MALAYSIAN LEADERSHIP – MERIT OR SOMETHING ELSE? CAN A NON-MALAY BE PRIME MINISTER?

The current conundrum that is Malaysian politics, the state of our Nation and where it is heading, has got certain segments of the so-called liberal thinkers asking fundamental questions of the need for real leadership. An interesting question was posed on whether a change of leadership is so desperately needed that we should consider non-Malays for such positions including that of Prime Ministership, especially given that the Constitution allows such a possibility.

At that point, MAJU noticed what we consider as closet ketuanan in the guise of liberalism trying to shut down such discussions by claiming that such talk smacks of typical Malaysian perspective of looking things through the racial lens instead of merit. Thus, such a question need not to be asked at all. WE BEG TO DIFFER! We see that as pure hypocrisy – pulling the wool over the eyes of those less cynical.

The question about why or whether a non-Malay can hold the PM position in Malaysia is a valid one to ask, especially now we are reaching almost 60 years as a Nation. To deflect it as being looking at things through racial lens is truly disingenuous. It is a question that strikes at the very heart of meritocracy in our nation and how it manifests or otherwise in our society.

Back in the 70s when our population was about 9 million, 47% of which consisted of non-Malays. At about 32 million today, the population of non-Bumiputra is about 30%; it seems quite difficult as of late to find statistics for Malays instead of Bumiputras. Regardless, we can safely assume that over the last 50 years, the average population of non-Malays has reduced to about 30% . Blacks in American south were only desegregated in public schools in 1954. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was passed.

That makes Malaysia as old as the Civil Rights Act. Twenty years ago, the Americans had a Secretary of State (similar to the Home Minister but more powerful – 4th in line of succession), General Colin Powell, who was black! Did anyone see any major political party or major media in the US reporting protests on his appointment for being black? He was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff 10 years prior (that is basically the Head of the Armed Forces)! We are just picking one example out of many. And then 45 years after the founding of our Nation and the USA passing of the Civil Rights Act, they elected a black by the name of Barack Hussein Obama for President in 2008.

That election needed a majority of whites to vote for a minority amongst those deemed to be descendants of former slaves. And Blacks constituted about 11% of the US population in 1970 and not more than 12-14% in 2008. During approximately the same period, our non-Malays constitute about 47% and at least 30+% respectively of the Malaysian population. This is not about looking through racial lens. This is about reflecting whether a society, a Nation, rewards merit or justifies picking someone based on merit or for some other reasons.

Is it statistically improbable that non-Malays, comprising more than double the percentage of the Black populace versus total population were not capable enough or of sufficient merit to hold the position of the Head of the Armed Forces, Home Ministry, Deputy PM or even the PM – after almost 60 years (since 1964)?; especially when we consider people calling the US a racist country. The question, ladies and gentlemen, isn’t about race. Let’s be honest and sincere and not be political spin consultants.

The question stands, is our selection based on merit or on something else? Is it statistically improbable that no other race could have held the highest office by now based on merit, or even those positions that are not as high but are deemed critical? And thus follows, why when we finally had non-Malays holding the position of Finance Minister and Attorney General, leading politicians and so-called society leaders protested freely and shamelessly and with such animosity, and such protests were carried out by mainstream media on the ethnicities of these selections.

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to spark a change. Our current system has failed us. All our political parties have failed us. We need competent people to lead our country. We, the Rakyat, need to take matters into our own hands if we are ever to even initiate societal change that will matter to our future generations.

Let us make it happen!

MAJU is for GERAK INDEPENDENT.

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