Policy Unites People, Not Slogan

Khoo Kay Peng

Academician and social activist, Wong Chin Huat, put this up on his Facebook:

‎1Malaysia is indeed political and unlawful to appear on billboard under current by-laws. Selangor should not back down on this but the solution should be to lift the ban on all political logos. Pakatan Rakyat should stand for more freedom rather than less. What’s wrong with political billboard? Selangor should have put up anti-ISA and water right billboards instead.

I totally agree with Wong’s observation. The Selangor government does not have to act in such an insecure manner. Conceptually, there is nothing wrong with the 1Malaysia slogan or logo. If it can be realised, it is actually good for the country.

However, it is a fact that slogan does not unite people, policies do. Until and unless the Barisan government amends/abolishes the race supremacy concept and race affirmative policy, there can never be real unity in the country.

It is simply asking the government to respect and accept the equal rights of all citizens regardless of race or creed. These rights are enshrined in the federal constitution. Granted, the federal constitution did make exclusive provision for the special privileges for the Bumiputeras but it was made in the context of their socio-economic status at the time when the constitution was drafted.

Even the NEP was a good policy. It had helped to alleviate many people out of poverty and create a larger pool of Malay-Bumi professionals and middle class.

Politics is the biggest evil. Race politics and self-interest had manipulated the policy and the special privileges into an imaginary “supreme” social status.

KPI Minister Koh Tsu Koon was wrong to say that 1Malaysia helps to unite people. It does not because slogan is just another slogan. What helps to unite people is enshrined in Koh’s party constitution – the promotion of non-racialism and non-racial politics. As much as Koh is working very hard to promote the 1Malaysia slogan, he did not show as much enthusiasm and conviction in helping to promote the non-racialism spirit which was the bulwark of Parti Gerakan.

Similarly, the Pakatan state government should not ban the use of 1Malaysia logo on business related billboards. Two wrongs do not make a right. When the Barisan government bans any mention of Rosmah, Altantuya, Najib or any sensitive public issues on the national media, cartoon books, online etc., the opposition front had accused the Barisan government of being undemocratic. Strangely, it is now behaving like the opposite side.

Several activists and observers had criticized the Pakatan coalition and leaders for being too cosy operating in the same political mould created by Barisan. Pakatan state governments did not implement anything drastic, different or attempt to change the governance model left behind by the Barisan government.

Cut away layers of populist policies implemented by these state governments reveal nothing but the old way of doing things. There is a serious lack of innovation, creativity and enthusiasm shown by these new state governments.