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TheSun 2009-11-03 Page09 Youth on Race Religion and King

TheSun 2009-11-03 Page09 Youth on Race Religion and King

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Published by: intergalactix on Nov 09, 2009
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Lee ... ‘colonial mentality with us’

Shazni ... ‘give to whoever needs it most’

Hariszuan ... ‘the ruling elite place us in boxes’

Youth on race, religion and king
by Zakiah Koya

THE room was packed to its limit. The panellists were emotional. The audience – mostly under 30s – was also emotional. It was a situation to be expected at a recent forum by a group of youth at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur to discuss three issues perceived to be “sensitive” in Malaysia – “Ethnicity, religion and the king: How have these affected democracy in the country – what the youth say.” The initial mood was more of curiosity as to how far the forum was going to deal with these issues. The panellists squabbled at the end, and the audience was left fuming that many things were left unsaid. But a discussion, however disjointed, did take place. The panellists were made up of Fahmi Reza, Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin, Lee Kai Loon and Mohd Hariszuan and the commentator was Hishamuddin Rais. Documentary maker and graphic designer Fahmi pointed out that that there is no “rakyat” (people) in the five pillars of the Rukunegara as it states loyalty to “raja dan negara” (king and country). (Fahmi shot to fame not too long ago when his documentary 10 years before Merdeka was said to have gained a “cult” following for its radical political views. It was aired on the net.) He explained that the very word “kerajaan” (government) is a distortion of “raja”. “Our government is from the ruling elite, that is why it is not ‘kerakyatan’ but ‘kerajaan’,” he said. “Furthermore the first prime minister was the son of a sultan of Kedah. What more proof is needed? Until today we are ruled by a class of elites.” Lee, who is the founder of Youth 4 Change, said the colonial mentality is with us, which is why we are reluctant to discuss these issues. He said the Malays may feel threatened in a debate on democracy, which was why some Umno leaders played the racial card. In discussing the subject of ethnicity, Shazni first asked how many Malaysian Chinese and Indians wanted to return to India and China, given a choice. “What is the point in using the rights of the

Malays to discredit the Chinese and Indians? If all Malays get their rights, then it’s okay, but it is only a few who get the privileges. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Give to whoever needs it most,” he said to the applauding audience. Shazni also brought up the sensitivity of discussions on the Malays. “We are brainwashed into thinking that when we question ‘Melayu’, we question the religion Islam – since when did Islam put race as its basis?” He said it is time that the people stand up and speak up as the ruling and opposition parties are still “immature”. “The ruling party is using racial politics to divide and rule, while the opposition parties are suspicious of each other.” Hariszuan, a Universiti Sains Malaysia student and member of the Independent Graduate Activists Group (Kami), had the crowd in stitches when he said “This is not ceramah politik but cerita politik”. He pointed out that it is not Umno which is feudalistic or racist, but individuals who are racist, as well as the different business associations and the different schools for different races. “The ruling elite can control the rakyat because they place us in boxes. It is embedded in us from the time we are small – we have moral classes for non-Muslims and agama classes for Muslims. The differentiation was brought about by the British who used race for economic purposes and we are still in those boxes,” Hariszuan said. He said the people are still grappling with the Malaysian identity. This was refuted by Fahmi who argued for “unity in plurality”. The audience at this stage was all worked up as they supported their favourite panellist. Many views were aired. Hishamuddin, well known for his “openness”, commented mainly on the king’s role in moving towards democracy. He praised the audience for turning up in full force, saying this showed that more young Mal-aysians were breaking out of the herd mentality on sensitive subjects. At the end of the forum, despite differences in opinion and openness, one participant summed up what underlies all such discussions: “If I do give up my rights as a Malay, what is the guarantee that my Chinese friend will not take advantage of me economically and that the Indians will be taken care of?”

Two cops claim trial to soliciting bribes
by Bernard Cheah

GEORGE TOWN: Two policemen claimed trial in the sessions court here yesterday to charges of soliciting and receiving bribes from a man four years ago. Constable Mohd Fadzly Yusof @ Mat Nor, 29, was slapped with one charge of soliciting and two counts of obtaining bribes, while constable Muhamad Rosli Mustaffa, 46, was charged with abetting in soliciting and obtaining the bribes. Mohd Fadzly is charged with committing the first offence at 9.15pm on Jan 5, 2005 at the roadside on the Bayan Lepas coastal highway adjacent to Aligent Technologies, when he allegedly solicited a bribe of RM1,000 from one Mohd Fazli Mat Lazim. He is alleged to have asked for the money in exchange for not taking action against Mohd Fazli and his partner Salbiah Hashim who were said to be committing khalwat at that time and place. On the second charge, Mohd Fadzly was charged with allegedly receiving RM100 from

Mohd Fazli at the same time and place, not to take action against him and Salbiah. On the third charge, he is alleged to have accepted the remaining RM900 in bribe about 2pm on Jan 6, 2005 near the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone police service centre. Seesions judge Rosilah Yop set bail at RM8,000 with one surety for the first charge; RM5,000 with one surety for the second, and RM7,000 with one surety for the third, and fixed Nov 16 for the case to be mentioned. In another sessions court, Mohd Rosli was charged with abetting Mohd Fadzly in soliciting the RM1,000 bribe and in receiving the RM100 from Mohd Fazli as per the charges against Mohd Fadzly. Sessions judge Zanol Rashid Hussain set bail of RM4,000 with one surety for both charges respectively. The case was also fixed for mention on Nov 16. If found guilty, they face a penalty of up to 20 years jail and a fine not less than five times the amount of the bribe value or RM10,000, whichever is higher.

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