A piece of advice after BERSIH 5.0


November 24, 2016

A piece of advice after BERSIH 5.0

by Azly Rahman

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Malaysians, we need to come back to our senses. Our strength will still come from diversity and the respect and cultivation of talent. We should rejoice and celebrate the achievements of this nation for that beautiful concept of unity in diversity; not to organise any rally that spews hatred and invoke the horrors of the May 13, 1969 tragedy.

 

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The recent yellow-shirt 60,000 strong-mass rally in Malaysia, urging cleaner elections and the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak ended in both warring parties winning – the protesters got their message across for the fifth time and the government got to test-drive the 2012 Special Offences Act (Sosma), its new anti-terrorist law, for the first time.

The leader of BERSIH (‘Clean’ in Malay), Maria Chin Abdullah, a long-time human rights activist, is now in solitary confinement, detained like a suspected Islamic State (IS) terrorist while investigations on her alleged links with the American intelligence-gathering-legit-government agency, the CIA, are being carried out. Exactly how she is linked will be a puzzle and a mystery, like those of the world-famous money-laundering and high-profile case of the Malaysian 1MDB.

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But the government, as always, is winning. I attribute this perpetual victory to one concept – hegemony. Rousseau and Gramsci have written a lot about this idea of ‘common sense’. The control over Man, machinery, media, and money.

The former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled Malaysia with an iron glove for 22 years mastered this concept. Today he marches with the BERSIH protesters, outside of the real of hegemony he created, and trying to figure out how to play the game of counter-hegemony and feels what it is like to play with authority.

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Najib learned politics from Mahahtir Mohamed

Ironically, the authority he is trying to bring down was a child of his own creation – his Frankenstein. Or rather, culturally speaking, his Badang. It is a tough and complicating act and one which seemingly has no poetic justice in sight.

Recently, in a US-based publication, I wrote about the representation of the Malays on the eve of the red-shirt-yellow-shirt confrontation:

“ … Aren’t Malaysians tired of seeing the Malays being represented as buffoons, stupid, amok-prone, close-minded, rempits, kris-kissing fools, Ali Baba forty-thieves, rejects, religious fanatics, red-shirts, whatever shirts… it is a clever production and reproduction of the Malay ruling class, both feudal and wannabe-feudal… so that the Jebat aspect of the Malay – the amuck, the wannabe-sultan, the misogynic, the sex-maniac-royal groper and rapist of ancient Malacca, the royal-jet-setting-good-for-nothing-ancient-kings, the hedonistic, the grotesque epicure, the gangster, the absurd – is pushed forward and propagated to strengthen the Tuah aspect – the fool that followed the foolish orders of the foolish and idiotic Malacca sultan, the womaniser-cum-religious leader – the bad hombre of Malay culture – these are the twin representation of the Malays. A laughing stock – the Malays are made to become…” Source here.

So – how now brown cow? What are Malaysians to do after yet another rally? After yet another governmental pounding on the protesters with arrests a la Machiavelli?

The way forward

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Dr. Azly Rahman–An Educator for Peace

As an educator for peace and an advocate of long-haul bloodless revolutions focusing on changing consciousness through education and self-reflection, through living an ethical, morally-compassed, and intelligible life for the collective-good of society, I would suggest the following as a long-term plan for a radical change:

It is better to focus on raising your children well in adjusting to a changing, globalising, and very diversifying Malaysian and global society. We must work harder to improve race relations, be stronger to fight corruption and power abuse, and be more intelligent in designing policies that will benefit the poor, the marginalised and the powerless.

We must teach our children to focus on ways to understand others, improving their English language skills, perfecting their moral compass, encouraging them to think well and good about children of other races and religion, to encourage them to make friends with people of other races, to be grateful that schools offer the great opportunity to love and respect teachers of different races.

Teach them to learn about the dangers of generalising, stereotyping, and projecting hate that would lead to mass deception, to encourage each child to learn about other cultures and religion, and to teach them that all of us in Malaysia are now Malaysians and not this or that group of immigrants.

We all are migrants in time and space and in history and that all of us are human beings with emotions, struggles, challenges, history of joy and despair, memory of pain and pleasure of living, and that all of us are merely of differing skin colour tone and born to speak different languages and to believe in different things about salvation and that we are all travelers in this life.

We cannot allow Malaysia to come to a point in which riots such as those race-based against the police to take root. We cannot allow the Malaysian version of #BlackLivesMatter to be the impetus for urban violence.

