Sunday, November 1, 2009

Muhyiddin Yassin The Racist DPM

NOV 1 2009


Muhyiddin Yassin, Malaysian deputy chairman, has lately been playing the racist card to the hilt. In his speech at the opening of the Seri Gading Umno division meeting in early August, Muhyiddin, according to The Star (11 August 2009) made some comments about Anwar Ibrahim.

The Star reported that “Anwar’s lawyer later had submitted a notice demanding Muhyiddin and Utusan Malaysia, which printed the report, to issue an apology or face a RM100mil libel suit from the former deputy prime minister.”
The Star also reported on the same day that Muhyiddin had the day before warned that there are certain individuals among the Malays who would sacrifice their own race for political expediency.
The leading headline on page N8 of the English language daily was: “DPM slams Malay traitors”.
The paper reported that “Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, said these people would stoop to any level in trying to achieve their political ambitions”.
“He said, in the 52 years Umno had been leading the nation, the party had never forsaken the interest of the Malays but in fact had always and would continue to champion them,” the report added.
“It has become my responsibility,” Muhyiddin was reported to have said, “to oppose these individuals who are only after their own political interests at all costs.
“I cannot imagine how our country will be if we (Barisan Nasional and Umno) are no longer in power after the general election,” he said when opening the 11th annual general meeting in Kuala Lumpur of Perdasama, an association for Malay businessmen.
The Star report continued: “Muhyiddin added that what was also more worrying now was that there are some non-Malay quarters who were openly questioning Malay rights and privileges.
“And what was even more disappointing,” he said, “was that there was a small number of Malays who were acting as a thorn in the flesh”.
According to The Star report, “He urged the Malays to be firmly united against these traitors as they were obstacles to the progress of the Malays.”


Well, well, what is one to make of Muhyiddin’s outburst against “Malay traitors”? And, equally important, why the outburst now?
Is his frankly racist outburst an indication that Umno is desperately trying to regain Malay support, whatever the means, perhaps encouraged by Umno’s good result at the recent Manek Urai by-election, although it didn’t win?
Or does it tell us something more about Umno in general and Muhyiddin in particular perhaps — that behind the facade of current Umno unity and purposefulness, there are undercurrents of discord fuelled by certain unhappiness and rival ambitions?
Or that perhaps Muhyiddin and his people within Umno are positioning themselves for the post-Najib era? Maybe like what Najib and his people have done successfully to curtail and shorten Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s term of power, there are already plans afoot by some people within Umno to do likewise against the Najib regime?
Perhaps all the above speculation doesn’t really hold much water? But then how does one explain Muhyiddin’s immature and even irresponsible racist attack?
Has he become merely Najib’s hatchet man then, content to do Umno’s dirty political street-fighting, some senior figure sad and tragic who reminds us of the late Ghafar Baba, who was ever ready and willing to do Dr Mahathir’s bidding so long as he was fed a constant diet of political flattery?
Has Najib Razak, as prime minister, Umno president and Barisan Nasional head, approved of Muhyiddin’s outburst? After all he has been rather busy of late in telling the police to go after some Opposition figures for alleged sedition.
Or is it the same old, tired, sad tale of double standards?


