From Agence France-Presse (AFP) Newswire:
"It is utterly irresponsible of someone with the highly influential and respected position of a Deputy Prime Minister to keep on harping and raising the specter of the 1969 racial clash.
By doing so, DPM Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is encouraging others to rehash the findings of Dr. Kua Kia Soong's book, "May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots 1969" that it was UMNO that triggered the racial bloodbath and NOT the non-Malays (Read HERE for more and HERE and HERE and HERE ).
It is becoming too obvious that with the general election looming, DPM Najib, who himself has a baggage of poor judgement on making dangerous racial comments in the past, notably during an UMNO rally with images of him and non-Malay blood on the keris, is again creating a climate of racial fear of the 1970s and 1980s.
The truth of the matter is that the Hindraf protesters were fighting for rights of the Malaysian Indians marginalised by the Government in the last 30 odd years. It is the Government-of-the-day which had exploited it as a RACE issue.
And now, we have a Deputy Prime Minister on a scare-tactic binge by bringing in the dark days of Malaysia in 1969 into the whole equation again in 2008.
Coming from a leader of the country, it cannot get any more dangerous than now, with the current increasing simmering of racial and religious tensions pervading in the country, caused primarily by the racially biased politics and policies of this Government led by UMNO.
Najib must now behave and act like a statesman, more like a Deputy Prime Minister, and NOT like an UMNO underling, harping on issues with racial undertones and engaging in the politics of racial fears.
Malaysians today are no more hamstrung by the biased reporting of the Government-controlled mainstream media (the likes of NST, Star and the vernacular papers) as they had been in the 1960s and 1970s or 1980s. They are no more led by the nose on everything (real and unreal) dished out by the Government and/or UMNO. The internet paid put to that.
It is time for Najib to get out of his stereotypic mindset and be a Prime Minister-in-the-making instead of embarking on a new round of creating racial fears among Malays and non-Malays.
We say, Mr. Deputy Prime Minister Najib, get over it and move on ! "
Excerpts: Read here for more on AFP
(Image courtesy of "Malaysian Cartoons" Blog)
"...Malaysia on Monday defended its crackdown on dissent, including the arrest of ethnic Indian activists and suppression of street protests, saying it had averted a serious risk of racial violence.COMMENTARY
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak raised the spectre of the country's worst race riots, when almost 200 people were killed in clashes between ethnic Chinese and Muslim Malays in May 1969.
Najib said in an interview with AFP:"If the Malays of Kampung Baru (the Malay enclave was one of the flashpoints of the 1969 riots) come out then we have the spectre of a serious possibility of a racial clash in this country.Najib -- who as deputy premier is expected to be Malaysia's next leader after Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi -- defended the use of the much-criticised Internal Security Act (ISA) on the Hindraf leaders.
There were signs that they were preparing to come out so we had to tell them, 'look, don't make the situation any worse',".
Najib indicated the National Front coalition government could lose ground in general elections expected to be held in March, which follow a torrid few months that have included the protests as well as food shortages and a ministerial sex scandal.
After a resounding victory in 2004, which reversed losses in 1999, commentators say the pendulum is likely to swing AGAINST the government again.
The ruling United Malays National Organisation has led the National Front coalition in government for half a century.
"... The deputy premier suggestion is totally irrational.
I am surprised he tried to link the Hindraf's protest to the Malay community.
I have argued earlier that UMNO is NOT synonymous with the Malay community.
A large number of Malays - at least 40 percent - are NOT UMNO members or supporters.
Hindraf leaders, although I may not necessarily agree with its leaders' statements or the method used, have specifically said that the protest was against UMNO and NOT the Malay community.
The DPM is doing an injustice by trying to draw the Malay community into what was presumably a protest against his party.
His justification of using the ISA is unacceptable to a country where there is a rule of law. Citizens, including politicians, must abide by the law.
I have a few questions for the DPM and it is important that he ponders hard on them:
1) Is he using the Malays in Kampung Baru as a threat to all Malaysians who wanted to exercise their constitutional rights to assemble, speak and association?
2) What will the government do if the Malays in Kampung Baru turned violent? Will the ISA be used against them as well?
3) From his statement, it is obvious that the government has established communications with the Malays in Kampung Baru. Why didn't the government take preemptive action against the leaders of Malays in Kampung Baru for displaying violent tendency? Is the government practising double standards?
4) Is Najib's statement seditious?
I would like to register my protest against a leader who has called for no racial sensationalising in the forthcoming general elections just weeks ago.
I am surprised he is now trying to involve the Malay community in the Hindraf issue. It will inevitably pit the Malays against the Indians - whom majority are sympathetic to the cause of Hindraf.
Najib, a touted successor of Abdullah Badawi, should behave and speak like a national leader worthy of helming the country in the near future.