Putera UMNO and Perkasa have finally found something that they and the Malaysian public can agree on, Alvin Tan and his asylum claim in the U.S. The basis of this consensus is that he is a coward for running away, leaving his girlfriend Vivian to face the rap alone and, the fact that he is criticizing the government from the States.
Alvin and Vivian are both facing charges under the Film Censorship Act, Sedition Act and the Penal Code, for their Bak Kut Teh Ramadan greeting, posting lewd pictures on their blog and promoting enmity between the various racial and religious groups in the country. Now, that Alvin has absconded, Vivian is left facing this charges on her own.
Let me be clear, I think Alvin and Vivian were being uncouth when they made their Ramadan greeting. It was uncalled for and Lord knows what they were thinking when they did it. Therefore, I do not condone their actions and definitely do not agree with it. In fact, I think it was plain stupid.
But, the fact that Alvin is seeking political asylum in America is to me, an intelligent move by the former NUS scholar. Cowardly it may be. But, intelligent it definitely is. After all, what is so courageous about fighting a battle you know will never be be fought fairly. To stay and fight is an exercise in futility and he knows it.
Let’s be real. The fact that both, he and Vivian has publicly apologized for the advert, does not excuse them from punishment? But, the fact that they have apologized publicly should also be taken into consideration.
Contrast their actions to the cow head protestors, who, not only did not apologize to the public for their vacuous action but were also, never charged. In fact, the then Minister of Home Affairs, Hishamuddin Tun Hussein appeared at a press conference with one them, condoning their despicable action.
Secondly, what about the likes of Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Nordin, Mahathir Mohammad and other such personality who has in recent times or in the past made disparaging remarks against people of other races and religions ( yes, this includes Mahathir and his lazy Malay comment). Why are they not being charged? Isn’t making such remarks and then hidding behind some powerful figure, who can deflect any possible legal action being taken against them equally as cowardly.
The other charge Alvin is facing is the posting of lewd pictures of himself and his then girlfriend. Again, not condoning it but merely asking out of curiosity, have the three Datuk’s, collectively known as Datuk T faced any charges for their public screening of Anwar’s alleged sex tape? I don’t think so.
I opine that the reason UMNO, Perkasa, the IGP and others are getting all worked up is because they gave him the publicity that he was seeking and were trying to make an example out of him. But, he escaped and now he is using that very publicity to attack them. And they don’t like it because they fell for his ploy, hook, line and sinker. Pardon my French but, isn’t karma a bitch.
The central question here is an issue of law and equality. The fact that Alvin, as opinionated as he is had to seek political asylum overseas, simply proves the amount of confidence he has in our legal system. He might I add, is not the only one. Raja Petra, Dr. Munawar Anees and all the people we see on Facebook and YouTube, resorting to vigilante justice simply shows the deteriorating level of confidence we Malaysians have in our legal system.
This is not an isolated issue. Any attempt to do so is purely meant to deflect from the crux of the matter. And, having the likes of Perkasa and Putera UMNO giving their two cents worth on the matter is noting, in my opinion but attempt to add a racial dynamic to the mix, nothing else.
At the risk of repeating myself, I do not agree with what Alvin and Vivian has done. But, him seeking political asylum in the United States is a smart move and I for one do not think it a cowardly act. In fact, I would like to wish him all the best on his endeavours and hope he will continue to voice out against the abuses of power that occur in our country.