THE seeming paternal advice given recently by Umno stalwart Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to young Malay politicians in DAP aroused public attention, suggesting a generational gap in thinking about politics in contemporary Malaysia.
At the same time, this remark has also the effect of reinforcing suspicion about the public standing of the Chinese-based party because he warned the Malay politicians to not be exploited or deceived by their Chinese counterparts.
That is a strong assertion coming from a seasoned politician who has surely seen political vicissitudes and the shenanigans of many politicians in our country over many decades.
That said, to deceive, exploit and dominate, which are negative traits, are obviously acts that are not the preserve of a particular ethnicity, social group or political party.
In other words, DAP does not have the monopoly over such machinations for its Malay politicians to be unduly worried about.
If anything, a wholesome advice from Ku Li, as he is better known, should have been a caution to these politicians to be vigilant against any politician or any political party that has such heinous tendencies.
This is because recent years have clearly shown that politicians, irrespective of their backgrounds, were capable of duping and robbing blind the unsuspecting, including the very community they pledged to protect and whose interests they were supposed to promote.
The bulwark against such misdeeds is not to recoil into your own ethnic or cultural community for protection and comfort.
Instead, it warrants the strengthening of our democratic institutions, respect for rule of law, and enhanced transparency and accountability in the government so that justice prevails for all Malaysians.
Our history has shown that many unsavoury actions have been taken ironically in the name of a particular community.
In other words, the community concerned becomes the carte blanche for mischievous politicians.
Just take a look at what happened to Lembaga Tabung Haji, Felda, Maika Holdings and deposit-taking co-operatives to name but a few.
Against this backdrop, it is understandable that a number of Malay politicians have decided to take the road less taken by other Malays, despite DAP being accused of anti-Malay and anti-Islam over the years.
Besides, it is expected that many of these young Malay politicians do not have the baggage of their elders from both sides of the political divide, who still chant the mantra of race and religion.
The younger politicians and other youths seem increasingly open to embracing diversity that exists in our multi-ethnic, multicultural and multireligious society.
The recent political initiative by former Bersatu youth wing leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman to form an all-race youth party (Muda) indicates this transformation.
Unlike Ku Li, many of the young politicians and others consider race-based political parties to be out of tune with modern Malaysia.
Inclusive parties, such as Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, DAP and Gerakan, supposedly take cognisance of our diverse society, as well as strive to safeguard against parochialism and rising ethnonationalism that are inimical to the general wellbeing of ordinary Malaysians living in the peninsula (Malaya), Sabah and Sarawak.
To be sure, an inclusive approach does not erode the special privileges of the Bumiputera community that are enshrined in the federal constitution.
In fact, it would potentially provide better protection for the interests and concerns of the generally neglected Orang Asli and Orang Asal, apart from the needy Malays.
The young mind that is liberated has an important role to play to help shape a better Malaysia. THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
Duped by DAP? You advised me to join a decade ago, Zairil Khir Johari tells Tengku Razaleigh
KUALA LUMPUR― Penang DAP vice-chairman Zairil Khir Johari stood up for his party today amid a persistent campaign to racialise it as anti-Malay, saying he found it to be open to diversity and provided him the platform to fight for social economic justice for all regardless of their ethnicity.
The Tanjung Bunga assemblyman took special aim at Umno veteran Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah, noting the latter’s recent remarks advising Malay youths not to be deceived into joining DAP purportedly because it is predominantly Chinese and has an agenda to control “Tanah Melayu”.
Zairil, the son of Umno statesman the late Tan Sri Khir Johari, reminded Tengku Razaleigh that he joined the DAP based on the Kelantan prince’s advice a decade ago.
He recalled the unexpected advice given by Tengku Razaleigh whom he affectionately called Ku Li that Umno was no longer the same party as his father’s generation and that a “young man with big ideas would likely find it very difficult to break through the hierarchy”.
Zairil said he had personally witnessed DAP’s evolution towards inclusivity of Malays and youths in leadership positions.
“From having no elected Malay representative for 18 years from 1995, DAP produced two Malay MPs and one state assemblyman in the 2013 general election.
“This result was tripled in 2018 with nine Malay DAP representatives being elected (one MP and eight assemblymen, four of whom were appointed state executive councillors). More interestingly, six out of the nine were under the age of 40,” the 37-year-old Penang lawmaker said.
He added that in addition to the influx of new young Malay leaders in the party, DAP also broke new ground by fielding indigenous candidates in both Sabah and Sarawak who went on to win in the 2018 general election.
Zairil said Tengku Razaleigh was right in telling him that he would find greater acceptance in DAP.
“While I appreciate Ku Li’s advice, and indeed have benefited from it in the past, I think it would not be amiss for me to remind him that this is Malaysia, and there is no other place for Malaysians to go,” he said.
Tengku Razaleigh was yesterday reported by The Malaysian Insight to have advised Malay youths not to be deceived into joining DAP and “let themselves be used by the party in order to control this country”. – MALAY MAIL
THE MALAYSIAN INSGHT/ MALAY MAIL