PETALING JAYA: Ideology, rather than race, should be the medium to shape the future of Malaysia, and this can only be achieved by doing away with race-based parties.
Over and above that, the political agenda must give way to government and people agendas.
Senior fellow at the Malaysian Council of Professors Dr Jeniri Amir said politicians now need to look beyond race, and the people should no longer put up with those who continue with the racial agenda.
“If we want to move forward as a nation, we have to do it as one people. We cannot allow those who use race for their own interests to be a part of it,” he told theSun when commenting on a statement by Pakatan Harapan vice-president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has failed despite the fact that “99.9% of its leaders” are Malays.
Jeniri lamented the fact that even after 60 years as an independent nation, Malaysia has failed to move away from race-based politics. “Such a move is long overdue,” he said.
“Inclusiveness must be the byword and this is a long time coming. Unfortunately, some political parties are not interested.”
He said politicians now only fight for the interests of their own races and in the process, they create tension and prevent social integration. “Such an agenda only results in short-term gains,” he said.
Jeniri said that while PN government leaders are mostly Malays, they do not share the same political ideology.
“This is very selfish and self-serving. They are not putting the nation’s interests before their own.
“As long as political parties continue to play the race card, we, as a nation, will be left behind as others move ahead,” he added.
Jeniri said leaders of race-based political parties are more interested in their own survival than that of the nation.
“They must learn how to put the nation’s interests ahead of their own and only then can we move forward. In simple terms, they must fight for the whole nation, not their own interests,” he added.
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Prof Dr Azmi Hassan made the observation that the country’s political direction has remained the same after 60 years of independence.
“Political parties in this country are mostly race-based.
“They count on people of the same race and religion for support, not people who share the same ideology,” he told theSun.
“It will be very difficult to move away from this kind of politics,” he added.
He said accusations that the PN government has not been an effective administration stem from the fact that none of the member parties share the same ideology.
“Circumstances put them together to serve a need. They also bring along their individual political agendas, thereby sidestepping the government’s and the people’s agendas.”
Azmi said this has led to the view that the government is under the control of just one group of people.
He believes that it is possible for Malaysia to eventually move away from race-based politics “but it will take time”.
He said one way was for race-based parties to band together to represent the real structure of Malaysian society.