Umno-Pas pact a test for New Malaysia

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Anil Netto looks at the implications of this pact and what it means for Malaysia’s multicultural society.

The pact to be sealed today between a race-based party and a party with an exclusive religious agenda can’t be favourable for the country in the long run.

This alliance will serve as a magnet for those with chauvinistic or bigoted views. Such people do not understand what it means to live in a multicultural society, which should celebrate diversity and see it as an asset.

The watershed general election of 2018 witnessed the crippling defeat of the old politics of ‘race’ and religion and ushered in a new Malaysia. For about six months after the general election, we felt the promise of a new Malaysia was within reach. We could smell it in the air.

The defeated forces were down – but not out. The new government blinked the first time it was tested. (Recall its U-turn over the ratification of the International Covenant on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.) This U-turn bolstered the defeated forces – and they have since regrouped.

What we are seeing in recent months is an ethno-religious push-back by these defeated ethno-religious forces of the old order. They have now come together in a pact they hope will put them on the road to Putrajaya.

Expect them to play up ethno-religious issues at the slightest opportunity. It is the only game they know, the only tune they can sing.

This is not the first time Umno and Pas have come together. An even closer alliance in the 1970s fell apart before long. The ensuing distrust took decades to overcome. The same could happen with the present pact in the coming years.

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I am confident ordinary Malaysians can see through this alliance of convenience. In this more open and digital era, more Malaysians are now mature enough to overcome their ethnic and religious differences. They understand what it means to live and work side-by-side with one another.

Our hope lies in mature and enlightened Malaysians, especially the younger generation and new voters above 18 and Sabahans and Sarawakians – who will show us the way to live in harmony in the new Malaysia that treasures its diversity.

But the Pakatan Harapan government too must do its part. It should take a long hard look at its policy and ideological orientation. True, it has made some advances in institutional reform, especially in the selection of more credible leaders to helm some of these institutions (though the process could have been more democratic and participatory). There are a fewer arrests of critics – other than for comments against religion and royalty – quite unlike the spate of arrests under the Najib administration.

But allowing critics more space is one thing. The PH government needs to have a counter- narrative to the narrow ethno-religious ideas that would promote enchance inclusivity and unity.

As it stands, the PH government appears a bit too preoccupied with mega projects like the third national car, a new airport for Kedah and mega transport infrastructure projects and massive land reclamation in Penang. Then there is Lynas…

Is this government really pro-rakyat in its approach to affordable housing, universal public healthcare, public transport, food security, education and environmental sustainability? Or is it too neoliberal in its approach to these areas?

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These are the real-life areas it should focus on. It is in these areas that people can feel and see for themselves if the new Malaysia is different.

The PH government needs to do much more if it harbours any hope of pulling the rug from under the feet of Umno-Pas. It needs to focus on ordinary people, especially the poor and marginalised groups. It needs to provide adequate social protection for vulnerable groups and to move away from its neoliberal orientation and cosiness with Big Business.

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Ravi Nair
Ravi Nair
18 Sep 2019 6.32am

Kleptocracy was the surname of BN. Now with the combination of PUS & BN i hope Oxford Dictionary professors will need to work overtime to find a new name……..
I suggest PAKCHOMA aka Pakatan Hancur Malaysia

Cheng Eak Chew
16 Sep 2019 9.40am

It is all up to certain community(or every single Malaysian) what they wanted and aspired for their next generations ……… That’s always a choice to be made in life. In fact, someone recently told me that GI-W=E (Good Intention minus Wisdom equal to Evil)!! Most Malaysians had seen what UMNO and PAS can do in the last 5 to 6 decades running the country ……. how corrupted (some) of their leaders are, those who made policies and enacted the laws …… and how poorly the execution and implementation as far as laws are concerned to the people on the streets …… That’s simply a wanton or blatant abusing of legal framework of law and power for their family, cronies and for their own self-interest…….. Mismanaged of national wealth and economy …….. and worst using race and religion to divide and rule nation’s multi-ethnic and multi-religious citizens ………Malaysia has lost its shine, great reputation and competitiveness in various areas as far as international ranking is concerned …… we are no longer among the top wanted list for FDIs and many other international or regional investments…….a place for… Read more »

Aziz Ahmed Shaika
15 Sep 2019 12.35am

I feel UNNO-PAS get together is not a test to New Malaysia but a mere showdown of greed for power. It is a continuation of grand national joke that we all hv laughed since BN lost its power.

Kunaseelan Packianathan
14 Sep 2019 2.58pm

Can’t believe the statements made by the BIG MONEY THIEVES of BOLEH LAND.

Joshua Lim
14 Sep 2019 1.00pm

It’s a good test

Jay Rajendran Pillay
14 Sep 2019 12.27pm

ALI BABA & CO….VERSION 2019🤣

Perumal Kali
14 Sep 2019 11.59am

It is seen as a pact not worthy as it is a despicable norm of an amorous civilized civil society.It sounds like a bitter pill pact where the civilized insans are unwilling to swallow,or even stomach it as the future of the world is oneness of mankind.It grieves my heart to realize that there are leaders with vested interest who are out to destabilise the love & understanding of the Malaysian spirit which has been nurtured since the rule of the British a long time ago.
For now we have only leaders who are away from the truth of civilisation.

Colin Ch
14 Sep 2019 10.55am

Thieves and liars unite to plunder the nation.

Cheewee Goh
14 Sep 2019 10.35am

😂🤣😅🤡🤡🤡😅😅😂clowns 🤡🤡🤡😅😂🤣

Jana MJ
14 Sep 2019 10.34am

Both parties feeds on race and religion. Is it called new Malaysia

Yok Foo Looi
14 Sep 2019 10.26am

There’s a great deal at stake here with Kuda`s politikus wayang. Proceed with caution and integrity.
B4 GE14, DAP n PKR (and PAS) are the greatest threat to Umno

Barathi Inthu
14 Sep 2019 9.33am

It’s an extended comedy really- the marriage of thieves and liars😂
They can’t be friends with anyone, even themselves. I will wait for the drama to unfold.🤣🤣🤣

PengLim Fong
14 Sep 2019 9.17am

A Pact destined for hell.

Jan Janice
14 Sep 2019 10.04am
Reply to  PengLim Fong

PengLim Fong both party of garbage

Krishna Singh
14 Sep 2019 9.25am

If the union is just for religious reasons we have nothing to fear. It will only be for good. If it is to get political power, it will break up even before it wins power. They will be fighting for kerusi!

Stella Perera
14 Sep 2019 10.13am
Reply to  Krishna Singh

Krishna Singh They will also fight with kerusi. 😁

Agnes Cheah
14 Sep 2019 9.14am

RACIST

Kevin Dhillon
14 Sep 2019 9.02am

Moe, Curly and Larry

Quah Cheow Chye
14 Sep 2019 9.02am

Stupid you can’t fix but you can vote it out.

Jason JT
14 Sep 2019 9.10am

To plunder the nation’s wealth, and enjoy freebies without working for it, all expense paid-for holiday to Golok and tke the nation further behind East Timur’ standards.

Woo Chee Seng
14 Sep 2019 10.09am
Reply to  Jason JT

Jason JT plunder without shame! Following … bossku’s principle!

Perumal Kali
14 Sep 2019 12.06pm
Reply to  Jason JT

Jason JT,How very true .One PM plundered Millions,another Billions, & the third one was in line to become PM but god saved us from the Trillions.

Bennie Goh
14 Sep 2019 12.06pm
Reply to  Jason JT

Without meritocracy,we aint going now where