The politics of chauvinism; the roles of Mahathir, Anwar, LKS and Najib (Part 3 of 4)
Many political observers had made the connection that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would have found it very difficult to cling on to his twenty-two years of premiership had it not been for the presence of DAP’s Lim Kit Siang in the periphery to spook Dr Mahathir’s flock into the corral. The bogeyman enjoyed his role as he found relevance among those who felt that they have been discriminated against personally because of what they thought to be the expectations of Dr Mahathir’s flock.
Some of DAP’s young supporters do not even understand the background of Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, and that is alright by LKS because it keeps him relevant. With the support that LKS enjoys from these people, he could have tempered that anger with an honest sense of history and the reality of the need for a future of a united Malaysia. Like the present irresponsible UMNO leaders, LKS prefers the day of reckoning to be handled when the time comes by whoever will be around then. This was the time bomb LKS wrote about in his book and yet he himself is guilty of exploiting the situation.
To be fair to LKS, many Chinese leaders have taken this moderate route, especially those from MCA and Gerakan, but they ended up being pathetic apologists and running dogs. Perhaps they didn’t really represent the views of a majority of the Chinese. Today, that issue is now settled, but it takes two to tango. The brash adoption of the New Economic Policy as a result of these constitutional provisions has been interpreted as a right or a privilege due to the Bumiputras. In many ways it is, and in many ways it is not really.
Like any law, which this is, one must look into the legislative intent. It was designed by our forefathers as a mandated aid to the underprivileged indigenous communities in order for them to catch up with the already mercantile foreign communities brought in by colonial Britain. It’s the leg-up which they sorely need, what with the imported competition which the British wanted to stay on to develop British investments in Malaya.
The British slow-talked the anglophile leaders of the Malays, who were already subjects of the states ruled by the Malay Rulers, to agree to grant these immigrant races citizenship in return for the protective provisions of the new Constitution of the soon to be independent Malaya. Some of the present Malays now regard this to be an eternal compensation in kind, while the young Chinese don’t even learn about it in their vernacular schools. To be like Uganda was not a choice.
This was the ‘social contract’, like it or not. Say what you want, it will remain the bone of contention among the races. It will never go away. The truth is somewhere in between, but palatable to none. Isn’t it the responsibility of leaders to bring this matter to the table? It is the unenviable duty of people like LKS and Bumiputra leaders and also the Indian leaders, if any, to have a civilised discourse over this, after over fifty goddamn years!
But no, they prefer to use this tension between the races to fuel their political careers. That is in particular, the chauvinistic politics we are talking about. The tension caused by this thing has spread to actual hatred of each other’s culture, religion and sight. What a pity. It was not like that when I was growing up. The truth is, they don’t hate each other, in fact, in good times they do identify with their fellow Malaysians as inevitably sharing their same destinies.
LKS and son have earned their status as the preferred leaders of the Chinese today. Not some lackeys on the government’s payroll. Talk to them. Don’t give LKS any excuse for him to build more time bombs in this era of true instant mass communication. The Chinese who post rude remarks in the social media look up to LKS for signals on how to behave. Being a mentor has its responsibilities. If it is above your head, pass everything to your son. Retire.
Otherwise, those postings could very well be the time bomb that LKS helped build as ignitions to bloodshed. As it is now, even moderate Malays like me get turned off at this uncouth behaviour. Two can play the same game, only worse perhaps. And closing websites is not the answer, SKMM, you who can’t even close pornographic sites properly. It is not the time to invoke power but it is time to let prevail a sense of the judicious combination of manifest destiny and goodwill.
This is never meant to be a dissertation political chauvinism but LKS’s political career has been wholly built on it. It is time for him to let go. To accept the reality that this beautifully endowed country is the only place most of our descendants will live in, for better or for worse. LKS has it in him to make it better. The other side also will have to take care of their own. Otherwise, Somalia, Libya, Palestine, Iraq, and Syria are our destinations at home.
Next: A chauvinist by default because of an incompetent government that he leads, this aristocrat by birth allowed little Napoleons to run rampant in his name, and he is helpless to stop them because perhaps he thinks they are the answer to his personal woes.