Non-Malays are irrelevant to Malaysia’s future

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“Bulls**t is the glue that binds us as a nation.”

― George Carlin

COMMENT | I cannot recall where exactly I read this but in one those surveys that ask people how far they self-identify with certain concepts, Indians by far identified as “Malaysians”. I have no idea if the Indians taking that survey were fooling the survey takers or fooling themselves. Then again, I know next to nothing about what it means to be “Malaysian”.

So the survey that the Oriental Daily carried out asking Chinese respondents a whole bunch of questions struck me as rather funny. I mean if the majority valued good governance over the economy and equality than why would the issue of the treatment of non-Malays as second-class citizens be a major issue – as evidenced by the rhetoric of opposition politicians and their followers – in the current political landscape?

Anyway, all this is not important anyway. The only relevance the non-Malay community - and by this I mean the Chinese community - is to provide some semblance of an oppositional block in this country. The Indian community (as a voting block) is irrelevant and is merely window dressing to show some form of inclusiveness for mainstream political power structures or in some rare instances as “kingmakers” in close seats.

I have written previously – “What Umno is worried about when it comes to its election chances are internal sabotage, the manoeuvrings of PAS, the ‘situation’ (as one Umno spin master told me) in Sabah and Sarawak, and of course, the tanking economy.”

I would argue, and have done so many times, that the only reason why Umno continues to make overtures to the non-Malay community is that it needs them as a fig leaf in its charade as a multiracial/multireligious coalition and maybe to hedge its bets against the possibility of a sizable Malay revolt. Not to mention that the plum urban seats are the trough from which its cronies feed from.

By rejecting BN (read: Umno), a majority in the Chinese community have propped up the DAP, which is the only alternative to Malay hegemony in this country. Most days you cannot really tell if this proposition is true and certainly the DAP would do everything in their power to dissuade people from this notion because they are constantly under attack by Umno but it is mostly true, I guess.

Perilous times

Hooking up with Bersatu and Amanah and attempting a going back to Malaysia’s roots of old alliance politics plays well with the urban crowd, but the reality is that ultimately the non-Malays do not have a role to play in this country’s future except maybe propping up a destabilised Umno economically because of a fractured Malay polity.

These are perilous times for opposition Malaysian politicians because they are not running on any ideology or common platform beyond the ‘PM Najib Razak must go’ agenda. Opposition politicians rely on racial bases to get by, with opposition Malay politicians running in places with a sizable non-Malay polity, relying on their votes and whatever they can get from the Malay community to remain relevant.

Meanwhile, non-Malay politicians stick to secure areas with sizeable non-Malay demographics because these are safe bets, especially if you are a Chinese opposition political operative. If you are Indian opposition politician you are constantly reminded – check the comments on social media – that you have to rely on Chinese votes to stay in the game...

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