Redundant race based politics

Tun Dr Mahathir opined that the imminent 13th General Election would be all about race rather than issues that matter. I beg to differ. This time around, the spawn of youngsters, urbanites, intellectuals and sentient voters would determine the polls result. And, their votes would not be based on ethnic factors, but by sound, cogent judgement on the respective track records and the performance as well as the professional ethics and maturity the of contending political parties and politicians.

To date, Malaysians are generally multi-lingual, some, able to speak more than four languages. We are indeed a multi-cultural and multi-religous society and lead varying norms of life. I believe that the divide line is not marked by the disparity of languages, cultures, norms and religions.

The divide is only created by the ruling coalition, with Mahathir taking ethnocentrism to a whole new level when Malaysia was under his tyrannical, vile, racist thumb spanning more than two decades, threatening to die in his boots. Now, as an octogenerian, not only he is sticking his nose around, he makes a cretin look like a savant and vice versa through unwarranted public proclamations.

This divide and rule concept was expediently applied by the British to lord over Malaya and Mahathir perfected it for very selfish reasons so that he can stay in power and plunder while the people are one dimensionally preoccupied with racial prejudice.

It’s been nothing but race aspect as trumpcards for the present day ruling regime, pun, intended, incumbents, mainly divided into Umno, MCA and MIC to stay in power via the brainwashing of the rakyat that without a minister belonging to a particular race based political party championing his or her race, all would be lost.

In that case, it wouldn’t be erronous to say that the rolling up together, the merging of the three major political parties under the coalition of BN has miserably failed to capture the Malaysian spirit.

Things are changing, slowly but surely and all the right reasons to renounce racial and misogyny nuances which are being portrayed by BN via it’s offshoots by the selective and relentless harassments and wild allegations towards Ambiga, Lim Guan Eng and Maria Chin which are, collectively, having the Malays, Chinese, Indians and others riled up as Malaysians.

Right minded Malaysians are furious for the mistreatment of Ambiga because like her, Bersih is colour blind; it’s a shared aspiration and vision and Malaysians from all walks of life can relate to it. The testimony is the massive turnout of Malaysians in all 3 of Bersih rallies.

While MIC have stepped up in criticising the Seri Gading MP’s statement devolved into question on it would be politically correct to have Ambiga sentenced to the gallows for treason at our King when her only and noble intention is to put a full stop to rigged elections reeking of shenanigans, it rings hollow amongst politically knowledgable Malaysian Indians who are taking Vell Paari and Palanivel’s voice out with a pinch of salt, so to speak.

Many Indians have bones to pick with MIC’s bigwigs and the same is true with Umno and MCA’s honchos, with the respective races they claim to represent, protect and champion, creating an internal dissension of sorts which would be the monkey wrench for unity within the coalition. This is the case scenario that is having Malaysians highly dissatisfied and outraged.

Whilst Pak Samad got glaringly left out from brickbats for being Bersih’s co chairperson, Maria Chin and Ambiga got slapped by lawsuits, with the latter further being subject to reprehensible, relentless, incessant hostility both in public and private life.

One can argue that Pak Samad is being left off the hook because of his age and his reputation as a National Laureate, abreast with Usman Awang is a sanctity in its own right, one that must be preserved at all cost, his race, not being a matter of consideration . At the same time though, Ambiga is not a nobody, again, race not taken into consideration; she is an international icon, abreast with Aung San Su Kyi.

In March 2009, Ambiga became one of the eight recipients of the 2009 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award. In the ceremony, the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton commented: “Ambiga Sreenevasan, has a remarkable record of accomplishment in Malaysia.

“She has pursued judicial reform and good governance, she has stood up for religious tolerance, and she has been a resolute advocate of women’s equality and their full political participation. She is someone who is not only working in her own country, but whose influence is felt beyond the borders of Malaysia. And it is a great honour to recognise her and invite her to the podium.”

This honourary event received next to nothing in terms of coverage and attention from the mainstream media. The event was figuratively swallowed whole and when questioned, the downright lame and ludicruous excuse was that Ambiga was dressed inappropriately, that she was clad in a saree and didn’t cover her head with a ‘tudung’ (hijab) Pray tell, are we living under Taliban rule?

