What a farce the cow-head incident is turning out to be. The handling of the case so far demonstrates clearly that all that talk about 1Malaysia is mostly cow pie.
Firstly, the police have been slow to act. They concluded their investigations last Tuesday and handed them over to the attorney-general. Now we have to wait further for the august AG to decide whether action will be taken. In this regard, one can't help but be reminded that nothing has yet come out of the VK Lingam case – long after the Royal Commission of Inquiry ruled that there were grounds for the AG to take action.
Would Hishammuddin have done the same if it had been Hindus protesting against the relocation of a mosque in their housing estate? Imagine what the reaction of the authorities would have been if that had been the case.
What's worse, after the meeting, he spouted the most diabolical doublespeak and politicospeak when he told reporters that the protestors could not be blamed as “they had no intention at all” to invoke racial sentiments or cause tension. He even said they felt victimised. He defended their illegal protest (they had no permit) by saying they kept the number of protestors to a small number.
Well, Minister, some people have been arrested for protesting in an even smaller number.
Well, that's straight from the home minister's mouth, folks. Public protests are A-OK. So keep your tear gas, water cannons and whatnot at home, cops.
To cap it all, Hishammuddin said this was not the first time an animal's head had been used in a protest. He revealed that there was a time when a pig's head, wrapped in an Umno flag, was thrown into Umno's headquarters.
This is most disconcerting, especially coming from a minister who is charged with ensuring peace and harmony in the country. What was he trying to imply? Yes, he was exonerating the cow-head protestors, but wasn't he also sneakily trying to blame another community by bringing up the pig's head? If so, isn't that mischievous? And, surely, he must be aware that two wrongs don't make a right. So why bring up the earlier wrong to justify the cow-head one?
The day after this infamous press conference, Hishammuddin does a virtual about-turn and announces that the cow-head protestors should now be hauled to court because what they did could not be tolerated. He says he never justified their action in the first place. Is he suffering from amnesia? Has boss Najib Razak ticked him off for the things he said the day before?
As usual, he puts the blame on others and says it was bloggers who had made it seem as if he was condoning the cow-head protest. What a genius we have for a minister! Did he learn this from the master, Dr Mahathir Mohamad?
To exacerbate the situation and make the ruling party look desperate, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) comes out and instructs Malaysiakini to remove two videos from its archives – one of the cow-head protest itself and the other of Hishammuddin's shameful press conference.
MCMC not doing Hisham a favour
There is no cause for that. News is news, and what has been recorded is now part of our history. It is insensible of the MCMC to ask that they be removed, as if to erase history like communist Russia did in the 1940s.
And why remove the Hishammuddin video? I can only fathom one reason for it – to save him from embarrassment. If that is so, the MCMC is not doing him a favour. He has to grow up and be a man. He has to admit his mistake for saying what is recorded in that video. This is his rite of passage. Let him go through it. If he can't be man enough, how can he be considered for future prime ministership? (That is, if Malaysians would allow it to happen.)
All this clearly shows that there are still 2Malaysias, and that in word and deed, our national leaders affirm that.
Judging by what has been happening the past few months, Barisan Nasional has not been giving a good account of itself. In fact, it has mostly been shooting itself in the foot. And this without the help of Pakatan Rakyat whatsoever.
Just look at the kind of candidate they fielded for the Permatang Pasir by-election. And the current work-in-progress of Najib saying one thing while his deputy says the opposite.
As Najib goes about promoting 1Malaysia, Muhyiddin Yassin has been playing to the Malay gallery. He called Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim a traitor to the Malay race; defended an article in the Malay press calling on the Malays to stop being cowards and rise up; and on the same day that the 1Malaysia logo was publicly unveiled, he asserted that Umno would fight to the last drop of blood to protect Malay rights.
Meanwhile, race-baiting goes on almost daily in the Malay mainstream media, concerted in its aim to threaten, frighten and divide. That these media organisations are owned and controlled by Najib's own party underscores the conundrum. The messages sent out by these media organisations and the messages he himself is sending out are totally at odds with each other. Whom are we to listen to? Whom are we to trust?
Is there a game plan behind it all? Are we the rakyat mere pawns in the game? When the game is over, will we be played out?
I certainly hope not.
(writer : Kee Thuan Chye)