OUTSPOKEN: Imagine that you are a soldier and your platoon is on patrol. During an ambush, several men are killed, the commanding officer is seriously injured and ammunition is low.
The remaining platoon members need to arrange an extraction for the injured, report the enemy position and continue the patrol.
Who should assume command? The medic? The radio-operator? The scout? The sniper? The youngest? The oldest? The one who just completed his training with flying colours?
Do you check the race of each soldier, to determine who should lead?
The most experienced, takes command.
Why should this scenario be any different from the selection, of the best man to lead Malaysia? A Malaysian PM.
We should not allow the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) and the thorny issues of race and religion, to cloud our judgement.
To further complicate matters, Malay thinking has been hijacked by sex. According to PAS, women are only good for making babies and running the home.
For years, conservative Malays have declared that the role of prime minister, can only be filled by a Malay. They would be livid if the PM were a bumiputera Christian, for instance an Iban, Orang Asli or Kadazan.
The conservatives believe that only a Malay can (i) protect Malay rights and privileges, (ii) protect Islam, as the official religion and (iii) continue to molly-coddle Malays.
In the article called, “When did Malaysia have a Malay prime minister?” , the previous six prime ministers were shown not to have been “pure” Malay.
None of them had more than a few drops of Malay blood, and yet these “not-so-pure” Malay men, continued to uphold Malay rights, ensure Islam was the official religion of Malaysia and continue to spoon-feed the Malays with the NEP and other affirmative action policies.
There is no reason to think that a “pure” Malay, or Chinese, Indian, Iban, Orang Asli, Kadazan, and Murut PM, would act otherwise.
We need to think and act differently. We should provide equal opportunities for everyone in education, and reward citizens for their hard work.
Financial aid should be made available to citizens who require it the most. It should not be apportioned by race or religion, or the consideration of “pendatang” (immigrant) stock.
Scholarships and educational study loans, should be means tested. Meritocracy should apply, so that those with the right academic qualifications and are from low-income families, will be helped.
Scholarships should not be awarded automatically to the children of government ministers or Umno Baru cronies.
In any election, we should learn to look at the candidates’ policies. Remind ourselves of the ambush above, and think, “Who is the best man for the job?”
As we approach the Sarawak elections, can we cast our vote, based on the candidate’s policies and ignore his race and religion? Can the nation do the same in GE14?
Ridhuan Tee speaks Malay, thinks like an ultra-conservative Malay, is more Malay than I am and probably, a better Muslim than me, but one wonders how many Malays and non-Malays, would like him as their PM. In the 21st Century, we should no longer condone this base cultural appropriation.
If there were a suitable Malay, Muslim woman, with the right educational qualifications and work experience, to show that she is the best person for PM, the stumbling block would be the Malays.
The Constitution says that the King must be Malay, but there is nothing in the Constitution to say that the PM must be Malay. Even former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad has admitted this*, despite years of disingenuity.
So, if we want to progress into the 21st Century and become a high income nation, we must alter our mind-set; forget race, religion and irrational fears.
Open your mind and your heart. Liberate yourselves. Think Malaysian, not katak-bawah-tempurung.
Umno Baru have consistently lied to the rakyat over the past 30-40 years, about the Constitution of the country. They have implied that only a Malay can be PM and this is not borne out by the Constitution.
Mariam Mokhtar is a Malaysian who dares to speak the truth.
- The Ant Daily