APRIL 26 — Umno Baru has a lengthy catalogue of lawless behaviour. It appears that the rule of law is a stranger to Umno Baru. When Justice Harun declared Umno illegal, the party died.
The new party is registered as Umno Baru; yet the party continues to call itself Umno! The party logo was supposed to be a new one; yet the old logo with some imperceptible cosmetic change continues to be used. The keris on its logo has given rise to detractors calling it a party of pirates! The keris has come in useful for Umno leaders to threaten the non-Malays. Umno leaders have brandished the keris and used implicit threats.
Concerned individuals and groups have alleged that Umno Baru has let loose its mobs and thugs all too frequently to disrupt, sometimes violently, legitimately organised meetings and forums by civil society groups and NGOs. The Apcet 11 forum at a hotel in KL was disrupted by an Umno Baru mob that threatened the participants and smashed tables and chairs to stop the proceedings. When the Suqiu organisation submitted its 17-point plan for the betterment of the country, an Umno Baru mob threatened them with “rivers of blood” outside the Chinese Assembly Hall, KL, if they did not withdraw their 17-point plan.
Umno Baru used similar tactics to stop the Article 11 Group from holding meetings and the Bar Council forum on the conversion of minors to Islam when one spouse in a non-Muslim marriage converts to Islam. Police inaction emboldened the Umno thugs even to prevent Karpal from entering Parliament House. An Umno Baru mob led by a screaming hooligan, Khairy, outside the US Embassy advertised to the whole world that Umno Baru is a party trapped in the Stone Age.
The rule of law is obviously not part of Umno Baru culture. While proclaiming to the whole world that “demonstrasi luar kebudayaan kita”, Umno Baru and its allies have, since March 8, 2008, organised numerous illegal demonstrations in Pakatan-ruled states. Criminal intimidation is part and parcel of Umno Baru’s political strategy.
What kind of mentality, culture and religion must a person have to send a coffin or an excreta-shaped cake to Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang? On every occasion these thugs have got away scot-free without any action by the police who appear to be conniving and colluding with the thugs.
Perhaps the worst case of Umno Baru lawlessness is the power grab of the Perak state government. The behaviour of the BN assembly members when the Pakatan Rakyat Speaker was forcibly removed was disgraceful. BN’s action was unethical, immoral and defeated the will of the people who had voted for a Pakatan Rakyat government to rule them.
Now a new phenomenon has lifted its ugly head in the political arena — the use of thugs, gangsters and hooligans to intimidate and frighten, sometimes violently, civil society and NGOs carrying out their legitimate activities. Dissenters, protesters and even opposition leaders have become victims of these thugs.
The PSM EO6 support group was threatened by thugs when they gathered outside the Kepala Batas police station. The police refused to give them protection and it was PAS that came to their rescue.
Students holding a meeting in Klang on a Saturday night were attacked by 20 thugs, according to student activist Ehsan Bukharee. The police only told the students to cancel their meeting. The ABU (Anything But Umno) movement meeting at the Shah Alam City Council hall was attacked by a mob on Monday, January 24, 2012.
Recently, people who participated in the Himpunan Hijau programmes all over Malaysia were attacked by thugs. Anwar’s car was attacked in Johor. Nurul Izzah’s car was attacked in Pahang.
At the Penang Esplanade, Lim Guan Eng and his car came under attack, allegedly by Perkasa thugs. It was alleged the police stood by and watched the violence without taking action.
The recent attack on students camping at Dataran Merdeka is indeed shocking. Fifty thugs dressed in black beat up the students in the dead of night. Their struggle for free education is a legitimate one: 19 countries in the world provide free education. Why can’t Malaysia?
One does not have to be a rocket scientist to know who or which party is unleashing these mindless thugs to bark or bite at the bidding of their masters. If there is a poverty of brainpower in a political party from top to bottom, they will refuse to engage in the battle of the mind with anyone. Such a political party is indeed pitiable. Because it lacks brainpower, the only weapon in its arsenal is brawn power.
I hope and pray that the Bersih 3.0 Duduk Bantah at Dataran Merdeka does not provide a golden opportunity for thugs, gangsters and hooligans to do their worst. — aliran.com
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.