While the Malay vote was split three ways at the last election, it has not fazed Pakatan Harapan’s unquenchable priority to dominate Malay support.
But let’s remove the facade, about this congress
It was a Malay agenda event, not a bumiputera agenda setting congress. The double speak of using the Borneo population to up the relevance of the numbers, in terms of population percentage and also the size of poverty is very old.
Perhaps it should be discarded? Because uplifting all of the Bumiputera was not the point.
As EPU points to 71% of the B-40 are Bumiputera, as a basis of urgency for this congress, it does not distinguish between how much of the 71% is Malay, as opposed to non-Malay Bumiputera (read Melanau, Kadazan, Iban, Bidayuh, Murut, Siamese, Eurasian and Orang Asli, for instance).
Even more damning, the two papers presented to the economy affairs minister at the event, were from The Malaysian Malay Trade Chamber and Malay Consultative Council.
This was a public relations stunt.
Pakatan wanted to tell all and beyond, they are sticking to the Bumiputera agenda. There is little more to it than that.
What Mahathir Mohamad championed in the 1960s, more that fifty years ago, was in full display.
To use government to deliver economic domination by Malays.
This government can do one better, it can seek to deliver an economy which delivers economic prosperity for most Malaysians, whether they own all of it or not, and second, retain, the social safety nets to ensure no Malaysian is left vulnerable.
But instead of adopting the watershed general election result to propel modern thinking, and love for all Malaysians, and that being Malaysian matters most in a country called Malaysia, they reverted to the ugly of our politics: The ethos all Malaysians should not be equal.
And to have it during the Merdeka weekend. If Azmin Ali and Mahathir wanted to send a message, they did send it out loud and clear. It also cleared the air on Anwar Ibrahim, he has all but abandoned the Malaysian Economic Agenda, which was the bulwark of Pakatan old and new’s appeal, to rein in the rich through oversight — regulation and enforcement — and empower the poor with means — education, healthcare, job security and protection of the law.
The arbitrary economy
Yesterday, was to reassure the Umno raised Malay business class, those who rely on the largesse of the state to enable their children to pay for European holidays, and the odd holiday home.
This reminds me of how Najib Razak had to re-rationalise the MRT project construction, because not enough Umno members were going to benefit from the project at the start of 2010.
I suppose when the KLCC cleaners took the MRT to work yesterday, paying more because the construction also went up to pay for the rent-seekers from Umno, they would be excited that they are paying a small price for the luxuries of the rich Malay class. No time to have selfish thoughts about their less than minimum wage lives. Not when they have to clean up after the honorary dignitaries at the esteemed congress.
A Malay economy agenda is about handing over opportunities arbitrarily, and surely foolish to think that it would not produce cronyism and corruption.
Running government subjectively is why all the handing over did not produce a commensurate amount of economic activities. It was not about spurring more, it was always about rewarding enough.
There is a second truth, the less savoury one. The argument over giving money out to Umno raised Malay economy bosses has been so wrapped with larger Bumiputera poverty, Article 153 and historical cover, that nobody in Mahathir’s Cabinet can speak out about it.
It might have been naive to expect Pakatan to do the right thing.