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Right-wing politics is not the answer

What the nation needs now is a real alternative to the right-wing politics of divisiveness


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The Association for Welfare, Community and Dialogue (Acid) is concerned with the statement by political analyst James Chin of the University of Tasmania that  the results of the six state elections have shown that Pakatan Harapan may be forced to adopt a more right-wing stance to appeal to conservative Malay voters .

According to him, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will need to support conservative policies to gain political support at the expense of his progressive voter base.

He added the prime minister would be forced to move more to the right with more Islamic and pro-ethnic Malay policies.

Looking at the priority of the “unity government” over the past eight months, it has been wooing the Malay voters with actions such as seizing rainbow-coloured watches from Swatch’s Pride collection, reiterating that Malay privileges will not be done away with, and stating that the government will adopt the decision of the Malay rulers in the debate over the use of the word Allah as policy.

The prime minister’s answer to a young ethnic Indian student that the quota system will remain also has right-wing characteristics.

The unity government may communicate an issue differently but its core content remains.

The fact is, when one is already indoctrinated by the fear politics of “the other”, and when faith and reason are ignored for tribal emotions, then whatever that is articulated by the perceived enemy will be wrong.

What the nation needs today from the unity government is a real alternative to the right-wing politics of divisiveness by promoting political integrity and solidarity.

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For example, ministers who are under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should be put on leave until their investigation is completed. Also, those who are currently facing trials in court should not be given ministerial posts.

This also goes to those who aspire to be parliamentarians or state assembly members. They should not be given a seat until their court cases are over.

The alternative politics to right-wing divisiveness should be solidarity: the voices of the grassroots, the poor and the marginalised should be highlighted.

The government should convince conservatives who are also made up of workers, artisans, fisherfolkand factory workers by showing them structural alternatives that would improve their lives in contrast to right-wing divisive politics that usually are more aligned to the interest of the religious and business elites in the Malaysian context.

The politics of integrity and solidarity will create an impact on the electorate in the long run, and it will not show short-term results that are desired by opportunist politicians.

The last thing the nation needs now is for the unity government to follow an ideology that divides the people while taking for granted the support of moderate and progressive voices.

While the politics of integrity and solidarity might not be aligned to the real politics of the country, we can’t afford to fall into the trap of right-wing politics.

It will not only dent the value of multi-ethnic solidarity but will also scare away investors who will not want to invest in a country that mired in the disharmony that comes with right-wing politics. – Free Malaysia Today

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
15 Aug 2023 9.21am

There’s reason to be optimistic in Malaysian politics: right-wing parties MCA and Gerakan have lost Chinese support, and now the Chinese are strongly behind DAP and PKR. At least 25% of Malays support PH. DAP is now in the federal govt and Penang is now a DAP stronghold. Malay politics has become more competitive as UMNO has lost its dominance amongst the Malays. So the Malay parties have to pay more attention to the Malay poor to win their votes. Hopefully secular UMNO will move towards the political centre since Bersatu is far right secular. I think that some of the Malay votes that went to PN are a protest against rising inflation rather than more support for race supremacy and religious extremism.

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