Defending constitutional democracy

February 28, 2015

Defending constitutional democracy

by Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Bin Kassim

Sheriff KassimI THINK anyone reading the open letter on December 7, 2014 (published in The Star on Dec 8) by the G25 (a group of prominent Malays) will find it easy to understand its core message about the kind of country that we want Malaysia to be.

We want Malaysia to remain a constitutional democracy because it is the most effective form of government in defending the rights and freedoms of citizens.

It is also most suited for Malaysia, given the multi-racial character of its population; the differences in language, culture and religion among the people; and their desire as citizens for fair and equal treatment under the law. A Federal Constitution that recognises the basic rights of all communities is the glue that holds together this multi-racial nation.

We want Malaysia to remain a constitutional democracy because it is the most effective form of government in defending the rights and freedoms of citizens. It is also most suited for Malaysia, given the multi-racial character of its population; the differences in language, culture and religion among the people; and their desire as citizens for fair and equal treatment under the law. A Federal Constitution that recognises the basic rights of all communities is the glue that holds together this multiracial nation.–Sheriff Kassim

In a constitutional democracy, there is clear separation of powers between the Legislature, the Judiciary and the Executive, and there are checks and balances to guard against abuse of power by any one branch of government.

The system is designed to provide avenues for the people to act against any branch of government that tramples on their rights and freedoms. Thus, if the Executive, such as the Federal or state government, takes an action infringing on their personal liberties, the people have a right to seek justice from the courts.

Second, when elections come, they can exercise their vote at the ballot box to show their disapproval of the government or their local representative in parliament or the state assembly.

In the G25 letter, the signatories talk about the administration of Islam in the country and our concerns over religious authorities issuing fatwas and making syariah laws on criminal offences, beyond the powers conferred upon them by the Federal Constitution and in violation of our individual rights and freedoms as guaranteed under the constitution.

Our system of constitutional democracy expressly provides that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the country.The civil courts have the power to declare actions of other branches of government to be invalid, including to strike out any laws enacted by the state authorities if they contravene the provisions in the Constitution.

As in other democratic countries, the people are sovereign. Any aggrieved person can challenge the constitutionality and legality of any state law by bringing it up in the civil court for a judicial review, as has been successfully done in a few cases.

Unfortunately, any attempt to question and challenge the religious authorities has often created a tense situation in the country, with extremist groups issuing all kinds of threats to intimidate those who raise issues relating to administration of Islam. They have developed a habit of hiding behind the Sedition Act and the rulers to dignify their actions.

To avoid unnecessary tensions, and since syariah laws do have various implications on society, both Muslims and non-Muslims, we are asking in the open letter for a rational discussion on the place of Islam in society, so that we can arrive at a clear understanding with the religious authorities that under our system of constitutional democracy, the Federal Constitution is the primary source of law for the land, and that the religious authorities must act within the limits prescribed under the Constitution.

It is obvious that these limits are imposed to ensure injustice is not caused to the individual and his rights are not eroded by the overlapping of jurisdiction between the civil and syariah courts in the administration of justice.

We are suggesting that this rational discussion be held through a consultative process in which relevant experts and representatives of stakeholders can review the existing syariah laws to determine where they are unconstitutional and where they can be improved to protect the rights of individuals, in particular women and girls, as they are often the main victims of over zealousness by the religious authorities.

We need the Prime Minister’s leadership to set up the consultative council and to make the public pronouncement that he encourages open discussion on Islam and that such discussions are not seditious or an insult to the sultans.

The Federal Constitution provides that the civil courts shall have higher status and authority over the syariah courts. This is meant to ensure that all Malaysians live under one system of justice based on the universal principles of democracy.

These principles make our constitutional democracy the same as those commonly used around the world. It has served us well to protect our interests and rights, and has encouraged investors and businesses to have confidence in the stability of the political system. It has been the main reason for this country’s growth and prosperity.

