By Phlip Rodrigues
With the general election around the corner, Pas has started a campaign to paint the ethnic minorities in the most heinous colours imaginable so that they will not stand a chance of becoming a force to be reckoned with in Malaysian politics.
Pas president and commander-in-mischief Hadi Awang mixed religion and race to fire the opening salvo in his all out attempt to discredit the minorities thoroughly as the source of corruption and evil in our multi-racial society.
Hadi is playing a dangerous game. In his twisted mind, he seems to think that all the country’s ills are the work of the minority ethnic groups. He is instilling in the minds of the Malays that, if not because of the minorities, the country could have progressed to a state of heavenly bliss.
Thus, the disturbing question arises: how does Hadi propose to get rid of the minorities? All of them were born in Malaysia and have no other place to go. They make up a sizeable proportion of the population and had contributed much through their toil and sweat. They are still contributing significantly to national development.
Perhaps Hadi has a masterplan to excise the cancer of corruption from the body politics. Since he has identified the ethnic minorities as the major, if not sole cause of the disease, is his next step to convince the Malays that they have to act fast to stem the cancerous growth?
Going by the books of past and current practices the world over, most leaders have a formula if they want to uproot a particular ethnic group. Some would resort to instant violence using the full might of their state institutions. This would result in displacing the targeted group. They would become instant refugees.
Others would start a slow fire by brainwashing the dominant race into believing that the minority race is evil incarnate. They would work up sentiments to such a pitch that the majority group would grow to hate their fellow citizens. All that was needed was a spark from the political leaders – and violence could erupt all over the land.
Is Hadi in the second mould? He has already selected the target and is now massaging the minds of the Malays to make them more receptive to his perverted preaching that non-Muslims are the root cause of corruption. Because of their corrupting influence, the Malays have fallen in this cesspool.
Herein lies the danger: he appears to be plucking at the heartstrings of the Malays to arouse their sentiments and emotions to such a height that animosity and hatred would grow uncontrollably. He is paving the way for the uprooting of the hated target.
In times of extreme distress, people, when schooled in the ways of intolerance and extremism, would throw away all reason and unleash their pent-up loathing on their neighbours and friends not of their religion and race.
Hadi seems to think that all the ills of the country could be cured by simply weeding out the minorities.
But Hadi must be disabused of this deleterious teaching. Malaysia is a country of various races, cultures and faiths – and all have, in one way or another, worked hard to keep the peace these many years.
Hadi must not disturb this delicate balance. He must not promote unhealthy thinking detrimental to the country. If he persists in his wayward conduct and deliberately finds fault with other citizens and starts a fire, he must know that the consequences could be dire.
Phlip Rodrigues is a former journalist