Zaid torches Utusan for stoking racial flames

June 2, 2009 at 4:03 am Leave a comment

Former Umno leader and minister Zaid Ibrahim has lashed out at Malay daily Utusan Malaysia for playing up racial sentiments.

He said the articles which appeared in the daily’s Sunday edition reminded him of how far removed the paper is from the reality of life in Malaysia.

zaid ibrahim pc umno sacking 041208 07“This is probably the reason why its readership is on the decline. It’s theme and main plot is race, race and race,” he added in a blog posting.

Zaid cited a particular article with the heading ‘Melayu dikhianati?’ (Malays betrayed) penned by Awang Selamat.

In the article, the former Umno leader said, the writer lamented that he is hurt by the demands, which reek of racism, of the non-Malays since the last general election.

“In other words, Malaysians must not hurt the feelings of Awang Selamat because when Awang Selamat is hurt, Umno is hurt and when Umno is hurt, the Malays are hurt.

“This is the logic of Awang Selamat,” he added.

Zaid said the writer made no mention of the ‘extreme’ demands made by the non-Malays in his article.

“If they (the non-Malays) are asking about scholarships, land allocation and employment opportunities, can’t these questions be addressed rationally and based on facts?

“Why get hurt so easily?” he asked.

Are all their demands baseless?

The former de facto law minister also questioned if all the demands of the non-Malays, whose rights are enshrined under the Federal Constitution, were baseless?

According to Awang Selamat, he said, this appears to be the case because “50 years ago Umno and the Malays were generous enough to offer citizenship to their (non-Malays) ancestors.”

“Since Umno had been gracious in according them citizenship, their descendants should never make any demands because they must always be grateful to Umno,” he added.

Zaid pointed out that this is the exact mindset which is no longer viable and has been rejected by all races.

When a citizen, be it a Malay, Chinese or Indian, asks for something, he said it is the duty of the government and the media to evaluate it in order to grant the request.

“If the demand is excessive, explain but don’t raise history to cover up shortcomings. Do not get angry always, threaten and dish out pieces of incomplete history for political mileage,” he said.

Zaid also reminded that the country obtained independence because the British agreed with the alliance on the terms. “When we agree, we must honour the agreement,” he said.

In view of this, he said there was no reason to state that “we were being generous in granting citizenship to the Chinese and Indians.”

“The fact is, that is the term we agreed to. At the time, it was impossible for the British to relinquish Malaya if the issue of citizenship for Chinese and Indians was not resolved.

“The British were strict on this issue and Umno agreed. That is the price which the Alliance accepted with an open heart. Does Utusan have different historical facts?” he added.

Zaid said even if one went by the perception that Umno was generous in giving citizenship to non-Malays, there is still no room for Awang Selamat’s ‘feudalist mindset’ in a modern nation.

Those with ‘blind hearts’

Meanwhile, he said another article by senior writer Zulkiflee Bakar had advised Utusan readers not to be ‘historically blind’.

“I suppose Malays like myself are historically blind. But history is not difficult to learn and I am interested in knowing more.

“However, the most unfortunate people are those whose hearts are blind. When our hearts are blind, no amount of facts or knowledge can fill the void,” he added.

Zaid said instead of stoking racial sentiments, Utusan should help the prime minister find ways to develop the economy via pragmatic and just policies.

“To Utusan, the Malays fail because of the Chinese and Indians. Wake up Utusan, non-Malays and Malays themselves can tell the difference between the Malay race and Umno, they know that when an Umno policy is criticised, it is not challenging the Malays but Umno.

“Much effort is being put into creating friction between the Malays and Chinese. Believe me, racial flames will not burn as brightly as before,” he said.

“The Malay mindset has changed. They know the challenges that lie ahead in the world and the changes which they must make. Only Utusan has not realised this,” he added.

The Utusan Article…

ARKIB : 31/05/2009

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Melayu dikhianati?

