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Your Say: M'sians are beyond race-based politics
Published:  Sep 10, 2008 2:21 AM
Updated: 3:46 AM

On Ahmad did it again, told Chinese not to be American Jews

Meng: This is the dawn of a new Malaysia. A post-BN Malaysia. A Malaysia which has freed herself from the shackles of race-based political parties and the ghost of May 13, 1969. Fortunately Ahmad Ismail’s racist statements were uttered post-March 8 when the nation has learnt of a better way to live.

Race relations, according to Syed Hamid Albar are at a brittle stage following Ahmad’s theatrics. Fortunately that is no longer true post-March 8 because we have seen a Malay chief minister looking after the interest of Chinese land owners in Perak and a Chinese chief minister helping Malay businessmen in Penang.

Unlike the Barisan Nasional government, the rakyat has moved on. We have decided that with or without the BN we will learn to care for one another as Malaysians.

So even as the BN government continues to use the Biro Tatanegara and various institutions to brainwash our young, we have learnt to be independent and to rubbish this racist nonsense.

Two or three years ago, Ahmad’s statements would have caused riots, but today Malaysians are beyond race-based politics.

The racial bigots thankfully are a minority and this time around, they are not enough to cause too much trouble.

The rakyat will not play into their hands and grant them the wish of racial bloodshed as in May 13 1969. We have successfully exorcised the ghost of May 13.

Richard Chang: I find it most offensive that Ahmad has - like so many ignorant bigots before him - raised the bogeyman of the Jews controlling America and the world. Most Malaysians wouldn't even know a Jew if they saw one, so racists like him are just picking a fight with their own shadow.

The world has far more Muslim Chinese than Muslim Malays, so what is Ahmad talking about when he mentions the "flames of anger of Malays and Muslims"? A large number of Malays have mixed blood, including Chinese parents or ancestors, and Muslims are hardly a monolithic group.

What makes more sense is that Ahmad is a crass tribalist who views people as "us" and "them," and stirs up hatred to manipulate them for his egocentric political agenda. This is a method very steeply ingrained in Umno, and which is coming back to bite the party that has carefully nurtured it in the last 30 years.

How typical of racists like Ahmad to say they have friends of the maligned group as proof that they are not racist. Yet his incitement of hatred and rabid vindictiveness is eloquent proof that here is yet another racist who refuses to take responsibility for his words and actions and instead dumps his inadequacies on convenient scapegoats.

Forward As One: One wonders what Ahmad Ismail and Penang Umno's agenda was behind the explosive press conference. The statements made and dubious proceedings seemed calculated to ratchet up racial emotions.

Why is it that, 51 years after independence, when local politicians are desperate and losing ground, they resort to the racial card? This is textbook "how to play Malaysian politics". It goes as follows: paint a picture of other racial group(s) attacking your race and how that puts your race under-siege and its dignity compromised.

The hoped-for result: the anger incited will unite your racial group against the other race(s) and place you as a leader standing up for your people. This is gutter politics - it is immoral and disgusting. The supposed ‘leader’ is nothing more than a self-serving power-seeking demagogue.

I place my trust in the Malaysian people and the political maturity we are attaining as a nation. Reject the bait to rise to anger and recognise this tactic for what it is - politicians with vested interests resorting to gutter politics to cling to power that is slipping from them.

A Malaysian Chinese: The words that this man utters are those of a gutter politician. Such words were also uttered by the likes of Slobodan Milosevic before he launched his rampage against the Muslim Albanians, Muslim Bosnians and the Catholic Croats. We all know what horror resulted from that.

Also Adolf Hitler, while he was still a small time rabble rouser in beer halls, indulged deeply in such rubbish. Rubbish, but murderous rubbish. And it ultimately became a global catastrophe.

Will Pakatan Rakyat with one voice condemn the hate-filled words of this man who claims to speak for the Malays? Will Barisan Nasional condemn this vitriol from one of their lesser members? That will be the measure of the maturity of the leadership of each of coalitions that claim to represent Malaysia.

The Chinese community should not waste too much time on such small-time hate-mongers. Rather it should look to its Malay friends and partners to shut them up, because the Malay community here is not like such loose cannons and small time gangsters.

