Saturday, 21 July 2007

Malaysia, Whither Art Thou?

As the country approaches her 50th anniversary of Independence, instead of a feeling of joy and gratitude, the many events that have unfolded have cast a cloud of gloom over the country. These events have in many ways revealed that Malaysia since achieving independence has not progressed in a vital aspect of the Malaysian social fabric: racial integration and harmony. In fact, the various races are drifting further and further apart. The brandishing of a keris in an Umno general assembly to intimidate and assert Malay supremacy; the recent declaration by the Deputy Prime Minister that Malaysia is an Islamic state are a manifestation that all is not well within the country, a sore that festers, that refuses to heal. It has starkly shown that Malaysia is sharply divided along a racial divide that the government is grappling to bridge.

The politics of compromise, so religiously upheld by the various component parties of the government, has been exposed for what it is: a round table for trade-offs. There is no sincerity, no genuine concern about building a country that truly celebrates multicultural diversity. The slogan, “Malaysia, truly Asia” is just a figment of the imagination.

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