Thursday, April 5, 2012
UMNO propaganda oversea
Hi, my name is Ahmad Naim, and I am a first year student in the UK. I write about my experience last weekend in London where I overhead a discussion by Umno Youth leaders.
A student in the UK is exposed to many experiences. The apolitical learn to be political, the apathetic become aware, the previously anti-social join student-run clubs and harness talents they never knew they had.
And beyond these positive developments, I learnt a few days ago that a first-year student such as myself can also find that the Malaysian
Dream can be stomped upon even in a land that teaches us the values of democracy, freedom and equality.
I learnt of the impending arrival in London of a large delegation of Umno leaders from a few friends from Kelab Umno London. There was to be a private session between the delegation and Kelab Umno leaders/members. For the record, I had contemplated joining the club which swore to be run solely for the purposes of the welfare of Malay(sian) students in the British capital.
But ever the student I am, procrastination is my middle name. In any case, I was not overly keen to meet with the Umno delegation which included the Umno secretary Datuk Rauf (something) and around six or seven Umno Youth exco members (some look like post-graduate students, so I cannot tell the difference) and ladies.
However, because food was on my mind I decided to accompany my friends headed down to the Malaysian Students Department, or MSD (located next to Malaysia Hall) anyway.
Respecting the private nature of the discussion, I sat outside the modest room housed by the MSD gobbling away (self-paid) while the session was being held. Unknown to those inside the room, much said in there was audible to those sitting near the back partition. The window overlooking Queensborough Terrace where MSD is located also makes it quite easy to look into the hall.
Armed with a book, I tried reading while sipping a 'teh tarik' but I couldn't seem to bring my mind to concentrate on reading. Disturbing words of racist politics could be heard coming through the cracks of the partition.
The only person to take the stage was the quite sizeable Umno secretary Rauf whilst the Umno Youth exco members also fielded questions from the floor. I wasn't eavesdropping but the booming voices – especially those of Rauf and one Umno Youth member by the name of Megat – made it quite easy to make out the racist remarks which were spilling out of their primary orifice.
In his rant, Rauf called non-Malays 'bangsa asing' who were trampling on the Malays in 'Tanah Melayu'. I remember a direct quote, 'Jangan biarkan bangsa asing pijak kepala kita' as though the non-Malays were interested in little else than seeing Malays fail for their sinister, selfish goals.
There was also a vigorous defense of Nasir Safar's recent comments against non-Malays which branded non-Malays as beggars and prostitutes. According to one Umno Youth exco member present, those comments were not at all racist but quite contrarily 'just facts'. My oh my, I saw a Chinese couple next to me trying to tune out the words and focus on their meals.
Throughout the session, non-Malays were treated as the enemy and whilst they did praise Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, there was no mention of '1Malaysia', unity or multiracial nation- building.
During some moments in the session, they sounded nothing less than Vikings on the path to war – an Umno Youth exco said something to the effect of Umno willing to fight to the death against threats made by non-Malays. These threats were, strangely enough, never detailed.
Regardless, what I found most disturbing was the fact that these individuals, by all accounts, are (I think) high-ranking Umno leaders.
Rauf, for all intents and purposes, as I Googled, is the COO of Umno. Whatever one thinks of Umno's sloganeering via '1Malaysia', the fact is that if even these individuals cannot help but promote the diametric opposite to what '1Malaysia' is supposed to entail, then what hope is there for Umno and BN?
As much as what Najib says and does counts above all else, it is most shameful that his generals are doing their best to derail the Malaysian Dream. Najib's decision to fire his aide only last week was commendable but he was just an aide. Will he take similar measures against people with positions in the party who speak out against '1Malaysia'?
I may be just a kid yet, but if Najib is to succeed as a reformist, then he must make sure the entire – or at least much of the party – follows suit. Otherwise, even the son of a lifelong Umno member will think twice about voting BN. Sigh. Shaken I was despite not sitting in at the meeting. Umno propaganda is indeed powerful.
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