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Friday, November 30, 2018

Icerd: Harapan's missed chance to tone down racial and religious extremism

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) situation, with many Malays threatening violence because they will lose their so-called “special privileges”, should be handled as one would a spoilt child.
The spoilt child thinks he is special and has more rights than others, refuses to share his toys, refuses to say “please” and “thank you” and in short, refuses to behave. Understandably, he will refuse to give up what he thinks is rightfully his.
Why should the pampered Malay be placed on a pedestal and be the centre of Putrajaya’s Malay-centric life? We will know who to blame, when in a few years time, we see more anti-social behaviour, bad manners, selfish demands and many Malays with an over-inflated ego. Yes. Pakatan Harapan.
The Harapan administration missed its golden opportunity to yank the pampered Malay back into 21st-century Malaysia. Instead, it fell victim to threats and a coordinated movement to incite violence in each state. One does not allow a bully to climb over one’s head. One should act with firmness to counter the intimidation.
Umno-Baru’s nefarious project has been continued by Harapan. It has created an entire generation of selfish “little emperors” who cannot function in the real world. Harapan had the power to stop Malay arrogance, but for political expediency, decided to create more mini-gods.
Like responsible parents, Harapan’s objectives should have been to help Malaysians feel safe, able to cope as functioning adults in an increasingly fractured world and be happy; but with the rise of the Malay nationalists and Islamic fundamentalism, we have to watch what we say, and act as if we are treading on eggshells.
Not happy, despite being spoon-fed
Last week’s verbal attack on a beer promoter showed that an ordinary person cannot perform her job without an onslaught of racist rhetoric. Despite being spoon-fed, the Malay is not happy. A false sense of “superiority” has robbed him of his self-esteem and he has become putty in the hands of Machiavellian politicians.
Like a bad parent, the Harapan administration showers the recalcitrant Malay with more concessions, thinking that it could persuade him to alter his behaviour.
Harapan could have reversed the damage done, with old-fashioned values of being harsh, yet firm. This did not happen.
Bad parenting, or rather a lukewarm approach to discipline and manners, will make life a misery for the whole family, and others. In a few years’ time, when extremist Malay demands are not met, and worse follows, what can be done?
Nobody is harking back to a golden age when Malays acted with decency. Far from it.
However, Harapan missed the chance to yank the Malays out from under their coconut shell, and expose them to the real world. The non-Malays and the few Malays who have retained their sense of values are like the child who lived in the shadow of the favourite sibling who was continually praised and showered with material goods.
Many Malays refuse to act and think in the interests of the wider community and prefer to think only of themselves. Some leaders are only concerned about their political future, like Anwar Ibrahim, who said that he has to put his race and religion first, and a few weeks ago, said that the Malays needed more time to get rid of race-based policies.
No, we do not need another 61 years of affirmative action policies to wreck Malaysia, because only a few more years will suffice for it to hit rock bottom.
Ill-mannered children, if treated as individuals and taught to respect differences, will soon develop a stronger sense of resilience and self-esteem. Instead of Harapan treating Malays with firmness, they are allowed to climb over everyone else.
Some of us were told that we had to eat whatever was placed in front of us, but today’s Malay will only pick and choose what pleases him.
Good parents will not clean up after their children, but teach them to help out, to equip them with crucial life skills while teaching them responsibility and teamwork. Bad parents think that it is easier to clear up after the child than to make the child do household chores, properly. They forget that by doing things for their children, they are creating a long-term problem.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). BlogTwitter. - Mkini

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