Here we go again. The circus has come to town. What are we talking about? Of course, it’s the Umno general assembly. I’ve managed to go to every single one in the last decade. I can’t wait to do it again this year.
You would think that the assembly is of utmost important to the Malays in the country because, after all, it is the party that claims the responsibility to protect the rights and interests of their race.
But really, whatever rhetoric, manifestos and policies that are announced, it concerns many more people in this country other than just the Malays. By the very fact that Umno holds the majority and authority in the government, it is by default its policies that become national policies.
And here’s the latest that has come out from the assembly that caught my interest. It was the speech given by Umno vice-president, and also Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, at the opening of the assemblies for the party’s Youth, Wanita and Puteri wings.
The two things that I feel will make us a progressive and inclusive nation are the same two things that Zahid is now warning the Malays (and by default, the entire nation) to avoid because they would cause harm to the country - liberalism and democracy.
As reported by Bernama, Zahid says that the country is currently under threat from change brought by liberalism and democracy. But why is he so averse to them?
Take liberalism for example. Social liberalism gives importance to freedom and liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to dissent, and the respect for civil rights and gender equality.
I can’t seem to wrap my head around how his reasoning has concluded that all these freedoms can be a threat to the country and society. Such freedoms are the exact objective that a maturing society should be striving to achieve.
By labelling all these as a threat, does Zahid mean to say that we are not maturing and that we can’t have freedom? And if we can’t have freedom, is he also meaning to say that Malaysians need to be observed, controlled and policed...