We are all these and will not need moments of history where we cultivate hate for the bigger picture of oppression we do not understand. We may all be pawns in this great political game of big-time plunderers and multi-ethnic robber-barons skilled at mass deception and distractions. Today, the level of corruption and the growing cases of mass corruption and power abuse that are going unpunished have made Malaysia a critically ill nation.

We should be grateful that we are still alive and breathe daily and that we must think happily and joyfully like Malaysians in order for each and every one of us to prosper in peace. We cannot travel the path of America in which racism is on the rise and of late especially in places such as Texas, Islamophobia is brewing.

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Malaysians, we need to come back to our senses. Our strength will still come from diversity and the respect and cultivation of talent. We should rejoice and celebrate the achievements of this nation for that beautiful concept of unity in diversity; not to organise any rally that spews hatred and invoke the horrors of the May 13, 1969 tragedy.

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Let us design a safer journey towards a progressive and harmonious Malaysia, beyond for example, the red T-shirt red-river of blood march of some mangled manufactured propaganda of Malay dignity.

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My Thanksgiving wish is to see a saner and more peaceful America as well as Malaysia – two countries I have loved and will continue to love. On that note: Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my fellow Americans!

Why are you Prime Minister Najib?


November 13, 2016

My friend Hussein,

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Malaysia’s First Lady Rosmah Mansor and her counterpart Michelle Obama

It does not take a hot shot rocket scientist to answer your question why you are not Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najib is.  Allow me, an Average Awang ( or Average Joe ),  answer you.

You are not the corrupt, lying, dishonest eldest and spoilt son of Tun Razak Hussein who is under queen control of that despicable and greedy Rosmah Mansor with an inferiority complex. 

You,  I and other Malaysians of the masculine gender are embarrassed to have this henpecked Najib Razak as the leader of the country we love. We have to blame Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad for creating UMNO Baru to enable a character like Najib to become and remain Prime Minister.

It is tough for someone like me teaching in foreign country to explain the Najib phenomenon to my graduate students. It is even tougher for a career Ambassador to do so. But Najib is able to appoint his UMNO crony and a  serving MP from Pahang  as Ambassador to the country where I now reside.   –Din Merican

Why are you Prime Minister Najib?

by Hussein Abdul Hamid aka Steadyaku47aku

http://steadyaku-steadyaku-husseinhamid.blogspot.my/

My Dear Saudara Najib Razak,
Every day, in many ways, I am trying to make some sense of how someone like you is now, in fact, and in reality, the Prime Minister of my country.
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I know that that the late Karpal Singh, Aruah Tok Guru Nik Aziz, and Lim Kit Siang are all  better men than you. I am certain that Anwar Ibrahim is not only a better Finance Minister but if given the opportunity, will surely be a better Prime Minister than you. There are at least a dozen politicians that I personally know who have demonstrated by their action and their deeds that they are more deserving of being Prime Minister than you…..and there is even an Oxford graduate in your cabinet who thinks he is better than you….and yet none of them is the Prime Minister of my country…you are!
I know that corruption and arrogance are now drowning UMNO in its own filth and shit. I know that UMNO leaders no longer care for the party, for its members or for the Malays because the culture of kebendaan and the greed that it breeds, has totally consigned them all to that odious cesspool of “vested interests” in everything that they do. And as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, I know that it is not if, but when, UMNO will finally drown in all these scums….so I know what has to be done not only to save UMNO…and yet I am not it’s president, …you are!
Malaysian everywhere have read enough about 1MDB, that  ringgit 2.6 billion donation, the manipulation of Felda, Tabung Haji, EPF and so many public entities for the personal financial gain of UMNO and BN leaders…and we know that this is the cause of the malaise our nation, our economy and our future are being burdened with….but even though we know all this and we know what has to be done to make things right….none of us are in a position to do anything about it because we are not in government, nor are we it’s head…..you are!
As a Malay I know our weaknesses, our strengths and the vast untapped resources that lie dormant within our psyche and the inner resolve that beats within our hearts that will enable us to be at par, if not better than the others who also call Malaysia their home…but even as I know this and want to do something about it…I am not the avowed champion and leader of the Malays….you are!
All this and more we Malaysians know and are still counting the many ways that we are better than you, smarter than you in almost anything than we do in life, in our community, and for our country…and yet none of us is Prime Minister of this nation….you are.
So tell me Najib how come one of us is not the Prime Minister but you are?
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Any of us would have the common sense to not marry a wife like Kak Rosmah…fool around with her maybe, but marry “NO!”….and if in error we have married her….we would still be able to beat some sense into her egoistic self and if having failed to do so…..we would not hesitate to rid ourselves of someone like her….but pray tell us Najib why did you not only put up with her but also allow her to wear the trousers in the house?
Anyone receiving a donation of RM2.6 billion would call it anything else but a “donation”. And to this day I am still wondering how come you are stupid enough to think that you will not be found out for having deposited that amount of money in your own private bank account….but then we are not the one receiving that “donation:…you did!
As for 1MDB….you must be some kind of a retard to think that you and your cohorts can scam the nation out of billions of ringgit and not get found out!
These are but just some of the instances that made me go “hmmmm”….how come I know all this and Najib who is the Prime Minister, does not?

