Society is ready to move from a race-based approach to policies, parties and indeed the entire system, writes Kiridaren Jayakumar.
A month ago, the suspension of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was a big issue and it led to the use of the PKR logo for all PH parties in the mother of all elections.
Before that, I was the first one to be angry when Pakatan, which I had looked forward to voting for in the 2013 general election (but could not because I was five months short of 21), totally changed into a Barisan Nasional-like compartmentalised race-based coalition. We had PPBM for the Malays, Hindraf-Mira for the Indians and the DAP for the Chinese.
So the suspension of PPBM was good news to me because Mahathir is capable of unifying all the opposition parties under one logo, doing something unprecedented in the process.
Race-based parties invariably breed a mindset of people looking out for their own racial advantage or rights while forgetting that all of us are Malaysians. Is the Maslow hierarchy of needs for all human beings any different in Malaysia? Chinese, Malays, Indians and people of other ethnicities all want enough food ie three meals a day, a comfortable home, some savings, the ability to explore personal interests, and a life free from anxiety.
Needs-based policies are what we should be fighting for when we move out of the mindset of thinking of our own ethnic group. We should be thinking about how to improve the wellbeing of society as a whole.
Millennials should be thinking ahead for the next 20 years – and a little idealism won’t hurt.
There is no unique race, and we should be cultivating the thought of one national grouping ie Malaysian. Let’s not forget that we are all one race – homo sapien.
It would be difficult to ask BN to move away from the race-based component party system which has existed for over six decades. But it would be amazing if PH was able to break down ethnic boundaries and truly be the Malaysian opposition we all crave.
Society is ready to move from a race-based approach to policies, parties and indeed the entire system. We just need an actor in the political system that fights against race-based politics.
We can do so much better than the other countries where race is a big factor such as the United States, Brazil, South Africa and India. It is time we move away from our obsession with racial politics.
Kiridaren Jayakumar is a young Malaysian who is fighting to end the race-based approach to politics, parties and policies. He hopes to see such parties merging into a new party and formulating needs-based policies.