Other groups have totally different views from those of the G25. They are proposing the Constitution to be amended to elevate syariah courts to the same level as civil courts. They want the syariah laws not to be narrowly confined to the Muslim faith but to be the primary source of law and to be used in all spheres of life in the country – the legal system, the economy, the financial and banking sectors, the shops and restaurants, the education and health systems, the professional services like accounting.

This is worrisome because besides the implications on the administration of justice, it will put Malaysia on the road to becoming a totally different kind of country.

Malaysia cannot afford to make the same mistake of some Muslim countries whose leaders have suddenly realised that their countries had gone too far in implementing syariah laws and needed to reform and modernise to get the economies moving and to improve the lives of the people.

These countries’ experience should be a lesson to us that once religious laws like the hudud have taken roots and after the Islamists have changed the constitution to put themselves and the ulamas at the top of the government and above all other institutions of power, it’s extremely difficult to reverse the changes.

Admittedly, Malaysia is nowhere close to being a failed democracy or a theocracy. We have a relatively well-educated population that can see what is happening elsewhere and can understand why our present system is more suitable for this multi-racial country.

An open economy like ours, with strong trade and investment links with the rest of the world, needs to maintain the existing liberal and open policies in politics, economics and in the social and personal life of the people.

Otherwise, all the progress and prosperity that have been achieved over the past several decades will be lost, resulting in poverty, high unemployment and internal instability.

We don’t want our youths to be like the 40% unemployed university graduates in the other Muslim countries. They are so bored with life and have lost all hope that they become easy prey to extremists looking to recruit volunteers to join the militants and jihadists.

We want the present Constitution to stay and our future generation to inherit a better and an even more prosperous country.

A functioning democracy, a vibrant economy and good governance – these are the best defences against extremism. At the same time, we must not take the extremists for granted.

Although they are small in number, they can create a lot of tension in the country. They have lately become more aggressive in their racial and religious agenda, using political leverage to bully and intimidate, not taking any public criticisms on issues relating to the administration of Islam and Malay rights.

They insult non-Malays by calling them ungrateful pendatang for talking about the rights of the minorities or questioning race-based policies. Civil society movements fighting for democracy, free and fair elections, and human rights have been labelled as traitors for drawing world attention to their causes. Muslim women activists have been accused of liberalism and pluralism, which have now become chargeable offences under the religious laws.

All these are bad news, raising concerns at home and abroad about the spread of extremism, racial politics, the rule of law and the country’s future direction.

Amidst all these concerns, the G25 has emerged as the voice of moderation, giving hope to the silent majority that constitutional democracy is here to stay, in defence of our rights and freedoms.

As a country with aspirations to achieve high-income status by 2020, Malaysia must not indulge in racial and religious supremacy ideologies as these will lead to our downfall, as seen from the experience of other countries in the last century. Instead, we must build on our successes to align our priorities to be with the modern world, index ourselves against the progressive countries and adopt their best practices.

In this region, countries that were once poorer than us have now overtaken us and have gone far ahead. Despite lacking in natural resources, they have used their human skills and entrepreneurial culture so well to become highly developed socially and economically.

We should emulate them by using policies that cultivate our people’s confidence in the rule of law, based on the democratic principles of integrity, transparency and accountability, the hallmarks of good governance.

Further, we must reform our economic, education, social and religious policies to eliminate bigotry and create a conducive climate for healthy competition, creativity, economic justice and personal freedom. This is most essential if we want to be recognised as a developed country in every sense of the word.

Malaysia sets new world record for sedition

February 20, 2015

Malaysia sets new world record for sedition

by Dr. Lim Teck

SATIRE Malaysian authorities at a special press conference yesterday announced they were submitting to the Guinness Book of World Records for initiating the most number of seditious cases in the world on a per capita basis.

The authorities also informed media representatives that, besides the per capita record, Malaysia was also going for the record for the most number of categories in which sedition charges could be leveled.

