Aug 1 : Ibrahim Ali vs Khairi Jamaluddin vs Khalid Samad

Posted on August 2, 2010


At a forum on the Malaysian political mindset a session at the Malaysian Student Leaders Summit in Kuala Lumpur on 1 Aug, organised by the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC), Member of Parliament for Pasir Mas, Ibrahim Ali presented a watered down version of his usual fiery racist posturing with more intellectual demeanour, carefully tailoring his arguments in an uncharacteristic scholarly fashion.
His move earned him eventual cheers after a rather hostile initial reception.
Unfortunately, whatever points he scored earlier was squandered when his racial rhetoric reared its ugly head.
The Independent MP’s continual defence of Perkasa as not racist went down poorly with the audience.

PAS Member of Parliament Khalid Samad, Khalid, presented a view that the public is already tired of racial politics and is pushing for a change.

Umno youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin made the most of his Oxford polish in trumping both PAS Shah Alam parliamentarian Khalid Samad and Perkasa chairperson Ibrahim Ali at a forum on the Malaysian political mindset, gaining somewhat favourable ground in the discussion on whether politics of ideology will replace politics of race.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 1 — Lawmakers from both sides of the divide today followed their political scripts to a tee in a talk to Malaysian students that, at times, looked in danger of descending into a mud-slinging match.To the delight of the students, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Khairy Jamaluddin and Khalid Samad traded verbal jabs as they tackled the topic of ideology-versus-race in politics at the talk organised by the United Kingdom and Eire Council for Malaysian Students (UKEC).

Ibrahim, who chose to interpret the theme of the talk from a national security perspective, argued that it was still necessary for Malaysia to stick to its formula of communal politics for the sake of harmony.

“Politics of ideology in Malaysia will not and cannot trump that of race,” he told the Fourth Malaysian Student Leaders Summit.
“Malaysian politics still needs to be structured according to the racial grouping.”
The president of Malay rights group Perkasa said this was because Malaysia was a state-nation with a plural society, distinct from nation-states like Japan, Korea and Germany, whose societies are overwhelmingly made up of one ethnicity.

Khairy advocated the move away from race-based politics.

“The people of Malaysia have different religions, different cultural identities and, to a certain extent, they have different economic backgrounds,” he said.Ibrahim said that as long as Malaysia remained a state-nation undergoing transformation and evolution, the politics of ideology will find it difficult to trump the Barisan Nasional (BN) arrangement.
He claimed the “loose coalition” of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was unable to garner support from voters precisely because its component parties professed disparate ideologies.
“One is based on the ideology of liberal democracy, another one is founded on the ideology of socialist democracy and the last one is formulated based on Islamic principles,” he said in reference to PKR, DAP and PAS, respectively.

In contrast, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin stressed the need for BN to change in order to remain relevant.

“It’s a very real possibility that, in the next general election, we will lose if we don’t change our ways,” he said.
“It’s our very political survival at stake and, if we don’t change… we’re going to be out of business.
“I think we got the message. March 2008 was a huge wake-up call.”
However, he cautioned that while he agreed that ideology should eventually replace race politics, the reality on the ground was far removed from the delegates’ idealism.
“When you really ask the people, when push comes to shove, do you really want to get rid of ethnicity in politics… a majority would say no,” the Rembau MP said.
“Their parochial interests will always come up.”
Khairy also took a swipe at Ibrahim’s constant mention of the constitutionality of Malay special rights, saying it was “an insult” for Malays to be told they needed to be coddled.
“What makes Malays special is not the constitutional provision… of our special position. That does not make us special,” he said.
“What makes a Malay special is that he can compete. What makes a Malay special is that he can achieve excellence in education, in business, without crutches.”

Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad brought spirituality into the mix by arguing that religion can help free people from their naturally “tribal” mindsets.

“As an Islamist, I believe that one of the main objectives why religion was revealed is… to help mankind to save themselves from the narrowness of racial politics,” he said.
“The purpose of revelation, as far as the Quran is concerned, is so that men can establish justice in society not just for his race, not just for his co-religionists but for the benefit of all mankind.”
Khalid said, in this respect, Malaysia was becoming an “increasingly enlightened nation”.
“The fact of the matter is, race politics is a thing of the past,” he said.
“The general population of Malaysia is currently very tired and fed-up with the racial politics, irrespective of whatever justification that you want to present.”