So please….can someone tell me why I am not the Prime Minister and Najib Razak is?

Americans voted a Real Estate Celebrity as POTUS–That’s Politics


November 12, 2016

Americans voted a Real Estate Celebrity as POTUSThat’s Politics

by FMT Reader

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

After months of rallies and campaigns, banners and slogans, and countless trolling by both the Democrats and the Republicans, the United States voted for a real estate celebrity who has no political history whatsoever.

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 Image result for Najib the Celebrity

He is an eccentric businessman who gave ample opportunity for haters to hate, in every given situation, be it his electoral promises, choice of words, demeanour even his hair. To his haters, he was everything a president should never be.

But, eventually the election came and America took a stand. They wanted the eccentric businessman to lead them. And everyone wants to know why.

What was the sentiment that drove his supporters, a large number of Americans, to vote for him? He had no track record to prove his capacity as a powerhouse leader and no one knows what are his strategies to make America great again.

Yet, with such ambiguity, the people voted for him and made him their president. Very much like how Malaysians had voted for the same coalition party for 59 years, or 13 general elections to be precise.

While one may think that the election campaign was ugly, it is the aftermath that has turned out uglier. Protesters took to the streets to profess their dissatisfaction. They are angry and they do not want Trump to lead them.

The elections were rigged they say, Hillary won the popular vote they claim (which she did), the whole process was a joke they roar.

Another déjà vu for those of us in Malaysia. Will all these protests bring about a different outcome than it did in Malaysia? I sincerely don’t think so.

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This is mainly because, when we protest, we don’t really have an end goal. We are angry, disappointed and we express ourselves. We feel our voices are being ignored and that sends us into a fit of rage. To me, that is all there is to street protests. We challenge a system that we so graciously put in place, a system that we are a part of.

The Americans had just proved their participation by casting their votes less than 48 hours before these protests.

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Image result for Jamal Yunos and The Red Shirts

This is an indication that people, Americans and Malaysians alike, are very much confused in their political and democratic objectives and they remain emotionally charged. People are still very much fueled by factors like race, religion and gender and these, when cleverly knitted into a web of fear and uncertainty, sadly will determine who gets their precious votes.

America has chosen its president. Social media can troll him as much as it wants. People who aren’t in favour of him can mock his policies, his hair, and his poor vocabulary all they want, but will it change anything “bigly”? Absolutely not!

Will it “bigly” change the outcome in the 2020 elections? Most probably it won’t either. Because racial sentiments, divide and rule policies, religion and gender supremacy still binds the mentality of the voters, the outcome will be the same, be it in America or in Malaysia.

Looking at America today feels exactly like looking at Malaysia during the last few general elections. Something that no one would have expected to happen did because the fundamentals have now become equal.

Democracy, in essence, is a system where the supreme power is vested on the people. A system that enables a people’s government by the people.

Thus, it is powered by the exact same energy that powers the people into voting. If race, religion, gender and creed supremacy is what drives one to pick one’s government, then that is exactly the kind of government one will end up with.

Malaysians can learn quite a bit from the American elections this time, or rather refresher lessons. The next time you walk your way to the polling booth, look for a government that can enhance your lives with policies beyond the shackles of religion, race, gender etc.

Look for policies that can propel the nation and all its people to greater heights.

Can’t find any? Then opt for a lesser, maybe even unknown evil. A lesser, unknown evil, in my opinion, is far better than a known evil, as I would have known the degree of “evil” that I’m dealing with and how much I can tolerate.

For the past 13 elections, we have elected a single party to run our country. We have always been led to believe that this is the party that works in the best interest of this country and its people.

Fifty-nine years have passed, why dispute that notion now? Well, the answer is that a generation of voters have changed since but the ideology still clings on to each and every one of us.

