“Our government seems quite happy to let people die of starvation and exposure out in the open sea because apparently that’s what we Malaysians want,” Marina Mahathir wrote in her J–Star column on Thursday.
“The fact that so many Malaysians are appalled by this, and are mobilising to help them, shows how untrue this assertion is,” she continued.
For context, refer to the statement by Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jaafar that “the sentiment of the people [Malaysians] is completely against immigrants”, as reported by CNN.
What I gather from Marina’s sentence above is that Malaysians with humanity and heart (such as her good self) are appalled by the thought that those Rohingya and Bangladeshi boat people risk dying of starvation and exposure out in the open sea.
Marina insinuates that it is untrue to say that Malaysians want a ‘not-in-our-backyard’ approach/policy because Malaysians have acted to the contrary – by mobilizing to help the refugees.
Marina: “Floating boats of dead people”
The above caveats aside, Marina’s sentence penned in her J-Star column nonetheless still reads, “Our government seems quite happy to let people die of starvation and exposure out in the open sea …”.
Reading what she wrote, her convoluted sentence notwithstanding, you can’t get away from the negative imputation and subtle aspersions cast by Marina on our government.
A short status update separately in Marina’s Facebook garnered close to 7,000 likes. Among other things, Marina posted the following rhetorical question: “Do we want floating boats of dead people on our conscience?”
Marina: “Simplistic” to claim that they will keep coming
Next she wrote in her May 21 J-Star column, “Saying that they will keep coming if we feed and shelter them is being simplistic“.
For context, refer to Wan Junaidi’s further statement on CNN, “If we continue to welcome them, then hundreds of thousands will come from Myanmar and Bangladesh”.
Going by Marina’s superior intellect, it would seem that Malaysia has really quite a number of “simplistic” people (they must be the BN voters, eh?).
This is because the “simplistic” reasoning – i.e. if Malaysians open our doors, more will soon flood our shores – that she cited is rather a one that is popular among those who object to the government being lax on illegal immigration.
It is also the same “simplistic” reasoning put forth by the Deputy Home Minister. But of course liberal NGO activists are always cleverer than simplistic Umno officials.
The concluding sentence in Marina’s article however contains no ambiguity. She wrote unequivocally: “So if we’re happy to have dead bodies constantly wash up on our beaches, then we can keep turning our heads the other way.”
I would read Marina’s conclusion as implying that those who object to Malaysia granting the boat people asylum (i.e. those who turn their heads the other way) will be indirectly responsible for dead bodies “constantly” washing up on our beaches.
Marina: So many bigots and racists
Isn’t Marina demonizing a whole lot of silent majority Malaysians merely because they’re not on the same wavelength as her?
She had retweeted, “Nampak sangat kompas moral dan empati sesetengah Muslim sekarang senget. Kalau tak guna angle agama tak mahu tolong. Bigot betul hatinya.”
(Side note: Marina’s retweet above is a bahasa Melayu sentence but borrowing heavily from English construction – “moral compass”, “empathy”, “angle”, “bigot”.)
Marina also retweeted another observation, “So many racists in the comment section”.
Compare with what Australia’s Foreign Minister said
Below are excerpts taken from an ABC News report yesterday headlined ‘South-East Asia migrant crisis: Julie Bishop told by Indonesia most of 7,000 people stranded are illegal labourers, not refugees’
- “[Australia] Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Indonesian officials have told her most of the 7,000 people stranded in the South-East Asia boat crisis are illegal labourers, not refugees.”.
- “‘They (Indonesia) believe there are about 7,000 people at sea [and] they think about 30 to 40 percent are Rohingya, the rest are Bangladeshi,’ Ms Bishop said. “They are not, in Indonesia’s words, asylum seekers, they are not refugees — they are illegal labourers. They’ve been promised or are seeking jobs in Malaysia.”
The ABC News report also said,
“They said the Rohingya have gone to Bangladesh and have mixed up with the Bangladeshis who are coming to Malaysia in particular for jobs.”
Ms Bishop said Indonesia’s director-general of multilateral affairs, Hasan Kleib, told her one boat carrying 600 people had 400 Bangladeshis aboard.
She described Indonesia’s comments as ‘very pointed … they said that’s what their intelligence had informed them’.”
Australia is giving one story while Malaysian NGOs and NGIs like Marina are providing a somewhat different take to the narrative.
Latest, Marina’s face is smooth and the facial skin taut, compared to her neck which displays many wrinkles. Her new trim hairdo in the Malay Mail photo below – taken from an interview yesterday headlined ‘Marina Mahathir says will leave Malaysia if hudud arrives‘ – is also different from her previous looks.
