Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chua Soi Lek, if you think UMNO/PAS Islam is bad, then why did MCA sleep with UMNO for 53 years

MCA chief Chua Soi Lek brought up a pertinent point on Islam, the politics, but neglected to mention Islam, the faith. He is mistaken to equate the two.

However, Chua must be credited for broaching in public a subject that none in the ruling BN has dared so far. Not that it will save his party from entering the dustbins of history - unless it opens its doors to all - despite its pretensions to being the most democratic party in Malaysia.

NONEChua (right) is wrong to tar PAS with the same brush as that used against Umno. These two political parties, faith-based and race-based respectively, are poles apart both in their politics and in questions of faith.

PAS has effectively neutralised Umno by declaring that Islam is against all forms of racism. This has enabled it to enter into an effective political partnership with the DAP despite the latter publicly declaring a stand against Malaysia as an Islamic state. PAS is also in partnership with the bumiputera-based multiracial PKR and the Sarawak National Party (Snap).

PAS has pragmatically kept the Islamic state issue on the backburner. It does not want to ignite the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia over the issue.

For starters, this brings us to the subject of what Islam is all about. We need a citation for this purpose. The professional ethics module, compulsory for all degree programmes, used by the Open University of Malaysia serves this purpose admirably.

Chapter 3 of the module tells us that Islam is not a new religion. It is said to be a continuation of the divine revelations from the Prophet Abraham to Prophet Muhammad who announced that he was the last prophet.

Fundamentally it is held that Islam is not an evolving religion

However, Muslim scholars of all persuasions and tendencies are in broad agreement that if Islam is to be applicable to the times, it must evolve.

This is also in keeping with its holistic approach viz unity in God, unity in humankind and unity in religion and as a religion that is timeless. Islam, in its very essence, means "submission to the will of God" since man has a free will.

Politics, not faith

This is where politics comes into Islam under the guise of evolving with the times. There's also the thinking that politics is an integral part of the religion since there is no separation of church and state in Islam. The faith, if people still remember beyond the rituals, has taken a backseat.

There are all sorts of people these days preaching in the name of Islam, but who really advocate militancy and spread an ideology of hate.

At least, there's some method in this that is more politics than religious. But that's a different story.

NNONEearer home, we have the continuing polemics over the use of the term 'Allah' by Christians in Malay print and, the Bible being printed in that language.Umno is behind both issues; vide the Printing Presses and Publications Act, in an attempt to play to the gallery at home over an East Malaysian issue. They are yet to bring the roof down on the use of the term Allah in prayer, song and worship. This is a contradiction in terms.

As an afterthought, one Sikh gurdwara was vandalised. This was after the perpetrators realised that the Sikhs too used the term 'Allah' for God.

The Sikhs are not on trial in the High Court because their holy books, unlike that of the Christians in the other half of Malaysia, are not in Malay print.

It can be noted that PAS did not fall into Umno's trap. The Islamic party does not see any issue with Christians using the term 'Allah' in Malay print and their Bibles. Nik Aziz even went so far as to say that "Muslims must be proud that Allah is the God of the Christians too and that Christians want to call their God, Allah".

It is anyone's guess what Umno hoped to benefit from whipping up sentiments over both issues. They fail to realise that they are not going anywhere with them.

It's just a matter of coincidence that The Herald, a Petaling Jaya-based Catholic newspaper, took up the 'Allah' issue of the East Malaysians. The Malay Bible issue is being taken up by the Sidang Injil Borneo (Borneo Evangelical Mission).

Islamic state ruse

The Islamic state issue is another area where PAS has differed with Umno. When former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad declared to the world that Malaysia was an Islamic state - "because 60 percent of Malaysians are Muslim" - there wasn't even a peep from MCA, MIC and Gerakan.

mahathir ikmal presidential lecture 290410Instead, it was PAS that challenged Umno to a debate on Mahathir's (right) declaration. The offer was of course declined by the ruling party. PAS has stated that Malaysia is no Islamic state notwithstanding the fact that the people in a slight majority are Muslim.

