Monday, September 8, 2008

Finger-pointing Ahmad Ismail makes a lousy debater

malaysiakiniGEORGE TOWN Sept 5 — All 13 UMNO divisions in Penang supported Bukit Bendera UMNO division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail's decision not to apologise for calling the Chinese in Malaysia immigrants. [Malaysiakini]

Ahmad Ismail was reported calling the Chinese community in Malaysia "immigrants" and therefore should not enjoy the benefits of full citizenship. He felt he was not in any fault for saying so.

The fact that certain quarters in Malaysian politics are playing the racial card to gain support is now beyond any dispute. Racism is still very much prevalent among hypocritical leaders who on paper, should represent the people of Malaysia regardless of colour or religion. Ironically, UMNO's hierarchy had repeatedly stressed that they are not a racist party. That's quite hard to believe given the current circumstances.

ahmad ismail racist

Ahmad Ismail held a press conference on September 5 to explain his decision to ignore calls for an apology. He did not fail to incite further ill-feelings among the Chinese community for the second time when he said,
"If the Chinese can question the special rights of the Malays, the Malays can also question the citizenship of the Chinese." [The Malaysian Insider, 5/9/08]
Ahmad Ismail backed himself with some historical facts. He explained that the British brought labourers from China and India to work in mining fields and plantations while the Malays remained in the rural areas.
"The British built more schools at the mines and this unfairness led to the Chinese being more educated, although this is Tanah Melayu. The Chinese were indeed squatters at that time." he concluded.
Ahmad Ismail's reasoning was just as flawed as his philosophy because:
  1. The British left this country 51 years ago. And for the past 51 years, were there not any schools being built outside the mines and Chinese-majority areas? If Ahmad Ismail still thinks the Chinese are more educated after 51 years, then he is insulting is own race.
  2. Though the Malays are the original inhabitants of the land, there is no denial that the Chinese and Indians played a major role in shaping the economy.
  3. "The Chinese were indeed squatters at that time." True enough. But Ahmad Ismail said it himself: " that time". The Chinese community have since spanned at least 3 generations. In case you don't know Mr. Ahmad Ismail, Article 14 (1b) of the Constitution and Malaysia Citizenship Rules 1964 state that any person born after Merdeka Day or Malaysia Day is a citizen of this country. If Ahmad Ismail believes the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Chinese community are still "squatters" after 51 years of independence, he should start taking reading classes.
  4. Ahmad Ismail claimed he only said those comments during a political speech when campaigning for his party at Permatang Pauh. But what has "Chinese being immigrants" got to do with the by-election if not to incite racial sentiments among his Malay audience? The history of the Chinese in Malaysia had no relevance at all to the by-election.
The UMNO division chief then accused Sin Chew Daily, a Chinese-language newspaper for twisting his words into a racial issue. Penang Opposition leader Datuk Azhar Ibrahim also came in support of Ahmad Ismail's stand.
"What was written may lead to a racial riot. If such a thing happens, he (Sin Chew Daily reporter) is the first person that should be shot," he threatened. [Malaysiakini, 5/9/08]
However, the Sin Chew Daily reporter chose to stand by his report and claimed the other reporters who were there with him then can testify that Ahmad Ismail's comments were not twisted. [The Star, 6/9/08].

bukit bendera UMNO

Former Penang Chief Minister and Gerakan president Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon also came under fire when Ahmad Ismail labelled him "immature" and a "hypocrite". Koh had earlier on demanded Ahmad Ismail to apologise to the Chinese community for his racial remarks. But Ahmad Ismail retaliated, saying the former Chief Minister should be the one doing the apologizing and not him; at least to every Malay in this country.

Ahmad Ismail and his supporters ended the press conference by cheering, "Hidup Melayu! (Long live the Malays!)" as a sign of unity among the UMNO members.

To conclude, here is quote from Malaysia's first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman:
refuse to apologise
"...when we (the Malays) fought against the Malayan Union (which upset the position of the Malays' rights) the others took no part in it because they said this is purely a Malay concern, and not theirs. They also indicate that they owe their loyalty to their countries of origin, and for that reason they oppose the Barnes Report to make Malay the national language. If we were to hand over the Malays to these so-called Malayans when their nationality has not been defined there will be a lot of problems ahead of us."
However, our Founding Father did not stop right there,
"For those who love and feel they owe undivided loyalty to this country, we will welcome them as Malayans. They must truly be Malayans, and they will have the same rights and privileges as the Malays."

Ahmad Ismail, it seems that you and your men had got it all wrong...

For further reading:
1.The Federal Constitution of Malaysia
2.Malaysia Citizenship Rules 1964


  1. Crystabel said...

    If more Malaysians like you, who think alike, we will be living in a better place. To think that I was naive enough to be really, really proud because we gained our independence through negotiation and not blood shed, I now laugh at my stupidity. Interesting, though.