Its difficult to move beyond race after 50 years of living with racial discrimination...
Susan Loone on her blog http://sloone.wordpress.com
said it well:
Why should race of candidate matter?
Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 in
Malaysian blogsville is abuzz with news of the coming Ijok by-election. Though I am too far away to feel Ijok, I am rather annoyed at news reports about the situation. I don’t see why we should keep harping on the fact that Keadilan (Parti Keadilan Rakyat) had chosen a Malaysian Malay and not Malaysian Indian to run for the elections. When can we stop thinking along racial lines? And if newspapers want to be part of nation building, it should also stop reporting along such lines.
It reminded me so much about Lunas in 2000. I was there to cover the elections with journalists Zakiah Koya and Ng Boon Hooi. We were more interested in the blatant corruption that was going on and the evil use of phantom voters to secure votes than to bother that BN had chosen an Indian (Antonysamy) and PKR a Malay (Saifuddin Nasution) to contest in the by-election. The newspapers then, like now, went to town with the news that PKR had neglected the Indians by choosing a Malay candidate.
So a Malay cannot represent Chinese and Indians and a Chinese cannot represent Malays and Indians and an Indian cannot represent Chinese and Malays?
It’s disheartening to note that all we can come up with are arguments why an Indian should be chosen instead of a Malay or even Chinese. As you see, no problem there, coz even the DAP has decided to let it go because it’s not a Chinese hot seat. So, doesn’t it tell much about the DAP’s trend of thinking?
Is this what we want after 50 years of nation building?
To me, the Election Commission has much role to play in this sad state of affairs. Election after elections, the first thing it does, is present figures about the percentages of racial breakdown. Do we really need this? For me, I’d like to know how many live below poverty lines, how many are in need of a hospital or schools or even public transportation. Can we have these figures instead?
Political parties should be really choosing candidates who can negotiate, speak out and understand policy making, instead of those who are only apt at inciting racist sentiments. I hope we don’t immitate these jokers by giving them a spot in our blogs to fan their insidous and hopeless propaganda.
After 50 years of Merdeka, most Malaysians should know how to deal with people of other ethnic groups, cultures and religions. Which is why, I didn’t mind Parti Socialis Malaysia’s argument about the matter.
PSM said it believed that potential elected representatives must be a person who is concerned about the welfare of the working class and urban settlers.
Yes, Khalid Ibrahim, the PKR candidate was a former Guthrie CEO, but he has left his post. Yet he needs to answer, can he really understand the grassroots needs and represent the Ijok people? That is the crux of the matter. That is the answer we should all seek.
Else, what PKR is doing is nothing but giving its new knight a chance for training and publicity to prepare him for the coming general elections.