“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” – Renowned Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist and political ethicist Mahathma Gandhi (1869-1948)
THE Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) and multi-ethnic reform movement ALIRAN have come out in the open to strongly condemn any violence and acts of hooliganism towards political rivals.
This follows the incident whereby a group of thugs – totalling about 30 – disrupted a dinner event by the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) at the Yong Sheng banquet hall in Muar on Oct 22.
The mask-donning culprits – believed to be youths – started shouting and throwing bottles and firecrackers to disrupt the event. In fact, a similar interruption also happened at a MUDA ceramah – also in Muar which happens to be the constituency of the party’s founder Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman – on Oct 16.
Political observer Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi has recently shared his thoughts on some non-violent methods to deal with political hooliganism in the run-up to the 15th General Election (GE15). Below are excerpts of his soft approach which first appeared under the heading “How to Deal with Political Hooliganism in GE15” in the MY Sin Chew news portal on Oct 18.
I read with disgust about the incident of hooliganism during Syed Saddiq’s ceramah in Johor.
There is, of course “no proof” that says the hooligans were paid, but come on-lah … this is Malaysia! We all know who might be behind this and so there is no need to mention (who the culprits are).
As the police do not seem troubled to protect the rakyat against these hooligans, the rakyat must be clever enough to turn this hooliganism against itself. I would like to make three recommendations to all political parties organising outdoor ceramahs to deal with these “politically sponsored hooligans”:
- Engagement of RELA personnel
Firstly, political parties must hire at least 10 RELA officers to keep the peace and manage traffic. If the hooligans arrive, these RELA officers can advise them to disperse or the police will be called to arrest them.
If the hooligans put up a physical fight or verbal abuses, make sure to record this event and YouTube it to the public. Let the parents of these hooligans see whose children are they; neighbours can also identify who these hooligans are.
Let the force of the Malay culture take its own course. If the RELA personnel were harmed, the other brotherhood of RELAs will probably not take this incident sitting down. Anyway, most RELAs are Malays and it will be a “Malay versus Malay incident” especially if MCA or DAP are holding their rallies or ceramahs.
GE15 belongs to all Malaysians and we will not kowtow to political hooliganism in whatever form it comes.
- Leverage senior citizens as ‘human shield’
Secondly, political parties should engage their members who are pakciks and makciks of above 50 years old to form a human shield against the hooligans.
Again, if the hooligans shout abusive language or harm any of the elder volunteers, the Malay society will turn against the hooligans and the political party which is responsible for the fracas.
Let us turn the tide of battle against the enemies of peace and decency by using their own hooligans.
- Give them an avenue to speak up
My third suggestion is that when the hooligans start shouting abusive language, invite the loudest hooligan to come up to the stage and pass him the microphone.
Let the attendees catch a glimpse of him while he expresses his grievances against the speaker. Then get the speaker to politely but clearly answer his accusations one by one.
After all, this is a democracy and every voice has the right to be heard! Malaysians need to send a clear message to political parties which support hooliganism that we have had enough.
However, our way of responding is not through physical violence but social embarrassment and advice.
We should not let this Government find another excuse to call Emergency and rule without an election. GE15 belongs to all Malaysians and we will not kowtow to political hooliganism in whatever form it comes. – Oct 24, 2022