Anyone who has been to Permatang Pauh during the recent by-election will know that. Malay, Chinese or Indian, or even ‘ Lain-Lain ’ (as our IC’s like to classify us) we all want to make this country a better place.

Anti Racist: This is not 1969 anymore, we are in the 20th century, people can think rationally, they do not need politicians to remind them of what to do.

Why is Ahmad Ismail so determine to have a racial clash in this country? Who will benefit from it? No one. What are you trying to achieve?

BMK: What is Ahmad Ismail’s agenda? These types of leaders, regardless of which party they belong to, should be arrested under the Internal Security Act.

Dear Malaysians, do not allow this man to wreck havoc in the country. We don’t need such fanatical leaders to harm the unity that has been long establish in Malaysia. Malays, Chines, Indians and all other races are the pillars of Malaysia.

Shan: As a Malaysian Indian, I am truly disappointed that Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Ahmad Ismail called the Chinese ‘squatters’ in this country. This type of remark should not have come from a leader who believes in power sharing since Umno is part of Barisan Nasional.

He has caused disunity amongst Malaysians with his racial remark. He claimed they were based on historical facts but I don’t understand how such remarks were relevant.

He should get his facts right before saying something. Most of our leaders have ancestors from foreign lands. For example, our first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman’s mother was Siamese, Mahathir Mohamad’s father was from India and even our prime minister has Chinese ties on his maternal side.

When the British granted Malaya independence, it was given to all the people in the country, regardless of race. Leaders like Ahmad not only cause chaos but plant seeds of distruct in people’s minds. We Malaysians have moved away from being pawns in racial politics and refuse to be drawn into this messy affair.

Kiv T: I cannot believe our prime minister allowed Ahmad to say what he said in his latest press statement. Ahmad even attributed the press conference to the PM.

If that is true, I really hope that the PM did not know the contents of his press statement beforehand, as it was a truly racist one. I refuse to believe the PM would condone such comments.

For the sake of stability and racial unity, I beg the PM to set up a team to investigate the matter. Ahmad claims that his inflammatory statement was taken out of context by the Chinese daily. There is only one solution to this and that is a thorough investigation.

Anti-racist Malaysian Muslim: As a Muslim with Chinese and Malay lineage, I am very angry and terribly upset to hear Ahmad’s blatant, insulting comments. What injustice Ahmad has done to Islam by claiming that he represents the Muslim community.

He speaks as if he represents all the Malays and Muslims in the country. Islam never taught what Ahmad and his supporters espouse, that is issuing threats to other people without any respect to the principles of the ideal Muslim character laid out in the Quran.

But we should not blame Ahmad alone. Incidents of racism are deeply entrenched within our society. We should learn to control ourselves during confrontations. There must be understanding on the plus and minuses of cultural tendencies on both sides of the divide.

Malay leaders should try to be more proactive in getting consensus in matters that they feel strongly about without the need to unnecessarily scream on top of their lungs when things do not go their way.

Chinese leaders should try to understand that Malay leaders are non-confrontational and therefore, any urgent issues should be raised in a respectful, friendly manner, instead of shouting and making headlines without prior consultation.

PT Tan: We should all completely ignore Ahmad Ismail and not play to his gallery. After all, he is just a small town boy from Penang.

His is a rumbling of a very insecure and frigthened animal that will bite and bark at anything. We have all said our pieces, let Ahmad carry on his ramblings and make a complete picture of himself.

RjtS Dhaliwal: I understand that police reports have been made against Ahmad. This is a clear case of sedition and inciting racial tension. What are the police doing about this? Why has no action been taken against him?

What and who are the Malaysian police afraid of? If the police keeps mum on such an explosive issue, how can the public have confidence in them as keepers of the peace?

MySecret62: To be honest, I find being compared with American Jews not an insult at all. I am however, insulted that Ahmad Ismail would want to imply that Malaysian Chinese are sinister people.

I would love to call him names but alas, he is entitled to his views and I wish him and his family peace during this holy month of Ramadhan. But I will say this to Ahmad: you are a man filled with misplaced personal priorities.

