Beginning of a shift in racial politics

Jan 31, 2012

‘What is happening today is a revolt against corruption, and by extension revolt against Umno. It is not about race.’

The fracturing of the Malay community

Cala: S Thayaparan’s argument is surprisingly simple – that Umno due to its various weaknesses is slowly and steadily losing its grip on the Malays and thus giving rise to a fragmented Malay community.

The future, as seen by the writer is in DAP given its multi-ethnic stance and hopefully it will over the years allow “a reformed Malay-majority DAP” to work with other partners within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

In theory, the argument makes sense because in this case number matters. To be effective and be counted, DAP needs Malay memberships.

In practice, however, it is a painfully long process to anyone who wishes to boot out the corrupted and unrepentant regime quickly.

While waiting for more enlightened Malays to join DAP, the better way is to work closely with PKR and PAS as the latter two share similar political aspiration.

FellowMalaysian: This is a thoughtful opinion with lots of insight. But Thayaparan’s eloquent expression fell short in advice of suggestions and remedies for DAP to attract the Malay votes and groom Malay leaders.

This has not been an easy task coupled with the fact that Umno resorts to using hideous racial and religious undertones to deter the Malays from supporting Pakatan Rakyat parties, including the DAP.

Given the unscrupulous ways Umno is capable of committing, I believe DAP’s current method of winning over the Malay votes, albeit slow in progress, is gaining grounds.

Blind Feddo: A brilliant analysis.

Wanderer: Umno has cornered the lower tiers of the Malay community for their political strength with coalition partners, MCA and MIC, playing the supporting role to cling on to power.

They have enjoyed this ‘divide and rule’ principle for the past half century successfully – hoodwinking the ignorant by offering peanuts in exchange for their votes, while the Umno elite robbed the nation to glory with the crumbs falling off the table to the ‘beggar’ coalition partners.

The changing of the tide and the realisation of nation-building must be the effort of all Malaysians. Many Malays now are willing to come to face the reality.

The future of the nation does not belong to the racists, bigots and corrupts. Unite we prosper, divide we perish.

David Dass: The DAP cannot be indifferent to the fact that a particular community is lagging behind the others on any front and must take steps to address the issue.

The NEP (New Economic Policy) as formulated is a good policy. It speaks of the eradication of poverty and the removal of the identification of race with vocation or location.

The NEP may have to be reformulated to deal with today’s reality as the Malays have become more urbanised and are also more visible in all the professions. More non-Malays are needed in the civil service and the armed forces.

The point is that any government in power must be mindful of the needs of the poor and must ensure that opportunities for participation in all spheres of the economy or the life of this country is not denied to any particular segment of Malaysian society.

Baiyuensheng: If this is the mindset that the non-Malays have to adopt, then we must accept and ready ourselves for such eventuality that the Malays form the majority in DAP.

The question is are the Malays capable to uphold the universal values without succumbing to their inferiority complex and started engaging policies the likes of Perkasa and Umno?

Still, I am waiting for the day DAP is being led by capable Malay leaders and lead the country.

Hibiscus: By harping on race, Thayaparan has missed the point. BN was much accepted by voters until TDM (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) became PM.

His 22-year government brought in corruption, inefficiency and deceit. Apart from ruining the economy and education, his style had caused Umno members to not even trust him either. They too wanted to throw him out, but he used mafia-style politics to entrench his power in the ruling party.

Malaysians of all races are largely fair minded and are not racial. TDM replace Umno leadership with people who are greedy for money, while keeping the rural Malays poor so that their votes could be easily bought.

TDM used deceit and blatant corruption to rule. Today Umno is so infested with corruption they see nothing wrong in the NFC (National Feedlot Corporation) rip-off.

Their aim is to hold on to power to continue to enrich themselves and their children without regard to suffering of fellow citizens.

What is happening today is a revolt against corruption, and by extension revolt against Umno. It is not about race.

Sadirah: It is good that there is a fracturing amongst the Malays as is the case with the Chinese and Indians. This will strengthen the need for multi-racial parties which campaign on the basis of justice, equity and freedom, and not on race-based goodies.

What we are witnessing is an evolution that is taking place – albeit slowly – and we, the people who are fed up with race-based politics, should encourage this.

The days of BN are over because it has never evolved beyond its commitment to race. This can never be the basis for nation-building in the long run.

When we share power and are part of one team, even the minority will have a voice and be part of a majority that must address their concerns.

After 40 years of NEP, if the Umno hegemony is still crying for 30 percent of equity, then they have lost the plot.

Swipenter: What we are having now is essentially a two political (BN vs Pakatan) coalitions system instead of a true two-party system.

Once the reality of a two-party system is achieved and Malaysians are politically matured and savvy, then the PM of the country can be anybody best qualified for the job.

Any American born in the 50s or 60s could have thought that it was impossible for Barack Obama to become their president or even for a woman one day to lead them. That barrier is now shattered.

Whether we can discard political parties based on race and embrace political parties based on ideals is something we must work and look forward to.

There are hopeful signs – the Chinese dumping MCA and Gerakan and losing fear of PAS and Malays joining DAP and losing fear of the Chinese.

For our politics not be identified by race would take time and effort. Just remember how racist America and Australia were before they took real efforts to stamp out racism at all levels in their societies.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 1 February 2012 - 10:17 am

    ///What is happening today is a revolt against corruption, and by extension revolt against Umno. It is not about race.’///

    Agreed. Umno’s inaction on corruption and unwillingness to punish “big fishes” for committed corruption will eventually cause its downfall. The rakyat will ask why the “big fishes” are given the license to commit corruption and why they can have such “privilege”.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 1 February 2012 - 10:29 am

    The writer is correct in that the revolt really is about against corruption and its not about us overcoming racism. While racism is actually alien to the historical Malay, racism is a social and private failure and THAT is not so easy to succeed against.

    But the crux of the matter really is precisely why its a fight against corruption that its so hard. Like it or not WE have failed against the corrupting influence of UMNO B/BN and we are FAR from overcoming our own corruption. What we are seeing is actually the FAILURE OF CORRUPTION itself. Yes there are changes afoot that is AMPLYFYING or hastening the failure of corruption.

    UMNO/BN took for granted that they could manage corruption. Its sheer arrogance and prodigal of them to take it for granted. The growth of capital, mass education, and technological changes guaranteed that corruption was always going to get out of hand if their acceptance of corruption was not reversed. LKY was right, once the core was corrupted its hopeless. Its been proven again and again. The Arab Spring was just a series of more proof hastened by the internet and globalisation.

    Keep in mind, as much as the Malays and poor in this country have been corruptly feudalized, ultimately they are aware that if their feudal lords are TOO different from them, ultimately if they feel their lives are not getting better, what they want is their own lord’s corruption not the sedekah or ‘alms’ they are given.

  3. #3 by dagen on Thursday, 2 February 2012 - 8:51 am

    Remember the animation movie “A Bug’s Life”? Its a kiddie story, I know that. But the story tells us a powerful lesson. You see, all it takes is one ant – just one ant, not even the strongest or the smartest ant for the matter – to stand up against those greedy, oppressive and very abusive grasshoppers. And in no time the entire colony of ants ganged up to shoo those hoppers away.

    So never never take the paucity of new malay DAP members at face value. Didnt the hoppers in A Bug’s Life laughed at the lone Flik? Now beware umno. Be afraid. You better be very afraid!

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