Home English News “Beyond race and religion & GE 15” – Ramasamy

“Beyond race and religion & GE 15” – Ramasamy

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COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

Beyond race and religion
It has been rightly pointed out that the non-Malays have to be sensitive to the concerns of the Malays especially on matters of race, religion, the status of the national language, the special position of the Malays and the Malay royalty.

Since the country is facing the GE15, non-Malays have been advised not give political ammunition for political parties such as Umno, Bersatu and PAS to attack the non-Malays especially those representatives in the PH.

Elections provide the perfect opportunity for race and religious based political parties to reveal their ugly side. Umno, Bersatu and PAS are desperate political parties that are unduly concerned about their future irrelevance in the country.

Elections provide an opportunity for them to make a comeback under circumstances that they have no choice but to fall back on the familiar areas of race and religion.

In the absence of these two inter-related criteria, there no dynamism to Umno, Bersatu and PAS. These parties are void of anything decent in bridging the ethnic or religious gap.

It is the sheer desperation of parties such as Umno, Bersatu and PAS will propel them to use race and religion to the maximum. In other words, the politics of race and religion is so ingrained that independent of the views of the non-Malays there will be no let up on the attacks against them.

Even if non-Malays understand the constitutional provisions relating to the rights of Malays, the status of Islam and the national language, there is no gurantee that the ethnic and religious political parties are going to be silent in not undermining the non-Malays particularly political parties such as the DAP.

DAP bashing is something constant and the favourite theme of the ethnic and religious parties. It is favourite punching bag of Umno, Bersatu and PAS.
PAS’ president Hadi Awang had gone to the extent of calling the DAP a “communist” party. With the polls around the corner, there is already daily pronouncements how DAP is using PH to stage a political comeback.

It is argued that if PH comes to federal power, the actual power brokers will be those in the DAP. PH’s proposed prime minister candidate, Anwar Ibrahim will be the stooge of the DAP.

So even if the non-Malays do not touch on sensitive matters of race and religion, there is not going to be a let up on the part of Umno, Bersatu and PAS.

It is good that there is competition and conflict between these three parties, this in a way will tend to moderate racial and religious extremism.

But the unfortunate situation in the country is that while these Malay-based parties might have differences, but they will not defend the constitutional rights of the non-Malays in the country.

It is not that non-Malays are not sensitive to the Malays. They understand and accept the status of the Malay royalty, the status of the national language, the special constitutional provision on the Malays and others.

In fact, these areas have been rendered over a period of time not subject to discussion or debate. There are laws made by the Parliament to forbid questioning these matters.

However, the constant reminder that non-Malays are foreigners or pendatang, they are not full fledged citizens, the question of the validity of the vernacular schools and the presence of institutional racism are matters that concern the non-Malays in the country.
After more than six decades of independence, the non-Malays are puzzled why these issues constantly resurface in the country.
The non-Malays don’t expect Umno, Bersatu or PAS to defend the rights of the non-Malays.

Their nefarious politics are actually predicated on the notion of questioning the non-Malays as though their presence is an impediment to the progress of the Malays.

It is this zero sum game politics that bedevils the progress of the country around a common citizenship theme.

Hopefully, the component parties in PH will jointly confront and resolve some of the most perplexing questions to bring unity among the different races in the country.

This is why PH is superior political alternative to BN, PN or even GTA.