Umno assembly: ‘Wow factor’, U-turn and Keris 2314

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The assembly held no major surprises – from the prime minister asking where Umno had gone wrong to a call for the ‘wow factor’ to return to the party, writes Prema Devaraj.

umno's-wow-factor-by-Zunar

The last week in November witnessed Umno’s general assembly.

Tota describes this in his article. The assembly held no major surprises – from the prime minister asking where Umno had gone wrong to a call by the Umno Youth chief for the wow factor to return to the party.

And let’s not forget the call from the Umno vice president for the party to adopt a war mindset and the training module Keris 2314 to help the BN regain its two-thirds parliamentary majority in the 14th general election. Perhaps some of this prompted Abdul Rashid Hanafi’s comment on weak leadership.

The prime minister’s announcement at the Umno general assembly that the Sedition Act 1948 would be retained to ensure a peaceful, stable and harmonious country for all Malaysians left many feeling let down. Read what J D Lovrenciear had to say about the PM’s U-turn on the Sedition Act.

It was just two years ago that the prime minister promised to repeal the Sedition Act and put into place the National Harmony Act, which was meant to help to strengthen national cohesion by protecting national unity and nurturing religious harmony. What has happened to the National Harmony Act?

A whole lot of things are being said about national unity, national harmony and curtailing extremism. But using the Sedition Act for this is hardly the way forward. Abdul Rashid Hanafi wrote about the need to speak out and condemn doctrines that advocate hatred. Syerleena Abdul Rashid, for her part, writes of the need to teach our children empathy and tolerance rather than leaving it to the ruling regime, which has a vested interest in keeping our nation dumb.

In the meantime, political cartoonist Zunar continues his fight for creative space. The police have launched a sedition investigation against him and have recently asked the online payment gateway that handles his book sales to disclose the list of customers who bought his book. P Ramakrishnan gave his opinion on the matter.

Zunar also popped into the Aliran office recently and gave a talk on his cartoons and what motivates his ideas. The audience was treated to two live sketches.

Over in Pahang, we are told that the police and soldiers have been deployed to the Cameron Highlands to purportedly stem the flow of illegal immigrants and illegal land clearing. But Nicholas Chan reminds us of what really caused the environmental degradation in Cameron Highlands and where the problem actually lies.

To all readers, do come for the following:

– The screening of a documentary ‘Great Gamble on the Mekong’ about the construction of dams and how it degrades the eco-system. This will be held at the Aliran office on Tuesday, 9 December at 8.00pm.

– The launch of Penang’s first Local Democracy Report 2014 on 10 December at 8.00pm at the Hin Bus Station, Jalan Gurdwara, Penang.

Prema Devaraj

Co-editor, Aliran e-Newsletter

3 December 2014

 

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