Between PAS and Umno, it's the latter that spells real danger to the non-Muslims in Malaysia.

This has also been amply demonstrated in Sabah over the last 40 years, where the non-Muslim indigenous majority has been systematically disenfranchised. The danger is that their status in the future will be no better than that of Peninsular Malaysia's Orang Asli, who continue to suffer under Umno's "Islamic" policies.

So, it's a little difficult to fathom Chua's thinking that PAS, unlike Umno, is a real danger to the very fabric of Malaysia as a multiracial, multilingual and multicultural nation. Chua said this with astraight face after ticking off Umno as well for playing to the gallery to "unite the Malays" behind its banner.

MCA and Umno, along with MIC, are like three drunken men holding on to each other as they walk along the road to nowhere. If they are not careful, all three will fall into the nearest ditch.

[Source: Mkini]

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's a crying shame!

When I heard that 22 NGOs have made police report against Tony Pua for proposing that the bumi discounts for those purchasing high end properties be scrapped, I just have to shake my head. All I can say is that, empty barrels make the most noise. It is really a crying shame to see these Malay NGOs who are mainly UMNO supporters, already rich, some filthy rich, still want to enjoy discounts on the purchase of their mansions, bungalows and SemiDs. And who do you think is footing the bill for their discounts? The non-Bumis. Do you honestly think for one moment, the developers are going to absorb the discounts? Someone has to pay for it. So since it is not the Malays, then the non-Malays have to pick up the tab, and this is already a common knowledge. The non-Malays do not mind picking up the tabs for the poor Malays, but we definitely will not want to pick up the tabs for the rich UMNOputras. It is so sinful to see that their greed simply has no end, and all they have to do is quickly quote "Article 153" and their favourite slogan, "Don't play with fire". Really tak malu!

Read report here.

It is so predictable!!

We need three people to do the following jobs. One to source for a small plot of land, the other to dig a 6-foot deep hole and the last one to write an epitaph on a tombstone, for MCA. When a horse is lame, do you know what they do with it? They shoot it to save it from further agony. This is called "mercy killing", and I can't think of a better way for MCA to go. Their subservience to UMNO just makes you want to puke.

The arrogance of Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in giving a stern warning on Monday 3 August 2010 to the MCA over the "Allah" issue simply cannot be stomached and tolerated.

If the MCA has any dignity and integrity, it should not allow itself to be so severely rebuked and dictated to publicly by an "equal" partner in the Barisan Nasional coalition.

The MCA is right in standing up for the right of the non-Muslim community to be allowed to freely practise and express their religious faiths using any word they deem fit in Bahasa Malaysia, which is their national language.

The MCA is absoultely right to ask the federal government, of which it is purportedly an essential component, to rescind the ban on non-Muslims using of the word “Allah”, after Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein expressed regrets over the decision to ban its use by his predecessor.

The deputy prime minister had insisted that the MCA must accept the decision of the federal government without questioning, saying that the party should not trigger another debate on the word “Allah.”

The MCA should not allow such haughtiness to go unchallenged, and should ensure its fundamental right is recognised, accepted, and respected as an equal component of the ruling coalition to any assent and/or acquiescence of any decision affecting the nation.

If the MCA is not allowed to voice its views and have a say on such fundamental matters as the right of the non-Muslims to freely use any word in the national language for the purpose of expressing, worshipping, teaching and publishing of their religious faith, then the party should dissolve itself as it is obviously politically impotent, and has no essential practical use to the Chinese community it claims to represent.

Muhyiddin has also questioned the MCA intention in sharing the same platform with the DAP.

“I am not sure why the DAP and the MCA have the same stand in this matter," he said.

In condemning the MCA stand on the "Allah" issue, which happens to align with that of the DAP, Muhyiddin is showing himself to be superficial and perhaps even shallow in understanding the universal fundamental human, civil and constitutional rights of the people.

