By Francis Paul Siah
COMMENT | For a moment, I was taken aback by the fiery statement by Ismail Mina Ahmad, leader of Gerakan Pembela Ummah (Ummah Defenders Movement, Ummah) telling those who don’t agree with the Federal Constitution to leave the country.
“So whoever doesn’t agree with the Federal Constitution, they can go find a country that suits them and go live there,” Ismail Mina said in his keynote address at the Ummah Uprising Convention in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 13.
However, it took me less than a minute later to brush off Ismail Mina’s outburst as one of those ‘normal’ occurrences, whereby some holier-than-thou and strangely abnormal characters would tell their fellow Malaysians to leave the country.
You see, some people could wake up on the wrong side of the bed and suddenly imagine that they dreamt of God asking them to be His holy messengers.
As they set out to pursue their imaginary divine roles, they made fools of themselves along the way, not realising it, of course.
How many times have we heard such mentally deranged remarks, challenging Malaysians to leave the country if they are not happy with this or that?
I’m used to it by now, as many too probably are. So I won’t bother about Ismail Mina’s outburst.
I’m also glad that Brig-Gen (Rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji (photo), president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan, corrected Ismail Mani’s claim, declaring that non-Malay officers and men, which included Chinese, Indians, Sikhs, Orang Asli, Dayaks, and Kadazans; had fought gallantly alongside their Malay brothers-in-arms.
“Distorting history to suit one’s alleged political purpose and instilling hatred towards non-Malays is totally irresponsible”, added Mohamed Arshad, as he ticked off Ismail Mani.
I’m sure the good general spoke for many Malaysians.
What I’m really concerned about is that there are groups spewing out venom of the racial and religious kind and who can get away with it all.
It seems that the authorities concerned are okay with selected hate speeches from racists and bigots. I doubt any action will be taken against Ismail Mina or Ummah.
I also have a question. How could a convention themed “Ummah Uprising” be allowed in the first place?
I cannot imagine a “Sarawak Uprising” event being given the green light, even if it is clearly about a gathering of Sarawakians expressing patriotism and love for their homeland.
My bitter experience, seven years ago
I can still recall the bitter experience and hassle I encountered seven years ago, when I attempted to organise “A Walk for Democracy” in Kuching.
The police even took out a court order against me and several of my NGO associates to ensure that we do not turn up at the venue on the day of the event. If we do so, we would be arrested on the spot.
This selective persecution on civil society is my greatest concern.
Meanwhile, I have this message for Ismail Mina and with the utmost respect for him as an elderly person.
There are many Malayans, including Malays, who will gladly leave for Sarawak. I can tell you this for a fact because I have friends in Kuala Lumpur, Johore and Penang who told me that they would be happy to live in Sarawak.
Why? The top reason is that there are no racists and religious bigots in Sarawak and they are just sick and tired of the same kind roaming around happily in Malaya, as if they are untouchable.
So Ismail Mina, there will be a lot of happy people if you could help kick Sarawak out of Malaysia because many recalcitrant Sarawakians are not totally in favour of the many revisions to the Federal Constitution over the past five decades.
Can you tell your powerful friends in high places to hasten the departure of Sarawak from Malaysia in order to fulfill your wish that “whoever doesn’t agree with the Federal Constitution can go find a country that suits them and go live there?”
Sarawak can then be a country for many to seek refuge from the time-bomb in Malaya.
We, Sarawakians, can also tell you here that we respect and honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) more. The reasons are obvious.
And for the information of all, our late chief minister Adenan Satem (photo) has often referred to Sarawak as a country, not a state.
In a video clip shared widely online after an “In Memoriam” service on the first anniversary of Adenan’s passing on Jan 10 in Kuching, the much loved leader described Sarawak as the most beautiful and friendly country in the world. He also repeated the noun “country”.
It must be Adenan’s belief that Sarawak is an independent country by itself because it participated in the formation of Malaysia as one of three entities, and never as one of 13 states.
Finally, let’s hope those in power would be forthright and tell Malaysians that there are no dirty political hands behind such hate speeches by so-called religious people.
If they do not, then the fears of many are not unfounded.
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at email@example.com
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
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