The Red Shirts, led by the controversial Sungai Besar Umno chief, Datuk Jamal Yunos, should focus on clear, free and fair elections, but they don’t, and more importantly, they won’t.
Jamal led a purportedly multi-racial crowd of 300 Malaysians to the Himpunan Merah press conference at the PWTC, where he spoke about his group’s willingness to counter any rallies by the “yellow shirts”, meaning, Bersih supporters.
Jamal’s ability to mobilise a multiracial crowd, comprising Chinese and Indians, is both commendable and a departure from the norm. The firebrand Jamal is known for easily garnering Malay support against what he and his group claims to be Opposition, DAP or Chinese led rallies.
To be able to persuade the non-Malays to stand alongside other Red-Shirt members, is a remarkable show of tolerance and unity. That is, until a reporter asked some of the non-Malay members of the group, why they had graced the event.
Watching the Malaysiakini video clip, was both revealing and unsettling. We have heard about rent-a-crowds. Did we witness some of them, who willingly turn up to support causes, which they know nothing about? Or did the reporters manage somehow, to select a cross-section of the crowd who were absolutely clueless?
Jamal said in the video-clip, that the Opposition and Bersih had “used” many young Malaysians and led them astray, purely for their own selfish means. He claimed that the youths had been coerced to hate the government. He alleged that some of the people at the Tangkap MO1 rally, did not know what was meant by DOJ (Department of Justice), and that they had been paid to attend.
Does Jamal really think that the Tangkap MO1 movement, organised by students, have money to pay the participants?
The irony in Jamal’s statement was that the people, who were interviewed, at his Himpunan Merah rally, were similarly clueless about 1MDB, did not know what was meant by the DOJ and did not want to know, because according to them, they merely came, for the sake of peace and unity.
A group of young Malay men was asked about DOJ. They claimed ignorance, and as one told the reporter, “I don’t really take much interest in any of the issues. I came to lend my support here, because we are the red shirts, and they are the yellow shirts.”
One group of Indian converts admitted that they knew nothing about the DOJ and said that they were not sure if the corrupt practices in 1MDB, are true or not.
More importantly, the report alleged that an individual had come to “destroy” Bersih. This is deeply worrying. If he, is like the others, and does not know what 1MDB or the DOJ are, and sadly, have no desire to find out, then what hope is there for Malaysia?
Does this failure, to keep abreast of the issues which plague our nation, run deep in our Malaysian psyche? Are some Malaysians totally ignorant, and have no desire to understand what affects their lives?
Some of them perceive Bersih as a threat. Do they not realise that Bersih’s objective is to allow fair, clean and free elections? Are they not interested in participating in the democratic process?
Admittedly, the Himpunan Merah participants may have sourced their news from the mainstream papers and television, but do they not discuss such earth-shattering issues with friends and family, in the canteen, the coffee-shop or the mamak stall? Are they like the proverbial ostrich which keeps its head buried in the sand?
Is it any wonder that parties like Umno can keep going for decades? Their educational policies have failed our children and produced irresponsible and ignorant adults. There will be no threat to the red-shirts as long as the majority of the rakyat are kept stupid and ignorant.