KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 — Malay parties Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Umno are not race based-political parties, a forum was told today.
“This is where we have common ground with Umno it is a nationalist party that champions not only for the Malays but for Malaysians.
“This reduction to race-based politics as something pejorative against the spirit of Malaysian unity is a false dilemma,” PPBM Youth Bureau of Internal Affairs deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal said at the ‘Malaysian Dilemma: The Future of Race-Based Politics in Malaysia’ forum at the Malaysian Student Leaders’ Summit 2018, here.
Wan Ahmad Fayhsal said there had been a misunderstanding with regards to the false dilemma in choosing whether one is a Malay or a Malaysian, as the importance of identity politics cannot be underestimated.
Citing the shift of power in the United States to the Donald Trump administration and the Brexit move in the UK as examples, he said even advanced democracies have seen similar uprisings of race-based politics.
“Look at Trump. Although he was responding to economic issues, the energy that he made use of to galvanise his support was gained from identity politics.
“This is something peculiar to our power civilization because this is a false promise delivered by enlightenment thinkers, as if once we embrace liberal democracy, you can easily erase or play down the importance of religion and race,” he told the audience.
“I’m proud to call myself a Malay first, at the same time Malaysian first because these are not mutually exclusive narratively.”
The four-member panel was asked by the audience on the relevance of Umno as a race-based party.
Not dismissing the importance of identity, the audience posed whether in politics, would it be Malay first or Malaysian first.
Also present at the forum were Deputy Youth and Sport minister Steven Sim, Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi, and Pas Youth Head of Strategy Syahir Che Sulaiman.