So, only when we free ourselves from these “restrictions”, can we truly look forward to an effective, neutral and inclusive government. But are we truly ready for the leap?

Maybe yes, maybe no. But it is a perspective worth pondering and we, Malaysians are all still left with a little bit more time to decide.

An FMT Reader.

 

KJ John’s Comments on Bridget Welsh’s End of UMNO?


November 7, 2016

KJ John’s Comments on Bridget Welsh’s End of UMNO?

http://www.malaysiakini.com

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I attended a book launch on the ‘The End of UMNO?’ because my good friend Saifuddin Abdullah wrote the foreword and invited me to be present. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the veteran UMNO member and the best prime minister we never had gave the keynote address.

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The book has four chapters contributed by four authors, and edited by Bridget Welsh. Other chapters are by other equally renowned scholars; John Funston, Clive Kessler and James Chin. The chapters are good reading with titles like:

  • UMNO – From Hidup Melayu to Ketuanan Melayu
  • UMNO – Then, Now – and Always
  • From Ketuanan Melayu to Ketuanan Islam: UMNO and the Malaysian Chinese
  • Malaysia’s Fallen Hero: UMNO’s Weakening Political Legitimacy

It is a good political and truthful outsider view of the history of UMNO from its past to its natural and impending disastrous future. All speakers predicted the same fate to UMNO, similar to Japan and India with their politically and morally corrupt political parties of power, authority, and ultimate final loss of control.

Tengku Razaleigh’s thesis

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Given that this was only my second time hearing or being with Tengku Razaleigh; allow me to summarise his thesis because the UMNO leadership of the future needs to hear his complete argument; assuming they understand English.

In Tengku Razaleigh’s view, UMNO Baru started because the judges lacked wisdom; the High Court should have ordered regularisation of unregistered branches instead of declaring UMNO illegal. In his view also the original spirit of UMNO needs to be revived. UMNO Baru is not the UMNO of Onn Jaafar and the other such originalists.

Next he argued that the Conference of Rulers is still a relevant and significant part of both the Malaya and Malaysia Agreements. They are always a significant party and that singular constitutional amendment does not exclude them from their role as moral guardians of Malaysian Constitutionalism.

The UMNO Racists (Zahid Hamidi, Kerismuddin, Noah Omar, Khairy Jamaluddin, Jamal Ikan Bakar Yunos and Criminal Najib Razak)

The MPs also have a role and responsibility of their Oaths of Office; to uphold, protect and preserve the Federal Constitution by which they took their oath. All MPs hold this responsibility to uphold the constitution as their supreme loyalty; as per Oath of Office. Even UMNO’s Supreme Council cannot and should not overrule this truth. This moral role of all MPs and Royalty needs to be better institutionalised for assuming full and moral responsibility.

To his mind and heart, our constitutional democracy and supremacy of the Federal Constitution specifically took a beating because of the policy of privatisation. Allow me to quote his most caustic description of the Malaysian political and policy problem today:

“The privatised corporate power became the defining factor in moving the country ahead, and in the process, makes a mockery of the sanctity and supremacy of our constitution. What we need to realise is that the country is not a corporation. We cannot conflate the two; for this would place corporate power above the constitution and the people. The problem and controversy surrounding the 1MDB issue is a classic example of the conflation.”

I fully and totally agree and I am amused that to date the federal government and all her agents and agencies, whether the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), or Auditor-General, or Bank Negara Malaysia, could not observe this issue clearly to rectify the mess we are already sinking into. 1MDB is simply a bad example of such abuse of power.

Conflicts of interest as operating paradigm

The older UMNO fought for the interest of others. The Rulers-in-Council also did the same. They all agreed that race-based parties were needed and therefore included MCA and MIC with their concessions. The British agreed with all these with new Malayan leaders of that time.

But today’s UMNO is now corrupted to the core; by the spoils of corporatisation through privatisation. No agency is spared including the Federal Land Development Agency (Felda), which has a clear and specific bumiputra agenda; but who cares right? It has also become a mere means to get rich through appointees and players (crony capitalism and rentierism).

The abuse of governance of this nation-state was fully institutionalised when the president of UMNO and Prime Minister becomes also became the finance minister; 1MDB is only one small case in point.

The entire Finance Ministry is today a framework for “piratisation of public assets for private benefit”. In fact, today the entire nation and all her natural assets are up for grabs. Anyone who can is already doing this; all in the name of privatisation but which has become ‘piratisation’.