Now, we have three races in question and the discrimination is held out for all and sundry to see and judge. Racism gnaws peace and prosterity from within; it wouldn’t foster balance, maturity and development. Instead, it breeds ill-will and prejudice and herd mentality, impeding human, economy, society and the physical augmentation of a country.

Racism is advantageous for few and a great disadvantage for the rest and the rest is simply fed-up. It is high time our politicians play by this veracity which is now being upholded by many Malaysians instead of race based political scare tactics.

Next up, high profile scandals of ministers involving billions of RM swindled and embezzled and the punishment for the daylight robberies being mere slaps on their respective wrists. Why are we having ministers known to everyone as corrupt and nothing but stealing scumbags still being at large?

They should be thrown behind bars for the violations of laws that they have commited. Is the police aid and abet to these atrocities and lawlessness? The son of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri, Mohamad Nedim who was charged with assault of a security supervisor at the Mont Kiara condominium earlier this year has gone unpunished, with Najib remaining eerily silent on the controversial issue.

This clearly indicates that the Malaysian judiciary system has gone to the dogs and draconian laws are the order of the day in Malaysian courts where BN ministers and their next of kin can buy their way out from detention sentences. This would be a factor to be mulled over come polling day, not race.

Now, let’s look at Najib’s sloganeering of 1Malaysia. It is nothing but a hyped up facade put up for Malaysians to lap up unquestioningly. If Najib thinks his popularity would increase if he introduces such a sugarcoated policy, he is wrong because the focus and the decisive voting factor would be on the implementation of the policy at all levels, not on empty promulgations and measly handouts under the brand of 1Malaysia.

The poor and needy might see these goodies galore masterminded Najib as boons but there is no reason for them to hail Najib as some sort of a god. It’s his job as a politician, to address the rakyat’s predicaments even if the best comes to a period of respite for the people.

That is why we voted him into power in the first place and a pressing need has come to remind him and his subordinates of the fact all the time; it must be drilled in into them until the democratic pillar seeps into their subconscious mind. That is what sacks of rice, cans of sardines, packs of instant noodles and RM 500 would amount to, a temporary relief, not a permanent solution.

What needs to be realised is Najib is playing the tried and tested “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” formula. The catch is, he expects the rakyat to scratch his back for five years while he scratches the rakyat backs only once in five years, and sadly, dumbed down rural folk are blind to this reality. This would be an issue to consider when voters cast their votes this time around, at least for city slickers and netizens, not race.

The escalating cost of living is also bugging Malaysians especially the low income class. Burdened by ever rising price of goods, some resort to crime for fast cash while others struggle like anything to make ends meet. Malaysia has become an expensive country to live in; we are simply not generating enough money to sustain our livelihoods while banckrupcy rate is going on the rise instead of pay rise.

While the majority of Malaysians put honest effort to make a living, some political quarters amass gross wealth which raises many dubious eyebrows considering the short period of time in the gain of such obscene riches while other Malaysians are swamped by adverse needliness. This is an another issue that would be pondered upon by voters when casting their votes this time around rather than race.

If Najib is really sincere in espousing the essence of 1Malaysia, he must, foremost, abolish the quota system for tertiary education and replace it with meritocracy system, give equal chance for non-Malays in public service employment, harshly castigate those who bring about racial tension, ban Interlok instead of banning Irshad Manji’s book, fund vernacular schools proportionally and expunge the “Keturunan” (race) in governmental documents and supersede it with ‘Warganegara Malaysia/Bukan Warganegara Malaysia (Malaysian Citizen/Not Malaysian Citizen).

What is in total discrepancy with the 1Malaysia slogan is the breaking down of sub races of Malays, Chinese and Indians when applying for seats in public tertiary education. Isn’t this a direct subversion of 1Malaysia that Najib blares wherever he goes to dole out peanuts for the rakyat? Najib not only can’t effectively apply 1Malaysia concept, he won’t because race based politics is the very root that ensures BN’s survival.

