MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, October 31, 2011

Non-Malay PM: Is devious Najib trying to score off Muhyiddin's racist image?

Non-Malay PM: Is devious Najib trying to score off Muhyiddin's racist image?

Senior Umno leader Nazri Aziz - who said the Prime Minister of Malaysia need not be a Malay - deserves praise for daring to think out of the 'racial box'. But Pakatan Rakyat leaders doubted his sincerity and believe there could be more than meets the eye in his remarks.

"It is with great delight that we hear this from Nazri, a senior Cabinet minister whom many people regard as being Najib's spokesman. But I believe this is only Nazri's personal opinion aimed at misleading the public as Umno has never walked the talk. Just look at its past records," Taiping MP Nga Kor Ming told Malaysia Chronicle.

"In fact, I would dare Nazri to say this at the coming Umno general assembly. Nazri may be a maverick, it is better to ask Muhyiddin what is his view."

Say it at the Umno assembly

Nazri, in charge of law and parliamentary affairs, had told a local financial daily that the best man should get the job regardless of skin color. If Nazri does dare to repeat this at the Umno annual meeting due in early December, chances are high he will be 'lynched' and calls made for him to be kicked out of the nationalist Malay party.

Umno has ruled Malaysia since independence in 1957 and has no plans to surrender its political hegemony. Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is Umno president, has himself vowed to defend the federal government at all costs including "crushed bones", "lives lost" and "ethnic cleansing". For him to hand the coveted job and the keys to the nation's coffers to someone from another party, let alone from a minority group, would be ludicrous given such a backdrop.

“If it happens that the best person is a non-Malay, so be it. I cannot say, ‘I’m Malaysian first, but the prime minister must be Malay.’ You can’t have your cake and eat it,” Nazri was however reported to have said by The Edge Financial Daily .

Playing to the gallery, Najib till now silent on Malay 'first' issue

Nazri was referring to his previous comments following a ruckus stirred up by Muhyiddin Yassin, the Deputy Prime Minister in 2010. Muhyiddin, considered a racist by many Malaysians, had upset the non-Malays in the country by insisting that he was Malay first and Malaysian next.

To quell the public storm, Nazri became the first Umno minister to declare he was Malaysian first and Malay second, in line with Najib's 1 Malaysia concept, even though Najib's own thoughts on the issue have been glaringly absent. Till now, the PM has sidestepped the issue, saying it does not matter if he is Malay first or Malay next, but that all races would be looked after by his administration.

"It is obvious Nazri is playing to the gallery. If BN is serious about non-racial politics, they would have restrained the excesses of Utusan which is its mouthpiece and propaganda organ. BN is inextricably bound to the sinking ship of communal politics. They are holding our nation back from progressive, issue-based politics; their eventual downfall from power and passing into historical oblivion will be unlamented by the people of this nation," PKR vice president N Surendran told Malaysia Chronicle.

"Nazri is right within the meaning of the law but would Umno ever nominate a non-Malay? That's the acid test and I am sure we all know the answer," M Kulasegaran, the MP for Ipoh Barat told Malaysia Chronicle.

Political undercurrent and currying support

There are also political undercurrents between Najib and Muhyiddin, who is widely expected to challenge Najib for Umno top job next year. To consolidate his position in Umno, which is the largest Malay political party in the country, Muhyiddin recently closed the door on negotiations for students to opt to learn Math and Science in English.

Over the weekend, Muhyiddin rejected public clamoring for a dual system on the grounds that it could cause kacau-bilauan or disturbance but parents who want English to be used as the medium for their children, accused him and other Malay groups of being afraid to compete, condemning them for blighting their kids' future for the sake of political gains.

Najib too has been rebuked for lacking the political will and courage to implement his much-touted reforms including a needs-based New Economic Model to replace the race-oriented New Economic Policy. But he knows he now has to get into the good books of the non-Malays if he is to successfully fend off an increasingly influential Muhyiddin.

The DPM draws his support from playing racial politics with the Malays and Najib is banking on Umno peers to reject his deputy on the basis that Muhyiddin was disliked by the non-Malays and thus unfit to be PM given that he is unable to unite the races.

PM vs DPM: Drawing comparison

Meanwhile, as if to drive home the point, Nazri insisted that it was crucial for a Malay leader to lead the charge for greater inclusivity as non-Malay leaders would face difficulty penetrating the Malay electorate. He did not mention that this was due largely to Umno's own divide-and-rule policies.

“Someone has to take the lead. It is very important for a Malay leader to come forward. If a Chinese leader or an Indian leader comes forward, it’s not going to change the country as they are not the majority community. So Malay leaders must take the lead. For heaven’s sake, after 50 years we should accept each other now,” said Nazri.

Pehaps Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Koo Ham summed it up best.

"Nazri is talking about a possibility that is too remote and therefore of no significance. He is being condescending in trying to fool the public. We challenge him to treat all races equally, don't just talk. Start by saying 'No' to different pricing for houses for Malay and non-Malay purchasers. Open up all government projects to all races. If he and Najib can't do this, they are just being their usual insincere selves and playing their own political games for their own benefit," Ngeh told Malaysia Chronicle.

Malaysia Chronicle

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