By TK Chua
I hate to read this: Chinese are “this and that” in Malaysia’s election “scene”. Put it this way, Chinese are neither bogeymen nor saviours of this nation.
It is funny really. In many countries, a 5% electoral swing would have buckled a government and seen a new one installed. In Malaysia, the Chinese constitute about 30% of the population and yet their almost absolute support for the Opposition coalition (I am referring to the 2013 General Election) did not make a substantive difference to election results. How then can we ever justify and label the Chinese as kingmakers?
I use only simple logic: If 90% Chinese support for the Opposition could not help change the government before, how could they help strengthen the government even if 10% or 20% of them swung back to support the ruling coalition?
For lack of a better expression, Malaysian politics is not about the “Chinese thing”. It is and will remain in the foreseeable future, the “Malay thing.”
In fact I have said this before, at this juncture of our history, it is better for non-Malay politicians, especially Chinese politicians, not to be too gung-ho in trying to take centrestage in every national issue. Chinese politicians can only play the role of “supporting actor.”
We can argue whatever we want; Chinese are not the saviours of this country. Even if they are more aware of all the protracted issues confronting this nation, it is useless unless the Malays see the same issues too. In fact, constant harping by the Chinese will only make the Malays feel more insecure and insular.
This country needs Malay leaders who are enlightened and progressive and yet able to provide economic and spiritual security to the Malays. On hindsight, Dr Mahathir Mohamad was able to hold the country together, bring progress and put unelected institutions and religious bigots in their proper place despite whatever misgivings we may harbour against him. Not everyone agrees with him, but he did what he needed to do and in retrospect, I think it was not too bad.
For the masses to feel the impact of malfeasance, they must be personally affected. Right now, I think that stage has not arrived yet. Our stomachs are still full and that is why we can indulge in endless polemics over the no-brainer stuff like who is more pious, who shall go to heaven, and whether or not we should travel in economy, business or private jets. But be careful though when the crunch comes. Once the nation is caught in a vicious cycle, usually there is no way out.
Would Malay leaders who genuinely love this country please stand up?
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
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