28
Sep
15

Documentary: A Fractured Nation – Malaysia At The Crossroads

Video link
(INSIGHT: Malaysia At The Crossroads)

Race card won’t work in crumbling economy, analysts say in ‘fractured Malaysia’ show

Umno may use the race card to shore up support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, but this will not work in the long run if the ruling party fails to address real issues of poor governance, alleged corruption and the economy, political observers said in a television documentary by Singapore’s Channel News Asia (CNA) last night.

Speaking on the “Insight” in a documentary titled “A fractured nation”, three observers said the race card was being used because it offered Najib assurance that he still had support, even as the embattled prime minister and Umno president continued to face scrutiny over his governance and alleged scandals.

But Dr Maszlee Malik of the International Islamic University of Malaysia said the race card would not last long because people would have to start thinking about their survival when the economy started “crumbling”.

“(It’s) the people around (Najib) who play the racial card in order to continue their survival. But it won’t last long. At the end of the day, when the economy is crumbling, they will start to think about survival,” the assistant professor said in the 30-minute documentary.

Singaporean analyst Dr Ooi Kee Beng took the view that the race card was a “standard” feature in Malaysian politics, and that it was “always on the table” for politicians to use.

“The race card is the main card. That card is always on the table.

“But we’re at the point in history where the Malays are the majority and where economics is concerned, they control the government-linked companies (GLCs), control the government and Parliament… so the argument that they are under threat doesn’t hold water.”

Ooi, who is deputy director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) Yusof Ishak Institute, said more people want Putrajaya to focus on good governance instead of harping on racial rights.

CNA in its commentary said “ultranationalist” Malays who participated in the “red shirt” rally on September 16 “would like to think” that Malaysia’s problems were about race, but noted that a “great number of urban people form the middle class, as well as non-Malays, know (the) current discourse has more to do with poor governance, corruption and increasing authoritarianism”.

…more
Race card won’t work in crumbling economy, analysts say in ‘fractured Malaysia’ show
25 September 2015 – TMI

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