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TJ KB: Kg Medan: Identiti Menjadi Perdebatan
By Kapal Berita
16/3/2001 10:51 pm Fri
KG MEDAN: MASALAH IDENTITI MENJADI PEDEBATAN
Menurut Dr Jomo, Malaysia semakin menjadi satu negara yang bercerai-berai
budaya masyarakatnya (kerana memberi penekanan yang tidak kena pada
Walaupun tindakkan PM mencanangkan isu perpaduan melayu tidak menyebabkan
secara langsung konflik antara kaum di sini, ia telah mewarnai suasana
"Sekarang, baru anda sedar betapa perlunya untuk menangani masalah
keharmonian antara kaum dengan lebih segera. Rakyat Malaysia tanpa
mengira bangsa telah muncul untuk menziarahi mangsa. Dan pihak
pembangkang lebih mendahului untuk menghulur cadangan untuk membina
kembali keharmonian antara kaum".
Polisi kerajaan BN lebih bersifat pro-perkauman sedangkan ia sepatutnya
pro-ekonomi. Inilah punca konflik perkauman. Rakyat sepatutnya dibantu
tanpa mengira kaum mereka. Jika tidak ia akan melahirkan perasaan tidak
puas hati yang cemar dengan bau perkauman.
Soalnya ialah masalah identiti. Di Thailand rakyat minoriti Cina dan India
disitu mengcam diri mereka sebagai warga Thai terlebih dahulu. Singapura
pula mengutamakan perpaduan dengan kebolehan (merit) sebagai kuncinya.
"Kawasan itu mempunyai semua unsur kimia untuk menghasilkan ledakkan.
Keadaan infrakstruktur begitu teruk, begitu juga taraf pendidikkan.
Mereka terpinggir dari arus pembangunan ekonomi dan politik
Rakyat yang dilayan seperti ini akan memberontak bila mereka dihumban
ke dinding. Mereka menggunakan peluang itu untuk menunjukkan rasa
tidak puas hati untuk menonjolkan nasib mereka."
Menurut Agus lagi "pergaduhan tersebut tidak bermula kerana masalah
perkauman tetapi meledak menjadi begitu kerana mereka terbiar dan
sudah terlalu lama kecewa. Tidak ada ketegangan antara kaum di situ"
Menurut akhbar Star kawasan tersebut amat hitam dan paling teruk kadar
jenayahnya. Terdapat 100,000 penduduk di Taman Medan, majoritinya melayu.
Kira-lira 20% kaum India dan selebihnya pendatang Indonesia dan
Bangladesh. Pendudu Indonesia yang lebih 'agresif' juga dikatakan
menyukarkan lagi keadaan.
Kerajaan seharusnya memandang masalah rakyat 'beyond ethnic approach'
atau 'bukan dari sudut perkauman semata-mata'. Jika tidak kita akan
mengundang lebih banyak bencana di masa hadapan. Polisi dan sikap
kerajaan masakini hanya akan menambah ketegangan dan bahan tambahan
untuk satu letupan. Perpaduan nasional sepatutnya lebih dititik
beratkan dan pendekatan baru penyusunan ekonomi harus dilancarkan.
Dengan kata-lain rakyat tidak puas hati kepada tindak-tanduk kerajaan.
Tetapi mereka terpaksa memendam perasaan kerana tidak dizinkan berbuat
demikian dengan 'penderhakaan' dan 'menumbangkan kerajaan' sebagai
alasan. Kerajaan sedang membina BOM yang sebegitu besar yang boleh
memusnahkan dan Mahathirlah yang menjadi perancang. Dia telah
memusnahkan demokrasi dan menodai kekayaan negara sehingga menjadi
hutang. Patutlah rakyat hidup terbiar dan keharmonian pecah berantakkan.
Tetapi mungkin ada lain kesimpulan.
-TJr Kapal Berita-
By Sheila McNulty in Singapore
Last Updated: March 15 2001
Malaysian police on Thursday said peace had been restored after six racial
killings in the past week outside the capital, the worst such violence
since the 1960s. But analysts said the clashes underscored the need to
deepen the country's efforts to build a national identity for its ethnic
Malay, Chinese and Indian citizens.
