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Friday, May 30, 2014

TELUK INTAN: STILL ABOUT RACE, RELIGION, GENDER AND AGE

mt2014-no-holds-barred
If Article 153 allows for an all-Malay school then can we also have an all-Malay bus at subsidised rates where non-Malays are not allowed to ride in these buses (meaning we now introduce a bussing law) or will this be regarded as racism and a violation of our civil liberties and human rights?
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Teluk Intan by-election: Not easy for Dyana to win Chinese support, says Guan Eng
(The Star) – It has been not been easy for DAP’s Teluk Intan parliamentary by-election candidate Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud to win the support of the Chinese community, said party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
“However, I hope the community can give their support this time to a Malay candidate,” Lim told journalists here, Friday, noting that it was an opportunity for voters to reject racial politics.
Dyana Sofya said she believed voters in the constituency were smart.
“I believe people here can vote without considering someone’s skin colour, race or creed,” she said, adding that people should vote based on her capabilities, ideas and principles.
When asked about the support from Chinese voters, she said that it had been encouraging.
The constituency of Teluk Intan, which has about 60,000 voters, is composed of 42% Chinese, 38% Malays, 19% Indians and 1% others.
Dyana will face Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong in a straight fight.
The Teluk Intan seat was left vacant after its incumbent Seah Leong Peng passed away earlier this month due to cancer
Polling is set for Saturday.
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Why should you vote for Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud in the Teluk Intan by-election tomorrow?
Because she is young. Because she is Malay. Because she is female.
Why should you NOT vote for Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud in the Teluk Intan by-election tomorrow?
Because she is young. Because she is Malay. Because she is female.
It looks like to some people the reason why you should vote for Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud in the Teluk Intan by-election tomorrow is the same reason why to others you should not.
I bet if you ask some people why you should vote for Mah Siew Keong instead of Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud, they would give you the same reasons why as to those that will offer the reasons as to why not. In other words, the reason why you should vote for Mah Siew Keong is the same reason why you should not.
Mah Siew Keong is older. Mah Siew Keong is Chinese. Mah Siew Keong is a member of the ruling coalition. Hence you should NOT vote for him.
Mah Siew Keong is older. Mah Siew Keong is Chinese. Mah Siew Keong is a member of the ruling coalition. Hence you should vote for him.
But then are we voting for Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud or are we voting for Mah Siew Keong or are we voting for a representative to represent the people of Teluk Intan in Parliament? And what does a Member of Parliament do when he or she sits in Parliament? Why do we need Members of Parliament, and 222 people at that too? What good is it to the people of Teluk Intan or the citizens of Malaysia to have 222 representatives in Parliament?
In fact, why do we even need a Parliament?
There are a number of functions that Parliament performs. One of the most important of these functions is to pass laws. And the 222 Members of Parliament have to ensure that these laws comply with and do not violate the Federal Constitution of Malaysia.
Are we, the 30 million citizens of Malaysia (or at least the voting population of Malaysia), happy with our laws? Are we happy with the Constitution? Do we need new laws or do we need existing laws amended or abrogated? Do we need to amend the Constitution so that certain laws can be removed or new laws be introduced?
It is the 222 Members of Parliament who have the power to decide all this. And they are supposed to make this decision based on what we want — the 30 million Malaysian citizens or the voting population. They are what we call Wakil Rakyat. And Wakil Rakyat translates to Citizens’ Representative. Hence they represent us, the citizens of Malaysia, in Parliament.
So let us set aside the race, religion, gender, age, party, and so on, of the candidates contesting the Teluk Intan by-election for the meantime. Let us instead talk about what the winner plans to do in Parliament if he or she wins the by-election. There are many ills that plague Malaysia. What is each candidate’s stand on these various ills?
Oops…we forgot about that. Both sides of the political divide are so focused on the race, religion, gender, age, party-affiliation, etc., of the candidates that we forgot the very reason why we send 222 Malaysians to Parliament as representatives of 30 million Malaysians.
If I were the candidate in the Teluk Intan by-election — say, contesting on the ticket of the Malaysian Liberal Democratic Party or MLDP — I would tell the voters that this is my stand or perjuangan and if you voted for me this is what I will do in Parliament.
There is some ambiguity as to whether Malaysia is a secular country or, because Islam is the religion of the Federation, whether Malaysia is an Islamic country. Even legal experts and judges cannot seem to agree on this and different experts express different opinions. And because of this we have this problem regarding the Islamic Sharia law and as to whether it violates the Constitution or not.
I would fight for a clear definition to be expressed, and not just implied, in the Constitution and therefore for amendments to be made to the Constitution to clearly define either way whether Malaysia is a secular country or an Islamic country.
That would clarify once and for all the status of Islam in the Constitution plus all the issues related to Islam, the Sharia (and/or Hudud) laws included.
I would fight to make Article 153 in the Constitution explicit so that there is no longer any confusion or ambiguity regarding this Article that is meant to allow the Malays certain privileges with the aim of reducing the gap between the rich and the poor plus eliminate any disparity or inequality between the different races — not just Malays but all races.
Once these two issues are taken care of the religious and racial differences that Malaysia suffers from can be resolved and the danger of Malaysia being pushed to the brink of religious and racial strife can be reduced if not eradicated.
Most of the problems facing Malaysia — other than the problem of abuse of power, corruption, lack of good governance and transparency, etc. — is the result of ambiguity and confusion. We are not really clear what is correct and what is not.
Is Malaysia an Islamic country? If so then Muslims cannot leave Islam, Christians cannot preach Christianity to Muslims, and so on. If Malaysia is a secular country then my religion is my business and the government has absolutely no say in what I believe or do not believe.
As it stands now, we do not really know — and hence the problem we face in defining the power and limits of the government in deciding our faith, or lack of faith as the case may be.
Does Article 153 allow for the implementation of an Affirmative Action Plan and when we say Affirmative Action Plan what does it include and exclude and how will it operate? Would an all-Malay school be a violation of the Constitution or is it legal under the Constitution?
If Article 153 allows for an all-Malay school then can we also have an all-Malay bus at subsidised rates where non-Malays are not allowed to ride in these buses (meaning we now introduce a bussing law) or will this be regarded as racism and a violation of our civil liberties and human rights?
And if we say that an all-Malay bus is a silly idea would not an all-Malay school also be a silly idea?
I am not saying that an all-Malay school should be banned. What I am saying is it is not clear whether Article 153 provides for an all-Malay school or whether any single-race school is a violation of the Constitution. Hence the Constitution, especially Articles like Article 153, need to be clear and all ambiguity needs to be removed.
But these are not what we are discussing in Teluk Intan even though these are major issues that threaten the peace and stability of the country. What we are discussing instead is the race, religions, gender, age, etc., of those contesting the by-election. And both sides of the political divide are doing the same. And because of that we have forgotten why in the first place we send 222 Malaysians to Parliament to represent 30 million Malaysians.

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