I had criticized the debate topic for its racial slant and a lack of intellectualism. “Chinese at a Crossroads: Is the Two-Party System Becoming a Two-Race System?” is not only inaccurate and intellectually inept. It is also irresponsible and illogical.
The forum suggested that the Malaysian Chinese are at the political crossroads for a fact that they have to choose between a stronger government or a stronger opposition. It hinted that a stronger government should be a natural choice to protect a multiracial government and to avoid a creation of two-race system.
This suggestion is not only illogical but an insult to the political maturity and wisdom of the community. In fact, the last general election reflected a shift of urban voters support away from the government for its inability to solve multifarious issues confronting the urbanites. It is unfortunate that most Chinese reside in urban areas.
I attended the forum in its entirety hoping to be proven wrong of my initial observation. However, most of the panel discussions had failed to convince me that I was wrong.
Why? The panelists and proposers had failed to explain why Malaysian Chinese are at the political crossroads. It is not convincing to merely suggest a dilemma when political parties are clueless to the voting trends, preference, issues and concerns of the community.
The organizers had responded that the forum was not racist but they had failed to explain why only Chinese panelists and moderators were invited to discuss the political crossroads. They had failed to convince observers that the forum was conducted NOT to appease and fulfill the political agenda of political party hoping to use ethnic and religious fear to draw support from the Chinese community.
I attended the forum overwhelmed by not enthusiasm but fear and concern that what the forum might ended up creating misunderstanding that Chinese are Hudud-Islam haters. Most Muslim would agree that it is impossible to take Hudud out of Islam and Islam out of a Muslim. It would be more progressive for the parties to discuss methods and ways to help enhance the understanding of Hudud before going on and on about how dangerous, brutal and archaic the Islamic penal law.
The perpetrators of anti-Hudud sentiment should take cognizance that Malaysia is a Muslim majority country and not all Muslims (including larger Muslim countries such as Indonesia and Turkey) agree with the full implementation of Hudud in its archaic and outdated form which symbolizes gory methods of punishment.
MCA should take extra care to ensure that in their fervour to relive the magic of Hudud to win big against the Dap candidates in 1999 would not turn Hudud bashing into Muslim punching bag. There's a limit and respect which must be observed for our Muslim friends and fellow citizens.
I have a problem with the forum's generalization of Malaysian Chinese. No, not all of us voted on colour of the skin. There were many Chinese voters who had voted for Pas candidates against those non-Malay candidates from Barisan Nasional.
A number of us voted for good governance, more potent opposition to ensure better check-and-balance, less political arrogance et cetera. Ironically, most of us - especially younger voters - had voted against the perpetuation of institutional racism and politics of despotism in the country.
I find it uneasy for the organizers and role players to put the responsibility of a potential creation of a two-race system on the Malaysian Chinese voters. Using a broad brush to paint the voting trends of Malaysian Chinese as generic and predictable is both too simplistic and ignorant. Political parties such as MCA, Gerakan, SUPP, LDP and DAP have a role and a responsibility to the voters to ensure that their respective coalition does not turn into a racist monster.
Instead of telling us how they could contribute towards better ethnic relations and to ensure the success of truly multiracial, just and democratic society, some of the political parties and politicians continue to engage in dangerous race and religious politicking. Such political parties and politicians must be totally rejected by all Malaysians who love their peace and harmony.
It is precisely the frustration of inaction against corruption, abuse of power, political arrogance, leadership ineptness and mediocrity that most voters would rather support any candidates who can give them better accountability.
It is due to a lack of understanding of the voters' sentiment and an obvious act of political arrogance and ignorance that the organizers, which are linked to a political party, had chosen such ridiculous topics for discussion. The outcome of the forum is now obvious.
It has brought zero enlightenment to the society. Now, we are seriously in a dilemma. Our dilemma is we may have to endure for a few more terms an inept, clueless and irresponsible regime.
My assessment: I would give the forum a 3-C verdict - Contradictory, Confusing and Chaotic!