(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs, should be vigilant against attempts by extremist, desperate and bankrupt politicians in UMNO trying to plunge the country into a communal crisis and duplicate a pre-Operation Lalang scenario to restore Malay political support.
It is most shocking that in his first press conference yesterday, the new Selangor Mentri Besar Dr. Mohamad Khir Toyo should be talking about UMNO’s preparedness to "make any sacrifice, even bloodshed" to protect Malay special rights.
Barisan Nasional leaders had been attacking PAS leaders as "mad mullahs" who are extremist and prone to violence, but it is not the PAS leaders but UMNO leaders who are talking about "bloodshed" when there is totally no cause or provocation.
May be Mohamad Khir thinks that the fastest way for him to consolidate political power as the new Selangor Mentri Besar is to become an overnight Malay communalist, and if he is so minded, not only Barisan Alternative but the other non-UMNO Barisan Nasional leaders in Selangor and outside should dissociate themselves from such irresponsible politics of hate and fear - probably by boycotting his swearing-in ceremony as Mentri Besar.
I was one of the victims of the Operation Lalang mass arrests in 1987 and I can still remember that certain UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders were allowed to escalate a communal crisis during the period when the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Mahathir Mohamad was out of the country attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Canada, creating the conditions justifying mass arrests when Mahathir returned to the country.
Are we seeing a repetition of this dark episode in the nation’s history of democracy and human rights? Mahathir is presently out of the country attending the fourth Southern Africa International Dialogue (SAID 2000), and during his absence, certain UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders seem bent on escalating a manufactured communal crisis as if to create the conditions for a second Operation Lalang mass arrests on Mahathir’s return from overseas.
The extremist, desperate and bankrupt politicians from UMNO who are trying to manufacture and create a communal crisis in the country are operating on very tenuous grounds, firstly on a distorted Utusan Malaysia report on David Chua’s proposals at the National Economic Consultative Council II and later on the 17-point election manifesto of the Suqui Committee (Malaysian Chinese Organisation Election Appeals Committee) presented for the 1999 general election.
I am surprised by the statement by the MCA President, Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik yesterday that the MCA was willing to discuss the 17-point Suqui demand with the Suqiu Committee.
Has Liong Sik forgotten that before the last general election, MCA as well as Gerakan and SUPP had declared their full support for the Suqiu? Liong Sik himself declared that the Suqiu appeals are "universal principles which cover a broad consensus that can be accepted by all races".
Or is the MCA’s support for the Suqiu only for the last general election, which is immediately forgotten after the election?
On 29th September 1999, Liong Sik announced that the Cabinet had agreed to expand the National Economic Consultative Council (NECC) II to include representatives of the Federation of Malaysian Chinese Associations to facilitate discussion of the Suqiu.
Why then should last year’s Suqiu, which had been discussed by the Cabinet last September, be now the cause to plunge the country into a communal crisis, justifying irresponsible talk of "bloodshed" by desperate and bankrupt UMNO political leaders?
Malaysians and the world are watching the irresponsible power play by extremist, desperate and bankrupt UMNO leaders, who should cease and desist from trying to plunge the country into a communal and political crisis just to serve their political ends to restore Malay political support.
This is also a great test for the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister,
Datuk Abdullah Badawi. He should stop the irresponsible politicking by
extremist, desperate and bankrupt UMNO leaders. It would be most unfortunate
and a national tragedy if the Prime Minister-designate is entirely
helpless or even worse, encourage such irresponsible politicking.