MCA had previously complained that some remarks by Nasir Safar and Ahmad Ismail were tantamount to sedition — ‘MCA shocked no govt action on those accused of making racist remarks‘ (The Star, 29 June 2010)
I. Nasir Safar, special officer to the Prime Minister
Nasir was alleged to have said (according to Lim Kit Siang):
- Indians and Chinese are “pendatang”
- “Indians came to Malaysia as beggars and Chinese, especially the women, came to sell their bodies (jual tubuh)”
- Umno was solely responsible for drafting the constitution (and thus sidelining the contribution of MCA and MIC)
- those complaining about the subject cap (max 9 subjects) for the SPM – a string of As exam results will impact on JPA scholarship application – should have their citizenship revoked
Nasir made a public apology and resigned on 4 Feb 2010.
II. Ahmad Ismail, Bukit Bendera Umno division chief
(ref. Kit Siang’s blog posting titled ‘Ahmad Ismail’s racist remarks – test case for all BN Ministers/leaders whether they are Bangsa Malaysia’)
According to Kit Siang, Ahmad had allegedly called the Chinese “pendatang”, “orang tumpang” and totally untrustworthy Malaysians.
Ahmad was suspended by Umno in September 2008 for a period of three years but his suspension was lifted in December 2009.
Umno had been pressured by the public and Pakatan and as well as by MCA to punish the two men. The MCA spokesman said failure to take action would only embolden other racist-bent Malaysians to espouse bigoted views, reported by The Star.
‘Racist’ and ‘bigot’
I’ve recalled above the Nasir and Ahmad cases because the two individuals were labelled “racist” and their party tarred as “bigoted”.
Both these terms – ‘racist’ and ‘bigot’ – cropped up again in a column penned by an associate editor of The Star a couple of days ago.
M. Veera Pandiyan’s Feb 13 article was headlined ‘The myth of race and reality of racists‘ and its standfirst reads: “The issue of race is being used to win votes as the next general election looms but biologically, ‘races’ of genetically homogenous people have never existed”.
Veera mentioned the words ‘racism’ and ‘bigot’ (or their derivations) in the sentences reproduced below:
“For one thing, she [his mother-in-law Madam Lee] did not discriminate against anyone based on race or colour of skin.”
“With the highly divisive issue of racism very much alive in Malaysia and heightening as the next general election looms, here’s something to prick the bubble of those using race to woo votes: biologically, the concept is a myth.”
“‘pure races’ of genetically homogenous populations do not exist” / “Race is really a myth but racism is very real.”
“Here in Malaysia, there is no escape from the issue of race. It has been too deeply woven into the fabric of our society and more intricately so in our political discourse. As it appears, one ‘race’ is being persuaded to keep its hold on political power and another seems to have been swayed over to oppose this.”
“With bigotry getting worse by the day as we approach the polls, we should perhaps pause and look at our biological similarities rather than our inherited ethnical differences.”
Let’s cluster Veera’s message to his Star readers:
1. Racism is “very real” and “very much alive in Malaysia”.
2. “The issue of race is being used to win votes as the next general election looms” / “bigotry getting worse by the day as we approach the polls” / “issue of racism … heightening as the next general election looms”
3. “the issue of race [is] … deeply woven … in our political discourse” / “one ‘race’ is being persuaded to keep its hold on political power and another seems to have been swayed over to oppose this”
(1) Veera is telling his readers that there are genuine bona fide racists in Malaysia. So WHO, in the mind of the readers of his newspaper, might these racists be?
(2) Undoubtedly, Veera is discussing racism in the context of Malaysian politics and GE13. So which side will “win votes” if they can persuade Star readers that the other side are racists and bigots?
(3) The issue of ‘race’ (or by extension the promotion of racism) is used to persuade one ‘race’ to keep its hold on political power, writes Veera.
Item (3) is quite straightforward. Obviously, Veera means that it is the Malays who are being persuaded by xyz to think racially. So which political party is xyz?
A galaxy of Veera’s
How you think influences how you vote, correct?
Perhaps what you read might influence how you think, especially if you’re in a echo chamber where everyone chants the same mantra repeatedly. One example of a popular mantra would be, “Race is a four-letter word”.
Is BN still wondering why it has been further losing its grip on the minority, middle-class, urban and suburban electorate?
As Veera has insisted that ‘race’ is merely a figment of the imagination, I dare not call his mother-in-law a ‘Chinese’ woman. Nonetheless, please note that he told Star readers [Madam Lee] “did not discriminate against anyone based on race or colour of skin”.
Madam Lee is good. Those who discriminate against others based on race or colour of skin are evil.
And since Veera’s narrative is obliquely about ‘racist politicians’ (not directly mentioned but nonetheless implied) who are using the Race card to win votes, and since our politicians belong to two opposing camps, which side will come across as the good guys to Star readers?
Why did the dinosaurs cross the road? Answer: To join the other side
I just want to tag on a personal grouse in conclusion.
MCA, owner of The Star, threw a hissy fit at Nasir Safar and Ahmad Ibrahim for saying those derogatory things (“jual tubuh”, “pengemis”).
Yet I do not see its newspaper being the least bit concerned about the carpet-bombing of BN politicians, BN supporters and pro-BN people in their own industry (i.e. journos, writers).
Colleagues of Veera who are not pro-Pakatan would get called a “bitch, prostitute, arsehole, bastard, cock-sucker, mother-fucker, and worse” (name-calling compiled by Raja Petra, see screenshot bottom of page).
Who’s the “Big Mama”?
Teh Eng Hock – the twit below – was chairman of The Star-NUJ (National Union of Journalists)
The Super Cyberbullies are Pakatan supporters.
According to Raja Petra, one or two Star writers whom he occasionally features in his website are invariably victims of the verbal thuggery which is many, many times worse than Nasir’s “jual tubuh” allusion.
In fact, our whole political environment has been held to ransom by this culture of thuggery. But MCA and its paper that protested Nasir and Ahmad have had little to say about it over the last five years.
Veera mentions that the public discourse is simply too “racist” (in his understanding of the term).
He forgets to mention that it is impossible to sound even remotely favorable of the BN in many quadrants of public space without coming under the most vicious attack.
Veera is one of a piece with his paper, the ‘Bad news for DAP is good news for MCA is no news in The Star’ publication. The catch is this: Dr Chua Soi Lek has promised BN that his party media machinery is ready for the election.
Should the BN be expecting more write-ups like Veera’s from now until polling day?