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15 December 2011

Anti-Umno group targets Malay heartland


Frustrated by rural Malays’ poor access to alternative sources of news, an anti-Umno coalition has launched an online video it hopes will break Barisan Nasional’s (BN) media monopoly in key heartland areas.

Jumping between archive photos and documentary footage, the 104-minute “DN Tumbangkan BN” video by Asalkan Bukan Umno (ABU) hopes to undercut Umno’s claim that it has always fought for Malaysians and the good of the country.

ABU comprises the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) and the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM), among others.

The central theme of the video is former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s alleged abuse of the New Economic Policy (NEP) to enrich cronies, which ABU claims not only resulted in persistent poverty but also worsening race relations.

The NEP was introduced in 1971 following the bloody May 13, 1969 race riots to foster national unity by reducing the wealth gap between the races.

“Had the aspirations of the New Economic Policy been carried out, Tunku Abdul Rahman’s hope that Malaysia remain a democratic, independent nation based on freedom and justice... would have been realised long ago,” said the video’s narrator.

“Unfortunately, the Umno-BN government, beginning with the leadership of Dr Mahathir Mohamad from 1981 until now, has abandoned the principles of the Rukunegara and played up racial and religious sentiment to ensure the people are not united so they can remain in power.”

It also slammed Dr Mahathir – “the world’s biggest liar” – for allegedly undermining key national institutions to stay in power, presenting as proof the chain of events which began with the deregistration of Umno in 1988 following fractious party polls.

But the video also struck a more positive note amid the Umno-bashing, highlighting the alternative vision for Malaysia held by leftist political parties which fought for Malaysia’s independence from Britain in the 1940s and 1950s.

It noted that such groups, including the Malay Nationalist Party (PKMM) and Malayan Democratic Union (MDU), had worked together politically for a race-blind Malaysia even before BN’s predecessor, the Alliance, was formed.

“The unity we talked about never mentioned race, as is emphasised nowadays. All we wanted was that all the trade unions, all the workers, all the women, all the organisations should join in a broad front to oppose the return of the (British) Governor to rule the country,” MDU founding member Lim Kean Chye said.

Special attention was paid to the All-Malaya Hartal of 1948, which MCLM president Haris Ibrahim described as “the most graphic evidence” that Malaysians of different races have always been able to cooperate.

“It’s amazing that they managed, even then without internet, to pull off something on that scale. We’ve never had a race relations problem in this country. It’s just Umno and its sidekicks,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

ABU will kick off its campaign to disseminate the video among rural Malay voters at Kolej Universiti Islam Zulkifli Muhammad (KUIZM) in Gombak tonight.

According to Haris’s website, the group has already distributed some 200,000 hard copies of the video in villages in the past month alone.

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