That man was Mahathir and the year was 1987. The instrument he used was the ISA and the exercise was called Operasi Lallang.
Now we have Umno not only split down the middle but its leadership is beleaguered. All fo a sudden we have this Ahmad Ismail stoking the fires of racialism.
He first calls the Malaysian Chinese new comvers (pendatang) and yesterday he fired another salvo (see clip below) calculated to infuriate the Malaysian Chinese. That this man can have such license to sow hatred among the races is suspicious – would he not have been muzzled by the powers that be after his first outburst?
If the answer is yes, then we have a cynical Powers-that-be manipulating the situation. if the answer is no then the Powers-that-be have lost control and the opportunists are playing the racial card to shore up their own positions.
Either way it i the malaysian Chinese who will lose out if they react hot-headedly to Ahmad Ismail. Now is the time for cool heads to prevail.
Asked to comment on Ahmad’s outburst the Malaysian Chinese leaders should at all times use non-emotive language to disagree or censure Ahmad Ismail. They can make their objections heard without succumbing to tit-for-tat language.
If they can do so then there is hope for it is a matter of time before the current status quo is drummed out of office, either by Anwar Ibrahim or, more slowly, by their own implosion.
But if the Malaysian Chinese leaders respond emotionally then they are merely stepping into the trap that the Ahmad ismails have set. Emotion will turn up the temperature on interracial issues and give the Government every excuse to mount Operation Lallang II.
The Malaysian Chinese have always been proud of their cultural heritage. Now is perhaps the time to invoke their mythical strategists like Cao Cao and Zuge Liang from the Romance of Three Kingdoms. What would they do in a situation like this?