The Barisan Nasional (BN) government can easily solve problems of the multiracial populace of the country as the BN is a party for all races, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told Bernama.
He said the government governing the nation was a multiracial coalition government that constantly worked to maintain racial harmony, peace, prosperity and safety of the people."The BN government functions on the basis of consultation and consensus. This is a multiracial, united and collaborative coalition government," he said.
PM Abdullah, since last week, has dished out many big 'ang pows' (red packets) to the Chinese and Indian communities. Through the Ministry of Education, a special allocation of RM4 million was allocated to several schools around Penang, predominantly around Bukit Gelugor area.
I was told that MCA President Ong Ka Ting had promised PM to do "whatever he can" to help deliver the parliamentary seat for BN. The seat was contested and won by Dap's Karpal Singh in 2004 beating a former Gerakan leader, Lim Boo Chang, who contested the seat as a MCA candidate. Karpal won by a mere 1300 odd votes.
However, since an unfortunate road accident which affected the mobility of the fiesty Dap leader, calls have been heard around Penang and even amongst Dap members for him to make way for his party Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng to contest the seat. According to some sources, it make sense for Lim to contest a safer parliamentary seat on the island where his party will be contesting major bulk of state seats. To Lim, Dap's performance at the state level will be a better gauge of his party's comeback in Penang.
In Perak, the PM presented offer letters for a 15-year land lease to 211 farmers from Kampung Baru Coldstream in place of the yearly renewal of land lease under the temporary occupation licence (TOL).They are among 931 Chinese farmers who were planting vegetables and fruits illegally on government land or under TOL in six areas in Perak.
Abdullah said the agriculture sector would continue to receive incentives and support from the government as it was a crucial sector producing food items for the people," he said.
His move is most welcomed especially now farmers have a clearer mind to tilt their agricultural land and increase their yield.
My question is why must the government waited so long to act on these needs? In my earlier post, I have argued that the allocation given to Chinese vernacular schools was not adequate (a mere 3% of the total education budget). Almost 95 percent of Chinese students aged between 7-12 are attending Chinese vernacular schools around the country. Many of these schools are overly populated with student population of more than 5,000.
On the business front, the government procurement process is still not accessible to others, not even Sabah Bumiputera, Sarawak Bumiputera, Indian Muslim Bumiputera and others. An IT manager shared with me her story of using a Malay Bumiputera company to supply IT equipments to a renowned public university in Penang.
She was told by the university's officer to fax in a copy of the company's certificate to validate that her company is a Malay Bumiputera company. The officer told her, "Kami tak nak syarikat Bumiputera Sabah, Bumiputera Mamak, hanya Bumiputera Melayu. Kamu Cina kah?" She replied, "Saya bekerja disini, Puan".
Until and unless, this systematic and institutionalised racism is reversed the PM cannot claim that the BN government understood the aspirations of the various races.
Malaysians of all races must find their rightful place under the sun of Malaysia. Selective policies which favour a certain community will ensure the country's brain drain. At the end of the day, the overall decline of the country will be felt by all communities.
Is PM Abdullah ready to do what Indonesia did in 2004 by amending the constitution to recognise all who were born in Malaysia after 1957 as citizens of equal rights?