Although constitutional and legal constraints stood in the way of extending the country’s record, its leading legal official was confident that it can easily be overcome. His confidence came from two sources. Firstly, the Prime Minister’s Department is adding 20,000 special officers to the present squad of ‘sedition busters’. These officers will be recruited to work in universities, religious establishments and other prominent fertile breeding grounds for sedition.

He himself will also personally take part in a road show throughout the country to share the sordid details of how a new generation of seditionists is plotting to destroy the moral, religious, and socio-political fabric of the country.

Record outburst

According to the national news agency, McJibby – surreptitiously and seditiously referred to by the opposition as McJibberish – the announcement has prompted an outburst of pride and patriotism from the Malaysian public.

The agency noted that one response which has gone viral has argued that the new categories of sedition such as ‘disloyalty to the ruling party'; ‘making fun of the Prime Minister and his associates’, ‘harboring oppositional sentiments’, ‘subjecting the handbag to be an object of ridicule’ would restore our esteemed standing in the ASEAN region.

Referring to a neighbouring country where the conventional charge of ‘insulting king and country’ has figured prominently in the international media, the Tweeter chortled, “It’s sweet revenge for all the times you have beaten us in sepak takraw; take that T……d”

Among those congratulating our authorities was the former Prime Minister whose role in establishing the solid foundations of authoritarism in the country has been widely acknowledged. ‘Bapa Sedition’, typically though, warned the country’s present leaders not to be over-complacent in this key issue. “Numbers do not count; the important thing is results. Make sure that the charges stick,” he emphasised.

Support for the record-setting achievement has also come from the private sector.  A spokesperson from a prominent public relations firm has announced that the firm will be placing advertisements in the print media on the new record as soon as it is certified by the Guinness authorities.

Authoritarian role model

A leading Malaysian IT company has also disclosed that it has been involved in a hush-hush joint venture with 1MCB to invest in new technology aimed at retrieving and decoding hand phone messages – currently a popular channel for seditious content.

“The market for this technology is enormous and Malaysia can be the game changer as well as role model for authoritarian governments all over the world”, the spokesperson claimed.

The chairperson of the Malaysian Chamber of Big Business (MCBB) has applauded the Government’s achievement and termed it “painful but necessary”.

It expected the country’s GDP growth to shoot up once the record was verified. It also noted that there were hundreds of billions of ringgit sitting in bank accounts overseas waiting to come back to the country should the anti-sedition drive succeed.

There have been two dissenting voices so far. The pro-sedition NGO, PerKasar, said that the crackdown by authorities did not go far enough. It noted that  “[Human] rights, liberty and justice” are dirty words imported from the West.

“The Federal Constitution is the most dangerous pro-sedition document. We have to throw it out and start our history all over again”.   Meanwhile, religious columnist R Irwan Kopi has criticised the move to apply to the Guinness authorities for the record achievement.

Noting that Guinness is associated with a sinful drink, he urged instead the incorporation of the record into the government’s latest weapon of conformist behaviour, the Syariah Index.

He has also proposed some new categories for behaviour that can be categorised as “seditious”. “What about clothing behaviour? Display by women of their bodies is the most under-rated seditious activity in any wannabe Islamic country”.

DR LIM TECK GHEE is former World Bank senior social scientist, whose report on bumiputera equity when he was Director of ASLI’s Centre for Public Policy Studies sparked controversy in 2006. He is now CEO of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.



The Malays stop blaming others

February 19, 2015

The Malays stop blaming others

by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

Malays by Ahmad Mustapha Hassan

OUTSPOKEN: A small minority of Malay/Muslims in the country is having difficulty adapting to the modern era. They are unable to face up to new challenges.

Instead of trying to understand the world around them, they tend to fall back and blame everything on others. They refuse to accept their own weaknesses. They try to evade all these challenges and choose to remain in their old ways.

