30 August 2010

Sadly, we made a pariah of the word 'pendatang'

Eversince one UMNO division head in Penang uttered the word during a tightly-contest election campaigning to regain Permatang Pauh Parliamentary seat from PKR after 2008 political tsunami. And one dear  reporter for a Chinese Daily decided to scoop it in the paper headlines; the word 'Pendatang' has become a stigma to anybody who mention it. Thing has become an issue blown up out of proportion to fulfill every political party interest to the extent the chinese reporter who reported about it has been detained under ISA (which imho one of the blunder of the previous Home Minister)  in order to protect her from certain groups retaliation and protest. The fate of the UMNO warlord also have been destined. He was suspended from UMNO for 3 years in September 2008 but suspension was lifted only recently.

One could never imagine such a simple word which means 'immigrant' in English can have  major impact and consequences to Malaysia political scene until today. Whoever with intention or mistakenly misunderstood caught saying it will be crucified relentlessly and simply be labelled a racist. It makes PATI; 'pendatang asing tanpa izin' (illegal immigrant) look tame albeit the latter is a much more serious issue concerning national security and safety.

The issue has been highlighted here long time ago and it seems the term 'pendatang' would never be 'chased' away as it has become a political tools for certain quarters to ignite subversive element towards the ruling government. Suffice to say, the government also never been so clear and deterrent in handling the issue once and for all. It took a few more episode of 'pendatang' name-calling before the PM came with this statement  hoping to ease and avoid more repercussion.

The 'pendatang' issue has become a ticking time bomb to the racial harmony of this country. Hence, some immediate and powerful message  has to be sent.

For those who ride on this 'pendatang' issue; Shame on you! You are just as despicable as the person who have been labelled racist for calling the shot. Take it to the chin that everyone of us in Malaysia is 'pendatang' and why suddenly 'pendatang' connotation gave a meaner definition to yourself as a second class citizen in this country?  Have  'pendatangs' share the biggest chunk of wealth of this country after 53 years of independence, have not?

On the other hand, if the Malays believe they are 'tuan rumah' or host of this Malay Land  whereby their definition of 'pendatang' is a guest; whom they received wholeheartedly with open arms to stay in the house together, Wouldn't it be too much to ask if the guest demand to sleep in the host's bed, would it? Please digest this situation with an open mind.

If 'pendatang' is such a pariah connotation that as Malaysian, never ever to think let alone say it loud in public, what will happen to the 'peranakan' communities which terms is defined as chinese/indian/jawi descendants of immigrant to the Nusantara region during Colonial era. That makes them officially a legal immigrant i.e. 'pendatang', rite? so to speak they are proud that they are a 'peranakan'; 'pendatang' so what's the fuss about it after all.

We have gone overboard in tackling this issue to the extent it has jeopardies our root of harmony and self respect amongst races. Be it Perkasa/Hindraf/DAP/UMNO/BN or PR. Let us find a common ground and push for better understanding amongst races in the spirit of independence. Give 'pendatang' a better place in our book. Let 'pendatang baru' (newcomer) be a word that can connect us together in many ways.

For once, in the spirit of 1 Malaysia/Malaysian Malaysia/Islam Hadhari/Pas utk Semua/Ketuanan rakyat and Vision 2020 close our eyes and give a big thought. Have we ever felt grateful or blessed becoming a Malaysian? A citizen who could and should give contribution to the nation building in many ways disregarding our colours and belief. Are we proud to called ourselves, Malaysian?

Lest there is a slightest thought about pride and honour as Malaysian; dont ever dare to ruin this wonderful land that all of us called home.

Selamat Hari Kebangsaan ke 53

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