Perhaps it’s time to phase out Malaysian race-based parties

JULY 17 — “Nothing’s going to change/has changed/will change,” I hear Malaysians grumble.

Not surprising really, as complaining is perhaps the No. 1 Malaysian pastime, especially at the nearest mamak stall.

Rather than write yet another column (sigh) pointing out how much progress we have made since the last election, it is time to look past why we are here but where do we go now.

Realistically it will take time to clean up our institutions, shore up our economy, prop up voter confidence and sweet talk foreign investors.

If there was one thing the country could do right now that I think would steer us in the right direction is no longer allowing race- or faith-based political parties.

Have associations, sure. You want to have an association for specific races the way the Chinese have Hokkien, Hakka and Teochew assocations — go ahead.

Just don’t allow the formation of a Hakka political party. I say this with due apologies to my probably-not-amused ancestors.

My being an unfilial descendant aside, we should all know by now that politics shouldn’t mix with race and religion.

If a political party claims to champion a specific race or faith, they are also indirectly saying that if they were in power everyone else would matter less to them.

Malaysia is for all Malaysians. For political parties to cater to specific demographics is in other countries ludicrous — except maybe for India where a Hindu nationalist party is definitely not doing a good job caring about minorities.

All parties must accept all races, all faiths, all genders. We put that in place, then perhaps our politics will be less murky and we won’t have prime ministers whine about not knowing what the Chinese want this time.

Give money to associations. Support communities and uplift the ones we have so long neglected or oppressed such as the Orang Asli.

Speaking of the Orang Asli, man, they can’t catch a break.

They had their lands taken, their people enslaved and now we have even given them the dubious gifts of measles and proselytisation.

I think it’s time we stop asking Malaysian voters to be forced to vote for politicians who have publicly declared they only really care about one kind of Malaysian.

Still, I do know this is wishful thinking as if the government tries to enforce this there will be whining all around declaring the move as oppression.

I reserve the right to dream of a day when Malaysians and Malaysian politics gain some common sense.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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