RACISM IN MALAYSIA: TOWARDS YEAR ZERO!
By Dr Kua Kia Soong, Director of SUARAM 9 Dec 2009
Finally, we have heard it from the horse’s mouth (“Ma” in Mahathir means “horse” in Mandarin): “UMNO, MCA and MIC are all racist parties…Get out of these racist parties if you are anti-racist!” Mahathir retorted after Nazri had called him a racist for supporting the discredited BTN.
This is the first time we are hearing an open admission by a BN leader that the component parties in the ruling coalition are all racist. It slipped out from the mouth of the man who had written “The Malay Dilemma” after he had been baited by an UMNO detractor for being a racist.
Barisan Nasional is Basically a Racial Formula
The “Alliance Formula” at Independence was really a racial formula pregnant with contradictions which could not be sustained. The Barisan Nasional cobbled together after May 13, 1969 was basically the same racial formula enlarged, with the same contradictions intact. The only difference was that after May 13, UMNO presented the other component parties with the fait accompli in which UMNO ruled supreme.
In my book on “May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969”, I have described the rise and rise of the Malay capitalist class after it had deposed the Tunku and its use of the populist ideology of “Bumiputeraism” to win over the Malay masses since the Seventies. This class then introduced the hitherto unheard-of notion of “Ketuanan Melayu” (Malay Dominance), insisting it was part of the “Social Contract” at Independence.
Mahathir’s “Malay Dilemma” akin to “Mein Kampf”
Dr Mahathir’s “The Malay Dilemma” shares the same paradigm as Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” in the sense that they analyze society from the perspective of “race”. His book was the clarion call of this ascendant Malay capitalist class after May 13, prodding “the Malays” to rise against “the immigrant races”. Is it surprising he does not find the BTN propaganda racist?
Dr Mahathir is obviously not familiar with the philosophy of the social sciences otherwise he would have known that “Race” as a concept has been discredited in social science for years now and any social scientist worth his/her salt would not dare to air such racial theories in respectable centres of learning.
The New Economic Policy has provided the means through which this Malay capitalist class and their subordinate Chinese and Indian capitalist class (facilitated by the Barisan Nasional) have amassed great wealth all these years since 1971. “Bumiputeraism” has worked as the populist ideology in winning over the Malay masses to some extent, but the contradictions inherent in capitalist exploitation within this racial formula has led to more and more disenchantment by the Malay masses against the status quo in recent years. Thus, we have witnessed the advent of the political tsunami in 2008.
UMNO Floundering Since the Political Tsunami
Since the trouncing of the BN in the last general elections, UMNO has been floundering, unable to decide whether to be more racist or more liberal – such is the nature of the contradictions inherent in the BN’s “racial formula”.
Sooner or later, the race-based parties in the BN will have to face this hard reality that our nation can only progress when we get to YEAR ZERO – the year when race-based political parties are completely outlawed and we are rid of racism, racial discrimination and other related intolerance.