|Laman Webantu KM2A1: 4022 File Size: 6.8 Kb *|
EIG: Kg Medan: Ethnic Divide
By Sam Dale
21/3/2001 12:21 am Wed
[Walaupun punca pergaduhan sebenar Kg Medan tidak bersifat
perkauman, ia tercium begitu kerana diwarnai oleh sikap dan
tindak-tanduk pemimpin Umno yang asyik melempar bahang berunsur
perkauman. Inilah antara kesan ucapan mandi darah oleh Khir
yang sudah menjelma di Kg Medan. Akhbar tempatan sendiri sudah
gagal melapurkan sesuatu yang dapat membuang keresahan sehingga
pergaduhan itu memakan masa beberapa hari sebelum padam. Bukan
salah pembangkang tetapi salah kerajaan dan semua media kerajaan
kerana memberi lapuran yang penuh kesamaran.
Isu royalti dijangka akan mengugat kredibiliti Petronas di mata
dunia koporat kerana ia seperti menjadi hamba suruhan. Dengan
menafikan royalti, rakyat akan semakin memusuhi Umno kerana
berdendam dan tidak mengiktiraf satu kerajaan negeri pilihan
rakyat di dalam sistem demokrasi. Umno sebenarnya menggali
kubur sendiri dengan berkonfrontasi kerana rakyat yang dinafikan
royalti akan menghukum kembali Umno bila tiba waktunya nanti.
Jangan lupa anak Terenganu beranak dan berbini. Dan mereka ada
di semua negeri untuk mengajar BN satu masa nanti.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: Ethnic divide.
Across Southeast Asia, animosity between people from different ethnic groups is
generally accepted as the inevitable consequence of multiracial populations.
Only in carefully orchestrated Singapore is a Western-style "melting pot"
approach deemed the best way of achieving peaceful coexistence. Indonesia is
widely regarded as the worst example of social harmony, but a sudden bout of
race-based killing in Malaysia's capital underlines the wider potential for
Official reports from Malaysia's tightly shackled media say five Malaysians of
Indian descent were murdered in Kuala Lumpur last week, followed by the revenge
killing of an Indonesian wrongly believed to be Malay. The killings were the
culmination of riots that are said to have left 50 people injured, and 180
arrested. Unofficial reports suggest that the number of dead and wounded is at
least double that.
The street clashes were ostensibly sparked when an Indian funeral procession
passed a Malaysian wedding celebration, upsetting guests on both sides. Local
commentators regard that as a flimsy excuse. Instead, they point to
increasingly disturbing race-based rhetoric from Malaysian Prime Minister
Mahathir Mohamad as he struggles to maintain unity in his coalition government,
and secure his own political legacy. Mahathir has magnanimously said he won't
seek re-election in 2004, though there has been little progress on how - or to
whom - the mantle will be passed.
Mahathir was elected nearly 20 years ago, making him the world's
longest-serving elected leader. As head of the United Malays National
Organization (UMNO), he guided the country to relative prosperity on the back
of natural resources - tin, rubber, and more recently, oil and gas.
To keep indigenous Malays happy in the wake of race riots with ethnic Chinese
in the late 1960s, triggered by concerns that the Chinese were dominating
business, Malaysia instituted affirmative action policies ranging from high
school and university scholarships to appointments to the country's numerous
As long as the economy kept growing, tensions between the various ethnic groups
- the 22 million-strong population is made up of 30% ethnic Chinese, 8% ethnic
Indian, and the rest ethnic Malays and indigenous groups - were kept in check.
But after the Asian financial crisis struck four years ago, the unified
political scene started to fragment along ethnic and religious lines,
manifested in growing dissatisfaction at what was viewed as a corrupt and
This disaffection was glaringly exposed in the November 1999 general elections.
The opposition Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) helped exploit concerns among
ethnic Malays, the majority of whom are Muslims, to gain control of Terengganu
state, in the northeast. Losing ethnic Malay votes to Islamic fundamentalists
was bad; what was worse was the fact that Terengganu state plays a key role in
financing the state treasury through production of offshore oil and gas. The
340,000 barrel per day Tapis oil field accounts for more than half of domestic
output, and Terengganu is the closest landfall for gas from the Joint
Development Area offshore Malaysia and Thailand.
In 1975, Terengganu had signed an agreement with state oil firm Petronas to
receive 5% of the revenues from offshore oil and gas production, generating
annual income of more than $200 million, and providing 80% of the state's
operating budget. But last September, after months of growing acrimony and
mutual accusations of corruption, Kuala Lumpur summarily ordered direct
payments to stop, saying a federal fund would instead be responsible for
disbursing money for development projects in the state. Terengganu politicians
cried foul, with resources minister Mustafa Ali describing the move as
Last week, Terengganu took the unprecedented step of suing the federal
government and Petronas for breach of contract, with the aim of getting the
direct payments reinstated. PAS has made payment of oil and gas revenues to
Terengganu a key issue to be resolved before it will participate in formal
talks with Mahathir's government aimed at patching up the split in the Malay
voting block, and shoring up support for the administration. Mahathir's
response will be watched carefully by foreign investors and local voters alike.
Investors are concerned at seeing an established legal contract summarily
abrogated, tarnishing Petronas's otherwise polished corporate image. Senior
members of Mahathir's own party are worried that his outbursts are eroding
UMNO's formerly broad-based electoral support.
With the rift in his party's electoral base growing, Mahathir has tried to win
back the support of ethnic Malays by warning them of their precarious place in
their own country. He has labeled those who want to scrap the affirmative
action policies "extremists", and dropped reminders of the 1969 race riots that
left hundreds dead. It is these sentiments that many blame for igniting last
week's violence in Kuala Lumpur.
By Sam Dale, Singapore.
Energy Intelligence Group.