The MCA may not be idealogically and politically compatible with the DAP, but the universal principles and values of the fundamental human rights are applicable to political parties of all tints and shades, including even Umno.

So, for the MCA to make a stand on the "Allah" issue, which is basically a human right issue, is both legitimate and justified, even if it is similar to the stand of the DAP.

Take the case of Umno having a similar stand as PAS on the issue of the need for Malay unity.

If Muhyiddin's argument on the MCA having the same political agenda on the "Allah" issue as the DAP is seen as a perfidy against the Barisan Nasional, then Umno's willingness to hold unity talk with PAS is likewise a betrayal of trust against the other component parties of the Barisan Nasional.

The MCA must not compromise on this "Allah" issue, which involves the fundamemtal human, civil, and constitutional rights of the people. If it now shrinks from its responsibility to help preserve, protect, and promote the God-given rights of the people, then it can be sure that its days are numbered and the next general election will be its funeral ceremony.

NOTE: As expected, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said in a statement soon after the above Comment was published that the MCA "does not share the same stand with the DAP on the call to lift the ban on the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims.” In view of the party backing out on its stand on the issue, I think it should start making arrangement to hold nationwide funeral ceremonies after the next general election.

[Source: MySinChew]

It is so typical of UMNO. On one hand, they want to be great pals with PAS but on the other hand, it is a NO-NO for MCA to share a common platform with the DAP. What a load of crap!

Let's hear it from Comedy Court again.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

We have to effect change

People who are optimists will always say "It will only get worse before it gets any better" in any given situation. As Merdeka Day approaches, I can only say, "it will only get worse, before it gets even worser", and the hope of things getting better is nothing more than an illusion. During the sixties and early seventies, Merdeka Day was celebrated with profound joy but today it is all celebrated with a hollow feeling. I still remember when I was chosen to be part of our school scout contingent to participate in the march past at the Merdeka Stadium. As we passed the dais where the King and Queen sat, we would turn our heads as we marched past infront of them with a sense of glow in our hearts. This was our King and Queen and this was our country. Today, things have changed. Racism continued to raise its ugly head with non-Malays being called all sorts of degratory names. A judiciary once so much respected, have gone to the dogs.

Corruption is a "one for all and all for one" battle cry. There was an incident back in the late fifties when the then Finance Minister, Tun Tan Siew Sin, applied to the Tunku for a few days leave. The Tunku could not release him but Tun Tan was bent on having his leave. The Tunku then suggested to Tun Tan that if that was the case, he would assume duties as head of the Finance Ministry until he returns from his leave. Tun Tan immediately retracted his leave application. That was how the then leaders view corruption.

Dead bodies continue to pile up in our custodial establishments. The standard of education have gone so far down south that I doubt we could ever catch up with the rest of Asia in the years to come. Even the University of Malaya is now being called the "over expanded high school" by some, churning out graduates that are unemployable. I should know because I interviewed them.

What we, you and other right thinking Malaysians should do is to quickly register as a voter today to effect change. Let us have the government that can make us proud again, a nation among nations, among the best. Many said how could his vote count when it is only one vote. Don't forget, put them all together and it can bring about miracles. The 12GE has shown us just how powerful that one vote was.

Following is a letter from one Yee Siew Meng who says it all.

Fifteen years ago, I used to make regular business trips to Manila, a country in its afterglow. The economy was small, the nation was suffering from political instability and years of plunder from the Marcos era. The nation depended on its women population who worked as domestic help overseas.

The 1997 financial crises which rocked Asean countries brought the country further into turmoil and poverty. Yet in the 70s I recall going there as a child and remembering being impressed by the modern city and its affluence.

Fifteen years ago, Malaysia was booming under the expansionary vision of Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Tallest buildings, longest flag pole and many other ego projects that put the country on the world map. During those expansionary years, civil society was slowly decaying from the inside. We were too affluent and too busy making money to realise that our freedom and laws were being changed in Parliament at lightning speed.