Hundreds were involved in the street fighting that broke out after an
Indian funeral procession went through a street where Malays were
celebrating a wedding. Sporadic incidents continued the violence until
about 200 people were arrested and a slew of knives, rods, parang swords,
and hoes seized.
KS Jomo, political economist at the University of Malaya, said one lesson to be
learned is that Malaysia continues to be a culturally deeply divided society.
And while recent pleas by Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister, for the
politically divided Malay race to unite did not directly cause the clash, Mr
Jomo said it probably contributed to the racially charged atmosphere.
"Now, thankfully, you have a renewed sense of urgency about re-addressing
inter-ethnic harmony," Mr Jomo said. Malaysians from all races have been
visiting the dozens injured. And the opposition has put forward suggestions on
how to rebuild racial relations.
"Now, thankfully, you have a renewed sense of urgency about re-addressing inter-ethnic harmony," Mr Jomo said. Malaysians from all races have been visiting the dozens injured. And the opposition has put forward suggestions on how to rebuild racial relations.
Dr Mahathir's Malay-based Umno political party has ruled Malaysia since
independence in 1957 but been increasingly losing members to the opposition.
In a bid to win them back, the prime minister has asked the opposition to meet to
try to unify the Malays. This has come against a backdrop of resurgent Malay
Though analysts credit Umno for maintaining harmony between the majority
Malays and the Chinese and Indian minorities, they note it has done so as a
solely Malay party working alongside parties grouping Chinese and Indians
In addition, one of Umno's key platforms has been an affirmative-action policy
instituted after race riots in 1969 to give the Malays economic parity with the
richer Chinese, through quotas for education, jobs and public share offerings.
Malaysians recently have questioned whether the policy should be based on
economic need instead of race, to help poor Indians and Chinese as well.
They expect this would lead to a more united nation, instead of one where
people identify foremost with their ethnic group. The regional model is Thailand,
where the Chinese and Indian minorities see themselves, first, as Thai.
Singapore has made racial integration a priority, with a system of meritocracy
that sets an example by uniting the Chinese, Malays and Indians in the ruling
Lim Kit Siang, an opposition leader, said the racial clashes had set back the
nation-building process and suggested establishing committees to build
inter-racial harmony, investigating the underlying cause, and developing the
impoverished squatter area in which the fighting took place. The authorities
pledged to put up lamp-posts and build 5,000 low-cost homes.
"While certainly Malaysia has done more than other multi-ethnic societies, it
has also got some profound weaknesses," said Chandra Muzaffar, political
scientist turned opposition politician.
Troubled Malaysian district has "all the chemistry" for mayhem
KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (AFP) - The run-down Malaysian district where bloody
ethnic clashes broke out has "all the chemistry" for trouble including
poverty, poor housing and gangsterism, analysts said Wednesday.
"The anger in Kampung Medan is a classic case of the urban poor working for
crumbs," the Star newspaper said in an analysis.
Mohammad Agus Yusoff, political science lecturer at the National University,
told AFP that poor infrastructure and a host of socio-economic ills bred
"The area has all the chemistry for trouble. It lacks infrastructure and
consists of poor uneducated people who have been isolated and kept out of
the political and economic mainstream all this while," he said.
"People like them tend to rebel when they are pushed to the wall. They are
taking the opportunity to show their dissatisfaction, to highlight their
"People like them tend to rebel when they are pushed to the wall. They are taking the opportunity to show their dissatisfaction, to highlight their plight."
Mohammad Agus said the clashes between ethnic Indians and Malays did not
reflect overall ethnic relations.
"It did not start as an ethnic clash but erupted into one because residents
there were marginalised and there is a latent dissatisfaction. But there is
no tension between ethnic communities outside the area."
The Star said Malays and Indians shared problems of cramped living
conditions, clogged drains and garbage-strewn narrow streets. It urged the
government to recognise that socio-economic problems can create ethnic
"These villagers have been neglected for far too long. They should not be
courted only during elections," the paper's analysis said.
