Are Racial Problems Caused Only By Them Says Psm Chief
PSM chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj said he fully supported a non-racial approach but the reality of the country’s divisions could not be ignored.PETALING JAYA: Malaysians and political leaders were urged today to take a hard look at themselves when discussing racial problems and not merely demonise “the other side”.
Sixty years of race-based politics had left all Malaysians with “dark forces” within themselves, said Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, chairman of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), at a public forum.
“But do we imagine that only the Malay population has these dark forces?” Jeyakumar said. “What about the non-Malays? Aren’t we all affected by racial and ethnic policymaking (as well)?”
Jeyakumar was speaking as a panellist at a forum titled “Dark Forces Towards GE15” in conjunction with the launch of books written by Murray Hunter and Lim Teck Ghee.
He said racial disparity ran across the board and was not confined to any one community.
“For example, 60% of employment in Malaysia is in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but 90% of the people employed by local industrial SMEs are Malaysian Chinese.
“Is this something that the country should be looking to resolve, given that the SMEs take up about 40% of the gross domestic product (GDP) but are almost entirely Chinese?” he said.
Jeyakumar said he fully supported a non-racial approach to economic and social policies, but the reality of the country’s divisions could not be ignored.
He said there was discontent with the New Economic Policy (NEP) of the 1970s-1990s. However, the policy was a fair attempt at affirmative action despite its flaws, given the circumstances at the time.
“In the 1960s, only 5% of doctors were Malays, and that had to be addressed. For us to throw (the NEP) all away as being racist is not being empathetic to the reality of what they want,” he said.
“We need empathy and to stop demonising each other. The other side demonises us and we do it back to them, but (we end up) not talking.”
He also questioned the view that Barisan Nasional had “messed up the country since 1957” and asked if this view was valid.
There was not enough appreciation of what had been done, he said. Since 1970, Malaysia’s GDP had grown 30-fold, while for social protection, Socso had been introduced in 1969.
“These guys made mistakes, yes, they’re kleptocrats, but has it been completely negative?” he said. “Because if you want to negotiate with the other side, you have to recognise the good as well.”
He called for self-reflection among opposition members.
Pointing to the drop in Malay voter support for Pakatan Harapan from 25% in May 2018 to 7% two years later, Jeyakumar asked:
“Was that drop caused by Bersatu leaving? Or was Bersatu’s departure caused by that drop? Think of it clearly, we were in control; why couldn’t we consolidate support for 25% of Malays?” - FMT
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