(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The allegation by the Australian Commonwealth Games Association secretary-general Arthur Tunstall alleging that Malaysia had paid a lot of money to beat Adelaide and gain the bid to host next year’s Commonwealth Games is in extremely bad taste, reckless and the height of international irresponsibility.
Why had Tunstall kept quiet for five years if there is any basis in his allegation, as it was in Barcelona in July 1992 that Kuala Lumpur defeated Adelaide by a 40-25 bid to host the 1998 Commonwealth Games. Even now, after such a long period, he had not been able to produce a shred of evidence to support his shocking allegation that Kuala Lumpur had used the "power of money" to edge out Adelaide in the bid to host the 1998 Commonwealth Games.
If the Australian teams do not do well in the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur next year, would it be the fault of others? When Sydney beat Beijing to win the bid to host Olympics in the year 2000, was it the result of the "power of money"?
Arthur Tunstall not only smacks of "sour grapes" but is clearly trying to do a Pauline Hanson in seeking external scapegoats for Australian failures and weaknesses and must be condemned in no uncertain terms.
Australians must wake up and understand that the world does not owe them a living.
The Pauline Hanson xenophobic strain had caused enormous damage to Asian-Australian relations but Australians do not seem to have learnt any lesson as marked by a recrudescene of the Pauline Hanson xenophobia, with a recent Australian poll finding that one in four voters would consider voting for Pauline Hanson's new One Nation party at the next general elections - despite the allegations of "cannibalism" against Aborigines in north Queensland in the new book "Pauline Hanson: The Truth".
Now, even a sports leader in Australia is behaving no differently from Pauline Hanson!
Australians should be aware of the damage of the first Pauline Hanson controversy to Asian-Australian goodwill and relations last September, when the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard failed to dissociate the Australian government from such xenophobic views at the first available opportunity.
Such xenophobic outbursts will imperil the attractiveness of Australia as a destination for Malaysian students pursuing higher studies.
Malaysia had been the biggest source of foreign students in Australia with 10,877 students in 1996. Between 1989 and 1996, the number of Malaysian students enrolling in Australian universities grew by an average of 55 per cent per year.
With the Pauline Hansons and Arthur Tunstalls feeling no compunction in insulting neighbours and Asian countries or launching racist tirades, and with responsible Australian government and political leaders doing nothing to check their outbursts, I expect to see a decline in the number of Malaysian fee-paying students going to Australia in the coming years.