I admit that when I blogged on Mindless Morons in Monkey Mansion I was deeply outraged by (and therefore emotional about) the blatant racism and humiliation Sheena Moorthy had to endure in public from a Malaysian minister.
It was totally unacceptable.
One malaysiakini reader, Robita T Abdullah even attempted to defend him by writing in to say “Jamaludin was well brought up by a very strict policeman father, Jarjis, who himself was a dark-skinned person. He was an officer and gentleman to his last days. Jamaludin is too brilliant to make such a stupid statement. Let's check it out”, demanding that his accusers should check the veracity of the alleged racist comments carefully, as it could be our “Malaysian exaggerations and/or disinformation”.
Well, blogger Malaysian Unplugged left a comment quoting Rocky Bru as saying that Jamaludin Jarjis had apologised to Sheena Moorthy and the case was closed. So much for Robita T Abdullah's “Malaysian exaggerations and/or disinformation”.
Rocky said that Jamaludin “did right to apologise, in my opinion. It is a quality missing in many politicians.”
Let me comment on Rocky’s statement. First of all, apologising was the only acceptable thing for the minister to do, but let’s not get carried away and phrase it as if he is to be commended.
The reality is there’s nothing to commend Jamaludin about just because he apologised for his racist remarks which he should not and never should have made in the first place. It’s like commending the Americans or the Israelis for apologising for their killing of innocent Palestinians, Lebanese or Afghans.
Some would even argue that a racist insult and humilation such as the one Sheena Moorthy had to experience was even worse than being slaughtered by reckless bombing. But I won’t go into that. Let’s just say racist insults are evil!
But yes, while the apology can provide some closure for a traumatised Sheena, the incident has raised a timely question about the decency and civilised status of our society – we are bloody racist in our attitude, and I am not just targeting Jamaludin Jarjis nor talking about Malays only.
One could argue that the series of ‘Ketuanan Melayu’ propaganda and assertions have been nothing more than unscrupulous avaricious posturing by politicians to exploit a Malay fear of being displaced (economically, politically, etc) in their own land by other ethnic groups. In other words, it’s the politicians’ grubby greedy interests.
But the sort of racism as expressed by the minister goes deeper into the heart of our dark soul. In this, I have to say some Chinese and Indians are equally as racists as some Malays. Some don’t show it, some even subdue it but many (thank goodness not all) have that tinge of prejudice somewhere in their body (or head).
And it’s not just limited to UMNO, MCA or MIC.
PKR is just as bad and I am sure we can find those evil feelings among DAP members as well. After their loss in Ijok, some PKR members regrettably spat out their bigoted venom against the local Indians, making snide remarks with Tamil accent in uni-ethnic ceramahs.
We must discuss this dark side of our force more (in future postings) until we purge it completely.
Blogger MarinaM also asked pointedly why Samy Vellu had failed to leap to the defence of the dignity of Sheena Moorthy, and my mate mob1900 responded to that, saying what we all already know.
There is of course an additional factor – it does not brood well for a non-UMNO minister to ever criticise an UMNO minister in public.
Last year MCA minister Ong Tee Keat was reprimanded by the cabinet for rasing a corruption issue that fell under Hishamuddin Hussein’s bailiwick, the Education Ministry.
In my posting Corruption 'Fact' for DPM Najib & Hishamuddin I wrote:
DPM Najib was more concerned about form than substance. He said the cabinet’s reprimand of Deputy Higher Education Ong Tee Keat (MCA) for alleging officials' misuse of funds meant for Chinese schools' refurbishment was a matter of ‘principle’ and that the ‘facts’ of Ong’s allegation was entirely a different matter, meaning he didn't want to 'touch' that with a 10-foot pole.
The cabinet reprimand came about after Education Minister Hishamuddin Tun Hussein had railed against Ong’s allegation. Hishamuddin had rejected Ong’s claim. Ong didn't budge but everything was swiftly galvanised into 'elegant silence'.
Well, the ‘fact’ that Najib wasn’t interested in (and we now know for ‘good reason’) was raised in parliament when Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang (DAP-Ipoh Timor) told Works Minister Samy Vellu that a Public Works Department official had actually admitted to Ong's allegation. The official said that the refurbishment works carried out on SJKC Kung Yu in Johor cost only about RM3,000 when the allocation was RM30,000.
In other words, the ‘facts’ of the missing 90% of funds, the alleged embezzlement of special funds meant to repair and upgrade schools, is still not explained - and which Hishamuddin had strenuously denied, and which DPM Najib had conveniently dismissed, undoubtedly as inconvenient 'fact' not involving cabinet 'principle' of ensuring an UMNO leader must never be embarrassed by a non-UMNO leader.