|Laman Webantu KM2A1: 4048 File Size: 9.2 Kb *|
TJ KB Newsweek: Murder In Malaysia [Kg Medan]
By Ken Stier
24/3/2001 11:50 am Sat
PEMBUNUHAN DI MALAYSIA
Kematian 6 nyawa dan kecederaan yang amat teruk kepada
beberapa mangsa menunjukkan BN gagal menjamin keselamatan
rakyat marhain, khususnya kaum India. Inilah kerajaan yang
serupa yang mendera DS Anwar sehingga terpaksa dibedah saraf
segera - jika tidak akan lumpuh dan menderita sampai bila-bila.
Dalam semua kes polis seperti tidak ada atau telah bertukar
Kini polis mengejar sesiapa sahaja yang tidak percaya kepada
kenyataan polis atau menyebar lain berita walaupun tepat faktanya.
Walaupun tragedi ini berpunca dari marah, kesamaran berita
menyebabkan prasangka dan teori pergaduhan antara kaum menjadi
lebih popular. Tambah lagi bila kerajaan tidak serius menanganinya,
dan kenyataan wakil Umno sendiri yang berbau perkauman di sana
sudah tentu bahangnya semakin menyala.
Tragedi ini menyaksikan Umno sendiri turut tercedera sama - sebab
itulah ia tergesa-gesa mengirim kemajuan ke sana dan amat takut
kepada pendedahan berita. Kaum India yang waras pastinya tidak akan
dapat lagi mempercayai BN, kerana gagal menjaga keselamatan mereka.
Malah memorandum dari NGO dianggap tidak penting sedangkan berpuloh
badan dan persatuan menyokong isi kandungannya.
Nampaknya kedudukkan BN akan semakin tumbang di mana ada pengundi
kaum India.. Ini satu lagi paku maut buat keranda Mahathir,
Dollah Badawi dan Samy Vellu kerana gagal bertindak sebaik-baiknya.
-TJr Kapal Berita-
From Newsweek International,
Murder In Malaysia
As the country recovers from its latest outbreak of racial violence,
its political leaders are seeking new ways to ease ethnic tensions.
By Ken Stier
NEWSWEEK WEB EXCLUSIVE
March 21 - The friends and relatives of A. Ganesan were afraid to go
to his funeral. 'They were too scared,' says Lalitha, the
Malaysian-Indian nurse who is now Ganesan?s 23-year-old widow. 'They
thought there would be more trouble.'
TROUBLE? More than 30 years since the watershed clashes that left
hundreds of Malaysian-Chinese dead, Malaysia is once again grappling
with the specter of racial violence. This time it's between the
country's Malay majority and Indian minority. And while this month's
events - which claimed the life of Ganesan, among others -did not reach
the ferocious levels of 1969, the outbreak has placed fresh pressure
on the Malaysian government to find a new approach to an old problem.
The current tension erupted March 10 after an Indian attending
a funeral accidentally drove into the corner of a tent at a Malay
wedding party. It may have seemed a minor dispute among neighbors in
the 100,000-strong Kuala Lumpur community of Taman Medan, but it
quickly degenerated into racial rage. Toughs armed with long knives
and iron bars rampaged through the neighborhood for four days,
attacking Indians at random.
The aftermath: six dead (five of them Indian); dozens injured and
more than 200 people arrested. For Malaysian leaders, the violence
brought disturbing echoes of the past. "When I first heard about the
incident, my first thought was May 13 . The first priority was
to stop it from spreading to the whole country," recalls Deputy Prime
Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Indeed, early signs did suggest the violence was spreading.
Several incidents around the country were seen as race-based - even
though they may not have been linked.
Aggravating matters were complaints from Indians that the
Malay-dominated police were slow to intervene in the violence against
them. Parameswary Batumalai, 28, an Indian resident of Taman Medan,
recounted being jarred awake at 3 a.m. by the screams of an Indian
neighbor on his way home. Police reportedly stood by as four young men
with sticks beat the father of four to death. Batumalai later told
reporters that police prevented other residents from intervening too.
Local newspapers - fearful of a Malaysian law prohibiting
comments that could incite racial ill will - did not report the race of
those involved. The context, however, left little doubt among
observers that both police and attackers were Malay, the victims
The charge of police partiality was another disturbing echo
from the past. Although there has never been a full accounting of the
events of May 1969, Chinese-Malaysians believe that out-of-uniform
Malay police and soldiers themselves took part in the killing of that
Perhaps even more difficult than restoring confidence in
authorities, is the task of repairing shattered community relations.
"The saddest thing is that my assailants were my neighbors, with whom
I had played when I was young," says Suresh, a 19-year-old vocational
student with slash wounds on his body and head. "I just want them to
be the same again."
That's not likely anytime soon. In spite of 'unity programs'
devised by the government after the trauma of 1969, Malaysians still
tend to see their fellow citizens through racial prisms. There are
race-based political parties and an educational system that allows
young people to spend their formative years without socializing or
learning each others' languages. Indian-Malaysians tend to be at the
bottom of the pile. Many are descendants of indentured rubber tappers
who have been displaced from plantations turned into golf courses
during the sustained economic boom of recent years. Lacking the
government largesse showered upon the Malays - or the Chinese mutual
help networks - Indian-Malaysians are well on their way to becoming an
Malaysia's leaders have had a varied response to the recent
violence. While a group of 46 Malaysian organizations have called for
a permanent race-relations commission, the government has promised to
pursue more vigorously its policy of 'positive discrimination.' That
concept forms the basis of the New Economic Policy (NEP) devised in
response to the 1969 riots.
A more radical proposal suggests the scrapping of all the
race-based privileges that Malays (and other indigenous people known
as bumiputras, or 'sons of the soil') currently enjoy. These benefits,
which range from reserved university placement to 30 percent ownership
of all public companies, are aimed at giving Malays a larger stake in
what used to be a Chinese-dominated economy. (Malays make up about 55
percent of Malaysia's 22 million people, Chinese 30 percent and
Indians 8 percent. The remainder are bumiputras.)
"How can you build up sound race relations when there is no
racial equality in this country," says Palanisamy Ramasamy, a
political science professor who is one of the most vocal supporters of
this plan. "As long as Indians and Chinese feel like second-class
citizens, [it's] impossible."
Still, the abandoning of privileges is an idea that is slowly
gaining support - even if change is some time off. A broad coalition of
Chinese organizations was recently forced to back down on similar
proposals after being menaced with ugly street demonstrations. Even
some Malay intellectuals recently have argued that the system of
privileges is becoming a liability, spawning a debilitating sense of
entitlements that will hold Malays back.
In Malaysia's current highly polarized political atmosphere,
though, a calm assessment of such proposals seems far-fetched,
especially as the ruling coalition and the opposition contend for the
loyalties of a divided Malay majority.
Nor is Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad - whose 1970 book 'The
Malay Dilemma' inspired the NEP and boosted his rise to political
power - considered likely to allow any dramatic changes before his
promised retirement in 2004.
For now, the violence is supposed to be over. Some 600 heavily
armed riot police are still posted in volatile squatter slums and a
local newspaper gleefully reported last Monday that two recent Malay
weddings held there the previous weekend took place without incident.
But security, it seems, may be in the eye of the beholder. The
relatives of the widow Lalitha are not convinced. Nor is the younger
of her two sons. Three-year-old Srisankaran keeps pointing to his
father's photograph - and insisting that he take a ride on a motorbike
to find him.