullying. If the people are still not convinced by now that he and his Umno-BN must go, then this speech will convince them,” PAS leader Dr Hatta Ramli told Malaysia Chronicle.

“If Malaysians decide to change for the better, no one can stop the landslide, so stop the drama. Najib only shows his fear and hysteria of impending rejection by the people. He has degenerated so far down the line that he is even bragging to Umno that he is willing to use force to thwart the wishes of the rakyat (citizenry). And the sad thing is, Umno members are themselves deceived by this racial emotionalism.”

Malaysia’s 28 million population is expected to go to the polls again in early 2011. At the 2008 general election, the people gave Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan coalition control of 5 out of 13 states. Significantly, they also withdrew Umno-BN’s long-held two-thirds parliamentary majority. This majority has been blamed for the rampant corruption and abuse of power by the ruling elite as it gave them the power to ram through whatever laws they wished.

Malays form about half the country’s population, indigenous people about 10 percent, Chinese 28, Indians about 10 percent and rest by unlisted ethnic groups.