by Cmdr (rtd) S. Thayaparan
“By linking something to race or religion, politicians distract Malaysians from the core issue while also garnering support from those whose identities depend heavily on their racial or religious identities – meaning most Malaysians.”– Brian Yap, ‘New Malaysian Essays 1’
Contrary to what constitutional law expert Abdul Aziz Bari claims, “those provisions” in the constitution relating to race and religion are neither “fair” nor “legitimate”.
UMNO, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and Bee End belong to the dustbin of History
Indeed, any provision that seeks to protect the political interests of any race is, by definition, anathema to any kind of national solidarity and “racist” in nature.
There is no moral or legitimate argument to be made, that the codification of special interests of a majoritarian race-based polity is somehow fair and that “unfairness” is merely a question of application.
Furthermore, contrary to what MCA’s Ti Lian Ker claims, the Federal Constitution is not “accentuating the inherent racism in Malaysia due to its provisions for race and religion” but rather “those” provisions are enabling the inherent racism of a political party determined to maintain political hegemony.
This is not to say that “racism” is not inherent in the non-Malay polity but rather in the political sphere it manifests in different ways. In addition, do not get me started on oppositional discourse.
Behind the running dog invectives thrown the MCA’s way is a deep-rooted sense of racial betrayal, which manifest in the public debates between former MCA strongman Chua Soi Lek and the DAP’s Lim Guan Eng about how Chinese Malaysians are at a crossroads (sic).
However, the MCA political operative did show some cojones when he said “we can consider amending or ratifying our constitution to free ourselves of racism” but of course, he qualified this with the most overused, disingenuous, servile and obnoxious Malaysian excuse of “come a day when we are there – a matured and democratic nation”.
First off, amending the constitution is not going to free “ourselves” of racism. Amending the constitution is merely going to remove mechanism that sanction race-based policies. More than just mere symbolism but rather concrete steps, that acknowledges the reality that all Malaysians should be treated equally regardless of race.
Secondly, the excuse that Malaysians are not mature is complete utter bull manure. The only people who are not mature are the useful idiots that the state employs to protests on the streets whenever any indication of egalitarianism is introduced into the public discourse, be it in matters of race, religion or politics.
The cabals who control those useful idiots are not immature. Theirs is a sustained ill-conceived agenda to maintain political hegemony through notions of racial superiority.
So Abdul Aziz Bari is right when he claims MCA’s collusion not only in the constitution – well, it’s a little more complicated than that – but also the furtherance of agendas that in the end proved more detrimental to the Malay community rather than the non-Malay communities, who somehow managed to thrive and prosper in this environment.
The myth of power sharing
Thriving and prospering on the most part is why the Barisan Nasional enjoyed majority support despite all the electoral legerdemain that has got worse over the long UMNO watch. In other words, the MCA’s sins of collusion for not speaking up when the reality is that the MCA enjoyed majority support from the community it claimed to represent.
Which is why a statement like “So MCA should have trained its gun on UMNO and not the constitution,” is a tad queer. Or maybe not. I suppose this goes back to the question of whether one views those provisions in the constitution as being “fair” or that the “legitimate” concerns could be classified according to ethnicity.
Which is also why the MCA’s nostalgia about bridge building “and interracial goodwill by virtue of our cooperation, understanding and compromises” is merely code for pragmatism, which in itself is a falsity because there is nothing pragmatic about electorally endorsing provisions that separates us along racial and religious lines.
As Mavis Puthucheary wrote, and who I quoted in an article a while back, articulated in ‘Malaysia’s Social Contract – Exposing the Myth Behind the Slogan’:
“In the first 10 years after Independence, the balance of power between the two main parties, UMNO and the MCA, was more or less equal. After 1969, however, the balance of power within the ruling coalition shifted significantly in favour of Umno and the political system itself became less democratic.
“Although both parties fared badly in the 1969 elections, UMNO leaders who had secured control of the government concentrated their efforts on regaining Malay support while still maintaining the power-sharing structure.
“With the introduction of the New Economic Policy and the extension of Malay privileges, especially in the fields of education and employment, UMNO regained its popularity among the Malays and consequently assumed a dominant position in the ruling coalition.”
So this myth that political parties were operating in accordance to some sort of long cherished belief of power sharing as a means of facilitating national unity, is just that – a myth.
UMNO Cultivated Idiots and Bigots
There was no halcyon period of interracial political goodwill but rather the cold comfort of a Malaysian polity engaging in so-called pragmatism because nobody really cared about the advancing forward as a nation but safeguarding the interests of their individual communities.
So Biro Tatanegara (BTN) chief Ibrahim Saad is fooling nobody when he gravely intones, “The problem (of racism) comes when there are elections, when certain quarters want to increase political power by exploiting sensitive issues”, because by “quarters” he means the Chinese community and by “sensitive issues”, he means those issues which maintain UMNO hegemony, issues which are enshrined in our constitution.
In other words, standing up to bigotry and racism becomes a racist act and questioning those very provisions or policies that divide us along racial and religious lines becomes a racial political agenda. This is funny because oppositional parties are bending over backwards and in doing so engaging in the kind of political behaviour that contributes to the system of oppression that has sustained UMNO all these years.
I have said it before, said it again and will always say it. Racial politics is a bitch and apparently an unforgiving one. But Thomas Sowell, who has since become a Republican shill, says it better: “Racism does not have a good track record. It’s been tried out for a long time and you’d think by now we’d want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management.”
S. THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.–www.malaysiakini.com