Intolerance that will destroy the nation

Well said, Uncle Kim.

Surprisingly, even the Constitution was brought in to defend UiTM’s 100% racial discrimination policy, displaying wide-spread ignorance of the Constitution.  Vice-chancellor Ibrahim specifically referred to Article 153 of the Constitution as legal basis for his refusal to open the door of UiTM to other races.

Kim Quek

Can those people thumping their chests to condemn Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s suggestion to allocate 10% of student admission of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) to non-bumiputra and foreign students please answer one simple question:

Is there a single university in the world which practices 100% racial discrimination in its student enrolment?

If there is none, shouldn’t these same people start to do some reflective thinking now as to whether it is a plus or minus for Malaysia to have this unique distinction?

Should they not contemplate whether they are proud or not so proud of this ‘achievement’?

Should they not be concerned of what the rest of the world might think of a country that is still fanatically defending its policy of total racial discrimination in its highest seat of learning when the whole world has either abandoned or criminalized racial discrimination of all kinds?  Are they not worried that Malaysia may soon acquire the image of ‘Jurassic Park’ or ‘Lost World’ of this globalised age?

Yes, I use the word ‘fanatically’ because the outburst against Khalid’s suggestion was swift, vituperative, irrational, racist and spearheaded by top UMNO leaders and reverberated down to UiTM students who gathered in the thousands to protest in front of Khalid’s office.  Vocal assailers include unfortunately the minister of higher education Khaled Nordin and UiTM vice-chancellor Ibrahim Abu Shah; and vitriolic criticisms include ‘selling out Malay special privileges’, ‘insult to his own race’, and ironically even ‘playing with racial sentiments’.   

Surprisingly, even the Constitution was brought in to defend UiTM’s 100% racial discrimination policy, displaying wide-spread ignorance of the Constitution.  Vice-chancellor Ibrahim specifically referred to Article 153 of the Constitution as legal basis for his refusal to open the door of UiTM to other races.  Whereas the reverse is true – Article 153 only empowers the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to request for the reservation of such proportion of position as deemed reasonable for the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak in educational institutions funded by the government.  Coupled with Article 8 which prohibits discrimination of any kind on the ground of race, UiTM’s 100% racial policy is clearly unconstitutional.

The fanatical zeal displayed by the ruling party (UMNO) in condemning even the tiniest opening of its mono-racial institution to others in this multi-racial nation half a century after independence is undoubtedly a terrible indictment on the miserable failure of nation-building carried out by the only ruling power this nation has ever known – UMNO. 

It should be pointed out that this UiTM fiasco is the latest in a long string of world renowned scandals that have shamed this country in a short spell of time – starting with the Lingam tape that reveals our judicial rot, the Mongolian high-level murder trial that drills on endlessly and aimlessly, the Anwar sodomy frame-up saga II which symbolises the regime’s moral bankruptcy, the violent disruption of Bar Council forum on family problems arising from conversion to Islam that displays religious intolerance.  What alarms the public even more is that these scandals seem to roll in with increasing frequency and speed, destroying what little trust and confidence the people may still have with the government.  Are we as a nation already in the reverse gear sliding into an abyss? 

With these self-destructive maneuvers, apparently self-engineered for its own political survival, UMNO is actually stretching the political and social fabric of the nation to  danger zone.  How then could Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi in all honesty announce that the country “is doing quite well in terms of the economic fundamentals” when the economy is already deeply troubled with slumping demand amidst spiraling inflation in an ambience of administrative incompetence, and escalating political turmoil and uncertainty? 

The latest two incidents – Bar Council forum and UiTM enrolment – appear to be linked to the imminent Permatang Pauh by-election through which Anwar Ibrahim is planning to make his grand return to Parliament.  It is apparent that UMNO is hell bent to scrape and exploit every bit of potential religious and racial friction and blow it up to inflame the primordial instincts of the 70% Malay electorate in the Permatang Pauh constituency.  Its policy seems to be: There is no price too high for UMNO to retain power, including stoking the fire of racial hatred and religious animosity that may eventually rift the nation apart.

The nation must decide whether it can tolerate such an incumbent political power to continue to hold the reign of government.  And that collective decision, if in the negative,  can be put into effect (to a significant extent) by the electorate of Permatang Pauh by giving Anwar Ibrahim a resounding victory.

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