In my very first post in this blog in April, 2007, I said that my “ethnic background is relevant in helping me to understand my cultural make-up but is irrelevant in defining my status as a citizen of Malaysia”.
And long before Muhyiddin’s controversial ‘Malay first, Malaysian second’ pronouncement, I had, in a post entitled ‘All Malaysians are sons of the soil’ said : “Let me state unequivocally that I am firstly Malaysian. My Malay heritage in this regard bears no relevance whatsoever.
I hope that none of you will begrudge my saying that in over three years of posting on this blog, I have consistently urged for an end to ethnic-based politics.
Outside of blogosphere, too, I have again and again advocated that if the rakyat are to collectively take back ownership of the nation, along with its institutions and processes, we need to overcome the ‘tribal think’ that has plagued us for so long and start to think and act as Malaysians, first and foremost.
However, changing the hearts and minds of the rakyat, after some 50 years of ethnic-based politics, requires the wholehearted commitment of all quarters to dismantling a half century of divide and rule along racial lines and putting in its place a people-friendly, transparent system of governance, complete with an affirmative program that is completely needs and merit based, overseen by a board of trustees made up of men and women of unquestionable integrity.
Where do our political leaders fit into this?
At its core, Barisan Nasional is still ethnic-based.
And it does not look like it will change very soon.
PAS, by its very definition and constitution, is communal in that it is a party for Muslims.
DAP, whether through its own doing or otherwise, is perceived as a Chinese party.
What of PKR?
PKR touts itself as the only truly multiracial party in the country.
Even if so, is this what we want?
A party consciously multiracial, rather than consciously non-racial?
Am I making much ado out of nothing?
When Jenapala asserts, as his reasons for aspiring to the post of deputy president, the need to offer real representation for the alleged 40% Indian membership in the party, should this inspire confidence that PKR is leading the way in dismantling the communal-based politics of the last 50 years?
When Azmin, in his ceramah, reassures that the Muslims, as the majority community in the country will, through PKR, defend and ensure justice for the other minority communities, should we feel comforted by this in that, in PKR, the end days of divide and rule politics in our nation is in sight?
I lamented about this to a friend the other day.
His response stunned me for its sparse and simplistic pronouncement of the truth.
“The change that you desire will not come from the politicians. It can only come through the rakyat”.