Un-Malaysian Behaviour in Malaysia (Updated)

Everybody had something to say about the ruckus at the Bar Council forum rudely interrupted, disrupted and ultimately stopped dead in its tracks.  Seems there are some Malaysians who still live in the dark ages who can’t tell the difference between constructive discussions and damaging debates.  Anyway, the strangest thing of all wasn’t the forum itself which I understood was very professionally done.  It was the objections by people who refused to grow up.

When certain groups object to other people doing things, these people hurl racial insults, behave like hooligans and even attempt to throw petrol bombs (if they didn’t already).  The strangest thing is as follows:

The Bar Council blamed for starting it – Only one at fault?

“We had expected this to happen. I’ve already said this before, don’t make it an open forum, do it behind closed doors. There will surely be some form of extreme reaction that will occur (if it was held openly).  “We’ve expected the incident to happen because the issue that was to be discussed is sensitive.” – Najib (read here).

Point taken that the advice was for closed doors (whatever that is, we’ll take this on later) discussion.  The point here was that Najib expected extreme reaction and that was OK?  He said NOT A WORD against the extreme reaction.  Does that mean he condones it or he is afraid to offend the offenders?  Politics! Huh???

The racial abuse not considered seditious, gathering not illegal?

“I represent Umno. Stop this forum” “Don’t insult Islam” and “You! Chinese, Indians, go to hell!” – someone named “Jais” (read here and more about this here with pix).

Now this has gone out of hand.  Nobody in Government spoke out against such hooliganism (we’ll leave that description for now).  Not only they hurled seditious statements but illegally intruded the Bar Council’s forum.  How does an illegal gathering making an illegal intrusion into a legal event make them right?  Just because they felt justified to make an illegal demonstration?  I’m sure they never applied for a police permit.  And there was no such intimidation by the police like against the Hindraf or Bersih demonstrations with water cannons and arrests.

I wonder who will be arrested in this case?  The police is eeriely quiet about any arrests and seemingly agreeable in support.  Is it because the core of the group was from Umno?  Yes there were extremists from PKR and PAS and that’s deplorable and hypocritical.  It doesn’t matter who were there part of that group of very un-Malaysian behaviour.  A wrong is a wrong except the powers to be does not seem to speak out!

I’m not against them voicing out dissent.  I think it is healthy if they can peacefully discharge their disagreement but resorting to this is totally uncouth, uncivilized, rude and uncivil.  For a more complete description of these people, please read here.  I think they are not aware that whatever they say and do reflects on the religion and political slants they stand for.  And the public and the international observers will have the wrong perception of Malaysia. If this is unchecked and left untouched by the authorities, it will clearly show a bias treatment by the police.  Let’s see how the police will act this time.  Rumors of individuals being picked up by the police have surfaced but since I can’t confirm this anywhere, best to wait and see the news.

For a comprehensive compilation of various feedbacks on this event, Malaysia Kini has done a good job rounding up those who are for and against.  Please read here.

Meeting should be held behind closed doors?  What does that mean?

The President of the Bar Council had been incorrectly reported by the NST that they will not be holding anymore such forums and that if they did, the forums will be behind closed doors.  For the correction by the Bar Council, read here for what Ambiga actually said.

So what is holding such forums behind closed doors?  I’m sure the doors were closed when the hooligan demonstrators barged in.  Does it mean by invitation only, not to sell tickets?  Don’t involve the public, whatever that may mean because the people who attends are part of the public anyway – or when you go to a closed door meeting, you cease to be the public?

I may appear to be splitting hairs here but I think it’s needed to split this one to be clear what some people actually mean by closed door.  It seems to be a political rhetoric where closed implies private and open implies public.  In this case, the Bar Council did not open their doors to invite just anyone to walk in and join.  There was some qualification, invitation and in most part, more private by definition.  And the demonstrators were not part of the private function.  They forced themselves as part of it.  So is this forum truly public or somewhat public/private or more private than public or totally private?  Chew on this one! 😉

Can you imagine if it was any other group (non-Umno led) engaged in similar hooligan acts what would have happened to them?  I would like to see equal treatment by the police to similar violent and uncivilized acts that can cause disharmony, whoever they are.

Right to Voice Dissent

I, for one, am very happy that Malaysia has grown up allowing for various views to be shared and spoken and published in various media.  This is a big step forward.  I agree that even for those whose views I disagree that they should have their right to share their disagreement.  This is our Malaysian right!

Malaysians are mature and civilized people (except for some uncouth ones, including some MPs I understand).  We can discuss “sensitive” matters maturely, professionally, ethically and even agree to disagree.  We should not be told by the authories what we can and cannot discuss like some kindergarten kids.

Alas, we seem to be treated with disdain when some Umno voice feels the events are not agreeable to them.  They too should stand for the right to dissent as long as it’s done in a decent, mature and professional manner.  By knowing and understanding the dissent, we may perhaps emphatise with the feelings of the specific matter and may adjust our views accordingly for the better of all parties.

Don’t forget the original intent of the forum please!  It’s not about questioning the constitutional right. It’s about the mechanics of working out the lack of understanding and the lack of clarity or appreciation by parties to interpret and make the apparent execution weaknesses of the constitution work fairly for all Malaysians.  The constitution is sacred and it stays and must be honored by all Malaysians.

How can the demonstrators defend their right to disagree by forcing other parties to lose their right to disagree with them?  And by uncouth actions too!  Two wrongs don’t make one right (and I don’t imply the Bar Council holding the forum is wrong either – I’m merely making a point).

I hope that PKR, Umno, Pas, the police and the Bar Council will all check any bias treatment of deed and word, and carry out their duties to defend the rights of all Malaysians without fear or favour!


I came across Azly Rahman’s article on Inter-faith Dialog which came out of this ruckus of uncouth people and I recommend you to check it out here.  Very insightful and wise.

UPDATED: Another interesting commentary was surprisingly from Karim Raslan of The Star (read here).

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