Malaysian May Day

Written by Hafidz Baharom (Malaysian Insider)

MAY 13 — What is it with Malay politicians and their use of May 13 as a threat?

Honestly, I think America got the whole concept of this scare tactic from us after Sept 11. Furthermore, I refute calling it a racial riot when it was caused by politicians and their supporters.

In the spirit of “Looking East” and stopping before reaching the coasts of South America and California, allow me to tell you about the Japanese. They literally do not speak of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not out of their besmirched pride or shame of losing.

They do so because the younger generation should not have to pay for the sins of their prior generations.

In Malaysia, sadly, the concept is glaringly different. Instead of putting the riots of May 13, 1969 behind us, the Malay politicians and even certain media outlets insist on making it a constant threat to keep people fearing for their lives and shut up. They just won’t let sleeping dogs lie.

On May 6, 2010, the Penang State Assembly saw Umno assemblyman Azhar Ibrahim state that May 13 could happen again if the Malay people of a state were unhappy. However, since the Penang State Assembly has no transcripts like Parliament, I cannot personally see nor read if he stated it in a controversial way.

Now, we all know the honourable assemblyman’s statement is total bulls**t. This is because, if the Malay people in general who are unhappy were to react, it would be with politicians leading the march. This is what we saw in constant protests and illegal gatherings throughout the nation’s history.

Malaysian politicians continue to state racial riots as a reason for Malaysians not to question affirmative policies. Honestly, this whole idea is whack. It should be illegal, in fact.

Under the Malaysian Sedition Act of 1948 under Section 3 (1) (e) it is stated, and I quote:

“… to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Malaysia.”

We must remind ourselves that most riots in this nation, two in example, started due to our lack of knowledge of other cultures and languages.

In the riot of Kampung Medan, we saw how a riot was triggered due to insensitivities raised during a funeral or a wedding of differing cultures, namely that of the Indian and Malay Malaysian populous within the area.

In the 1969 racial riots, we saw how stating class disparities between the races in Selangor allowed certain members of a political party to rally their supporters into reaching a state of unrest that led to murders and eventually sent the entire state of Selangor, including Kuala Lumpur, into a state of emergency.

I personally believe it was because a group of Malay Malaysians, who didn’t understand Simplified Chinese script, decided to say that multiple signs and gigantic brooms were stating that the Malays should leave town since their politicians were swept out during the election.

Nowadays, there is no such divide within the nation, should my definition of 1 Malaysia be realised. We’re all Malaysians. Some of us, regardless of our many façades of races and religions throughout the generations of staying in this nation, have been here longer than certain Malay Malaysians who preach the 1 Malaysia as defined by our current prime minister and then call our ancestors immigrant prostitutes and slaves.

In fact, it was mentioned that Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar’s father, Syed Jaafar Albar, was an immigrant from Indonesia in his adult years. So what right does he have to preach for Malay Malaysians then, in contrast to my co-administrator of a Facebook group, Inbaraj Suppiah, a Malaysian Indian, whose family could be traced back for six generations in Malaysia?

I personally can only consider myself perhaps a third generation Malaysian on my father’s side, and perhaps fourth generation Malaysian on my mother’s side, which probably makes Inbaraj more Malaysian then I am. So, why am I getting the benefits that he himself is being denied simply due to his race?

As I pointed out before, social evolution makes race and religion irrelevant. This has allowed most of our urban younger generation, who can go out to places like nightclubs or mamaks, eat Chinese or Western without a care for a Halal logo, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and take drugs out of recreation or addiction and at the same time, still speak and understand the plethora of languages in this wonderful and colourful nation.

It is with this in mind that I believe the whole concept of threatening racial riots among the older generation is nothing more than superstition and sedition, and should be taken up by the younger generation as a threat to the security of our nation’s peaceful existence.

Mentioning May 13 and Kampung Medan as threats should be made taboo, and as a member of the young generation, I believe such a threat should be replied with a simple “F*** you, YB”.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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