Saturday, December 09, 2006

Illegitimate citizens in own Motherland

The recently concluded 57th UMNO Annual General Assembly opened the eyes of many of us, non-Muslims and non-Malays, to the hard political reality prevalent in our beloved nation, we call our motherland.

Instead of focusing on the numerous issues facing the country, the members of the dominant party, chose to preoccupy themselves with racial and religious ultra-extremism. The only reassuring statements for the non-Malay Malaysians were from the Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.Even his appeals for moderation appeared to have fallen on deaf ears, as throughout the assembly, speaker after speaker delivered fiery and emotional attacks on other races.

Regrettably this anti-non-Malay and non-Muslim stance was most obvious in the youth wing which makes us shudder at what is in store for us and our children in the future in our own motherland. Our fears are not unfounded as even the PM has acknowledged that we have reached a dangerous point in the history of the nation.

The Chinese and Indians have been staunch supporters of UMNO in all elections, so why this growing antagonism in UMNO towards them now?

All forms of threats and challenges are leveled at us to which we are becoming immuned.Our voices of dissent are in fact being suppressed by uncalled for threats and a newly emerging mob mentality like the violent disruption of the peaceful Article 11 forum in Penang and the false SMS fiasco in Ipoh where, groups of Muslims gather in force to surround a church on mere speculation and rumours. It saddens us to realize that the authorities seem to condone such behaviour as demonstrated by inaction against these unlawful perpetrators.

We are told not to question the special rights of Malays and the position of Islam. We are accused of damaging the sanctity if Islam. We are also told bluntly that there is no religion above Islam. Groups that promote inter-faith dialogue and harmony by stressing on universal human values, like the Inter-Faith Council,Penang Global Ethics Project, Pusat Komas and Sisters in Islam (SIS), are singled out to be condemned.

Several delegates have called for war against non-Malay agendas, claiming that they are ready to "bathe in blood" to protect their rights and that "the blood of Malay warriors will run in our veins". They warn the other races not to question the Malay rights and warn even their own BN counterparts not to interfere with their special privileges. Even senior non-Malay ministers are rudely criticized. Where is our professed Asian virtue of respect for elders?

In fact their attitude towards us is summed up by 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 who are our friend and partners in the ruling coalition.

As the proceedings were televised live, these delegates have succeeded in painting a picture of a racially segregated and tensed Malaysia to foreigners. When foreigners watch this, what do you think will be their impression? In many countries, such rhetoric is considered bigotry and racist.

We are accused of questioning the special position of the Malays and Islam. In fact the majority of us have come to accept this as a fact of life. We are not against the NEP as it is only right and proper that any social imbalance among the races should be addressed to preserve national harmony.

The NEP and its target of 30% equity by bumiputras was never opposed by the non-Malays who understand the importance of uplifting the welfare of the bumiputras. In fact many of us in civil service before have worked hand in hand with our fellow bumiputras towards that endeavor.

Despite 30 over years of implementing polices to uplift the Malays we are still told that they have far behind the target at a mere 18.9%.On the contrary two other reports reveal that it had actually surpassed the target.

We are merely asking for are our rights as enshrined in the constitution. We have come to a situation where all our rights in education, economy, culture and religion are denied and our future appears bleak and hopeless. Our yearnings to serve the nation, in government service, police and armed forces are not appreciated and unjustly denied.

Is it wrong and a crime to demand in a civil manner for our rights as citizens in our own country?

As the PM says Umno, and the Malays, as the dominant members of the ruling coalition, must always be fair and just to all Malaysians. The minority non-Malays have no one else to depend if their dominant partner turns against them.

Recent events in Malaysia, both in and out of the Umno AGM, have sent the message to every non-Malay that the leaders of this country will not protect them and their families. We are helpless against the power and might of the forces arrayed against us. We are not sure what to do next. Our calls for dialogue are rejected. Mob rule is becoming the norm on mere speculation and rumours.

Whether we like it or not we are Malaysians and are here to stay during good and bad times. This is a fact which must be accepted by all. Let us show fellow Malaysians and the rest of the world that we are and could be a civilized peace-loving nation, instead of one that indulges in fighting imaginary enemies.

God has bestowed us with a beautiful country, full of resources and devoid of natural disasters like earthquakes, drought, floods, forest fires, volcanoes, typhoons and hurricanes. He has also bestowed us with diverse cultures and faiths so as to allow us to develop the virtue of tolerance for others.

Let us appreciate and share these divine gifts fairly among us so that we can all live life to the fullest as one united nation, Malaysia, and not fight each other in His name.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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