Slipperyhead: The irony of the situation is simply incredible - Ahmad defends himself as not being a racist, but by uttering further racist remarks. Perhaps he needs to purchase a dictionary, where he can learn the true meaning of racism.

The fact that so many Penang Umno folk are supporting him shows their negligence and sheer ignorance. And Pak Lah has just allowed this to go on for too long, demonstrating what an ineffective leader he really is.

CH Siew: Racial strategy is a powerful tool, but it is also a very dangerous one. Is Ahmad really fighting for Malay rights? He is abusing the trust of his supporters by letting them think that other races are out to get them and he is the champion against this force.

Ahmad is betraying his own country by forsaking its peace and future. If the prime minister supported his act, he himself is guilty of treason.

What we need in Malaysia is less of such people. The fabric of Malaysia's racial unity is very fragile and we must take care not to tear it. Inducing hatred will eventually break this country apart. Malaysians should no longer tolerate such racist and backward behaviour.

JTB: What Ahmad Ismail said was indeed racist in nature. He had two meetings with the PM and now we have to wait for the Umno supreme council to decide on what to do with him. Whatever Umno wishes to do with him and the 13 branches that supported him is entirely up to the party.

My concern is the law enforcement agencies like the police and the Special Branch. All that we’ve heard so far is that they are carrying out an investigation into the matter. Why was Ahmad even allowed to hold a press conference the second time? Why wasn’t he warned by the police?

I am resigned to the fact that the law enforcement agencies are all subservient to Umno. A chieftain like Ahmad is immune to any police action, and if at all they are going to take any action, it will have to be with the tacit approval of the Umno supreme council.

They are meeting today and chances are he will be given a stern warning not to do it again. Most certainly there are two sets of law in the country, one set for Umno and the other set for non-UMNO members. It appears that Umno members have certain immunities against police action.

Khoo Gaik Cheng: I think that if Pak Lah is serious about maintaining any shred of credibility that Umno has left, he will sack the man and show him that racism is not tolerable in a multiethnic country like Malaysia. It is irresponsible politicians like Ahmad Ismail who are creating divisions and fostering racial tensions in the country.

Such public and unrepentant displays of arrogant ethnocentric power and pride contravene the spirit of Islam, a religion that preaches tolerance for diversity. He is a shame to Islam as much as he is to Malaysia.

Sinking Boat: This Umno warlord has shown how much he hates the Chinese, and by warning the Chinese not to be like the Jews he is warning the MCA, Gerakan and other Chinese political parties that they must toe the line or else. It also clearly shows how weak our prime minister and his deputy really are in not being able to reign in such warlords.

Since its astounding victory at the 2004 elections, Umno has grown to be very arrogant and believe that they are untouchable. Although the rakyat rejected the BN at the last elections, it seems the government has not gotten the message. Wake up BN, before it’s too late.

Kaisim: Apparently, Umno is being looked upon as a toothless tiger by members like Amad and his followers.

Malaysians and the world are watching how a small group of rebels within, are stoking racial fires to start another May 13. And why are the country’s leaders not doing anything about it?

Ahmad Ismail is nothing but a provocateur instigated by strategic politicians wanting to further their own agenda.

What did the Chinese do to earn such names being hurled at them? Our forefathers came here just as any other immigrants to earn a living. Their children liked this place and it became their home. Malaysia is rich enough for everyone but not enough to satisfy the greedy and unscrupulous.

Phoon Khar Yue: When one race is openly and directly discriminated against by affirmative policies, they are left with no other alternative but to strive for the lion's share of the economy and political power to ensure their survival.

It is depressing that Umno and Ahmad Ismail have, time and time again, failed to grasp the fact that non-Malays want nothing more than equality, whether economically or politically. It is also befuddling to point out that the root cause of the status quo of social, economic and political inequality emanated from poor policy conception, execution and implementation by the BN government.

If anything, Ahmad Ismail should be the one to be warned not to mimic Adolf Hitler and his fascist style.

HL Ooi: Ahmad Said should be charged in court for what he has said and done, but he should not be remanded under ISA. We cannot profess to be democratic and subscribe to the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, yet seek to deny these rights to those who are offensive to us.

I have found the actions of Ahmad Said and his supporters repulsive and disgusting, so charge them according to the laws of the land and punish them accordingly, if found guilty. But we should not detain people without trial.

