To rally or not to rally – that’s the multi-million dollar question hitting UMNO and PAS now. After the racial tension as a result of attacks on a Hindu temple – Sri Maha Marianmman temple – both racist UMNO and extremist PAS political parties are having different thoughts about bulldozing their coming mega rally, scheduled on December 8.
In the attacks in Subang Jaya, between 50 to 250 thugs, later revealed to be of Malay ethnicity, were reportedly running amok inside the Hindu temple. Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has revealed that RM150,000 changes hands, where Malay gangsters were hired by a developer’s lawyer to “take care of things” at the Hindu temple.
Coincidentally, UMNO President Zahid Hamidi openly threatened the government on Nov 17 that the Malay-Muslim community will “run amok” to protest the Pakatan Harapan government’s pledge to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The Mahathir government has since backpedalled on the ratification.
However, UMNO and PAS stubbornly wanted to go ahead with the rally anyway, claiming it would be a “victory celebration” rally instead. The PAS Islamist party even has the cheek to claim that the Dec 8 rally against ICERD is good because it could “cool down” racial tensions in the country. Amusingly, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said it would not involve any racial sentiments.
But exactly how could a mega rally against eliminating racial discrimination not be a “racial rally”, considering the leaders from both UMNO and PAS will definitely scream and speak of defending the Malays, Malay Rulers and Islam? Interestingly, Zahid Hamidi was among nine individuals who has been grilled by the police over his recent statements that touched on religious and racial sentiments.
Should Mr. Zahid lead the pre-planned 350,000 UMNO members (provided he could mobilize and pay them in the first place) to the street? PAS should have no issue sending the other 350,000 hardcore members. The organisers said the balance – 300,000 – would come from NGOs and the public, to achieve the target of 1-million participants. After the Hindu temple attacks, will the public dare to come out?
Before the temple attacks involving Malay thugs, PAS President Hadi Awang looked forward to the Dec 8’s rally. He knew even if the rally becomes rowdy and chaotic – even rioting – the guy who will get the blame is none other than UMNO President Zahid Hamidi. Hey, it was the dumb Zahid who excitedly screamed about Malay-Muslims running amok, not the “Holy Man” Hadi.
Of all the nine people being questioned for their recent comments that could spark racial tensions, such as the new coalition “Gabungan 3”, headed by Raggie Jessy (real-name: Ragvinder Singh Jess) and Azwanddin Hamzah, none of them were linked to the PAS Islamist party. All of them were related, either directly or indirectly, to UMNO Malay nationalist party.
Yes, despite PAS’ extremism, they appear to be smarter than UMNO. President Hadi Awang gladly allowed Zahid Hamidi spewing all the incitement and provocation that could easily spark May 13, 1969’s bloody riots. Has anyone noticed that with the exception of Zahid Hamidi, not a single heavyweight from his own UMNO actually trumpets his view of running amok on Dec 8? Even ex-PM Najib keeps his mouth shut.
But that was before the temple clashes. Today, it’s a different landscape altogether. If 50 Malay gangsters, paid between RM150 and RM300 each to terrorize a Hindu temple, could create a chaos of such magnitude, imagine what 1,000,000 Malay-Muslims can do in the city. As much as PM Mahathir tries to be a nice guy, the temple crisis has woken him up to the ugly reality on the ground.
Both Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohamad Fuzi Harun seem to be also no longer sleeping on the job. Mahathir said – “We have already said we will not ratify ICERD, but if they want to have other gatherings, they can do so. We don’t stop people from demonstrating, but when you demonstrate, you must do it properly.”
The 93-year-old prime minister said – “Don’t dirty places, don’t break houses and all that. That’s criminal acts, so we will act against people who break the law.” His statement may sound lame – even hilarious – but there’s a reason why Zahid Hamidi and Hadi Awang aren’t laughing. Mahathir is known as someone who says one thing, but actually meant another thing.
Heck, if today is 1987, it would not be an exaggeration to suggest that the 50 Malay gangsters were actually paid by the Mahathir regime to deliberately spark a mini riot – to start the ball-rolling for something bigger. Enter “Operasi Lalang (Weeding Operation)”, a major crackdown launched on 27 October 1987 by the police to combat racial riots when Mahathir was ruling with an iron fist.
The operation saw the arrest of 106 persons – NGO activists, opposition politicians, students, intellectuals, artists, scientists and whatnot – who were then detained without trial under the now-defunct Internal Security Act (ISA). But who dares to bet that after 31 years, the same Mahathir is not ready to launch Operation Lalang 2.0 to finish the opposition parties – UMNO and PAS – once and for all?
Perhaps PM Mahathir Mohamad isn’t that cruel anymore. However, if the so-called 1-million Malay demonstrators somehow become emotional and start rioting, UMNO President Zahid Hamidi and PAS President Hadi Awang can kiss their Christmas shopping and holidaying goodbye. Everyone knows the reason why Zahid and Hadi stubbornly wanted the rally to proceed.
The protest-turned-celebration December 8 rally is nothing but a stunt to “gloat and boast” for the UMNO and PAS leaders in order to score some brownie points – to show their supporters how they champion Malay as a more supreme race than other races in the country. The question is – can they ensure the emotion of the participants will not get out of control.
If the rally goes smooth without bloodshed, then Mahathir can claim the title as the most democratic leader in the region. But if the demonstration goes south, the Operation Lalang 2.0 would be executed. The gangster and corrupt Zahid, already been slapped with 45 charges of criminal breach of trust (CBT), money laundering and corruption, will most likely be thrown behind bars much earlier.
Hadi Awang now finds himself trapped because his speech next month could spark violence and riots much easier now that the Hindu temple fiasco has caused serious injury to a member of the Fire Department, who happens to be a Malay-Muslim. Both Zahid and Hadi knew more than anybody else the risk of betting that the old horse (Mahathir) will no longer retaliate as forceful he did back in 1987.
Source : Finance Twitter