Malaysians ready to discard racially-based parties


Study: Malaysians ready to discard racially-based parties

An Oxford University study funded by CIMB Foundation found that Malaysians generally want greater integration and unity.

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The  New Malaysia with a Conservative Arabist Mindset

An Oxford University study disproves the notion that Malaysians are not ready to discard racially-based parties.

Malaysians, in fact, prefer racially-mixed political parties to single ethnic parties, according to the study. Even rural Malays are for it. About 62% of Malays and 80% of non-Malays strongly agreed with the suggestion that political parties should be racially mixed.

The study’s authors say: “This is an extremely noteworthy finding. Malaysians are often told that they are not ready to move beyond communally-based political parties; that people will react badly to not having their interests championed by such parties.

“The explanation for this is that while the urban Malays may be comfortable with mixed-race parties, the rural folks are not. However, our data shows that 62% of rural Malays and 63% of urban Malays strongly endorse mixed parties.”

The study, carried out in Peninsular Malaysia in September-October last year, involved 503 Malays, 500 Chinese and 501 Indians.

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Prime Minister Najib and UMNO’s Islamic Guru–Zakir Naik

The study titled Attitudes and Ethnoreligious Integration: Meeting the Challenge and Maximizing the Promise of Multicultural Malaysia, was done by Dr Ananthi Ramiah, Professor Miles Hewstone and Dr Ralf Wölfer with a grant from the CIMB Foundation.

The study notes that across the board, a high percentage of people from the different  ethnic groups expressed strong agreement for better integration among Malaysians. The Indians were the most enthusiastic for integration.

The authors asked respondents how much they thought a series of possible changes to government policy and neighbourhood ethnic composition might improve integration.

On creating more racially-mixed neighbourhoods, there was a significant difference between the three ethnic groups in level of agreement. The Malays expressed a lower level of agreement than the Chinese and the Indians, and the Chinese expressed less agreement than the Indians.About 60% of Malays, 70% of Chinese and almost 80% of Indians supported mixed neighbourhoods.

There was also a significant difference between the three ethnic groups on doing away with vernacular education at the primary school level, with the Malays agreeing to a much greater degree than the Chinese and Indians. The Chinese, especially, were very supportive of vernacular education.Slightly more than 60% of Malays, 20% of Chinese and about 45% of Indians were for this.

On introducing fair competition for everyone so that no one group gets special privileges, Malays agreed to a lesser degree than the Chinese and the Indians.

On the suggestion that all religions should be treated equally in government policy, there was a significant difference between the three ethnic groups. The Malays agreed with this to a lesser degree than the Chinese and the Indians.

About 60% of Malays and 90% of Chinese and Indians agreed with this. “Thus, in general, we note the trend that the Malays expressed a lower level of agreement to most of the integration suggestions than the Chinese and the Indians, with the exception of the suggestion to do away with vernacular schools, about which the Chinese are substantially less enthusiastic than the Malays and the Indians.”

The study could not conclusively say that having friends from other ethnic groups influenced the answers to some of these suggestions.

Generally, the more friends they had who were of other ethnic backgrounds, the more they appeared to support integration. But this was not always the case. For instance, the study found that Indians highly endorsed mixed neighbourhoods regardless of the number of outgroup friends they had.

It found that the Chinese respondents expressed low levels of support for the dismantling of vernacular schools, regardless of the number of outgroup friends they had.

16 thoughts on “Malaysians ready to discard racially-based parties

  1. If one goes by numbers there may be little chance of any change when the votars comprise of a single race and the women of almost all component parties vote for men. Democracy is lop sided just like the statistician’s findings of per-capita income of Malaysians to be about RM15K when more than 60% of country’s wealth is owned by estimated 1000 multi-millionnairs with some being billionnairs or when one leg is in fire while the other is in ice the person is still said to be comfortable even though may be death’s door.
    This may be common in most countries having most wealth being concentrated in the hands of few regardless of the type of government system. I it was reported at one time that the more than 90% of world’s wealth is controlled by less than 1% of the world’s population.
    STATISTICS MAY BE THE BEST FORM OF GIVING MISINFORMATION.

  2. Najib (and Hadi) touting the misery of Pakatan, cannot be bigger jerks and assholes. What business is it of Najib and Hadi what Pakatan problems are given the crap that comes out of their mouth and the disasters they have made? Poorer thy Neighbour or enemy IS not leadership, it’s sure sign of failure to do ones job.

    It’s time to call Najib and even Hadi what they really are disgusting trash that should be flushed away.