All these amendments to our constitution in that 20 years, which incidentally is more than the US in her 230 plus years of history was passed through a BN majority government. All these amendments would prove to be problems and major issues post-Mahathir era.

During those times, I had said that we were ten years away from the Philippines. As the Philippines enjoyed the boom years of the 70s and 80s, rampant corruption and decay of the judiciary system and any semblance of the rule of law began to disappear. This is what happened in Malaysia in the last 20 years. The fact that the Philippines has even surpassed us in FDI is a sign that we are in trouble. Confidence abroad has eroded for obvious reasons.

The failure to reform the political and economic terrain of Malaysia, the constant instability of race and religious issues, the lack of judiciary will to prosecute and solve major cases which involve murder and white collar crimes all lead to a drop in confidence abroad. Detractors say the Pakatan Rakyat wins in March 2008 is to blame. How then can we explain the fact that foreign investment in Selangor has not dipped but set to increase by year end?

The future is not bright. The inflationary rate is not a true reflection of the increase in price of goods and services as the basket of goods include government-controlled or subsidised items. The prices of goods and services may tailspin as the true inflation rate increases and the Malaysian ringgit begin to lose value. If there is no new injection of funds and no local investment, then the economy will shrink. Like the Philippines in the late 90s we, too, have a huge resource of educated human resources but because of the small economy, this human resource did not have jobs internally.

It may not be so farfetched that one day Malaysia will have to sent her daughters and sons out to work as foreign labour. God forbid that that day should come but if we continue down this path of wanton abuse of our resources and widespread corruption without care for the rule of law then that day is not far off. For fear of being accused as a doomsday prophet or a pessimist, I will qualify that we - as citizens - can turn this around. Its not too late to turn the Titanic as we see the iceberg fast approaching.

Tell your aunties and uncles and cousins and colleagues to register to vote. Tell them that they can make a difference and that the country needs them more than ever. As I borrow from the great freedom fighter in US history:

'From the rivers of Sarawak, where there is no electricity to the hills of Pahang where Orang Asli are marginalised; from the peaceful city of Ipoh to the crime filled city of Johor Bahru and from the deep faith of Kota Bahru to the slums of KL; let freedom ring. Let there be a loud clarion call to change. Let justice flow like a mighty river across this land we call home.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Touche, Tengku, Touche!

Following is the keynote speech made by former finance minister, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, at the United Kingdom Eire Council for Malaysian Students summit held in Kuala Lumpur on July 31 2010.

Thank you for inviting me to speak with you. I am truly honoured. I have played some small role in the life of this nation, but having been on the wrong side of one or two political fights with the powers that be, I am not as close to the young people of this country as I would hope to be. History, and the 8 o’clock news, are written by the victors. In recent years the government’s monopoly of the media has been destroyed by the technology revolution.

You could say I was also a member of the UKEC. Well I was, except that belonged to the predecessor of the UKEC by more than fifty years, The Malayan Students Union of the UK and Eire. I led this organisation in 1958/59. I was then a student of Queen’s University at Belfast, in a rather cooler climate than Kota Bharu’s.
Your invitation to participate in the MSLS was prefaced by an essay which calls for an intellectually informed activism. I congratulate you on this. The Youth of today, you note, “will chart the future of Malaysia.” You say you “no longer want to be ignored and leave the future of our Malaysia at the hands of the current generation.” You “want to grab the bull by the horns... and have a say in where we go as a society and as a nation.”I feel the same, actually. A lot of Malaysians feel the same. They are tired of being ignored and talked down to by swaggering mediocrities.

You are right. The present generation in power has let Malaysia down.

But also you cite two things as testimony of the importance of youth and of student activism to this country, the election results of 2008 and “the Prime Minister’s acknowledgement of the role of youth in the development of the country.”

