Sunday, December 1, 2013

One for all, all for one by Wong Chun Wai - The STAR

Malaysia is what it is today because of the contributions of all races.
IT’S a mammoth task, really. Six months after the general election, the National Unity Consultative Council has finally been formed.
The council has been given six months to organise programmes that transcend race and religion aimed at bringing the nation together.
As the Prime Minister himself cautioned during the launch of the council last week, Malaysia is a “complex country”.
Like it or not, there are already plenty of cynics and sceptics out there who have predicted that the recommendations and findings of the council will end up gathering dust on the shelves, just like the work of other grand-sounding committees.
The fact is there is a huge distrust over the sincerity of our politicians, regardless of their affiliations, even as the country continues to be torn by contentious issues.
Rightly or wrongly, many of these divisive issues are caused by selfish politicians and narrow-minded religious personalities.
We cannot deny that the destructive ethnic and religious issues in Malaysia are linked to partisan politics. It is not incorrect to say that a lot of things continue to be seen through racial and religious lenses.
In the aftermath of the 2013 polls that saw a huge majority of non-Malays voting against the Barisan Nasional, there has been a strong resentment against the Chinese voters.
From calls to cut Chinese businessmen off government contracts to promoting bumiputeras first in government-linked companies, such perceived moves to punish the community will certainly not forge unity.
It will only encourage the communal-minded politicians to push their stance harder, resulting in the minority feeling alienated and with a sense that they do not have much of a future in this country.
PAS, which saw its strength eroded in the elections, has also stepped up the religious and racial game to win back the Malay voters. The Islamist party has made no secret of the direction it intends to take in its quest to win back lost ground.
The Chinese, on the other hand, have to learn and accept the reality that they will just be able to win about 45 Chinese-majority parliamentary seats out of the total 222. It doesn’t help that their own numbers, as a percentage of the overall population, continues to shrink.
They can fly back from overseas by the planeloads, thinking they can change history, but they can never change the government – unless the Malay majority wants it to happen.

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