If you want your future to be different, do not act out of fear or be manipulated by a comedy of unreality, writes K Haridas.
When a party has no bigger cause to fight and indulges in racist and religious bigotry, then it is a sign that such a party has no substance and cause worth championing.
It is important that we call the bluff as equal citizens of the Federation. What evidence is there that the DAP has belittled Islam and the issue of ‘bumiputera’?
The fact remains that the DAP has continued as an effective party in Parliament for several decades. That it has had the courage to stand up to the bullying and harassment of Umno has to be respected. Why are they Umno’s number one enemy?
Umno members have to be honest in this regard and grow up. The fact that Indian and Chinese Malaysians have deserted the MIC, the MCA and other component parties within Barisan Nasional (BN) is because of the singular failure of Umno to give due respect and equal empowerment to these communities.
Umno’s attitude and self-righteousness is the reason why Indian and Chinese Malaysians have deserted BN. Take the recent ‘hudud’ issue: a diversion from 1MDB, and it also reflects the level of discussion and inclusion of BN component parties in decision-making.
Almost every major institution – from the civil service, the army, the navy, the air force, and regulatory bodies – is within the de facto control of Umno, not to mention the Electoral Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police and the attorney general’s office.
What is it that Umno members fear? Perhaps it is their own shadows because they recognise their own incompetence. Even well trained and educated Malays are disappointed with the establishment, where it is who you know that matters and not your competence.
The government-linked companies are another area, and the more they take the more they want. The present level of corruption highlights the serious malaise afflicting the party.
What is left for other Malaysians is to fend for themselves by becoming self-earning entrepreneurs. Many are not envious of this situation, because it has driven them to hard work and to become independent. Why should such individuals vote for the BN or its component parties.
The MCA and the MIC have lost the self-respect of their respective communities. This is mainly due to the overbearing attitude of Umno. Do not blame these parties because Umno seems blind to its own leadership failures. Its condescending attitude is at best arrogant and overbearing.
Without trying to understand the reasons, mere reactionary statements will not change anything but increase anti-Umno feelings in an already polarised situation. If not for gerrymandering, the BN would not be in power today.
Divide and rule
I would respond to any Umno leader who speaks for all Malaysians as well as for the bumiputeras. To identify any group of Malaysians as their enemy is to insult the intelligence of all Malaysians.
The DAP is today a very multi-ethnic party and is the envy of Umno. Expressions like ‘going to war’ provoke negative emotions, and it is unbecoming of a leader of a multi-ethnic society to speak in such terms.
The rhetoric at every Umno general assembly belittles Malaysians of other ethnic origins. It is as though Umno members are sensitive as to how they are treated and remain very insensitive as to how they treat others.
Umno is today playing the divide-and-rule card and has even joined with Pas to advance Malay hegemony in this nation. Such a scenario will breed injustice and will be un-Islamic in a fundamental sense.
The singular failure of the Umno general assembly is that 1MDB never featured in it. An issue that has embarrassed the nation in the international arena and that involves fraud and misappropriation of billions of ringgit seems unimportant to Umno members.
To claim that someone is in power because he or she is destined by Allah is at best an opinion. Even President Assad of Syria or the late Suharto of Indonesia could have claimed claim the same. Such is the rhetoric and blind logic that is advanced to propagate loyalty.
Do Umno members think that the Malays of today are that stupid? Is this the level and substance of debate in a party that has been in power for over five decades?
If a person’s ‘rezeki’ is to be in power, so be it. But this does not mean he or she can embezzle money in large amounts. When the end comes, then it will be takdir, as God wills it. Perhaps, when leaders are drunk with power they imagine they are invincible, but in reality they will end up like Marcos or Suharto.
To claim that Malay privileges and institutions will go extinct is to believe in fantasy. Even if the DAP comes to power, it will be part of a coalition and there would be enough checks and balances to ensure that this would not happen.
We have a constitution that protects all Malaysians, and it would be good for Umno members to recognise this reality. Only a duplicitous leader who claims to champion the Global Movement of Moderates will distort fact in this manner.
Quality of leadership
Great leaders are those who provides leadership and inspire all their followers to be inclusive and tap the energies and capacities of their people. Diversity is our key ‘unique selling proposition’, and if a leader continues to divide and rule and polarises people on the basis of ethnicity, then he or she is incapable of being a leader of this nation.
We must not fear the levels of stupidity that are being exhibited by a segment of our population. The sad part is that they represent the ruling sector.
It is time that other parties within the coalition speak out and stand up to Umno. If you do not say so and indicate your displeasure, then many more will support the DAP, Amanah and other alternative choices that we the electorate have to opt for in the next elections.
Umno cannot any more take the Malaysian citizen for granted. Umno members do not enjoy any special privileges in so far as voting goes apart. But then there is the gerrymandering and malapportionment that is going on.
There is no bleak future for either Chinese or Indian Malaysians. There are also many Malay Malaysians with a broader mindset than Umno members.
To claim that our future is bleak is to deny the constitution and the capacity of ordinary Malaysians to champion and bring change. Real justice is blind to both colour and ethnicity; it is a cause to which all Malaysians will respond. The recent Bersih 5 is a good example.
It is easy to divide and play on fears. Only bankrupt politicians play such games. This is a nation where there is enough for everyone’s needs and not for some people’s greed.
Umno is in its final throes, and the quality of its leadership is an example of a party that has no cause but relies on emotions and plays on ethnic and religious issues. Let us get rid of parties that do this whether they are in government or in opposition.
Yesterday’s heroes have suddenly become the enemies of Umno today. To scandalise them but not address the substantive issues they have raised shows up Umno’s weaknesses.
What is the level of democracy within Umno? These are the people who are today even questioning democracy? Not surprising, when you have been in power for decades and now realise that the end is near.
With digital Malaysia, online papers, the smartphones and heightened communications, a lot of information is available. Any party that thinks that it has domination over the channels of communication is doomed.
Malaysia needs change and the power of the vote and the choice is in the hands of every Malaysian. If you want your future to be different, do not act out of fear or be manipulated by a comedy of unreality.
It is no more an issue of you and me. It is about our children and future generations. Migration is a cheap alternative. The grass is never always greener on the other side.
Here we are presented with a cause and a purpose to give to this land and its people a more just and equitable society where everyone feels an equal sense of belonging. Bersih is a tangible example of such a response.
We have to lift the agenda beyond race, but to do so we need to vote the present group of incompetent politicians, along those who are competent but condone what is going on by their silence, out of power.