MELBOURNE CONFAB: "The Malays, like the rest of the population, are angry about corruption, cronyism and injustice, and today, they will vow to change the government.
In the run-up to a general election, extremist NGOs will whip up anti-Chinese and anti-DAP sentiment.
The resolve for change, in the more insecure Malays, will falter. They will vote Umno Baru/BN.
How can one counter the insecurity of these Malays?
This question was put to former Ambassador Noor Farida Ariffin of the G25 group and Dr Kua Kia Soong, the advisor to Suaram. They will be taking part in the conference on "Overcoming Racism" today (April 16) in Melbourne, Australia.
Noor Farida said, "It’s not just extremist Malay NGOs who are whipping up anti-Chinese and anti-DAP sentiment.
"Even the prime minister has been going around asserting that only Umno Baru can protect the Malays.
"The urban Malays can see for themselves just how hollow this claim is, especially in light of the daily revelations, by Sarawak Report and The Wall Street Journal, about the 1MDB scandal and how millions of the rakyat’s money were squandered by those in power."
The former ambassador described the anger felt by Malays, about Tabung Haji, the Malaysian Hajj Pilgrims fund board.
She added, "The fact that SRC, a subsidiary of 1MDB, sold land which they had acquired cheaply, to Tabung Haji at an exorbitant price, has not gone down well with either urban or rural Malays.
"Many Tabung Haji depositors have withdrawn their deposits from Tabung Haji, to protest about this transaction.
"To add insult to injury, Jamil Khir, the Minister for Religious Affairs has threatened those who have withdrawn money, with a 70-year wait, to perform the Haj.
"The GST is causing economic hardship for the poor Malays. They blame the government for this.
"In contrast they see those in power flaunting their wealth. In my view, Umno Baru will have a hard time to win Malay votes, at the next GE, despite fear mongering by Umno Baru.
"The Malays now have alternatives in PKR and Amanah. Many PAS supporters apparently are now joining Amanah. The DAP is also trying to attract more Malays to join, in an effort to rid itself of the image of being a Chinese chauvinist party."
Noor Farida believes that many urban Malays would have no problem in voting for the DAP.
When asked the same question, Dr Kua said, "We have to unite to defeat the racists.
"Since the eighties, the game changer was when PAS denounced the racism of Umno Baru by stating that Islam does not condone racism and racial discrimination.
"Alas, this alliance with PAS, to oppose Umno Baru/BN has been undone in recent years by the insensitive cursing of PAS, and of the PAS spiritual leader, by DAP leaders.
"The Opposition has to produce policies and measures to address the needs of all the lower income groups.
"We need adequate public housing, good and economical public transport, a public health system for all, and to encourage co-operatives and other activities that promote integration."
Kua believes that policies must be race-free, if Malaysia is to build a genuine fair, just and progressive society.
Note: The Conference "Overcoming Racism" is at the Brunswick Town Hall, Melbourne. Time: 10 am to 4 pm. Panel members are Noor Farida Ariffin (G25), Dr Kua Kia Soong (Suaram), Hj Zaid Kamaruddin (Ikram) and Jerald Joseph (Komas).
The event is open to everyone and admission is free.