MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Sunday, November 19, 2023

Is there future for non-Malays in Harapan?


While Pakatan Harapan is the anchor political coalition of the present government on the basis of strong non-Malay support, there are serious doubts about whether the coalition can defend and advance the collective interests of the non-Malays.

The non-Malay support for the government is through the DAP and PKR. These two are termed multiracial political parties different from ethnic political parties such as the MCA and MIC.

Both the ethnic communities abandoned the MCA and MIC and jumped ship to participate in the politics of the DAP and PKR before the 2008 general election.

For the last 15 years or so, the non-Malay political support for the DAP and PKR has been pretty much intact.

However, whether the non-Malays will continue to maintain their loyalty to Harapan remains to be seen. There are already discernible signs of non-Malay dissatisfaction with the DAP and PKR in the coalition.

The lack of Malay-Muslim support for the unity government is the prime reason why the Harapan-BN coalition has abandoned the non-Malays. Moving away from the non-Malays doesn’t mean that the unity government could win back the Malay support.

Non-Malay support

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s global championing of the Palestinian plight might give him strong international credentials. But whether such a move will endear him to Malay Muslims, and for that matter, the non-Malays in the country, remains to be seen.

Non-Malays might put up with the unity government under the difficult circumstances of no Malay-Muslim support. However, the continued appeasement of the non-Malay leadership in the DAP and to some extent in PKR might be a serious source of contention.

In the last year or less, there are indications that all is not well with the non-Malay support for Harapan.

What are the reasons?

The DAP and PKR were not the same political parties when they were in the opposition.

As opposition parties, they were in a position to raise issues boldly and forthrightly, particularly on non-Malay issues.

In fact, DAP, and not so much PKR, was regarded as the defender and protector of the non-Malays.

It was under these circumstances that non-Malay rights were articulated without fear and favour.

However, things changed after both the political parties formed governments at the state level and recently at the federal level.

Once these political parties became part of the state and federal governments, they had to adjust their policies.

It was only a matter of time before the vociferous DAP became infatuated with power and positions by becoming the defender of government policies immaterial of their impact on the non-Malays.

DAP becoming yes-man

Supporting government policies means invariably lending credence and legitimacy to policies and measures that serve the interests of the majoritarian community.

The unity government of Anwar has the backing of 40 DAP MPs in the Parliament.

Yet the DAP has not been rewarded with positions in the government commensurate with its political support.

The unacceptable part was the position of the DAP not to impose unacceptable demands on the new unity government.

By taking such a compromising role, the DAP failed to listen to the sentiments and feelings of its grassroots members and supporters.

How can the DAP play an effective role in safeguarding and advancing the interests of non-Malays if it is obsequious to government policies that are overwhelmingly considered pro-Malay-Muslim?

The DAP might boast of having 40 MPs in the Parliament but the unthinking support for the unity government means among other things the sure but fundamental neglect of the interests and concerns of the non-Malays.

A keen political observer will notice that the DAP has basically abandoned many of the issues that were crucial to the non-Malays or non-Muslims in the country in the recent past.

Just like the MCA, MIC and Gerakan, the DAP has become a yes-man to the majoritarian politics of the Anwar government.

Anwar’s politics of race and religion seem not to be checkmated by the DAP. The party is more interested in disciplining its own vociferous members from showing their dissatisfaction.

Big letdown

In the last state elections, it was clear some segments of the Indian community deserted both the DAP and PKR to support the opposition.

Next time around, it will be a wonder if the deserted Indians will return to the fold of Harapan. It is only a matter of time before the Chinese start thinking of remaining within the fold or not.

It is the fear of Perikatan Nasional, especially PAS, coming to federal power that prevents the Chinese from thinking otherwise of shifting their political allegiance. Right now, they might think that the DAP is their saviour and protector.

But unfortunately, they don’t realise that the DAP by using PAS as the bogeyman has done nothing to give confidence to the non-Malays, particularly the Chinese.

In contrast, the Indians perhaps, since they have nothing much to lose, are willing to listen to what PN has to offer.

It is not the Chinese community that is entrapped by the narrow politics of the DAP or Harapan.

If they deserted the MCA once, they could desert the DAP and PR under propitious circumstances.

The Madani government is a big letdown for the non-Malays. - FMT

P RAMASAMY is former Penang deputy chief minister II.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.

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