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Umno Youth and the keris incident

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umno leadersAliran is happy that Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin has finally come down to earth and to his senses. It is good of him to realise his unspoken mistake and to “apologise to the non-Malays if they felt afraid of the symbol”. It was not only the raising of the keris as a symbol of strength and Malay supremacy that upset many Malaysians but the seditious, threatening, provocative utterances of some Umno delegates that aroused the anger of all thinking Malaysians.

What was sickening was the fact that these highly defamatory and inflammatory speeches were allowed and accepted by the Umno Youth general assembly without a word of caution or reprimand.

Not only that, Malaysians – including members of the BN coalition partners – were rebuked for their reaction to the keris-raising incident and to the vicious utterances by some extreme elements from Umno Youth. People who reacted to this incident were taken to task for living in this country for so many years and not knowing Malay culture.

But then they forget that the keris-kissing and brandishing of the keris was never a common display of culture in this country. None of the Umno leaders in all our history had acted in this provocative manner until Hishammuuddin and his cohorts very arrogantly introduced this practice in 2005 and very defiantly repeated it in 2006.

After the disastrous performance of the BN in the 12th General Election, even Umno leaders admitted that this raising, kissing and brandishing of the keris had contributed to their dismal performance. It is good that certain Umno leaders are able to see the truth at last.

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But Hishammuddin is far removed from reality when he contends that “the issue was not as big as it was made out to be”. He is still in denial mode and perhaps too proud even to admit the severe damage that he and his cohorts had caused for the BN.

Hishammuddin must admit his mistake committed in 2005 and repeated in 2006 – only then can his apology be meaningful. Otherwise, his apology will be misconstrued as a public relations exercise to whitewash Umno Youth.


P Ramakrishnan
26 April 2008

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