Saturday, 8 December 2007

The Screw is Tightening

In today's 'The New Straits Times' and 'the star' papers:

The New Straits Times
  • EDITORIAL: Enough!
HINDRAF leaders were due yesterday to take their smear campaign to Europe, Britain and the United States to spread the vile contagion with which they have already infected India: that their homeland, Malaysia, is committing "ethnic cleansing" against Indians, who are a community subjected to systematic state repression. Such unconscionable allegations won the sympathetic ear of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi, who conveyed them to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who expressed his concern to the Malaysian government. While in Chennai, Hindraf also met with leaders of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, and in Delhi with L.K. Advani and Jaswant Singh, leaders of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
P. Uthayakumar has brazenly declared to a Singapore newspaper that he "can't rule out violence". Rising out of this cauldron of lies, distortions and blatant political opportunism, the volatile vapours of speculation go so far as to threaten a militant insurgency.

The oft-cited "underlying grievances" of the nation's Indians have been recognised, as have those of the Malays, Chinese and other races, and slowly but surely attended to for the past 50 years. But that means nothing at all to Hindraf's prime movers, who now want global sanctions against their own country, even as their campaign drives wedges between Malaysian communities with deeply hurtful racial and religious rhetoric.

Tragically, such inflammatory behaviour is not unknown here. Hence, the arsenal of internal security statutes in our legislation. The government has warned rabble-rousers not to play with fire. But their response has been undiminished defiance and more incitement, virtually daring the authorities to move. Having invoked the spectre of the Internal Security Act, the government is now caught on the conundrum of either resorting to the hammer of the law -- which the deputy prime minister admits the government is loath to do -- or having its bluff called by Hindraf's instigators. Forty years ago, nay, even 10 years ago, the Internal Security Act would have been used against such agitators without a second thought. But the current administration's restraint in calling upon this controversial law in the spirit of the openness it has preached and practised has been flagrantly violated by Hindraf's extremism. If left unchecked, the consequences of fanning the embers of religious and racial emotion are too awful to contemplate.

The country's silent majority is at last beginning to speak up against the destructive potential of this matter. For their sake -- and for that of a nation that lives by a solemn agreement that no one should burn down the house we all share -- it may be necessary now to exercise the full powers of the law. No matter how regrettable, these subversives need to be reminded why all Malaysians have to live with the prospect of detention for those few who revel in attempting to destroy the national concord that millions have spent decades trying to build.

(Slowly, but surely for the last fifty years? It reminds me of what Martin Luther King said,

"We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children".

Other headlines in the New Straits Times:
  • Hindraf heads with ties to terrorists to be watched
  • Hindraf 'does not speak for majority of Indians'
  • Allegations way out of line, says MCA secretary-general
  • IGP (Inspector General of Police): Hindraf out to incite racial unrest

The Star

  • Close watch on Hindraf
  • PM: I won’t tolerate inciters of violence
  • Link is with Tamil Tigers and India’s RSS, says Nazri
  • Sikhs: We don’t back street protests
  • Company named Hindraf loses licence
  • Indians told not to fall into Hindraf trap

Read here for a perspective on the word "ethnic cleansing".

Welcome to the global village, Malaysia.

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