Friday, October 06, 2006

BANGSA MALAYSIA - WILL IT BE A REALITY ?

It is sad to hear and read Malaysians raising racial issues against one another although we have gained independence for past 49 years. The culprits behind these, are our own politicians who use race to champion their cause to gain popularity. So long as we are divided as Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans, Dayaks, Ibans, Bidayuhs and so forth, we are not going to achieve integration. Until and unless we consider ourselves as Malaysians, irrespective of our ethnical background, we will always be having these differences, and our politicians will keep playing with our emotions on this racial tone. There are laws to prevent them from creating and inciting racial sentiments but the enforcement is at the whims and fancies of the administration. In most cases, it is one sided and the victims are always the non-bumiputras or precisely the non-malays.

Recently, it was reported that Bukit Mertajam Umno leader Musa Sheikh Fadzir had told the Chinese, especially the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce, not to stir the 'hornets' nest and had warned that "this is our land, our rights, our constitution." What does he mean by "ours". Is he referring to Umno or to the Malays? Looking at his background, Musa, whose forefathers migrated from India to this Malay kingdom, must be reminded that Malaysia belongs to Malaysians irrespective of race, religion or culture, and this is their land, their rights as citizens and the Malaysian constitution is their constitution. Malaysia is not the land of the Malays alone, including the Indian Malays or Arab Malays. On this matter, what has Musa and his Umno peers done to uplift the economic and social status of Penang Malays? The Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce has called for the review of the 30% bumiputra equity quota in the State.

For the past 35 years, since 1969, the bumiputras have been having an edge over their non-bumiputra counterparts due to the New Economic Policy (NEP) which is currently widely termed as 'Never Ending Policy', which was formulated to bridge the gap of disparities among the various races in Malaysia so that they too, can share the wealth of the country and live in peace and harmony by providing privileges in most areas, which was termed as 'bumiputra quota'. Although the implementation of this privilege was to end in 1990, more than 15 years ago, and since the target of 30% equity was not achieved as reported, the government extended this privilege and during the recent 9th Malaysia Plan, it was further extended for another 15 years to the year 2020 on the view that the bumiputra equity target was only at 18.9%. Recently, an independent report from Asian Strategy of Leadership Institute (ASLI) revealed that the target had long been achieved and it is now estimated to be about 45%. For sure, the non-bumiputras who have been deprived for so long would retaliate. The government on the other hand, is not able to substantiate its claims on how it had arrived at its figures. Just mere statements by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will not keep this matter silent. The rakyat, more so the non-bumiputras wants facts and figures to prove this arguments.

The Prime Minister's son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, who is UMNO Youth Deputy Chief had sometime ago made a remark saying that the 'chinese will take a upper hand if the malays were weak and disunited'. Although this remark incites racial sentiments, he had refused to apologise to the chinese as he quotes that the media had misinterpreted his statement. This is a social crime in Malaysia and Khairy, an Oxford scholar, should have been arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). But this has never happened. When Singapore Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew made some racial remark that 'the chinese in Malaysia and Indonesia are systematically marginalised', the government and UMNO had demanded an apology which Harry Lee had tendered in some way or another. Just look at the double standards practised by our leaders and UMNO. Sometime ago, there were certain non-malay Members of Parliament who had incited racial statements but they were reprimanded for their actions. . This is, after all, racial politics, BN style or precisely UMNO style.

It is time that we, the rakyat, should take a serious look and consideration our options when the next elections is called. We will need a government who will be transparent and accountable to the rakyat. Corruption in any form to be totally wiped out. A major review of all government policies. Most of all, create a singular Malaysian identity of various faiths. Get rid of the race identity. Let us live with one single happy family called MALAYSIANS or RAKYAT MALAYSIA.

Will this vision be a reality?