It’s time for multiracial politics

22-Sep-2022 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Race-based politics is one of the last relics of the British colonial era. To facilitate Malayan independence, the British insisted on negotiating with representatives of all major ethnic groups. That was in the early 1950s, nearly seventy years ago.

Race-based politics has now become a domain that is shackling the nation into retrospective existence. The politics of today reflect images of the past, while the rest of the world is delivering new challenges.

Race-based politics is not solving the deep seated issues facing Malaysia today. The current national leadership has not solved the issues of poverty, full employment, stable prices, lifelong financial security, education and social stability.

Religious narratives are pushing the nation back, while the rest of the world is passing Malaysia economically.

The focus on race-based politics has only led to a class-based society, exhibiting an ignorance towards sustainability, rent-seeking economics rather than innovation based development, with the absence of meritocracy.

Malaysia has gone from being a formidable Asian Tiger to a homeless alley-cat. More people are searching for better opportunities abroad. This is a multicultural phenomenon.

The NEP is the Old Economic Policy

The New Economic Policy has long fulfilled its purpose. It’s been abused and used as cover to feed a selfish elite with few benevolent characteristics towards their own. The NEP must be reformed from one based upon race to one based upon needs. The focus upon equity needs to be reframed towards a focus on needs.

This will best help the Malays and other Bumiputeras, who are truly in need of a safety net. Poverty is a national problem, where advancement of the individual regardless of ethnic group is our national concern.

We need issues-based politics

Malaysia now faces many issues that must be tackled head-on. These must be solved with new policies and strategies.

How is Malaysia going to grow economically, in a sustainable manner, without selling out to foreign suitors? How is the Malaysian economy going to transform from rent-seeking to an innovation based one? How is Malaysia going to create full employment with a second tier foreign labour pool, that is keeping wages low? How is Malaysia going to turn GLCs into assets that directly benefit the rakyat?

Malaysia needs diversity so it can develop a society based upon meritocracy and innovation to compete against the rest of the world. Malaysia needs to dismantle restrictive market regulations, so there are equal economic opportunities for all. As long as Malaysian government and policy making is anchored within religion, the rest of the world will leave Malaysia behind.

We need a multiracial political system

As we are heading into GE15, both sides of the political spectrum are jockeying for position. This is being done on the Malay-centric side in the name of “Malay unity”. while on the other side, there is yet to be any clear message.

The issues of inflation, poverty, cost of living, food security, and employment are rarely mentioned within the current narratives. This needs to change if Malaysia is going to be saved from future socio-economic catastrophe.

The rakyat want political parties to solve their daily problems. Many within the rakyat imagine a united and cohesive force to fight for and solve their problems, that have nothing to do with race.

This immediately requires a united opposition coalition that will be an issue, rather than race based.

Take two steps forward

Fully developed multiracial politics can be achieved through two stages.

The first step will be to approach GE15 as a united coalition “reformasi” style. There must be passion and desperation by the opposition to restore Malaysia towards a progressive path, leaving no sections of Malaysia behind.

This can be done. It has been done. The politicians must realise this is what their voters really want. If they truly want to serve their constituents, they must listen to the electorate.

The second step must be an amalgamation into a single multiracial and issue based political party. This must trespass the egos of individual leaders who fear the loss of position within any amalgamation.

There is an urgency for this. Failure to act before GE15 will allow the current Malay-centric parties to consolidate their power once again, well into the next decade. If this becomes the case, the government will be more of the same with lots of power struggles interfering with policy focus.

A multiracial coalition or party will place a clear alternative vision of Malaysia into the public eye. Then it’s finally up to the rakyat to decide upon what they want for Malaysia.

One hopes that whichever group forms the opposition after the general election, it will be able to scrutinise the sitting government, and restore real checks and balances into the government process.

Multiculturalism is a Malaysian dream. It’s now up to the politicians to deliver.


Category: Malaysia

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