Tuesday, July 5, 2011

PM Najib's Public Relations Stunt & Ali Rustam's Shallowness

Maclean Patrick

In trying to be a false hero, Ali Rustam, the Malacca chief minister has shown Malaysians the level of arrogance some UMNO leaders have towards the citizens of Malaysia. Ali Rustam insulted the intelligence of Malaysians when he demanded that Bersih chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan be stripped of her citizenship.

It is high time that Malaysians take their leaders to task for their lack of knowledge of the pillars of legislation that form the cornerstone of what makes Malaysia a country.

Ali Rustam should first explain, on what basis can the authorities or anyone revoke the citizenship of a Malaysian? And if there are any, how does a country strip a citizen of his/her citizenship?

When Ali Rustam made his call for Ambiga’s citizenship to be stripped, he was wrong. Not just in terms of fact, legal technicality but also in outright meanness of spirit. Malaysians, especially the UMNO Malays, must ask themselves, do they want to be represented by someone so shallow and low-down as him? UMNO Muslims should ask themselves, do they want a leader who represents not justice and good faith but the very opposite?

Article 9 of the Malaysian Federal Consitution states : (1) No citizen shall be banished or excluded from the Federation. (2) Subject to Clause (3) and to any law relating to the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order, public health, or the punishment of offenders, every citizen has the right to move freely throughout the Federation and to reside in any part thereof (3) So long as under this Constitution any other State is in a special position as compared with the States of Malaya, Parliament may by law impose restrictions, as between that State and other States, on the rights conferred by Clause (2) in respect of movement and residence.

The only way that a Malaysian, whose parents are Malaysians, can be deprived of his or her citizenship is either if they on their own renounce their citizenship or if they take up the citizenship of another country.

If a person applies and gains Malaysian citizenship, then Article 25 comes into play where it says “(1)The Federal Government may by order deprive of his citizenship any person who is a citizen by registration under Article 16A or 17 or a citizen by naturalisation if satisfied – (a) that he has shown himself by act or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards the Federation.”

So far Ambiga has not renounced her citizenship nor taken up citizenship of another country. If Article 25 was used to justify such an action, it is also wrong – Ambiga was born a Malaysian.

Apologize to Ambiga, please

So on what basis can Ali Rustam, a chief minister who once aspired for the UMNO deputy presidency – and horrors if he had not been disqualified could have become our Deputy Prime Minister – utter such a racist-tinged demand to have another Malaysian deprived of her citizenship?

Ali Rustam clearly owes Ambiga an apology. A leader should not sink so low as to demand that the government strips another citizen of his or her right. It is unethical and downright evil in intent.

Ali Rustam may have though he was being righteous, but to others, he was clearly acting with malafide or niat jahatwhen making his demands – totally without respect to the Federal Constitution, without respect to a fellow human being, without a shred of courtesy towards a member of a minority group in the country.

In fact, we should not be taken by surprise at Ali’s ‘silat’ (Malay martial arts) antics. Not only does the UMNO-BN government disrespect the Consitution on a daily basis, his boss Prime Minister Najib Razak had vowed to bathe his keris (sword) in Chinese blood in 1987 and in 2010 threatened to defend his hold on power even if it mean “crushed bodies”, “lost lives” and “ethnic cleansing”.

Making use of the Vatican

But the latest talk to come out from the UMNO spin-mills is that Najib is planning a personal trip to the Vatican to see the Pope. Of course, it is meant to imply that the PM is a man of great religious ‘tolerance’ but seriously, of what use is this? What is Najib hoping to seek but more bombast to hide a hollow track record?

If he is genuine about improving ties with the Christians, and in fact all faiths in the country, he should firstly stop abusing taxpayers’ money by taking the excuse to go on another fancy European tour. All he needs to do is to listen to the Christian leaders in his own country – Malaysia. To genuinely address their qualms and misgivings.

What a big joke if he were to return from the Vatican, amid much fanfare in the mainstream media, only to launch another Christian-state attack or Malay-language Bible conspiracy against the Christians here in Malaysia? It is just like his offering to help light the Islamic ‘moderate’ path at the UN general assembly, but here, back home, he bans a free-and-fair elections rally. He arrests those who support such a noble cause on way-out Communist charges using a draconian law just as bad as the Internal Security Act.

What kind of a man is this? Does Najib realize that Christians will really be hurt and insulted if he were using the Vatican for his public relations purposes. To them, that is no less than a sin.

What about Ali’s citizenship

Same goes for Ali Rustam. Even though Ali is now only a state-level chief, the potential for him to wreak the same damage as Najib at the federal level is no less. Ali should take stock before demanding the citizenships of other Malaysians be revoked. What if they turned around and demanded that he be stripped of his citizenship for bringing shame to his party, community and country?

After all, this one-time vice president of UMNO from 2004 to 2009 has been found guilty of dishonest conduct by his own party. In the 2009 UMNO elections, he ran for deputy president but was disqualified after being found guilty of money politics. And yet the pot wants to call the kettle black.

In fact, even after being disqualified for money politics, Ali was so thick-skinned and the UMNO elite so forgiving they allowed him to hold onto his Chief Minister’s post. Ali Rustam made himself a laughing stock when he famously defended himself by saying, “If that is the case, then they should also ask Lim Guan Eng and Anwar Ibrahim to step down as they had been convicted and imprisoned before”.

Even Mahathir Mohamad was mystified, commenting that Ali Rustam should receive the same treatment given to Isa Samad, who lost all his positions after being found guilty of money politics in 2005. But thanks to the double-standards of the UMNO leaders, Ali Rustam has remained Malacca Chief Minister till now, helping the UMNO elite stir up further mischief and creating more racial tension.

Ali Rustam must first rid himself of his racial sentiments and think hard about what he has said to derogate Ambiga just to win brownie points in the evil tussle over the Bersih rally. Demands can also be made against him, given his own questionable track record. As for the nation, they can expect the UMNO elite to continue turning a blind eye for it is likely them who are the real source of the racism problems in Malaysia.

But for the people of Malacca and Malaysia, they should take due note of the Ambiga incident and remember Ali Rustam. Can they ever trust him or someone like him to govern them in fairness and justice, through thick and thin and good and bad?

- Malaysia Chronicle

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