A vote against bad leadershipPosted: April 10, 2008
…NOT a vote against politics and government based on race. This is what this blog entry by kickdefella is about. And personally, I couldn’t agree more.
For the record, I am all for Bangsa Malaysia. I am for one race, one country. And I couldn’t be more proud of saying that I am “anak Bangsa Malaysia”, instead of going around and shouting, I’m CHINESE!
But like my first post here in this blog, I like keeping my identity of being a Chinese. It sort of tells me who I am. I am first of all a Malaysian, but I’m a Malaysian Chinese. I cannot do away with that identity, because it is who I am, it was who my my ancestors were. And who are we to do away with this identity, this history?
When the Barisan Nasional fared badly in the last General Elections, it became almost auto-pilot for people to recognise this as a sign that the rakyat have voted against politics based on race. This was made more convenient thanks to the campaign by the Pakatan Rakyat about doing away with racial differences, and going for the “one nation, one race” lobby.
I’m not against this lobbying, this campaining for “one race”, but I do happen to think that the conclusion that this is what the rakyat voted for is probably jumping the gun a bit. It may seem that way, because the BN consists of parties that are race-based, whereas in the Pakatan Rakyat, although there are some racial lines, it is less obvious.
But that doesn’t mean that the DAP-PKR-PAS coalition is without racial lines at all. PAS is Islamic, and almost instantaneously, puts it as a Malay party. DAP has a major Chinese make-up, and for the many years since it was first established, the DAP has been actively perceived as the opposition of MCA. And now, the “representation” of the Chinese community is seen to be put into the hands of DAP. Hence, this would put the DAP as a Chinese party. That leaves the Indian community, and the PKR. Now, PKR is slightly different, in the sense that it is still relatively new compared to its comrade parties, and the make-up of this party, although largely Malay, is seen to be multi-racial. But again, how much of this is true? There are also Malay and Indian reps in DAP, but why does no one see the DAP as a multi-racial party? Is the Indian community trying to grasp for someone to be their “representative”, so much so that they have simply made PKR the “savior”, because PKR consists of some Indian members?
Superficial, is the word to describe all this.
The PR, in almost every sense, is quite similar to BN, being that they are both quite racial. So how can we say that the rakyat have decided to vote away race-based politics, when both opposition and government are based on race?
It is true that the rakyat did not place their votes based on the race of the candidate in their constituency. And it is true that the number of Chinese voters voting for a Malay candidate; Malay voters voting for an Indian candidate, and Indian voters voting for a Chinese candidate, has risen. But that does not tell us that the rakyat does not want our administration to NOT be based on race anymore. In fact, it’s not like as if before the GE2008, the Chinese only voted for the Chinese, the Malays for the Malays and the Indians for the Indians. The voters have almost always voted based on who they thought would be doing a better job at representing them, and if it so happened that a Chinese voter had to vote between a crappy Chinese candidate who was better at blowing bubbles than at carrying out his duties, compared to a Malay candidate who seemed pretty fit to do what he was meant to, chances are that this Chinese voter would be voting for the Malay candidate. And what of constituencies where there is absolutely no choice of what race of candidate to vote for, and both candidates were either Malays, Chinese or Indians? Then what? The other races just stayed away from the voting session?
To me, this DEB thing, or NEP as most English speaking folk would know it as, is something still necessary for Malaysia to continue its growth. Granted, it is slightly biased, and unfair towards the races other than the Malays, but if something is necessary, then so be it. We cannot be so arrogant as to claim that we can do without some sort of “railing”, so to speak, when we have been so used to it all this while, it has almost become second nature.
Sure, they say that the NEP is NOT based on race, and does not only help the Malays, but also helps the Chinese and Indian community. Sure, they can say whatever they want about it. But truth is what we as the people of the nation see, know and feel every single day of our lives. We have experienced the bias-ness of the NEP and the people it helps. We have felt the discrimination that comes along with it. We all know, and I bet the people behind the NEP also know, that it is not a mechanism that goes all out for all the people of Malaysia, regardless of race. That was not how the NEP was born, and definitely not how it has grown.
As a Malaysian Chinese, it would probably be easier to say that I wish for the government to do away with the NEP, do away with race-based politics, and carry out anything and everything based on merit. After all, as Chinese, we have nothing to lose by losing the NEP.
But I believe, that this is not the correct time to do away with the NEP. Sure, we need to mature, we need to stop taking milk from the bottle, we need to stop getting spoon-fed, we need to start thinking for ourselves. We need to seriously get down to making ourselves mature enough to do all that. But in the meantime, Malaysians are generally not ready for that yet. Because the mentality of Malaysians in general are still that of a teething baby.
If we could just imagine for a short while, what Malaysia would be like if we didn’t have any sort of ketuanan Melayu. If we didn’t have quotas. If we didn’t have Malay special rights. If we were really to do away with all this overnight, what would happen to Malaysia? Do we really believe that all will be honky-dory, and that Malaysians will now be able to live in peace and harmony, and prosper together?
The Malays will start blaming everyone for their failure in achieving any kind of success, the Chinese would probably start doing whatever they want with no care whatsoever about what the neighbours think, and the Indians, well, they’ll just continue what they were doing basically. Does this show a harmonious, prosperous country?
I don’t think it paints that picture. Not at this moment.
Back to what I was trying to say in the first place. The BN lost, not so much because it was based on race. It lost basically thanks to bad leadership, and more than a few bad apples in their ranks. There has been abuse of power, less-than-clean politics, even dirtier money matters, and the list just goes on. This is what the rakyat has spoken against. We do not want this to continue.
We want a clean government. One that we can count on for most of our problems. One that doesn’t go eating away our resources, and galavants away our hard-earned moeny. One that doesn’t keep dark secrets hidden in the closet. One that doesn’t even have that closet to start with! One that does exactly what it has promised us.
We know what we want. We thought we got it back in the GE2004. But quite obviously, we didn’t. And that is why we voted against the BN. We voted for the change in administration. We voted against power-abusing, against corruption, against complacency. The keris-wielding, the talk about race, the Indian uproar.. Those were just icings on the cake that was already in the oven. They were just the topping, the last straw.
We voted against bad leadership. We voted for change. And that is what we want to get.