Malaysia would be a better place without Umno – true or false?
Who is responsible for destroying racial unity in this country? Which forked-tongue party with the tacit support of their soul mate – a xenophobic NGO – is using race and religion to divide the people?
It is palpably not the Opposition. The Opposition on their part are seriously working with the marginalized minorities as well as the majority race in instilling peace and unity in the society.
Ethnic diversity is no doubt a distinctive feature of Malaysia but the Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling parties – led by the ‘Big Brother’, UMNO – opt to promote individual self-serving racial schema all in the name of promoting the interests of their own ethnic group against the other. This has led to a divisive kind of politics in the coalition since the country’s independence and it has caused grave disunity among the people of various races and religions.
The only party in the country that often uses race, religion and ethnic ‘rights’ to stay relevant in politics is UMNO. For this reason, UMNO does not deserve to talk about racial unity.
Constitution was carved in good faith
Article 153 visibly states that it is the King’s responsibility “to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article”. Sadly, some racial zealots are using this Article as a weapon of aggression just to score some brownie points in politics. This symptom is not boding well for the country. Malaysians in general have never questioned the special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak. The minorities among them only demand that their positions too be acknowledged by the majority race.
Notably, the Constitution was carved with good faith to create a united Malaysian race. It explicitly covers the special ‘position’ of the indigenous and unreservedly recognizes the ‘rights’ of all Malaysians. The Constitution is not deliberately tilted towards any single group of citizens to favour them more then the others. The lexis ‘rights’ and ‘position’ are semantically disparate, though. Unfortunately, some UMNO politicians and their soul mates care more to argue on the deeper structure of the terminology.
A Malay lawmaker has this to say: “When politicians talk of the special ‘rights’ of only one group of people, it smacks of unfairness, as the Constitution also implicitly prescribes for the ‘rights’ of other Malaysians.”
There is a harmonious gamut to the positions of all races in the country in the Constitution, which some politicians prefer to ignore. They are immaturely trying to practise divisive politics by toying with the issue of ‘a chosen people’ versus ‘ the marginal group’ and this has perceptibly caused covert but marked disunity among people of different races and religions in the country.
As commented by the Malay lawmaker, “No one disputes the Constitution and no minority groups are for civil strife just by asking the majority to be fair to them as the rightful citizens of the country.”
UMNO and some deep-seated NGO leaders are too quick to demean those who bring to facade the above notion – erroneously implying that any attempt to honestly decipher the semantic of the Constitution is to question UMNO and undermine what they term as ‘the unity foundations they have long built’. Too many political observers, this is too opinionated in temperament.
The lawmaker added: “The Constitution belongs to all Malaysians and not any political party per se. Some politicians are actually destroying racial unity in manipulating the neat foundation of the Constitution when they insinuate that the minorities must accept themselves as second-class citizens.”
To reject a government
More often than not, the word ‘unity’ becomes a hallowed formulate expansively used by UMNO just before elections to win support. The word disappears from their political repository just after an election. Unity rhetoric is only for UMNO’s political expedient. In truth, national unity has virtually been shattered by the UMNO government.
Unity in its truest sense can only be seen if the rights of all Malaysians are taken care of. For that matter, safeguarding the indigenous rights does not come at the expense of the legitimate interests of the minorities. It is a fundamental human right that the minorities in any nation are treated fairly. When the minorities come to realize that they are neglected in all societal sectors they are bound to have animosity against the majority. They, therefore, deserve the right to reject a government that advocates injustice and unfairness.
A sociologist has this to say, “A social contract bounds the rights of all citizens. Nothing absolute pertaining to race is actually sealed in a social contract. The deprived in the society need to be helped. Poverty eradication involves people from all ethnic groups – not just confined to a single race. The poor among all races have to be factored in. Racial unity prevails when a government is sincere in narrowing this gap.”
