March 24, 2008
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
In the old days it used to be called “The Ugly American”. Today, it is The Ugly Malaysian, at least as far as this country is concerned.
Malaysians, just like Americans, are racists; there is no doubt about that. But while Americans will accept the fact that they are racists, Malaysians will deny it and will instead claim to be very tolerant of the other race or races.
You can always tell when a person is a racist from the opening statement when a Chinese says “I have a lot of Indian friends”, or a Malay says “I used to mix with Chinese at school”, or an Indian says “Actually, Malays in the kampong are very nice people”, and so on. This is the Malay, Chinese and Indian way of giving their ‘stamp of approval’ to the other race. Why do you need to emphasis the word ‘Malay’, ‘Chinese’ or ‘Indian’? Is this your way of showing tolerance? Does the emphasis on race mean you are ‘tolerant’ of those not of your race? Is this to give an appearance of magnanimity or generosity on your part? See what a great guy I am. I tolerate the other races— as if I need anyone to ‘tolerate’ me.
Look at Malaysiakini’s latest report on the Selangor State EXCO line-up. Malaysiakini reported that out of the ten EXCO Members, six are going to be non-Malays and four of them women. Who the hell cares whether six are non-Malays and four are women? Are these people being chosen to run the state because of their race and gender? Should they not be chosen because of their qualifications and capabilities? Who are these six non-Malays and four women anyway? Are they the best of the lot? Will they outperform and outshine the previous Khir Toyo administration? Are we going to see Selangor grow and prosper by leaps and bounds? Is Selangor going to be paradise on earth?
Who cares? What matters is that six are going to be non-Malays and four are going to be women. That is what matters and that is what is going to guarantee a great future ahead of us. The calibre of the ten EXCO members was buried in the consideration of race and gender. That is the main focus and that is what appears to be the deciding factor. Woe to this country when race and gender override all other factors.
Are Malaysians ready for an all-women EXCO line-up? What if all ten EXCO Members are women? If all these ten women are the most capable of the lot and none of the men can better their credentials would this be so bad? Should not that be what matters? What if all ten EXCO Members are Chinese, or all ten Indians, or all ten Malays? Would this be so bad as well? No, Selangor is 52% Malay and 48% non-Malay. Furthermore, 52% of the voters are women and 48% of the voters men. So the ten-member EXCO line-up must reflect this racial and gender breakdown. Oh? Is that so? Well, since 40% of Malaysians are non-Malays and 51% are women, how can we have just one Prime Minister who is a Malay man? What about the 40% non-Malay Malaysians and the 51% women Malaysians? A Malay man Prime Minister means that the 40% non-Malays and 51% women are ‘not represented’.
This argument of ‘equal’ representation according to race and gender is ridiculous. This means gays and lesbians plus Portuguese, Ibans, Dayaks, Kadazan, Sikhs, Ceylonese, Siamese, Javanese, Bugis, Burmese, Vietnamese, etc. can demand and should also be given ‘representation’ in the government since they too are Malaysian citizens. If men and women are a criteria, then gays and lesbians should equally be a criteria. And if Malay, Chinese and Indian are considerations, then ‘others’ not Malay, Chinese and Indian should also be considerations. Or are the minorities not important, as Nazri Aziz said a few months ago?
It is most upsetting to read news reports, even by those ‘alternative’ and more progressive sources like Malaysiakini, playing the racial card. It would have sufficed if Malaysiakini had reported that ten EXCO Members (though it was wrong as it is actually nine) had been decided without stressing on the six non-Malays and four Malays (which is again wrong). What is the purpose of bringing to the readers’ attention the race of the EXCO Members and stress on the fact that six are non-Malays and four Malays (which in the first place is wrong)?
This has been what has delayed the swearing-in of the EXCO members although the elections were held two weeks ago. It was because of how many Malays and how many non-Malays should be in the EXCO line-up. Furthermore, the three opposition parties that had agreed to form the new coalition government in the state could not agree on a 4:4:2 or 5:3:2 or 4:3:2 formula. That one extra EXCO seat resulted in a ‘deadlock’ of sorts. Who cares who gets that one extra seat? I don’t! Most of the voters don’t! But the three opposition parties do and what the political parties want count, not what the voters want?
You see, the state is ‘owned’ by the political parties, not by the rakyat. It is the political parties that won the election, not the rakyat. The rakyat do not matter. What the political parties want does. When the political parties came before the rakyat during the election campaign, they spoke about Barisan Nasional’s racist policies. They asked the rakyat to reject Barisan Nasional because Barisan Nasional stands for racism.
The opposition parties campaigned on a platform of non-race-based politics. They argued that we are all Malaysians, one nation of Malaysians, not a nation divided by race. Malays, Chinese and Indians are one, they screamed. Let us unite. Let us look at each other as brothers and sisters. Never mind who you vote for. Never mind if the candidate is Malay, Chinese or Indian. Never mind if the political party the candidates represent is DAP, PKR or PAS. Just vote opposition. Just vote any race. Just vote any political party. But after they win they argue about which race, which political party, which gender, and what the sexual preferences of each candidate is in deciding how to form the government.
When the rakyat chose the government, race, religion, gender, and whatever else, were furthest from their minds. They did not care which party you were from. They did not care which religion you believed in. They did not care whether you are Malay, Chinese or Indian. They voted for you regardless whether you are man, woman, or gay man/woman. Do you think they now want to split hairs over just one seat because the politicians want a Malay, Chinese, Indian, man, woman, etc., majority?
Just form the government and form it quick. While you haggle, valuable information and crucial evidence are disappearing. So what if we get an extra Malay, or extra Chinese, or extra Indian, or extra man, or extra woman, or whether that extra seat is Siamese and gay to boot? Did not DAP, PKR and PAS scream that it does not matter whether it is a white cat or a black cat, the most important thing is that the cat can catch the mouse? Now that you won our votes, you forget about this black cat and white cat crap. Now that you are in power, you are fussy about the colour of the cat and argue about what God that cat believes in and whether this cat comes with a pussy or a dick.
Aiyoh, what is wrong with these politicians? Barisan Nasional and Barisan Rakyat are both the same. At the end of the day, party interest comes first. At the end of the day, your race and religion matter. The ‘one-Malaysian’ and ‘all are brothers and sisters’ is only raised during the election campaign and when they want our votes. After that, they put that all away into the closet, to be raised only during the next election campaign.
My wife and I voted in Subang USJ and we both voted for an Indian man and a Chinese girl. We did not vote for them because they happen to be an Indian man and a Chinese girl. We also did not refuse to vote for them because they happen to not be Malay and Muslim. We voted for them because we support the opposition. And their race, religion and gender did not matter one bit when we voted for them. Why, then, should it suddenly matter now? That is what baffles me about the Malaysian mind.