National unity: Chandra told to get real


KOTA KINABALU: The newly formed opposition group SakSaMa has criticised social scientist Chandra Muzaffar’s prescriptions for national unity, saying they ignore political realities.

SakSaMa Secretary-General Jack Giau said Chandra needed to “come down from his ivory tower” to see “the real world that we live in”.

He was referring to an article by Chandra that FMT published yesterday. The social scientist wrote of five challenges to national unity and proposed five ways of meeting them.

Giau noted that the five challenges “are based on ethnic considerations” and conceded that Chandra obviously meant well.

However, he added, “He’s ignoring the elephant in the room.”

“Real politics,” said Giau, “does not allow for cronyism, collusion and putting a hand in the cookie jar. The system must have integrity. It doesn’t allow for that since it has been rigged in favour of a few at the expense of the many.”

Giau sees the “real challenges” as stemming from several factors inherent in a “rigged system.”

The current system, he said, allowed for no change. “The Malaysian Constitution is not seen as one which brings together the Federal Constitution and related constitutional documents on Malaysia, the Election Commission (EC) is not independent, the country has seen no change in the ruling party since independence, the ruling party has no ideology, and politics is seen as a chance to get into business.”

He called for the Federal Government’s compliance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), saying the failure to factor in MA63 raised a question on the legitimacy of the federation.

“MA63 is the basis for the federation bringing together Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya,” he said. “Without MA63, there’s no basis for these three nations to be together.”

He also sees the EC as a barrier to national unity. The EC, he said, must be independent, appointed by the Yang diPertuan Agong and answerable to Parliament.

“Unless the EC is a body that all citizens can be proud of, it will continue to be biased and be party to any number of dubious practices. These practices mean that we are a long way off from having clean, free and fair elections. The case has been well argued by the Bersih 2.0 movement for electoral reform.”

He said the “rigged system” had seen the creation of many ethnic-majority seats where politicians would play to the gallery, falling back on the politics of distraction and disruption and using that as a cover “to get into business for themselves” at the expense of the people.

“Basically, it’s distortion and deviation in the implementation of Article 153 of the Federal Constitution,” he said. “The intention of the Founding Fathers and the framers of the Federal Constitution are being observed, more often than not, in the breach.”

Giau went on to lament that the country had seen no change in the ruling party which according to him has no political ideology – “unless a self-serving agenda is an ideology.”

He added: “All politics is about restructuring the distribution of political power and the restructuring of the distribution of resources. We don’t see that in this country.”