A noisy crowd, an Attorney General speaking in English and this is democracy in action in newly minted Malaysia.
The disruption of the press conference by the Attorney-General Tommy Thomas at the lobby of the Kuala Lumpur court complex on Tuesday was unexpected.
But the Umno members believe they had the right to do so. They turned rowdy and the police feared for the security of the AG.
He was speaking in English, while they wanted him to speak in Malay.
The AG, facing the full brunt of the emotional UMNO crowd composed of women and men from ex-PM Najib Razak’s constituency in Pekan, Pahang decided to cancel the press conference.
The Social Media scene is abuzz with criticism of the AG from Najib supporters but they are in turn trolled by a large number of Malaysians who approves of the AG’s stance.
The language issue has been simmering in Malaysia since the Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng issued media releases in Chinese.
This raised the ire of Umno supporters and added to the already tense situation in the country where the majority of the Members of the Parliament in the government are from non-Malay origins.
The Umno has played this issue since the elections of May 9.
The Lim Guan Eng’s blunder of issuing the press statements in Chinese – which is against the norm in Malaysia where such statements are always issued in Malay – added to the crisis.
When the AG spoke in English, the crowd shouted “Melayu” and “Hidup Melayu” to drown out Tommy’s voice until he had to be escorted away.
The AG was the subject of intense protest from the Umno, the new opposition party in Malaysia.
Wrangling the Malaysian monarchs in the problem, the Umno wanted to demonstrate against the appointment of the non-Malay AG.
But the rally was a failed event, with very few turning up and was cancelled.
However, the AG, explaining his lack of fluency in speaking Malay said he had to brush-up his Bahasa Malaysia.
He said he used English daily since he was involved with international clients during his career.
Nevertheless, the Umno is hitting hard on the government and the authorities for appointing a non-Malay as the AG, saying this will cause the fall of Islam as the dominant faith in the country.