Promoting racial unity for UMNO is like playing a hide and seek game. To the sociologists, the framework for racial unity has to be based on the true aspirants of the people – the majority and the minority. UMNO’s mode of silencing the parties representing the minority ethnic groups in the BN coalition with a ‘Big Brother’ mentality – on the issue of rights and special position of the indigenous has not helped promote good racial relations in the country. UMNO cannot call for unity and yet with the same breath spew out racist remarks against the non-Malays. Neither is it right for UMNO to rancorously create an imaginary Christian onslaught on Islam, as this has given rise to a widening gulf of misapprehension between the Muslims and the Christians in the country.
Cycle of poverty
It is an accepted reality that not all Malaysians are ready to totally shed their racial identity and call themselves Malaysians. For this ideal to morph into reality it may take another few generations. But UMNO does not seem to have the formula for this quandary. First, the poor and marginalized Malays, Indians, Chinese and the Indigenous are those that need to be helped to pull them into a level playing ground. As practised by UMNO, enriching a selected few among their cronies is not the solution to national unity.
Over 70 percent of the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak are still poor after many years of independence. Over 65 percent of the Malays are still in the poor category despite the long years of NEP. The marginalised Indians constitute 58 percent of the poor within this community. The Chinese too are not spared by poverty. 35 percent are still under the poor category within this community. Building richness solely within a single racial group is not going to bring unity or harmony to the society.
Many bigots, opportunists and self-serving leaders in UMNO prefer to ignore the fact that there are also many deprived people from among the minorities who need help in many ways. Unity does not mean that UMNO and their BN parties should come together to help themselves with the nation’s wealth, with UMNO taking the biggest share. Racial unity also becomes a mockery if all opportunities are given to a single race with crumbs thrown to the minorities. Practising tokenism for the minorities will only demoralize the marginalized more.
A local economist has this to say: “Preferential treatment of a single race may not augur well for the nation when there are many who are equally deprived in the society. In a need-based economic approach to nation building would see a better Malaysia for all. UMNO does not need to enrich the rich but empower the poor from among all the races to drag them out of the cycle of poverty and into the level playing ground. This will help promote racial unity in the long run.”
Destroyed by UMNO
Our Constitution holds dear that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law without discrimination on the basis of race and religion. One crucial factor that divides the people and can cause disunity is their economic status. If there is a wide economic gap among races in the country there is bound to be dissatisfaction and animosity. The deprived can be people of any ethnic group – Malay, Chinese, Indian or the Indigenous – and a government that does not address this problem is bound to cause widespread racial disunity.
Malaysia’s racial unity is actually being destroyed by UMNO. It is because of UMNO that Malaysia is more polarized then ever. It is because of UMNO that religious and racial tensions are wittingly brought up for political reasons without any regards to what harm it has done to our social fabric UMNO in the last five decades has used the diverse populace to divide instead of uniting them. They have been very successful in dividing and ruling them by using unfounded fears involving race and religion.
The racial composition in the civil service, the police, the judiciary and the armed forces does not reflect a Malaysian society. The education process itself has not brought to national unity. When affirmative action becomes a farce, racial disunity starts rearing its ugly head. The marginalized – in employment and education – among all citizens have to be factored in if Malaysians aspire to game together on a level playing field. Racial unity cannot be achieved by promoting a single race at the expense of the minorities.
A comment from a local educationist: “When educational opportunities are tilted towards a single race this breeds discontent among those deprived of the opportunities. When schools and colleges are built exclusively for a single race this breeds racial disunity.”
Only meant for a single race
Corrective measure to racial unity is to help all including the marginalized groups. The case of some ultra and extreme right-wing Malay NGOs and organisations that are vigorously promoting that this country is ‘only meant for one race and one religion’ – when others are forced upon them through the inconvenience of history – is off beamed and a perfidious scheme to distort racial unity.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution safeguards the interests of all Malaysians – Indigenous and non-Indigenous. No single ethnic group in the country should claim absolute rights above and beyond others. If this Article is read and practised in good faith it should not cause any racial tension in the country. There is essentially nothing to debate on this issue. It is crystal clear that the rights of all people are guaranteed by this Article. It is UMNO and some malodorous NGO members that prefer to exploit on it to manipulate, disunite and alienate the Malays from the non-Malays.
