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UMNO-Utusan continue to harp on race

In recent months, the state of race relations in Malaysia have taken a turn for the worst, and if the latest incident at the gates of the Selangor State Secretariat building is anything to go by, there will likely be more of such untoward incidents if not kept in check.

The racially-insensitive protest has drawn swift criticism from many Muslims and non-Muslims especially the Hindu community, which treat cows as sacred animals. MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad was quick to condemn the incident, and was convinced that it had been orchestrated by UMNO, claiming that the brother of Shah Alam UMNO chief Datuk Ahmad Nawawi was one of the two men carrying the cow head.

Khalid had another good reason to think that UMNO was involved in the incident, as Datuk Noh Omar, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister who is also UMNO Selangor’s deputy liaison chairman, had made at least one visit to the proposed temple site and told the media that he would seek an injunction to stop the relocation, claiming that the Selangor government was going against the Federal Constitution by ignoring the sensitivities of Muslim residents in Section 23.

Much to the chagrin of everyone including the state government, riot police stood by idly and did not arrest anyone for the aggressive and highly-charged affair.

The cow head affair was the latest in what Pakatan Rakyat is calling a series of attacks by the Barisan Nasional which are meant to destabilise the Selangor state government.

For the last few months, UMNO-owned newspapers especially Utusan Malaysia have embarked on a campaign to win back Malay support by painting certain Malay Pakatan Rakyat leaders as traitors to the Malay race and Islam.

The attacks are also meant to drive a wedge between PAS and her Pakatan Rakyat partners PKR and DAP by forcing the more conservative members within PAS to question the party’s allegiance to the coalition.

UMNO Youth recently alleged that PAS had “abandoned” its Islamic ideology and become so moderate that soon, “pork will be sold openly on the streets of Selangor” and urged PAS to pressure the Selangor state government to revoke the operating license of the Carlsberg brewery in Shah Alam. On top of that, the youth wing also warned Malay voters that their support for PAS would strengthen DAP and therefore weaken Islam, as “evinced” by what was happening in Pakatan-led Penang and Selangor.

One Utusan report even blatantly put forward the suggestion that attacks on government agencies such as the MACC were efforts by non-Malays to undermine Malay-dominated institutions.

With headlines like “Ketuanan Melayu Tercabar” (“Malay supremacy challenged”) and “Bangkitlah Melayu – Bersatu hadapi tuntutan kaum lain yang makin keterlaluan” (“Rise up, Malays – we must unite in the face of unreasonable demands from the other races”), Utusan seems bent on contradicting PM Najib Razak’s “1Malaysia” concept, which is meant to renew BN’s appeal among voters.

However, this is one area in which BN does not seem to be making much headway, judging by its losing streak in seven of the eight by-elections held so far since the General Election in March last year.

The way things are going, Najib will lose more support especially from the non-Malay communities if he doesn’t rein in the offending parties and start paying more attention to his public relations skills. – The Rocket