  3. Aha, now this is very interesting.

    Perhaps there is a need for local non-partisan University to validate the Oxford Uni outcome. And, if ” local non-partisan University” in Malaysia is less preferred for all the reasons that we might have- Civil Society could fund other well known SEA Uni – Universitas of Indonesia, or National University of Singapore to conduct similar research.

    What I’m afraid of is, questionnaires generated by Oxford Uni – CIMB may have not been able to capture the Malaysian political nuances.

    • B for Borneo people. As for Eurasians and others, they can be considered as exalted people who need to be taken care of whether the Malays or a mix of Malays and others run the country.

  4. Not ready for so long as Najib is insecure and has no legs to stand on, given his track since assuming power in 2009. Race based politics is our culture. It is hard to imagine the Malays without UMNO, the Chinese without MCA and the Indians without MIC. –Din Merican

  5. I think you are wrong Din. I longed for a party that is not race based. Malaysians are a tolerant lot, only politicians make life in this beautiful country ugly!!

  6. Racially-mixed political parties…or do we mean a racially mixed political SYSTEM?

    If the former…NO!…it will not work here…not for a long while yet. (which is why parties like PKR will fail.)..if the latter…we already have it…but it is frayed and needs a revamp…that’s all…

    Some may have forgotten that it was the Alliance system that was responsible for the peace and stability we have had… because it was based on political cooperation instead of competition… we cannot afford to ditch it…

  7. If Islamic governance of some sort is the driving force that enthuses most of the Malay population, it does not matter whether a Malay hails from Kelantan, Penang, Perak, Malacca, Selangor or Johore. So it does not matter too whether it is one-raced or multi-raced party. For some, it is an Islamic centered mind that can choose
    what to condemn, what not to condemn and where to remain silent – a well accustomed stance of the so-called liberal and moderate Muslims. They taking a stand as and when and too often against unreasonable fatwas pronounced by Islamic clergy, can lead to a tsunami of new thought and new awakening in Muslims questioning the need, usefulness and motives of these fatwas.

    The underlying message that runs deep is never question the ‘book’. Corollary to this is – never question the fatwas and those who deliver them.

  8. Why is it so difficult to understand and accept that religion and politics, like oil and water, cannot mix?

    Politics essentially is about sharing, giving up something to get something better. In ancient times, it was about giving up some food to get peace and security. The opposite of the politics of sharing is conquering, winner takes all, and the losers all die, unless the losers became slaves or convert to the winners’ religion.

    And the reason why religion and politics could never mix is because there is no sharing in religion; you cannot share your god with believers of other gods and vice versa for the simple reason that if you believe your god is the only one true god, then all other gods must be false. The only solution for you is to get them to stop believing in their false gods and start believing in your god. In other words a winner takes all.

    Deep down no true believer can say, I believe in my one true god and you believe in your false god and we live happily side-by-side. But we do see in certain places where this happened, why?, because it is actually the politics of sharing that forces them to do so. Without politics forcing them to do so, they would slaughter each other.

    It just simply gets worse, like in Malaysia, where religion is also identified with a particular race.

    So yes. Mixed race political parties in Malaysia is a long way off, may be even impossible because “mixed race” also mean “mixed religion” and how you possibly “mix” religion?

  9. To the Malay/Muslim, politics is a way of life and an unproductive, divisive and damaging obsession for many.

    Without race and religious based political parties, most Malay/Muslim self serving career politicians and leaders will be out of a lucrative job, entitlements and benefits.

    They need to create unnecessary ‘ issues ‘ and ‘ problems ‘ for the ordinary people and the country so they could seen to step in, cite a few sentences in Arabic from the holy book and speak like they are drunk on power, to show they are warriors in defense of Islam and race.

    When the non Malay/Muslim are obsessed with unproductive, divisive and damaging politics of race and religion, the economy and the country will be in big trouble.

    The millions of legal and illegal migrants in the country are holding up the economy………..but for how long and what social and security threat, in cooperation with locals, will they bring in the future.

  10. //Slightly more than 60% of Malays, 20% of Chinese and about 45% of Indians were for this. (abolishing vernacular school).

    Without playing with statistics, that is basically a simple majority who are for vernacular school and did not want to abolish vernacular school.

    Nonetheless, in the world of Welayu, layu-layu it would be. Since when the wish of simple rakyat matters, especially the wishes of pendatang Hakka. Yap Ah Loy existed simply to help some Welayu fight against a few others Welayu, as these Hakka pendatang does not even have a place called home in their ancient China.

    We all know how to be a Jho Low when time comes.

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