So perhaps you are a little way yet from thinking for yourselves. The first step in “grabbing the bull by the horns” is not to required the endorsement of the Prime Minister, or any Minister, for your activism.
Politicians are not your parents. They are your servants. You don’t need a government slogan coined by a foreign PR agency to wrap your project in. You just go ahead and do it.

When I was a student our newly formed country was already a leader in the postcolonial world. We were sought out as a leader in the Afro-Asian Conference which inaugurated the Non-Aligned Movement and the G-77. The Afro-Asian movement was led by such luminaries as Zhou En-lai, Nehru, Kwame Nkrumah, Soekarno. Malaysians were seen as moderate leaders capable of mediating between these more radical leaders and the West. We were known for our moderation, good sense and reliability.

We were a leader in the Islamic world as ourselves and as we were, without our leaders having to put up false displays of piety. His memory has been scrubbed out quite systematically from our national consciousness, so you might not know this or much else about him, but it was Tengku Abdul Rahman established our leadership in the Islamic world by coming up with the idea of the OIC and making it happen.

Under his leadership Malaysia led the way in taking up the anti-apartheid cause in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations, resulting in South Africa’s expulsion from these bodies.

Here was a man at ease with himself, made it a policy goal that Malaysia be “a happy country”. He loved sport and encouraged sporting achievement among Malaysians. He was owner of many a fine race horse.
He called a press conference and had a beer with his stewards when his horse won at the Melbourne Cup. He had nothing to hide because his great integrity in service was clear to all. Now we have religious and moral hypocrites who cheat, lie and steal in office but never have a drink, who propagate an ideologically shackled education system for all Malaysians while they send their own kids to elite academies in the West.

Speaking of football. You’re too young to have experienced the Merdeka Cup, which Tunku started. We had a respectable side in the sixties and seventies. Teams from across Asia would come to play in Kuala Lumpur. Teams such as South Korea and Japan, whom we defeated routinely. We were one of the better sides in Asia. We won the Bronze medal at the Asian games in 1974 and qualified for the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Today our FIFA ranking is 157 out of 203 countries. That puts us in the lowest quartile, below Maldives (149), the smallest country in Asia, with just 400,000 people living about 1.5 metres above sea level who have to worry that their country may soon be swallowed up by climate change. Here in ASEAN we are behind Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, whom we used to dominate, and our one spot above basketball-playing Philippines.

The captain of our illustrious 1970’s side was Soh Chin Aun. Arumugam, Isa Bakar, Santokh Singh, James Wong and Mokhtar Dahari were heroes whose names rolled off the tongues of our schoolchildren as they copied them on the school field. It wasn’t about being the best in the world, but about being passionate and united and devoted to the game.

It was the same in Badminton, except at one time we were the best in the world. I remember Wong Peng Soon, the first Asian to win the All-England Championship, and then just dominated it throughout the 1950. Back home every kid who played badminton in every little kampong wanted to call himself Wong Peng Soon. There was no tinge of anybody identifying themselves exclusively as Chinese, Malays, Indian. Peng Soon was a Malaysian hero. Just like each of our football heroes. Now we do not have an iota of that feeling. Where has it all gone?

I don’t think it’s mere nostalgia that that makes us think there was a time when the sun shone more brightly upon Malaysia. I bring up sport because it has been a mirror of our more general performance as nation. When we were at ease with who we were and didn’t need slogans to do our best together, we did well. When race and money entered our game, we declined. The same applies to our political and economic life

Soon after independence we were already a highly successful developing country. We had begun the infrastructure building and diversification of our economy that would be the foundation for further growth. We carried out an import-substitution programme that stimulated local productive capacity. From there we started an infrastructure buildup which enabled a diversification of the economy leading to rapid industrialisation. We carried out effective programmes to raise rural income and help with landless with programmes such as FELDA. Our achievements in achieving growth with equity were recognised around the world. We were ahead of Our peer group in economic development were South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, and we led the pack. I remember we used to send technical consultants to advise the South Koreans.

