Will Cabinet meet tomorrow to resolve once and for all Ismail Sabri’s racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses or will the Cabinet play truant and will not meet at all or will meet but evade the issue?
Will the Cabinet meet tomorrow to resolve once and for all the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri’s racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses which had dragged out for two-and-a-half-weeks without acceptable solution and conclusion or will the Cabinet play truant on the ground that it is Chinese New Year Eve and will not meet at all or will meet but evade the issue?
I do not know whether to laugh or to cry when it was reported that Ismail Sabri had said he would not attend the Chinese New Year event held in his Bera constituency in Pahang as the “brouhaha” over his racist fulminations calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses has yet to die down.
He claimed that he had received a tip off that if he attended the Chinese New Year event, DAP supporters may attend too and some may throw objects at him.
This is his second reckless and irresponsible statement in a matter of weeks, reinforcing the question as to his fitness to continue as a Minister for all Malaysians in a plural nation like Malaysia.
It reminds of the Chinese idiom of “mouthing blood to smear people”, a most despicable and dishonourable act by anyone, not just by a person holding the high status of being a Cabinet Minister of the land!
Bera DAP officials were spot-on when in their denial that there were any such a plot and accused Ismail of being guilty of “yi xiao ren zhi xin du jun zhi zhi fu” (gauge the heart of a gentleman with one’s own mean measure).
Ismail has again made history, but a most dubious and dishonourable one, of being the first Minister in the country who dare not grace the festivities of another community because of his most recent racist fulminations which were rightly regarded as a baseless and unsolicited slur and attack on the Chinese community, when the problem of price increases is not an ethnic question and should not be seen from any racial lens.
Is Ismail proud of being the first Minister who dare not show his face at a Chinese New Year event because of imaginary fears of being thrown objects, despite having bodyguards and escorts at public expense?
This is a tragedy of the utter failure of Malaysian nation-building after 58 years of the nation’s Merdeka – further proof that the country is going backwards instead of going forwards.
Ismail has still to retract and apologise for his racist statement calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses or be removed from Cabinet, although the issue is no more about Ismail but how and why the 35-Minister Cabinet could sanction, condone and defend Ismail at the first meeting on the issue and continue to be indecisive and useless in unable to take a stand on the great issues of Right and Wrong.
It is not worth wasting any more time or arguments to try to convince Ismail Sabri that his cant and hypocrisy is completely unacceptable and intolerable to right-thinking Malaysians, and his claim that he does not regret or apologise for his racist statement calling on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses, but only regret that responses to his statement had taken a racial slant is not adding salt to injury.
In other words, he is claiming that everybody else is wrong, except him!
I do not think Ismail Sabri could convince primary school students with such illogic, shallow and ridiculous arguments.
The bigger question is why the 35-Minister Cabinet could not grasp what even primary school children can see immediately, that Ismail had been guilty of irresponsible racialism when he called on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.
If Ismail is not prepared to retract and apologise for his racist call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses, the country should move on – not to forget about the subject, but to demand full explanation from all the other Cabinet Ministers, whether UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan or the Sabah and Sarawak BN component parties, and the Prime Minister to explain how they could sanction, condone and defend Ismail’s rabid racialism.
Ismail and the entire 35-Minister Cabinet have only themselves to blame if the Ismail Sabri episode competes with other issues like Anwar’s jailing as one of the top conversation topics during the forthcoming Chinese New Year holidays.