The cabinet as executive arm of governance appears to have lost its significance and meaning. For example, Act 355 is a major policy issue for the governance of this nation-state; apart from its abuse of the Federal Constitution. But, to the best of my knowledge, it was never presented to the executive branch of governance. How then can it be tabled in Parliament, or even placed on the agenda list; without a serious discussion at the cabinet? Are all ministers colluding then?

Tengku Razaleigh warned that the government cannot simply table issues and concerns, after support of the Umno supreme council. Such lack of transparency and abuse of good governance principles needs complete review to check the other arms of governance; including by the Conference of Rulers.

Therefore, Bersih

Given this ugly reality of the blatant abuse of governance today by most in authority, is it unreasonable for civil activists to mobilise Bersih? After all Bersih now only wants the following five claims:

  • Clean general elections
  • Clean governance
  • Strengthening parliamentary democracy
  • Embolden and enable Sabah and Sarawak
  • The right of peaceful protest by citizens

Are we really asking for much more than Tengku Razaleigh?

National Ideology (Rukunegara)–The Unity Glue


October 3, 2016

Malaysia: National Ideology (Rukunegara)–The Unity Glue

by Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos

http://www.themalaymailonline.com

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 A nation without an ideology is like a teenager without a direction. A direction of some sort, even a broad and general one, for example, to appreciate life and its gifts is essential to determine the quality of life.

It also acts as a fence that reminds the teenager to be wary of influences that may make him unappreciative of life’s gifts, such as indulgence in drug abuse.

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Likewise, a nation will just float along aimlessly and in conflicting directions if the people lack a national ideal they can use as a yardstick. I have written many times before, asking what is our national dream and philosophy, keeping in mind we are a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and cosmopolitan nation.

We require a common national philosophy and a set of national values that can unite us as Malaysians and guide our Malaysian spirit to evolve and grow. Like nurturing a child, a nation requires constant nurturing, too.

Today, we perceive our nation to be in a state of ethnic, religious, social and economic tatters. Madness in behaviour and speeches, and mediocrity in work and productivity appear to have become a national norm.

Our leaders have to be proactive to reverse this trend and correct the perception. If the leaders are able to remove the political cataract blinding their eyes, they will see the nation is crying out for a direction and a national philosophy all Malaysians can identify with.

As a nation that achieved independence, we were learning how to co-exist as Malaysians due to our diverse backgrounds.

We had our first racial clash, albeit politically originated, in May 1969. That was our first and I am sure our last bitter experience of a civil clash.

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As a result of this bitter experience, our past leaders were wise to recognise the need for a national ideology which can be a guiding force to unite and provide a national direction for the people.

The National Consultative Council, headed by the late Tun Abdul Razak, had the unity and “soul” of the nation in mind when the principles of the Rukunegara were formulated.

What is so special about the Rukunegara? Firstly, everyone seems to have forgotten it was formalised as a national ideology through a declaration by none other than DYMM Yang diPertuan Agong on  August 31, 1970.

I learned the Rukunegara in school and I recall reciting it at school assemblies. It represented our national values. It has five main principles namely, Belief in God, Loyalty to the King and the country, upholding the Constitution, Rule of Law, and good behaviour and morality.

The purpose of instilling these five principles is explained by the preamble to the Rukunegara. The preamble provides Malaysia aspires to achieve a greater unity for all her people by:

  • Maintaining a democratic way of life;
  • Creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation is equitably shared;
  • Ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions, and;
  • Building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology;

The Rukunegara contains not only universal values so relevant to a diverse society like ours, but it also sets a clear direction which we all can share to make this nation great. We really need to be united by common values before we are pulled apart by mischief makers in our society who are bent on dividing us.

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Image result for The Racist Red Shirts in Malaysia

What is urgently required now is the rebirth of Razak’s political will to give life to the principles of Rukunegara. I support the increasing call that the Rukunegara is made as a preamble to the Constitution of Malaysia.

This will allow the courts to interpret the Federal Constitution within the context of the national philosophy particularly with regards to the protection of the fundamental liberties of the citizens as enshrined in the Constitution.

It will also enable the protection of the constitutional monarchy and the parliamentary democratic political structure of our country.

If our current leadership has Razak’s wisdom, foresight and courage, I foresee discussions, conversations and the political will to promote the Rukunegara to the position it was meant to be.

However, as JUST International President Dr Chandra Muzzafar recently pointed out, since the 1980s, the Rukunegara seemed to have been systematically shunted aside. Is it any surprise then there is a feeling today that our nation seems to have lost its soul while we may have generally achieved major material progress?

