Malaysia could have a non-Malay prime minister in future if the majority of citizens can be convinced that it will serve their best interests, Pejuang president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said today amid a broad debate about racial politics.
Taking a strong stand, the former Kedah menteri besar pointed out that Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution does not dictate the racial identity of who can be prime minister but states it must be one who commands the majority support of the MPs who themselves must be voted in by their respective constituents.
He said that a non-Malay leader who is not corrupt is better than having a leader who is corrupt but added that Malaysians will need a mindset shift in order to be convinced about this.
“It’s important to note that the reason why all 10 prime ministers we have had are Malays is not due to behind-the-scenes manipulation by Malay politicians. As long as democracy is practised in this country, the majority will continue to choose a leader who best represents their interests.
“If a non-Malay can convince the majority of Malays to support them, the norms will change. However, unless our system truly unites all our peoples, this will remain a pipe dream,” Mukhriz said on Facebook.
He expressed his agreement with DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, saying the latter was “correct in stating that kleptocracy will destroy the nation”.
“A Malay leadership that dabbles in kleptocracy will make the Malays’ claim on the premiership indefensible.
“Without hesitation, we must choose a non-Malay as PM over a Malay leader who is corrupt. There is nothing worse for anyone, regardless of their ethnicity, than to tolerate a corrupt leader simply because of their ethnicity.
“Unfortunately, we have seen examples of such leaders, who use slogans like ‘Hidup Melayu’ to justify their misdeeds and steal from the government’s coffers. This is not only an insult to our collective intelligence but also a betrayal of the trust that the people have placed in their leaders.
“We must hold all leaders accountable for their actions, regardless of their ethnicity, and ensure that those who engage in corruption are held responsible for their actions. The Malays must rid themselves of such pretentious leaders,” Mukhriz said.
The former Jerlun MP highlighted that Thailand has had past prime ministers who were ethnic Chinese, and said the US too had elected Barack Obama, who was not white, to be its president.
He said these were possible because their citizens identified with them on a more personal level.
Mukhriz also said one of the problems that causes a racial divide in Malaysia is the current public education system that allows for vernacular schools.
He compared Malaysia’s education system to those in Thailand and Indonesia, saying children there followed only one national education system.
“Unlike Thai Chinese, who seamlessly blend in with other ethnic Thais, Chinese Malaysians often insist on maintaining their language, culture and way of thinking separate from the majority Malays. This only reinforces the emphasis on ethnicity and creates further divisions in society,” he said.
These schools, he said, created a separate form of teaching that causes divisions as the kids who go to these schools do not mingle with other races in public schools.
But Mukhriz also admitted that the educational system is in need of a dire overhaul. – MMO