Spare us the righteous anger


Umno youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki (seated 2nd right).

Umno youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki (seated 2nd right).

I sometimes wonder what it is that these Umno fellows eat and drink. I would not have thought that such self-delusion could be possible unless one was scoffing “special” mushrooms on a regular basis.

For example, Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki took offence with some comments made by Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.

He must resign, the youthful fellow yells. His comments are divisive and seditious and will cause disharmony amongst the people. And if he doesn’t resign, he must be sacked, he screams.

What did the minister say? It depends how you want to interpret it.

Basically, when speaking in Tamil at an event in Nilai recently, Kulasegaran said that Indians have been on the Malay Peninsula for hundreds of years, as proven by the Hindu ruins in the Bujang Valley.

He then went on to assert that Indians were not “pendatang” but instead “they” were.

The question is, who is the “they” he was referring to? The minister said he was referring to those who would call Malaysian ethnic Indians “pendatang”.

People like the Umno Youth chief would say Kulasegaran was referring to all Malays. If such is the case, then it is super offensive and the minister’s head must roll.

Wow. Such hypocrisy. How many times have Umno ministers been unapologetically racist, telling non-Malays to leave the country and “go back to where they belong”? Have these people been fired or forced to resign? Of course not.

(Incidentally, the Human Resources Minister has apologised if he caused offence.)

And even now, the Umno machine (with their best pals from PAS) go on about how it is better to vote for someone Malay and Muslim regardless of his capability or indeed his integrity.

If anyone plays the race card, it is Umno and those of their ilk (which now seems to include PAS).

So please, Umno Youth leader, do us a favour and spare us your righteous anger.

I know that race and religion is all these sort go on and on about because it is all they know.

They scream about Malay rights and Muslim rights being under threat without defining those terms and without offering any evidence such a threat even exists.

This is what they do. This is the only thing they know how to do.

But Malaysians can rise above that. We can, all of us, regardless of ethnicity, see that when those who are intellectually bankrupt go on and on about some imaginary problem based on race and faith, it is because they have nothing to say of any actual intellectual value.

We changed our government in a peaceful manner. We showed to the world that democracy can work. Even when the odds are stacked against you. Even when the system is designed to ensure the victory of one side over the other.

We showed the world that if enough of us come out and vote and if enough of us take the trouble to do the hard work of PACAs (polling agents and counting agents), we can make a difference.

I am now somewhere in Yorkshire – in the West, where democracy is taken for granted and where people are so complacent that their laziness to even go out and vote has put Britain in the madness of Brexit and the Americans in the madness of Trump.

We have already shown how we can change things, despite the odds, by sheer effort of enough people.

Now we need to show that sustainable change can occur and we can move away from the vile and regressive with patience and reason.

We have to make small-minded voices redundant by firmly and surely working in a manner to benefit all Malaysians and not use the poisonous and toxic narrative of race and faith that only serves the few.

  • Azmi Sharom (azmi.sharom@gmail.com) is a law teacher. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.