1Malaysia is only a namesake, nothing but a rhetoric; it doesn’t have the substance and the ooomph factor that would benefit Malaysians as a whole in the long run. It is merely Najib’s legacy that would be forgotten once he steps down like Vision 2020 was for Mahathir and Islam Hadari for Pak Lah. We can see the flippancy of our preceding prime ministers through these past and present status quo.

Race based politics is like a chewing gum which has lost its flavour. What do you expect? We’ve been chewing the same gum for 55 years! It has not only become tasteless, it has becme substance-less and would be dead as a dodo in upcoming times.

Unless BN comes up with another strategy to win the votes of colour blind, intelligent, educated, critical thinking Malaysians, it is as good as becoming the opposition or banished to political exile considering the skeletons they have stocked up in their closets. It is time to spit the old chewing gum out and chew on a new gum and repeat the process over and over again, democratically. We have nothing to lose but all to gain.

Where is our beloved country, Malaysia is heading?

Tension is mounting for the much anticipated, near controversial dissolution of Parliament which is in the ominuos offing and the indisposition of our current PM to call the 13th GE. The more he hesitates, the more ground he is losing and the pace is near feverish.

It doesn’t matter how grandiose his groundwork is to enamour the rakyat to vote for the ruling coalition, his popularity and reputation is fast fading because of his torpid and gutless major decision making tendencies.

While the PM is hard at work to woo for votes, via goodies galore and feel good “Pemimpin bersama rakyat” gatherings, his subordinates and predecessor go out of their way to spoil his assiduous, drawn out vote expectant stints, being trigger happy morons. With friends like this, who needs enemies?
Najib’s defeaning silence on the personal intimidation and attacks on Ambiga, Bersih’s chairperson speaks volumes of both his political and social stand. His reticence is sending a strong racial undertone and the rakyat have enough sense of smell to pick the putrid scent.

Bad bode had begun for Najib since the mishandling and manhandling of the two Bersih rallies. Countdown for his downfall started from his decision to clamp down on Bersih 2.0 by unleashing the might of the police to quell the clamour of his own people who voted him into power for free and fair elections.

Perhaps he fears that Pak Lah’s fate would befall him, hence the vaccilation to call the 13thGE in immediacy and the increasing speed of doling peace offerings to the rakyat. I say, accept every handout, hail Najib as our true and only saviour, grant him superstardom, make him elated and come election day, vote for PR. Hypocrisy is in trend. Apply it for the greater good of saving Malaysia from avaricious clutches.

The delusional claim that salt and mineral water “brandished” by Bersih protestors would overthrow the government stems from the fear I mentioned earlier. The rakyat, in true sense of word is collectively Najib’s boogeyman.

It didn’t occur to Najib that Bersih 2.0 epic would spawn Bersih 3.0 seeming saga, each, bigger and more sonorous than the former, uniting Malaysians from all walks of life locally and internationally, not to mention the movement calling for free and fair elections and the way the Malaysian government tackled the issue being under worldwide scrutiny.
Bemused, clueless and riddled, again he ordered an arsenal of irritant ammunition to be unleashed on civilians, possibly thinking “this is how you scatter the roaches!” Mind you, roaches are resilient creatures.

The aftermath of Bersih 3.0 is a pretty ugly picture, painted by the power hungry sharks, scaredy cats, desperados, by-standers and Hermes role playing messengers and the sole target -Ambiga. From burger stalls to obscene butt exercises, from hate speeches to death threats, this lady is harassed like anything.

Racial undertone is conspicuous and the rakyat is angry, albeit contained. I believe it is just waiting to eplode at the ballot box. Malaysians generally have had enough of racial slurs and race based politics no matter how beclouding the practises are.

It is said that one would make the most blunders when in desperation and this rings true in the way present day Malaysia is governed, her helm holders, having succumbed to relative cretinism.
The covenant to give MACC more independence when it is supposed to be a complete independent body is tantamount to Malaysia not being fully independent from the British. If read between the lines, the PM is saying that MACC is indeed biased and it is Najib’s mistake for taking Malaysians for a bunch of fools, whom he can take for a ride.