By the lates nineties, however, we had fallen far behind this group and were competing with Thailand and Indonesia. Today, according to the latest World Investment Report, FDI into Malaysia is at about a twenty year low. We are entering the peer group of Cambodia, Myanmar and the Philippines as an investment destination. Thailand, despite a month long siege of the capital, attracted more FDI than we did last year. Indonesia and Vietnam far outperform us, not as a statistical blip but consistently. Soon we shall have difficulty keeping up with The Philippines. This, I believe, is called relegation. If we take into account FDI outflow, the picture is even more interesting. Last year we received US$1.38 billion (RM4.40 billion) in investments but US$ 8.04 billion flowed out. We are the only country in Southeast Asia which has suffered nett FDI outflow. I am not against outward investment. It can be a good thing for the country. But an imbalance on this scale indicates capital flight, not mere investment overseas.

Without a doubt, Malaysia is slipping. Billions have been looted from this country, and billions more are being siphoned out as our entire political structure crumbles. Yet we are gathered here in comfort, in a country that still seems to ‘work.’ Most of the time. This is due less to good management than to the extraordinary wealth of this country. You were born into a country of immense resources both natural and cultural and social. We have been wearing down this advantage with mismanagement and corruption. With lies, tall tales and theft. We have a political class unwilling or unable to address the central issue of the day because they have grown fat and comfortable with a system built on lies and theft. It is easy to fall into the lull caused by the combination of whatever wealth has not been plundered and removed and political class that lives in a bubble of sycophancy.
I urge you not to fall into that complacency. It is time to wake up. That waking up can begin here, right here, at this conference. Not tomorrow or the day after but today. So let me, as I have the honour of opening this conference, suggest the following:
  • Overcome the urge to have our hopes for the future endorsed by the Prime Minister. He will have retired, and I’ll be long gone when your future arrives. The shape of your future is being determined now.
  • Resist the temptation to say “in line with” when we do something. Your projects, believe it or not, don’t have to be in line with any government campaign for them to be meaningful. You don’t need to polish anyone’s apple. Just get on with what you plan to do.
  • Do not put a lid on certain issues as “sensitive” because someone said they are. Or it is against the Social Contract. Or it is “politicisation”. You don’t need to have your conversation delimited by the hyper-sensitive among us. Sensitivity is often a club people use to hit each other with. Reasoned discussion of contentious issues builds understanding and trust. Test this idea.
  • It’s not “uber-liberal” to ask for an end to having politics, economic policy, education policy and everything and the kitchen sink determined by race. It’s called growing up. Go look up “liberal” in a dictionary.
  • Please resist the temptation to say Salam 1 malaysia, or Salam Vision 2020 or Salam Malaysia Boleh, or anything like that. Not even when you are reading the news. It’s embarrassing. I think it’s OK to say plain old salam the way the Holy Prophet did, wishing peace unto all humanity. You say you want to “promote intellectual discourse.” I take that to mean you want to have reasonable, thought-through and critical discussions, and slogans are the enemy of thought. Banish them.
  • Don’t let the politicians you have invited here talk down to you.
  • Don’t let them tell you how bright and “exuberant” you are, that you are the future of the nation, etc. If you close your eyes and flow with their flattery you have safely joined the caravan, a caravan taking the nation down a sink hole. If they tell you the future is in your hands kindly request that they hand that future over first. Ask them how come the youngest member of our cabinet is 45 and is full of discredited hacks? Our Merdeka cabinet had an average age below thirty. You’re not the first generation to be bright. Mine wasn’t too stupid. But you could be the first generation of students and young graduates in fifty years to push this nation through a major transformation. And it is a transformation we need desperately.
  • You will be told that much is expected of you, much has been given to you, and so forth. This is all true. Actually much has also been stolen from you. Over the last twenty five years, much of the immense wealth generated by our productive people and our vast resources has been looted. This was supposed to have been your patrimony. The uncomplicated sense of belonging fully, wholeheartedly, unreservedly, to this country, in all it diversity, that has been taken from you.
Our sense of ourselves as Malaysians, a free and united people, has been replaced by a tale of racial strife and resentment that continues to haunt us. The thing is, this tale is false.

