By TK Chua
By all accounts, rhetoric, as is practised in Malaysia today, has evolved into a fine art. It works its way with different crowds and at different times. The focus is always on sentiment and emotion, nothing on rationale and long-term objectives.
To the Malay crowd, it is RUU 355, hudud, Islam, Bahasa Melayu, Malay supremacy, Malay rights and privileges and their numerous sacred institutions.
To the Chinese crowd, it is their contributions to the national economy. They are praised sky high for keeping the economy vibrant and for filling up the national coffers. Of course, not forgetting the Chinese schools – new ones will be built while the existing ones will be preserved and protected.
To the Indians, there will be another blueprint. It does not matter if the paper or the words printed on it is blue! We have had a prime minister who was of Kerala descent and now we have a prime minister who has proclaimed himself the father of Indian development. I am sure we will not hear the last of this although the plight of Indians will probably stay the same for a long time to come.
Then what about our brethren in Sabah and Sarawak? I guess it is all about MA63 (and some holiday trip to London), more autonomy, more equitable sharing of oil revenue, more infrastructure development, devolution of powers and freedom of religion.
I think here lies the greatest irony – we have messages for the Malays, Chinese, Indians and our brethren in Sabah and Sarawak, but we have none for Malaysians!
We don’t get to hear the commonality of Malaysians anymore. We talk less of our common destiny but more of our race, religion or region.
We don’t talk of the common bond that binds us together, but more of our parochial or sectarian interests.
We talk less of loyalty under one flag, common citizenship, and equality before the law. We argue more on who is more entitled, deserving and privileged.
We talk less of the strong helping the weak. We focus more on how the strong, the well-connected and the rich should avail themselves of the spoils.
There must be a deeper meaning to being Malaysians. We must forge that commonality in us before it is too late. Right now the narrow-minded bigots are controlling the agenda of this country – the agenda that will only bring tears and lead us to oblivion.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.