UMNO seems to hint that the minorities should know their place and accept the status quo. Apparently, any challenge to they being the ‘master’ will invoke the ire of UMNO. There can never be national unity if a single ethnic group can own the biggest share of the nation’s wealth. There can never be national unity if schools and colleges are identified by race and religion or only meant for a single race. There can never be national unity if the minorities are not well represented in the government. Race and religion cannot be the excuse for UMNO’s failure in integrating the races.
A religious scholar from a local university remarked: “No Christians or Hindus would wish to make enemies of Muslims and vice versa. The minorities do not have the slightest inkling to provoke the majority.”
A change of government
The NEP has been soiled by the greed for riches. There has been twists and delusion of the policy that now has already divided the nation. The rich are becoming filthy rich and the poor are becoming dirt poor and this is apparent within any single ethnic group. Racial unity is debased when social and economic justice have been ignored.
The catchphrase “1Malaysia” remains an empty and meaningless slogan. The sloganeering is not about racial unity but just a red herring meant to draw away attention from the prolongation of discriminatory policies. UMNO is impeding the growth of a Malaysian culture by making bizarre claims and prompting others to sow racial divisions and animosities to tilt any balanced social relations.
It has been acknowledged by most political observers that UMNO’s political hegemony over BN and the country is tearing down the dreams of our founding fathers – to build a united Malaysia based on our race mix. As human beings the minorities and the marginalized among this mix are just asking for their basic rights as citizens. The onus is on the majority in any country to take care of these minor entities. Racial harmony cannot be preserved if the minorities, marginalized and downtrodden are deprived even of their basic rights. But the people cannot expect this to come from UMNO’s fanatical supporters.
The people are so disunited today that only a change of government can bring about a meaningful transformation to a better Malaysia.
[[[ *** RESPONSE *** ]]]
1) Some politicians are actually destroying racial unity in manipulating the neat foundation of the Constitution when they insinuate that the minorities must accept themselves as second-class citizens.”
Appeasement to racists.
2) Unity in its truest sense can only be seen if the rights of all Malaysians are taken care of.
If ‘rights’ of all Malaysians means disregarding ENTIRELY race or faith then no issue. If ‘rights’ refers to different rights, this article has been written by a crypto-racist.
3) Our Constitution holds dear that all persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of the law without discrimination on the basis of race and religion.
Then end all special privileges or even reserve land titles.
4) There can never be national unity if a single ethnic group can own the biggest share of the nation’s wealth . . .
Fear and distrust. There is no end to wealth and a socialist cap on sequestration of assets or maximum asset will end this problem immediately. Socialism can solve many problems, while uncontrolled Capitalism destroys a nation becomes an end to itself.
5) The rich are becoming filthy rich and the poor are becoming dirt poor and this is apparent within any single ethnic group. Racial unity is debased when social and economic justice have been ignored.
Unity cannot be debased unless below 3 items to endorse with intent to grant are ignored :
1) Freedom from Apartheid/Fascism
2) Freedom from Religious-Persecution/Religious-Supremacy.
3) Equality for all ethnicities and faiths in all aspects of policy, Law and Constitution.
This article cautiously approaches the equality issue though the fear to accept equality is likely due to the inability to limit asset maximums and inculcation to the desire to sequester as much wealth as possible.
Mankind will look back on plutocrats and nepotistic oligarchs and political careerists with disdain as ethics and common sense grows. Equality in law and constitution and wealth distribution (this precludes limits on maximum assets ‘sequesterable’) are the only way to harmony.
Moaz displays understanding of nuance, can approach many issues (doubless well read), now put the words into action and set the strategy for the rest of Pakatan’s dullard politicians. A visionary and useful article but too constrained due to inbuilt fears caused by Capitalist (cutthroat society) mentality as well as neglect to address nepotism and oligarchy as well as unlimited term careerists in Pakatan. Most glaringly no address of apartheid – crypto-racism is not a good stance, so declare stands on equality for all.