Village idiots

Yesterday, the great paragon of virtue Mohamed Ali Rustam, the Chief Minister of Malacca, “suggested” that the Federal Government revoke the citizenship of Bersih chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan because, in his view, she clearly intends to cause “chaos in the country” with the forthcoming Bersih rally on the 9th inst. and that it is therefore “better to lose one person than lose a lot of lives.” (Here is the Malay version of the story—it differs somewhat from the subscription-only English report, but never mind.)

Never mind the questionable logic and notwithstanding Ali Rustam’s admission that the source of violence lies within his own band of primitive imbeciles (“I worry that Pesaka [his troop of warmongers] will not be able to control the emotions of its members. In the meeting just now, I can see that our members are also on fire already. If anything happens to anyone, we should not be blamed. Ambiga has to bear all responsibility”), the problem with Ali Rustam and those like him is that for some bizarre reason they believe that every Malaysian citizen who is not an ethnic Malay or not otherwise a “native”—to wit, they are Chinese, Indian, European, or whatever—derive their citizenship by virtue of jus soli.

To be sure, the instrument of Federation, i.e. the Constitution, provides for precisely that derivation at the time the country was established (1963, not 1957); but if any of these idiots had bothered to read the damned thing and our laws of citizenship they would discover that:

a) subsequent to Malaysia Day, citizenship is granted automatically by the application of lex sanguinis—that is to say, blood. A child of a Malaysian is a Malaysian if born in the country. If born outside the country, the right of blood is patrilineal, and so on. Jus soli is applied automatically only in cases where a child born in Malaysia would otherwise be stateless (this, incidentally, happens quite frequently and the right is frequently ignored); and

b) you may revoke citizenship granted only by naturalisation, and even then under very specific conditions.

And if they were to read a little more they would discover that you may not render a person stateless, nor can you revoke citizenship gained by jus sanguinis unless that person becomes a citizen of another country (since we enforce the single-citizenship rule). If you were crafty, you might try to revoke the citizenship of someone’s pre-Merdeka ancestor in order to effect what you imagine to be the de facto denaturalisation of that person, but to do this you must dig up the ancestor and put the corpse on trial for treason.

I have posted previously that I will not take part in Bersih 2.0. This does not mean that I am in support of the Government, Perkasa, the Police, the Home Minister, and so on. But I do wish to point out, again, that like begets like. If the reasons for Bersih 2.0 were clear—for example, to present a petition to the King requesting that something be done to clean up the electoral rolls and to make the election process transparent and accountable; or even to prevent gerrymandering—then that would have my full marching support as it did in 2007.

But when the “demands” of the “People” become cries for a return to the glorious days of Malaysia’s wealth of natural resources and talent, or that the Barisan Government is evil and should be brought down, then no, I will not support it. This, if I am unclear, doesn’t mean that I support an evil and corrupt regime (I do of course, but it’d have to be my own regime, not someone else’s)—it means merely that I support free and fair elections, and a process whereby, should the Barisan Nasional win, there would be no question of electoral victory. This would apply equally to the Pakatan Rakyat, or Parti Islam, or the Communist Party of Malaysia which is apparently still alive and kicking.

Moreover the kind of blind adherence to the anti-Government position that the Bersih march has inspired is fundamentally dangerous. Why? Because it is the same blind adherence that put the Barisan in power in the first place and kept it there for over half a century.

“If you are not with Bersih, you are against free and fair elections.”

Does that kind of thinking not worry you?