This Sunday, Malaysia’s race-based politics is put to the test yet once again. MCA, MIC and UMNO vs PAS, DAP and Keadilan. Both are fairly race-based in form but UMNO is more racist between the 2 coalitions in function. Right from the May 13 1969 race riots, the resultant New Economic Policy affirmative action towards Malays and the recent racial politics during the elections, Malaysia is a lit dynamite and integration might just finally imploded. Already there is election violence and intimidation with BN being the bigger culprit.
Race-based politics is primal and populist. A winning formula for disaster in multiracial Malaysia where political power resides with the Malays and economic dominance with the Chinese. Pakatan, centrist and reformist, promises movement away from racial divides that BN used in a divide and conquer political strategy to scare voters along scary racial stereotypes.
PAS is painted as Islamic fundamentalists who would ban bars and introduce hudud laws even for non-Muslims, according to BN. This message is meant for the Chinese voters who are tired of BN’s leadership. On the other hand, DAP is painted as a Singapore puppet and that once DAP takes over, Malays in Malaysia would be subjugated just like they are in Singapore, according to BN. This message is meant for the Malay voters who are frustrated at BN’s leadership. The messages contradict each other because if PAS and DAP get into power, using BN’s Islamic fundamentalists and foreign Chinese bogeymen logic, it would mean a Muslim shariah country that is a stooge of Chinese-dominated Singapore? Preposterous and most Malaysians know that.
There is a lesson for Singapore from watching how our neighbours behave. We should not go down BN’s path of race-based politics.
Filed under: Foreign Relations