Yin says…”I have been accused of having an attitude of ‘all or nothing at all’. The insinuation is that I am obstinate, unreasonable and uncompromising…
Marriage of convenience
During the GE14 Election, I argued that it is wrong to accept someone into the opposition alliance who is openly against your core principle of non-racism. I also argued that at best this would be a marriage of convenience which once the common enemy is eliminated; there will be quarrels within the coalition.
Since taking government how many other ‘compromises’ have DAP, PKR and Amanah conceded to PPBM? A cast iron manifesto sold to the electorate during GE14 has been forgotten. What happened to ‘Local Government Elections’ for instance? We are still plagued by the three Rs.
PH trust deficit is increasing by the day.
And now the partners in PH are bickering and sniping at each other. It’s a matter of time before it implodes.
This is what happens when you compromise your core beliefs – when you accept half a loaf.
One country with one citizenship or different classes of citizenship?
The same ‘all or nothing at all’ applies to how we want this country to be. We are either one country with one citizenship – not different classes of citizenship; or we are just a collection of different peoples living separate lives on this little piece of real estate; each trying to get one over the other, with no shared goals.
We are like an estranged couple living together and yet not together.
We either have freedom of religion – not just in writing; but more importantly, also in spirit, or it is a sham. While Islam is recognised as the official religion of the state; the other religions must be allowed to flourish too. Instead, look at the impediments put in the way of other religions. From the construction of their houses of worship (this has led to an explosion of‘ shophouse churches’) to their use of certain words or display of their religious symbols. Sabah has shown that it is possible to reverse the government’s decision on “crosses” in mission schools. (I only wished my own school has the balls to do it).
And what about the freedom of religion of the Muslims themselves?
You either have freedom of religion or you don’t. It’s ‘all or nothing at all’. There’s no in-between.
I am not against compromise. In life there must be give and take. But there are somethings which are non-negotiable.
To compromise on your core beliefs will at best postpone the problems but they will return to haunt you.
To use an analogy; it’s like where one side commits 100% to a relationship and the other side does not. The non-Malays have lived here for a long long time; not just moved in yesterday like some immigrants who have got a better deal because they are Muslims. Their forefathers have helped to build up this country. They have died for this country. Today they still pay most of the bills in this relationship. How more committed can they be to this country? Yet all they ask is a commitment from their partner that there will be a future together. A future as equal partners. A declaration of intent if you like. But their partner will not give it. Declaring “I am not ready”.
That’s a convenient way of saying I don’t want a relationship like you want. I am happy with the way things are, where I am Tuan.
I understand it takes time to iron out the kinks in any relationship. To remove the baggage that each side carries from their past. But a commitment is a statement of intent which reassures your partner that his future is with you.
Sadly many Malaysians do not believe that this commitment to Bangsa Malaysia will ever come and so they leave to seek relationships that are more certain.
The refrain ‘we are not ready’ (to commit to equal citizenship), has been told so many times that nobody believes it is a good reason anymore. 61 years is a long time to get ready.
Where is the commitment to us?
Non-committal Malay leaders
I have yet to hear any Malay leader categorically commit to a Malaysia that is fair, free of racial and religious discrimination and with the goal of Bangsa Malaysia. Even the simple gesture of removing race and religion from our identity cards is refused. What does that tell you? They want to perpetuate this separation.
Malay leaders talk about defending race and religion, but they don’t talk about defending “Bangsa Malaysia”.
They are all busy playing the race and religion cards – milking the votes whichever way they can.
To take this ‘relationship’ analogy further: your partner does not want your input in resolving the problems – as if it does not concern you. Just like recently when the Malays decided to hold a talkfest to solve “the bumiputra” problem as if it does not affect their partners. They would not let the non-Malays contribute. It’s like the relationship has only one side – your partner has no say.
“All or nothing at all” is not uncompromising or unreasonable; it is a steadfast stand for your beliefs. Half measures are easy; it pleases everyone, but in the end it pleases no one; and nothing is resolved.
Malaysians must decide
It’s time Malaysians take a stand. Either we are one nation or we are not. Either we are all Malaysians or we are not. We cannot have bumiputra Malaysians with a whole loaf and non- bumiputra with half a loaf.
Nelson Mandela could easily have taken the path that our leaders took – the path of racial discrimination and special privileges. But he knew it would not work in the long run. He knew it would create a dependency mentality. A mentality of false superiority. It’s as if he foresaw what would happen to us.
But Mandela was a Statesman; a visionary.
Mahathir Mohamad is a politician; a Machiavellian and a racial chauvinist.
Sadly we don’t have any statesman waiting in the wings either. That is our worry.
All Or Nothing At All; half a loaf is not enough to carry this country forward.
(The views expressed are those of the contributor)
Letters from Ward 5, Tanjong Rambutan