Contrary to the perception held by many that the non-Malays carry no weights in this country, they will determine the destiny of the country today.
We may bid farewell to Bumiputeraism after its entrenched existence for nearly four decades.
According to the “no pain (for BN), no gain (for voters)” logic that dictates BN’s rule, concession will be given to the community that make the loudest protest noise.
That’s why you had NEP after 1969 – in 1969, the Malay votes deserted UMNO to PAS by about 9 percentage points while the non-Malays’ support for the Alliance stayed put! Then PAS did not care to win non-Malays support, so UMNO could alienate the non-Malays at no electoral cost.
That’s why the BN repaid the Chinese support that saved UMNO from Reformasi Wave in 1999 with attacks on Suqiu in 2000 and the announcement of Islamic State in 2001. BN wanted to win back the Malay-Muslim ground. Thinking in the “zero-sum game” mentality, it thought bashing non-Malays would woo the Malays, the majority of whom however did not buy the divide-and-rule tactic anymore.
This time around, if the non-Malays swing heavily against the BN, it will have to wake up from its “right-track” dream. It will have to give what the non-Malays want, just like what it did in 1990 when the non-Malays voted massively for opposition. They did not get any retribution. Instead, they got partial liberalisation in education and culture policies, in the name of Wawasan 2020.
If 90% of the non-Malays vote against BN this time, it may end Bumiputeraism no matter how the Malays vote.
If the Malays support BN, BN will not have to worry about loosing Malay ground. It will therefore only be braver to make necessary concession to win back the non-Malay ground, without which BN’s governability will be threatened.
If the Malays vote against BN, BN will not read that as a protest vote to keep NEP. For it’s the Malay-based Opposition parties, Keadilan and PAS, that want an end to NEP. Keadilan’s call for National Economic Agenda and PAS’s call for Welfare State are but different ways of saying the same thing.
So, thanks to Keadilan and PAS, whichever direction Malays vote, they will not form the obstacle to the replacement of Bumiputeraism by some forms of welfare state.
The fate of Bumiputeraism will depends solely on the non-Malays.
A vote for MCA, Gerakan, MIC, PPP, SUPP, SAPP or LDP is a vote for Bumiputeraism.
By voting BN, a non-Malay tells BN that “Yes, we are indeed at the right track. We non-Malays want Bumiputeraism even though the Malays are abandoning it.”
Should Malaysians continue to be divided as Bumiputera and Non-Bumiputera? You decide.
(Read my analysis What this election will change in theSun today.)