Zaid attacks race politics

October 4, 2008 at 5:51 am Leave a comment

The article below speaks for itself as to why we need more Zaids, and not only in UMNO but in every political party , NGOs and Malaysian civil society that exist today. Who knows, if Zaid and like minded politicians were around in 1969, perhaps the horrifying tragedy may not happened.
By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — Amid widespread speculation over his political future, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has criticised his own party Umno for contributing to race relations problems.

He also urged Umno to engender a more fair-minded administration, and lead the Malays towards having better race relations with non-Malays.

Speaking to the mass-circulation Chinese-language Sin Chew Daily in his most extensive interview since resigning as a member of the Cabinet recently, Zaid also called for more open debates over “sensitive issues”.

  He also pointed out that the results of the March general election were a clear message from the people that they wanted change, but the government had failed to change.

The former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, who resigned in protest against recent Internal Security Act arrests, said he had joined the government for the wrong reasons.

“I became a minister for the wrong reason. That reason was reform, but I have failed.

“I thought they would no longer use the ISA. I thought the government would be more open to the rule of law and the constitution, but I was wrong.”

There has been, in recent weeks, intense speculation over the political future of Zaid, but the Umno man did not address the issue in his interview with the Chinese-language daily.

But he was highly critical of the “culture of fear” in Malaysia, which he appeared to blame on Umno and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

“When we face an issue we cannot discuss it, we cannot debate it. We only use fear or we take to the streets. That is not the way things are done in a mature society,” he said.

He said the leadership style of “those with political power” had resulted in race relations being a sensitive issue even after 50 years of independence.

The former minister said race politics had been constantly used because it was easy to get support that way.

“Umno feels that it is a party needed by the Malays. Umno leaders keep telling the Malays that they are constantly in danger and therefore need Umno.

“They always feel that only they know what is good for the Malays.”

He said there was no need for “real Malays” to feel any fear or insecurity.

The real question, he said, was that too many people did not understand or respect the historical fact that for the last 100 years, the Malays, Chinese and Indians have contributed to nation-building.

He said Malaysia’s status today as the 19th largest trading nation in the world was due to the contributions of all races.

Zaid also felt that under today’s circumstances, a “May 13” race riot is not likely to happen again.

“I am not afraid of the Chinese being smart, because I too am smart. We keep talking about the Chinese having more shops and how we should be worried. The fact is we should not be worried. We should think of how to catch up,” he said.

He added that it was no longer necessary for “one party to represent one race” anymore.

Zaid: Chinese Malaysians Have Made Great Sacrifices

KUALA LUMPUR: Former minister in the prime minister’s department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim said true Malays need not be afraid, or feel lack of a sense of security.

“Take myself as an example. I’m a pure Malay, but I have a sense of security. I feel proud of my own race and culture.”

However he said, the problem is that many people do not understand or respect history. Indians, Chinese and Malays have been participating in the nation-building process since a few centuries ago. The Indians used to work in the estates, while the Chinese and Indonesians have all made valuable contributions and sacrifices for the nation too. But we have all forgotten this.

Zaid Ibrahim quit his Cabinet post because he did not agree to the government’s decision of detaining civilians under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

He said during an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily that the Chinese used to work here as miners, and they made great sacrifices during the confrontation with the communists, adding that we must understand history and what they have done for the nation.

“The rights of every individual must be respected and taken care of by everyone else.”

“We are only talking about Malaysia as the 19th largest export country in the world, and that we have the twin towers and are a developed country… Do you think we have done all this ourselves? You’re wrong. This achievement has been made after so many people from different ethnic groups have sacrificed for the nation.

“We are not talking about the positive things, but instead discussing how we should get worried because the Chinese have opened how many more new stores here.

“As a matter of fact, the first feeling we should have is not about worry. We should work harder to keep up with them instead.

“I’ve never been worried about the Chinese. In my legal firm, my partner is a Chinese, and we trust each other. Do you think I have built up my success all on my own?

“I’m not scared that the Chinese are smart, for I’m also very smart. I’m not scared that the Chinese are hard working, for I’m also very hard working. We have bad guys in every ethnic group, and you’re cheated simply because you’re not smart enough. We must educate young Malaysians to look at things from a positive perspective.”

Zaid said certain people have kept on mentioning May 13 to blackmail the people. However he felt that given our current situation, this thing would never happen again.

“I am thinking, for a better future, all Malaysians should stand up and speak out bravely. The Chinese must defend the rights of the Malays, and the Malays must also defend the rights of the Chinese. Everyone must be properly taken care of here.”

He felt that we should not rely on a single political party to take care of a particular community. It should be that the rights of every individual must be respected and taken care of by everyone else. (By HOU YALUN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)

Entry filed under: Truth & Reconciliation. Tags: .

May 13 Essays by John Lee How Do We Bury the Ghosts of May 13, 1969?

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