IT is ironic when news portals highlighted that there will be a blockade of the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur as we wrap up for the year (beginning midnight Dec 26 to Dec 31).
One can understand if such measures are undertaken by Opposition parties such as Bersatu or the more militant PAS but interestingly Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties including PKR, DAP and Amanah are also involved given Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is both Prime Minister and the PH chairman.
Interestingly, this time around, UMNO Youth is not involved in the impromptu blockade but certainly it does not mean that UMNO does not care about the on-going conflict between Israel and the Hamas. The conflict in the Middle East affects the whole world.
Two sides of the coin
In every war, there are two sides of the story. Israel accuses Hamas terrorists of invading into its territory and killing and abducting its citizens. On the other hand, Hamas claims that Israel has taken away the land belonging to the Palestinians and it is fighting for the Palestinian cause. It accused the Israeli forces of targeting its own civilians.
Then, you have also the Palestinians themselves who are under two ruling factions – the Palestine Authority and Hamas. One Hamas founding leader’s son Mosab Hassan Yousef, for example, spoke up against the Hamas, claiming that Hamas has its own agenda and are merely using the Palestinians as their human shields.
As both sides are accusing each other, it is difficult for third parties to tell who is right or wrong. One thing is for sure: both war and killing of fellow humans is morally wrong and both sides will suffer after the war is over.
It is never surprising that most Malaysians are already very polarised when it comes to supporting either side of a war. With the on-going cold war between China and the US, netizens are divided. Even when the war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, Malaysian citizens chose sides.
The question is not about whether non-partisan Malaysians want a ceasefire to take place in the Middle East; rather it is whether the two warring factions are willing to co-exist as friendly neighbours?
Different ways to handle the situation
As the proverbial saying goes, there are different ways to skin the cat. In calling for a ceasefire, Anwar as PM can send a protest note to the United Nations (UN), something which he would have done.
The government can also send in a strong note diplomatique to the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and register its displeasure with the US veto.
These efforts may not necessarily get any attention from the US. The question that has to be asked is whether it will make any difference by holding a blockade against the US Embassy? After all, people at the embassy including the US Ambassador are only employees of the elected US government.
We have seen how a boycott of so-called “pro-Israel” companies will only affect the businesses of the franchisees and their local staff working with these companies.
Politicians tell their supporters to boycott McDonald’s but when Kelantan bought the Mercedes Benz for their state EXCO, the former Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah claimed the “state government leaders used Mercedes-Benz cars as official vehicles for safety reasons.”
The Kelantan state government had in 2020 bought 14 Mercedes-Benz cars, including a premium S450 L AMG valued at more than RM600,000 for its Menteri Besar while Anwar’s official vehicle is an elongated Perdana.
All politicians who truly want to boycott McDonalds should also stop driving their Mercedes Benz or use any computer that has Intel chip in it.
What can a blockade do?
A blockade at the US Embassy simply does not make sense at all. While one can understand why Suaram wants to be seen involved in this blockade (it claimed that stands for the rights of the Palestinians), it is ironic that even BERSIH is now involved with this blockade when its main role is to supposedly push for a clean and fair election in Malaysia.
One will inevitably ask: Will all these groups do the same when another country is being invaded? The answer is very probably a flat “No!” because some people have their own political agenda.
But why in the first place do Malaysians get so polarised when two countries are at war – both cold and the real wars – be it Russia and Ukraine or China and the US? Would polarisation help the country’s economy either way or worsen the situation?
Malaysia should remain as a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and do its best to demand both warring factions to lay down their arms and go for peace talks.
What is more alarming is that component parties of the unity government should realise that the police have not been informed of it at all – and by setting a precedence – they are telling the police that because they are in government, anything is now possible. Is this the message?
What is of greater concern is that a lot of police man hours will be wasted just to be on stand-by to protect the US Embassy when their time could be better spent elsewhere such as keeping the city safer from all sorts of crime. – Dec 26, 2023