Why Umno Youth marched to Komtar

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From: Khairul Azwan Harun, via email

This week, more than 3,000 of Penang’s youth came together to march against the DAP led state government. We rose under the banner of “Pemuda Bangkit”. Beginning after Zohor prayers, we marched from Penang’s Menara Umno to Komtar.

It is easy to dismiss Pemuda Bangkit as just another coloured-shirt rally. Many believed we would just come, make noise and leave, as with other rallies. But this rally was more than the color of our shirts. We wore black, but we were red, green, white all the same. It was our message that pushed through. As with the colour black, we were all absorbing and accepting. We pushed none away.

For a large part of the media, this week’s rally was easily categorised as just another havoc seeking-unsettled youth group, another form of “Malay rage.” In part, they hoped that we would get into a fight, maybe even get caught by the police, to fit the stereotype. But none of that happened. We obeyed the police, protested where we were told to, and respectfully handed a memorandum to a DAP representative.

In essence, we were different from the rallies that Malaysia is accustomed to. We exercised our rights within the parameters handed to us. We proved it was possible to spread across our message without having to stop the city and be of nuisance.

What we stood for was the complete halt of future Bersih rallies as well as for Lim Guan Eng to step down as Chief Minister of Penang.

For outsiders new to Malaysia, it may seem hypocritical for us to hold a rally in protest against Bersih rallies. But let’s dive in deeper.

Bersih, as all Malaysians know, is a far distance from its claim of being non-partisan. For a while now it has been taken over by the DAP and PKR, used as a political tool to segregate the community and ignite hate between the ethnic communities of Malaysia. It’s evident that the opposition now uses Bersih as a culmination of emotional hatred to the government, something more dangerous than helpful to our democracy.

We don’t need a more hysterical opposition but rather an entity of check and balance founded by logic and reason. Many agree with the idea of clean and fair elections. It is a universal desire. But Bersih has lost its way, been deceived and led astray by the opposition parties.

If Bersih sees itself as a non-partisan entity ensuring cleanliness in our politics, then it would have protested against the Lim Guan Eng administration rather than welcoming him into their ranks.

If Bersih really stood for its beliefs, then they would not have turned a blind eye to the conduct of the opposition states. How is it that SPR is seen to be fair when the opposition wins, but that SPR is somehow corrupt when Barisan Nasional wins?

If Bersih were independent, then it would also be concerned with those helping the opposition, from US-based lobbyists such as the National Endowment for Democracy and the National Democratic Institute. It seems curious that foreign institutions would be highly interested in the opposition. One must ask what kind of national interest the opposition meets in serving these foreign investors.

But I guess Bersih itself has its hands tied, since they themselves had once been funded by the Open Society Foundation, founded by George Soros, accused by Tun Mahathir himself of trying to wreck Malaysia’s economy and democracy. The money trail reveals it all.

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Bersih is its promotion of a collective refusal to accept election results.

As outlined by the ongoing US Presidential debates, a dismissal by the opposition of election results is not only detrimental to democracy, but it envisages future adamancy in refusing to work together across the political divide. Suddenly, anything and everything said by the government is seen as a motive to deceive. This is dangerous for our future.

Pemuda Bangkit also demanded the immediate stepping-down of Lim Guan Eng as Chief Minister. The logic here is clear.

Lim Guan Eng goes around presenting himself as a warrior for the freedom of speech. He claims to work for the cleanliness of governance. But the shades have been pulled aside and we now see the true face of the DAP; the deceiving acting party, a group that talks of pure ideals but whose actions are detrimental to the progress of our nation.

They talk of progressiveness and liberty but they continue to feed their core Chinese community supporters with racial lies that only spur pure emotional hatred of the government.

It is from this group that we witness individuals such as Lim Gan who, after the death of Dato’ Seri Dr. Zahid Hamidi’s son in law, commented: “I value my sincerity. Right now, I couldn’t care less about you.” Or Teh Hong Seng who said: “I wish your father (Dato’ Seri Zahid) also goes like him. You (Nurul Zahid) too can go together. Goodbye.”

In truth, of all the political parties in Malaysia, DAP relies heaviest on racial politics.

If Lim Guan Eng were really the man he presents himself to be, then he would not have pushed out Teh Yee Cheu who, concerned for the environment, voted for a BN motion that all reclamation development be subjected to a public hearing.

If this is the democracy and freedom of speech that the DAP speaks of, then I am genuinely worried for Malaysia if ever they take federal power.

Khairul Azwan Harun is deputy chief of Umno Youth and a member of the Umno Supreme Council.

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