It’s economics, Azmin, not race or religion

Pusat Komas


LETTER | The overtones of racial politics or racialised politics are becoming wild and vibrant as it goes under the rays of Malaysia Baru. 

The knee-jerk reaction of Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali after Pakatan Harapan's loss in Semenyih by-election, to propose for a strong Bumiputera agenda to be carried out by Harapan is perplexing to the hopes envisioned in and for Malaysia Baru.

Pusat Komuniti Masyarakat (Komas) is appalled by Azmin’s racial rhetoric. 

Instead of promoting a new polity culture during the Semenyih by-election’s campaigning period, both the political mammoths (Harapan and BN) had resorted to the easiest and the most conventional use of identity politics.

We would like to urge the government and all political parties to be mindful that if the current political narrative that is solely motivated along the lines of racial cum religious politics is allowed to be continued; the social fabric that binds all Malaysians together would be further eroded.

Pusat Komas would like to take this opportunity to remind the government, to stop playing to the tunes of the Umno-PAS’ racial and religious tactics. 

Instead, the wisest leaders of Harapan should provide an alternative narrative, tactic and strategy to counter the use of race and religion as political tools.

In addition, Harapan needs to address the economic disparity between the layers in society – the root cause of fear and insecurity felt, not only by the Malay community, but almost all ethnic groups in society. 

We strongly recommend needs-based affirmative actions, that addresses the needs of the grassroots (B40 groups). This would solve their immediate problems as they are the largest and the most marginalised groups in the society.

This was highlighted by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, who called for needs-based affirmative action policy which caters for the plight of the under-privileged, the poor and the marginalised. 

He further emphasised that Harapan should adopt a non-racial and transparent approach in helping the poor. Such affirmative actions would benefit the “Bumiputeras” as they make up the majority of B40.

It is essential for Harapan to rectify the fundamental problems affecting the people at large and not be fearful of losing its voters bank which is based on ethnicity. 

This is the hope for all Malaysians who had voted for the new government. It is time to move away from the 61-year-old BN regime, by treating the root causes of the problems, rather than pacifying the symptoms.

It is now time for us to move away from race-based politics to ensure a new Malaysia that is inclusive, moderate and respected globally.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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