Talking about “Malay traitors”, do shallow and narrow Umno politicians like Muhyiddin know enough of Umno history to touch on this subject? Is he that ignorant of Umno’s early history not to know that the late Datuk Onn Jaafar, the founder-president of Umno, did a very far-sighted and courageous thing that at the time caused him to be branded by some in Umno as a “traitor to the Malays”?
Just about three years after the establishment of Umno in 1946, Onn and some other Umno leaders started to question the narrow Malay nationalism and racial exclusiveness of the party. Onn was desirous of a Malayan nationalism derived from the various races of the country.
He didn’t stop with wanting non-Malays to become associate members of Umno. At the 12th General Assembly of Umno in Butterworth on 27 August 1949, in his presidential speech he said that the Malays must accept as nationals peoples of other races who were prepared to give their all to Malaya.
A single nationality was essential if “we are to achieve self-government and independence in Malaya”, he said.
It was Onn again who worked hard and long, motivated by his deep beliefs and principles to have Umno accept the controversial citizenship recommendations of the Communities Liaison Committee. He urged that they be adopted at an emergency session of the Umno General Assembly which was held in Kuala Lumpur during the second week of June 1950. Many of the delegates were hostile to the proposals, and some even branded Onn a “traitor to the Malays and the country”.
But Onn was undeterred. To force the issue, he resigned as Umno president; he also announced the resignation of the entire executive council. He was persuaded to withdraw his resignation, however.
A month later, the Umno Assembly at its annual session in Kuala Kangsar re-elected Onn as Umno president by 66 votes to 3; it also approved the citizenship proposals which it had rejected earlier.
Again this man of political courage and vision did not stop there. Driven by his deep sense of Malayan nationalism rather than narrow Malay chauvinism, Onn then advocated that Umno should open its doors to non-Malays with equal membership rights and privileges. He maintained that Umno had to be turned into a national organisation and not remain merely as an organisation of the Malays.
He reported in the then The Straits Times of 21 November 1950 as saying, “Merely opening the door to associate members is not enough. This must be a national body and non-Malay members should be offered all the rights and privileges of the organisation.” Onn in fact wanted Umno to be renamed as the United Malayan National Organisation.
Alas, he was about 60 years ahead of his time. He realised that his proposals faced substantial opposition from the divisions, but he went ahead with his plans. He resigned from Umno on 1 July 1951. On 26 August, he tendered formally his resignation from Umno at the party’s general assembly. And so it was that the founding father of Umno and Umno parted ways.
Compared to Umno leaders of today, Onn was a great visionary. He paid a heavy price for his political convictions and courage. As a matter of fact, he was the First Malayan, and the First Malaysian.
 Fan Yew Teng takes issue with Muhyiddin’s recent outburst; what a stark contrast to Umno founder Onn Jaafar, who was more inclusive and open, he observes. Indeed, Fathol Zaman Bukhari recalls with nostalgia an era when things were so different.


Petty politicians like Muhyiddin Yassin and most of today’s Umno leaders are political midgets compared to the political giant that was Onn, who dared to transcend the narrow confines of racial politics to try and forge a multiracial nation.
Datuk Onn, father of Tun Hussein Onn, Malaysia’s third prime minister, and grandfather of Hishamuddin Hussein, home minister and Umno vice president, far from betraying the Malays, dreamed of a just and equal society for all regardless of race, culture and religion.
Doesn’t Hishamuddin agree? Or is he satisfied with a subservient and opportunistic role as mere cheerleader for the hateful and shameless garbage churned out by the likes of Muhyiddin about racial “traitors”?
Whether Najib frowns on the immature hysteria of Muhyiddin or not, he must surely realise one important thing: Muhyiddin’s racist outburst is a great embarrassment for Najib’s own 1 Malaysia concept. Racial baiting at its worst, Muhyiddin’s over-simplified message is surely against everything that the 1 Malaysia concept is supposed to stand for.
1 Malaysia is being hyped as the promotion of national unity based on the integration of all Malaysians of different races. But how can that be achieved when some people like Muhyiddin Yassin, a deputy prime minister and deputy president of Umno no less, finds it convenient and expedient to harp, almost on a daily and relentless basis, on race, “traitors” to some race and, by extension, racial heroes?
Does Hishamuddin seriously think that his grandfather was a traitor to the Malays? If he doesn’t would he have the courage and backbone to tell Muhyiddin to shut up and hang his head in shame?
And what has Najib done about the shocking political immaturity of Muhyiddin? Just playing dead to the issue? After all, what his deputy uttered so irresponsibly has betrayed the 1 Malaysia concept for what it is: A veritable facade and a farce. — Aliran

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Awang Tengah Sarawak minister under fire

Sunday, 01 November 2009

Awang Tengah Under Attack

KUCHING – State Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management Awang Tengah Ali Hassan came under heavy criticism from opposition politicians and activists for asking the Auditor General to amend its Annual Report for 2008.
The part of the report which the minister took exception to was the one citing Sarawak along with Kelantan, Pahang and Johor as having poor forest management that led to river pollution, erosion, landslides and destruction of flora and fauna.
The report which also mentioned illegal logging, logging in forest reserves or national parks and poor enforcement as some of the factors responsible has made the Awang Tengah very unhappy.
He then demanded that the report be corrected.

