Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is up to his past mischief yesterday when he played the race card to create racial suspicion, mistrust and fear in his effort to save UMNO and Barisan Nasional from being voted out of Federal power in the 13th general election and replaced by Pakatan Rakyat.
Saying that the Chinese voters are the kingmakers for the 13th general election, Mahathir said the Chinese voters will decide who forms the government after the general election as the Malays are divided among three parties.
He claimed that “the Malay majority has split itself into three and become the minority” and the opposition PKR, PAS as well as UMNO have “to cede to Chinese demands”.
As a result, “these three small Malay parties need the support of the Chinese in order to win the elections”.
He said: “Whichever party gets the support of the Chinese will win the elections.
“The fact is today all three Malay parties are trying to butter the Chinese electorate. So they become racial and cater to racial demands.”
What Mahathir said yesterday must rank as among his most irresponsible and mischievous statements, making nonsense of his Vision 2020 and concept of Bangsa Malaysia which envisioned Malaysians “ethnically and territorially integrated, living in harmony and full and fair partnership” by 2020.
Mahathir raised three issues with his latest playing of the race card.
Firstly, is he completely writing off the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP as capable of securing a modicum of Chinese votes in the 13GE? And do the MCA, Gerakan and SUPP leader agree with Mahathir?
Secondly, the Malaysian Chinese are not and do not want to be the “kingmakers” in the 13 general election.
The harsh reality is that the electoral arithmetic does not allow the Chinese voters to be the “kingmakers”.
In any event, what the Chinese voters want is to be able to exercise their fundamental citizenship rights as guaranteed under the Malaysian Constitution to enjoy an equal place under the Malaysian sun, instead of being forced into a Malaysian Diaspora worldwide totally some two million Malaysians in the past four decades because of corrupt, unjust and undemocratic policies and governance.
Incidentally, the Malaysian Diaspora is not confined to Malaysian Chinese but is very multiracial, including an increasing percentage of Malays as well.
Thirdly, the real kingmakers in the 13th general election are not the Chinese voters but all Malaysian voters, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans to unite and bring about peaceful transition of federal power for the first time in the 54-year history of the nation to end corruption, cronyism and abuses of power.
Yesterday, Mahathir said that the next general election will be about race.
This is what Mahathir and the UMNO leaders and strategists want the next general election to be about so that they could play the race and fear cards to effect.
Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, class or region must prove Mahathir and the UMNO leaders and strategists wrong, that although Mahathir has himself rubbished the “Bangsa Malaysia concept” just as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak has made a mockery of his 1Malaysia concept, Malaysians have the chance to show that they have become more Malaysian-minded and patriotic than the UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders and will respond and rally to Pakatan Rakyat call to vote as Malaysians than just as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans.
The next general election is not a battle between Malays and non-Malay voters but between racialists who want to continue to keep Malaysians in their separate communal compartments and Malaysian nationalists and patriots who want good governance, economic justice, democracy, human rights and national unity and not race to become the dominant election issues.