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UMNO GA 2006: a throwback to the 1980s
(Kuala Lumpur, Tuesday) : I am here to accompany fellow DAPSY leader Sdr. Kuan Perk Siong to lodge a report requesting the police to initiate investigation into the provocative, seditious and racist remarks aired at the recently concluded UMNO General Assembly.
The UMNO GA 2006 represents one of the worst assemblies in history, as far as racist statement is concerned. I can’t think of a year that creates more fear and anxiety among non-Malays than this since 1991, when former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad mooted the idea of Bangsa Malaysia.
Although racial politics of Barisan Nasional has always been pervasive, throughout the 1990s and early 21st century, with the notably exception of the Suqiu incident in 2000, racial tensions during the second half of Mahathir’s tenure were admittedly less heightened than it is now.
The UMNO GA 2006 is a throwback to the 1970s and 1980s where racial tensions were fanned on a daily basis whereas in the 1990s at least there was semblance of attempts to promote unity.
It was a shocking experience to see senior politicians like Education Minister and UMNO Youth chief Hishammudin Hussein waving the keris for the second time while others uttering racial slur tantamount to sedition.
The ghost of May 13 was used for a second year consecutively. Some spoke about “bathe in blood.” Delegate from Perlis Hashim Suboh was quoted in New Straits Times asking
The blatant disregard of the feeling of non-Malays is seeding discord that may tear apart communities eventually. Any street polls would indicate disenchantment runs high among non-Malays while the international community watches with disbelief.
What have the UMNO GA 2006 achieved? The answer: Malaysia as a nation risks further fragmentation. Malaysia’s place as a destination for international tourists and investments further diminished and “off the radar”.
While DAP and DAPSY fully respect the right to free expression, but UMNO leaders have gone beyond a mere “letting out steam” as claimed by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Going by the BN Government’s sedition laws, statements made by delegates at the UMNO GA 2006 were indeed seditious. We urged the police to conduct impartial investigation into the matters.