Six people have died, 23 are still in hospital and 220 were arrested after
clashes broke out in the poor district adjoining leafy, middle-class
Petaling Jaya west of Kuala Lumpur.
The immediate cause was a trivial neighbourhood quarrel -- a Malay wedding
party which blocked a road and a later incident on March 8 when children
playing with catapults broke a van windscreen.
Vijay Shanmugam, an adviser to Pintas, said tension had built up between
different communities over the years in the absence of real racial
"The fight showed there is both a physical and psychological separation
between the two communities despite their having lived side by side for
years," he said.
"There has been no rehabilitative integration program and people are
insecure about their own ethnic background."
Community relation committees should be established, he added. Pintas is a
consultative body to the National Unity Department on social ills and racial
Selangor chief minister Mohamed Khir Toyo said Tuesday the state government
would build 5,000 homes to resettle some 6,000 squatter families in the
Some 100,000 people live in Taman Medan, most of them Malays. Twenty percent
are Indians and there are also Indonesian and Bangladesh immigrants.
The Star said the area has the "highest number of criminal cases ranging
from gangsterism, drug addition, violence, juvenile delinquency and even
The presence of "more aggressive" Indonesians complicated the situation, it
said in its analysis, urging police to flush out illegal immigrants.
The newspaper said the government should create a more even national
In a separate editorial, the Star said the country must "courageously move
beyond the ethnic approach" to strengthen national unity and discard an
"appearance of fragility in inter-ethnic harmony" after 43 years of
Wednesday, 14 March 2001
Opposition urges national unity council after ethnic clashes
KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 (AFP) - Malaysia's opposition alliance called
Wednesday for a national unity council to be set up in the wake of the worst
ethnic clashes for decades.
The four-party Alternative Front said an autonomous and independent
Consultative Council on National Unity should include representatives from
all religious and cultural communities.
Among other objectives it should suggest solutions to periodic ethnic
disputes, propose ways to reduce racial polarisation and work out firm
measures to eradicate prejudice.
The alliance also repeated calls for an independent inquiry into the
flare-up between ethnic Indians and Malays in Kampung Medan west of Kuala
Lumpur, in which six people were killed.
In a statement it said a proposed unity council could examine whether the
government's approach to development had contributed to the disturbances.
Under a longstanding affirmative action policy Malays get special economic
and other rights to help them catch up with the Chinese.
Indians, the poorest sector of society, get no special help.
The statement said a unity council could also examine whether attempts by
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to "create a climate of fear within a
particular community" helped to worsen race relations.
Mahathir said last week that "certain quarters" were trying to challenge the
interests of the Malays -- an apparent reference to a Chinese pressure group
which wants some affirmative action programmes reviewed.
Mahathir said last week that "certain quarters" were trying to challenge the interests of the Malays -- an apparent reference to a Chinese pressure group which wants some affirmative action programmes reviewed.
Asia Red Alerts: Malaysia
By Hope Leman, AsiaWise
15 Mar 2001 10:30 (GMT +08:00)
Mahathir under pressure
Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir's recent attempts to shore up the Malay component of
the Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition do not seem to be going well. In fact, they may be
heightening the racial tensions that the affirmative action policies of Mahathir's United
Malays National Organization (UMNO) were originally crafted to eliminate.
Unfortunately for Mahathir, in some ways the policies worked only too well. Now there is a
solid Malay middle class. The pro-Malay policies favor those with good connections to
That feeling that the fix is in and that they are locked out of power has led some Malays to
turn to alternatives such as the Islamist Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). It now controls two
of Malaysia's states and logged steady gains on the national level as well. With alarm bells
clanging in UMNO ranks, it has resorted to blatantly unfair tactics. UMNO wants to
prevent PAS from building up a network with state funds. The national government has
decided to retake control of the oil revenues that had filled state coffers since the late
1970s. By rights, the state government should have received several hundred million dollars
this year, and is now seeking redress in the courts. While many more secular-minded Malays
are uneasy about the rise of PAS, the fact that it is being so clearly wronged may add to