Koh Samui

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Fresh from a family outing in Batu Ferringhi, Penang, I was still in a holiday mood when I boarded a Bangkok Airways flight to Koh Samui last Sunday.

This was my first trip to the beautiful holiday island in the South China Sea. Koh Samui is very much in the shadow of the more well-known tourist spots Phuket and Pattaya, but it’s great for me. It has fewer high-rise buildings and fewer tourists as well.

The “sawadee ka” greetings from the Bangkok Airways stewardesses put me at ease immediately, even though my mood was somewhat jarred when they offered me the New Sunday Times and The Sunday Star to read. I politely declined. That’s not the way to start your holiday away from home.

The story making the rounds in the Surat Thani Provincev concerns a terrorist bomb that killed and injured 15 people in Yala. The spate of killings in Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani and Songkhla has made many Thai people nervous. Is the military Government up to the demands of providing security to the people or will we hear of bombs exploding in public places every month?

The words spoken by a woman, Sawtiri Khachkorn, who lost her husband, said it all: “I have lost my husband and the father of my children. I must leave Yala, my home, although I do not know where to go”. She echoed the fears of many civilians in the south. She told The Bangkok Post that she no longer felt safe and had to bring up her children elsewhere.

I hope none of us ever have to leave our birthplace or our country because of fears for our safety. I hope we never have to abandon Malaysia because it has become a country that is no longer safe. It’s not just about safety from violence and death but about being safe in an environment that is conducive to living the lives we choose.

We want to be safe enough to send our children to the schools of our choice and to be allowed to practice our religions undisturbed. We want to live without having our views and beliefs mocked by those in authority.

This is my bone of contention for the forthcoming election: can we have a leader of the Opposition who is willing to articulate what is right for this country? Can we have a leader who is willing to risk it all by saying to the Malays and the Muslims that their long-term interests require them to moderate their views on many things and that such an attitude will save them and this country

Can we have a leader who is willing to revisit the idea of “fairness” to the various groups in this country? Can he or she capture the right message and the right spirit that can motivate the people to unseat the Barisan Nasional?

I don’t mean just calling Datuk Seri Najib Razak to account or removing the kleptocrats and the corrupt from our government. We need to think about what to do with the whole system of administration that has long been in UMNO’s grip. How will we persuade those who want to leave this country to remain here, and how do we persuade those who have left to return?

These are the new the messages that are needed in the coming election.

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  • Joe

    Truth the election comes down to Malay Vs Malay. It’s really that simple. Deny both UMNO and PAS their premise. Iran is having an election and the young there are trying to turn away the direction that Hadi’s PAS is pushing and Najib has let the train out of control.

    Like it or not, history and the world’s problem is at the Malay and Malaysian doorstep. There is no such thing as it got nothing to do with each and everyone including those in Sarawak and Sabah. Zakir Naik, Wahabbis, China’s Communist Party, are here to decide our fate. They and the corrupt will decide and take much of what we take for granted and assumed if we do not decide and stop not facing harsh truth.

  • Aoshd

    UMNO’s grip could become undone by debunking the lies they have printed into history books; which would at the same time dismantle the ‘Malay’ centric realm they invented – allowing a return to the truly pluralistic society that Malaysia is.

    LIE AS FEARLESS DEFENDER AGAINST THE COLONIALIST

    Umno was formed by aristocrats (palace officials and royal relations) in 1946. The sultans had just been pensioned off by the British for ‘collaborating’ with the Japanese. To rescue their own livelihood, Umno founders rallied Malay civil servants, teachers, students (incl Mahathir) to force the colonialist to reverse the Malayan Union move. Rendering the claim of fearless defender of the Malays more of a fight for self-survival. Upon merdeka, all sultans were retained as relatives were still employed by the palaces. Two of their descendants are the PM and the defence minister.

    LIE AS CHAMPION OF INDEPENDENCE

    Umno leaders were in fact part of the British administration (within palaces or the civil service) and merely inherited power after the British gave in to pressure by fighters (both democrat and communist) aiming to set up a republic (part of Indonesia or independent). Umno was favoured by the British who had reinstalled the sacked sultans in 1946 to save their livelihood ; and were unlikely to seize British assets compared to the republican minded after Merdeka.

    LIE ABOUT THE “MALAY” STATUS OF MIGRANTS

    In 1957, 80% of ‘Malays’ at West Malaysia were or descended from Indonesian and south Thailand migrants who came during British rule for better economic, law and order conditions. (Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu were taken in by the British in 1909 after Chinese tin miners helped make Malaya a successful colony)

    They were living in separate villages speaking their own languages (Javanese, Bugis, Banjar, Minangkabau, Patani Siam, Kelantanese, etc). Making it fraudulent for Umno to proclaim they were Malays eligible to enjoy Special Privileges.

    Though deep down these ‘Malay’ migrants treasure their roots, they could only practise their traditions secretly after subscribing to Special Privileges and also Bumiputera status. Their guilt, pent up frustration and jealousy could be contributing to the opposing of the Chinese and Indians who openly carry on living their heritage.

  • Joe

    The opposition must cut the legs off both UMNO and PAS. Its time to tell PAS supporters, a vote for Hadi’s PAS is a vote for Najib and to UMNO/BN supporters especially in Sarawak and Sabah, a vote for Najib’s UMNO is a vote for Islamic state that Iran is trying to turn away from.

    This is a Malay Vs. Malay fight and its time to tell it like it is. No one will say Amanah and Mahathir are not true Malays. Hadi’s PAS are Arabised Malays pushing failed state of Iran, and Najib’s UMNO are simply party of Anakku Sazali that will turn us into Iran.

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