Fizkha: We should not just take Ahmad Ismail’s statement in pieces but understand his total press statement. All the media outlets in the country are guilty of quoting partial comments which have upset the Chinese.

We must be thankful to Ahmad for being forward with his remarks, however bitter they may be for everyone including the Malays. Why are the Malays included? Because the Malays, by nature, will never make such inflammatory remarks.

They will never endevour to offend people, even their enemies. They will prefer to stay in silence than act because they will not stand to lose honour. More so now that they consider their Chinese brethren a part of their society.

These are dangerous and explosive matters that have never been discussed openly, even during pre-independence talks. Thus, many issues that concern both the Malays and Chinese have never really been addressed.

Ahmad is quite right in suggesting in his press statement for an open forum to civilly discuss pertinent issues on race relations, Chinese economic hegemony and the best way forward.

With all sincerity, let’s be fair to all. When we accuse or imply that many Malay civil servants are corrupt, which has resulted in the country's resources being plundered, please also check who the main culprits are instead of making sweeping statements which are often very unfair and have the power of hurting the sensitivities of a particular race.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh: Someone whose actions are unkind, whose thoughts are unwholesome, whose speech is unwholesome, is certainly suffering a lot. When you look deeply and see this suffering, your heart will open and the key of understanding will reveal itself.

On Racial issues: Army chief tells gov't to act

Hakim Omar: The issue before us is very simple. In Malaysia, action can be taken under the Sedition Act for those inciting racial hatred. Those involved should be immediately detained for questioning.

Why are the police dragging their feet on this? Are they waiting for directions from their political masters before they act? Kudos to the Chief of the Armed Forces for stating the obvious –take action against those responsible before the situation gets out of hand.

CHONG: I think it's unsettling for the Armed Forces to comment on an internal security matter since they should be focusing on how to defend Malaysia from external attacks. We don't need another authority to remind us that tensions are flaring out of control. After all, it seems to be perpetrated by a select few who want to capitalise on the moment to gain some political traction.

As I was growing up, I was taught never to pay attention to what people think of me. It is not important that some Malays may feel that the Chinese Malaysians should be viewed as immigrants and don't deserve fair treatment in their country of birth. I know some of the modern- thinking friends I have of Malay heritage would feel ashamed to be grouped with people of such a backward view.

Rather it's what those in power do to implement those prejudices that should be the focus of the discourse.

Ahmad Ismail has already made it clear in his statements to the press that he was quoted out of context and that he was referring to a pre-Merdeka era. Why he would choose to speak of a by-gone era instead of issues of the day is lamentable.

I think Gerakan and MCA should stop trying to portray themselves as champions of the Malaysian Chinese but rather focus on how to negotiate more fair treatment for us as citizens of this country and to secure a future for our generations to come.

Although Ahmad makes a long case for why he doesn't want to apologise, I fail to see how his apology (if he would give one) would in any way threaten the position of Malays and Islam. How would his personal admission of wrong threaten the Malays as a race and Islam as a religion unless he is the sole representative of those?

I can see how some of his supporters may feel bad that their elected representative would say such things, but I don't see it affecting the Malays as a whole especially not the ones I meet on a daily basis in the workplace.

Let's not play into the hands of the politicians and keep focused on the issues that are of real importance. I want to know why I'm having to pay so much more for the same things now and where all my tax dollars are going to! I want to see corruption stamped out so that all Malaysians can benefit from a cleaner and more efficient administration.

I want to see some real efforts towards more racial integration in our country so that we can work together to compete in the global economy and not try to hoard wealth at the expense of our fellow countrymen.

On Umno chieftain meets PM in Putrajaya

Dr Nedu: Ahmad Ismail has successfully deviated the entire issue. Now he is saying that he was only defending his race. Who attacked his race in the first place that he saw a need to defend it? For him to defend, he must have seen someone attacking his race. But I dare say in this case, he is the attacker as well as defender.

It’s an own-goal scenario. He is trying to fool the whole country. A stern warning from the rakyat , "We cannot be fooled anymore".

This is not your kampung politics. This is a multiracial Malaysia. No one race is superior to another.