Time and tide, as has been said, waits for no man. Sadly, these Malays are losing their bearing and blaming others will not help. And with the same attitude as shown by some Islamic clergy, the situation becomes compounded.

Religious authorities in the country should focus on bigger issues that affect the future of the country. They should stop harping on trivialities like K-Pop, Valentine’s Day and such matters.

These Malays are caught in a time warp. They feel that they can only be guided to emerge as modern beings through religion. The younger ones have also not been properly guided. They become imbued with the feeling that they need to be liberated and their only recourse is to travel to the Middle East to join the IS as they have also been indoctrinated through social media, that to join IS will be to glorify Islam.

These are the fundamental issues that this group has been facing. The religious authorities therefore have the urgent task of enlightening them that they have to change their mindset and look deep into their own weaknesses.

Islamic civilization has had its days but now the West is advancing through modern technologies. To just fall back on religion will not help to prepare this group to face the worldly challenges. It is time they absorb the modern ways of thinking. To blame others will not solve these weaknesses.

Other groups of people work hard to acquire modern technology and knowledge and thus they are able to live well without depending on the authorities. The days of just relying on help from the government are over. Now is the time to stand on one’s own feet.

The government should be bold and act positively to overcome this phenomenon. This has been going on far too long and it is becoming a setback to the country’s future. All must play their part if this country is to achieve full developed status.

Physical changes in the form of imposing structures and new transport facilities will not help to make the country fully developed. The mindset must also move with the times. Emotional outbursts on certain issues like the recent Charlie Hebdo incident will not help. Those actions can only give vent to anger and frustration. The situation remains unchanged.

Religious institutions like JAKIM and others can play positive roles in transforming such mindset to become more open to new and innovative ideas. Such efforts will free them from being mere bystanders.

The Friday sermons have not been used to its fullest potential. This platform can bring about the biggest change to this group. They need to be guided in a positive way to achieve a correct mindset that will enhance unity in the country.

Unless this group is assimilated into the mainstream of the movement for a progressive and united Malaysia, the country will never be able to compete with other Asian countries like Korea and Taiwan.

This group has so far resisted positive changes to their thinking. It is made worse when some leaders support them by saying that they exist because other groups of citizens have been making extreme demands. No such group ever existed. This thinking is extremely delusional.

Ahmad Mustapha Hassan is a former press secretary to second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein and the writer of the book, “The Unmaking of Malaysia”.

Pakatan Rakyat and the Future of Malaysia’s Two Party Democracy

February 12, 2015

COMMENT: With Anwar Ibrahim back in Sungei BulohDin MericanY2 prison can Pakatan Rakyat coalition hold, given the strong and uncompromising stands taken by the secularist DAP and the theocratic PAS? That is the question. Without the glue that was responsible for making the Pakatan Rakyat coalition of PKR, PAS and DAP a reality, it is difficult to envisage an alternative force that can take over from the present regime that had held power since Independence. The spirit of 2008  that galvanized Malaysian voters has been extinguished. That is the sad truth.

I am personally not optimistic that a two-party system as presently constituted if PAS is obsessed with the hudud and DAP is uncompromisingly secular can be viable. So in the run up to the next General Elections, Pakatan Rakyat must get its act together and settle their ideological differences that can cause it to implode. A house that is deeply divided cannot stand.

UMNO-BN strategists knew the secret to weaken and eventually break up Pakatan Rakyat. They persecuted and put Anwar Ibrahim out of action, and continue to play the religion and race card to entice PAS to join their ranks in common cause. It is, therefore, naive to think that a two-party system as presently constituted can be a viable one.–Din Merican

Pakatan Rakyat and the Future of Malaysia’s 2-Party Democracy

by R B Bhattacharjee–The EDGE MALAYSIA

Malaysia's opposition leaders hold hands at the end of their People's Alliance conference in Shah AlamDAP’s Lim Guan Eng, Anwar Ibrahim and PAS’s  Hadi Awang

Although it has become common to acknowledge that a two party system has emerged in Malaysia following the unprecedented setbacks faced by the Barisan Nasional coalition in the 12th. and 13th. General Elections, recent events show that there is a long way to go before that concept can be said to have taken root in the country’s democratic system.

