Are race-based parties still needed?
(MMO) – The question begs another question ― were race-based parties ever needed in the first place? My answer is a simple “no.” They were never needed and were nothing more than a colonialist construct which we bought into. Of course, the beneficiaries of this thinking would have us believe that they are eternally needed. That is how they stay relevant.
I would also ask the following question ― how much do you trust other races? If you grew up with them and had a close neighbourly relationship with them as I did, you would have no problem trusting them. And if that is the case, why the lack of trust when it comes to them representing you in Parliament? Well, the answer is simple ― racism.
The newly-formed Pertubuhan Pribumi Malaysia Bersatu (United Malaysian Natives Organization, I will not pronounce the acronym for obvious reasons!) did not really surprise me when they first declared that they are a party only for Bumiputeras. Why should I be surprised? After all, their founding members were all Umno stalwarts. There was, however, a disdainful response from social media who felt that Bersatu (their preferred acronym) should have been egalitarian.
What they did afterwards did not endear them to Malaysians either. They declared that non-Bumis may join but only as associate members. Non-Bumis cannot be elected into leadership positions but may be appointed. These measures were quite insulting. This was not a good start for the party and much damage control had to be done in order to diffuse the ensuing anger.
Now, reasons are being given as to why the party needs to be race-based. Apparently, while the urban section of the electorate has moved past race-based politics, the rural sections have not. They are still of a racialised mind set and thus will not vote for members of other races.
This begs the question ― what is the role of a political party? Is it simply to attain power by winning elections or do they have a set of principles? If we think of a political party as a person, we may clarify the matter easier.
If a person would say or do anything to attain power despite going against his principles, that person usually has very little respect among his peers. Indeed, he may be labelled something very demeaning. Should it not be the same for a political party that, despite believing in one thing, is pandering to a certain people in order to get their votes? This tells us what politics is all about ― power, not principles.