Sadly, Karpal's vision of a non-Malay prime minister is regarded as a sin or 'blasphemy' by the narrow-minded Malays.
There is one thing common among the prime ministers of this country and that is they waste no time in serving their own interests instead of doing what duty calls, that is, to serve the rakyat honestly and unconditionally.
All six prime ministers of this nation have todate been Muslims. The law does not make it obligatory that a Muslim sits on the premier’s chair; it is Article 153 of the Federal Constitution which protects Malay rights and privileges that is to blame. This, besides the fact that Islam is the official religion of this country, has also complicated matters.
Still, it has not deterred veteran politician Karpal Singh from dreaming of a Malaysian Chinese or Indian being the next prime minister of Malaysia. In fact, the DAP president has vowed to continue his fight to ensure a non-Malay finds the opportunity to wear the hat of Malaysia’s premier.
To this hard-hitting lawyer, the case of a Putrajaya embracing a non-Malay prime minister is nothing out of the ordinary, for the country’s law is not prejudicial when it comes to the race and religion of Malaysia’s prime minister.
Karpal’s vision does come as a fresh breath of air, especially when we realise the controversies the former and current prime ministers of this nation have stirred.
Not only scandals, Malaysia’s prime ministers have time and again revealed their preoccupation with serving their own personal agendas.
The former and longest-serving prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, lorded over the nation for 22 years. His legacy? A system infested with corruption, cronyism and greed.
Plus, he made sure Malaysians had little room to think “out of the box”. His era of “third class mentalities” left behind a damage so severe that to this day, Malaysians are synonymous with the “third-class mentality” acknowledgment.
Then there is “acting by proxy” stint taking place with the premiers. Najib Tun Razak is doing so as premier, allowing his “better half” Rosmah Mansor to do the thinking and giving her full authority to meddle in government affairs.
The result has been disastrous: Rosmah, known for her “rich and famous” lifestyle, has nearly emptied the nation’s purse. Both hubby and wife seem distant from the grassroots people and find comfort in rubbing shoulders with the hot-shots.
Prior to Najib taking charge, it was Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who held fort after Mahathir decided to call it quits. And like Najib, it was Abdullah’s son-in-law Khairy Jamaludin who acted as his proxy, dictating the do’s and dont’s to his father-in-law. Needless to say, Abdulah’s premiership failed to thrive.
And yet Karpal’s vision of a non-Malay prime minister is regarded as a sin or “blasphemy”, by the narrow-minded Malays.
These extremists have little tolerance for such a day when a Malaysian Chinese or an Indian calls the shots from the nation’s administrative hub, Putrajaya.
Is the rejection all about “Malay supremacy” or do these closeted mindsets have no faith in the aptitudes of the Indians and Chinese of this land when it comes to handling the challenges as premier of this country?
Or is it a case of Putrajaya having become a “private limited” entity, reserved strictly for a “Muslim” prime minister?
Stop being ‘colour’ blind
Karpal’s “I have a dream” has also not gone down well with PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. The Tok Guru says as long as the person is a Muslim, he is most welcomed to be premier of Malaysia.
To him, there is no need to bicker about the person’s race, so long as his faith is Islam.
Nik Aziz justifies it, saying: “Okay to be non-Malay, so long as he is a Muslim. How to lead Muslims if he is not a Muslim? Will a democratic nation give the post to a communist?
“And in the same vein, will a communist country accommodate a democratic leader? No such thing! A communist country will be helmed by a communist, a democratic country will be led by a democratic leader.
“So, a Muslim nation must be led by a Muslim, regardless of race.”
Noted, but has the Tok Guru forgotten the foul-ups the nation’s Muslim prime ministers have made? They are no blunders but real-time grave hanky-pankies, done at the expense of the hopeful rakyat.
Did Nik Aziz not have sleepless nights knowing that Mahathir comes from a non-Malay ancestry, representing instead a mixed Malay and South Indian descent?
To many, Mahathir is credited for taking Malaysia to greater heights. Perhaps so but he is more known for having bullied law-makers of this country into dancing to his tunes, failing which he punished them mercilessly, as was the fate of Lord President of the Supreme Court, Salleh Abas, whom Mahathir suspended “for gross misbehaviour and conduct” and later dismissed.
But did Mahathir’s conscience prick him over his actions that destroyed the independence of the judiciary? We can keep wondering…
Najib, meanwhile, is having a tough time dealing with his “filled to the brim” closet of skeletons whose stench has made the entire nation nauseous.
This sixth premier has failed to strike a chord with the natives and the hardworking Malaysians. Instead, the rakyat remembers him more for his alleged dalliance with a Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaaribuu, who was later found dead in a Malaysian jungle.
Najib is also in trouble for allegedly raking in billions via the Scorpene submarine deal, which also saw his buddy consultant Abdul Razak Baginda laughing all the way to bank.
Leaders lack dignity
Bluntly said, the country’s leaders lack dignity. On the contrary, Malaysia’s premier are better known for their crass behaviour, name-calling and back-stabbing characteristics.
When Abdullah replaced Mahathir as premier, the latter was far from pleased with the former’s leadership, saying it was a mistake to appoint Abdullah the prime minister. In fact, Mahathir went so far as to demean Abdullah’s intelligence, saying Najib would be a better choice to lead Malaysia.
And when Najib became prime minister, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister was still not happy, saying Najib did not have it in him to lead the nation.
Instead of carrying out their duties towards the rakyat, the nation’s premiers conveniently gambled with the people’s welfare. Maybe it was poetic justice that the ruling government Barisan Nasional lost miserably in the 2008 general election.
And yet they cry foul over the thought of a non-Malay leading Malaysia to greater heights.
Has history not taught them anything? Or are they bent on turning Malaysia into a racist nation, one that gives no thought to the capabilities of the other races?
Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.