As more and more of the delegates in the Umno general assembly spoke, it started to become very clear. The MCA Youth leader's statement that even the opposition has not been as poisonous with their words compared to the racist remarks spewed by the Umno delegates, sums it all. The noticeable difference was in the Wanita and Puteri Wings, both focusing their attention on more relevant issues, displaying a characteristic level of maturity sorely lacking in the men.

I was sad and angry. To put it more crudely, I was devastated. Could this be a beginning of the drowning of moderate voices in the non-Malay camp? While we have to brush aside extremist views and build an accommodating approach, the insanity that prevailed at the general assembly had certainly erased any hope of seeing eye-to-eye and as the PM said, we have reached a dangerous point in the history of the nation.

What it looked like is not so much the concerns of the non-Malays in prolonging the NEP unjustifiably but the jealous attitude of Umno politicians to safeguard their spoils.

The issue of NEP has never been short of controversies. Excuses have started surfacing and further extensions have been imposed to allow the bumiputeras to reach the target of a 30% share equity. Suspicion that something was amiss was reinforced with two reports emerging to debunk the claim that the bumi equity share had stagnated at 18.9%. It had actually surpassed the target.

The various scenes played out at the Umno general assembly at least confirmed that the non-Malays have been duped for a very long time. The delegates did not show a shred of evidence that the government's figure of 21.8 percent for the bumi equity share in Bursa Malaysia is right. To the contrary, their sarcasm and racial overtones seemed to mean 'Yes, we have achieved it, so what?'

Even more arrogant was Khairy Jamalludin's remarks in saying the bumi equity share should be raised to 70 percent and dared the non-Malays to question it. And this coming from the son-in-law of the prime minister.

Times have changed. We have walked the path of modernity and education. Matters have to be argued and rationalised and what more, justified. Lest, the Umno Malays forget, it was the non-Malays who have been staunchly supportive of them in all elections when their Malay brethren abandoned them and supported PAS.

So antagonising and bad-mouthing the non-Malays will not help. The non-Malays are hurt and have become resentful. This is a sad reality and their leaders are either seen as traitors or at least unable to stop the decay. It is common talk that the next election is going to be a decider of sorts. The more sabre-rattling the Malays do, the more they are going to drive us to the opposition. Dare us openly to go to the opposition if you don't need our votes. At least, we can the be sure that we are not wanted by BN.

Please don't underestimate our resolve. Talk less of your frustrations and see how much of anguish and frustrations we have had put up with. This nation did not thrive on the patience and understanding of the Malays alone. We non-Malays, too, have been accommodating and have quietly suffered over the years. It is becoming more and more obvious that we have been taken for granted for far too long and suppressed by uncalled for threats.

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