Ahmad Ismail is the real immigrant. | Malaysian Sentinel : Malaysia's Politics from a Malaysian Citizen Blogger

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Ahmad Ismail is the real immigrant.

Najib Razak apologized for the failings of one Ahmad Ismail's alleged racist comments during the Permatang Pauh is baffling to me. Ahmad Ismail is the one who is suppose to apologize not Najib Razak and for the life of me, why did Najib Razak even agree to apologize on his behalf? Apologizing on behalf merely makes the matter even graver, it gives the impression that BN concurred with Ahmad Ismail on the remarks and is now making a party stand. Or is this because Najib Razak was the one heading the BN campaign in Permatang Pauh and as leader he has to make apology for any misbehavior of his BN campaigners?

But apology aside and the fact I feel the response by the Chinese component parties of BN is akin to throwing a wet towel into the kitchen sink, let's look at the point Ahmad Ismail raised that shot BN's support among the non-Malays out the window.

Ahmad had allegedly called the Chinese pendatang (immigrants) and was also reported to have said that “as the Chinese were only immigrants it was impossible to achieve equal rights amongst races” during a ceramah in Permatang Pauh on Aug 25.

Source: Malaysia-Today.net

The New Oxford American Dictionary defines IMMIGRANT as:

a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

Ahmad Ismail's calling Chinese pendatang should not be a surprise because this is the mind-set of those from UMNO who believe Malaysia really means MALAY-sia disregarding the vibrant and colorful history this region has over the millennia. I believe Ahmad has truly forgotten that the Chinese first settled in the Malay Peninsula during the Malacca sultanate with the arrival of the Chinese courtesan Hang Li Po. These were true immigrants in the real sense and their descendants thereafter became citizens of Malacca.

Immigrant status changes with the birth of one's self in a country of residence. One can claim citizenship and be known as a national of the country of birth and thus is no longer an immigrant. For one to call Malaysian-Chinese pendatang (immigrant) is a total farce and also a direct attack on one's right to citizenship in one's country of birth.

The same goes for Malaysian Indians. Indian influences has been prevalent in South East Asia since the dawn of sea travel. In fact the influences are still around until today. It was the flight of one Sumateran prince from a Hindu empire that sparked the beginnings of the Malacca sultanate and thus the beginnings of the Malay states. Indians born on Malaysian soil are not immigrants, they are citizens of the land.

For Ahmad Ismail to utter such labels to the Chinese is mere stupidity and arrogance on his part and the party he represents. Let's push this a little further.

On the 16th of September, Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore along with the Malay States formed Malaysia. It is a partnership in which Singapore pulled out of and subsequently is who they are today. Sarawak and Sabah can also do the same, if they wanted to. So in actual fact, this partnership is much like city-states forming the Greek Empire of old. All can run independently but all are united in defending a singular nation.

Now, if Ahmad Ismail were to step foot into Sarawak, he can be considered an immigrant, if he chooses to stay permanently in Sarawak. But a piece of paper says he is a citizen of Malaysia so we have to accept him. Citizenship of Malaysia entitles him to privileges only citizen of Malaysia can have so he is free to practice his rights as a Malaysian in Sarawak even-though in truth he is an immigrant. These rights of passage are part of the agreement Sarawak and Sabah had with the Peninsula at the forming of Malaysia.

I suggest Ahmad Ismail come to Sarawak and live here a few years and maybe he'll learn from us Sarawakians on how to live with those of different ethnic backgrounds. I have Chinese friends who speak my mother tongue, we have Sarawakian Malays sitting together with Sarawakian Chinese and Sarawakian Indian friends talking over tea. We have Ibans, Bidayuh, Lun Bawang, Melanau, Kenyah, Penans and a host of other groups living together and never have we ever thought of the issue of immigrants. Only in recently has this whole issue of immigrants really played on our minds.

We are bothered by UMNO race politics as they advocate a supreme race doctrine that goes against everything the people of Sarawak hold to. We live in unity. It is all we need.

Ahmad Ismail and UMNO, know one thing. In the not so distant past we all were immigrants to this land. Yet in Malaysia we were granted citizenship and that makes us CITIZENS not immigrants regardless of our creed, religion or backgrounds.


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