By Din Merican
Dr. Mahathir has yet to deal with the ghosts of his past deeds. Here no one can help him but he himself. This is indeed tragic for a once formidable leader of our country who is advancing in years (born in 1925). He just cannot let go and now he has taken upon himself the task of interpreting history. It is not Malay or Chinese Dilemma. It is Dr Mahathir’s. He is unwilling to come to terms with himself.
Let us admit this. The Chinese community contributed enormously to the growth and the development of our country over centuries. In stead of giving them due credit for their hard work and sacrifices, UMNO has used them as punching bag for its failure to uplift the living and educational standards of the Malays.
The Chinese know what they want and are willing to put up with obstacles and hindrances in their way to get ahead. Their work ethic is the envy of all Malaysians. They are investing heavily in the education of their young. They continue to modernise their companies for opportunities abroad, since they cannot get contracts in our country on their own merit, and must, therefore, be sub-contractors to favoured UMNO businessmen. At home, they expect a government which is transparent and accountable, not a corrupt one. In the last election, they voted against UMNO-led Barisan Nasional for this reason.
Are the Chinese after political power? I have Chinese friends–and Indian friends too– with whom I discuss issues ( corruption, abuse of power, discrimination, good governance, race relations, and so on) and from them I get the sense that they are quite happy to have a Malay Prime Minister and a Malay dominated government. That is a given. They respect our King and his brother rulers. But at issue to them (and me too) is what kind of Malay leadership we should have for Malaysia.
The Chinese want enlightened and progressive Malay leaders who will not use race and religion for their political ends. They feel that Chinese bashing after GE-13 should stop. They want to be respected as Malaysians with rights guaranteed by the constitution, not as pendatangs, to have some say in the affairs of state in so far as policies affect their interests, and they want to contribute to the future development of Malaysia.
I am sure that, like me, they are disappointed with a former Prime Minister who has abandoned his Bangsa Malaysia vision in order to further his interest in seeing a Malay Malaysia. I will have none of this. Just give me a Malaysia for all citizens, irrespective of race, creed, colour and religion so that together we can face the challenges of a 21st century world, united and focused in the pursuit of excellence.