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A gathering uncalled for

  • Where political manipulation reigns supreme, we see once again that this country is shrouded in a haze of senselessness.

Sin Chew Daily

Now that the government has decided not to sign the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), how do political parties and NGOs previously against the signing of ICERD justify themselves to hold a rally this weekend?

Why do these people insist to go down to the street this Saturday as planned?

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said it is going to be a "thanksgiving" rally, but in reality to "celebrate" their victory in exerting pressure on the government to back off from ICERD ratification.

The government has previously shown a gesture of goodwill in hope of averting possible clash over the ICERD issue. Now that the government has made the decision not to sign, there shouldn't be any reason for anyone to stage any form of gathering related to this issue.

It is obvious that Umno and PAS have wanted to bank on the ICERD issue to win some support even though few will believe the rally will see the participation of half a million people as Umno's MP for Pasir Salak Tajuddin Abdul Rahman has claimed.

Although these people have reiterated that the rally will not promote racism or endorse racist acts, it is obvious that they have attempted to promote their racist political agenda through a peaceful gathering held in the name of Malay solidarity.

The organizers have even invited PM Mahathir and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim to attend, which is itself a political strategy to show that they are doing all this to protect the constitutional status of the Malays and the Islamic faith.

In GE14, Umno and PAS still won the support of majority of Malay voters easily eclipsing Pakatan Harapan. ICERD has allowed these two major Malay parties to see hope of further consolidating their Malay vote bank, while PH's pledge of instituting systemic reforms hits the wall when it comes to issues related to race and religion.

PAS president Hadi Awang says even though the government will not sign ICERD at this moment, leaders from other ruling parties and organizations in support of ICERD ratification will continue to pressurize the government to sign it in the future. As such, there is still a necessity to strengthen the sense of crisis among the Malays and Muslims in the country.

At the same time, these people have opted to exploit the constitutional spirit by arguing that they oppose to ICERD not just to protect the rights of the Malays and Muslims but to defend the sanctity of the Constitution.

In order to achieve the desired effect, the organizers will go all out to get more people to take part in this weekend's rally, including offering free legal assistance and an additional day off for Kelantanese participants.

DBKL and the police have given the green light for participants to gather at specific locations in the city. The PH government hopes that this will give the public more freedom to express themselves, but this can also be exploited by the organizers to justify their gathering.

No matter how the organizers have tried to justify the weekend rally, ordinary citizens are simply unconvinced that such a rally is necessary at all.

Where political manipulation reigns supreme, we see once again that this country is shrouded in a haze of senselessness. Malaysians will only get more frustrated with every new trouble created by the politicians.


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