Thursday, August 23, 2007

Utusan Malaysia: Breeding Extremism?

In my little verbal scuffle with Khairy Jamaluddin a few months back with regards to the civil service being overly unwieldy, there were many letters and articles published in Utusan Malaysia which essentially asked for my head to be checked (well, to put it lightly ;)).

It is however clear to me now that Utusan Malaysia serves critically as a mouthpiece to agitate racial sensitivities as well as promoting the concept of racial supremacy, instead of a "Bangsa Malaysia", or in DAP's terms, "Malaysian First".

Take for example, the recent protest note sent to the Prime Minister's office by Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF). Some of the demands by the group include calls on the government to maintain Malaysia’s status as a secular state, full revamp of National Integration Policy, preservation places of worship as well as affirmative-action plans for the Indian community.

Certainly, the demands aren't earth shattering or by no means "extreme". However, the editors of Utusan Malaysia responded angrily in their column "Bisik-Bisik Awang Selamat". Here's one on 21st August on the demolition of Hindu temples around the country:
Isu tersebut ialah tentang kuil. NGO itu mendakwa banyak kuil telah dirobohkan. Tetapi HINDRAF tidak pula menyebut bahawa kuil-kuil itu dibina secara haram.

[...]

Walaupun kaum India cuma minoriti, terdapat begitu banyak kuil di Malaysia terutama yang dibina secara haram. Membina kuil haram cukup mudah seolah-olah negara ini tiada undang-undang.

Awang harap isu ini menjadi pengajaran kepada kerajaan khususnya PBT. Inilah akibatnya jika kita berlembut dari awal lagi. Akhirnya kerajaan yang ditekan dan menjadi mangsa manipulasi.

[...]

Maka bertindaklah ke atas pihak yang sesuka hati membina dan menyelia kuil haram. Bertindaklah sebelum keadaan menjadi lebih buruk dan membawa mudarat.

Awang – Beralah ada batas.
On the previous day, "Awang" was even fiercer.
AWANG terkejut dengan tuntutan Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF), sebuah NGO kaum India yang mahu hak istimewa orang Melayu dihapuskan dan mendakwa kaum India dipinggirkan oleh kerajaan BN.

[...]

Tindakan HINDRAF hanya akan mengundang gelombang kemarahan masyarakat bumiputera yang sudah begitu banyak beralah untuk kaum minoriti atas nama kontrak sosial.

Sedarkah bahawa masih ramai orang Melayu dan bumiputera yang miskin terutama di luar bandar. Mereka setia menyokong kerajaan sejak merdeka lagi. Kalau diikutkan, mereka lagi berhak membuat pelbagai tuntutan.

Ingatan Awang, jangan sampai orang Melayu hilang sabar dan akhirnya memudaratkan semua pihak.

Dakwaan HINDRAF tentang isu kuil juga, sama sekali salah.
Di negara inilah, terdapat begitu banyak kuil seolah-olah orang India merupakan kaum induk. Mahu apa lagi?

Awang – Membara dalam diam.
It is hence not surprising that UMNO possesses a stranglehold over an overwhelming majority of the Malays in Malaysia. Daily perpetuation of half-truths and untruths, presented in an inflammatory manner to the Malay public has resulted in a skewed view towards Malaysia, as a society.

Where then, is the voice of moderation, tolerance and compassion in the Malay vernacular media? Can things change?
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