Hati Awang semakin hari semakin ditoreh-toreh oleh tuntutan pelbagai pihak bukan Melayu yang bersikap terlalu rasis selepas Pilihan Raya Umum ke-12. Kita boleh tafsir apa sebabnya. Awang tidak mahu mengulas panjang kali ini, cukup sekadar disiarkan semula petikan kenyataan seorang pemimpin MCA, Tun Tan Siew Sin pada 30 April 1969 (dipetik daripada buku Khalid Awang Osman dan pernah diulas Ridhuan Tee Abdullah) untuk renungan kita semua.

”Orang Melayu menerusi UMNO bermurah hati melonggarkan syarat-syarat dalam undang-undang negara ini sehinggakan dalam masa 12 bulan selepas kemerdekaan, 90 peratus penduduk bukan Melayu menjadi warganegara. Ini berbeza dengan keadaan sebelum merdeka di mana 90 peratus daripada mereka masih tidak diiktiraf sebagai rakyat Tanah Melayu walaupun hampir 100 tahun hidup di bawah pemerintahan penjajah. Sebagai membalas kemurahan hati orang Melayu, MCA dan MIC bersetuju meneruskan dasar memelihara dan menghormati kedudukan istimewa orang Melayu dan dalam masa yang sama mempertahankan kepentingan-kepentingan sah kaum lain”.

Sebelum itu, seorang pemimpin MIC Tun V.T Sambanthan pada 1 Jun 1965 pernah berkata: ”Pada tahun 1955 kita telah memenangi pilihan raya dengan majoriti yang tinggi, selanjutnya mendapat kemerdekaan dalam masa dua tahun kemudian. Dalam jangka masa itu, kita terpaksa berbincang dan menangani pelbagai perkara termasuk soal kewarganegaraan. Persoalannya di sini, apakah yang dilakukan oleh orang Melayu memandangkan kita bercakap menyentuh perkauman? Apakah yang dilakukan oleh pemimpin-pemimpin Melayu? Mereka mempunyai 88 peratus daripada pengundi menyokong mereka.

Apakah yang mereka putuskan mengenai isu kewarganegaraan? ”Jika kita lihat di serata negara Asia dan Asia Timur, kita akan mendapati kaum India tidak akan diterima di Ceylon dan juga tidak diterima di Burma. Sama halnya dengan kaum Cina, mereka tidak diterima di Thailand, Vietnam, Kemboja dan di negara-negara lain. Apakah bantuan berhubung kewarganegaraan yang mereka peroleh di semua wilayah tersebut?

“Di Burma, seperti yang kita semua sedia maklum, kaum India telah diusir keluar, di Ceylon mereka tidak diberikan taraf warganegara seperti juga di Burma. Saya tahu dan anda juga tahu. Apa yang sedang berlaku di Malaya? Di sini kita mendapati pemimpin Melayu berkata, ”Kita akan menerima mereka sebagai saudara, kita akan berikan mereka sepenuh peluang untuk meneruskan kehidupan di negara ini, kita akan beri mereka peluang untuk menjadi warganegara”. Seterusnya pada tahun 1957, dengan tidak mengambil kira kebolehan berbahasa (Melayu) ribuan orang India, Cina dan Ceylon menjadi warganegara. Seperti yang saya nyatakan, saya amat bernasib baik kerana dilahirkan di negara ini. Di manakah anda boleh berjumpa bangsa yang lebih prihatin, bersopan-santun dan tertib selain daripada bangsa Melayu. Di manakah anda boleh mendapat layanan politik yang baik untuk kaum pendatang? Di manakah dalam sejarah dunia? Saya bertanya kepada anda. Ini adalah fakta. Siapakah anda untuk menjaga keselamatan kami? Saya adalah kalangan 10 peratus kaum minoriti di sini. Tetapi saya amat gembira di sini.”

Persoalannya, kini apakah pengorbanan Melayu dikhianati oleh kaum lain?

-Awang Selamat

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