Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Putrajaya Drag Race That Went Wrong

Last Saturday, just after midnight, a drag race event – that was part of the Himpunan Sejuta Belia (One Million Youths Gathering) that Najib Razak rolled out to impress a sceptical public that young Malaysians are on his side – turned ugly. The time was 12:30 AM. One competing car, a Mitsubishi Lancer Turbo lost control, swerved off the road at high speed and knocked down spectators like bowling pins – and in the process, injuring seventeen people including four who were seriously hurt. Miraculously, no one died.

NSTP pix by Fariz Iswadi Ismail

If you had read the news reports in government-controlled media very carefully, the blame for this incident at the Wadi Ehsan Highway at Precinct 19 in Putrajaya was put squarely on the victims because they were watching from outside the permitted perimeters. These youngsters intentionally put their own lives in danger – therefore, please don’t blame the authorities.

Never mind that they allowed the race in the first place when there is no sanctioning body to monitor and supervise it.

Never mind if the Wadi Ehsan Highway is not a gazetted race track.

Never mind if the barricades were so flimsy that any vehicle that decides to run amok will plough right into the sea of spectators.

Never mind if nobody seriously scrutinized the safety arrangements.

Never mind if at that time, young people should be in bed instead of watching cars race in the middle of the night.

Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek wasn’t even apologetic but he was quick to add that this incident should not be politicized.

Yet, he forgot that earlier in the day, Najib Razak himself politicized the event when he told the young people who went to Putrajaya that it was important that they make a correct choice when casting their ballots, saying that his BN coalition has proven its capability in delivering positive change for the country for more than 55 years (Webpage, published May 26, 2012). And according to The Malaysian Insider, Najib received thunderous applause. He even thought he was being very funny when he drew laughter “from the adoring crowd” by mocking Bersih: “Democracy does not mean streets protests... that is demo-crazy"!

Politics is always on Najib’s mind – he cannot help it lah because his job depends on it!

Anyway, my point is that Malaysia is a funny country. A request for two hours of sit-in peaceful protest at an open field is forbidden, but dangerouse high-speed drag race at night on a public road is approved and allowed!!!

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