Why bully a pastor?

(The Malaysian Insider) – So, the latest act by Ibrahim Ali and his band of Perkasa men is to lodge a police report against Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng for raising concerns revolving Article 153 of the Federal Constitution. The way these Perkasa boys reacted makes one wonder, if the mentioning of Article 153 by any non-Malay is like committing a deadly sin.

Then again, could we have expected anything less from the Member of Parliament for Pasir Mas? On that account, and true to his nature, he didn’t disappoint — neither us nor his taskmasters. 

Our prime minister has only recently stated his intent to transform Malaysia to be the best democracy in the world; and yet — despite 54 years after Merdeka – we are instead left to rue individuals such as Ibrahim Ali, who take pleasure in being paragons of fear mongering, when pertinent issues surrounding Article 153 are highlighted. If national unity vis a vis nation-building is one of our goals, and the construction of Bangsa Malaysia is part of Vision 2020, then why should we cower from confronting stumbling blocks that stand in our way? 

I attended the CFM Christmas hi-tea gathering, and I heard Reverend Eu’s speech, and amongst the things he mentioned in his speech was that, “in order to move forward as a nation, we must be willing to address impediments to our progress”.  Surely, that is a wise call for mature and temperate heads to come together and discuss our way forward. 

Reverend Eu further explained that the interpretation and more serious debates concerning Article 153 should be attended to by our parliamentarians. He also made it clear that ordinary Malaysians have no problem with the rights of the Malays and the Sultans as stipulated in our Constitution. 

Where he did call a spade, a spade, was in pointing out what many people unfortunately experience, at ‘ground level’, and that is in the context of the implementation of Article 153, where unfairness of treatment rears its ugly head. It was on this otherwise valid remark that Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa pounced upon. 

I would like to ask Ibrahim, at which point did Reverend Eu question Article 153, as the former purports that he did? Where was the “irresponsible provocation”? Should one deem it as irresponsible provocation, when another rightfully highlights weaknesses that permeate the system? 

In fact, wouldn’t silence in the course of inequity, constitute a graver act of irresponsibility? It is within this context that Reverend Eu spoke of the precarious predicament of ‘shifting rights’ — a burdensome shadow under which many Malaysians have lived by and endured, hoping that their space wouldn’t erode any further. Sadly, more often than not, that has not been the case. 

I stand in agreement therefore with Reverend Eu, that in the context of the implementation of Article 153 — yes, we do feel bullied. This is not a minority opinion, for many agree with Reverend Eu’s forthright observation. 

This includes constitutional expert Prof Abdul Aziz Bari, who opined that Reverend Eu has not uttered anything seditious.  Couple that with the support shown by MCA’s Young Professional Bureau Chairman Datuk Chua Tee Yong, as reported by The Star on 31.12.2011, and it appears that Ibrahim and Perkasa are the ones who are isolated in their warped and immature outlook. 

As Aziz Bari reportedly told them, “grow up”.