I appeal to our current leadership to put back the soul in our nation.

* Jahaberdeen is a senior lawyer and founder of Rapera, a movement which encourages thinking and compassionate citizens. He can be reached at rapera.jay@gmail.com.

The Buffoons in UMNO


September 30, 2016

The Buffoons in UMNO

by Mustafa K Anuar

Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah has received a death threat and understandably is concerned for her safety.

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UMNO Chief Buffoon

In the meantime, Mohd Ali Baharom, or infamously known as Ali Tinju, the man who was alleged to have made that threat, surrendered himself recently to the Police for investigation – and was later released on Police bail.

In an effort to show even-handedness by the Police in the face of public accusations of double standards, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar announced that the Police had summoned Ali who then dutifully went to the police station concerned in a jiffy.

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UMNO Buffoon No.2

For the uninitiated, Ali Tinju initially denied that he had ever made such a threat and that he was merely misquoted by the media. But a recording of an interview with him by Free Malaysia Today, which was made public, implies that he wasn’t truthful.

It is worrying that these days political and ideological differences are often responded to by certain groups in society with a threat of violence or show of force, if not the use of brute force itself. It is as if addressing such conflicts in a peaceful and civilised way is no longer tenable.

Former Bersih co-chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan was in May, 2012 “entertained” to a butt dance by Ali Tinju and his army veteran colleagues in front of her Bukit Damansara house to register their disapproval of the Bersih 3 rally. Co-chairman Pak Samad, it appears, was not treated to similar entertainment.

And in early 2014, Seputeh MP Teresa Kok got into trouble after she uploaded her “Onederful Malaysia” Chinese New Year video clip. A group of Malays reacted angrily by slaughtering chickens and offering a cash reward to anyone who would slap her in the face.

The above examples suggest sheer intimidation. But given our male-dominated society, one suspects that these brazen threats also involve bigotry of the sexist variety.

It seems that these women, like many other Malaysian women who dare to go against the grain, were considered easy preys particularly by the male perpetrators given the vulgarity deployed and the crass physical threat demonstrated.

Such gross misconduct should have been slammed in no uncertain terms by the so-called moral guardians, particularly among the male Muslim holier-than-thou-ers, because their silence is deafening here, as this may give the impression that these women – and non-Malay to boot — are “fair game.”

And yet there was not much “noise” from these quarters so much so that it suggests acquiescence.

Ali Tinju and gang could have just staged a peaceful street demonstration to register their condemnation of the said rally – minus, of course, the vulgarity and muscle-flexing, as is expected of any civilised citizen of the country.

Or better still, Ali Tinju and his band could have chosen to confront Maria Chin squarely in a cultured manner such as having a public forum where he could present his arguments against the pursuance of the Bersih 5 rally that is scheduled for November 19.

After all, Ali seems capable of engaging in a forum as was shown in his recent participation in such a public platform–although the intellectual level of this forum as as whole appears to be wanting, judging from Ali’s performance and that of other participants.

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UMNO Buffoon No.3 and his Patron, Prime Minister Najib Razak

Why, there was even a participant in the said forum who accused news portal Malaysiakini of being a “terrorist” outfit simply because it was perceived to be aggressively critical of the government.

It seems that the participant prefers only a government mouthpiece or servile media in our midst. This indicates a nagging intolerance towards differences of opinion and diversity, including dissent, in a democracy. Competing viewpoints are seen as unnecessary diversion and annoyance. It also hints at an anti-intellectual syndrome in society.

“Terrorism”, as mentioned in that forum, normally has the negative connotations of fright and horror, and evokes condemnation – and presumably it was hoped that this social stigma would stick onto the news portal. However, when used in such an indiscriminate and cavalier manner, it becomes laughable as it also implies imbecility.

Anyway, if Ali and friends are intellectually incapable of carrying out such a meaningful conversation, others who are a bit more cerebral could represent them and the ideas they champion.

In turn, Maria Chin and friends would then have an opportunity to explain, if not convince, to Ali Tinju and his ilk the importance of having a clean and fair election, among other Bersih’s demands, in a concerted effort to deepen democracy in Malaysia.

It is true that in any social and political struggle, there are risks involved. However, violence or the threat of violence should not be incorporated into this equation especially when it involves women, which lends credence to the suspicion of sexist intimidation. Resorting to such intimidation and bare brawn is darn primitive.

 http://www.themalaymailonline.com