No doubt, the opposition parties had set aside their visceral differences to form an electoral pact in the run-up to the 12th general election in 2008. And following the surprise gains that they made in that election, Democratic Action Party (DAP), Pan Islamic Party  of Malaysia (PAS) and the People’s Justice Party (PKR) showed much promise as a new political force when they came together to form the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in order to establish the state governments in Selangor, Penang, Perak (at that time) and Kedah, besides Kelantan which  was already being administered by PAS.

Anwar-UbahThe Slogan for 2008 General Election

With five states under their control, it did seem for a while that Pakatan Rakyat was on its way to become an alternative  to the entrenched  political infrastructure created by Barisan Nasional.

Certainly, the groundswell of support for the opposition parties was an unmistakable sign that the people had become impatient to change the patronage of the ruling government for a new brand of politics that does not take voters for granted. At the same time, no politician worth his salt would be blind to the fact that voters would be looking for signs that the opposition coalition was intrinsically cohesive before they would be convinced about backing its bid to take power at the federal level.

Subsequently, it seemed that Pakatan Rakyat only needed to build on a common policy platform, grow its grassroots machinery, attract enough talent and avoid pitfalls that Barisan Nasional had fallen into to ultimately inherit the mantle of power from a political establishment that was showing serious of dysfunction.

Since the sea of change in voter sentiment in 2008, however, the Pakatan Rakyat grouping has come under severe strain on a number of fronts that collectively pose questions about its viability as an alternative federal government.

The well-aired conflict between DAP and PAS over the notion of Malaysia as an Islamic nation versus the supremacy of the secular Constitution is perhaps the most divisive of the issues that foreshadow the unmaking of Pakatan Rakyat. Not that the cluster of issues around this theme does not impact the Barisan Nasional too, but the dominant role of of UMNO in the coalition means that dissonance in the ruling coalition is very much muted by comparison.

The Islamic nation controversy illuminates the difficulties  confronting Pakatan Rakyat in its efforts to establish an inclusive political institution that can govern Malaysia’s diverse population without falling back on the self-defeating divide-and-rule paradigm that has become the default political culture particularly in recent years.

Hadi AwangPAS  is committed to Hudud

Far from clearing the way to build a race-blind, religious-blind society, DAP and PAS, which have been at loggerheads for decades over the establishment of a shariah-oriented administration, could only disagree to disagree on the matter in 2008 when it was expedient to announce the formation of Pakatan Rakyat as an emergent coalition bedecked with a string of states under its control.

Allah Issue SupportersThe Allah Issue

This is just not good enough, as demonstrated by their endless bickering over a slew of inter-ethnic and inter-religious issues that have bubbled up of late. Since the 12th general election in particular, the many difficulties between shariah and secular institutions show that the overlapping of theocratic and secular jurisdictions is an inherently problematic proposition.

So, it is almost inevitable that a political coalition that juxtaposes secularist and theocratic  parties will become undone when it comes to a crunch. This is clearly the story of Pakatan Rakyat’s journey until now.

To conceptualise a political system that can survive the competing pressures of secular and theological worldviews, there is effectively no alternative to the separation of religious and state powers. The lessons of history, from church-state relations of Medieval Europe to the record of contemporary Islamic states, are quite clear on this score.

This means that the Pakatan Rakyat parties have to embark on a voyage of discovery to chart new territory that circumvents potential whirlpools of conflict in a multicultural society. Only when it has mapped the extent of this new sphere can it present to voters a workable alternative model to the current one that puts one group against another in a perpetual cycle of acrimony.

It is necessarily a work in progress. explored one area at a time, with each emerging issue between individuals, institutions and society in a variety of combinations pointing to gaps that need fixing, rights that need acknowledgment and duties that must be performed.

