GEORGE TOWN, Nov 30 — The coalition government representing all sections of the country should curtail the dangers of a federal Opposition that was almost entirely Malay, according to political analysts.
Universiti Malaya sociopolitical analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi said that while it was true Perikatan Nasional was overwhelmingly Malay, the community was also well represented in Pakatan Harapan, Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah.
From these, he said parties such as Umno, PKR, and Amanah would be able to counter any Malay-Muslim narrative that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and PAS attempt to propagate.
“Most of the Malays in the coalition government are moderate Muslims and professionals so they are qualified to present more accurate facts and data, more so if they are placed in strategic ministries,” he said.
“This means that the Malay Muslim narrative does not only belong to PN but to the coalition government under Pakatan, which is moderate and progressive,” he added.
Similarly, he said PN also must attempt to portray itself as multicultural if it harboured any ambition of ever winning federal power.
Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Associate Professor Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani said the 15th general election revealed that most of the Malay support for PN was concentrated in the north and east coast of the peninsula.
“Malays in the west and south were supporting BN and PH,” he said.
“I think by having a unity government with PH and BN, plus other parties, it will later boost the support of Malays to the PH-led government,” he said.
While he said it was not currently a concern that the Opposition was primarily Malay, he acknowledged that PN could be tempted into communal politics in order to remain politically relevant.
According to Senior Fellow of Singapore Institute of International Affairs Oh Ei Sun, divisive communal politics was already the reality in Malaysia.
He said it was not something politicians needed to fabricate, but were actual grassroots sentiments they could exploit for their political agenda.
“There is a huge divide between those who would cling on to racial religious supremacy versus those who would want to see a more multicultural outlook for the country,” he said.
He also noted the wave of Islamisation in Malaysia, but pointed out that this was a global trend stemming from the Islamic revivalist movement and not unique to Malaysia.
Still, Oh believed leaders such as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim may be able to neutralise these threats.
“If Anwar with his experience with Islamist before and now a reformist, if he could bridge this divide, it will be nice,” he said, referring to Anwar’s origins in the Islamic Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim).