MP SPEAKS If a PAS or PKR leader had urged Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses to lower prices or a DAP leader had urged non-Malay customers to boycott Malay businesses to lower prices, the inspector-general of police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar would have immediately tweeted a directive to his police officers to investigate the DAP or Pakatan leaders under the Sedition Act or a whole host of other laws.
Why then the unusual silence from the IGP when the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob urged on Malays to boycott Chinese businesses to lower prices?
Has Khalid’s Twitter account broken down or is Bukit Aman suffering from a breakdown of Internet access?
This itself highlights the double-standards which the IGP had been conducting himself, doing a great disservice to the professionalism and integrity of the overwhelming majority of dedicated men and women in blue who had conscientiously and diligently carried out their duties to uphold the law without fear or favour.
I hope that within minutes of this statement going out, we will see Khalid in Twitter action!
It is simply shocking and outrageous that a minister of a 1Malaysia government could be so callous, insensitive and racist as to openly and unashamedly urge a boycott by the Malay consumers against Chinese businesses, purportedly to force the lowering of prices.
This disgusting episode bears out the concern expressed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong two weeks ago that he had never been more concerned about race and religious relations in the country since ascending to the throne 57 years ago in 1958 - a year after the country’s independence.
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong had said: “I have been on the throne for 57 years. Even though I have witnessed many incidents, I have never been this worried about race and religious relations, which are becoming brittle.”
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has hit the nail on the head. Never before in the past 58 years have a minister behaved in so irresponsible, reckless and racist a fashion as to call for a boycott along racial lines such as urging the Malay consumers to boycott the Chinese businesses.
If a past minister had done what Ismail did under the first three prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Abdul Razak Hussein and Hussein Onn, he would have been sacked on the spot immediately after the expression of such racist sentiments, for it would be conclusive proof of his total unsuitability to continue as a cabinet Minister in a plural society.
I think such a minister would have been sacked by Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his 22 years of premiership, although Mahathir may now look for excuses to come to Ismail’s defence or rescue.
Under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s premiership, there would have been no place for such a rank racist in the cabinet.
What is the position of Najib Abdul Razak, the sixth prime minister, to such a rabid racialist in the cabinet?
How long would Ismail continue to be a minister and would Najib and others come to Ismail’s defence and rescue?
What type of gov’t do M'sians have in 2015?
The issue is no longer Ismail, but what type of a cabinet and government Malaysians have in the year 2015.
Compounding his sin of rank racialism is Ismail’s dishonesty in resorting to lies and falsehoods to incite racial and religious hatred, conflict and tension in the country.
Ismail had singled out the Old Town White Coffee chain owned by OldTown Bhd, saying that Perak DAP chairperson Ngeh Khoo Ham owned shares in the company (Ngeh is no longer Perak DAP chief).
Ismail said: “Malays are still refusing to boycott (Old Town White Coffee) what more when its owner is said to be the DAP Ngeh family of Perak who are known to be anti-Islam.
“As long as the Malays don’t change, the Chinese will take the opportunity to oppress the Malays.”
Ismail had committed three sins in two short sentences: firstly, fanning racialism and hatred in inciting Malays to boycott the Chinese businesses; secondly, spreading the lie that Old Town Bhd is owned by “DAP Ngeh family”; and thirdly, fanning religious hatred, conflict and tensions by spreading the false accusation that DAP leaders are “known to be anti-Islam”.
I have just spoken to DAP MP for Bruas Ngeh, and he told me that he had twittered his denial two or three times previously that he or his family owns a single sen of share in the Old Town Bhd, but Ismail had just ignored Ngeh’s earlier denials so as to pump racial and religious vitriol and poison to create a tsunami in Malaysia’s multi-racial and multi-religious waters.
If Ismail does not resign or is not sacked by the prime minister on Wednesday, right-thinking Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region would expect all the other ministers to make an issue of Ismail’s suitability to continue as minister.
This is not an issue of Umno or BN, nor is it an issue of Malay, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Ibans, or Muslims, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs.
The issue is whether a rabid racialist who could openly call for a confrontation of races, i.e. Malay consumers boycott Chinese businesses, is qualified to continue as a minister of government of a plural nation and whether all other ministers, whether Umno, MCA, Gerakan, the Sabah and Sarawak BN parties, are prepared to be identified with Ismail by continuing to serve in the same cabinet.
LIM KIT SIANG is DAP parliamentary leader and Gelang Patah MP.