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Is race-based politics still relevant?

Is race-based politics still relevant?
Is race-based politics still relevant?
KUALA LUMPUR: I do not agree with race-based politics. There are many examples that actually show how detrimental it is to national harmony in Malaysia.

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a sit-down interview with Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Youth and Sports, and he shared with me some of his views.

As we know, he is also the Umno Youth Chief, a political party that serves to protect the interests of the Malay community in the country.

Khairy says that there is nothing wrong for a community to want to protect their interest as long as it doesn’t override the interest of national harmony.
“Politics based on ethnicity that pits one race against another, or the politics of hate and fear, is something that is not on,” he says.

He adds that it is totally fine for groups to protect the rights of different religious communities such as the Muslims, Hindus, Christians, and whatnots.
Khairy is also against extremist voices and hate-speech. He believes that there should be clearer legislation to eliminate this from continuing.

In theory, I do agree with what he says. However, my point of contention is that there has been too many incidents that shows the negative side of race-based politics.

I have the opinion that it is through decades of race-based politics that we see how segregated Malaysia is at the current moment.

We see different race, ethnic and religious rights groups that protest and voice out against all kinds of things without any regard to sensitivities towards others.

The action that these groups take in ‘protecting’ their communities’ interests seems to have the main intention of putting down and insulting other groups and communities.

We also see the prolong affirmative action that is taking place in the country that might have no purpose anymore in this day and age, and which is leading to contempt by those left out.

I understand when Khairy says that protecting ethnic interests is something noble. It really is. But is it necessary for it to be entrenched in the country’s politics and administration?

I also understand when Khairy says that clear legislation needs to be drawn out to stop hate-speech. To his credit, he personally has been very vocal against hate-speech.

But when will we actually see this happening? When will clear laws be defined and when will we actually see these hate-speech makers being clamped down on?

As much as I agree in theory with the positive aspects of racial harmony along the lines of race-based politics, I just see too much of the negative side to be convinced.

Weighing the pros and cons is something everybody needs to do. But what happens when the cons have obviously outweighed the pros?

The full interview with Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Youth and Sports, conducted by Zan Azlee can be seen by clicking here. Aside from race-based politics, he also speaks about sports development in Malaysia, the National Football Development Programme, and his unique hipster fashion sense!