To expect an overnight alliance forged  in the heat of an electoral triumph to withstand the assault  of a political establishment that has been in control over five decades is in itself wishful thinking. Perhaps, it may even entail a deconstruction of current political parties and coalitions to allow new thinking about contentious issues to emerge. This is a work to be undertaken for the long term, with the interests of the coming generations in mind.

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership council cannot be expected overnight to resolve such a fundamental issue  that goes to the heart of power relations, socio-cultural  pluralism and concepts such justice and equity, among other things. Rather, Pakatan Rakyat leaders may give themselves some breathing room if they merely acknowledge that their mixed marriage is on the rocks.

In the Aftermath of Sodomy 2 Verdict: Winners and Losers

February 11, 2015

In the Aftermath of Sodomy 2 Verdict: Winners and Losers


WINNERSPrime Minister Najib Abdul Razak

The Prime Minister will likely earn international brickbats for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s guilty verdict as the perception is that it is politically motivated.

But it is a small price to pay for Najib as this will help to strengthen his UMNO support base which has been advocating tougher action against the opposition.The Premier has been under siege for being too ‘soft’ on his political opponents and Anwar’s jailing as well as the PM’s u-turn on the abolition of the Sedition Act last year is expected to improve his shaky position.

Any damage to Najib’s international reputation is likely negated by the fact that Washington sees Malaysia as a key state in its look east policy involving the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), and as a moderate Muslim ally.

Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan

Since alleging he was sodomised by his former boss Anwar in 2008, he has had to endure almost seven years of ridicule. That is unlikely to stop nor will the perception dissipate that he was a tool to end Anwar’s political career. Now, he can finally say he is vindicated by seeing Anwar behind bars.

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Tun Dr. Mahathir
This former Prime Minister who launched the whole episode by sacking Anwar in 1998 was far from happy when his arch-nemesis was set free during the tenure of his (Mahathir’s) successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2004.Mahathir had then described Abdullah’s move as a ‘mistake’ and is likely to be pleased that the so-called ‘mistake’ has finally been rectified.Abdul Hadi Awang

The PAS President has never been able to see eye-to-eye with Anwar after taking on a more prominent role following PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat’s retirement. The clash boiled over during the Selangor menteri besar crisis.

Abdul Hadi is seen to be resentful of Anwar with some PAS members appearing to be more supportive of the PKR leader than their own party President.The PAS President’s supporters, however, have made it clear they want Abdul Hadi as Prime Minister if Pakatan Rakyat wins instead of Anwar and the opposition leader’s jailing means Abdul Hadi can finally move out of his shadow.


Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar Ibrahim

The obvious name at the top of the list, this 67-year-old politician will be behind bars for the third time in his life.Even if he serves his full sentence, Anwar will still be subjected to a five-year ban from politics upon his release as per the law. This means Anwar will be out of politics for close to a decade, making the likelihood of him pulling off another unprecedented comeback rather remote.His Family

Since his sacking in 1998, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and the couple’s six children have been on a roller-coaster ride. Today, for the second time in almost 16 years, they are forced to bid farewell to Anwar as he is carted off to prison. The only difference being that now, there are also grandchildren to be left behind.


The party formed following the jailing of Anwar in 1999 finds itself in a familiar yet uncomfortable scenario. Anwar is often considered PKR’s raison d’être and the main uniting force behind its members who come from a very wide range of ideologies.

The coming months will be crucial as the party attempts to adjust itself to life without Anwar. Worse still, the void left by Anwar may open the floodgates for a power struggle among the party’s many second tier leaders.

Pakatan Rakyat

Anwar goes to jail at a time when the opposition coalition is in a precarious situation.

 The Opposition Leader has always been the glue holding together the ideologically different Pakatan partners, but even he found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the differences between DAP and PAS.Just two days ago, he had deferred deciding on two issues DAP and PAS had been bickering about – namely hudud and local elections – until after his judgment. However, he will now not be around to resolve those issues and Pakatan will face its first test without Anwar.

