Malaysian uberblogger Rocky has highlighted the amusing, entertaining and growing debate surrounding Umno Bukit Bendera Chief Ahmad Ismail’s remark that Malaysian Chinese were pendatang (squatters or newcomers) and therefore should not aspire to having equal rights as Malays in Malaysia.
His refusal sparked more criticisms and the government, not Ahmad, began to apologize for his remarks. This is where things start to get muddled, as they are wont to get in Bolehland, especially when Mahathir wades in.
Mahathir, now out of a political office and given short shrift by present political leaders has taken to blogging to make himself heard. He took up the Ahmad Ismail issue, and had several posts on the issue. In many of them he is reasonable and declares that he does not like no really supports what Ahmad said. But in one posting he expresses his disgust at how the Prime Minister and his deputy were now so busy apologizing for what Ahmad said. he also suggested that Indian and Chinese leaders should apologize instead for other issues such as the Wee Meng Chee issue and the Hindraf allegations.
This is where Wong Chun Wai, the blogging chief editor of the Star stepped in, berating Mahathir for widening the issue into a racial one when the issue at hand is Ahmad Ismail’s remark and whether he should apologize for making it. This is where things spiral and get muddled as things are wont to do in Bolehland and the issue began morphing from one about Ahmad Ismail to that about the integrity and caliber of top editors in Malaysia.
Big Dog, a self-styled “liberal-minded right winger”, posted Chun Wai: Blinkered racism analysis to demonise a Statesman? . As the title suggests he says Wong was out to demonize Mahathir and cites as proof Wong’s apparent silence against the leaders of the other races in the issues that Mahathir brings up. Another blogger, Apanama has also jumpd into the fray in attacking Wong.
Debate on Ahmad Ismail now looks like its going for a gangbang with everyone talking about everything but the issue at hand. If Big Dog and Apanama as well as others want to start a conversation about the quality of editors and journalists they should just start a new thread like what Bakri Musa’s done, not confuse the issues by drgging up the past andmaking this a conversation about editors and racism rather than whether Ahmad Ismail should apologize.
So, should Ahmad Ismail apologize?