Malaysiakini
OPINIONS

COMMENT | Tommy Thomas and the burden of race

S Thayaparan

Published
Modified 4 Feb 2021, 1:51 am

“Everything I did was painted in racial tones and hues. And they succeeded. The brainwashing achieved its objectives.”

- Tommy Thomas

Reading excerpts from Tommy Thomas’ memoir about, amongst other things, his brief stint as attorney-general (AG) for this country, it is amazing that a non-Malay could do anything without being vilified by the state because of their ethnicity.

His message about a dithering Harapan when it came to reforms - imagine that, the prison board, perhaps the most relevant authority when it comes to the death penalty; welcoming abolishing the death penalty but Harapan political operatives dithering and pandering – is of no surprise, the reality of the racial dynamics and a festering 'Don’t spook the Malays agenda' is perhaps the greatest impediment to reform in this country.

While you could have an honest discussion about policies waffling when it comes to Harapan, the fact that race is always a factor when it comes to policy and personalities make such conversations impossible. Not to mention the disingenuous reading of our Constitution and political norms that non-Malays feel are verboten to redefine.

As someone who has worked in the security apparatus of the state, as a non-Malay, there are always times you begin to wonder if...

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