Dr M fear-mongering, playing race card to keep Umno in power, say analysts

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
22 December 2014

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s warning that the Malays are losing political dominance and may end up being left behind was meant to strike fear into the community and ensure that Umno remained in power, analysts said.

Observers said the former prime minister was also looking at matters through a racial lens, which was ironic considering that he was a proponent of Bangsa Malaysia policy of an inclusive national identity.

Professor James Chin said it was impossible for the Malays to lose power to the minority races in the country as all the top positions, from the Malay rulers to the civil service, were dominated by that community.

Citing examples, the academic with Monash University Malaysia said the posts of prime minister and deputy prime minister, at least half the Cabinet postings as well as senior positions in the government service were held by Malays.

“He is stating that to play up the racial card and to scare the Malays to ensure Umno remains in power,” Chin told The Malaysian Insider.

In last year’s general election, the ruling Barisan Nasional pact of which Umno is the lynchpin party failed to retain its customary two-thirds federal majority for the second consecutive time.

The ruling pact fared worse in the 13th general election, winning only 133 federal seats, seven fewer than in the 2008 national poll.

Dr Mahathir has received brickbats from opposition politicians for saying that the Malay community’s grip on politics was weak due to disunity, and that they had to beg for support from other races to remain in power.

The statesman said yesterday that the Malays who make up 60% of the population should be politically dominant, but that their power had weakened.

“Now Umno, PKR, and PAS have to beg for support from DAP to win the general election. When we become beggars, we no longer have power,” he said, adding that even if the country achieved developed-nation status, the Malays might be left behind.

Pointing out that Umno has been the ruling Malay party since Malaysia achieved independence in 1957, Chin questioned how the Malays could still be weak and marginalised as claimed, especially since Dr Mahathir who was prime minister for 22 years, was Malaysia’s longest-serving national leader.

Political analyst Dr Oh Ei Sun from Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies said Malaysia’s main problem was not due to the racial and religious divide, but glaring gaps in wealth and education of which some quarters took advantage by masquerading them in racial and religious cloaks.

“These divides are present in all communities but it is convenient for the powers that be to couch them in racial terms. They do so to garner support from those who don’t know any better,” he said, advising people to get out of their racially and religion-defined comfort zones and focus on improving their education and livelihoods.

However, analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan felt Dr Mahathir was in his speech referring to Malays who promoted extremist and divisive agendas.

“Yes, these people have good reason to be fearful because they are losing power and their numbers are growing smaller and that is good for the country,” he said.

The Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive officer said the country was heading towards a more progressive and lively direction, and as a result, race-based parties, which were the senior parties in BN, were losing their popularity with the electorate as evident in the results of the last two general elections. – December 22, 2014.

  1. #1 by worldpress on Monday, 22 December 2014 - 7:47 pm

    An agent of greed and slavery of poverty.

  2. #2 by good coolie on Wednesday, 24 December 2014 - 1:14 pm

    Dr. M used race issues to come to power. He was not altogether wrong in principle, but what he started got out of control leading to whole-sale betrayal of the social contract which was the basis of Merdeka.
    Now, all his posturing seems to be with the one aim of ensuring his son sits on the throne in the near future.

  3. #3 by john on Thursday, 25 December 2014 - 1:39 pm

    MM Kutty still at his evil-self, has not an iota of self-dignity, such a “sicko”; even an ordinary lay person will feel some sense of self-dignity; when at some point in ripe-old age time.
    Just the Nation’s curse having MM Kutty.

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