Next, BR1M. This one takes the cake; a serious joke you might call it but it is anything but funny. It is the PM who is trying to prove that he is good humoured. RM500 per family whose monthly household income is less than RM3,000 and deemed to be a once a year event, and maybe even a second wave to buy votes from the poor and needy.

RM500 is pittance. While ministers pay RM100,000 for a night’s stay in Burj Al Arab, the rakyat get a mere RM500 per year while many more live in the yoke of utter poverty. A raw deal in every sense of word.

2020 is just eight years away and hardcore poor still dwell in provincial, remote areas, lacking the most basic living necessities. Vision 2020 was conceptualised by Malaysia’s forth and longest serving premier Dr Mahathir in 1991.

The nine strategic challenges that Malaysia has to overcome to achieve Vision 2020 are as follows:
  • Establishing a united Malaysian nation made up of one Bangsa Malaysia.
  • Creating a psychologically liberated, secure and developed Malaysian society.
  • Fostering and developing a mature democratic society.
  • Establishing a fully moral and ethical society.
  • Establishing a matured liberal and tolerant society.
  • Establishing a scientific and progressive society.
  • Establishing a fully caring society.
  • Ensuring an economically just society, where there is a fair and equitable distribution of the wealth.
  • Establishing a prosperous society with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient.
We have only eight years left to achieve all of the above. Time is running out. et me outline the accomplishments which have been successfully achieved, pun, intended.

Establishing a united Malaysian nation made up of one Bangsa Malaysia
Race based politics is still the trend and quarters of racism raises its ugly head every now and then. The claim that Indians came here as beggars and Chinese as prostitutes, the insinuation of calling Indians ‘pariah’ in the novel, Interlok and the malicious, harm intended acts at Ambiga is only the tip of the iceberg. Can Bangsa Malaysia be established and consolidated in the remaining eight years?

Creating a psychologically liberated, secure and developed Malaysian society

Psychologically liberated, secure and developed minds won’t indulge in faux pauses. The foot in mouth syndrome is prevalent among the ruling coalition’s incumbents, the most recent one being Sri Gading’s MP’s clarion call to have Ambiga hanged for treason. Can such bloody mindedness be rectified in eight years?

Fostering and developing a mature democratic society
The rightful call for free and fair elections and true democracy be implemented has fallen on deaf ears even after 3 sweeping waves of Bersih rallies, the organisers, harassed and the converged public be bullied by the powers that be that is supposed to protect the people not, play thugs to the ruling coalition. The very man behind this vision is now doing a back flip, saying that democracy without limits, would result anarchy. What’s bugging him? Absent-mindedness or fickle mindedness? Again, the signs are clear that no recent Malaysian PMs so far intend to foster and develop a mature democratic society. Talk about talking cock.

Establishing a fully moral and ethical society
An ethical, fully moralistic society will be achieved when exemplary in top leaderships gets modelled at all levels. The case scenario is yet to exist here, with PERKASA being left without discretion and restriction leash by its tamer. It is let loose to malign and bodily harm those who oppose its views. It is also uncouth and resorting to violence to disrupt opposition parties’ gatherings, immersed in mob mentality and thugism. So much for the establishment of a fully moral and ethical society. I don’t even have to elaborate on corruption and other vices. They are well-known cases.

Establishing a matured liberal and tolerant society
The ban of Irshad Manji’s book, the skewed persecution of Christian groups trying to proselytise Muslims, and other incidents carrying analagous flavours prove that Malaysia has failed to overcome the challenge of attaining an established matured liberal and tolerant society. The factors are impossible to be achieved before 2020 dawns.

Establishing a scientific and progressive society
Due to the oblique of the Bumiputera status, Malaysia is experiencing chronic brain drain which bogs a scientific and progressive society down. Why stay when the land you are born into treats you like a second class citizen when the world welcomes you with open arms?
Simple logic. Not to mention the influx of foreigners here being granted citizenships to preserve the ruling coalition’s political survival. Can the establishment of both scientific and progressive society be achieved in the balance of eight years with the two factors above serving as stumble blocks at the ruling coalition’s own doing? I think not.

