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Race drives politics in Malaysia

 | July 19, 2012

Malays should stop thinking about changing Umno and instead change themselves; only then will Umno follow.

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Malays who think that they want “1Malaysia” and believe that Malays are now ready to compete at par with the non-Malays – in business and in other fields – should rethink.

Ask yourself if you can do so without the political clout to ensure that it will happen.

Who will give you that helping hand and a fair go in education, in business, in work and in life without Umno?

Walk softly, they (Umno) say… but carry a big stick if you want to get ahead in life. For the Malays their big stick is political power.

For now, Umno does not pretend to be anything else but a Malay political organisation that has the interest of the Malays at heart.

Umno leads the Barisan Nasional coalition whose partners understand, accept and subscribe to the principles that Umno holds dear – Ketuanan Melayu, the Sultans and Islam as the religion of our nation.

The DNA of Umno is Malay in composition, in outlook and in fact. It carries this Malay DNA with no apologies.

Do not think about changing Umno. The Malays must change themselves and Umno will change with them.

Morphing DAP

The DNA of DAP is Chinese. DAP is Chinese to the core but it strives desperately to be Malaysian.

Having their token Malays to stand as DAP candidates will not alter that DNA.

So why does DAP persists with this claim of being for all Malaysians and not just be what it really is – a Chinese political entity that draws its strength and electoral support from the Chinese?

Political expediency for one.

DAP leaders now ride the crest of 1Malaysia because they think that will bring to DAP the critical mass of voters needed for electoral gains in the 13th general election.

In the past, Penang DAP had never had the numbers to claim legitimacy as a political player at state level, what more at the national level.

In Penang, it is the Chinese votes that put DAP into government.

There is no shame in admitting this reality just as there is no shame for PAS to admit that Islam and the Malays will ensure Kelantan remains PAS or Umno for the foreseeable future.

DAP now has national aspirations. There are other states to conquer and maybe even a tilt at Putrajaya.

For that to happen, DAP thinks it needs to cleanse itself of its Chinese DNA and assume, albeit uncomfortably, the “1Malaysian” persona to make itself acceptable to the non-Chinese – vis-à-vis the Malays.

And so we see the attempted morphing of DAP into a Malaysian political entity.

The proof will be in the manner DAP decides on who will stand as its elected representatives in the coming 13th general election.

Race and money politics

For those who want change in Malaysian politics this is indeed the winter of their discontent. Race, as always, drives politics in Malaysia.

In which case, what change do they want? Change from racial politics?

How can this happen when all political entities within our country pay lip service to the need to eliminate racial consideration from politics and subscribe religiously, in deeds and in practice, to the need to have a Malay lead their political organisation?

Change from money politics?

How can this be when politics and money in Malaysia are married until even death will not make them part?

All political entities engage in money politics – it is just a matter of degree.

If you engage and condone money politics, then you are guilty of money politics – Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat.

We therefore must not subscribe to the belief that money politics practised in moderation is acceptable. It is not!

Political and financial power is with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Umno and they will use it to their advantage for electoral gain.

PKR roots in Umno

Pakatan Rakyat is against racial politics, but the reality is that they too accept that a Malay will lead Pakatan and that a Malay will be prime minister.

DAP tries to be what it is not – a multiracial political entity.

PAS is focused on an Islamic state – nothing more and nothing less.

And PKR, it seems, will never be able to shake off its Umno roots in time for it to be relevant to Pakatan in the 13th general election.

Umno thinks it has the ability pull itself together and refocus on the matter at hand – trying to win the 13th general election.

The question now is: Can Pakatan do the same and give Umno a run for its money?

CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.


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