The Pakatan Harapan government’s inability to introduce more progressive policies is due to the unfounded fear towards non-Malays, according to Zaid Ibrahim.
Criticising the “outdated Malay agenda” premise, the former law minister said this has prevented the implementation of changes with regard to education to transform the economy, such as a system based on meritocracy and the use of English.
“It is alright to be fearful of the corrupt and the greedy.
“But for God’s sake, let us move on to build the country and not get stuck with old prejudices,” he told Malaysiakini this afternoon.
Zaid was elaborating on his tweet earlier where he expressed bewilderment over the fear Malays possessed for Chinese and Indians.
“Some of the world’s best minds are Chinese and Indians. We can learn many things from them. The people we should be wary of are the greedy bunch,” he said.
The Harapan government, which came into power in the last general election riding on grand promises of reforms, has been criticised for backpedalling on certain issues for fear of a backlash from the Malays, who make up the majority of the electorate.
For example, the government reversed on its pledge to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
On the education front, the government drew flak for still not recognising the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), which is a private examination for Chinese independent high school students.
However, it has pledged to do so before its first term in office expires.
Meanwhile, the government also maintained 90 per cent of places reserved for bumiputera in matriculation programmes but increased the intake of students.
The nation’s two largest Malay parties Umno and PAS, which have since formed an alliance, have consistently accused the Harapan government of failing to protect Malay rights and Islam.
The predominantly Chinese DAP is often accused of dominating Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration and harbouring an agenda to undermine the Malays and Islam.
DAP leaders have repeatedly denied this allegation but have since become notably less vocal on matters pertaining to race and religion compared to when it was in the opposition.
However, Mahathir has witnessed his approval rating improve from an all-time low of 46 per cent in March this year to 55 per cent last month.
Satisfaction towards his leadership among Malay voters was at 50 per cent as of June, a 16 per cent improvement from March whereas, among the Chinese, it improved by 16 per cent to 77 per cent within the same period.
However, his rating among Indian voters declined six per cent from 80 per cent in March to 74 per cent in June. – Malaysiakini