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Apr 6, 2008

Coming of age


Raja Petra Kamarudin

(...)People want to only hear what they agree with. If you write or say something that differs from their view, they would get very vocal -- and even violent if the occasion permits. Look at what happened to the poor chap, the Umno Youth division leader from Kuala Lumpur, in the recent Umno gathering at the Singgahsana Hotel in Petaling Jaya. He expressed a view. And his view was that to strengthen Umno and to restore its lost fortunes, maybe the party should consider allowing Anwar Ibrahim back into the fold.

The frail chap was dragged outside by three or four of the ‘security’ personnel and roughed up. A plainclothes police officer just stood by and watched while the assault was going on. When one of the Umno Lembah Pantai branch leaders intervened, the police officer flashed his ‘authority card’ in an attempt to intimidate the Lembah Pantai chap. “Saya polis!” he shouted.

But the Lembah Pantai chap was not intimidated. Instead, he told the police officer that if he really is a police officer as he says he is then he should stop the gang of bouncers from beating up the hapless chap who was clearly not offering any resistance and was not fighting back. The police officer then stepped in and ordered them to cease the assault.

The Lembah Pantai chap stood guard until the bruised chap could leave the hotel compound. The gang appeared to have not had enough (tak lepas geram) so they might have rushed the chap to finish the job. Only after the chap had disappeared over the horizon did the Lembah Pantai chap come back into the hall.

It is not surprising, really, when Umno demonstrates a very low tolerance to people expressing their own views. After all, Umno is infamous for not respecting freedom of speech. But while those in the opposition ridicule Umno, they fail to realise that those in the opposition are no more tolerant than the Umno chaps.

That is one reason I choose to remain ‘independent’ rather than play an active role in politics. Sure, I support the opposition. But I support the opposition only as far as they remain an opposition. I am really not sure whether I want the opposition to become the government. Better they remain an opposition, but a strong opposition at that, rather than they become the government and we discover that they are no better than Barisan Nasional, or, heaven forbid, even worse. more...


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