Most Read
Most Commented
Read more like this

As the nation celebrated the 47 th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, it is crucial to note that we are a nation divided at unprecedented levels in the history of the country. While political ideologies may differ from both sides of the divide, it is the treacherous levels of racism and extremism that are most disturbing to the common people today.

It was timely that during his Malaysia Day message entitled ‘Our Fight against Extremism’, Najib Abdul Razak took upon himself to warn against the rise of extremism in the country, articulating his sadness that by rejecting the diverse way of life, they are rejecting his ‘1Malaysia’ vision.

Going through some government websites, I came across the ‘1Malaysia’ concept paper, with one key point that stood out particularly clearly: ‘Malaysians, regardless of race or religion need to think and act as one race, that is the Malaysian race, that thinks and acts towards a common goal to build a world that is prosperous, progressive, peaceful, and safe thus enabling it to compete with the other communities in the world’.

Now having read that, let us examine several unsettling incidences since its inception which have resulted to an absolute failure of this vision thus far:

1. The Mahathir factor: The longest-serving former Umno president/PM of Malaysia has been labeled the ‘father of all racism’ by an Umno cabinet minister last year. Not surprising therefore that he appears unconvinced publicly about the ‘1Malaysia’ vision. Recently, he went as far as to conclude that even the newly proposed NEM which supports ‘merit-based’ policies are clouded with a racist agenda, prompting Zaid Ibrahim to diagnose him as having a psychological disorder.

2. Malay First: Muhyiddin Yassin’s insistence that he is Malay First, and then only a Malaysian contradicts the very foundation of the 1Malaysia vision. Obviously, our DPM either doesn’t subscribe to the 1Malaysia vision, or he is showing outright defiance of our PM.

3. The ‘Allah’ issue: The issue of non-Muslims using the word would not have been an issue in the first place had the Umno-led government respected the legitimate rights of other faiths communities. Even PAS agrees that historically, the word ‘Allah’ predates Islam, with the word being used by other faiths in all other Muslim dominated countries worldwide. A suggestion by an Umno leader that non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak be allowed to use the word, while those in the peninsula are banned seems incomprehensible.

4. Cow-head protest: Hissammudin Hussien’s infamous defense of this disgraceful extremist act potentially led to a form of ‘suburban terrorism’ in various parts of the country. Numerous religious sites were vandalised, where violence and intimidation were used to achieve a racist agenda.

5. Umno posterboys: Who could ever forget the ‘pendatang’ comment of Ahmad Ismail from Penang, then Najib’s aid (Nasir Zafar) Chinese women came as prostitutes and Indians as beggars’ remark, and Azhar Ibrahim’s (Penang Umno) May 13 threat? Not to be outdone, Umno appointed Perak Mufti Harussani continues with his lies, such as Muslims conversion in a Perak church or an alternative constitution erasing the special rights of the Malays.

6. Biro Tata Negara: Racism isn’t born; rather it has to be taught. BTN courses serve this purpose surely. Muslim civil servants have long complaint that BTN teachings cultivated racism instead of nation building. Instead of being the catalyst in promoting the 1Malaysia vision to future leaders of our nation, we now have school principals and teachers churning our racial slurs reminiscing Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or the Apartheid regime, surely a result of the Umno-BTN indoctrination.

7. Utusan Malaysia : The mouthpiece of Umno has been propagating outright racial and extremist commentaries, recently suggesting a massive war to take place shortly between the Malays and non-Malays. How and why Utusan remains defiant and bold in its reporting indicates clearly the stand taken by its owners.

8. The ‘doa’ by the Penang khatib : Instead of investigating first, Penang Umno chief Ahmad Zahid sensationalised the matter almost into a racial catastrophe. As it turned out, the preacher confirmed it was his own doing with no directives from Guan Eng as originally insinuated. Religious differences aside, since when does praying for someone from a different faith warrants a police case?

9. Sabahans bullied: From the agreed rotational chief minister role, Umno has taken a firm grip of this position, recently publicly demanding seats that historically belong to BN component parties. Illegal immigrants continue to be rampant with annual renewal of immigration permits for over 84,000 refugees, with signs of new refugee settlements being organized in the state.

10. Perkasa: An off-shoot of Umno with Mahathir and Ibrahim Ali leading the pack, this group advocates extreme racial politics to disgusting levels. Umno leaders participate in this movement’s activities, while many of its members coming from Umno itself. Enough reports about this group, so I shun say more to prevent further publicity for this ‘neo-Nazi’ movement!

Surely there are more points to be added, but if we just examine these facts, it is clear that the positive intentions of the 1Malaysia vision have failed miserably since its highly publicized launch last year. Disregarding our political affiliations, we cannot deny the fact that Malaysia truly needs this vision to unite our divided nation.

The only option for success is therefore to eliminate the root cause of the problem, which is none other than Umno. Collectively as a party, Umno is beyond transformation. It is an institution that currently thrives on extreme ethnic and tribal sentiments, even confirmed as being a racist party by Mahathir last year. It was therefore baffling to hear Dr Chua Soi Lek defending the party recently, stating that Umno is not a racist party. It would be interesting to hear his comments on the points listed above.

However, not everyone in Umno can be considered as being the antithesis of 1Malaysia, judging from some refreshing views from the likes of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Nazri Abdul Aziz, Khairy Jamaluddin and even Najib himself, but individually however, they will be buried with their views within the party. It would be ideal that these ‘transformers’ leave Umno and form alliance with the true believers of ‘1Malaysia’ before they face extinction from the political landscape in the country.

It is worth to remember these words: ‘You don’t fight racism with racism. The best way to fight racism is with solidarity’ - by Bobby Seale. As we celebrate the formation of Malaysia, let us all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, unite to purge this tumor known as Umno into destruction in order to accomplish the vision of a peaceful, just, and truly united 1Malaysia.