SEPT 16 — If media reports on the meeting in Kota Kinabalu between our Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman and his Indonesian counterpart Dr Marty Natalegawa are accurate, then I am afraid we ended, as usual when dealing with international issues, drawing the “short straw.”
The Malaysian foreign minister in his anxiety to show his newly-minted diplomatic template, designed on the trot, totally missed the point about the need to drive home to the Indonesians, in the strongest possible terms, the increasing difficulty of our trying to contain and control the anger of our people.
How much longer can we be expected to continue to stand by and watch the flag we ran up, so proudly for the first time 53 years ago, trampled and desecrated by one ugly and uncivilised mob after another?
The official Indonesian response borders on the moronic arrogance of a people sustained by delusions of moral and cultural superiority.
I am always amused listening to countries such as Indonesia parading their democratic credentials, including the freedom to participate in aggressively violent demonstrations, and looking down on us for our poor democracy record by comparison.
My one liner rejoinder which puts the cat among the pigeons, as I am wont to do in such a situation, and which always works is, “What use is your democracy on an empty stomach?”
That having said, I am a firm believer in the biblical saying that “man does not live by bread alone” and Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s current rhetoric about transforming this country must be translated straightaway into removing all policies and laws that have denied and deprived our people of the basic and fundamental human rights as citizens of a democratic country that we are supposed to be.
Trotting out the preposterous justification for repressive laws to protect our national security is the mantra of the insecure.
That same argument in its infinite manifestations and with its many embellishments has also apparently become the last refuge of a government living in fear of its own shadow.
It is a most unconvincing argument and one that has been totally discredited.
The government’s glib answer to criticisms of its undemocratic regime is to say that general elections are held regularly, omitting to mention how they are conducted. The punch line runs something like this, “The elections are conducted fairly because the government loses some seats from time to time.”
Again an inconvenient truth is left out which is that “in spite of the cheating and blatant manipulation, we don’t always win because Malaysian have become too damned clever.
“Is that not enough proof that we are democratic.”
But as a former US ambassador and a true friend of Malaysia once said, “Democracy is not just about elections, but it is about what happens between elections.”
He was responding to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s supercilious claim that Malaysia practised democracy; his own inimitable brand of what is best described as “father knows best” democracy, and don’t ask too many questions!
I have digressed. I make no secret of my loathing for Indonesia and all things Indonesian. This almost pathological aversion had its roots in the way Sukarno, their uncouth megalomaniac dictator who once told his adoring millions to eat rats if they had no food, treated our prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, a prince and gentleman, in the course of their “peace meetings” in Manila and Tokyo during the ill-fated “Ganyang Malaysia.”
But for the grace of God and our stupidity in allowing their hungry millions to find work in this country, the great dictator’s legacy to his people might come to pass.
We did not end British rule for the benefit of millions of Indonesians who are “fixed deposits” for an unfriendly Indonesia, whose millions in the hated Malaysia represent an important investment in a ready reservoir of “fifth columnists” who are to be encountered throughout the length and breadth of this land. Malaysian capitalists and housewives must learn quickly that in the long term interest of peace, well-being and security of this country, they must forgo the luxury of exploiting cheap Indonesian labour.
Indonesia, a country that cannot feed its burgeoning population, is happy enough to encourage their miserable human flotsam and jetsam to find comfort and succour in this country they so despise, but we would be putting ourselves at great risk if we did not address this potential national problem.
We have enough trouble integrating our own citizens without the curse of an unnecessary distraction of an unfriendly nation’s intransigence. Our government that is ever so quick to justify the use of the ISA for national security reasons should start to develop a plan for economic growth without relying solely on cheap foreign labour.
It cannot be right that we should leave this unfinished business for future generations of Malaysians to wrestle with.
Unless we stand up to Indonesian blustering and bullying, there might not be the 1 Malaysia of Najib’s fantasy. We are a sovereign country after all and that must be clearly understood by all nations big and small.
I for one will not forgive our government for not responding much more robustly to the totally unacceptable and uncivilised pattern of behaviour of a morally bankrupt nation.
My nation’s flag represents and symbolises my love and devotion to this, my country. And damn you for dishonouring that which is the object of my love and loyalty. — mysinchew.com