Why are some politicians still so divisive?

by Adnan D

I come from a time in Malaysia where we, the people, embraced diversity by visiting homes to celebrate the various religious or cultural festivities.

I still do this when overseas. However, from what my family and friends tell me, I don’t think it’s the same in Malaysia today like it was in the 1970s or even the early 90s.

Now, in some states controlled by certain political parties, everyone seems to be sensitive and suspicious of each other. Something must have happened since then. We all know what the cause is but most pretend they don’t.

The non-Malays know what halal food is. They are not stupid and ignorant. The Malays are also aware of what cannot be consumed by a Buddhist or a Hindu. Malaysians know the dietary restrictions of vegetarians.

In Malaysian households, regardless of where they are, even in the UK, the joy of eating nasi lemak and rendang in a Chinese house, of having murukku in an Kadazan house, and char keow teow in Hindu houses during Deepavali, is a celebration in itself. It shows the strength of diversity and commonness. That, to me, is first class.

Simple things like the choice of news readers on TV with a Malay reading Tamil and Mandarin news or an Indian reading Malay news, or having the Kadazan, Iban and Orang Asli languages in advertisements on TV, are crucial to nation building. So, too, is having other races and ethnicities, who all speak fluent Malay and other languages, if necessary, in the government and private sector’s frontline.

Malaysia is very fortunate. It has every box ticked in diversity and strength but, unfortunately, it has screwed up big time. If I can take my shoes off before entering any house, everyone should be able to do the same. The potential is immense, but there has never been any political will. Hopefully, there will be some change.

The British empire’s modus operandi was to divide and rule. They did that everywhere they went, making them able to control the masses. That is old school thinking. However, some politicians still believe in this theory even when that school of thought no longer works.

Some politicians, regardless of where they are from, promote division. It’s always them and us. Regardless of where you were born, how you came to the country, who your ancestors were, or the mixed marriages, it’s always you and them.

Religion and ethnicity play a major role, not citizenship and residency. To some politicians, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, or how much tax you pay, it always boils down to religion and ethnicity. There is no fair play and justice.

The government keeps shifting the goalposts to suit certain groups, not considering the needs of all the people, but of certain ethnicities. You always wonder why, more so when the majority fears the minority.

In most other countries, the minority fears the majority, but it appears not in Malaysia. That clearly doesn’t make sense. The majority should have no fear. In fact, if they help the minority, the minority will be grateful for life.

Logic and common sense don’t appear to be on the minds of the politicians in power. Why be divisive? Why pit one ethnicity against the other? Why keep harping on the differences in the colour of your skin, religion or language, and not look instead at the similarities?

There must be a more concrete effort by the politicians in charge to unite the diverse cultures and ethnicities. Understanding is paramount, but for that you need to mix, go to the ground, and read. Stop believing everything on social media, Tik Tok included. You cannot live in silos, on an island, and think the world revolves around you.

Only the leaders can make a change, but for that, the people must decide. If the people choose the wrong leaders, they are digging their own graves.

Malaysia cannot survive on its own. It’s time to grow up. We are in 2023.

Source: Why are some politicians still so divisive?-FMT

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