Thursday, September 07, 2006

Global Malaysian or Ultra Malay?

There have been a few interesting developments since I briefly discussed Khairy Jamaluddin’s ambitions to become PM.

First, Khairy was featured in the media, wearing an arm sling, leading a large crowd, protesting to Condi Rice on the Israeli-Lebanon conflict. This is the sign of a true politician … or politician wannabe. Broken arm or not, he would be with his people on the ground. No ivory tower career for this Oxbridge grad!

Personally, as a Chinese Malaysian, I was happy to see someone like Khairy appear on the political scene. I know that we will not see a minority-race Malaysian PM in my lifetime, and a global, intellectual and moderate Malay is just what we needed. So what if he is young? He’ll have more time to learn about his people, and about leadership.

Then it was reported that Khairy had been given a multi-million-dollar “loan” to buy stock in ECM Libra, where he is a director. So what? As long as the money did not come from tax payers dollars or corruption, he can go ahead. After all, if the stock price should fall (and it did), he would lose money.

As Jerry Seinfeld once suggested, you don’t want to get onto a plane where the pilot is making minimum wage and worrying about making ends meet. Likewise, we don’t want the people piloting your economy to be broke! The amount we pay our politicians is probably less than what the average tout-taxi driver plying the KLCC-KLIA route gets. (At RM500 a pop, it is not hard to see why).

But I digress. Back to Khairy. I am no longer a fan.

Khairy’s recent remarks have disappointed me tremendously. He is reported as saying at an UMNO Youth branch meeting (in the context of stressing the importance of party unity) that non-Malays would take advantage of a weak UMNO. MCA and Gerakan have responded, but Khairy has refused to apologise. His reason is that “we need not apologise to anyone in our struggle for our religion, race and country.”

Maybe he does not owe anyone an apology. But I think the least he could do is explain. Malaysia’s fight for independence, development and excellence is fought by all its component races and religions.

So when he refers to “our” struggle, I hope he is not only referring to Malays and Muslims. Otherwise, I would never want him to be our PM.

It is a good thing he is so young … he still has a lot to learn.

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