“Unity minister Aaron’s meeting with Dr M might be an exercise in futility” – Ramasamy



    Unity minister Aaron’s meeting with Dr M might be an exercise in futility

    It is nothing wrong for the National Unity Minister Aaron Ago Dagang to meet the former twice prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammed.

    In fact, this kind of meetings should be encouraged to examine the state of national unity in the country.


    Aaron was upset that Mahathir would cast aspersions on the Indians and Chinese for being not loyal to the country.

    Mahathir in an interview with a TV channel from Chennai, India, expressed regret that Indians by adhering to their language, religion and culture, failed to assimilate with the Malays.

    Quite a few leaders with the present government took umbrage to Mahathir’s uncalled for remarks on the Indian community. I replied him by stating that Mahathir’s solution for national unity is the assimilation of ethnic groups such as Indians and Chinese.

    However, despite being a prime minister for many years, I was astonished how he could recommend the assimilationist model of national integration. A model that had been long been rejected in many multicultural societies.

    Moreover, Mahathir being the chief architect who kept the races divided to promote the Malay hegemonic model was not keen to promote the racial and religious unity.
    Because it was in the racial and religious divide, the development model in favour of the Malays could succeed.

    Unfortunately, the development model which manifested in the form of the NEP merely succeeded in the widening the gap between the rich and poor Malays. Given the long years of inbuilt tensions and conflicts among the races, there was no way even a minimalist integration approach could succeed.

    Mahathir cannot blame the non-Malays as he was the person largely responsible responsible for the development of centrifugal tendencies among the races. While Malays were given special rights and privileges on account of their Bumiputra status, the non-Malays were denied these rights on account of their recent immigrants status. Mahathir refers to them as the “Pendatang” (immigrants).

    More than 60 years of political independence gave rise to society that was racially and religious divided. While there was a semblance of order and unity, the racial and religious divisions created by the extreme nationalists like Mahathir persisted stubbornly.

    Blame cannot be cast on the Indians or Chinese or the Malays, the leadership of the country was solely responsible. While Malay nationalists reinforced the racial, cultural and religious difference of the Malays in opposition to the non-Malays, similar the non-Malay leaders sought to reinforce the differences amongst the non-Malays, the Chinese and Indians.

    However, the blame came to be cast solely on the non-Malays as those responsible for perpetuating their racial, religious and cultural differences vis-a-vis the Malays. Mahathir might be frustrated and desperate, but he cannot blame the Indians or Chinese or even the Malays.

    Yet, despite the divisive racial and religious policies over decades that served to reinforce the racial and religious divide, the society is generally harmonious and peaceful. The credit should be given to ordinary Malaysians—Malays, Chinese, Indians and others for peace and stability. If only we have leaders who are statesmen rather than ethnic and religious champions, the country would have made remarkable progress especially in realm of inter-cultural relationships.

    Mahathir questioned why I left the multiracial political party, the DAP, to form an ethnic Indian party. I replied by saying that the DAP is not a multiracial party anymore, it has taken a different political character that cannot be defended as multiracial.

    I was surprised that Mahathir could label DAP as a multiracial party when he had nothing but venom for the party.

    I wonder how he could suddenly turned around to “love” the party. By the way, my new party, Urimai (United for Rights of Malaysian Party) is not an ethnic party, but multiracial one but with the focus on the Indian underclass.

    However, Mahathir’s sudden love for multiracial political parties seems not in congruence with his own party affiliations over the years. Once he had membership in Umno, later Bersatu and now with Pejuang. He might have changed party affiliations, but remained within the fold of an ethnic Malay political party.

    Well, if he is taking so much about multi-racialism, why did he sought membership with ethnic Malay political parties! Why was there no initiative to form Malaysian political parties?

    Simply because Mahathir does not believe in the formation of multiracial political parties. He thinks that Malays can only be protected and advanced by a preponderant ethnic party.

    While I welcome the meeting between Mahathir and Aaron, I seriously doubt that such a meeting would have a significant impact on Mahathir.

    Mahathir given his vast political experience thinks that he knows the answers as to what ails the Malaysian society.

    I think the meeting will be one in which Mahathir will be doing the talking with Aaron listening. In brief, it would not be a dialogue, but a monologue!