Another gem of an interview from BN November 26, 2007Posted by elizabethwong in Current Affairs, Democracy, Huh?!, Human Rights, Malaysia, Note2Self, Politics, Race Relations.
Tags: al-Jazeera, BN, Cameron Highlands, Hindraf, Protest, SK Devamany, stupid
[Youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlWmafBG1Mo”%5D Just when we thought we were in the clear (Minister ka-Zam apparently is abroad) – re: statements that embarrass our country internationally – here’s another GEM from a BN MP from Cameron Highlands on al-Jazeera.My favourite line, apart from “Hello? Hello?”, was:-
“50 years of nationhood has been great”
(Thanks to MadDruid‘s hard work transcribing it)
Al-Jazeera: Joining us now for some reaction on the phone from the Malaysian state of Pahang is S.K. Devamany. He is a Member of Parliament for the Malaysian Indian Congress which I should point out is part of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition government. Sir, can I ask you to begin with, why is it appropriate for the police to be using tear gas and liquid chemical to disperse a peaceful crowd?
S.K. Devamany: Hello…?
AJ: Yes, sir. I’m just asking you why is it appropriate to use force?
SKD: Yes… I think that… Hello? Hello?
AJ: Sir, I’m asking you Why is it appropriate for the police to be using tear gas and liquid chemical to disperse a peaceful crowd?
SKD: First of all, this country Malaysia has been independent for 50 years. And peace has been order of the day. And we have brought tremendous development to this nation. And I must tell you that if this gathering has been orchestrated by people who are not responsible, then it is no good for nation building.
SKD: 50 years of nationhood has been great.
AJ: …but sir, the, the protest was proceeding peacefully. You said it was illegal but for all intent and purposes, it was a peaceful protest. So, why react with force?
SKD: So, probably the last protest also was reacted in the same manner. If the crowd was probably not… — also unprecedented. And I am not there to see how the police is actually handling the situation. But I must tell you in Malaysia, we don’t have a culture of protest this way. We are a democratic country, people can [unclear] through their ballot boxes, their patrons for candidates, and other presentations.
AJ: Why then—
SKD: And then… [unclear]…
AJ: —why then if there is a democratic process in place do you not allow protest to take place. These people had requested for a permit and you turned it down. Why is that necessary
?SKD: I think the intention was… was wrong. I think because religion [unclear] used and religion issue is very sensitive in this part of the nation. [unclear] multi-religious nation and things can go out of place when emotions are flaring.
AJ: But hold on…
SKD: [unclear] very careful when we are dealing with emotion.
AJ: …you seem to be suggesting that the protesters were causing the violence but in fact that was not the case. It was—
AJ: —clearly the… the police that were taking the aggressive stance by firing tear gas and spraying chemical through water cannon. They—
AJ: —were not provoked by the protesters.
SKD: [unclear]. We have to see the type of people who came for the demonstration. I am not there, but I wish that the demonstrators are mature and know how to handle themselves—
AJ: Sir, what do you mean by… what do you mean by type of people? …
AJ: … Are you referring to the fact that these people are of.. are of Indian ethnicity? Is that something the government cannot accept, Indians taking to the streets?
SKD: No, no. I don’t think so. I don’t think so. The PM Prime Minister has been giving tremendous allowances for openness, and feedbacks from the people, the press has been given freedom, legislatively, the freedom has been given the last 4 years.
SKD: And the result of [unclear] because of the openness. And I think the reaction could be instigated by one or two incidents which could have been overshot, overblown. And that is a reason. A layman doesn’t know exactly what is being done.
AJ: Alright. S.K. Devamany on the phone. I’m afraid we have to leave it there. But we do appreciate you giving us your comment—
SKD: —if you asked me, my, my… [unclear].
AJ: S.K. Devamany from the Malaysian Indian Congress.