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‘Race-based govt can’t last long in Penang’

 | September 17, 2012

The Penang Malay Congress believes that there must a balanced representation of all races in the state government.

GEORGE TOWN: No state government can last long in Penang if it is dominated by one race, says the Penang Malay Congress.

Its president Rahmad Isahak said the reality in Penang is that there must be a balanced representation of all races in the government and its relevant subsidiaries or agencies.

He said that unlike Kelantan where the Malay Muslims account for more than 97% of the population, Penang has a more diversified religious and racial base.

“If all races are on an equal socio-economic footing, then perhaps one day in Malaysia, race will no longer be a decisive factor on the political front. Now, it remains an issue especially if one race lingers behind others.”

Race relations may be healthy in Malaysia, but whether each community is honestly happy in its own socio-economic context, is another question altogether, he said.

Generally the Malays are an unhappy lot in Penang because they are facing evictions, poor job prospects and a dwindling political voice, he claimed.

However, he said the Malays do not have to take to the streets to vent their frustration, because such actions will affect the everyday lives of the ordinary folk.

He also said when squatters are relocated, they cannot move anywhere on the ilsand as there is an acute shortage of affordable housing.

“Is it fair for them to live outside of the island? This means that Penang island must only be populated by the rich only.”

The issue the Malays here face when the next general election comes, is whether their plight will get the attention of any government, Rahmad said.

Malay candidates

He was responding to his earlier statement that DAP, which rose to become a dominant political force in Penang, should consider fielding five Malay candidates in the next election.

This would ensure there are enough Malay representation in government unlike now where there are only two Malay executive council members, he said.

Penang has 40 state seats, of which DAP has 19, PAS one, PKR nine and Umno 11.

Rahmad alleged that PAS and PKR have failed to meet the needs of the Malay community and their grouses are growing every day.

PKR and PAS may lose seats, and this will indirectly weaken the Malay support for Pakatan Rakyat here, he said.

But this may change if DAP also fields Malay candidates, he said.

Rahmad also said those contesting as independent candidates in the next general election here, may lose as the battle here is mostly between Pakatan and Barisan Nasional.


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