I refer to the letter MIC still the best bet. The letter writer appeals for reason and hopes that the Indian community will put ‘drama’ aside. The writer is convinced that the government will not deal with any other Indian body except the MIC (err, what is the PPP then?).
This, in my earlier letter, is what the Kapitan system is all about. It has created, in the minds of Malaysians, a sense that communal politics cannot be altered. In fact, if we read the above letter carefully, we get the idea that it is the ‘best bet’.
Yet, our constitution, or at least the 1957 constitution, meant for the development of a national identity where all Malaysians are equal, where in time, as Tunku Abdul Rahman himself said, ‘communalism will no longer figure’ in our national lives.
Fifty years later, and after countless amendments, the MIC is seen as the ‘best bet’ for the Indians and by extension, Umno for the Malays and the MCA for the Chinese. Granted, these parties have performed well when fighting for their ‘race’. The real problem is that we always tend to take the short-term view of things. Think 50 years from now and the scenario is totally different.
By that time, Umno will have to fight some other Malay party as the usual Chinese and Indian bogey will no longer be there. In fact, even today, in the next general election, non-Malay votes do not constitute a threat to Malay rule. So, the MIC is certainly not the ‘best bet’ for the Indians. In fact, what is the best bet is a gradual move toward non-communalism.
The BN should eventually merge with other component parties to bring about a truly united Malaysian nation. This might be a gradual process starting with the merger of Umno with other bumiputera-based parties in Sabah and Sarawak. In Sabah, this is already an accomplished fact with Usno merging with Umno. In the near future, as the non-Malay population decreases further and with the incorporation of Indonesians into the Malay community, Umno can easily absorb all other political parties within the BN umbrella.
What hinders all this process are the same matters - religion, the vernacular languages and economic parity. The latter, if BN creates checks and balances, will resolve itself in the next 50 years as the pressure of demographics and globalisation makes us all equally poor or rich. As many Malays are attending Chinese schools and almost all Malaysians speak Malay, the only language problem we all have is a poor command of English.
In time, with the rise of India, some of us will learn a few Indian languages as well. Religion will not be a stumbling block as the overwhelming majority will be Muslim. But by that time, we will be so used to our existing legal system and the Muslim community will be so secure, demands for a change might not be so loud.
Is this a pipe-dream? Is this drama and bluster? Perhaps but it appears to be the best bet, if we follow through with reason.