The grateful tokens of multi-racialism

In the first place, if everyone in these parties is for multi-racialism, why does it have to have so many different parties, in particular PKR and DAP.

Shamsul Akmar, The Malaysian Reserve

A COUPLE of years before the 2018 national polls, at a time when someone lodging a report on the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal ended up in jail, and his lawyer thrown in as well for good measure, Opposition and civil society activists banded together to figure out a political solution to what could only be deemed as a national calamity.

The political solution was sought because the civil society option, dubbed the Deklarasi Rakyat (People’s Declaration), despite achieving more than one million signatures in a targeted campaign, had failed to get Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak to answer for the syphoning of billions in public funds.

When the Deklarasi Rakyat was launched, it was aimed to hold Najib responsible in the hope that the Malay Rulers would respond favourably to the demand that 1MDB be investigated and Najib to relinquish his prime minister’s (PM) post.

As it turned out, the one million signatures were insufficient to move the Rulers, apart from a mild demand for the government to explain/solve the 1MDB issue, took the position of not interfering in politics.

The Deklarasi Rakyat initiator, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in discussions with the Opposition leaders and civil society activists, was of the opinion that a new political party be formed and that it joined the Opposition pact to face the Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) behemoth.

When Dr Mahathir proposed that the new party, later on known as Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to be Malay-based, there was opposition even from among his circle who were keen for it to be multi-racial.

But Dr Mahathir pointed out that if those opposed to Najib’s Umno/BN wanted to be in a multiracial party, they would have joined either one of the parties in the Opposition bloc — PKR, DAP or Amanah which, even though Malay-dominated, was more a splinter to PAS and both refused to be deemed Malay-based.

Furthermore, the objective of setting up the new party is to win over Malay/Bumiputera voters as well as members and supporters of Umno who had become disenchanted with Najib over the 1MDB case but were not prepared to vote or join multi-racial parties.

It was almost a consensus that the new party under Dr Mahathir would be Malay/Bumiputera based and the seats it was going to contest would mostly be those that Umno won.

Most had accepted that only a Malay/Bumiputera based party in the Opposition core that the might of Umno/BN could be challenged.

Then, together under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact and using a single logo in the 2018 polls, the Opposition managed to defeat Umno/BN which had had a firm grip on the government uninterruptedly since independence.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since then but there seems to be a sudden disaffection among those who opposed Umno/ BN and had supported the PH of Malay/Bumiputera-based party, in particular Dr Mahathir’s newly-minted Parti Pejuang Tanah Air.

Each seems to be of the opinion that it is time for the nation to discard race-based parties.

It is definitely politically correct but it is doubtful that those subscribing or advocating it are truly honest if not outright hypocritical about it.

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