Hornbill Unleashed

July 23, 2013

‘Bak-kut-teh’, Dr M and Umno: Sheer hypocrisy and political opportunism

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Stephen Ng

Dr Mahathir Mohamad appears to be interested in building race and religious hormony in the country, but he is in fact the root cause of what the nation is undergoing.

Allow me to correct his assumption that all races supported BN. The fact is, that at the climax of his dictatorship, the Malays were already abandoning UMNO and his brand of UMNO Baru in 1999. If not for the Chinese and the Indian community still supporting the BN, Mahathir would have been literally thrown out of his office.

During the 1999 Reformasi Movement, it was only the Malays who saw the wickedness of this one evil man, yet he refused to step down. With crocodile tears, he mobilised all his loyalists to urge him to stay on. In fact, the nation was ready to remove him, or else he would never have given up his premiership in the following years.

Subsequently, when Tun Abdullah Badawi became prime minister, all communities began to rally behind the Tun. This is seen from the 2004 General Election, where the people voted for the Barisan Nasional in a big way.

Jealous with the Tun’s success, Mahathir began to look for opportunity to overthrow his successor, after Tun Abdullah Badawi objected to the building of the crooked bridge proposed by the old mamak. With his loyalists still clinging on to power within the party, Tun Abdullah Badawi’s position was easily shaken, especially since his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin had attracted bad vibes from within his party.

Therefore, there is no truth in what Mahathir has said. The support that once once enjoyed by the BN had hit the rock bottom in 1999 after the Asian Financial crisis hit the Malaysian economy and Anwar Ibrahim was arrested. With the emergence of Anwar Ibrahim, the Malays found a new leadership that they could rally together. It was unfortunate that many of us, both Chinese and Indians, were still busy with the country’s economic boom.

2008 was turning point

After watching how Anwar Ibrahim was being prosecuted, with one attempt after another to throw him into prison, most of us began to realise what a wicked man Mahathir was. I was one of those who saw it at a time what Mahathir kept whacking Tun Abdullah Badawi.

To me, Mahathir was being too much. If he had retired, he should just keep his big mouth shut and allow Badawi to run the country to the best he can. While Mahathir had 22 years to run the country, and driving most of us up the walls at one point or another, Badawi was hardly five year in power before he was finally removed.

Meanwhile, it is not as though the Malays were split into two factions. This is Mahathir’s biased observation, because he thinks that only his brand of UMNO Baru can represent the Malay community in this country.

As a matter of fact, the Malays in both PKR and PAS, for the first time, were united. Thanks to the online media, the Chinese were also beginning to realise that PAS is after all not that ‘extremist’ as painted by the maintstream media controlled by Umno. The Indian community has just been hit after the Hindraf movement. All three major political parties formed the Pakatan Rakyat, and the rakyat for the first time knew who they would vote for.

Unfortunately, I was overseas and I did not have a chance to vote. Most of us from all three major communities who were updating each other on the latest news were excited when we read one after all the BN warlords were down. “Samy Vellu down! Hooray!” Then, there was another Malaysian brother who read from his laptop, “Selangor is now under Pakatan Rakyat! Penang, too! Perak as well! Phew! It’s no longer just Kelantan! Yippeee!” There were about 12 of us but no one said to his neighbour, “You are Malay, you sit there! You are Indians, don’t sit here, and you are Chinese, sit with me! WE were all Malaysians.”

2013 the Malaysian tsunami

It is no wonder that 2013 became the Malaysian tsunami. Contrary to what Najib Tun Razak suggested on the following day after the 2013 Elections, this was more than just the Chinese tsunami.

This is because the Chinese community was willing to vote for PAS, and PAS was willing to lend a helping hand to DAP when it faced the grim possibility of being disregistered. When was it a time when BN was weak? It had all the powers of the police, the MACC, the attorney-general’s chamber, the Election Commission all this while.

However, there was one thing that BN did not have: the people’s votes. The people’s sentiments had swung towards Pakatan in a big way because BN has long overstayed its hospitality. Having been in power for the past 56 years, its leaders have emulated Mahathir’s example to become cocky and indifferent to the people’s burden.

The Pakatan manifesto was more attractive. It was more people friendly. The Chinese saw this as an opportunity to break free from their financial burden. The Malays and the Indians realise that they have been deprived of many opportunities in the past, now, they would rather go with Pakatan to see what the new government is capable of delivering. After all, having given 56 years to UMNO and Barisan Nasional is enough. It is time for change.

In fact, if not for all the gerrymandering and the malapportionment, Umno Baru (ala Mahathir) and Barisan Nasional would have been kicked out of Putrajaya.

The widening gap

It is surprising therefore that after two major General Elections, the Mahathir-Najib regime have not learnt from their own mistakes. They are in fact widening the gap, but this time, thankfully, people realise what kind of gap it is.

It is now no longer a racial or religious gap, but the drifting of UMNO Baru and Barisan Nasional from the rest of the Malaysian society at large. When Zulkifli Noordin made fun of the Hindu deity, it was a Pas leader in Batu Constituency who spoke up: “Mark my word, record it down, publish it: I am telling you that someone like Zulkifli Noordin has no place in Malaysia.”

Recently, it was Member of Parliament of Sepang, Mohamed Hanipa Maidin who spoke up against the use of Sedition Act against the Alvin Tan-Vivian Lee couple. As a matter of fact, although I do not agree with their blogging, I see no harm in what they did. It was a nice photograph of the couple having ‘bah kut teh’ and, in the spirit of 1Malaysia, wanted to share the Chinese delicacies during the Buka Puasa. They did not criticise anyone, except that it hit a wrong note with some most irrational people in the country.

There is no evidence, for example, to suggest that the dish that they were having is pork. The word ‘bak kut teh’, for your information, is a combination of three Hokkien words – ‘Bak’, means meat; ‘kut’ means bones and ‘teh’ means herbal tea. Without investigating further, people have jumped into conclusion that they were consuming pork, and since pork is ‘haram’ in the eyes of the Muslims, therefore the Alvivi couple had made fun of Islam.

To Mahathir and his ilk, I wish to say that the cuisine happens to be my favourite and I wish to share it with everyone else, including my Muslim and vegetarian friends. There are various versions including the ones that are better known as ‘chick kut teh’ and ‘vegetarian bah kut teh’. Chick Kut Teh aside, there are two shops that I recommend where they serve Bah Kut Teh, vegetarian style – one in Desa Jaya and another in SS2, Petaling Jaya.

What appears to be widening the gap between UMNO Baru and the rest of the Malaysian society is the way how double standards are being practicsed by UMNO and the federal agencies that they have control over. Of late, for example, I was shocked to read that a top cop had insisted that the ‘hina Islam’ graffiti painted on a Chinese youth is linked to the Alvivi couple.



  1. Mad dog ala kerala

    Comment by tigeryk — July 23, 2013 @ 6:43 PM | Reply

  2. Unfortunately the kampong malays still worship Tun M as a malay hero, although he is actually a mamak.

    Comment by Jasa Bakti — July 23, 2013 @ 1:09 PM | Reply

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