Non-Malays are irrelevant to Malaysia’s future - By Commander (Rtd) S THAYAPARAN Royal Malaysian Navy
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Malaysiakini : “Bulls**t is the glue that binds us as a nation.” ― George Carlin
COMMENT | I cannot recall where
exactly I read this but in one those surveys that ask people how far
they self-identify with certain concepts, Indians by far identified as
“Malaysians”. I have no idea if the Indians taking that survey were
fooling the survey takers or fooling themselves. Then again, I know next
to nothing about what it means to be “Malaysian”.
So the survey that the Oriental Daily
carried out asking Chinese respondents a whole bunch of questions
struck me as rather funny. I mean if the majority valued good governance
over the economy and equality than why would the issue of the treatment
of non-Malays as second-class citizens be a major issue – as evidenced
by the rhetoric of opposition politicians and their followers – in the
current political landscape?
Anyway, all this is not important anyway. The only relevance the
non-Malay community - and by this I mean the Chinese community - is to
provide some semblance of an oppositional block in this country. The
Indian community (as a voting block) is irrelevant and is merely window
dressing to show some form of inclusiveness for mainstream political
power structures or in some rare instances as “kingmakers” in close
I have written
previously – “What Umno is worried about when it comes to its election
chances are internal sabotage, the manoeuvrings of PAS, the ‘situation’
(as one Umno spin master told me) in Sabah and Sarawak, and of course,
the tanking economy.”
I would argue and have done so many times, that the only reason why
Umno continues to make overtures to the non-Malay community is that it
needs them as a fig leaf in its charade as a multiracial/multireligious
coalition and maybe to hedge its bets against the possibility of a
sizable Malay revolt. Not to mention that the plum urban seats are the
trough from which its cronies feed from.
By rejecting BN (read: Umno), a majority in the Chinese community
have propped up the DAP, which is the only alternative to Malay hegemony
in this country. Most days you cannot really tell if this proposition
is true and certainly the DAP would do everything in their power to
dissuade people from this notion because they are constantly under
attack by Umno but it is mostly true, I guess.
Hooking up with Bersatu and Amanah and attempting a going back to
Malaysia’s roots of old alliance politics plays well with the urban
crowd, but the reality is that ultimately the non-Malays do not have a
role to play in this country’s future except maybe propping up a
destabilised Umno economically because of a fractured Malay polity.
These are perilous times for opposition Malaysian politicians because
they are not running on any ideology or common platform beyond the ‘PM
Najib Razak must go’ agenda. Opposition politicians rely on racial bases
to get by, with opposition Malay politicians running in places with a
sizable non-Malay polity, relying on their votes and whatever they can
get from the Malay community to remain relevant.
Meanwhile, non-Malay politicians stick to secure areas with sizeable
non-Malay demographics because these are safe bets, especially if you
are a Chinese opposition political operative. If you are Indian
opposition politician you are constantly reminded – check the comments
on social media – that you have to rely on Chinese votes to stay in the
In some ways, BN non-Malay politicians have an easier time because
they are given a seat and the majority Malay demographic will know how
to vote if they support the establishment. Sabah and Sarawak are foreign
lands and long-term comrades from the establishment and opposition tell
me, there are games played over there that could have a profound impact
on this country.
What this means I have no idea but I am not concerned because
ultimately, I am one of those people who think that the Peninsular
should stay out of Sabah and Sarawak and not because I hope that this
region could destabilise Umno but because I have no interest in
continuing to be a colonial power.
End of oppositional politics
I sincerely hope that Bersatu and Amanah make headways in this
upcoming election and become viable Malay power structures in their own
right because if they do not and the DAP remains the last political
party standing in this election, this would be the end of oppositional
politics in this country.
Some would argue that this is not necessarily a bad thing. The
opposition, if you really think about it, is composed of Bersatu, who
are Najib refuseniks, Amanah who are Abdul Hadi Awang refuseniks, and
the DAP, which has not managed shed its race-based image even though
they have had decades to establish themselves as a truly multi-racial
alternative to the current racial mainstream politics.
Some would argue that having Malay-based oppositional power
structures whose raison d'être is dethroning Najib while playing the
same racial and religious game does more harm to this country but it is
better than nothing I suppose, or at the very least a lone
Chinese-dominated voting block.
If you thought that the Chinese community was getting it bad from
Umno now, you would be witness to the community getting it worse if
Bersatu and Amanah are wiped out by PAS and Umno. Indeed, all PAS has to
do is hold on to Kelantan and maintain the status quo in Terengganu and
this would be a victory, even if they lose in Selangor.
However, the great irony is that Umno sincerely wants its component
parties to win over the non-Malays not only because of the reasons I
mentioned, but because if Umno is the last Malay political party
standing and PAS remains relevant, they will have to deal with the Malay
community in a way they have never dealt with before.
An emboldened PAS would mean more concessions to Islamic imperatives
and this pantomime of a tolerant Islam would be in jeopardy with only
the royalty (maybe) to keep up an appearance of moderation.
We are already witnesses to the Islamic games a weakened Umno plays
with PAS but consider what would happen if a strong Umno is held
accountable by the Islamists and a sizeable Malay population
indoctrinated by years of racial and religious supremacy unburdened by
alternative (perhaps more moderate) Malay power structures?
I figure non-Malay “irrelevancy” will someday soon be this country’s undoing.