09 August 2013

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has pledged to address Malay concerns without relying on “discriminatory” race-based policies, saying educating, empowering and raising the skills of the community are the best ways to improve their livelihood.

PR leaders agreed that the Malays, as the country’s dominant ethnic group, should have their needs attended to but stressed that this must not be at the expense of the other races.

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli noted that both former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his Singaporean counterpart Lee Kuan Yew were of the opinion that Malays are “not capable”, and that the majority population in Malaysia could only participate in the country’s development process by being entitled to perpetual handouts.

“Pakatan’s proposition is we would be able to address the concerns and fears of Malays without being racially divisive and discriminatory,” Rafizi toldThe Malay Mail Online yesterday.

“Kuan Yew’s statement is if you want to be a government, and the Malays are majority, therefore you must have the support of the Malays because the Malays are incapable of standing on their own and have to be given assistance all the time,” added the Pandan MP.

Khalid said ‘the special position of the Malays is just reassurance that they won’t be left out’.Rafizi, 36, called Dr Mahathir’s and Lee’s views “outdated and repugnant, especially to younger Malays”, noting that the two elder statesmen, both of whom are almost 90 years of age, come from a generation that “looks down on the Malays”.

Lee wrote in a book “One Man’s View of the World”, which was released recently, that Malaysia’s brain drain problem was caused by Putrajaya’s insistence on promoting “one race” above all others.

Dr Mahathir also wrote a controversial book titled “The Malay Dilemma” in 1970, where he proposed affirmative action to enable the Malays to compete with the Chinese, who were more progressive economically.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said on Thursday that it was inevitable to pay more attention to the Malays as they form 60 per cent of the population.

Rafizi agreed, saying: “If the Malays are the major ethnic group, whatever their concerns and problems, the government has to attend to it.”

The young lawmaker, however, stressed that the way forward was to build the confidence of the Malays, to educate them and to enable them to voice independent opinions.

“Going forward, our generation doesn’t want to be given leeway just because we’re Malays. We want to be respected as Malaysian leaders because of our talent, our thinking, no matter whether we’re Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, or Kadazan,” he said.

Pua said that PR has always focused on ‘ketuanan rakyat’ (people supremacy), and not ‘ketuanan Melayu’.Rafizi, however, acknowledged the difficulty of changing the mindset of some Malays, saying that Umno has conditioned the majority group for more than half a century to rely on the ruling party, without which the “Malays would be in trouble and not be able to compete with the non-Malays.”

PAS central working committee member Khalid Samad said that affirmative action policies were about “making sure no race is left behind”, and not about making one race “superior” to another.

“The special position of the Malays is just reassurance that they won’t be left out. It doesn’t mean other races have to be left out at the same time,” Khalid told The Malay Mail Onlineyesterday.

The Shah Alam MP noted that the special position of the Malays, as enshrined in the federal constitution, was agreed to by all races during the formation of the nation.

“What the constitution mentions is the special position of the Malays, which means ‘kedudukan istimewa Melayu’ or ‘hak istimewa Melayu’ (Malay special rights), which is different from ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy),” he said.

DAP publicity chief Tony Pua said that PR has always focused on “ketuanan rakyat” (people supremacy), and not “ketuanan Melayu”.

“We will help everyone. If the poor are the majority Malays, then the Malays will get it,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP told The Malay Mail Online.


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