Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar said he is “uneasy” over the ‘butt protest' in front of Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga’s home on Tuesday, saying there are other ways of expressing dissent.
As an example, he pointed out that he had held a debate with Ambiga, and said there was no necessity for the protests in front of her residence.
Khairy ( right ) is particularly worried that the whole thing could deteriorate into a tit-for-tat saga with the country ending up the laughing stock of the world.
“If not, this thing will never end: Sell burgers in front of Ambiga’s house one day, sell thosai in front of the deputy IGP’s house a few days later. Maybe sell kuey teow in front of Seri Perdana (the prime minister’s official residence) next week.
“This will get ridiculous and we will be the laughing stock of the world... Let’s be more mature in our politics,” he said when asked by reporters at a press conference after launching Auto Forum 2012 in Kuala Lumpur today.
When asked about the youth wing’s preparations to face the upcoming general election, the Rembau MP said the entire party machinery has been ready since last year, after being told by party president Najib Abdul Razak to make preparations.
“Tomorrow I’ll be in Tawau to launch the Sabah state level Umno Youth machinery with the Sabah chief minister through the ‘BN, the youths’ choice’ programme.
“This is only a symbolic gesture to give a bit of stimulation to our grassroots, but in terms of logistics, attitude surveys, and identification of young voters, we are almost done and an election candidates list had been handed over to the prime minister,” he said.
When it was pointed out to him that many of the protesters at Bersih 3.0 were youths and students, and asked whether this had affected BN’s strategy, Khairy quipped, “Many of those attending Umno’s 66th anniversary celebration were youths, too.”
He denied that BN has lost the support of young voters but had managed to woo the majority of them through a number of policies, such as the abolition of the Internal Security Act, amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act, the first home scheme, and entrepreneur training programmes.
“The proof is in the results of eight past by-elections... where polling streams three and four that are synonymous with young voters all favoured BN.”
Kit Siang seeks return to ‘decency’
Khairy's call was echoed across the political divide in a statement from DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang who issued a call for a return to “decency and civility to politics and public life”.
He decried what he called three “uncivilised” public acts in recent times, mentioning the Perkasa “funeral rite” in front of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s house in Penang, the setting-up of a burger stall in front of Ambiga’s house and the “butt” dance by army veterans also at her house yesterday as the promise of more uncivilised actions to come.
However, he reasoned that the tide of adverse public reaction in the past week may have triggered belated realisation in official circles that such insensitive and deplorable conduct have gone beyond what is acceptable and permissible for decent Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, class, gender or age.
This he said, explained the condemnation of these “uncivilised” actions by those who had earlier held their silence, though Lim believed that it is too little, too late and completely inadequate.