I had blogged on this issue before here - http://fusioninvestor.blogspot.com/2008/08/another-umno-racist-remark.html.
Recall that on August 25 (12 days ago) during a ceramah in Permatang Pauh, Bukit Bendera Umno chief Ahmad Ismail had allegedly called the Chinese "squatters"! Called the Chinese immigrants! And worse, said it was impossible to achieve equal rights amongst races!
I find Ahmad Ismail's statements completely unacceptable as I'm sure any right thinking Malaysian would!
Yesterday (or 11 days after the alleged event), DPM Najib uttered a semi-conditional-apology belatedly. http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/Frontpage/2339528/Article/index_html
I am actually further annoyed by this apology for many reasons.
1. A third party apology is not a genuine apology. Ahmad Ismail must apologize in person. The aggreived needs to listen to him directly. It is insufficient. The right thing to do is for Ahmad Ismail to apologize first because it is him who uttered those remarks.
2. Why does it take Najib 11 days to apologize? Was he reluctant in the first 10 days? Did he not see the error in his ways immediately when it was obvious to many? Imagine if in his role as Defence Minister - an enemy attack Malaysia ... Is he going to hesitate and slow to respond to enemy's attack, like he did with his apology? Was it difficult to identify that the situation requires an immediate apology? Why take 10-11 days? If he can't see that this situation demans an apology immediately, then, what other things can't he see immediately?
3. What is the nature of this apology?
"We hope the non-Malays will not be too disturbed by the statement and we apologise if it caused unhappiness."
You mean, you haven't even accepted that this statement is racist in nature?
What kind of apology is this when there is no personal acceptance that this is simply wrong?
What about Ahmad Ismail - did he accept personally that his remarks are wrong?
If not, how can I forgive him or DPM Najib when there is no personal acceptance by either Ahmad Ismail nor Najib?
The proper way to apologize Mr Najib and Mr Ahmad Ismail - and let me teach you how - is to not use "conditional" apologies. Apologize with no conditions. Just say "I am sorry for ... ". No conditions!
A conditional apology is simply unacceptable. It shows no remorse. It is insulting to everyone. Period.
4. Mr Najib, apologize to all Malaysians. Yes, including the Malays too. There are many Malays who are offended also by those utterances. It is presumptuous that you represent Malays as both Mar 8 and August 26 showed very clearly.
5. Mr Najib, be specific. What exactly are you apologizing for? Are you apologizing because you were born into this earth? What exactly since I could not read it in the statements reported?
To me, Najib and Ahmad Ismail should apologize for related but different actions. They both did different things that are wrong. Ahmad Ismail mistake is to utter the racist remarks and he must refer to those remarks specifically and apologize for it. Najib's mistake is to do nothing when Ahmad Ismail uttered these racist statements, and he should admit to those mistakes, and apologize. But Najib simply didn't refer to his silence as an error and neither did he apologize for that specific mistake.
There are 5 statements reported to have been uttered by Najib in this NST article here - http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Wednesday/Frontpage/2339528/Article/index_html
None of the 5 statements refer to him admitting that his mistake was to remain silent and allowed Ahmad Ismail to pontificate those racist statements.
If Najib simply did not acknowledge nor accept that what he did was wrong, then, is his apology really acceptable? Why would anyone want to forgive him, let alone forget when he himself still doesn't believe that what he did was wrong?
Sorry Mr Najib, your "apology" is simply not an apology.
It is still completely unacceptable to me.
Your refusal to identify and admit what you did wrong and your "putar-belit" tells me loudly that you do not believe personally that what you did was wrong. And I am afraid I simply do not trust you.
6. And how do Malaysians know that you will not repeat this again?
7. Will you expel Ahmad Ismail to show the world that you are serious?
8. Will you ask to all BN members to sign an updated code of conduct that simply do not permit such racist statements to be made again in future?
In conclusion, to me, Mr Najib's "apology" is not an acceptable apology because it is too vague, it is too conditional, it doesn't show remorse, it doesn't provide assurance at all, and all indications point to it as merely being empty and hallow rhetorics. In short, it is not a genuine apology.
And so, I was eagerly awaiting what MCA response might be.
Today, he was reported to have said something. You can see what Mr Ong Ka Ting said here - http://mt.m2day.org/2008/content/view/12171/84/
And quite expectedly, MCA and Mr Ong is reported to have "appreciated and accepted" Mr Najib's apology!
APPRECIATED and ACCEPTED!
So, now it seems I must give an open advice to Mr Ong here.
Mr Ong, let me be very clear please.
Unlike you and MCA, I simply do not accept Mr Najib's apology for the 8 reasons mentioned above.
Unlike you and MCA, I definitely do not appreciate Mr Najib's empty and hallow rhetorics at all.
I am aghast to read "NILAI: The apology by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the alleged remarks made by Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail recently has received a positive response from the MCA. "
Let me tell you right here, right now - your party's positive response simply do NOT represent how I feel at all.
"The deputy prime minister's apology shows that he is aware and understands the people's sentiments over the issue, especially the non-Malays," MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting said yesterday."
Again, no. Read my lips. I think DPM is NOT aware. DPM does NOT understand. Especially the non-Malays like me.
"We appreciate and accept his apology and are confident that it will calm the emotions of those who were deeply upset. "
Again, no. Your action and statements does not calm the emotions. In fact, it further compounded the errors made by the other BN component members starting with (1) Ahmad Ismail racist utterances. (2) PM Abdullah excuses. (3) DPM Najib's conditional, vague, rhetorics. (4) Gerakan's Koh Tsu Koon's nonsense, and now, (5) MCA's nonsensical acceptance.
In short, I simply failed to see even a hint of Barisan Nasional government admitting their errors. Worse, I don't see even one sign of genuine remorse, nor the possibility of a change for the better.
There. I've said my piece.
Don't expect me to forgive Ahmad Ismail - from my perspective, he hasn't even yet apologized for it.
Don't expect me to forget it too - I am documenting the episode here in my blog for future reference.