The most precious thing you have been deprived of has been your history. Someone of my generation finds it hard to describe what must seem like a completely different country to you now. Malaysia was not born in strife but in unity. Our independence was achieved through a demonstration of unity by the people in supporting a multiracial government led by Tengku Abdul Rahman. That show of unity, demonstrated first through the municipal elections of 1952 and then through the Alliance’s landslide victory in the elections of 1955, showed that the people of Malaya were united in wanting their freedom.

We surprised the British, who thought we could not do this.
Today we are no longer as united as we were then. We are also less free. I don’t think this is a coincidence. It takes free people to have the psychological strength to overcome the confines of a racialised worldview. It takes free people to overcome those politicians bent on hanging on to power gained by racialising every feature of our life including our football teams.

Hence while you are at this conference, let me argue, that as an absolute minimum, we should call for the repeal of unjust and much abused Acts which are reversals of freedoms that we won at Merdeka.
I ask you in joining me in calling for the repeal of the ISA and the OSA. These draconian laws have been used, more often than not, as political tools rather than instruments of national security. They create a climate of fear. These days there is a trend among right wing nationalist groups to identify the ISA with the defence of Malay rights. This is a self-inflicted insult on Malay rights. As if our Constitutional protections needed draconian laws to enforce them. I wish they were as zealous in defending our right not to be robbed by a corrupt ruling elite. We don’t seem to be applying the law of the land there, let alone the ISA.

I ask you to join me in calling for the repeal of the Printing and Publications Act, and above all, the Universities and Colleges Act. I don’t see how you can pursue your student activism with such freedom and support in the UK and Eire while forgetting that your brethren at home are deprived of their basic rights of association and expression by the UCA. The UCA has done immense harm in dumbing down our universities.
We must have freedom as guaranteed under our Constitution. Freedom to assemble, associate, speak, write, move. This is basic. Even on matters of race and even on religious matters we should be able to speak freely, and we shall educate each other.

It is time to realise the dream of Dato’ Onn and the spirit of the Alliance, of Tunku Abdul Rahman. That dream was one of unity and a single Malaysian people. They went as far as they could with it in their time. Instead of taking on the torch we have reversed course. The next step for us as a country is to move beyond the infancy of race-based parties to a non-racial party system. Our race-based party system is the key political reason why we are a sick country, declining before our own eyes, with money fleeing and people telling their children not to come home after their studies.

So let us try to take 1 Malaysia seriously. Millions have been spent putting up billboards and adding the term to every conceivable thing. We even have cuti-cuti 1 Malaysia. Can’t take a normal holiday anymore.
This is all fine. Now let us see if it means anything. Let us see the Government of the day lead by example. 1 Malaysia is empty because it is propagated by a Government that promotes the racially-based party system that is the chief cause of our inability to grow up in our race relations. Our inability to grow up in our race relations is the chief reason why investors, and we ourselves, no longer have confidence in our economy. The reasons why we are behind Maldives in football, and behind the Philippines in FDI, are linked.

So let us take 1 Malaysia seriously, and convert Barisan Nasional into a party open to all citizens. Let it be a multiracial party open to direct membership. PR will be forced to do the same or be left behind the times. Then we shall have the vehicles for a two party, non-race-based system.

If Umno, MIC or MCA are afraid of losing supporters, let them get their members to join this new multiracial party. PR should do the same. Nobody need feel left out. Umno members can join en masse. The Hainanese Kopitiam Association can join whichever party they want, or both parties en masse if they like. We can maintain our cherished civil associations, however we choose to associate. But we drop all communalism when we compete for the ballot. When our candidates stand for Elections, let them ever after stand only as Malaysians, better or worse.

Now let’s have a discussion.