December 20th, 2011 by Hafiz Noor Shams
I have been using the word farce all too often these days. I find this is really bad because it suggests that my vocabulary is limited. I admit, it is limited to simple words but to demonstrate it in the public so openly, especially for a person who regularly pretends to write columns in both online and the more traditional newspapers, it is bad business. But I really cannot help it. There are so many instances where the word describes exactly what the instances are.
Here is yet another one of those farces that is becoming a national issue: at a small protest at UMNO headquarters organized by university students, somebody without approval lowered down a banner that had the Prime Minister’s face on it. The protestors were highlighting the issue of academic freedom, responding to events that demonstrated much more needs to be done with respect to undue political influence exerted by the federal government on Malaysian campuses.
And guess what attracted the most attention nationally?
You would be too kind to the farcical politics to suggest the issue of academic freedom is the crux. Or maybe even freedom of assembly.
The biggest issue by far that has arisen from the whole brouhaha is the act of lowering the banner. Granted, the act itself was wrong but is that really the biggest issue UMNO has over the incident?
And it does not end there. The education deputy minister Saifuddin Abdullah whom decided to entertain the protestors at UMNO HQ by agreeing to accept a memorandum from the student group has been asked to resign by some for the whole farce. Indirectly, some UMNO members and supporters are blaming the deputy minister for that.
Really? Seriously? A resignation for such a trivial thing?
C’mon, UMNO members. There are ministers with actual scandal like Shahrizat Jalil and she is getting away with murder.
In the end, do you know what does this illustrate?
Quite simply, it is the bankruptcy of issues. Of all issues there to pick from, UMNO and its members chose the most trivial to fight for.
I say it again. This is a farcical fraca. Petty. This should be a comedy or a satire played in the theater, not on the national stage. Alas…
Maybe, this is a manifestation of a conservative-liberal tussle within UMNO, but surely, there are bigger conflicts to play out, something less petty to sweat over.
 — KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Dis — Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah kini berhadapan dengan serangan daripada beberapa pihak dari dalam Umno dan proparti itu, dengan ada yang mendesak agar beliau meletakkan jawatan berhubung insiden menurunkan bendera wajah Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Ahad lalu.
Serangan itu dibuat menerusi mesej-mesej Twitter dan entri dalam blog-blog.
Timbalan Menteri Pengajian Tinggi itu, yang dilihat sebagai antara pemimpin Umno bersikap terbuka dalam isu-isu berkaitan penuntut institusi pengajian tinggi (IPT) dan Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti (AUKU) digesa memikul tanggungjawab insiden kumpulan mahasiswa menurunkan dan kemudian menaikkan semula bendera Najib di pekarangan ibu pejabat Umno di sini.
Selain kritikan di dunia siber, Persatuan Alumni Pemimpin Pelajar IPT Malaysia bercadang berhimpun di pekarangan Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi di Putrajaya petang esok.
Presidennya Mohd Shahar Abdullah berkata, pihaknya mahu melahirkan sokongan kepada kepimpinan Najib selaku perdana menteri dan presiden Umno susulan insiden kelmarin. [Saifuddin jadi sasaran desakan letak jawatan susulan insiden bendera Najib. The Malaysian Insider. December 20 2011]