Wednesday, November 12

Obama’s historic win – can a Chinese, Indian, Kadazan or Iban become Prime Minister?

Hmmm, interesting question. I had email exchanges with an Indian Muslim who was moaning about a similar thing. His point was that India can never see an Indian Muslim as a Prime Minister, to which I took exception. There is a minority currently in power as a prime minister, he is a Sikh. We have Presidents who have been from minorities, we have people leading the national cricket teams who have been minorities and the like. So India has been quite good in having minorities capable of rising to the top. But obviously, if you ask some of these benighted Indian chappies, they would want to moan. To another chap who was saying the same, I told him, i will support you if you support the election of an Indian Muslim woman. Needless to say, he did not reply. Pretty clear, no?

But here's an interesting post I read from a Malaysian Chinese politicians who was moaning about their minorities becoming a Prime Minister of Malaysia. He apparently asked in their own parliament and rather shamefully I thought, there were many answers which were "no". I quote:

However, Obama’s historic breakthrough make many Malaysians ask whether it is possible for a Chinese, Indian, Kadazan to become the Prime Minister of Malaysia although the Constitution is very clear that any Malaysian citizen, regardless of race or religion can become Prime Minister.

If such a question is asked 50 years ago, the nation’s founders like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Dr. Ismail, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tun V.T. Sambanthan would unhesitatingly answered in the positive as there is no constitutional bar - separate from the question of whether it was likely to happen.

But if the same question is asked now, there will be strong voices (as heard in Parliament today when this question was posed) who would rise up to say no.

Who is going against the Merdeka Constitution and the social contract reached by the forefathers of the major communities to achieve national independence half a century ago?

Why is Malaysian race relations and nation-building going backwards in the past 50 years as compared to the historic breakthrough in race relations in the United States with Obama’s historic victory in the US presidential elections?

Long way to go before these narrow domestic walls come tumbling down...

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