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Unlearning from the Umno general assembly


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When you refuse to engage with people and instead force them into silence, this indicates contempt and disrespect, says Azmi Sharom.

Photograph: theSun Daily
Photograph: theSun Daily

What have we learnt from the Umno general assembly?

Firstly, we learnt that there are some members of Umno who think that the only people worth caring about are Malays.

There was a speaker from Perak who said they should not care about non-Malay voters since they were beyond reaching, and therefore Umno should only concern themselves with Malays.

I wonder if this applies to an Umno government as well.

Speaking of which, I wonder if we don’t already have an Umno government.

Actually, if one were to look at the current state of affairs, the government that we have is a BN government.

Yet, the Prime Minister seems to have forgotten this.

When making his announcement that the Sedition Act would stay, he mentioned that he has decided to go back on his promise to get rid of this nasty law based on his conversations with Umno divisions, Umno Youth, Wanita Umno and NGOs (which I am sure are Umno-friendly).


All Umno only?

Where were the discussions with the other component parties of the BN?

Surely, when it comes to an issue of law-making (or law-retaining as in this case), the entire ruling coalition should be consulted and not just one party in the coalition.

Thus, the second thing that we learnt from the Umno General Assembly is that the BN does not seem to matter anymore.

Oh, and the third thing we learnt is related to the second point.

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The reaction of the Umno delegates when Najib said he was breaking his promise and keeping the Sedition Act was unbridled joy.

I am sure there wasn’t a dry seat in the house. How they cheered and clapped! How happy they were!

Which means that Umno members like repressive laws that restrict freedom of speech.

They like it so much that they have paroxysms of pleasure when told that the law is going to be extended.

Which brings us to the fourth and final lesson that I wish to highlight: Umno’s attitude towards East Malaysia.

One of the things that the Umno government (let us forget the illusion of a BN government) is saying is that now, any talk of Sabah and Sarawak breaking up from Malaysia is going to be sedition.

It seems, therefore, that instead of being willing to discuss the grievances that Sabah and Sarawak folk have, Umno would rather criminalise those who are so fed up that they want to strike out on their own.

When you refuse to engage with people and instead force them into silence, this indicates contempt and disrespect.

Dr Azmi Sharom is an associate professor of law.

Source: www.rakyattimes.com

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Ed G
Ed G
8 Dec 2014 3.53pm

What have we learnt from the Umno general assembly? First and foremost, pertaining to the Sedition Act, we saw that our PM is not one who stands up to his own convictions but instead allowed his own people to lead him by the nose. Second, 1Malaysia, supposedly the central theme of Najib’s administration to forge national unity, has largely disappeared into the background in favour of the Sedition (or Silencing?) Act. Third, major policy or governmental decisions can solely be made by UMNO at the spur of the moment without any prior consultations with its coalitions partners. Fourth, no protest (or even a whimper) over such disrespect was heard from the leaders of any of the coalition partners (which is not surprising), but instead some of them even changed their own tunes (grudgingly or otherwise) just to be abreast with their big brother.

7 Dec 2014 11.12am

The general assembly, held in Dewan Jurrasic Park, is a breeding ground… Please notify the Jabatan Kesihatan … No wonder Dr M, who was supposed to sing My Way bolted out like Grease Lightning immediately after PM finished rendering the song Lets Twist Again.

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