Wednesday, September 10, 2008

BN hegemony starts cracking


Gerakan Penang cuts all ties with UMNO Penang in response to Ahmad Ismail's unruly press conference. [Malaysiakini, 8/9/08]


MCA Penang is severing all ties with Ahmad Ismail and the 13 UMNO divisions that supported him until the issue is resolved. [The Malaysian Insider, 9/8/08]

The Bukit Bendera UMNO division chief Ahmad Ismail received a backlash from Chinese BN supporters with his refusal to retract his racist statements against the Chinese community. Ahmad Ismail has had two press conferences to express publicly his defiance towards the' orders for him to apologise for his remarks from his party's top leaders. He played the racial card again when he stated that it was no longer an UMNO issue but it was now an issue of the dignity and honour of the Malay race. He sparked further anger when he likened the Malaysian Chinese to American Jews in his second press conference.

According to Malaysiakini and The Malaysian Insider reports, Ahmad Ismail told the media that he will defend the honour of his people at all costs to the very end. He also insisted that he will not bring shame to the Malay people by kowtow-ing to the demands of the Chinese community for him to retract his racist remarks.

Ahmad Ismail also arrogantly challenged Gerakan, who had vocally opposed Ahmad Ismail over the issue, that they can leave the Barisan Nasional coalition if they wanted to.

Who is he to demand a BN component party to leave coalition?

Gerakan Penang decided to cut all ties with UMNO following Ahmad Ismail's second press conference where Gerakan president, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon's photograph was torn into two by an angry UMNO member. Ahmad Ismail had reportedly called the Gerakan president a "hypocrite" for over-reacting to his alleged racist comments. [The Malaysian Insider, 8/9/08]

Read Ahmad Ismail a Malay warrior?

Malaysiakini reported on September 9 that 3 Gerakan members had resigned from the BN Penang State Committee as a sign of protest against Ahmad Ismail and his supporters' disregard of national unity. They were Youth Chief Huan Cheng Guan, Deputy Youth Chief Yew Khean Siang, Secretary Oh Teong Keong and Assist. Secretary Heng Thee Wey.

Gerakan has been reconsidering their membership in Barisan Nasional over the past few days; fueling speculation that it could bail out of the ruling coalition in the near future. Their members, however did not rule out the possibility of the party switching their allegiance to the Opposition.

The Barisan Nasional hegemony took another blow when MCA Penang announced on September 9 that they would emulate Gerakan Penang by severing all relations with Ahmad Ismail and his men. MCA leaders have commented that Ahmad Ismail's racist remarks were an insult to the Chinese community who had sacrificed blood and sweat for the country; notably their involvement in the resistance force against the Japanese occupation during World War 2.

MCA Perak Youth members have been calling the party leaders reevaluate their membership in Barisan Nasional and suggested that the party leave the political bloc if UMNO fails to evolve away from their racist ideology.

Both Gerakan and MCA presidents have called for stern action be taken against Ahmad Ismail. Some even suggested using the Internal Security Act (ISA) to incarcerate the UMNO division chief for provoking racial tensions. The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi promised that Ahmad Ismail will pay for his recklessness when he told reporters,

"All of us have unanimously rejected his views. While it is not the view of UMNO, he is our member and we will discuss and make a decision." [The Malaysian Insider, 9/9/08]
All eyes are now on UMNO's leadership as the Malaysian public is eager to see the division chief be dealt severely by the party's supreme council. Racism of any form should never be tolerated; what more a politician who should be representing the Malaysian people of all walks of life.

Ahmad Ismail could have saved us the effort and walked away from all these mess simply by saying "sorry".

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