(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): UMNO Youth’s unruly, abusive and gangsterish demonstration at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur yesterday to protest against the Malaysian Chinese Organisation Elections Appeals Committee (Suqiu) must be condemned by all right-thinking Malaysians as a national shame and a threat to inter-racial harmony as Malaysia enters the the 21st century.
I would be the first to defend the right of UMNO Youth to present a memorandum of protest, however mistakenly, to Suqiu, but no responsible Malaysian can condone the abuses, threats, the uncivil behaviour and the one-week ultimatum during the UMNO Youth demonstration which make a total mockery of the 43rd National Day celebrations at the end of the month and an international advertisement of the fragility of the Malaysian national fabric which can only drive away international investors.
The inflammatory and racist placards displayed during the UMNO Youth demonstration is a disgrace not only to UMNO Youth, UMNO, the Barisan Nasional but also to Malaysia’s international reputation. Some of the placards displayed during the demonstration carried the following words: "Kami rela mati pertahan ketuanan", "Malays = Malaysia" and "Jangan Cabar Kami, Beri Amaran".
It is most shocking that the UMNO Youth deputy leader, Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir rudely and arrogantly refused the repeated invitations of Suqiu officials for a dialogue and that reporters and photographers were manhandled and abused in the demonstration.
What happened yesterday reminded Malaysians of UMNO Youth’s lawless and gangsterish break-up of the Second Asia-Pacific Conference on East Timor (APCET) in Kuala Lumpur in November 1996, which was a blot to Malaysia’s international reputation as a civil society.
It also reminded Malaysians of another blackmark in UMNO Youth’s past history which escalated racial tensions in 1987 and created the conditions for the subsequent Operations Lalang Internal Security Act mass arrests. The Government White Paper "Towards Preserving National Security" tabled in Parliament on 22nd March 1988 referred to an UMNO Youth Rally on 17.10.1987 which displayed "banners bearing strong words", including "May 13 HAS BEGUN" and "SOAK IT (KRIS) WITH CHINESE BLOOD".
Does UMNO Youth really want to plunge Malaysia into the abyss of racial tensions and strife starting with its unruly, abusive and gangsterish demonstration yesterday?
What would have happened if the MCA Youth had staged an unruly, abusive and gangsterish demonstration against a national Malay umbrella organisation as happened at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall yesterday?
It is most shocking that just two weeks before the 43rd National Day, when all Malaysians are asked to unite and celebrate as Malaysians and not as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans and Ibans, UMNO Youth could be so insensitive as to conduct such an unruly, abusive and gangsterish demonstration yesterday.
Has UMNO Youth learnt nothing from 43 years of Malaysian nation-building? Or is this part of the cynical UMNO Youth and UMNO game-plan to win back Malay electoral support, reckless of the cost to national unity and the country’s international reputation as an attractive investment centre?
If UMNO Youth is allowed to go on an abusive, insensitive and gangsterish spree, which will do untold damage to inter-racial relations, then the Minister for Tourism, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir might as well dissolve the National Day Celebrations committee which he heads and call off all National Day celebrations altogether for this year.
What is even more shocking is the role of the police in the unruly, abusive and gangsterish UMNO Youth demonstration yesterday - with the police appearing to be the guardian of the UMNO Youth demonstrators than the custodian of law and order.
UMNO Youth leader, Datuk Hishammudin Tun Hussein Onn should apologise for UMNO Youth’s unruly, abusive and gangsterish demonstration at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall yesterday and give an undertaking that UMNO Youth would never mortgage or sacrifice inter-racial peace and harmony just for its political games.