THE Malay press has been going to town with the DAP‘s provocative behaviour at its 29 Nov 2009 annual convention in Ipoh. At the convention, a poster of three former Pakatan Rakyat (PR) representatives from Perak who turned independent was placed on the floor to be stepped on.
This has made the front-page headlines two days in a row in the Malay-language press, indicating that the issue is one of utmost importance.
(Footprints pic by Oliver Gruener / sxc.hu)
The reports demonstrate how Utusan Malaysia has somehow managed to turn a childish act into a racial issue. Its 1 Dec 2009 editorial equated stepping on the photographs of Mohd Osman Mohd Jailu, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Hee Yit Foong as tantamount to challenging the dignity of Malay Malaysian leaders.
“DAP leaders should remember, don’t test the patience of the Malay [Malaysians]. Stepping on the photographs of Malay [Malaysians] is considered a rude act,” the editorial warned.
The editorial said it was forbidden for Malay Malaysians to behave in this manner, and called on Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties to distance themselves from the DAP leaders’ “extreme” actions.
“If PKR (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) and PAS agree [with the DAP's actions], they no longer care about the status of the Malay race in the interests of politics,” the editorial said. “DAP leaders should not be so focused on their anger against the three independent representatives until they forget to heed the feelings of Malay [Malaysians].”
Shahrizat (File pic courtesy of theSun) Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil upped the ante even further by calling the DAP’s behaviour “extremely dangerous” and said it could lead to violence.
“What would happen if there are patriotic or extreme and hot-tempered Malay [Malaysians] who use this as an excuse to rise up and take revenge because they feel their race has been insulted? Who would take responsibility if violence broke out?” she asked.
The Wanita Umno chief should perhaps give more credit to her fellow Malay Malaysians for not being so unreasonable and irrational as to run amok at every suggestion of a racial insult. As for who would be responsible if violence broke out, shouldn’t it be the ones who caused the violence to begin with?
In hastening to lambast the DAP, Utusan Malaysia and outraged Umno leaders seem to have conveniently forgotten Penang Umno’s act of tearing up Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon‘s picture. Surely that was uncouth behaviour, but no one then talked about it being a “dangerous” act that could cause hot-headed Chinese Malaysians to run amok.
Zambry Barisan Nasional-appointed Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir also couldn’t help bringing up race in his comments. He accused the DAP leaders of acting according to their racial political ideology, which, he claimed, they had been practising all this while.
The responses of the three party-hoppers whose images were stepped on were also reported in the Malay-language press. The three representatives seemed almost gleeful in their attempt to reclaim the moral high ground after suffering a public image battering when they turned independent in February 2009.
Osman, the state assemblyperson for Changkat Jering, said one of the reasons why he left the PR was because he had lost confidence in its leadership.
“This is the real attitude of the DAP leaders. The people should evaluate their attitude which deliberately aims to instil hatred among the people towards the present government,” Osman said.
Osman also said the DAP’s behaviour was uncivilised and did not reflect the country’s values. While it may be true that the DAP’s behaviour was immature, how does betraying one’s constituents by party-hopping and bringing down a popularly elected government represent the country’s values? Osman was, of course, silent on this point.
From left: Jamaluddin, Osman and Hee
Jamaluddin (Behrang) said he hoped the people now realised the DAP’s true antics. “The DAP has always been stepping on the heads of everyone, including Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, and this is the way they lead. This was not realised by the public,” he claimed without providing any proof.
Hee (Jelapang) said she was not angry with her former DAP colleagues’ rude behaviour. She was also praised by Zambry, who said: “For months, the Chinese papers have portrayed Yit Foong as a traitor to her own race. However, she has remained calm, and in my view, her attitude reflects bangsa Malaysia as she is not obsessed with playing extreme political games.”
The Utusan Malaysia editorial surmised that upon evaluation, the three Pakatan Rakyat representatives became independents due to the leadership style of the Perak government at the time. It said the DAP should feel remorse and learn from their mistakes as they had lost the Perak government after being in power for just 11 months.
Puad (Public domain) Utusan Malaysia called on everyone to criticise the DAP’s actions so that their behaviour could be checked early on. Umno supreme council member Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi also advised party members not to follow this “heinous behaviour”, and managed to insert praise for the prime minister at the same time.
“Emulate the prime minister instead, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was willing to grant wang ehsan to Kelantan even though they don’t deserve it as the oil was found more than three nautical miles off Kelantan’s shores,” said Puad.
“It’s so unfortunate that the prime minister’s good deed and generosity was repaid with undignified prayers.”
Stepping on PR leaders’ photos, however, seemed acceptable to Puad. He suggested that DAP members should instead step on the photographs of Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for their negligence, and for mistakes in their candidate selection.
“Kit Siang and Guan Eng [themselves] should step on their own photos as a sign of regret for their mistakes,” Puad said. “Why aren’t they brave enough to step on Anwar’s photo? They should be angrier with Anwar because it was PKR’s representatives that resigned and became independent.”
Ibrahim Ali Independent Member of Parliament Ibrahim Ali said the DAP’s behaviour went against human rights, which the party has allegedly been fighting for. He also questioned whether the DAP was practising communist teachings.
From racial insult to emulating the prime minister to violating human rights and adopting communist teachings, it is clear that Utusan Malaysia and the Barisan Nasional are really milking the DAP’s misstep (pun intended) for all it’s worth. The question is, in the chase for political mileage, how much more absurd is the rhetoric going to be? And how much further will Utusan Malaysia go?
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