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live telecast of Umno general assemblies – MCA and MIC Ministers barking up
the wrong tree
(Ipoh, Friday) : MCA and MIC Ministers had barked up the wrong tree when they had advocated the ban of live telecast of Umno general assemblies at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.
The question at issue is not the live telecast of the Umno general assemblies but the insensitive, extremist, racist, incendiary and seditious utterances at the Umno general assemblies which must be condemned whether they are made on live-telecast or in closed-door meetings.
It is most unfortunate and regrettable that instead of zeroing on the real question at issue, MCA and MIC Ministers like Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting, Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek and Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu had all gone for a red herring on the live telecast of Umno general assemblies.
I fully agree with Umno leaders and delegates who want live telecast of Umno general assemblies to continue. In fact, as far as “live telecast” is concerned, MCA and MIC Ministers should have advocated in the Cabinet the live telecast of parliamentary proceedings now that Umno general assembles are telecast live to the nation and the world.
The MCA and MIC Ministers should make amends in the next Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to put on clear record that they are not advocating the ban on live telecast of Umno general assemblies, but that their objection and even condemnation are confined to the extremist, racist, incendiary and seditious speeches by Umno leaders.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi wants all Malaysian media to stop playing up racial issues and instead focus on stories about the nation’s development.
It is a pity that Abdullah had not given this advice to the Umno and Umno Youth general assemblies, which had been most guilty of playing up racial issues to the extent of undermining national building and national unity efforts as well as jeopardizing all national development programmes to enhance our international competitiveness to have an edge over other countries.
Abdullah owes Malaysians an explanation why he had not openly chided in his winding-up speech the Umno delegates who had made insensitive, extremist, racist, incendiary and seditious speeches casting a huge mushroom of a dark cloud on whether next year’s 50th National Day celebrations can be meaningful.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said yesterday that the law will be allowed to take its course and that speakers at the Umno general assemblies who had flouted the law would not be spared.
Nazri, whose portfolio includes law and the administration of justice, should realize that there is the most widespread skepticism among Malaysians in the past three years that the law would be allowed to take its course and that those who had raised the May 13 spectre and threatened bloodshed, amok and riots at the Umno general assemblies would be brought to justice to face the full force of the law.
It is sad that within three years of the premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, a new crisis of confidence about the rule of law has enveloped the country.
However, it is not just rule of law which is facing a critical test. The insensitive, racist, incendiary and seditious speeches at the Umno general assemblies have also plunged the credibility and legitimacy of Umno discipline and integrity into question.
Malaysians are asking whether such insensitive, racist, incendiary and seditious speeches are acceptable and permissible inside Umno, and if so, then Umno has lost all bearings and even relevance as a mainstream political party in the coalition government as it would have veered away from Malaysian principles and goals, such as Malaysian nation-building and the Vision 2020 concept of a Bangsa Malaysia.
Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman