People voted for a newer Malaysia, not racialised Politics 2.0

November 1, 2018

People voted for a newer Malaysia,  Ketuanan Melayu 2.0

Image result for new melayu hilang di dunia

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“The voters in GE-14 voted for a new Malaysia. Equal opportunity in education, lessening of race-based politics, abolishing of tolls and whatever that was promised by the then opposition, the “Coalition of Hope” of the Mahathir-led campaign against kleptocracy and the materially, morally and ideologically corrupt regime of Najib.

At least that was the promise which then turned into a primarily false one, leaving the voters feeling lied to and short-changed”–Dr. Azly Rahman

Opinion  |
by Dr. Azly Rahman*

COMMENT | As we read about the “Operasi Lalang 2.0” or “Weed-Out-the-Corrupt Campaign of the New Regime” at play and in full throttle as in the McCarthyism of our cultural sensibility, as we see more leaders hauled up to be tried for grand theft, money-laundering and for bankrupting and corroding society, we ask: what next in this metamorphosis and game of political karma we are to see?

Image result for pakatan harapan

All these against the backdrop of talks of the third car project, crooked bridge, political-party border-crossings, renewed demands to strengthen Malay rights, postponed promises, and to rebrand fundamentalist Islamic identity in preparation for the challenges posed by the super liberals and the LGBT. What will the new coalition transform into in a country whose political parties are addicted to a race-based ideology?

Then, there is the crucial issue of a newer UMNO and newer BN emerging, with talk of 40 UMNO MPs crossing over to Bersatu. There was also the latest statement by a minister that Ketuanan Melayu will end soon, replaced by the idea of making every Malaysian prosperous. Then the idea was immediately repudiated by another minister, a former Deputy prime Minister in the regime of the Najib Abdul Razak.

I have a sense that the latest developments in the continuing chaos produced in PKR, the seemingly silent DAP in addressing the issues the party once opposed, the talk of a new Indian party, and, of course, the strengthening and enlarging of Bersatu – all this points not only to the emergence of a BN reloaded, a 2.0 version of Malaysia’s race-based politics.

I might be wrong. We shall observe the developments. We may even see more “Kajang Moves”, cross-overs, and more intense struggle for power within and amongst the coalition parties.

Image result for new UMNO?

The voters in GE14 voted for a new Malaysia. Equal opportunity in education, lessening of race-based politics, abolishing of tolls and whatever that was promised by the then opposition, the “Coalition of Hope” of the Mahathir-led campaign against kleptocracy and the materially, morally and ideologically corrupt regime of Najib.

At least that was the promise which then turned into a primarily false one, leaving the voters feeling lied to and short-changed.

The hope for the non-Malays, non-bumiputera to stop being treated as second-class citizens in the land called Malaysia they and their parents and grandparents, too, toiled for will not be realised after all. The rhetoric of today’s new Malaysia is the same old rhetoric of keeping the status quo alive.

Image result for DAP

DAP is the New MCA?–The Silent Partner in Pakatan Harapan

This means that there will be no push for the idea of “Malaysian Malaysia” and equal opportunities in education, especially for all non-Malays. Hope buried. When the new coalition has transformed into a newer version of the old politics, the non-Malays can expect another five decades of racialised politics affecting the future of their children.

This is not a grim view of what I see developing. I am sure some of my esteemed readers, too, share a similar perspective of a hope for the triumph of multiculturalism dashing. Unless the Harapan government can, in unison, with consistency and as a policy, state its commitment to make Malaysia a place in which no Malaysian will be left behind.

Where are we heading?

Back to Umno and its sudden death. The talk about more UMNO MPs leaving for Bersatu is of concern for those who voted for hope and for real change.

But what will replace UMNO in this time of a “new Malaysia” in which race and religion continues to be the strongest force for the current regime as well, to continue policies inspired by her own apartheid system of divide and conquer with wealth, power, hegemony, and ideology as the hybrid of authoritarianism, continue to glue the still-cognitively unliberated society?

The question remains: what kind of Malaysian Malaysia do we wish to see? How will a rebranded Umno be an obstacle to this?

The key to dealing with any rot from happening is to educate for change. If the change we wish to see is for a Malaysia for all Malaysians, education, as the only means for a sustainable cognitive, cultural, personal and social progress should be the one taking lead.

When politics continues to travel the trajectory of ethnocentrism and only pays lip-service to multi-culturalism and the restructuring of society through a philosophy of education based on a truly Malaysian reconstructionism, we will fail as a people.

Education needs to step in and correct the political conveyor belt, changing course. As it is now, we are not seeing the Ministry of Education committed to producing such a change to reverse the major aspects of discrimination in the various levels of schooling. The issues of class, caste, race, religion and privilege is not addressed systemically.

Like many, I am concerned with the disjuncture between politics, education, economy, and national unity. There is an unhealthy development in the way party-politics is moving.

Our concerns may turn into fear of yet another wave of chaos as parties and followers and consumers of ideology and real and fake news alike prepare for another general election that will only bring stagnancy, not change.

Where are we heading? What then must we do to drum into the new regime that race-based politics should no longer be allowed to rear its ugly head?

*Dr. AZLY RAHMAN is an educator, academic, international columnist, and author of seven books available here. More writings here.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

6 thoughts on “People voted for a newer Malaysia, not racialised Politics 2.0

  1. The People and civil society organisations need to further mobilise and be politically active, to prevent this. Up to the People to get Malaysia to have a genuine “social revolution” rather than just a “circulation of elites” (as described in the cynical political theories of Gaetano Mosca, Vilfredo Pareto and Robert Michels).

    In Malaysian realpolitik, I don’t see an end to race-based politics anywhere on the horizon. Probably the best we can hope for would be a left-of-centre coalition of race-based political parties, with less corruption (BN was a right-of-centre coalition of race-based political parties, thoroughly corrupted by kleptocratic top UMNO Baru, MCA, MIC, SUPP etc leaders. UMNO Baru has a significant far Right, fascist and race supremacist segment). Class consciousness amongst the working classes of the various ethnic groups is just too low, and trying to mobilise people along class lines is difficult in Malaysia.

    But people can be effectively mobilised (especially the middle class) because of disgust against blatant corruption and unabashed kleptocracy.

  2. Most of the voters voted against racialized politics but the final marginal Malays that made the decision for PH, voted against Kleptocracy NOT really against racial politics. All those against Ketuanan and the young like Syed Saddiq is to be highly admired for putting himself out there if not naive, but truth is Ketuanan may be a lie, BUT its religion – political religion of the Malay right. In Malaysia, its foolishness to take on full frontal religion of any group. Taking it straight on the religion, even political religion, of the Malay left or right, is insanity

  3. If it was that easy it would have been done decades ago. We need a number of factors to come together. These issues will take the back burner in the event there is General prosperity. The last decade was to take care of that. But the people who were looking after the shop failed to report the owner who was taking provision without paying for it.
    Differences are as old as the hills. It is the incumbent duty of the powers that may be including the opposition to calm the situation and keep things on an even keel.

  4. Malay supremacy – Ketuanan Melayu ! How to be supreme ?
    “If we want to be tuan (master), we need to have knowledge, willingness to be hardworking, do things properly and not steal. Don’t fellow the example of our previous prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak” said Dr. Mahathir:
    Dr M: All races to be consulted on ICERD first .

  5. “…coalition of race-based political parties…” Like the Alliance we once had? Yes, yes, yes…it was our practical formula back then…and nothing else will work…

  6. I never wanted to be a “tuan” nor did I want to be kept subservient to any “tuan” based on his race! So long as Malay politics remains tainted by this primitive concept of “Ketuanan Melayu” Malaysia is doomed to occupy but a third class status among the world’s civilized nations. There is abundant empirical evidence dating from Roman times to prove that an unmerited superiority status accorded to a “dominant race” (as discussed here) only stokes the fires of resentment, dissatisfaction and indeed even rebellion among the “servient population. Malaysia now has the opportunity to free itself and set a new course for the future. “Fail, and the people will never forgive you!” These are a few of my thoughts and I dare say many others over there think the same.

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