Saturday, July 7, 2012

Open season on Lim Guan Eng

Open season on Lim Guan Eng

April 06, 2012

APRIL 6 — Umno has apparently declared “open season” on Lim Guan Eng.

That they have been stalking their favourite target for years, even

well before he came into prominence, is an open secret.

If they had not maligned, abused and subjected him to unremitting

muck-raking and mudslinging, these Umno stormtroopers would have felt

totally inadequate and that something was missing from their miserable


They would, like their brown-shirted, fair-haired and blue-eyed Aryan

cousins of the Third Reich, have felt that they were not fulfilling

their historic destiny which is to cause as much mayhem as the police,

in their accustomed manner and wisdom, would allow. It is all in the

name of upholding “ketuanan Melayu”, and nothing should be allowed to

stand in their way, not even the rule of law. Years of blatant abuse

with impunity by Mahathir Mohamad who, in cahoots with his Umno

henchmen, succeeded by means fair and foul, mainly foul, in distorting

the systems of orderly governance as provided for under our

constitutional arrangements.

Imputations of improper motives such as in the case of “the

disappearing mosque land” and innuendos that any fair-minded Malaysian

would regard as completely beyond the pale are standard fare to be

dished out to the likes of Lim Guan Eng as and when it takes their

fancy. What is grotesquely ironic in all of this is that the driving

force behind the campaign to “put the non-Malays in their place” is a

bunch of bloody-minded, misguided “constitutional” Malays who have

been manipulating the Malays for ages.

For all their professed Malayness I am told the majority speak Tamil

at home. We are free to speak any language. However, those claiming to

be Malays must not only practise Malay customs and traditions but also

habitually speak the Malay language. That is what the Constitution

says. But you have to give it to them: they know Malay weaknesses

instinctively and are quick to exploit them.

But then, the Malay is an open book. I do not always see eye to eye

with Mahathir, but reluctantly I agree with him when he says Malays

have a short memory and this has worked to his advantage. Racist I am

not; I am just against any form of hypocrisy, barefaced or otherwise.

I suppose it would be totally unrealistic to expect a party that is

morally deficient in respect of civilised conduct to conform even to

minimum universal ethical standards. Where then is Umno’s legitimacy

to govern? They bleat or, more in keeping with the time in which we

live, moo, “But we have the people’s mandate.” Buying the so-called

people’s mandate with state funds certainly does not confer on Umno

the right to lead this nation.

In a more open and democratic society, the rule of law would ensure

that those lording over us and robbing us blind in the process would

by now be repenting at leisure (and that is being charitable in

assuming they have a conscience) in the blissful peace of a secure

prison at Sungai Buloh. Under the current regime where corruption has

been allowed to develop into a fine art form, a prison term for the

corrupt is a contradiction of Umno’s sacrosanct political philosophy

of no growth without bribery. Naturally all this is being sanctified

in the name of Hidup Melayu with the right connections.

In the present political climate and mood of desperation, much in

evidence in Umno circles, they will give a damn for public opinion.

This is nothing new to them as they have always treated public opinion

with disdain. How else do we account for the unbridled excesses we see

unfolding before our eyes with regular monotony? Guan Eng can always

hope for the best but he knows deep inside as long as he continues to

make a success of his stewardship of Penang, and as long as he has no

truck with unethical practices, he will continue to be harassed and

even physically threatened by Umno thugs.

Some of his detractors are saying that if he cannot stand the heat, he

should get out of the kitchen. It is not the kitchen fire as we

understand it that bothers Guan Eng. It is hell fire and brimstone

that he is being forced to live through each day all because he is

playing by a different, more open and accountable set of rules. Others

are saying “The man doth protest too much.” When William Shakespeare

wrote these words, he had not the faintest idea that there would be a

time when protesting too much against political thuggery in

undemocratic and corrupt Umno-led Malaysia would be completely


It has become a matter of life and death. It is, in my view, more

correct to say that Lim Guan Eng is agonising as the rest of us over

the sorry state of affairs in our once fair land. Unlike most of us,

Guan Eng is sticking his neck out to help bring about a better

Malaysia for all. If he “doth protest too much”, it is his life and

limb he is talking about and given what we saw on Padang Kota Lama

during an anti-Lynas rally recently, wouldn’t you, if you were in his

place, demand police protection? I know I would.

* Tunku Abdul Aziz is a former Special Adviser to the UN

Secretary-General on the Establishment of the UN Ethics Office and was

recently conferred by the University of Tasmania an honorary Doctor of

Laws for his fight against corruption and promoting ethics in business

and government.

* The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.

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