So what if non-Muslims make up 50% of the cabinet?

“Many are not aware that 50% of the present government is made up of non-Muslims. So this is not a Muslim-majority government unlike the previous BN administration” .

If these words, spoken by Lokman Noor Adam, the BN candidate for the Sungai Kandis by-election is anything to go by, a victory for him and the BN is a disaster waiting to happen in a country that voted for change.

The irony of it all is that Lokman himself was one of the earliest promoters of the Reformasi movement when he was with the PKR. Isn’t what is happening now in Malaysia a response to his then demand for Reformasi ? I would venture to say his past wishes are being granted as we are witnessing a reformation that makes this country truly Malaysia.

So what if 50% of the present cabinet is made up of non-Muslims? Has a crime been committed? Does it say anywhere in our constitution that the make-up of the government is to be based on racial lines? If it does, I must have missed it when scanning through the constitution. I for one would rather have a cabinet of a mixed racial composition than one that is dominated by a particular race. Our country is after all a cosmopolitan nation. Aside from that, it is no use to anyone if we have a one-race dominant cabinet made up of corrupt, scheming, dishonest racist leaders who believe in polarisation, and not ability or meritocracy. We need leaders with integrity, ability and credibility regardless of the colour of their skin. We need leadership by example.

How do we, therefore, progress as a nation if we are to compromise on quality? Where do you even begin when you deny the people of this nation the opportunity to be served by leaders of distinction? If picking the best brains for the job means getting people of different races, so be it because this sets the motion for change in the way we think, behave and look at life in general.

We are now reforming. We are metamorphosing and becoming the agents of change. I have no qualms about that and neither should the likes of Lokman Noor Adam.

The concept of playing the racial and religious card should be locked up in a cupboard forever and the keys thrown into the ocean. What this country needs at the moment are leaders who can take us to the next level. One that would put us on par with other great nations. One that we can be proud of. Only then can we say with pride, that we come from a country called Malaysia.

Clement Stanley is a FMT reader.

The writer’s views are not necessarily those of FMT.