Malaysiakini Letter


Derek Law  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Imagine if David Miliband, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the United Kingdom said that recent immigrants, especially from South-Asia to the UK, who were given citizenship should be thankful to the government and should not demand for equal rights such as equal access to education and religious rights which are granted to the Anglo-Saxon community.

Imagine the outcry of these newly-inducted citizens of the UK and also of the international community including the righteous leaders of Malaysia.

Imagine if the Prime Minister of Thailand, Samak Sundaravej announced that he had secret meetings with the opposition Democrat Party leader to discuss issues regarding ethnic Thais and the Buddhist religion.

Imagine the protest from all the citizens of Thailand, especially from the southern region and also the international community including the righteous leaders of Malaysia.

Imagine if John McCain, the presidential candidate from the US Republican Party said that he does not need the votes of the African American community of America as they are only a minority in America compared to the white community and the African American must always remember that they came as slaves and were given citizenship and thus should be grateful and continue to support the current Republican Party, the same party as Abraham Lincoln, which gave the slaves their freedom.

Imagine the outcry of the African American community and the other non-white communities and also the international community including the righteous leaders of Malaysia.

Imagine if the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong called on Singaporean Chinese to strive harder so that they will not be dominated by the other communities in Singapore and announced a new slogan, ‘Chinese unity and supremacy for a better Singapore’.

Imagine the protest from all the other races in Singapore and also from the international community including the righteous leaders of Malaysia.

The above scenarios are unimaginable in the respective countries but are somewhat similar to scenarios that were happening in Malaysia before the recent 12GE and unfortunately, are still happening today, albeit less.

The rakyat of Malaysia have given a very clear message to both the BN and the PR on how they feel about communal politics. If the rakyat of Malaysia had voted along communal lines like in previous GEs, the BN would have maintained their 2/3rds majority in Parliament.

But the fact is, many PAS and PKR candidates won because of non-Muslim votes and many DAP candidates won because of Malay/Muslim votes.

It is thus disturbing that politics in Malaysia is reverting back to communal politics. It started with the choice of the MB for Perak and the deputy MB for Selangor.

It then spread to the issue of wearing of the songkok during the swearing-in ceremony. Now we have Umno having secret meetings with PAS.

To me, the wearing of the songkok has nothing to do with religion as it is just ceremonial attire. Religion comes from the heart and not attire and if the custom is to wear a songkok, then the DAP reps should conform to custom and wear the songkok.

Since this custom is already well known and if the DAP reps are not prepared to bear with it, then my advice is to not to take part in the next GE. We need genuine politicians who can look beyond the petty issue of ceremonial attire.

PAS must remember that the non-Muslim community took a very brave step and was willing to put aside their fear of an Islamic state for the hope of a better Malaysia which includes Muslims and non-Muslims.

The last thing the non-Muslim community needs is talk of an administration based on Islamic principles however noble the intention is. An administration must be based on principles of justice, transparency and accountability. Don’t even bring up the subject of an Islamic or Malay unity or even an Islamic state.

The DAP must also remember that it won because of many Muslim votes. Thus the DAP must also be considerate and tactful in dealing with the issue of an Islamic administration/state and matters concerning the Islamic faith and protocol.

As such, it is best that only selected senior leaders (excluding Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh) release statements regarding this issue. The issue is best left as status quo.

As for PKR, although the PKR is the true multi-racial party in the PR, it cannot shake off the notion that it is a Malay-based party. PKR must appear as speaking out for all Malaysians and not only championing issues regarding the Malay community.

Anwar, in his recent TV debate, made many references to Malays who are suffering due to the oil price hike. I don’t doubt that many Malays are indeed suffering but there are also many non- Malays who are suffering.

The same goes for PAS and DAP - don’t just talk about Islamic or Chinese issues. Talk about issues involving all Malaysians such as adequate places of worship and the standard of education in Malaysia.

Imagine a time when all Malaysians will proudly refer to themselves as ‘Bangsa Malaysia’.

Imagine a day when a non-Muslim can be deputy prime minister or even prime minister of Malaysia. Is that impossible?

Just 50 years ago, the African Americans could not even vote. But today, you have an African American with a 50:50 chance of being the next president of America.

Just imagine…

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