Malaysian politics continues to be in doldrums. The more we expect the political paradigm to move away from the communal centric model, the worse it has become. Political parties from both the coalitions have continue to dig deep trenches to protect their own communal interests and identity. When challenged, these political players tend to lose their mask which hides their real face.
Kulim state assemblyman Lim Soo Nee of Parti Keadilan Rakyat has warned that he might quit Pakatan Rakyat if it continues to implement policies that do not benefit the Chinese. He was critical of the recent ruling by the PAS led Kedah state government which required the mandatory installation of glass cubicles by pork sellers at markets.
Lim wants the state government should place emphasis on improving security in the state and other problems that concern the people instead of touching on such sensitive issues. It is unfortunate that Lim is acting like a loser. He should know that politics is not a bed of roses. His role is to ensure the agenda of his constituency is being seriously considered by the state government. Threatening to quit will get Lim nowhere and what is the use of politicians who can't struggle but throw tantrums?
For the upcoming Bukit Selambau by-election, a seat with barely less than 30 percent Indian voters, Hindraf is keen to lobby the seat for its national coordinator RS Thanenthiran who may stand on a PKR ticket. Leaders of Hindraf thought the movement should be rewarded for its aggressive campaign on behalf of Pakatan’s election campaign last year.
PR cannot become a truly non-racial coalition if its members continue to bicker over race and are concern about only those in their community. They should learn to lose their communal lenses. Can Hindraf win in Bukit Selambau if its sole interest is about Hindu's rights? The movement should keep out of multiracial politics if it is only keen to look after its own community.
It is time for Malaysian politics to look beyond narrow paramaters of race and religion. Otherwise, the same racial dynamics which plagued BN will find its way into PR. One day, these racial forces may be forced to collide.
Elsewhere, both DAP and PAS continue to bicker on hudud laws. I suspect that negative reaction and perception toward hudud laws was caused mainly by fear of Islamisation than the punishment meted out under the laws.
Enhancing mutual religious understanding and respect is another area our political parties must work on. The whole discourse on religion today is too shallow. There is very little to be achieved if Karpal Singh continues his opposition against the hudud laws without first trying to reach out to the proponents of hudud.
We do not have to support the hudud laws by reaching out to understand. But we will surely create unnecessary divisions and misunderstanding if we choose to first ignore and reject.
Both communalism and interreligion dialogue must be put at the top of the priority for both coalitions if they want to set a new leadership direction for this country.
Malaysia has long suffered from a broken racial politics which is detrimental to nation building. Most of us are Malay/Chinese/Tamil/Kadazan/etc. first, Malaysian second. Without getting this right, get more people to think as citizens of this country, it is difficult for the country to stand united against any global challenges.
We must accept the fact that we have yet to reach the turning point of race politics. End the bigotry now or the losers are us, all of us.