Race-based parties still needed

(The Star) – There is still a need for ethnic-based parties in Malaysia to safeguard the interests of the respective races, especially minority groups, MCA central committee member Datuk Ti Lian Ker said Wednesday.

“The people should not deny this and claim there is no need for race-based parties in a multi-racial country.”

While the Constitution acknowledges the privileges of the Malays and the special position of Islam, the political reality requires the interests of the minorities and non-Muslims to be safeguarded as well, he said.

“The MCA is not ashamed that it is an ethnic-based party. The Chinese community has its own interests and sensitivities that require it to be organised in a country with diverse cultures and religions,” added Ti, who is the Kuantan MCA division chairman.

He said the party conceded that racial sentiment was still prevalent in Malaysia and the nation was still far from achieving the ideals of 1Malaysia.

Nevertheless, he added that the MCA still worked towards the multi-racial spirit of 1Malaysia.

“We manage communal sentiments in a positive and responsible manner.

“But instead of being given credit, we have been demonised and attacked for being a racial party. This has to be corrected,” he said.

“The Malays have their special problems but, by and large, they have government institutions to help them as they mainly make up the departments.

“They also have the Conference of Rulers and the Constitution to attend to them,” he said, stating the minorities needed political parties and social organisations to take up their issues and protect their rights.