Permatang Pauh voters

Anwar’s jailing means he will be disqualified as Permatang Pauh MP, paving the way for a by-election. This means the voters of Permatang Pauh will go to the polls for the fourth time in less than seven years to decide on their MP.

In 2008, their then MP Wan Azizah resigned just four months after being elected to pave the way for her husband’s return to Parliament.

Anwar was re-elected in 2013, but must now vacate his seat following his jailing today, less than two years later.

 Note: Malaysian Voters

The real losers are Malaysian voters. The two-party system is considerably weakened by internal bickering in Pakatan Rakyat. Without Anwar, I cannot envisage an arrangement whereby DAP and PAS can work together in common cause, given their ideological differences, and the erratic behaviour of PAS President Hadi Awang. Now they will start to haggle over who will succeed Anwar Ibrahim as Parliamentary Opposition Leader.Would they accept Azmin Ali as compromise? Or will Lim Kit Siang take over?

As far as UMNO is concerned, developments in Pakatan Rakyat will give Najib breathing space to demonstrate  to his party if he can be decisive (tegas) and strong (kuat) in dealing with pressing economic and social challenges and addressing the demands of the conservative wing of UMNO on Malay rights and Islam. Will the forces of change in UMNO led by Tun Dr Mahathir and Tun Daim retreat? I see interesting developments ahead for Malaysia.– Din Merican


Social Policy and Race

February 6, 2015

Social Policy and Race

by Etheorist

When the government institutes correction policies on the basis of race, the government has introduced racism as a matter of state policy. State policy becomes racist. When racism is made “official”, it becomes “acceptable” for politicians to become racist while denying they are racist because they really did not mean to be racist as racism has crept slowly but surely into his or her consciousness.–Etheorist

Everybody relies heavily on their ethnicity and background to identify themselves, to give themselves a sense of identity, a sense of belonging.

In everyday dealings, it is not unusual for people to refer to each other by their background or ethnicity, as a way of trying to place each other in context for further engagement.


Problems appear when insecurities come in. If a race is afraid that they will be marginalised, they will call attend to themselves in order for some proactive solutions to be made to their particular benefits. This is on the assumption that society at large would not care for them. This may not be entirely true. But this assumption immediately brings into the picture a sense of victimisation. They want the government to institute “corrective” policies to help them.

When the government institutes correction policies on the basis of race, the government has introduced racism as a matter of state policy. State policy becomes racist. When racism is made “official”, it becomes “acceptable” for politicians to become racist while denying they are racist because they really did not mean to be racist as racism has crept slowly but surely into his or her consciousness.

We are therefore vigilant that politicians who have influence of policies are enlightened as to what is good for society and that state policy must be good and beneficial for all citizens. We do not allow politicians to behave or speak without thinking about the larger implications for the whole society. Especially, when a section of society is being bamboozled for the benefit of another section.

It is difficult enough to try to help. But it is not acceptable to try to help by down others. The “proactive” racist policy of the state has turned into a blatant racist policy against a specific race. Not intentionally, but somehow an innocent policy has morphed into a mutation.

I would put the blame squarely on unenlightened politicians or wannabe politicians who are desperate for votes and use to race card to clinch their positions. It in incredible to see in the country how policies are made consistently to exclude the participation of a genuine home-ground “non” group while at the same time welcoming foreigners of all kinds to invest and to work and to live. This explicit segregation is the elephant in the room. It does not help if the government of the day gives excuse for racists while asking those who are being victimised not to bring up the matter anymore.

The correct action is to sack the politician who makes racist remarks. It is not OK for politicians to garner support by playing the race card. In day-to-day private conversations, race will be an inevitable subject for discussion as well as for sharing, especially on cultural matters. But race should not be a subject for public discourse or definitely not for policy.