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MGG Malay Rights Or UMNO Rites?
By Kapal Berita
16/10/2000 10:34 pm Mon
TJ Ringkas sambil komen:
Khalil Yaakob tidak bersetuju debat PAS-Umno di siarkan secara
langsung. Ini adalah kekalahan pertama umno. Sebelumnya Hishamudin
lari dari debat di sebuah universiti.
Umno sebenarnya ketagih imejnya yang sudah pudar itu.
Ia mencuba dengan pelbagai cara tetapi lain pula
jadinya. Umno sebenarnya lupa - orang melayu sukar
melupakan peristiwa yang menimpa Anwar. Cukuplah
dengan semua aksi pura-pura. Umno sebenarnya pandai
bermain kata, tetapi menghilang bila dipanggil
membuktikannya. Selagi minda yang cetek itu tidak
terbuka, selagi itulah ia akan merana. Setiap ceruk dan
rantau dunia sudah bergema. Jika Milosevic pun boleh
tersungkur, apakah dikator tua akan dapat bertahan lama?
[MGG] Malay Rights Or UMNO Rites?
The confusion and fright in UMNO is real. Last year, when Dato'
Hishamuddin was invited to speak at a university forum, he sent his satrap
instead. This fellow was given a run for his money when he reacted with
typical UMNO youth arrogance. This time he cannot send a proxy. He faces
a seasoned political public speaker and a member of parliament to boot.
UMNO did not expect PAS Youth would agree. Now that it has, UMNO should
arrange for it to be held speedily, perhaps in a few months, after the
Hari Raya holidays early next year, if not sooner. As usual, UMNO and
UMNO Youth did not think this through. The Gore-Bush debates in the
United States could have provided a spark. But to rise in UMNO one must
prove one's incapability to speak in public: every single leader appears
in public with the assurance he would not be contradicted. The best UMNO
speakers are not in the administration; they either sit in the
backbenches or do not hold high office.
The PAS leaders remain skeptical of this debate. So, it appears,
UMNO. The UMNO secretary-general, Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob, who is also
information minister, says the debate would not be broadcast live. It
involves only two political parties, and should be confined only to them.
His sudden interest in the appropriateness of political bradcoasting is
commendable indeed. But for the fact that any UMNO parish pump meeting to
which its president or senior leaders appear is, for the purposes of radio
and television coverage, not a political meeting but an extension of an
important government policy caucus. (PAS is not the opposition in
Trengganu and Kelantan; the National Front and UMNO are.) It underlines
UMNO's nervousness at the tables being turned. But in not televising the
debate, UMNO can lose further ground. PAS would ensure the debate is
pressed on video tapes and CDs before the week if out, and distributed
through its extensive network within days.
If Tan Sri Khalil does not review his decision, UMNO could well win
the debate and lose the ground. For more than Malay Rights, it is PAS's
rare chance to prove its worth to the Malay cultural heartland. Its
Islamic worldview, complete with an Islamic government, makes it
unacceptable to many rural Malays, who given a choice between UMNO and PAS
these days would lean towards the latter but would not, yet, give his
cultural loyalty. Parti Keadilan Negara (Keadilan) had a chance to be
that, but it did not take off as its supporters expected. PAS is about to
consider a volcanic political change -- to move from its goal of an
Islamic government to one in which Islamic principles dominate -- which
could put pressure upon UMNO more than ever. The debate proves nothing.
UMNO stands to lose more than PAS. PAS, therefore, would not reject any
opportunity to state its views.
UMNO needs reassurance that it still is the only upholder of Malay
rights. But these rights come with responsibilities. The Malay Leader,
at the top of the feudal totem, can expect absolute obedience and loyalty;
in return, he must not humiliate those below him. It is this which caused
the Malay cultural ground to move away. The Prime Minister has become,
willy nilly, the prisoner of the Prisoner. The government puts on a brave
front that justice must prevail and the Prisoner got the sentence he
deserved, but even his closest friends and supporters cannot accept this
refrain with alacrity. The debate is not about Malay rights, though that
hovers in the background in this confrontation between secular and
theocratic Islam. UMNO believes Islam should be confined in a
straitjacket, playing no further role in governance than to ensure Malay
primacy and when it decides it should not; PAS believes Islam should
dominate not only Malay culture but the Malay government as well. It is
this clash over the past five decades -- since the UMNO religious wing
left to form PAS in 1951 -- that defined Malay politics in Malaysia. But
the Malay, for the first time since 1946, is caught in the middle. He
deserts one but does not swing to the other. Which is why UMNO is nervous
about its outcome. Malay Rights could well become UMNO rites.