PETALING JAYA: PSM’s Dr Michael Jeyakumar has voiced his concerns over the widening gap among Malaysians after GE14, saying that each race seems to be thinking of itself first.
Jeyakumar, who is a member of the party’s Central Working Committee, said both PH and Umno are causing friction.
He said Umno has stepped up its propaganda that PH is dominated by the DAP while PH’s misstep in cutting financial aid to the poor does not help.
“We are more divided along ethnic lines post-GE14. During the change in government, there was a marked hesitation on the part of the Malays towards PH.
“This hesitation has gotten worse after the May 9 polls,” he said during a forum called “Are we more united as a nation after GE14?”, organised by Taylor’s University here.
The former Sungai Siput MP said the division could be seen in the Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections where most of the votes went to Umno-PAS.
In the WhatsApp groups that he is in, Jeyakumar says he is seeing an increase in anti-PH criticism among Malays compared to before GE14.
He added the Malays feel that the Chinese and Indians are trying to challenge the character of Malaya that was agreed upon in 1957 which recognises Malay as the national language and Islam as the official religion.
“The Malays are feeling threatened. Doing away with quotas in education and the implementation of a system based exclusively on merit is seen as being against the interests of the Malay community,” said Jeyakumar.
He said that several initiatives by PH are not helping to counter this narrative. Cutting back on financial schemes for rubber smallholders and fishermen has only served to stoke these fears.
Jeyakumar said videos of Human Resource Minister M Kulasegaran saying in Tamil that the Indian king, Raja-Raja Solan, established advanced kingdoms in Kedah long before the Malacca sultanate and that Indians should be considered sons of the soil irritate and frighten some Malays.
As for the non-Malays, he said they have become extremely focused on their own issues and are “somewhat blind to the fate of the B40 Malays”, who belong to the lower-income group.
He said the recognition of the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), matriculation and public university quotas, coupled with issues surrounding ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination) and claims of a bloated bureaucracy, have taken precedence over the prevalence of poverty among Malays.
Jeyakumar said that a united nation can only be constructed out of feelings of solidarity among all ethnic groups.
“It cannot be built if we only see our own issues and shout shrilly about them,” he added.
He said people need to have friends from other races, understand other cultures, issues and have dialogues to understand each other.