Multiracial approach the better option, says daily

14 May

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — A multiracial approach to maximise the country’s advantages and the political will to make the necessary adjustments to policy and governing principles are the better way forward for Malaysia, The Straits Times reported today.

In an editorial, the Singapore daily said the recently concluded general election showed up the racial and class divisions in the country, which would hamper the nation’s progress, despite bountiful endowments and the enterprise of the people

Najib has a tough task ahead to bring the country together after the polls. — File picIt said leaders should have the courage to knowledge this problem if Malaysia wants to achieve a level of prosperity and social harmony it deserves to have.

“In all first-past-the-post electoral systems, it is prudent to not just focus on outcomes but also on just what the vote was about. The ruling coalition’s loss of the popular vote and the defeat of right-wing candidates suggest public disillusionment with the old political compact. 

“Are fair-minded Malaysians saying they do not want to be living separate lives any more but wish to make a virtue of their differences because, together, they can accomplish so much more? Certainly, ethnic diversity can be a strength if harnessed wisely. In such a milieu, reform in ideology and administration cannot be put off much longer,” it said in the editorial.

The Straits Times said it was important for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that his message of moderation and inclusiveness in being prime minister “to all Malaysians” is not drowned out in the post-election din.

Najib has said he would get to grips with corruption, crime and urban living costs, which his handlers conceded accounted for the urban swing among Chinese and Indian voters and sizeable numbers of middle-class Malays.

The newspaper said the race tilt in allocations of scholarships, business contracts and government jobs has been a long-standing grievance, adding that this has to be adjusted sensitively to carry the support of the two-thirds Malay majority. 

It also said it would help engender public confidence in Najib’s administration if allegations of vote irregularities are not airily ignored.

The editorial also said Umno, as the linchpin of the Barisan Nasional coalition, answers to multifarious factions in his party, many of which regard any move towards a more balanced accommodation with other races as a dilution of Malay entitlement.

“It will be a test of nerves for Najib to change old thinking while emotions are still raw and with party elections due,” it added.




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