Everyone seems to be worried about the way issues of race have shot to the forefront as 16 Sept nears.
Certain politicians are using the oldest trick in the book to whip up support: the manipulation of racial issues to appeal to base, primordial sentiments.
We must reject such bankrupt politicians – or better still, ignore them. When I was a kid, my mother told me if anyone calls you names or tries to rile you up, just ignore them. And you know what? It worked. Those who do that thrive on getting an angry response from you. But if you act like it doesn’t matter what they say – if you show them that it doesn’t affect you one bit – they walk away disappointed that their taunting didn’t work.
Similarly, if there is one thing a politician fears or hates more than losing public support, it is to be ignored completely by the public and by the media and to be rendered irrelevant.
So more Malaysians should ignore such politicians. Let them end up speaking to the wall. Let the BN politicians play their sandiwara game and sort it out themselves. I appeal to Malaysians not to fall for such race-baiting tactics, which thrive on a never-ending spiral of response and counter-response, thrust and counter thrust.
Malaysians now are a lot smarter and more mature. Many of them showed on 8 March that they have rejected racial politics and are now more inclined to multi-racial politics. Let’s continue this trend and let nothing stand in its path.
One of the reasons the Pakatan did so well on 8 March and in Permatang Pauh was that they appealed to the hopes and aspirations of the people for a better country – which we all know we are capable of.
Say what you like about Anwar, in Permatang Pauh he cleverly managed to reassure both the Malays and the non-Malays that they had a place under the Malaysian sun. It was a positive campaign.
On the other hand, the BN resorted to the politics of fear and played on people’s insecurities. In Permatang Pauh, we saw how they appealed to the fears and insecurities of the Malays – who, uniquely in the peninsula, are a minority community in Penang. It was a negative campaign and about two thirds of the Malays there, saw through it all and rejected such racial tactics.
Now we see the politics of race rear its ugly head again as 16 Sept – or 20 Sept – approaches. Is it a diversionary tactic intended to derail the unstoppable will of Malaysians for a fairer, more just Malaysia?
Once again, we have to reject such racial politics – and ignore the bankrupt politicians who use such tactics – and instead usher in a new Malaysia where everyone is treated with justice and respect. Let these politicians display their depravity for the whole world to see.
Check out Farish Noor’s “A racist start to Ramadhan” here.