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Monday, September 5, 2011

Umno Planned Roadshow - Demeaning Veterans For The Sake Of Political Survival

Sulaiman Kamal | 2:43 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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The knee-jerk and overzealous plan by UMNO Youth to hold roadshows to attack the Deputy President of PAS Hj Mohamad Sabu is both regrettable and unnecessary. Its action comes despite many sources indicating that Hj Mohamad Sabu did not glorify Communism or violence in the speech he gave on 21st August.
One thing however is very clear from this latest controversy: the fact that quarrels keep arising over the Emergency and other historical periods indicates that the so-called "official" version of Malaysia’s history as propagated by the BN administration has not gained universal acceptance. Indeed, it seems to be causing great unhappiness amongst many groups and communities, and has made the divisions in our society all the more bitter.

There will always be conflicting views of Malaysia’s history and it is clear that many grievances still linger on all sides. As the ruling party, UMNO should be facilitating debate on these contentious issues with a view towards national reconciliation, to move on from the divisions of the past towards a shared future together.
This ought to be the goal of all political parties, especially their Youth Wings. Unfortunately, UMNO has yet again chosen to turn this into another wedge issue to incite suspicion and hatred amongst Malaysians with a view to shore up its own power.
On the other hand, one is also inclined to be skeptical about its claims to be championing the fate of Malaysia’s veterans. Instead of focusing on the much needed work to recognize and further assist our beloved veterans and serving men and women, UMNO Youth only seems interested in vilifying PAS and Hj Mohamad Sabu.
Indeed, if UMNO is serious about standing up for our serving men and women, they ought to be fighting for their right to vote freely and fairly instead of perpetuating the current abuse of military and police votes via the postal voting system. The current practice is tantamount to denying them a voice in the very country they have dedicated their lives to serve and protect.[1]
Furthermore, would it not have been better if UMNO channels the time, money and energy to support Malaysian veterans who are in need of various kinds of assistance rather than on these expensive roadshows? After all, its mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia is already falling over itself in slandering PAS, Hj Mohamad Sabu and Pakatan Rakyat in general.
One also wonders why these so-called "patriots" have thought that holding roadshows will be more beneficial than supporting, monitoring, and giving feedback on the national bodies concerned with the welfare of our veterans and servicemen, such as the Lembaga Tabung Amanah Tentera (LTAT) and the various veteran organizations? Working with these organizations - to fight to purchase Exxonmobil assets in Malaysia, for instance - will probably do more to help our heroes and further the national interest than embarking upon narrow partisan political activity.
Finally, if UMNO is so serious about helping the veterans of Malaysia’s wars and struggles for freedom, should they not also be helping our surviving WWII veterans, some whom have not yet been compensated for their services and sacrifice? [2]
As it claims to be the sole progenitor of our nation’s independence, UMNO should realise that it is a travesty to our country’s founding principles for the government it leads to stubbornly cling on to the four emergency declarations whose utility to our safety and security are now doubtful 54 years after Merdeka.
In fact, is UMNO not indirectly demeaning and dishonouring our beloved veterans by saying that despite all the sacrifices they have made, Malaysia is still not safe and secure enough after all these years, justifying the need for these four emergency declarations? Or is UMNO content with continuing use of these emergency declarations to keep its stranglehold on power?
I therefore urge UMNO to come to their senses, renounce their hypocrisy, and work together with Pakatan Rakyat to promote national reconciliation and to heal the wounds of our nation's past. UMNO and especially more so UMNO Youth needs to learn that, to paraphrase Edward Murrow, dissent is not disloyalty, and that no one has a monopoly on either the truth or love of country.
That would be real patriotism.

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