Not barefoot in the kitchen
Marina certainly looks most well groomed and expensively turned out. That The J-Star columnist had a stylish makeover is obvious but we’re also wondering if any cosmetic procedures had ever been done to her 58-year-old face.
The Bangsar socialite image projected by this Mak Datin activist is a contrast to the bedraggled Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi illegal immigrants whose cause she is championing.
The “pregnant women”
In her May 21 J-Star column, Marina made yet another mention of “pregnant women”. She wrote, “Pregnant refugee women cannot go to our hospitals to deliver their babies safely because they face arrest.”
It is logical to infer from Marina’s sentence above that if the pregnant refugee women fear arrest, then they must be illegals. And they must be in hiding underground. If they had been sheltered in the camps or transit centres, they would not be fearing arrest; the staff at the camps or transit centres would surely have arranged the transfer to a medical facility for a woman about to deliver her baby.
Our public health system, transportation (buses, LRT) and other infrastructure and subsidized services are already stretched. These will be further stretched with pregnant PATI women giving birth in our government hospitals.
For context, refer to Marina’s tweet demanding that “our govt do the humanitarian thing” by at least getting “pregnant women, kids, old and sick off the boats”.
Through her loaded words and language, Marina is making a play at tugging the heartstrings by invoking “pregnant women” and the “old and sick”. Are the “pregnant women” really as many as has been implied by the various writers in online and social media?
Where are all those pregnant women?
On one hand, we have Marina saying they “cannot go to our hospitals to deliver their babies safely because they face arrest” and on the other hand, it’s very difficult to spot them in the news report photos.
One reader of my blog “jumped straightaway into this ‘assignment’” to look for the pregnant Rohingya women. For hours EVLee scoured the news photos and videos.
Commenting @ 2015/05/23 at 3:09 am, EVLee said, “Found none … nil, zip, yillek! Something is wrong. Went through the ‘question’ again … repeated the process, still got nothing. Again … and again.”
“Well … two videos had Malay speaking migrants and their reasons for being at sea were to make it to Malaysia, having relatives here and for money (to work). Considering ‘The PERILOUS JOURNEY that they had to go through’ plus ‘coming over TO WORK’ … I’ll have to take ‘old folks’ out from the equation. I’ll close my file on this.
“[As] for the ‘pregnant women’ thing … no luck with photos nor videos. Hey … I did try very very hard looking for mounds or bumps on their tummies, you know.”
You all would be similarly hard-pressed to come across any photos or interviews with the “pregnant women” or of sickly old people whom the activists are highlighting in order to elicit your sympathy and knee-jerk response.
My curious question – How come the fresh-off-the-boat Rohingya/Bangladeshi are able to speak BM when they’re supposed to be new migrants? Were they taught the language by their relatives in preparation for their migration here?
Meanwhile, the giler publisiti Hannah Yeoh has not made a single further tweet about the Rohingya since her “have mercy” plea to Najib Razak more than 10 days ago.
At least the activists like Marina and Eric Paulsen show a sustained interest in the issue.
In comparison, evangelista politicians like Hannah only seek to milk the plight of impoverished people for their own self-glorifying promotion (see, see look at the glowing heart on my sleeve) when the issue is hot in the news headlines.
After that, it’s a cynical ‘Next’ … moving on to whatever tragedy from which they can scrounge political mileage.
Hannah’s heart – perpetually troubled, aching and breaking
Oooops! I did it again …
Has Hannah forgotten about the MH370 families already? Oh, that was yesterday’s news is it?
The victims of the Duke Expressway accident seem to have faded from Hannah’s mind too.
As well Hannah appears to have lost interest in pondering why “men and nations” fail to learn from history and don’t want to stop the killing.
And not eavesdropping anymore on her daughter’s conversations to tweet about?
Are the pictures of the (dunno who) “injured & dead children” (dunno where) no longer crossing her teary eyes?
Is Shay Shay no longer watching the news? If she were, she’d be asking Popo why so people are sitting in boats.
Dunno what to do except tweet-tweet-tweet about the state of Hannah’s neverending troubled, aching and breaking heart over the tragic fate of virtual strangers?
And generously conferring God’s comfort and blessings on them.
“Attending 3 funerals in a week did something good to my soul”
Since “attending 3 funerals in a week did something good” to Hannah Yeoh’s precious “soul”, the Selangor Madame Speaker should at least show lah some ghoulish interest in what Marina terms the possibility of “dead bodies constantly wash[ing] up on our beaches”.
After all, the @hannahyeoh Twitter timeline has 109,000 followers invested in the state of Hannah’s heart. “You cry, I cry”.