KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government must acknowledge some of the concerns held by the country’s ethnic majority and take steps to address them, Umno MP Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
But the former youth and sports minister also said his party must help the new administration bridge the growing racial polarisation stemming from Malay distrust of the multi-racial ruling coalition.
“Some of their aspirations may be ridiculous but some of them are valid,” he told reporters here.
“So the new government has to acknowledge that the restlessness that has come out of it must be addressed.
“I believe we must help this government tackle racial division. Umno musn’t exploit this,” he added.
Two pollsters recently released surveys that found racial division widening, with more than half of the country’s Malays opposing PH rule.
One of the surveys also found Malay support for the appointment of minorities for key government posts significantly low, a reflection of the pervasive communal sentiment among the country’s ethnic majority.
PH wrested federal power on May 9 on the back of strong minority support but with just a third of the Bumiputera vote.
Many political analysts blame the growing communal tension on decades of racial politics espoused by Umno and PAS, who tend to prey on Malay insecurities to shore up support.
When asked if Umno was partially at fault, Khairy deflected the question but said some of the suspicion towards pro-minority policies among Malays were there because of the failure by all parties to address their concerns.
The former minister did not specify which of the demands made by the community were justified.
“Some of the reasons that are causing this restlessness are real and understandable and I think there must be genuine efforts to address them,” he said.