Act of intimidation

Batu Lintang DAP state assemblyman Voon Lee Shan (right) said that reports should be lodged to the police and MACC against the minister for trying to influence the Auditor General to alter xertain parts of his document.
“This is an abuse of power and intimidation against the Auditor General. Reports against the minister should be made to the police and MACC,” he said, pointing out that the AG’s report was based on the principle of authority and accountability. The AG, he said, should be firm and should not be influenced by any quarter.
Padungan PKR state rep Dominique Ng accused Awang Tengah of trying to fiddle with the report.
The AG, he said, has certain procedures and guidelines to follow.
“Unless the Sarawak Government is saying that the reports are without any basis and are wrong, then the minister is questioning the credibility of the AG.
“The Sarawak Government should spend time and effort to find out the truth instead of being in a denial mode. Didn’t they also deny the Penan rape cases?
“They are only trying to cover up wrongdoing,” Ng stressed.
Harrison Ngau, chairman of Sarawak Indigenous Lawyers Alliance (SILA), said that Awang Tengah should not attempt to question let alone dictate how the AG which is an independent body carries out his work.
“If Awang Tengah wants the AG to change or amend its reports on the subject of forest management in Sarawak, other parties such as the native communities who live within or around the logging areas would also want their views to be included in the AG reports.

Why no EIA?

“I would also want to suggest to the AG to look into the reasons why environmental impact assessment study on loggings in Sarawak as required under the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance was never carried out by logging companies in the state?
“I wish also to challenge Awang Tengah to furnish to the AG copies of all the areas in Sarawak which have been licensed out for logging since 1981 and to reveal the names of the companies granted the licences.
“He should disclose all these to the AG to enable him to also study and annex the maps and the names of the companies in the AG reports so that the public can also make their assessment and give their views to the AG concerning the management of our forest in Sarawak.
“If Awang Tengah is so confident that AG was wrong in concluding that the management of our forests is poor, he should therefore have the courage to disclose all these,” Harrison said.
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (Sadia) secretary-general Nicholas Mujah called on MACC to investigate Awang Tengah as there seems to be fishy elements on his call on the AG to amend his report.
“MACC must look into Awang Tengah’s motive,” he said.
Awang Tengah, now considered the most powerful minister after Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, demanded the Auditor General to make correction with regards to its reports on Sarawak’s sustainable forest management.According to the minister, it was misleading and incorrect.

Make necessary correction

“The Auditor General has to make the correction for fear that outsiders may use the report to tarnish the image of the state,” he said, adding that the final report was based on their (AG’s) own interpretation and not based on the reports, findings and comments from the Forest Department.
“If they want the interest and image of the state not to be affected internationally, they should make the necessary correction,” he said.
He said that the National Audit Department had actually requested for comments from the various departments before the AG made the final report.
“But in the final report they simply set aside whatever comments that we have gathered. The Forest Department was even not consulted when the final report was published.
“We do not question their competency on financial management such as how projects are implemented as that is their expertise. But to comment on certain things like sustainable forest management, I don’t think they have the expertise. They cannot come to the conclusion based on their own observation. For instance just because the water is muddy they blame it on illegal logging and pollution. You can’t make that kind of conclusion,” Awang Tengah had retorted.
“If they have the expertise to make the comment, it is okay, but I believe they don’t have it,” he said, pointing out that Sarawak had been practising sustainable forest management since the formation of the Forest Department and had been credited by international organisations, ITTO, and the United Nations.

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