Just Touching On the Question of Leaving

By batsman 

These days there are some worries about PAS leaving the PR. If that happens then it happens. Worrying about it is not going to solve anything. Malaysia’s political landscape is full of mines and booby traps, sensitivities and insensitivities, blind loyalties and treacherous disloyalties. Knowing how to navigate through all of these may actually be more helpful than worrying about whether PAS will leave the PR or not.

The first question of leaving actually pertains to would-be emigrants. This issue is also sometimes called the brain drain. Many people get caught by it. Even our great Defence Minister is not immune as it is also tied up to loyalty to the country and the question of loyalty of our non-Malay servicemen. 

Knowing how to navigate through this particular minefield will be helpful and the PR should have a good policy on it. As it stands, there is too much “See, I told you so” attitude. While many criticize our great Defence Minister for his belief that non-Malays may be disloyal, there are also many stories from non-Malays on the internet and in coffee shops that actually claim to have no feelings of loyalty to Malaysia because our government of 53 years treat them as “pendatang” or 2nd class citizens. This issue seems to be a permanent feature of Malaysian politics, so it would be a good thing if PR has a good stand on it. 

Is it OK for non-Malays to feel a lack of loyalty and leave Malaysia but not OK for PAS to feel more loyalty to Malay unity and thus leave the PR? Obviously a good navigator is needed to avoid all the booby traps on this issue. Hopefully Nik Aziz is one such navigator, but he is long past retirement age, so young Malaysians will have to confront this issue and get to know it well for Malaysia to have a successful future. 

Granted, such stories from non-Malays about how little loyalty they feel for Malaysia may be coming from Malaysians who have already emigrated and who now have a desperate need to justify their actions and need to continue to believe that the decision they took is the right one. It is only natural that they write stories justifying their decisions and pick new issues that crop up to continue to justify their decisions. 

I think it will be a good thing for Malaysia to reduce the aggravations such that the type of issues that these people are picking on to continue to justify their decisions become as minimal as possible. Of course it will be beneficial to UMNO to create and highlight such issues so that they can continue to divide and rule and the way to do this is to prove that the non-Malays have no feelings of loyalty to Malaysia. 

This would also be a good enough reason for PAS to leave the PR. 

So it would seem that those people who have already emigrated are working in support of UMNO whether they know it or not or even whether they care or not. Perhaps the ability to justify their decisions overrides all other considerations. 

So it would seem that if PAS were to leave the PR, it will not be entirely PAS’s fault. It can be blamed on bad navigation on the part of all parties. 

The sad thing is that such justification of lack of loyalty and thus good enough reason to leave Malaysia apply only to a small minority. For one person (whether Malay or non-Malay) who uses this argument, 10 more cannot or choose not to use it for practical reasons or for emotional reasons. Granted this ratio is smaller for Malays than non-Malays, perhaps by as much as 1:100 instead of 1:10, but still it is only a minority who are able to emigrate. 

The majority are stuck in Malaysia and have to make the best of it. So it would make good sense for the PR to show some leadership in this area and have a good policy on it. Hopefully this will also reduce at least some of the reasons for PAS to leave the PR. 

If the PR were to neglect having a good policy on this issue, then it surrenders leadership and may only be left with the option to copy UMNO’s policies and attitudes. This is too bad. Non-Malays without leadership may opt to make their own choices for survival and doing the best they can to live a good life in Malaysia and sign up with the MCA or Gerakan. After all, being bullied but part of the winning team is better than being bullied and part of the losing team. I suppose this is probably the attitude of MCA and Gerakan members. 

For a start, the PR might want to consider revising its attitude of treating non-party activists as outsiders. This is actually copying the UMNO attitude of treating non-Malays as pendatang. So what do you think PR? Want to give it a try? 

In addition the PR might want to have a clear position as to how it intends to resolve the conflict of meritocracy with social justice. This is a contradiction that even the western countries have difficulty with equipped as they are with tons of money and an army of brilliant people. Their social welfare systems are breaking down as is their pension institutions. Not only this, cheap education is not longer an option and poor students now have to consider massive indebtedness even before they start to earn money. 

I suppose this issue is a distraction, but it does have some connection to the tendency of some people to emigrate, so I hope commentators don’t think I am waffling too much. 

If the PR does not have a clear stand on how it intends to resolve the question of meritocracy with social justice, some meritocrats may pull up stakes and call it quits. This does not help our brain drain problem. 

I don’t think it is that difficult, at least to have a reasonable policy so that people will have confidence and decide to give it a chance. This is better than no policy at all. 

After all UMNO solves it by just a simple advertising campaign. If you repeat that your policy is to combine meritocracy with social justice long enough, I suppose people will start to believe it. 

They will believe it even when the evidence of their eyes tell them otherwise. For example, Malaysia has been dumbing down for some time now. Schools are expected to be able to handle students with merit combined with students whose results have been massively manipulated by bureaucrats to sit in the same classes. Teachers should know the difficulty of having to teach students with vastly different capabilities in the same class together, yet most teachers still believe it is a possible to combine meritocracy with social justice because this is repeated umpteen times in their daily lives. 

Unfortunately people with good brains are able to form their own opinions so they wait for PR to have a clear policy on this matter. But they cannot wait for too long, so PR had better hurry up otherwise it can no longer help to reverse the brain drain that we are supposed to suffer. Or is the PR just going to ignore this problem and copy UMNO’s attitude – “if you want to go, please go – we will help you pack”. After all outsiders have no say. 

Hopefully PR will have some creative people in its team to be able to defeat UMNO’s simple advertising campaign. Hopefully it will be able to point out UMNO’s great dumbing down of Malaysia even in such policies as petrol prices – people will be forced to choose a poorer quality petrol if this petrol is subsidized while a higher quality one is not. Sooner or later everything about Malaysia will smack of being 2nd or 3rd grade – from education to subsidized items. 

Even politicians will not be spared. Only 3rd grade politicians accept that development funds can be allocated to BN MPs while opposition MPs go without. This is a most outrageous abuse of government power, yet our opposition MPs happily go about their business without even a hint of complaint. 

Reform cannot be successfully implemented by copying the old contents while just giving things a facelift. 

I believe loyal Malaysians need to show their loyalty by getting rid of such dumb policies that are guaranteed to destroy Malaysia’s future, not opt to emigrate. This way, it is possible to show PAS that it is better to be loyal to Malaysia (let alone Islam) than to be loyal to Malay unity under UMNO or Ketuanan Melayu hegemony. 

(btw – I am not arguing that social justice should be ignored, but that it must be managed in an intelligent way with great excellence in the same way everything else is. If you think this is just sloganeering I suggest you stop reading my write-ups to save others any more grief. heeheehee)