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COMMENT | MARI aims to help M'sia breathe again

COMMENT | Malaysia is at a crossroads. Over half a century of race-based politics and socioeconomic policies have become the proverbial albatross around the neck of the nation. It is a chokehold, and the nation cannot breathe. It is crippling its citizens and inflicting great harm on the nation's ability to fulfill its vast potential at a time when it should be a leading light in Asean and even Asia.

There is a growing awareness amongst people of all races and various walks of life that it is time to confront deep-rooted institutional racism if the country is to successfully navigate what everyone realises will be a challenging 21st century.

This has resulted in growing confidence amongst some to voice their opinions and speak about Malaysia’s institutional racism more frequently. But the majority remain fearful of discussing it openly or have no platform and constructive narrative around which to base their discussions.

This is in part because we have not legitimised the discussion around race away from the toxic race-based policies of the political parties and their leaders. There can be no change as long as leaders depend on racial politics and all forms of racism to further their multi-faceted agendas whilst being granted a free pass by the silent majority to shape the discussions and policies. A few opinion pieces and interviews by “dissidents” from all races will not change anything either.

What is needed is an organised, well-structured and sustained mechanism to bring race issues out of the closet in which we are all trapped, so we can breathe again. It has to be mainstreamed and thus be built on a network of institutions and platforms away from the toxic political landscape.

It will allow people to openly talk about it, analyse it, understand it, research it, provide outreach and, most importantly, offer solutions as we educate the people about its perverse roots and destructive nature.

One step in this direction would be the creation of ... 

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