02 September, 2009

Hishammuddin defended and justified last Friday’s cow-head protest !

The Home Minister today defended and justified last Friday's cow-head demonstration after meeting with Malay-Muslim representatives of Shah Alam's Section 23 at his office here today.

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein pointed out that the residents felt victimized and had no intention to stir racial emotion.

“They are not getting off scot-free. They felt victimised and feel that there is another valid explanation on their part. There was no intention on their part to cause racial divide. They, the organisers, who are sitting left and right of me, didn’t even know that somebody was going to bring the head of the cow during that demonstration.” he said.

He added that the residents only wanted their voices to be heard but it was unfortunate that “the publicity they received was negative because it was linked with racial and religious sentiments.”

Hishammuddin told reporters that the police allowed the demonstrators to proceed because the numbers of protesters were small.

“They said that they were very conscious and all that they wanted to do was to voice their unhappiness about the willingness of the state government to listen to their requests. I was told that even the Hindus there are not so passionate that it is built there (section 23),” he said.

Hishammuddin refuted claims that the protest was organised by Umno and said that the location allocated by the state government is not suitable because Section 23 is predominantly Malay.

However, a check last week showed the neighbourhood was multi-racial, with Indians making up more than a quarter of those who live there.

“If I wanted to use the issue to create chaos in Selangor, I can but we didn’t take such actions,” Hishammuddin said.

He tried to play down the cow-head incident by pointing out that there were previous incidents where a pig-head was used.

“I have it in my records to show there were cases where a pig-head was used by irresponsible parties including leaving the head in front of an Umno building covered by an Umno flag,” he said, but offered no details of such an act.

The Umno vice-president warned irresponsible parties not to provoke racial sentiments because it goes against the concept of 1 Malaysia.

Hishammuddin told reporters that the residents had met with Hindu Sangam two days ago and both parties will be releasing a media statement tomorrow.

“If it can be resolved quickly and can be done with both sides understanding each other ... why would we want to penalise anybody?” he said, suggesting he was not in favour of legal action to be taken against any of the protestors.

So, the question now is, can non-Malays and non-Muslims these days expect to be protected by an Umno-dominated government? Can Umno play the role of honest brokers?

Nobody is saying that the residents should be pistol-whipped or chained, or charged with sedition but the minister has justified their illegal and unlawful act even before the Attorney-General’s Chambers decide on the next course of action.

It is up to the Attorney-General now to decide if he has a case against them under the laws of the country and let the courts decide, no matter how cynical Malaysians are about the judiciary.

It is not for Hishammuddin to pronounce their innocence or guilt.

So, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why masses, particularly the Chinese and Indians in the past few by-elections, and even in Election 2008, are willing to vote for PAS.

They prefer religious conservatives who are fair and just, compared with the ruling party which has swung to the far right of race and religion.

And they don’t need anyone telling them of his dream of united Malaysia but is dividing the country with his sense, or lack of, of fairness and justice.

His grandfather tried in his time but Hishammuddin appears to have gone the other way.

Perhaps he should take heed of his own warning that irresponsible parties should not provoke racial sentiments because it goes against the concept of 1 Malaysia.

Hishammuddin needs a reality check and figure out who exactly is undermining the concept.

At this point, it’s the people with bovine blood on their hands.

Meanwhile, prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the public should leave it to the police and Attorney-General to decide if demonstrators who displayed a cow’s head while protesting against the relocation of a Hindu temple in Shah Alam had violated the Sedition Act.

“However, for most Malaysians, it was a very regretful incident. The police and A-G will decide whether the action of the protesters is an offence under the Sedition Act,” he said.



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