Establishing a fully caring society
A fully caring society means not only caring for human interests; it includes flora and fauna interests too. Why does Malaysia have so many zoos in deplorable conditions? Our next door neighbour, Singapore, has a superb zoo with worldwide reputation for excellence which puts Malaysia to shame. Quantity doesn’t count; quality does. Those bodies and personnel in charge of wildlife conservation is operating at zero level. They simply cannot be bothered by the plight of animals indigeneous to this rich, blessed land and now 2 pandas are going to call Malaysia home for 10 years when Malaysia is unfit even to watch over and protect endangered animals at home. I shudder to think of the fate of the 2 baby pandas. Again, can this deeply wanting need be fulfilled in the remaining eight years? You do the math.

Ensuring an economically just society, where there is a fair and equitable distribution of wealth
Now, this tenet of Vision 2020 is sorely missing. The chasm between the rich and poor is getting wider by the day. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. When mentioning Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak must be taken into equal account. To date, it won’t be deniable to say that both the states of Borneo have been grossly taken for advantage. Petroleum producing Sarawak and timber producing Sabah remain the poorest states in Malaysia along with Terengganu and Kelantan. Failure in developing those rich in natural resources state is tantamount to the failure of Vision 2020 unless Superman decides to interfere.

Establishing a prosperous society with an economy that is fully competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient
Bankruptcy rate is staggering and the cost of living is skyrocketing. Are those evidence of a competitive, dynamic, robust and resilient economy? It is popularly known that citizens would go bankrupt first before the country does. Debt-to-GDP ratio jumped from 41.4% in 2008 to 53.1% in 2010 while government debt grew 14.6% in 2008 and18.3% in 2009, far outpacing the country’s GDP growth. It must be noted that when Malaysia was formed in1963, the British left her with a solid administrative template.

Yet, after more than 50 years of rule by BN, the template has not been improved on. In fact, it has gone to the dogs; replaced by a form of government that encourages leakages and corruption of all forms. Malaysia has a population of 28 million and a civil service of around 1.3 millions. Out of the 28 million, only one per cent are paying income tax. (Heaven knows how much black money is stashed in Swiss accounts.) This clearly shows that 99% are either below the income tax bracket or merely earning too little to need to pay taxes. With inflation and the price of goods continuing to rise, expect even fewer people to pay income tax in the near future. So much for a prosperous society.

Another disturbing, worrying and down right ridiculous trend is the discontinuation of gazzeted policies made by successive PMs. Dr Mahathir introduced the Vision 2020 and Abdullah Badawi failed to follow it through. Instead, he created the brand Islam Hadari and once Najib successed Pak Lah, he went on his on way and came up with 1Malaysia, leaving Malaysians disenchanted and disillusioned.

The scenario looks like our PMs are being keen to imprint their own, singular, exclusive marks within the term they assume public office at the expense of rakyat, the ‘brand’ propagated via mainstream media. How underskilled, fickle and disengaging! How can we change a national policy every time we change our PM? Would the ‘halfway or quarterway done’ policies bring any good for the rakyat as a whole? Hwaaa.. Malaysia memang BOLEH!!

Then, there are white elephant projects which benefit few Malaysians. There are homeless and starving Malaysians living in slums and in severely deprived living conditions and yet, we boast on gilded achievements like building the tallest twin towers in the world and sending an astronaut to break fast in outer space. Let’s ask the Penans what they think of such grand displays while their children have no decent meals to fill their tiny tummies and cannot afford an education. Build towering Malaysians first; building towering buildings can wait.

With all said and done, I pose the question to my fellow Malaysians, where is our country heading? Towards encompassing development or enveloping destruction? Making a difference lies in our hands, we hold the power and let’s show the full force of the people’s power at the ballot box. The country is cool but not the people who are running it.

Learn the difference. Know the difference. There is a difference. We can make a difference.